This winter, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published negotiating objectives for upcoming trade negotiations with the European Union andJapan. The objectives lay out specific outcomes the Trump administration will seek in its trade negotiations with each country. The European Union and Japan agreed to separate trade negotiations with the Trump administration in exchange for a pledge that the United States would not impose additional tariffs on products from the European Union and Japan while the talks were underway.
William Reinsch, Jack Caporal
In this episode, the Trade Guys catch up with guest Heather Conley, who just returned stateside from a timely trip to London. Heather is the Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic, and the director of the Europe program at CSIS. She offers fresh insights about Brexit, how it might affect trade, what it means for us, and where we go from here. Hosted by H. Andrew Schwartz and produced by Yumi Araki and Jack Caporal at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Scott Miller, William Reinsch, H. Andrew Schwartz
The Trump administration has today released its long-awaited Missile Defense Review(MDR). Initiated pursuant to both congressional and presidential direction, the report represents an attempt to adapt U.S. missile defense policy, posture, and programs to the strategic environment of great power competition. The United States and its allies face a more complex and challenging aerial threat environment than ever before. Emphasizing the utility of active and to some extent passive defenses against a wide spectrum of air and missile threats, the MDR points the way toward the ever-elusive vision of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), while also acknowledging the relationship between military, nonproliferation, and diplomatic measures to stem and dissuade missile proliferation. As Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan noted in its release, “to our competitors, we see what you are doing, and we are taking action.”
This year promises to be another dynamic one for Southeast Asia—and hopefully for high-level U.S. engagement with the region. With elections and governance challenges in many countries, the Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) returning to Thailand while it organizes an election and plans a coronation, the region’s trade architecture in flux, and the backdrop of growing U.S.-China strategic rivalry and trade friction, these are the key issues to watch in 2019.
Amy Searight, Brian Harding
Last year was a rollercoaster year for oil markets, and based on current trends, 2019 promises much of the same. Here are the top 10 oil market trends affecting global supply and demand to watch over the course of 2019.
It is tempting to start a new year with predictions about events over the next 12 months. Especially at a time of such uncertainty in Washington, we will not be so bold but will instead lay out some “known knowns” about the global economic outlook in the year ahead—i.e., things scheduled or likely to happen—and “known unknowns”—and questions we have as the year begins.
We categorize them in five main buckets.
Turbulence will increase across the North African Maghreb in the year ahead. Elections, public protest, and economic trends all create the potential for crises that will be difficult to solve. Policymaking on critical issues will likely remain stalled in every country, leaving a debilitating governance vacuum. That vacuum will further widen the gap between citizens and elites and fuel radicalization and irregular migration, two trends that will continue across the region this year. A divided Libya will continue undermining regional security, and the geopolitical contest for North Africa will intensify as external actors seek economic and strategic opportunities in the region. This commentary outlines key trends to watch in 2019 that point to uncertainty for the Maghreb in the year ahead.
There is nothing new about the U.S. redoubling its efforts in the Middle East after it has lost sight of its objectives. There is even less new about the U.S. going on with the same efforts year-after-year without having any effective strategy. The U.S. has claimed to be fighting a “war” against terrorism since 2001, and has been fighting real wars in the Gulf region since 2003. It has also been blundering in Syria since 2011.
Anthony H. Cordesman
2019 will be a crucial year for sub-Saharan Africa. The region will hold presidential elections in at least nine countries, including Nigeria and South Africa. It will remain bogged down in conflicts in the Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Somalia. It also will attract greater attention from the international partners, which increasingly view the region as a vector for transnational threats, a destination for investment, and an arena for geostrategic competition.
It is normal at the beginning of a new year to look back on the old one and forecast the new one. Since this column is not intended as an official record of anything, I am not going to provide a litany of 2018 events or a calendar for 2019. Others are doing that better than I can. Instead, I want to provide a few lessons from last year, discussions of what the administration and Congress face, and, finally, some comments on the World Trade Organization (WTO). Don’t worry—this will take several weeks, so columns will be their normal length. Today’s piece will focus on the administration.