Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative

  • Whither America

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    The United States faces threats from outside its borders, but also from within. While domestic issues including healthcare, immigration, and tax reform occupy the media, a more sinister threat exists underfoot. The political system that once created a strong, prosperous, and united nation now sows division. Many of the country’s public institutions, most notably Congress, seem increasingly inept and dangerously dysfunctional. Permanent campaign mode is distracting the country’s institutions from their responsibilities, alienating the public from civic processes, and leaving the country vulnerable to
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  • The Battle for Tech Regulation Has Begun

    Three grueling hearings in two days on Capitol Hill seem to indicate that years of government officials giving the tech giants of Silicon Valley—most notably Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon—a relatively loose regulatory rein are now over. Members of Congress of both parties were quick to condemn Facebook, Twitter, and Google for their failure to stop Russians from buying ads related to the US presidential election last year, but for some the problem runs much deeper. To the critics, the scope of Big Tech’s power over information (and therefore over nearly all aspects of modern life, from how we interact with our friends to how we choose our political leaders), along with their lack of accountability, resembles the great monopolies of the Gilded Age—and should...
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  • Western Options in a Multipolar World

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    No one can know the future. China and Russia—who are currently challenging, albeit in different ways, the Western liberal order—face difficulties at home and could become inward-focused and disengaged. Nonetheless, almost thirty years after the end of the Cold War, geopolitics looks like it is poised for another turn of the wheel that may not be as favorable to Western interests.

     
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  • A Strategy for the Trans-Pacific Century: Final Report of the Atlantic Council’s Asia-Pacific Strategy Task Force

    The culmination of a full year of analysis by the Atlantic Council’s Asia-Pacific Strategy Task Force, A Strategy for the Trans-Pacific Century argues for deeper engagement between the United States’ Atlantic and Pacific partners to uphold the liberal rules-based order in Asia and beyond. As the rise of China creates reverberations felt not only within the Pacific region, but through the Atlantic as well, cooperation between these partners is needed now more than ever. Across Asia, Europe, and America, many nations share a common interest in protecting a rules-based order that has guaranteed more than half a century of freedom, prosperity, and growth. In their review of the task force’s findings, Dr. Matt Kroenig and Dr. Miyeon Oh, the paper’s co-authors, find that this cooperation cannot afford to take the form of either staunch resistance to change or acceptance of a bare-bones order. Instead, these partners must seek to reinvigorate the order by adapting it to a new...
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  • A Strategy for the Trans-Pacific Century

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    If the twentieth century could be characterized as the “Trans-Atlantic Century,” the twenty-first century may well become known as the “Trans-Pacific Century.” According to some projections, the majority of all global economic activity could take place within Asia by 2050. Military might often follows economic power, and Asian countries are already spending more than European states on defense. Both of these developments reflect a broader shift in global power from West to East.

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  • Why Blockchain Could Build a Steel Curtain Against Public Corruption

    Global corruption is a dangerous mega-trend that refuses to be ignored. Blockchain, the rapidly-evolving technology that has already transformed the financial world, has numerous applications when it comes to fighting government corruption. FutureSource has previously examined how corruption has become a threat to international security. It is now taking a closer look at how blockchain and other technologies can help governments reduce graft and fraud.

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  • Keeping a Global Competitive Advantage with STEM Education

    Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers play an integral role in maintaining or advancing a nation’s economic and societal competitiveness. A recent report of the eight most valuable startup companies in the US further emphasizes the impact of STEM disciplines in the creation of new industries and domains. The success of a majority of these startups heavily relies on STEM skillsets that include software/app development, data analytics and machine learning expertise, and the seamless integration of technologies that enhance user experiences. While the demand for STEM degrees continues to increase, the time needed to attain a higher education degree remains relatively constant and typically exceeds fifty-two months, well beyond the...
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  • America’s Role in the World – Global Threats, Global Perspectives

    On September 14, the Atlantic Council and the Pew Research Center hosted a conversation with a panel of experts to discuss Pew’s latest survey analyzing global perspectives and the greatest risks and threats facing the world today.

    The report focuses on global perspectives on the greatest risks facing the world today, from national security concerns to broader global issues such as climate change, and the economy. The day’s discussion explored the results of Pew’s survey from across the thirty-eight countries polled. Does the existential threat of ISIS affect people outside of the Middle East and Europe? Where are worries of influence of the United States, Russia, or China most acute? Following a short presentation of the report, the panelists evaluated the circumstances and tenuous relationships that may account for the findings. The audience participated in a live poll, where their voices were compared to the Pew survey results and helped guide the conversation.

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  • Launch: State Department Reform Report

    In this follow-up to the Atlantic Council’s 2016 report on reforming the National Security Council, a team of respected and experienced authors led by former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Chester Crocker, and David Miller examined the inner workings of the US Department of State in order to find ways to improve the department’s performance quickly and for little if any cost. The report spells out five key areas where the State Department needs improvement: structure and process, personnel, budget, congressional relations, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    On September 6, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative (FSR) hosted a launch event for the State Department Reform Report. The event featured a keynote address from Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a panel with the report’s authors moderated by Washington Post columnist David...

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  • Tech Giants’ Role in Countering Violent Extremism

    The single biggest shortcoming of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs is a lack of ability to measure their effectiveness. For this reason, there is much controversy around the concept of CVE and those who practice it, making it difficult for the government to justify funding certain programs themselves. In the past year, based on a now widely-held belief that governments cannot counter extremism alone, we have seen Silicon Valley’s tech giants attempt to define their own place in the CVE field. Their reactive, tech-driven approach has produced some metrics of success. However, it has, in turn, neglected to recognize the root causes of violent extremism that CVE-focused organizations aim to address.

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