Trump’s regulatory revolution
For all the sound and fury in the media over the Trump administration, there has been little recognition of the dramatic shift in regulatory policy over the past year. President Trump has ended many of his predecessor's most burdensome rules on business and has slashed red tape. He has also implemented new policies that require administrative bodies to scour for unnecessary or harmful regulations. It is a radical departure from the status quo, but many legal and institutional challenges stand in the way of even deeper change.
Syria heads toward renewed conflict
Daesh’s imminent defeat in Syria has brought new tensions to the fore. Iran now has proxies and allies right next door to Israel, while the U.S. has committed to a long-term military presence. Russia’s main objective continues to be securing its Syrian bases, and Turkey is becoming more isolated over its insistence on keeping Kurdish groups from controlling any territory. These factors form a volatile mix that makes it difficult to foresee anything but renewed conflict in the already war-torn country.
India’s stake in the Afghanistan conflict
India is happy that the United States has recommitted to fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Keeping them out of power will limit the influence of India’s longtime rival, Pakistan. But the U.S. commitment is tenuous, and President Donald Trump is a known skeptic of the war. Russian and Iranian support for the Taliban complicate the issue. India will therefore continue to support the government in Kabul through aid and diplomacy, without getting militarily involved.
Opinion: The Kremlin Report – a big, fat nothing
Anyone hoping the U.S. Treasury’s “Kremlin Report” would show insight into Russia’s inner workings has been sorely disappointed. It shows little understanding of who the real power brokers are in Moscow, and cements the U.S.’s reputation as a bull in a china shop. Europe could have helped spur constructive dialogue, but continues to follow Washington’s lead. The possibility of even modest steps to ease Russia’s confrontation with the West looks increasingly improbable.
2018 Global Outlook: Nuclear proliferation threat is exaggerated
The world’s existing nuclear powers are wary of proliferation, even if prospects for nuclear arms control appear to be dim. The United States, Russia, China and smaller states in possession of such arms are, at most, modernizing their arsenals. North Korea and possibly Iran cannot be prevented from developing nuclear warheads and delivery systems, but the emerging Western containment strategy is likely to work.
2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
Opinion: Jerusalem recognition narrows U.S. options on Iran
President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has hurt U.S. efforts to build a Sunni alliance against Iran. Given the risk of a region-wide conflict erupting near the Golan Heights or in southern Lebanon, its timing was also unfortunate. However, there could be a deeper logic behind the move.
2018 Global Outlook: North Korea and the U.S.-China-Russia triangle
Tensions between the United States and North Korea are having a big impact on the relationship between Moscow, Beijing and Washington. China has every incentive, but few options, to rein in its neighbor, while pressure on the U.S. to escalate increases. Russia is playing a double game by which a conflict in Northeast Asia could help it attain its goals in Ukraine. Any major shock to today’s delicate balance could have drastic consequences.
Republican tax bill ushers in a new era for U.S. investment
By offering significant tax relief to businesses and most taxpayers, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans have created conditions for boosting the U.S. economy. For its effects to prove lasting, however, the tax reform will ultimately need to be accompanied by measures to constrain the untamed growth in government spending.