All FSI Publications Policy Briefs

Policy Roundup: September 2022

Key policy takeaways from Rose Gottemoeller on Putin's nuclear threats and Mikhail Gorbachev's legacy, Michael McFaul on fixing the sanctions against Russia, Francis Fukuyama on why Ukraine will prevail against Russia, Larry Diamond on strengthening global democracy, Michelle Mello on restoring abortion rights, and Herbert Lin on a post-quantum policy problem.

September 27, 2022

Ukraine-Russia War

West Works to Deepen Sanctions After Putin Heightens Threats
Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer at CISAC
Associated Press, 9/24/2022

  • The United States would not likely take an escalatory step in the event of a one-off, limited nuclear detonation by Russia aimed at trying to scare Ukraine and its supporters off.
  • Certainly, it would not respond with nuclear weapons.
  •  Instead a scenario is possible of Putin carrying out a single demonstration strike over the Black Sea or against a Ukrainian military target, in hopes of spiking pressure on Ukraine’s Western-allied government to capitulate.
  • Internationally, there would be a very firm response redoubling efforts to help the Ukrainians and also in terms of huge condemnation in the international community,
  • That condemnation would be sure to draw in countries that so far have declined to break with Russia or stop doing business with it, including China, India and countries of the global south.

The Sanctions Against Russia Still Have Holes. Here’s How to Plug Them.
Michael McFaul, FSI Director
Washington Post, 9/8/2022

  • The U.S. and other democracies must impose additional import restrictions on technologies such as aircraft parts, sonar systems, antennas, spectrophotometers, test equipment, GPS systems, vacuum pumps and oil-field equipment. Russia should be completely unable to obtain any high-tech imports, as ultimately most technology is dual-use.
  • The West should do more to facilitate a massive Russian brain drain. Democratic countries should make it easier to accept Russian immigrants with technological expertise through a variety of residency and economic incentives.
  • Europe and the United States must also make it easier for political and media opponents to Putin’s regime to immigrate, to help further divide Putin from the Russian people.
  • Democratic governments must put more pressure on their companies that have not left Russia yet. Foreign enterprises helping Putin’s war machine, even through the simple act of paying taxes, should face sanctions, too.
  • The international community also should compel countries currently helping to bypass existing sanctions to halt ongoing smuggling operations.
  • Western democracies must signal their intention to maintain sanctions for as long as it takes to achieve three outcomes: Ukraine must regain all of its territory, including Crimea; Russia must pay war reparations to Ukraine in full; and Russian war criminals must be brought to justice.

Why Ukraine Will Win
Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI
Journal of Democracy, 9/08/22

  • If Ukraine can regain military momentum before the end of 2022, it will be much easier for leaders of Western democracies to argue that their people should tighten their belts over the coming winter. For that reason, military progress in the short term is critical for the Western coalition to hold together.
  • Morale on the Ukrainian side has been immensely higher than on the Russian side. Ukrainians are fighting for their own land, and have seen the atrocities committed by Russian forces in areas the latter have already occupied.
  • The Russian military, by contrast, has had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to replace the manpower it has already lost.
  • A Russian military failure—meaning at minimum the liberation of territories conquered after 24 February 2022—will have enormous political reverberations around the world.
  • A Russian defeat and humiliation will puncture this narrative of the advantages of authoritarian government, and might lead to a rekindling of democratic self-confidence.
  • It may be the case that every generation needs to relearn the lesson that the alternatives to liberal democracy lead to violence, repression, and ultimately economic failure.

Protecting Global Democracy

All Democracy Is Global
Larry Diamond, Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at FSI
Foreign Affairs, 9/06/22

  • According to Freedom House, 2021 was the 16th consecutive year in which more countries declined in freedom than gained. Democracy is looking shaky even in countries that hold free and fair elections.
  • Over the past dozen years, the United States has experienced one of the biggest declines in political rights and civil liberties of any country measured by the Freedom House annual survey.
  • Former President Trump deserves much of the blame – he abused presidential power on a scale unprecedented in U.S. history and, after being voted out of office, propagated the “Big Lie” of election fraud – but American democracy was in peril before Trump assumed office, with rising polarization exposing acute flaws.
  • Giving up the fight for freedom would be a tragic mistake. U.S. democracy has always been a work in progress, and the courageous political leaders, activists, journalists, and human rights defenders seeking to achieve or preserve democracy in their countries can’t wait for the United States to fix its own internal problems before it provides help.
  • Now more than ever, the world needs the United States to support democracy—and the United States needs a more muscular and imaginative approach to spreading it.
  • Strengthening core features of democracy in the U.S. includes securing future elections against attempts to subvert or overturn them, ensuring that everyone eligible to vote has a fair opportunity to do so, sustaining the tradition of nonpartisan electoral administration, and protecting election officials and officeholders from threats of (not to mention acts of) violence, in part by punishing the perpetrators.

Health Law and Abortion Policy

Resuscitating Abortion Rights in Emergency Care
Michelle Mello, Core Faculty at SHP
JAMA Network, 9/08/22

  • Because congressional Democrats lack the votes to pass legislation to restore abortion rights, the Biden administration has made several efforts to restore pieces of these rights through executive action.
  • One key statute is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act that requires hospitals with an emergency department that participate in Medicare to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients presenting with an “emergency medical condition.”
  • The uncertainty created by divergent court decisions is unlikely to be resolved soon. The circuit courts that would hear appeals lean in different ideological directions and Supreme Court intervention may ultimately be needed.
  • Also unresolved is how these statutes interact with malpractice liability. If the customary standard of care is to offer abortion in a particular medical crisis, physicians are arguably negligent if they do not.
  • In theory, the legal standard of care should exclude treatment options that have become illegal. In reality, tort law can be slow to adapt. Where legal uncertainty exists, physicians can be counted on to fill the void with very cautious behavior.
  • Until physicians feel secure practicing emergency care according to their clinical judgment, a new and pernicious form of defensive medicine is likely to predominate, and delays and denials of emergency care will exact a bitter human toll.

Cyber Policy

A Retrospective Post-Quantum Policy Problem
Herbert Lin, Senior Research Fellow at CISAC
Lawfare, 9/13/22

  • A quantum computer of sufficient size and sophistication—also known as a cryptanalytically relevant quantum computer (CRQC)—will be capable of breaking much of the public-key cryptography used on digital systems across the United States and around the world.
  • When it becomes available, a CRQC could jeopardize civilian and military communications, undermine supervisory and control systems for critical infrastructure, and defeat security protocols for most Internet-based financial transactions.
  • Attention to policy regarding a post-quantum cryptography (PQC) world has been focused primarily on policy that would facilitate an infrastructural transition to quantum-resistant encryption algorithms.
  • Despite these efforts, policymakers have given little or no attention to what could be called a retrospective post-quantum problem.
  • Policymakers would be wise to consider the very real possibility that in a PQC world, messages they once believed would be kept secret could in fact be made public.
  • It is a common best practice for organizations to do a damage assessment in the wake of a data breach to identify what information may have been compromised and then to develop and implement a strategy to deal with that compromise.

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