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

Iran Sanctions

U.S. sanctions have been used extensively by successive Administrations to try to achieve change in Iran’s behavior. Sanctions had a substantial effect on Iran’s economy and on some major strategic decisions, but little or no effect on Iran’s regional malign activities. During 2012-2015, when the global community was relatively united in pressuring Iran, Iran’s economy… Continue Reading Iran Sanctions

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

Cryptocurrency: The Economics of Money and Selected Policy Issues

Cryptocurrencies are digital money in electronic payment systems that generally do not require government backing or the involvement of an intermediary, such as a bank. Instead, users of the system validate payments using certain protocols. Since the 2008 invention of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have proliferated. In recent years, they experienced a rapid increase… Continue Reading Cryptocurrency: The Economics of Money and Selected Policy Issues