The Middle East Marshall Plan
Greg, author of The Most Noble Adventure, is completing work setting out a policy of broad US economic engagement with the Middle East, based on the Model of the US Marshall Plan. His project recognizes that though the symptoms of the Middle East's political and geopolitical problems have manifested themselves as security threats, a military solution, even if its ends are political in nature, has almost zero chance of succeeding.
Greg's project analyzes the economic currents in the sub-regions of the Middle East to determine their connection to broader historical and political trends and show how robust American economic investment, akin to U.S. policy toward Western Europe following WWII, can help moderates in the region build capacity and offer a more compelling alternative to extremism.
He proposes that the U.S. put forward an offer of economic and development assistance to every country in the Middle East. This assistance offer, tailored to the needs of each country and dependent on their meeting of basic standards of international behavior, will serve to remake U.S. relations with what has historically been one of the world's most troubled regions.
Re-Making U.S. Policy Toward Cuba
Jake is the director of USA Engage, and he is nearing completion on a project that will outline a new direction for U.S. policy toward Cuba. Despite broad recognition that a forty-year old U.S. policy is untenable, the present administration has not deviated at all from the status quo. A new policy, supported by progressives, can offer an alternative, with positive implications that extend far beyond the U.S.' bilateral relationship with Cuba.
Jake suggests that a re-envisioning of U.S.-Cuba policy represents low-hanging fruit for progressives - an area where they will be less constrained by the failings of the Bush administration, and benefit from widespread support for a new direction. His project examines potential avenues where the existing approach can be altered and make several concrete recommendations for how the U.S. can begin to lift cumbersome sanctions and presidential decrees, and work with key allies to effect a shift for which progressives can take credit.
By taking a series of modest steps, aimed at liberalizing discrete aspects of U.S. policy toward Cuba, the U.S. could confer significant benefits that would work to improve overall U.S. - Cuba relations, improve its image in the world, and even confer benefits to U.S. national security.
You can find a copy of Jake's white paper report here.
Eric is the deputy director the of the East Asia division of the SAIC. His project analyzes Sovereign Wealth Funds and articulates a progressive vision for adjusting to their increasing importance in US foreign policy.
The press and foreign policy commentators alike have paid increasing attention to sovereign wealth funds. Some have struck an alarmist tone, while others have been more sanguine about the growing influence of these funds on the U.S. economy and foreign policy.
Progressives will benefit from having a greater understanding of the funds, the potential implications of their growth, and by having coherent recommendations for how to respond to their emergence. Eric's project accomplishes that by endeavoring to address questions raised by sovereign wealth funds while respecting the benefits of continued U.S. interaction in the global marketplace.
A draft of Eric's report finds that while the advent of Sovereign Wealth Funds is significant, it should not prompt alarmist, protectionist, or otherwise fearful responses. Rather, their arrival should prompt the U.S. to take stock of its own economic position, and adopt policies that reflect the changing worldwide economic landscape.
You can find a copy of Eric's white paper report here.
Iraq and the Global Jihad
Stephanie served as the Managing Editor for the 9/11 Commission Report, and she is completing her doctoral dissertation at MIT. Her report will advocate for a new approach to counterterrorism and managing the ‘Global Jihad,' following the invasion of Iraq.
Stephanie calls attention to the serious implications that the Iraq war has had, and will continue to have on the struggle to combat terrorist action occurring under the auspices of the ‘global jihad.' According to Kaplan, Iraq has "diversified the intentions and augmented the capabilities" of terrorists, creating new challenges that will persist even in the event of either U.S. success or disengagement. The ‘cause-celebre' will have implications for the Middle East and counterterrorism operations for years to come.
Kaplan's intent is to provide a counterterrorism strategy that seeks to grapple with the results of the Bush administration's failed military intervention, the effects of which will continue to reverberate across the Middle East and elsewhere for years to come. She will argue that an effective U.S. counterterrorism strategy should be modest in scope, divorced from the ambitions of the Bush administration to remake whole societies, and balanced between security goals and what is realistically within our capacity to accomplish.
Stephanie has already presented her findings to the Woodrow Wilson Center, and expects to finish a draft of her report by the end of November.
Michael Boyle and Alex Schmid
Toward a Global Compact against Terrorism
Michael is a lecturer at the renowned Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews and Alex is the Center's director. They plan to issue a report arguing that the United States should found and promote a Global Compact against international terrorism.
In Boyle and Schmid's view, terrorism, similar to slavery or piracy in previous eras, poses not just a threat to individual countries but to global society. A multi-lateral approach to this challenge, taking the form of a Global Compact, would confer benefits on each of the participants, and would provide a powerful counterweight to rising extremism.
Drawing on theory and practice surrounding multi-lateral, regime-based action to address international challenges, and an analysis of the shortcomings of the Bush Administration's counter-terrorism policies, Boyle and Schmid will propose the Global Compact against Terrorism as a parallel mechanism for reducing terrorist activity. It would be formed by a coalition of interested parties when existing actors or regimes fall short of what is needed to address this threat.
This institutionalized ‘Global Compact' structure would constitute a new progressive model for cooperative threat reduction.
You can find a copy of Michael and Alex's white paper report here.
A Progressive Strategy for China
Josh is a Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he works on China and East Asia Policy. His first book, Charm Offensive, analyzed China's increasing global influence, and his project will offer progressive solutions for managing China's rise.
Josh looks at the history and current contours of U.S. - China relations and finds a critical opportunity for progressives to offer a new plan to deal with China's rise. His vision of a progressive strategy would offer "more for more" - more friendly engagement with China on diplomatic, economic and social issues, coupled with more insistence that China take steps to address long-standing concerns related to human rights, energy and the environment, trade and economics, and security.
For Josh, more forceful insistence on progress in certain areas sets the right expectations for Beijing, while more engagement will demonstrate to China that, despite a new administration's willingness to apply pressure, the White House has no intentions of isolating China, and considers China able of joining international institutions currently dominated by Western powers.
Only through this new China strategy, can the United States influence and possibly alter China's behavior - now, while Beijing's global policies still can be shaped and Beijing still has to accept international institutions, before China has amassed the power to radically reshape the global order.
Tom Glaisyer & Katherine Brown
Modernizing Public Diplomacy & Strategic Communications
Tom and Katherine are both working towards PhDs at Columbia University's Interdisciplinary Communications program. Their work and interests lie at the intersection of new media, communications and domestic and international policy.
Their project aims to create a new paradigm and bureaucratic structure for public diplomacy and strategic communications, which progressives can support. This new framework would account for the role of new mediums in shaping and constraining strategic communications, while also adjusting for changing social environments, brought on by the emergence of new players on the international stage. It would also reflect the way technological changes and cost free mechanisms have opened policy choices, choices, which in their view should be seen not as an appendage, but as core to this new vision.
While the Bush Administrations failures in this area have made clear that no communications strategy can make up for bad policy, in a global landscape, with many rising powers and increasingly electronically connected citizens, the U.S. cannot move forward any foreign policy agenda without engaging foreign publics. Come 2009 public diplomacy and strategic communications needs more substance, more resources, higher bureaucratic standing and a complete technological makeover.
New Approaches to Middle East Peace-Making
Philip Walker is an attorney and former diplomat who has spent years working on legal and development issues pertaining to the Middle East. His project looks at whether international assistance to Arabs and Israelis has been a help or hindrance to Middle-East peace-making.
By examining the efficacy of international assistance in promoting the cause of Middle East peace from a historical perspective, Walker hopes to confront some of the core assumptions about what works and what doesn't in the region, in order to produce a set of recommendations that better reflect the lessons of experience.
A New Approach to Iran
John Tirman is the Executive Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for International Studies, where he also directs the Persian Gulf Initiative.
John's study of U.S.-Iran relations concludes that a new diplomatic approach by the United States to transform the relationship with Iran could produce a breakthrough that will boost security and prosperity for the entire region.
You can find a copy of John's white paper report here.