Global economic dependence on U.S. consumer spending is unlikely to dwindle, despite significant national and international efforts outside the United States to support demand and improve economic flexibility. Because that dependence increases U.S. trade deficits and threatens U.S. competitiveness, the United States should take measures to open foreign markets, assert U.S. leadership, and promote domestic confidence and growth.
A surge in oil and gas production in the United States signals a new era of energy security. But the United States will not achieve an energy independence unrelated to other parts of the world because world energy markets today are inextricably interconnected. The United States should instead lead development of a new Global Energy Security System to spread energy development, make energy markets more responsive and efficient, and protect energy transport.
Exchange rates affect international trade, and they can be skewed by countries that are capable of buying and selling large amounts of currency to counter market trends. The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization are charged with curbing such trade-distorting practices, but they could increase their effectiveness by improving communication and collaboration.
The cyberthreat posed by terror groups today looks less like war than hacktivism—the use of online subversion or sabotage, often by loosely
networked actors, to boost a political agenda. Within these opportunistic webs of affiliation, whether a hacker has an operational link to a terrorist
organization is largely irrelevant. Any sympathizer can use digital tools to deface websites for propaganda value, encourage acts of violence, or cause
economic disruption. In response, firms and governments can do more to improve defenses, educate users, and monitor hacktivist capabilities.
China and Russia demonstrate a growing affinity in their national interests and diplomatic styles. Americans have often dismissed Chinese and Russian international ventures with broad attacks understood by Chinese and Russians as cultural condescension and used by their presidents to consolidate domestic support. The United States would engage China and Russia more effectively by focusing debate on specific policy issues and omitting more general criticism.
The European Union, through a series of collaborative projects, has built a relationship of trust with China regarding civilian uses of space. The United
States, however, has withheld cooperation with China on space technology, and the U.S.-Chinese relationship has been characterized by mistrust.
The transatlantic allies should create avenues for U.S.-European dialogue about China and space, and should also work on joint projects to establish
standards for uses of space that all three parties can respect.
According to the International Monetary Fund, early in December 2014
China’s economy surpassed that of the United States, which had led the
world since the late nineteenth century. Meanwhile, the United States
experienced large trade deficits and an eroding industrial base. To respond,
the United States must promote fair international trade rules and embrace
domestic policies for public and private growth.
In the early 2000s, the European Union (EU) began its own rebalance or pivot toward Asia. The European pivot often competes with the United States in focusing on economic, monetary, technological, and defense-related issues such as arms sales. But the EU and its member states harmonize with U.S. goals in boosting diplomacy, supporting multilateral security fora and regional integration initiatives, and deploying soft power. The EU and the United States should improve their dialogue on Asia to better understand their own interests and priorities, identify areas for cooperation, and manage competition.
Attracting foreign-born talent and teaching entrepreneurial skills are vital to the economic vibrancy of the United States. The United States needs new programs
to recruit and retain immigrant entrepreneurs, strengthen K-12 education, and stress experiential, collaborative learning at all levels of education to create jobs
and lead the global economy as the world’s entrepreneurship engine.
Ukraine’s military, recently defeated in its Anti-Terrorist Operation against separatists in the east, must address massive materiel, training, and leadership deficiencies. Having suffered years of budgetary and administrative neglect, its armed forces and defense industrial complex cannot hope to fight Russia in their current state. U.S. security assistance to Ukraine should focus in the short term on supplies to sustain its troops over the winter and in the medium term on support for comprehensive military reform, but providing American weapons would engender a proxy war with Russia without really improving Ukraine’s combat capability.
The arrival at the U.S. border in 2013–14 of tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America is unprecedented. Factors driving them include both longstanding challenges—chronic violence, economic despair, official corruption, and the pull of family reunification—and the myth recently disseminated by greedy traffickers of lenient U.S. immigration
policy. The United States, while taking steps to deter further migration, should also focus intensively on the long term factors.
"Cities around the world have become agglomerations of ethnicities, religions, classes, and nationalities. Creating socially sustainable cities that can accommodate migrants and their diversity requires policies that nurture shared identity and maintain spaces whose use can be shared by everybody, promoting a pragmatic pluralism and a culture of tolerance," writes Blair Ruble.
U.S. private and public debt to foreigners, including foreign governments, is
enormous and still growing. The debt is damaging the US economy and the
country’s stature as a world leader. Reducing this debt will require public
action to restrain the fiscal deficit and bolster private savings and trade.
Ultimately, adopting a national growth and innovation strategy would highlight
key economic sectors for balancing international flows of goods, services, and capital.
Current negotiations over trade deals—the TPP across the Pacific and the TTIP across the Atlantic—offer the United States its best chance in decades to create international standards limiting foreign governments’ support for their home industries writes Public Policy Scholar Kent Hughes in this policy brief.