Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Normally, the Fed conducts monetary policy by setting a target for the federal funds rate – the rate at which banks borrow and lend reserves on an overnight basis. It meets its target through open market operations, financial transactions traditionally involving U.S. Treasury securities. Beginning in 2007, the federal funds target was reduced from 5.25%… Continue Reading Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Nuclear Cooperation With Other Countries: A Primer

In order for the United States to engage in significant civilian nuclear cooperation with other states, it must conclude a framework agreement that meets specific requirements under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA). Significant nuclear cooperation includes the export of reactors, critical parts of reactors, and reactor fuel. The AEA also provides for… Continue Reading Nuclear Cooperation With Other Countries: A Primer

Between Russia and Iran: Room to Pursue American Interests in Syria

President Donald Trump has underscored containing Iran’s sway as a key element in establishing a “strong and lasting footprint” in Syria as the United States moves toward bringing its Soldiers home. In pursuing this key American objective, this paper recommends that Washington take advantage of the “daylight” between Russia and Iran, and that it be… Continue Reading Between Russia and Iran: Room to Pursue American Interests in Syria

U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America

Central America has received renewed attention from U.S. policymakers over the past few years as the region has become a major transit corridor for illicit drugs and has surpassed Mexico as the largest source of irregular migration to the United States. These narcotics and migrant flows are the latest symptoms of deep-rooted challenges in several… Continue Reading U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America

Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Promoting democratic institutions, processes, and values has long been a U.S. foreign policy objective, though the priority given to this objective has been inconsistent. World events, competing priorities, and political change within the United States all shape the attention and resources provided to democracy promotion efforts and influence whether such efforts focus on supporting fair… Continue Reading Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform

Prior to the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in 1976 and 1977, respectively, Congress did not take much interest in conducting oversight of the intelligence community (IC). The Subcommittees on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the congressional Armed Services Committees had… Continue Reading Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform

U.S. Trade with Major Trading Partners

U.S. world trade has grown steadily over the past decade. In 2017, the United States exported $2.4 trillion in goods and services and imported $2.9 trillion. Since 2009, when trade flows declined sharply in the midst of the financial crisis, U.S. exports have grown—in nominal terms—48.5%, while U.S. imports have grown 47.6%. More broadly, since… Continue Reading U.S. Trade with Major Trading Partners

U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications

The economic and trade relationship with Mexico is of interest to U.S. policymakers because of Mexico’s proximity to the United States, the extensive trade and investment relationship under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the conclusion of the NAFTA renegotiations and the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the strong cultural and economic ties that… Continue Reading U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications

Relevance of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the United States in the 21st Century

The “America First” approach to foreign policy seems to call into question the value of institutions like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). However, in a more competitive and uncertain strategic environment, NATO and the EU remain vital to promoting U.S. interests.