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U.S. Politics & Policy

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Are We Making the Grade?

Americans today are increasingly concerned about the state of the environment. Polls show that a remarkable 63 percent would roll back recent tax cuts to finance environmental protection and that fully 95 percent want environmental education included in the public school curriculum. America's Environmental Report Card offers answers to some of our most pressing environmental questions, providing a timely reminder of what we need to accomplish to achieve a sustainable environment.

Preemption, Regime Change, and US Policy toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea

In January 2002, President George W. Bush declared Iran, Iraq, and North Korea constituents of an "axis of evil." US strategy toward each of these countries has clearly varied since, yet similar issues and policy options have emerged for US relations with all three. Reshaping Rogue States seeks to improve our understanding of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as well as of current and future policy options to combat the threats these nations pose.

Transforming the US Military System

The war in Iraq and the problematic military occupation of that country have called into question the adequacy of America's all-volunteer force. Politicians and others have expressed doubts about its equity and capability; some have called for the reinstatement of the draft. Yet over the past twenty years the all-volunteer military has become a technologically advanced force that has contributed to America's overall military advantage.

State and Local Responses to Terrorism

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been preoccupied by the federal role in preparedness against terror attacks, and by ways to provide a quick fix through organizational overhauls. Airport security has been federalized, and Congress has approved a Cabinet-level homeland security agency. By contrast, national discussion of state and local preparedness has been largely absent.

Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks

Although military operations have dominated media coverage of the war on terrorism, a much broader array of policy options may hold the key to reducing the appeal of global terrorist networks, particularly in economically destitute areas. These strategies involve the use of "soft power," a term first used by political scientist Joseph Nye in a 1990 article in Foreign Policy to describe nonmilitary strategies to shape international relations and behavior.

Winning Without War

On September 11, 2001, the United States began to consider the terrorist threat in a new light. Terrorism was no longer something that happened in other countries on other continents but became a pressing domestic concern for the US government and American citizens. The nation suddenly faced a protracted struggle.

The Major Powers, Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian Nexus
Edited by Robert Legvold

More than ten years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, none of the major powers, including Russia, has developed a cohesive geopolitical strategy for dealing with the countries and regions that once made up the USSR. Even after September 11 and the sudden importance of Central Asia in the struggle against global terrorism, the United States continues to deal with the region in fragmented and incomplete ways.

Price and Quality in Optometry

The healthcare industry in America consists of a multitude of specialty professions. While most of these require licensing through state agencies, the legislation involved largely rubber stamps the desires of the professional associations, self-perpetuating and self-regulating bodies that effectively impose restrictions on entry to the profession, type and location of practice, and advertising.

International Perspectives on US Foreign Policy

The United States is the only superpower in the world today. Although the media are filled with prescriptions for how Washington might best wield its power, rarely are other countries asked what role they would like the United States to play.

The Dangerous New Alliance of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power

In December 1998, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced that the U.S. planned to begin producing tritium for its nuclear weapons in commercial nuclear power plants. This decision overturned a fifty-year policy of keeping civilian and military nuclear production processes separate. Tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is needed to turn A-bombs into H-bombs, and the commercial nuclear power plants that are to be modified to produce tritium are called ice condensers.

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