All FSI Publications Policy Briefs

Policy Roundup: May 2022

Key policy takeaways from Francis Fukuyama on why Ukraine will win; Jean Oi on U.S.-China climate cooperation; Rose Gottemoeller on nuclear arms control in Europe; Michael McFaul on sanctions and Russia; Larry Diamond on ranked-choice voting; and Renee DiResta on hate speech on social media.

May 26, 2022

Ukraine-Russia

The Long Arc of Historical Progress
Francis Fukuyama
, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow 
Wall Street Journal, 4/29/22

  • The liberal order requires believers in democracy to actively support it, in Ukraine and around the world.

  • The idea of an “arc of history” does not deny the importance of individual agency; it just sees those actions within conditions set by larger structural forces.

  • In history, the doctrine that limited political power with laws and constitutional checks quickly became associated with rapid economic growth.

  • Regimes committed to principles of equality and freedom have spread substantially over recent centuries. 

  • Liberal democracy has not triumphed universally around the world and, indeed, has been in retreat over the last 15 years where countries have weaponized technology. 

  • The liberal idea remains very vivid for the hundreds of thousands of people who leave poor and violent countries each year in search of freedom and opportunity.

The West Needs to Up its Sanctions Game Against Russia
Michael McFaul, FSI Director
Washington Post, 5/03/22

  • Too many Russian oligarchs close to Putin and too many Russian officials working for Putin still have not been sanctioned. 
  • The present policy places too much discretionary burden on governments implementing sanctions as they try to decide which individuals deserve to be sanctioned and which do not.
  • Rather than targeting specific individuals, the world should shift some sanctions to target positions in the Russian government, state-owned enterprises, political parties and state-controlled media. 
  • Sanctioning positions rather than individuals would also simplify targeting for governments. More systematic rules are easier to implement and defend. 
  • This principle also provides a way for individuals in Putin’s government to get off the sanctions list, an option not available now.
  • Once this new principle of sanctioning positions is in place, the United States and European sanction lists should be expanded dramatically. 

Climate Cooperation

Next Steps in US-China Climate Cooperation
Jean Oi, Senior Fellow at Shorenstein APARC
The Hill, 4/26/22

  • The future sustainability of the Earth cannot do without the coordinated actions of its two largest carbon polluters — the U.S. and China.

  • We need open-science research and development collaboration between the U.S. and China.

  • We need to be explicitly cognizant of political and institutional constraints in this relationship.

  • We need a better understanding of who the relevant actors are in both policy making and implementation and the incentives they face.

  • We need shared, clearly specified regulatory frameworks and standards on climate change across both nations. 

  • Universities can play a significant role in the global energy transition. They are the birthplaces of innovative technology, training grounds for global talent, and conveners of bilateral and multilateral dialogues.

Arms Control

Everything Counts: Building a Control Regime for Nonstrategic Nuclear Warheads in Europe
Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer at CISAC
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 5/11/22

  • NATO allies want to keep existing non-strategic nuclear warheads (NSNW), and they want an agreement limiting Russian NSNW, and they expect to be substantively consulted before each round of negotiations.  
  • Allies also need to enhance the analytical and legal capabilities of their foreign and defense ministries when it comes to NSNW and arms control. .          
  • Sustained political engagement at the highest level will be essential to the success of any arms control initiative involving allies. 
  • If there is a lesson from the past three decades of arms control in the Euro-Atlantic region, it is that a penny-wise and pound-foolish approach has decimated the personnel and the intellectual investment in arms control. 
  • Arms control should not be done in isolation from security policy, national strategy, and military planning.
  • Arms control is one of the most important ways nations seek to avoid or limit war in great-power competitions.

Strengthening Democracy

Ranked-Choice Voting Is More Democratic, Not Less
Larry Diamond, Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at FSI
American Purpose, 5/06/22

  • The current voting system, with its two-party duopoly, poses a growing threat to American democratic stability.
  • It reinforces the country’s polarization by reducing elections to a bipolar struggle between the tribal attachments of the two dominant parties. Voters have no incentive to consider alternatives, because a vote for a third alternative would be “wasted.”
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans surveyed in 2020 wanted more independent candidates winning elections.
  • Ranked-choice voting does not force voters into a single choice between a Republican and a Democrat.
  • Ranked choice voting gives independents and third-party candidates a better chance to get a “first look” from voters.

Online Content Moderation

Elon Musk, Chaos Monkey
Renée DiResta, Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observatory
New York Times, 5/20/2022

  • Some positive changes since the New Zealand shooting – major tech companies take steps to detect and moderate extremism. Civil society and research organizations attempt to expose and mitigate online radicalization. 
  • But the niche platforms where much of the hateful content spreads, where radicalization often occurs — 4chan and its ilk — are, in fact, largely unchanged
  • Preventing the sharing of content is reactive. We need to be proactive, as a society, at preventing these atrocities from occurring.
  • Issues common to voice-based platforms like Clubhouse or gaming platforms are probably more relevant than those of text or posting-based platforms. 
  • Giving users highly granular controls that can help them better set their own boundaries and shape experiences will be far more relevant.

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