The Brief, March 2016

March 7, 2016

Russia: A Growing Regional Power?

Russia’s continued support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given it leverage on the battlefield, but experts say the intervention is taking its toll on Russia's economic stability and domestic policies.

Daniel Serwer, Director of the Conflict Management Program, told Voice of America that "Russia is succeeding at driving back the Syrian opposition" and gaining an advantage on the battlefield. Read more

While Russia has grown stronger in combat, Center for Transatlantic Relations Senior Fellow Donald Jensen wrote in Newsweek that "Russia’s current policies put at risk three key ambitions—material well-being, political stability and the ability to exercise power and influence abroad." Read more

Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Research Director Mamuka Tsereteli addressed the problem of the flow of Russian fighters to Syria in The Cipher Brief, noting that "Russia should consider radical internal reforms that can implement rule of law and facilitate economic development" to combat domestic extremism. Read more

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Winners and Losers

SAIS Europe Director Michael G. Plummer co-authored a report on "The Economic Effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Estimates,that addresses opportunities for TPP countries, as well as the potential negative effects for nations that are not included in the trade pact.

Plummer's research is reviewed in several media outlets, including The Economist, where he predicted the TPP will boost trade and raise U.S. incomes. He noted that more transparency and better regulation would help all trading partners, not just TPP countries, and warned that delaying its implementation to 2017 would cost the American economy $94 billion. Read more

The report is widely cited in the press throughout the Asia-Pacific region. For example, in The Brunei Times, Plummer said the small nation will have significant gains in gross domestic product from the TPP and "large gains are also projected for Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam" that range from improved market access to domestic reforms. Read more  

However, in a Korea Times article, Plummer said that South Korea's exclusion from the TPP will "erode that country's advantage in U.S. markets" and products made by competitor Japan may become a substitute. Read more  

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Like The Brief? Share it on Facebook and Twitter, forward to a friend, or subscribe.