Archive for Foreign Relations

China’s Economy

Here are some recent reports on the world’s second largest economy: Economic Survey of China (OECD); China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (CRS); Moody’s Downgrades China Over Worries About Its Growing Debt The New York Times); China (IMF); China (World Bank);8 things you need to know about China’s economy (World Economic Forum); China (Council on Foreign Relations); China (Center for Strategic and International Studies); and China’s domestic politics and foreign policy (UK Parliament library).

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Reports on Brexit From European Sources

While Brexit will certainly affect the United States, it will have a major impact in Europe in so many sectors, among them trade, travel, work, and borders. Because of this, this posting will be limited to works emanating from various European think tanks. (A U.S. perspective can be read here: Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union).

Bruegel examines Brexit from an economic perspective.

Carnegie Europe (Brussels) features Brexit-related works.

The Centre for European Policy Studies has a section on “Britain and the EU“.

The Centre for European Reform has “Britain & the EU“.

Chatham House contains “After Brexit: Britain’s Future”. 

The European Parliamentary Research Service hosts “What Think Tanks Are Thinking” – a guide to European institutional research. The latest edition on Brexit was posted on February 17, 2017); previous studies can also be accessed.

The European Council on Foreign Relations discusses European reactions in Brexit:Responses.

The European Policy Centre has issued dozens of reports on Brexit.

The UK Parliament Library issued Brexit: a reading list of post-EU Referendum publications by Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies [definition of purpose of devolved assemblies] on March 29, 2017. This document lists hundreds of linked reports generated from the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and select committees






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U. S. Treaties

A treaty is basically an agreement between/among nations over a certain topic or concern. The United States as a sovereign power has been entering into treaties since its inception. This 13-volume series contains the texts of all treaties up to and including 1949. Beginning in 1950, United States Treaties and Other International Agreements presents the full text of agreements on an annual basis. through 1983/84. Individual treaty texts from 1996 to the present are also online. (Yes, the full texts of treaties from 1985 to 1995 are not freely available as far as we can surmise. Something is very wrong with this.)

To find out what treaties are still in effect, please consult the annual Treaties in Force; for post-2013 compilations please go to this State Department site for information. For information on how the U.S. Senate is involved in approving treaties, please come here.

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English-language Diplomatic Editions

We have mentioned the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) many times in this blog, but other countries have similar series of diplomatic editions as well. (N.B. All these series, due to declassification procedures, have at least 30-year lags in the coverage.) We are limiting ourselves  to those available in English and online: Documents on Australian Foreign Policy now number over thirty volumes beginning with 1937, including monographic titles; Documents on Canadian External Relations have the first two volumes covering events from 1909 through 1919 at this site while this site contains volume 12(1946) onward; and Documents on Irish Foreign Policy begins with 1919. Sadly, the Documents on British Foreign Policy have very few volumes online.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Early Diplomatic Correspondence

Before the United States was the United States, it operated under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation, a less than effective central government. However, it still needed to have relations with foreign powers if only to secure needed military supplies and other forms of aid. Representatives were dispatched to Europe, among them Benjamin Franklin, to engage in diplomatic negotiations. Their various writings and other documents are collected in The revolutionary diplomatic correspondence of the U.S. under direction of Congress (6 volumes, 1889) and The Emerging nation: a documentary history of the foreign relations of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, 1780-1789 (3 volumes, 1996).


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The South China Sea Decision

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has issued its “award” concerning China’s encroachment into the South China Sea, a move that was contested by the Philippines. The ruling is a clear rebuke of China’s claims. Rather than read the 500-page verdict, this press release succinctly lays out the decision and its total refutation of China’s claims. Why is this so important? For many reasons: China’s violation of other nations’ maritime rights, its systematic and widespread damage to the local ecologies, the fact that this area contains a great deal of natural gas under the water, almost $5 trillion worth of shipping goes through the disputed area, and China’s militarization of the islands in the sea, some of them actually created by China. Here is China’s response. 

For additional information, please look at: China Maritime Studies (U.S. Naval War College); China’s Maritime Disputes and South China Seas Tension (Council of Foreign Relations); What Does the South China Sea Ruling Mean, and What’s Next? (Brookings); South China Sea (U.S. Energy Information Administration); The South China Sea dispute: July 2016 update (UK House of Commons Library); Chinese Land Reclamation in the South ChinaSea: Implications and Policy Options, Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress, and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia: Issues for Congress (all CRS); China (International Crisis Group); and Why does China care so much about the South China Sea? Here are 5 reasons (Washington Post).




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What is “Foreign Aid”?

This informative overview from CRS is arranged along an FAQ model and should answer many questions: Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policies. You can also peruse A Primer on Foreign Aid from the Center for Foreign Development.


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