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Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 108th Congress

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Congressional rept.

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The 108th Congress will be faced early on with a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues. This report provides background information on the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, analyzes the congressional role in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues, and lists CRS products that provide more detailed discussion and analysis. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon dramatically altered the U.S. political environment, pushing issues of war and homeland security to the top of the policy agenda. Of particular concern to Congress will be the progress of the ongoing war on terrorism, a possible war with Iraq, the unfolding crisis with North Korea, and dealing with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction WMD and missiles. Each of these topics receives particular attention in this report. The report also describes foreign policy tools that the 108th Congress will consider in dealing with a wide range of foreign policy challenges affecting U.S. interests around the globe. It discusses major foreign economic and security assistance programs that Congress may consider funding, including the Millennium Challenge Account, global HIVAIDS programs, humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, counterterrorism activities in Southeast Asia and Africa, and possible reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq. It examines how U.S. relations with NATO and policies toward countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, and Pakistan may affect U.S. counterterrorism and non-proliferation efforts. Other issues covered include potential global flash points -- such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, China-Taiwan relations, and the Balkans -- and U.S. concerns in Latin America, such as drug trafficking. Other issues of concern to Congress include military budgets, defense transformation, weapon system priorities, military size, U.S. negotiations on Free Trade Agreements, and the Doha Development Agenda.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Unconventional Warfare

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