Bruce Stokes

Who's Down with TPP?

Support for Obama's signature trade deals is high -- but that doesn't mean getting them done will come easy.

The clock is ticking on the Obama administration's two signature trade initiatives: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Asian-Pacific nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. These are legacy issues for President Barack Obama, who was criticized in his first term for not aggressively pursuing a trade agenda. TPP is the cornerstone of the administration's much vaunted pivot to Asia. And TTIP has gained new strategic significance in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. Both initiatives enjoy the general backing of the American public, by a margin of more than two-to-one. But elements of both initiatives are also subject to criticism. And the deals face an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where Congress will eventually have to approve any final agreements.

Continue Reading

Worry, but Wait

American fears of Russian and Chinese aggression are growing, but they'd still rather Washington not get too involved.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and China's territorial ambitions in the East and South China Seas are a stark reminder that balance of power politics are alive and well in the 21st century, long after some pundits dismissed them as relics of a bygone era.

Continue Reading

Let's Sit This One Out

Western publics have little appetite for getting tough on Putin for Moscow's Crimean invasion.

While Western leaders scramble to devise a response to Russia's incursion into Ukraine and pundits fulminate about a new Cold War, European and American publics have spoken. They empathize with Ukrainians' plight, but they do not want to get involved.

Continue Reading

Everything's Coming Up Modi

A new survey shows widespread support for a controversial Indian candidate.

On Feb. 13, U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell met Narendra Modi for the first time, ending the U.S. policy of shunning the popular chief minister of Gujarat, five months after he announced his candidacy for prime minister. Because of allegations of complicity in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, Washington denied Modi a visa in 2005, and until February had refrained from engaging with him. But it's not just Washington that's warmed to Modi. The Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer Modi's right-of-center, Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rather than the ruling left-of-center Indian National Congress party to lead the next Indian government, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Continue Reading

The Cost of Growing Older

Why paying for an aging population may force the United States -- and its allies -- to cut back on military spending.

By 2050, rapidly graying populations are likely to impose an unprecedented fiscal burden on the United States, many European countries, Japan, and South Korea. This aging is the topic of intense political, economic, and social welfare debates worldwide. But it may prove to be a problem with implications far wider than just national or even regional reach, posing profound foreign and security policy challenges and possibly undermining the ability of America and its allies to sustain current levels of military and development spending. All sorts of expenditures will be up for review -- and prominent on the chopping block could be defense and foreign aid.

Continue Reading