Nonpartisan Policy Briefs
Chinese Investments in Latin America
Since the turn of the 21st century, China has strategically developed geopolitical interests within the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, with key investments in natural resources to many of the largest South American state-owned enterprises. China’s expansion of its investment portfolio within the region highlights China’s growing demand for raw materials, as well as efforts to consolidate political prowess within the region. This brief explains how China developed strong diplomatic and profitable relations within the LAC from the start of the 21st century to the status quo. It highlights prominent stances on the upsurge of Sino-Latin foreign relations, specifically emphasizing external global competitive forces. Furthermore, it explains pressing environmental and economic concerns regarding Chinese involvement within the LAC regions. Finally, it argues that the U.S. policy approach should challenge Chinese hegemony through competitive investments and focusing on relevant U.S.-Latin initiatives, rather than aggressive interruption or punitive disruption of existing Sino-Latin relations.
Korean Nuclear Proliferation
This brief explains how North Korea originally developed its nuclear program, as well as highlights the involvement of nations such as Russia and China. It also details how military aggression has stressed relations on the peninsula, with consideration to major actors such as Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. Lastly, it explains the possible repercussions of escalated tensions, noting the possibility of nuclear proliferation, as well as proposing the approach that the U.S. should take to attempt to de-escalate and, at the time, commit to its allies in the region.
The Run on Silicon Valley Bank
This brief will review the run on the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the looming implications. This bank was a cornerstone of one of the largest areas of economic prosperity in the U.S., it is not new as we have seen banks run throughout history. However, it has forced us to analyze the event in terms of policy that led to it occurring or could have prevented it from happening in order to improve the future economy.
U.S. Data Security against Chinese Counterintelligence
U.S. relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) were established in 1979 after the U.S. confirmed its recognition and established diplomatic ties. However, since then, relations between the two countries have been contentious, with the U.S. and China experiencing strict political and economic competition with each other. In an effort to gain the upper hand, both states have launched counterintelligence programs that focus on collecting data from tragically important nations. Both China and the U.S. have their own intelligence services focused on collecting information abroad; however, this brief will focus on Chinese counterintelligence efforts towards the U.S. Specifically, it aims to detail the actors involved in the creation of China’s intelligence programs, as well track the actions they have engaged in to collect crucial U.S. data. Furthermore, it highlights current events and respective positions, which it uses to predict possible issues that could arise with tensions between the two countries. Lastly, it considered how the U.S. should approach handling Chinese counterintelligence efforts.
Finland and Sweden NATO Accession
This brief details the rationale behind Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO, highlighting historical tensions between the Nordic nations and Russia, as well as obstacles Finland and Sweden face in the ratification of their accession. Finally, with regard to U.S. interests, it outlines the measures to ensure speedy ratification and clarification and clear communication of intent during the accession process.
The Role of Campaign Finance in Elections
When running for public office, individuals will attempt to maximize the contributions they receive as a means to help further their campaign. This brief will cover the history of campaign financing, the policy that surrounds it, and other policy options. This allows us to understand the current and desired impact of campaign financing on elections.
Banned Books: Are Schools Erasing History?
Starting with movements from religious leaders, the censorship of media has been debated for all of American history. Including discussions of race, gender, sexuality, and obscenity, the banning of books in the U.S. has continued in various school districts and libraries. The First Amendment’s right to free speech has attempted to combat the effects of censorship, specifically with books, but efforts to keep books with various values have prevailed.
Urgent Yet Overlooked: The Monkeypox Virus
The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed public discourse and news coverage over the course of the past three years. However, while COVID remains an incredibly important and timely topic of discussion, monkeypox should also be at the center of the country’s focus. The monkeypox virus has taken lives & threatened marginalized communities, warranting the attention of the federal government and state legislature nationwide. In this brief, we will explain exactly what the monkeypox virus is and policy measures that governments across the country can take to counteract its effects and increase public awareness about the virus.
Conflict in the Eastern DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been the battleground of numerous political and ethnic conflicts. Recently, the re-emergence of militia rebel groups within its eastern region has ignited tensions once. This brief explains the historical significance of the current contentiousness within the region, with a focus on the strained relationship between the DRC and Rwanda. It connects the decades-long conflict in the region to the ongoing conflict of the DRC, as well as details its effect on inhabitants within the country. Finally, taking account of U.S. interest, the brief proposes the next steps the U.S. should take to prioritize long-term peace, specifically highlighting the role of aiding regional actors and entities.
President Biden’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan
This brief will cover Biden’s new student loan forgiveness proposal in relation to its economic implications. The relevance, history, related policy options, and a conclusion about said policy options will be demonstrated.
An Update on the European Energy Crisis
This brief explains how recent EU countermeasures, combined with Russian retaliation, has forced Europe to promptly secure alternative forms of energy, especially as winter approaches. However, it also highlights how the EU dependency has ultimately set the stage for the current circumstance, as well as how recent disputes have halted progress to address those circumstances. Finally, it considers the current status of the EU energy crisis and proposes the next steps that the EU should take to efficiently reduce energy consumption in the short term, as well as alternative energy production in the long term.
Pakistan: A Crisis at Every Turn
Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has gone through a series of failed political institutions to the point that no Prime Minister of Pakistan has ever completed their full five-year term. Tension recently peaked following the ousting and later shooting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. This brief details the events that resulted in Khan’s removal from office, and the ongoing power struggle within the country. It then connects policy decisions made by previous and current establishments, or lack of them, which have either contributed to or failed to handle ongoing economic and environmental crises.
An Uneasy Partnership: U.S-Saudi Relations
Following oil discoveries in the 1930s, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have maintained a decades-long allyship built on oil diplomacy and security guarantees, with the U.S. aiding Saudi Arabia in its national defense and, in turn, the gulf state has allowed for the growth of various U.S.-Saudi oil partnerships. This brief traces the origins of U.S.-Saudi affairs, both economically and politically. Furthermore, it highlights the difference shown in the approach seen in recent presidencies, with an emphasis on how it impacts present regional issues and priorities. Finally, with consideration to President Biden’s recent trip to the Middle East, it offers policy options for the administration to take to ensure a balanced relationship between Riyad and Washington for prospective U.S. endeavors.
I Plead the Second: Gun Rights Legislation in the US
Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, the rights codified in the Bill of Rights have been fiercely protected by the American people. However, interpretations of those rights often differ as people, society, and governmental structure changes. One of the most fraught amendments is the Second Amendment, which preserves the right to bear arms. While the debate over gun rights and restriction is not likely to be resolved in the near future, ongoing efforts to protect the lives of American citizens and limit gun violence may change the way our rights are protected.
A History of Tensions in the Taiwan Strait
Since the 1950s, China and Taiwan have been politically opposed, with both nations fighting against the other’s claims to legal sovereignty. However, with more military might, China has taken greater measures both economically and militarily to induce Taiwan's surrender to Chinese authority. With recent development in the strait between China and Taiwan, previous and current promises of invasion have dominated the forefront of issues in the Indo-Pacific. This brief traces the history of conflict between China and Taiwan, with emphasis on Taiwan's democratization and separatism from mainland China. It details the roles the U.S. has played recently, as well as how the U.S. should approach future interactions within the Indo-Pacific without instigating future conflict within the region.
Mass Tech Layoffs and Recession
This brief will cover the implications of the mass tech layoffs that have occurred recently and how it has and continues to impact the American economy. The relevance, history, policy positions, and policy recommendations regarding this issue will be detailed throughout the brief.
Complex and Controversial: An Overview of American Abortion Policy
Few issues in political and social discourse are as polarizing as that of abortion. Abortion policy has been shaped by influential Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and most recently, Dobbs v. Jackson, each of which has presented unique viewpoints on the constitutionality of abortion in the United States. Abortion policy has a major influence on public health, especially maternal and neonatal health. Often intertwined with public health arguments are moral and philosophical arguments about abortion, which further contribute to its controversial nature. In this brief, we will examine the evolution of abortion policy in the United States and the debates surrounding it in the present day with a special emphasis on public health.
Regulating the Cryptocurrency Industry
This brief will be an analysis that covers the topic of crypto-currency volatility along with the bill which has been proposed to regulate the industry. The relevance, history, policy positions, and policy recommendations regarding crypto-currency will be explored.
The History and Progression of Birth Control
The development of birth control has brought about great autonomy in pregnancy planning and sexual freedom. Yet, the development of birth control in the United States is rich with trials and tribulations that continue to this day. Today, there are many forms of birth control available for men and women, and its accessibility is increasing. However, stark inequalities in birth control access still exist among various demographic groups, notably along racial and socioeconomic lines. A variety of government policies, non-governmental organizations, and advocacy groups have influenced the development and accessibility of birth control in the United States, and research continues to flourish in this area.
Xinjiang Police Files
For several years, states and international agencies across the globe have demanded Chinese transparency regarding its agenda and activity within its northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Namely, the West has expressed concerns about human rights violations and cultural suppression of the Uyghur and Muslim minorities residing within the area. A recent press release would support these concerns, revealing details of state-sponsored systematic internment and abuse. This brief ties the finding of the press release to previous evidence as well as explains China’s justification for the detainment. Lastly, it explains the current international response and proposes means by which to effectively and substantially hinder China’s ability to enforce Uyghur internment or, at very least, profit from it.
U.S. Economic Shrinkage Throughout 2022
The brief will discuss economic shrinkage that has occurred throughout 2022. Various issues such as a drop in exports, decreases in government spending, and changes to interest rates will be covered. The relevance, history, and policy responses regarding this issue will be outlined alongside certain policy suggestions to revert this economic shrinkage.
European Division over Russian Energy
As Russian forces continue to violently push through eastern Ukraine, the EU, in an effort to place greater pressure on Russia, proposes a ban on all Russian oil imports. However, while the ban holds the possibility of severely damaging the Russian economy, European nations will have to contend with Russian retaliatory response, as well as the impacts of losing its largest supplier of energy. This brief traces the history of European dependency on Russian energy and connects it to the current debate on banning Russian oil in all member states of the EU. Furthermore, it considers the possible means by which Europe will adjust to the loss of Russian energy, both before and after the enforcement of the oil ban.
The Vicious Cycle of Poverty and Healthcare
The relationship between poverty and healthcare (both in quality and accessibility) has long been a subject of concern. On both the domestic and international fronts, poverty leads to environmental pressure, diminished health literacy, and financial inaccessibility, each of which detrimentally impacts healthcare quality and accessibility. In turn, the subpar healthcare services have a negative impact on economic development of impoverished areas, trapping impoverished communities in a vicious cycle. There have been policies implemented in attempts to break this vicious cycle, such as Medicaid, COBRA, HIPAA, and the ACA. However, more efforts on this front are warranted, especially those targeting quality, accessibility, and acceptability.
Right to Privacy vs. Right to Life: the Battle Continues
Since the founding of America, legislative battles over rights have existed. From voting rights, to the rights of African American citizens, to child labor laws. The most recent arena of this debate is over a woman’s right to an abortion. Over the past few years, states have been passing increasingly restrictive policies. Much of this policy has been blocked by courts in the past, but with the Supreme Court’s current conservative leaning, it is anticipated that state legislatures will increase policy efforts.
A Big Step Backwards
The gay rights movement in the US has been gaining traction for the past several decades. From the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to allowing trans athletes to compete in athletics, major strides have been made. However, these steps forward do not guarantee the protection of gay rights, as is demonstrated in the anit-queer legislation widely called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This bill has the potential to do significant harm to students, and may not be the most effective way to protect children from damaging content.
Mortgage Rates and Housing Bubbles
This policy brief will discuss interest rate alterations and how they have impacted the housing markets, specifically since the onset of the pandemic and in light of recent increases in interest rates. The issue at hand will be described, the various policy positions/prescriptions will be outlined, and a final understanding will be developed.
The Sri Lankan Economic Crisis
The Sri Lankan economy is currently in the worst economic state it has been in since its independence. This brief explains how ineffective government policy in Sri Lanka has inevitably led to a larger-scale fiscal crisis. It details the political and economic fallout following the initial beginning of the crisis, as well as how international forces have come to Sri Lanka’s aid. Finally, the brief analyzes the current state of the country’s economy and proposes various methods for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.
The Opioid Crisis: An Unprecedented Epidemic
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the public that individuals would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at an increased rate. It soon became clear that these companies were misleading the public—misuse of these drugs had become a serious issue and was declared a public health emergency in 2017. In this brief, we will discuss the opioid epidemic in depth, including its beginning, its effects on public health, and its relation to COVID-19.
Current Status of the War in Ukraine
Despite recent negotiations, Russian forces continue to occupy large portions of Ukraine. This brief details the status of the war from its beginning to recent development, with a specific focus on the validity of Russian claims of withdrawal from Ukraine. Finally, with consideration to U.S. interests in mitigating the conflict and ensuring domestic stabilization, the brief also proposes the next steps the U.S. should take to ensure effective economic and military pressure on Russia.
Women's Health in America
Women grapple with many health-related issues, particularly those related to reproductive health. In this brief, we evaluate the state of women’s health in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on teen pregnancy rates, birth control access, and abortion access. We consider various social determinants of health, such as race, income, and geographic location, and analyze their impact on women’s health. We also discuss legislation aimed to improve women’s health in the U.S. and the effects that they have had.
Global Healthcare Systems
The United States has a mixed healthcare system with mostly private health insurers and a public healthcare option. The U.S. is one of several countries across the world with such a system, while some other countries provide a single-payer, fully public healthcare system, and others rely on solely private healthcare. In this brief, we examine the logistics of each healthcare system, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.
China-Russia Relations in the Wake of Invasion
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, the United States, along with other NATO nations, have imposed significant economic countermeasures against Russia. However, as its economy struggles, Russia may turn to China in search of economic security. This brief explains how Russia has dealt with punitive economic policy from the West, as well as how Russia's long economic relationship with China may play a role in its economic recovery. Finally, the brief considers future approaches the U.S. should take to effectively deter China-Russia relations in the attempt to resolve the Russia-Ukraine Conflict.
Going Nowhere Fast? Public Transportation in the US
Public transport doesn’t grab many headlines, but it is a significant social policy issue. In many places it is underprovided relative to the actual level of demand, which accounts for environmental issues and community needs. Existing public transport often ends up reflecting or reinforcing socio-economic inequalities due to the way it is funded. Privatization is unlikely to be a good solution here, as in this industry markets tend not to yield the desirable outcomes. Governments, both local and federal, could help address the demand for cheap, clean, and high-quality public transport, through a mixture of direct interventions and subsidies or tax incentives.
Tariffs and their Consequences
The following brief covers the pros and cons of tariffs. From a political point of view, tariffs are an appealing policy if policymakers wish to preserve domestic industry from foreign competition. However, from an economic perspective, we must always consider: what are the opportunity costs behind such a policy, and are the trade-offs a worthy sacrifice of potential benefits?
Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup: Exploitation of Workers
Sustained protests from migrant workers in Qatar have grabbed the attention of the international sports community as the date of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches. This brief explains the long history of labor abuses towards migrant workers, specifically in relation to construction for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Finally, through an analysis of recent labor reforms within Qatar, the brief analyzes the efficacy of these reforms and considers future approaches needed to ensure the continuation of labor reforms in Qatar.
Racial Inequities in American Healthcare
Both structural and interpersonal racism play a major role in perpetuating the racial disparities in the American healthcare system. Racial minorities are disproportionately negatively affected by difficulties in healthcare access, treatment, and costs: all of which have consequences in the overall well-being of minority communities. In this brief, we examine the extent to which racial disparities affect American society and the efficacy of policies implemented to reduce them, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
Criminal, Medical, or Recreational? Drug Legalization in the United States
The debate over drug legalization has been a contentious issue since the 1970s. With more states taking progressive stances and legalizing marijuana and other drugs for medical and recreational purposes in the past several years, this issue has grown rapidly. Many people would like the United States federal government to take action to legalize marijuana broadly, and begin decriminalizing other narcotics. Most proposed federal policy right now focuses on marijuana legalization, through acts like the MORE act, the CAO act and the HOPE act. All of this policy is highly controversial. However, with legislation from both parties moving toward legalization, many advocates for drug reform are hopeful for progress in the near future.
Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free: Mass Incarceration in the United States
Mass incarceration has been a part of the United States for decades. However, incarceration increased under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and has not significantly decreased since then. This requires the government to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to house inmates and creates unsafe conditions in prisons. Various elected officials and advocacy groups have proposed alternatives to mass incarceration, but none of these options have been successfully adopted yet.
Genetic Engineering: An Ethical Dilemma
The recent rise of the genetic engineering field has brought about vigorous debate among Americans. The benefits of this field are apparent, especially for agriculture—both crops and animals—but the public worries about the safety of genetically modified food and its long term health effects. Similarly, the public is divided on the topic of human genome editing, where genetic engineering is used to alter the genes in order to prevent genetic disease or “enhance” desirable features. This has obviously been a point of contention within the American public and has been addressed by many different stakeholders.
Threat of War Along the Eastern Bloc: Ukraine
Rising militarization of the Russia-Ukraine border has caused concerns of war along the Eastern Bloc. This brief details the long rooted history between Russia and Ukraine and how it ties into the current conflict. Finally, with consideration to recent developments, the brief analyzes current approaches to the conflict and future actions the U.S. may take in response to continued Russian aggression.
The Future of Social Security
Social Security—also known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program in the United States—is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program is best known for its retirement benefits and is primarily funded (89.6 percent) by payroll taxes. The program also provides income to disabled people who qualify, as well as their family members. Workers must be at least 65 years old and have financially contributed to society for 10 years or more. The longevity of Social Security has been put under question as of late and this brief will attempt to address the conflict regarding Social Security (with a focus on its funding) as well as a recommendation for how it should be approached.
Raising Them Right: Public Early Education in America
Ever since Johnson’s presidency, early childhood education has been a relevant policy issue in the U.S. government. Despite the ongoing conversation, no policy option has achieved the support necessary to be implemented. As the cost of private childcare and early education continues to rise, the need for public funding grows. The Biden administration is attempting to solve the problem through a $400bn provision in the Build Back Better bill, but has faced significant resistance from both other legislators and states themselves.
Climate Change: Where are we now?
Since the turn of the century, climate change has become an increasingly important issue in American politics. Two-thirds of U.S. adults believe that the government is doing too little to mitigate the “climate crisis”—but there remains a significant partisan divide on the issue. In this brief, we will discuss the causes and effects of climate change, as well as the policies and initiatives aimed at slowing it down.
A $15 Minimum Wage on Balance
The idea of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 is a serious policy prescription in the modern day. This brief will give an overview of the $15 minimum wage, the history behind it, the impact of the policy itself, and end with a policy recommendation.
The Military Takeover of Sudan
Violence breaks out in Sudan as a result of military makeover of the regional Sudanese government. This brief details the motives of the coup, including the long history of political instability that preceded it. Finally, it analyzes the future of Sudan following the coup, as well as possible actions to take to ensure the immediate safety of the Sudenese people and to provide measures to enable civilian rule.
Monetary Solutions for Inflation after COVID-19
Given that the recent increase in inflation has impacted the U.S. economy in unprecedented ways, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) response has become increasingly imperative. Namely, the contractionary monetary prescription—which the Fed has supplemented with quantitative tapering—is of critical importance in regards to the future of the U.S. economy. As such, this brief will address imperative issues with the Fed’s actions in regards to tapering, and recommend certain policies that can aid the Fed to reduce the supply of the circulating medium.
U.S. Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics
Tensions rise between the U.S. and China as a result of the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Beijing Olympics. This brief explains the reasoning behind the boycott, as well as the past efficacy of such practices. Finally, it analyzes the possibility of further action from the U.S. in response to the current state of relations.
Make Housing Affordable Again
Housing has always been a central social issue. This is even more true in the ongoing economic uncertainty after the pandemic. However, housing prices have only continued to increase over the last decade, meaning that fewer Americans are able to own a home. Making housing affordable is a necessity, and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) would provide necessary support and safety nets for those most impacted by rising housing prices and protect vulnerable members of our communities.
Omicron: The Unprecedented Surge
The Omicron surge that originated in Botswana and South Africa has swept across the world. This SARS-CoV-2 strain, though seemingly milder, is much more transmissible than previous variants, contributing to extreme case counts, especially in the United States. As a result, the Omicron surge has invigorated political debates surrounding vaccine mandates, school closures, and other public health measures, hence exacerbating regional divisions in political ideology and the COVID-19 burden.
Voting Rights: Popularity Contests and Civil Liberties
Voting rights have been an important part of U.S. legislation ever since the American Revolution. Over the years they have been changed, through state or national legislation or through constitutional amendments. Recently, these voting rights have become a prevalent issue as states try to restrict who can vote in an effort to limit voter fraud. In response to these restrictive laws, national representatives have worked to pass policy expanding and protecting the right to vote. These bills—the John Lewis Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) and the Freedom to Vote Act (H.R. 1)—are both hotly contested, especially by Republicans in the Senate. However, supporters argue that passing at least one of these bills is the only way to truly protect democracy.
Rising Tensions of the Ethiopian Civil War
This brief analyzes the current conflict between Ethiopia and Tigray. It covers the history of relations between the Ethiopian federal government, Tigray, and Eritrea. It then breaks down the current situation including changes in Ethiopian politics and claims of genocide.
Mental Health in the United States
In this brief, we discuss the state of mental health in the United States, the breakdown in mental illness across various demographic groups, and the recent mental health trends in the United States. In particular, we examine factors like COVID-19 and gender identity—two very strong factors that influence mental health.
Right to Privacy vs. Right to Life: the Fight over Abortion Laws
Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion has remained a contentious topic for citizens and policymakers alike. Texas and Mississippi have both recently passed laws placing limits on the rights of women to obtain an abortion. The constitutionality of both bills has been called into question, especially after the Supreme Court agreed to rule on the Mississippi law a few months ago, and the Texas law more recently. These Supreme Court cases have the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and trigger dozens of highly restrictive “tigger” laws all across the country. Despite being the less restrictive of the two laws, it is also possible for the Supreme Court to overturn Mississippi’s abortion law while not impacting Texas’. Because of the personal impact these laws have for so many people, it is important to understand similarities and differences between the bills.
Vaccine Rollout in the United States
In this brief, we discuss vaccine rollout in the states as well as the general public response to the COVID vaccine. Techniques for increasing vaccination rates differ widely across the states - and this difference can be better understood by considering differing political landscapes in our analysis. Public response to the vaccine are sharply divided along vaccination status, political ideology, and occupational status.
Struggle for Power in Venezuela Maduro vs Guaido
This policy brief analyzes the past and current relationship between the United States and Venezuela. It specifically focuses on Venezuelan politics, the upcoming elections, and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and its leadership. It analyzes the history of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, the Chavez regime, and the Maduro regime and how U.S. policy may change based on the outcome of the upcoming elections.
This brief will analyze the concept of mandated government price control. This level of severe domestic, economic intervention carries both positive and negative repercussions. The questions of price control sensibility, floor minimums, ceiling maximums, and longevity will all be answered in this brief.
The FDA’s Accelerated Approval of Aducanumab
In this brief, we discuss the FDA’s approval of Aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This decision has sparked controversy within the clinical community due to the accelerated nature of the approval as well as the surrogate endpoint used.
Line 5: Sovereignty Under Pressure
Line 5 is a part of a network of pipelines built around the Great Lakes, carrying fossil fuel across Wisconsin and Michigan into Canada. However, it has been highly contentious due to its questionable condition, lack of transparency, and effects on Indigenous lands, as well as potential leaks. Policymakers have analyzed and supported alternative pipeline routes, especially those not passing over open bodies of water like the Great Lakes to prevent disastrous spills.
U.S. Role in China-Taiwan Conflict
Rising Chinese militaristic threats against Taiwan with demands of reunification have prompted questions of U.S. involvement within the region. Concerned with the ramification of conflict with China, yet unwilling to acknowledge Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, the United States must navigate a means to balance its interests and peace within the region. This brief explains the history between China and Taiwan and how U.S. involvement has influenced the relationship between these countries. Finally, it analyzes how the United States has approached the looming possibility of war between the two nations and what routes the U.S. should take to mitigate the risk of further conflict.
Withdrawal Opens Avenue for the Growth of Chinese-Afghan Relations
After the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021, the possibility of China stepping into the vacuum to support the Taliban regime became both a possibility and a concern for the United States and its allies. Beijing’s close relationship with Pakistan and their willingness to work with both Moscow and Tehran means the U.S. is, and should be, wary of the extension of this relationship to Kabul, as any relationship between U.S. adversaries is of concern to Washington. This brief explains the history between the Taliban and Beijing, the motivations of each, and the likely outcomes of any negotiations. Finally, it analyzes how these negotiations are impacted by Pakistan and China’s other “alliances”, and how such negotiations would impact U.S. policy both with China and in the region at large.
The Misinformation Pandemic
The world has not only grabbed with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a misinformation epidemic that has done considerable damage to the public health infrastructure. In this brief, we examine the causes, effects, and implications of the COVID-19 misinformation epidemic.
Homecoming Mishaps: Immigration Reconciliation Parliamentary Politics
Many activists are calling for action on immigration reform, especially amidst Biden’s mixed signals and seeming return to the Trump-era “stay in Mexico” policy. More specifically, however, policymakers are advocating for the creation of new programs under DACA and the expansion of TPS. The recently proposed 1.7 trillion dollar reconciliation bill has driven lots of infighting over several parts, one of which includes the proposals related to immigration reform. Some Democrats and activists think this is the best chance for immigration reform in decades, since it is already part of the bill. However, there still remains substantial opposition to the infrastructure legislation for several other reasons, which may make its passage difficult. The Parliamentarian of the Senate, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled against the legislation in the Senate about a month ago. Since then, some Democrats have proposed using the reconciliation method to make the reform more palatable. Still others have suggested using parole as a method. Regardless of method, debates over immigration reform are at the forefront of politics.
The Debt Ceiling
Fiscal spending is perhaps the single greatest piece of Congress’ agenda in any given year. Congressional discourse regarding caps on spending caps have brought about a plethora of instances when the federal government halted operations. The conversation regarding the debt ceiling is an imperative one as congressional purchasing power is the primary driver of all areas of American policy. Moreover, this brief seeks to thoroughly analyze the affirmative and negative stance on the existence of a debt ceiling. After comparing both viewpoints, this brief will attempt to provide a policy recommendation for Congress regarding the existence and extent of a debt ceiling.