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Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

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Congressional rept.

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The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility. A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The BakerHamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended pursuing a new diplomatic initiative, including negotiations with Iran and Syria and making the training of Iraqi security forces the primary U.S. military mission. The commission concluded that the United States could aim to withdraw all U.S. combat brigades not necessary for force protection by the first quarter of 2008. U.S. and allied progress in Afghanistan may also be among the key issues in the 110th Congress along with international counterterrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional geopolitical dynamics, and trade developments. Chinas rise is reshaping global economic relations and is affecting security dynamics in Asia and around the globe. The ongoing fight against terrorism, particularly in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and efforts to dissuade or restrain Iran and North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons programs are key issues for consideration, as is the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Defense spending, and particularly budgeting for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be one of the major issues facing the 110th Congress. Congress also faces a potentially difficult tradeoff between increases in the size of the Army and funding for major weapons programs. Trade issues have become increasingly controversial in recent years, and may well remain so as many Members grapple with the real and perceived effects of globalization.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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