Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

France: Factors Shaping Foreign Policy, and Issues in U.S.-French Relations


Paul Belkin
Analyst in European Affairs

The factors that shape French foreign policy have changed since the end of the Cold War. The perspectives of France and the United States have diverged in some cases. More core interests remain similar. Both countries’ governments have embraced the opportunity to build stability in Europe through an expanded European Union (EU) and NATO. Each has recognized that terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are the most important threats to their security today.

Several factors shape French foreign policy. France has a self-identity that calls for efforts to spread French values and views, many rooted in democracy and human rights. France prefers to engage international issues in a multilateral framework, above all through the European Union. European efforts to form an EU security policy potentially independent of NATO emerged in this context. However, more recently, policymakers in France, Europe and the United States have come to view a stronger European defense arm as a complement to rather than a substitute for NATO.

From the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States through the Iraq war of 2003 until today, France has pressed the United States to confront emerging crises within a multilateral framework. France normally wishes to “legitimize” actions ranging from economic sanctions to military action in the United Nations.

The election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the French presidency in May 2007 appears to have contributed to improved U.S.-French relations. Sarkozy has taken a more practical approach to issues in U.S.-French relations than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac. Perhaps most notably, in April 2009, Sarkozy announced France’s full reintegration into NATO’s military command structure, more than 40 years after former President Charles de Gaulle withdrew his country from the integrated command structure and ordered U.S. military personnel to leave the country.

Sarkozy is a traditional Gaullist in his desire to see France play a major role in the world. At the same time, he asserts that France should exert its power through the European Union, and that Paris must play a leading role in shaping the EU’s foreign and security policy. He deemphasizes France’s traditionally strong role in sub-Saharan Africa, and has sought to shift France’s foreign policy focus toward the Middle East.

Trade and investment ties between the United States and France are extensive, and provide each government a large stake in the vitality and openness of their respective economies. Through trade in goods and services, and, most importantly, through foreign direct investment, the economies of France and the United States have become increasingly integrated.

Other areas of complementarity include the ongoing NATO missions in Afghanistan and Libya, peace operations in the Balkans, the Middle East Peace Process and efforts to counter the Iranian nuclear program, and the fight against terrorism—all challenges where France has played a central role. A major split occurred over Iraq, however, with many countries either supporting or independently sharing French ideas of greater international involvement.



Date of Report: April 14, 2011
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: RL32464
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate


Luisa Blanchfield
Specialist in International Relations

The Senate may consider providing its advice and consent to U.S. ratification of the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, or the Convention) during the 112th Congress. CEDAW is the only international human rights treaty that specifically addresses the rights of women. It calls on States Parties to take measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of life, including political participation, employment, education, healthcare, and family structure. CEDAW has been ratified or acceded to by 186 States Parties. The United States is the only country to have signed but not ratified the Convention. Other governments that have not ratified the treaty include Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga.

The election of President Barack Obama has focused renewed attention on the possibility of U.S. ratification of CEDAW. The Obama Administration called the Convention an “important priority,” and in May 2009 identified it as a treaty on which it “supports Senate action at this time.” President Jimmy Carter signed the Convention and transmitted it to the Senate in 1980. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held hearings on CEDAW in 1988, 1990, 1994, and 2002. It reported CEDAW favorably, subject to certain conditions, in 1994 and 2002. To date, however, the Convention has not been considered by the full Senate.

U.S. ratification of CEDAW is a contentious policy issue that has generated considerable debate in Congress and among the general public. Supporters of ratification hold that the Convention is a valuable mechanism for fighting women’s discrimination worldwide. They argue that U.S. ratification will give CEDAW added legitimacy and empower women who fight discrimination in their own countries. Opponents of the Convention maintain that it is not an effective mechanism for addressing discrimination against women internationally or domestically, emphasizing that countries widely believed to have poor women’s rights records have ratified the treaty. Critics further contend that U.S. ratification could undermine U.S. sovereignty and impact the private conducts of U.S. citizens. Some are particularly concerned with CEDAW’s possible effect on U.S. laws and policies relating to the definitions of discrimination, education, parental rights, and health care.

This report provides an overview of CEDAW’s background, objectives, and structure, including the role of the Convention’s monitoring body, the CEDAW Committee. It examines U.S. policy and issues in the U.S. ratification debate, including the Convention’s possible impact on U.S. sovereignty, its effectiveness in combating discrimination, and its role as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.



Date of Report: April 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R40750
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive

Vincent Morelli
Section Research Manager

Attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island have undergone various levels of negotiation for over 45 years. On October 3, 2010, after almost two years of intense negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, attempts to reach an acceptable solution for reunification had failed and the Republic of Cyprus celebrated its 50th anniversary as a divided country with a permanent solution far from being achieved.

Since the beginning of 2011, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have continued the negotiation process even though the talks appear to have produced little progress, have increasingly exposed differences and frustrations between the two leaders, and now seem to lack a clear urgency to achieve a final solution. On January 28, 2011, Christofias and Eroglu traveled to Geneva to meet for a second time in three months with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in what appeared to be another inconclusive attempt by the U.N. to boost momentum for the talks. Ban’s subsequent March 2011 report to the U.N. Security Council on the progress in the talks again noted the slow pace of the negotiations and the lack of any significant movement toward a resolution on any of the major issues.

On March 18, 2011, the 100
th meeting between the two sides, dating back to 2008 when Christofias began negotiations with then-Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, took place with little fanfare. After the meeting that preceded the 100th session, Christofias noted that nothing new or positive had come out of the meetings. The first 15 or so negotiating sessions between Christofias and Eroglu focused entirely on the difficult issue of property rights, an area where both sides have long-held and very different positions. Since then the talks have shifted to settlers and citizenship where again there are significant differences and neither side seems willing to make necessary concessions.

With Greek Cyprus now entering a parliamentary election period that will end on May 22, and Turkey approaching national elections that will be held June 12, there is little expectation that any progress can be made until both election periods are concluded. It has been reported that when U.N. Secretary-General Ban recently phoned both leaders suggesting that they plan to meet with him again in June, Christofias replied that the Turkish Cypriot positions in the negotiations have not been helpful and that Eroglu may have suggested that there was little hope for a settlement.

The United States Congress continues to maintain its interest in a resolution of the Cyprus issue; the lack of a negotiated settlement continues to affect relations between Turkey and the EU, Turkey and Greece, and the EU and NATO. The situation also warrants attention because of U.S. interest in maintaining a relationship with Turkey that can be useful in addressing many of the issues involving the greater Middle East as well as throughout the Black Sea/Eastern Mediterranean region. Congressional interest will likely continue throughout the 112
th Congress as the talks continue.

This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks. A side issue involving trade between the European Union and Turkish Cyprus is also addressed.



Date of Report: April 7, 2011
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R41136
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.