A serious military confrontation between Russia and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state or a severe crisis in North Korea are among top international concerns for 2017 cited by a new survey of experts. The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) ninth annual Preventive Priorities Survey identified seven top potential flashpoints for the United States in the year ahead.
The survey, conducted by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), asked foreign policy experts to rank conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating and their potential impact on U.S. national interests. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
According to the report, the West’s postwar social welfare system is under growing threat as the global demographic structure is being turned upside down. And it is not just the West, but also China and other middle-income powers who will have to deal with an aging workforce and unsustainable health and pension costs in the next decade. For sub-Saharan African countries whose birthrates remain high, overpopulation carries big costs not only for them, but for the rest of the world, which will depend on them for a growing proportion of the world’s workforce. Burrows explores how longer life expectancies, aging workforces, and high birthrates will affect the future economic growth and development of countries around the world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The evolving dynamics in the East Mediterranean Triangle, composed of Israel, Turkey and Greece, reveal key security and economic trends that have direct implications for the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
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Hillary Clinton proposes raising taxes on high-income taxpayers, modifying taxation of multinational corporations, repealing fossil fuel tax incentives, and increasing estate and gift taxes. Her proposals would increase revenue by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent; the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see little or no change in their taxes. Marginal tax rates would increase, reducing incentives to work, save, and invest, and the tax code would become more complex. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Outdoor air pollution is a major determinant of health worldwide. The greatest public health effects are from increased mortality in adults. However, both PM and O3 also cause a wide range of other, less serious, health outcomes; and there are effects on mortality and morbidity of other pollutants also, e.g. nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). These adverse health effects have economic consequences. The paper strives to inform the development of improved estimates of the social costs of human morbidity impacts resulting from outdoor air pollution in two components; namely to develop a core set of pollutant-health end-points to be covered when estimating the costs of morbidity, and to review current estimates of the cost of morbidity from air pollution. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Since the enactment of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, much attention has been paid to the near-term effects of budgetary constraints on national defense. What has received less attention are the looming budgetary challenges defense faces beyond the BCA budget caps and the Defense Department’s five-year budget planning horizon. The report details the plans for major acquisition programs over the next fifteen years and explores the complicating factors that may make the situation more problematic for policymakers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The report evaluates three broad strategies for dealing with U.S. partners and adversaries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in a time of diminishing defense budgets and an American public preference for a domestic focus. The three strategies are to be more assertive, to be more collaborative, or to retrench from international commitments. All three of these alternative approaches are constrained and a balance will need to be struck among them, that balance may differ from region to region. In general, however, the United States may need to follow a more collaborative approach in which it seeks greater collaboration and burden sharing from strong partners who have until now not been pulling their weight. [Note: contains copyrighted material].