Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

 

The 'Declaration of Independence' by John Trumbull (1819)

Thomas Jefferson, the Original Debt Trap Diplomat

CGD research has become Exhibit A virtually every time the charge of “debt trap diplomacy” has been leveled against China in the media this past year. Yet, our research shows that many of China’s borrowers are managing their debts just fine and seem unlikely to fall into any traps.

China and US flags

The Problem with Competing for the Allegiance of Poor Countries

In warning APEC leaders last week of China’s “constricting belt” and “one-way road,” Vice President Mike Pence provided the clearest signal yet that the US approach to foreign assistance will be shaped, if not determined, by competition with China. In the context of the administration’s trade war with China, this may not come as much of a surprise. But when it comes to the conduct of foreign assistance, it marks a striking turn away from the bipartisan approach to aid since the end of the Cold War—an approach defined around cooperation and one aimed at curbing the bad practices that arise when donors compete for the allegiance of aid recipients.

Duck Soup

Fearing Marxism in Chinese Financing

The Trump administration is worried about the role of Chinese finance in spreading Marxism around the developing world. But it’s Chico Marx, not Karl, that they should be focused on. 

Whither the US Sovereign Bond Guarantee Program?

Perhaps the least noticed, but most impactful, addition to the US foreign assistance toolkit in recent years has been the US sovereign bond guarantee (SBG). However, the Trump administration’s proposed FY 2019 budget leaves out any request for authorization of new SBGs—and it isn’t entirely clear why. As Congress begins to consider the FY19 budget request, I offer three recommendations on the SBG program so that its role in US foreign assistance going forward can be carefully considered.

The Art of a Sudan Debt Relief Deal

Debt relief is high on the Sudanese government’s agenda. This week’s budget proposals coming out of the White House indicate that Sudan may finally get its wish—but there’s something weird about where the money comes from. Here I offer an alternative.

The Incredible Shrinking US Multilateralism

In 1944, the United States created a blueprint for economic statecraft that relied heavily on a new class of multilateral institutions to pursue US interests in the world. The blueprint itself is now under serious duress in the “America First” strategy of international engagement of the Trump administration.