Weekend Reads: Obama Is No Eisenhower, Billions in Transportation Costs, and More

Obama is no Eisenhower when it comes to the Middle East; U.S. transportation system inefficiencies cost economy hundreds of billions annually; while there are opportunities for FISA transparency, some things have to be secret; Clean Air Act not the best tool to regulate greenhouse gas emissions; how to finance basic education for 57 million out-of-school children; how the Middle East’s monarchies survived the Arab Spring.

Is Obama Like Eisenhower?

by Michael Doran

President Eisenhower’s strategy made the United States the dominant power in the Middle East, writes Michael Doran. Obama’s policies in Syria and elsewhere are intended to shed those responsibilities.

On the Performance of the U.S. Transportation System: Caution Ahead

By Clifford Winston

Winston assesses the performance of the U.S. transportation system—spending for which constituted 17 percent of GDP in 2007—and considers how it could be improved by analyzing whether the United States has the optimal mix of public and private provision. Winston’s empirical analysis indicates that the transportation system has been compromised by various government policies and that it could be improved by improving public involvement or expanding the role of the private sector.

Legislative Changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

By Ben Wittes

In testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wittes describes the major opportunities that now exist for greater transparency, enhanced oversight, and additional constraint on intelligence collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in the wake of the unauthorized disclosures this summer by Edward Snowden and the material declassified by the Executive Branch in response.

A Realistic Timetable for Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Clean Air Act

By Philip Wallach

The regulations likely to be produced under the Clean Air Act will be inefficient; the act, written for very different purposes, provides a singularly unsteady basis for climate change policy. Even putting aside those concerns, and assuming that EPA in Obama’s second term (and beyond) fully commits itself to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, there is likely to be a huge delay before any policy could be meaningfully implemented.

Financing for Global Education: Opportunities for Multilateral Action

by Pauline Rose, Liesbet Steer, Katie Smith and Asma Zubairi

The authors explore how multilateral agencies and the international community can contribute to filling the education financing gap and existing global commitments to a quality basic education for all.

Kings for All Seasons: How the Middle East’s Monarchies Survived the Arab Spring

by Gregory Gause

Gause lays out the strategies that Arab monarchies have utilized to stay in power, and argues that these rulers are here to stay. Gause provides a detailed look at the regimes’ responses to the Arab Spring, including their political reforms, and whether it is realistic to push them any further.