The Sidebar: France's New President and Egypt's Democratic Transition

May 17, 2012

On this week's episode of The Sidebar podcast (available below) Leila Hilal discusses Egypt's first ever presidential debate and the emerging democratic process in the Middle East. Jeff Vanke talks about France's new president and the future of the Eurozone. Elizabeth Weingarten hosts.

Also, Leila Hilal spoke with us on camera to preview Egypt's upcoming elections:

The Pain in Spain

April 10, 2012

The eurozone crisis has re-emerged with rising borrowing costs in Italy and Spain and increasing concerns about the prospects for growth.

Disarming Viktor Bout

  • By
  • Nicholas Schmidle,
  • New America Foundation
March 5, 2012 |

Viktor Bout made his first major foray into the weapons business in 1995, on a pleasant summer day in Bulgaria. A Russian entrepreneur who was then twenty-eight years old, he had flown to Sofia from Sharjah, the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates, where he had lived for the previous two years. Sharjah was a kind of postmodern caravansary—as Bout told me recently, it was a place with “practically no law.” Although he had arrived in the Emirates not knowing much about Arab culture, he had a cosmopolitan ability to adapt to new circumstances.

The Tragedy of the Euro and the Middle East

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2011 |

For the past several years, Italy under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resembled a political comic opera, with a larger-than-life character of ravenous appetites and tragic hubris. But the recent "political death" of Mr Berlusconi represents only the end of Act One. Two more acts remain, and this drama could turn from comedy to tragedy quickly.

Despite Everything, There's Plenty to Celebrate in 2012

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
December 31, 2011 |

It seems a hard time to be confident about the state of the country – or the state of the planet. We are still facing the aftershocks of the worst recession since the great depression and a significant risk of dipping back into it. Europe's economy looks increasingly old and enfeebled compared with the virile young tigers of Asia. Terrorism strikes fear at home while war drags on in Afghanistan and violence is used against protesters in Syria and elsewhere. And the condition of the global environment appears fragile at best.

Ideas Man

  • By
  • Nicholas Thompson,
  • New America Foundation
January 3, 2012 |

The first book to complicate the reputation of George Kennan came out in 1967. It was 600 pages long, and the cover would show a forlorn young man staring right at you. The tale was of an awkward boy from the Midwest who never quite fits in. He gains knowledge in the Foreign Service and becomes the United States' wisest Soviet analyst. Then, for a brief -- but crucial -- moment, he serves as the head of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff under President Harry Truman, helping remake the world after World War II.


Decembrists Haunt the Kremlin

  • By
  • Steve LeVine,
  • New America Foundation
December 13, 2011 |

For the last four years, Russia was ruled according to a careful choreography: President Dmitry Medvedev was the face of a variously tough-talking and reformist agenda that included the erection of Skolkovo, a richly financed version of Silicon Valley, and cordiality with the United States. Meanwhile, actual power was wielded by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose will was enacted while he traveled the country exhibiting his physique and off-beat sporting abilities.

Follow-Up: Beyond Our Means

December 14, 2011
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On December 13, 2011 the Asset Building Program hosted Professor Sheldon Garon, author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. While economists often claim people save according to universally rational calculations — saving the most in their middle years as they plan for retirement and saving the least in welfare states — there are substantial differences in savings rates across high income countries. For example, Europeans save at relatively high rates despite generous welfare programs, while Americans save little, despite weaker social safety nets. The assumption that generous social benefits will provide a disincentive to save doesn’t hold up.

Upcoming Event: Beyond Our Means

December 1, 2011
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On December 13th, the Asset Building Program is pleased to welcome author and professor Sheldon Garon to speak about his new book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. You can join us in person at 4:00 p.m. on the 13th or online for the live webcast (registration is not required for the online webcast).

My Gloomy Dinner with Putin

  • By
  • Anatol Lieven,
  • New America Foundation
November 16, 2011 |

The mood at this year’s Valdai Club meeting was gloomy, which was inevitable since it took place against a background of the stagnation in Russia and the United States and the crisis in Europe. In Russia, both state and society appear to lack the capacity for internal regeneration. If this is so, then Russia can still continue fairly successfully along its present path as long as energy prices remain high, but it will not build up the kind of new economy that will be able to replace energy as a source of wealth in the long term.

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