Think Tank Wrap-up

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- UPI Think Tank Wrap-Up is a daily digest covering brief opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events, and position statements released by various think tanks.

Institute for Public Accuracy


(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)

Recession: Now What?

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of the announcement by a panel of academic experts that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since March, the following IPS analysts had comments.

-- Julianne Malveaux, economist based in Washington, D.C.

"It's not news to anyone that we're in a recession -- most people are already experiencing it, so they don't need an economist to tell them that. But certain communities are feeling it more than others. In October, the general unemployment rate increased by a half-point, but by a full point for African-Americans. Most states and cities are prohibited from deficit spending, so it's people in cities -- who tend to be more black, brown, older and poorer -- who suffer more since they rely on states and cities to provide services. After 9-11, it's often been said that we're all in the same boat. If that's true, some are riding and some are rowing."


-- Randy Albelda, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

"States are cutting a lot of their budgets --education, health care, mental health services. For example, the Massachusetts legislature last week passed a budget, which cut half of state funds to adult literacy programs for this year. If the federal government really wanted a stimulus package, it would help the states to provide these needed services since 49 states are prohibited from running a deficit. The states have been giving tax cuts during the boom and now they're cutting to the bone."

-- Mary Schweitzer, professor of economic history at Villanova University and author of the book "Custom and Contract."

"What does the administration mean by 'stimulus'? Where do they get the concept that tax breaks for a few large corporations will make things better? Tax cuts are talked about as if there's only one kind. There are different ways to 'stimulate' the economy. It used to be thought that economic growth came from building factories. However, for at least a generation it has been understood by economic historians that the best way to stimulate economic growth is education. The best way to achieve long-term growth is to educate the public. Education leads to innovation and innovation leads to growth. We're seeing an increase in the already alarming gap between the richest and poorest in this country, we're losing our middle class. To the public, a good economy is a middle class economy -- jobs that provide a reasonable wage and give people time to spend with their children. Instead, the public is being offered jobs at six dollars an hour with no benefits. For example, if we hire more teachers and nurses the public will be better off and we would create a larger middle class. Consumers then decide what they're going to spend their money on, and that will determine the corporate winners and losers. The administration wants to pick the winners and losers by giving select companies tax breaks."


Center for Strategic and International Studies

New Strategy For The Campaign Against Terrorism

In order to wage a successful campaign against terrorism, the United States must formulate new strategy that will have profound implications for U.S. domestic and foreign policy over the long term.

Achieving victory will require enhancing intelligence, law enforcement and military capabilities, bolstering the U.S. economy, investing in the public health system and technological innovations, reforming foreign assistance to the developing world, leading international efforts to rebuild failed states like Afghanistan, and fundamentally reorienting U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

The task force publication "To Prevail: An American Strategy for the Campaign Against Terrorism" outlines an 18-point comprehensive strategy for the formulation and execution of a long-term campaign against terrorism.

Among the areas covered in the book: the changing face of terrorism; military capabilities; intelligence and law enforcement; building and sustaining coalitions; homeland security; public diplomacy; foreign assistance; failed states; economics; and globalization. The section on regional strategies encompasses South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Africa, East Asia and the Americas.

The product of a CSIS task force led by Kurt Campbell, director of the CSIS International Security Program, and Michèle Flournoy, CSIS senior adviser, "To Prevail" provides a durable framework for understanding the campaign against terrorism, identifies key elements of an American strategy, and explores the war's profound implications for both domestic and foreign policy.


Among the findings: The September 11 attacks were perpetrated by a new breed of terrorists motivated by extremist religious beliefs and willing to commit suicide to cause massive, history-changing bloodshed. Given this threat, the United States has no choice but to prevail. Unlike past conflicts, this war will have no clear finish line. Victory must be defined as reducing the risk of future attacks to the point that Americans have a renewed sense of national safety and can live their lives in relative freedom.

Achieving this victory will require a multifaceted and sustained campaign -- one that will involve nearly every instrument of national power, require the building of an international coalition of coalitions, shape U.S. policy in every region of the world, and require unprecedented determination and patience from the American people.

The campaign against terrorism should not be made the sole organizing concept for the totality of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. It should not trump indefinitely or negate the rest of our national agenda. Over time, winning this war will require fundamental changes in American foreign policy aimed at addressing the conditions that enable terrorism to take root and grow, including revamping U.S. foreign assistance, assisting international efforts to rebuild failed states like Afghanistan, fundamentally reorienting U.S. policy toward the Middle East and revitalizing U.S. public diplomacy.


The task force also outlined a number of actionable recommendations -- concrete steps that should be taken by the administration, Congress, and the private sector to win the war on terrorism. Among them:

-- The president should launch a national, public-private initiative on the scale of the Apollo project to combat bioterrorism.

-- The United States should seek to jump-start a massive, international, emergency relief effort to avert a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan this winter.

-- The president and the Congress should take a number of specific steps to significantly enhance U.S. intelligence and law enforcement capabilities. We must enhance situational awareness within our borders without becoming a police state.

-- Congressional leadership should convene an expert panel to recommend options for reorganizing congressional committees to enable more effective oversight of crosscutting issues like homeland security.

-- Congress should consider the creation of a homeland security corps.

-- The secretary of defense should accelerate the U.S. military's transformation to deal with terrorism and other asymmetric threats, establish a new CINC for homeland defense, and make homeland defense the primary mission of the National Guard.

-- The president should pursue a new policy toward the Middle East and seek to win support from Congress and our allies.


"Ultimately, the United States must begin to prepare for the possibility that unless ruling regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere can embrace new policies that combine zero tolerance for terrorist and extremists, greater liberty and hope for their citizens, and ultimately more political pluralism, they may end up as casualties in this international campaign over the long term," the report states.

-- The president and the Secretary of State should launch a major global initiative to strengthen international norms against terrorism.

"A clear and effective international legal framework would facilitate participation of states with considerable domestic political constraints, especially in the Islamic and the broader developing world," the report states.

"'To Prevail' is the first systematic effort since September 11 to answer the most fundamental question stemming from the attacks: How do we fight and win a war against global terrorism," said Campbell, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Flournoy, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, said: "We now stand at a crossroads in our history -- a pivot point from which our relations with friends and foes could be transformed for the better, or events could spiral out of our control and plunge the nation into a period of fractious relations, intensified anti-Americanism, and a prolonged period during which our very way of life could be threatened. The stakes are as high as they come for this question and the next."


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