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  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Bud Coote, Karl V. Hopkins
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is a collaboration between Dentons and the Atlantic Council that provides analysis on the array of risks and uncertainties faced by international energy firms investing in and operating energy projects worldwide. It focuses on lessons learned from a variety of experiences and offers risk mitigation options.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is the first comprehensive study of the theft of refined oil products around the globe. It provides insight into the modalities and trends in oil theft, the culprits responsible, the stakeholders affected by illicit activities, and recommendations that could change the dynamics. It is divided into three parts.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s leadership recently introduced an ambitious plan called Vision 2030 to move the country away from oil and toward a more diversified, modern economy. Fortunately, the economy is already much more diversified than is often reported, a fact obscured by the very high price of oil from 2000 to 2014. Since the mid-1970s, the Kingdom has developed chemical, metal, and fertilizer industries that are among the most advanced in the world. Most of these industries have been built on the natural advantages of Saudi Arabia: low-cost energy, large mineral resources, access to plentiful capital, and proximity to the huge markets of Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil, Natural Resources, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jean-Francois Seznec, Ramesh Pallakonda
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: India’s economy is increasing at the fastest rate in the world, now making it the globe’s third largest user of crude oil. While India is benefitting from the low oil prices seen since mid-2014, it has precious few oil and gas resources of its own and will remain highly dependent on imports. On the other hand India is now a large exporter of products like gasoline and diesel fuels because it has built a very large refining capacity, which ultimately renders India’s need for crude oil more pressing.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Franklin Kramer, Robert J Butler, Catherine Lotrionte
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes cyber’s role in deterrence and defense—and specifically the military-civil nexus and the relationship between the Department of Defense (DoD), the civil agencies, and the key private operational cyber entities, in particular the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and electric grid operators. The focus of the paper is on high-end conflict including actions by an advanced cyber adversary, whether state or nonstate, and not on the “day-to-day” intrusions and attacks as regularly occur and are generally dealt with by governmental agencies and the private sector without military involvement. High-end conflict can be expected to include attacks within the United States homeland as well as in forward theatres.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Charlene Barshefsky, Evan G. Greenberg, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific is home to over half of humanity and many of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. Over the coming decades, no region of the world will do more to shape U.S. economic fortunes. More than ever before, American jobs and growth are tied to the Asia Pacific, and these opportunities are likely to grow. But the region is undergoing profound change. Today, mutually beneficial relations with the Asia Pacific are challenged by slowing growth, a rise in security tensions, and threats to the U.S.-led order. The rise of China is altering the Asia-Pacific landscape in profound ways and playing a critical role in the region’s prosperity and perceived stability. These economic and security shifts offer opportuni- ties for the United States to strengthen cooperation with emerging economies and reinforce part- nerships with established allies. But new policies are needed in what has become a more volatile environment. These policies must be grounded in the enduring interests of the United States and informed by the realities of a changing Asia Pacific. And just as economics is at the heart of Asia’s rise, so must economics be at the heart of an effective strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: CHRISTOPHER K JOHNSON, Amy Searight, Victor Cha
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is evident that China’s rise will continue to dominate the geopolitics of Asia. How do the Chinese view this? Do its neighbors view it as inevitable, benign, or concerning? Where is there greatest convergence of Chinese views with that of its neighbors, and where is the greatest divergence?
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Katherine A Brown, Shannon N. Green, Jian “Jay” Wang
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Throughout the world, citizens are increasingly flexing their muscles and shaping their governments’ decisionmaking on domestic and foreign affairs. Expanded access to information, facilitated by new media and communication technologies, has greatly empowered nonstate actors and strengthened their role in international politics. In this environment, the U.S. government cannot afford to solely engage in state-to-state diplomacy. The new global landscape requires foreign ministries and diplomats to go beyond bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and broaden and deepen relationships with a broad and diverse range of actors. The public diplomacy (PD) toolkit of informational, educational, and cultural programs is central to this objective by creating and maintaining relationships with influential leaders and opinion-makers in civil society, commerce, media, politics, and faith communities worldwide. This paper attempts to capture the lessons that the U.S. government and PD experts have learned over the past eight years in applying PD tools in order to chart an effective course for the incoming administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, Non State Actors, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Rebecca K.C. Hersman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As we survey the world today, we find the nuclear landscape to be more uncertain and precarious than it has been at any time since the end of the Cold War. In recent years, Russia has taken to routinely rattling its nuclear saber—publicly embracing the value and utility of nuclear weapons while rejecting further nuclear arms control efforts—in an effort to intimidate its smaller neighbors and to test European unity along the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) periphery. North Korea’s expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal and associated delivery platforms, combined with Kim Jong-un’s penchant for provocation, has raised the risk of nuclear coercion and undermined confidence in current deterrence approaches. Meanwhile, nuclear competition between Pakistan and India continues to grow, spurred on by Pakistan’s now-open acknowledgment of a range of “tactical” nuclear weapons as part of their “full spectrum deterrence.” And China, unabashed in its desire to assert greater regional dominance, is modernizing, diversifying, and hardening its nuclear forces while simultaneously enhancing complementary capabilities in space, cyber, and advanced missile systems. Over a quarter century past the fall of the Berlin Wall, nuclear dangers appear to be growing rather than receding, contributing to an increasingly complex security environment
  • Topic: International Security, Self Determination, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl W Baker, Federica Dall’ Arche
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There have been remarkable transformations in UK/US-Myanmar relations over the past few years with the signing of trade agreements, lifting of sanctions, and investments. Nevertheless, some issues such as the government’s alleged violations of the human rights of minority ethnic groups have prevented better relations. There is currently a fairly wide gap in perceptions regarding the issue of human rights violations in the Rakine State. While some outsiders accuse the government of genocide or ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar government has consistently portrayed its actions as justified based on the need for counterterrorism measures against international terrorists. An open dialogue over these
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, International Security, International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Myanmar
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Ever since the oil embargo following the October 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United States has tended to measure its strategic interests in energy in terms of its dependence on direct imports of oil and gas. The new Annual Energy Outlook of the U.S. Energy Information Administration was issued on January 5, 2017. [i] Taken at face value, it reports that United States has reversed its past dependence on energy imports in spite of massive cut in world oil prices.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Emmy Simmons
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewed and expanded international collaboration to anticipate and prepare for recurring storms of food insecurity is essential. Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Syria are examples that vividly underscore the explosiveness of situations in which people find themselves unable to get the food they want and need. The experiences of post-conflict countries highlight some critical issues that need to be prioritized in order to regain sustainable food security. Averting future storms will require the recognition that food security challenges will extend long beyond 2030, political leadership must be visibly committed to these issues, and actions to reduce fragmentation of effort will be critical.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Food Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Heather A. Conley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of the Arctic as a region of political and economic opportunity adds a new dimension to U.S.-China relations. Despite divergent priorities in the region, there are opportunities for greater cooperation. Both countries experience the physical challenges of climate change while investing in scientific research to gain a better understanding of a transforming Arctic. They both also seek cooperation through the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization to promote governance in the region. For these reasons, among others, the United States and China should create a more purposeful dialogue on a range of Arctic issues. U.S.-Sino Relations in the Arctic: A Roadmap for Future Cooperation is the result of fruitful exchanges between American and Chinese experts who addressed a range of issues: the future of Arctic governance, geopolitical factors shaping the Arctic’s future, international maritime issues in the Central Arctic Ocean, future trends in sustainable Arctic development, and new bilateral scientific research initiatives in the Arctic. Through frank and candid exchanges, this report aims to lay the foundation of strong bilateral cooperation between the United States and China in the Arctic.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: China, America, Arctic
  • Author: Andrew Philip Hunter, Gregory Sanders, Samantha Cohen
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: International joint development programs are important because of their potential to reduce costs and increase partnership benefits such as interoperability, economies of scale, and technical advancement. While all major development and acquisition programs are complex undertakings, international joint development programs introduce additional layers of complexity in the requirement for coordination with more than one government customer, supply chain and organizational complexities resulting from international industrial teaming, and technology control issues. The performance of international joint development programs varies greatly. This study compares the best practices of international joint development and domestic development programs through case-study analysis to identify the key variables that contribute to a program’s eventual success or failure and to understand the elements that are crucial to managing these programs.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Global Security, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Antonella Mori, Loris Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Latin America is at a crossroads. The “golden age” inaugurated with the turn of the new millennium seems a faint memory. Economies that had grown at a steady pace are now slowing down, while some are in freefall. Politically, the “pink tide” of populist movements is now ebbing. From Brazil to Venezuela, from Argentina to Bolivia, left-leaning leaders across the region seem to have lost their bond with the people. Their promises of an equitable society through an apparently never-ending redistribution of wealth crashed against the reality of shortsighted and unsustainable policies. Political and social turmoil are heralding an era of changes and – maybe – of new opportunities for Latin America. And this ‘great transformation’ is precisely what this volume is all about. Where is it leading to? Does it mark the beginning of a new age? Which lessons can be learnt from the past? Leading international scholars and experts scratch beneath the surface of Latin America’s current crisis to have a clearer glimpse of what the future holds and draw policy recommendations, especially for the EU.
  • Topic: Reform, Economic structure, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, European Union
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a former Iranian judiciary chief who holds a prominent position in the Assembly of Experts, now has two paths to leadership of the Shiite community. The first is as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, now seventy-seven; the second is to eventually take the place of Najaf-based Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who at eighty-six is the preeminent religious authority in Shia Islam. A certain air of mystery surrounds Shahroudi, whose life has been chronicled heretofore only in a flattering pamphlet produced by his own office. But the trends in his philosophy are clear enough: on the religious front, he has grown more conservative; in matters of Iranian nationalism, a harder-line revolutionary. Author Mehdi Khalaji offers here the first comprehensive study of Ayatollah Shahroudi, encompassing his upbringing in holy Najaf, his move to Iran after the Islamic Revolution, his role as a stalwart in Khamenei's power base, and his brutal tenure as chief justice from 1999 to 2009. A scenario worth imagining, though hardly inevitable, is one in which Shahroudi consolidates power as both Supreme Leader and transnational marja, thereby reinforcing Iran's regional clout and its revolutionary orientation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mirela Hodović
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: Due to the complexity of the police system, the integrity of police in Bosnia and Herzegovina is difficult to review. All police institutions have, however, established external mechanisms of oversight and control. Still, the majority of these oversight bodies do not sufficiently use the existing communication resources, which negatively affects the transparency of their work, while independent bodies have no direct authority to con- duct investigations against police officers. Internal control mechanisms in all law enforcement agencies provide a good frame- work for control of the legality of police work. Certain ambiguities however do exist in practice and are related to the independence and objectivity of the work of heads of departments for internal control; they are appointed by their immediate superiors and are directly accountable to said superiors for their work. Insufficient progress of internal control bodies has also been observed in terms of their contribution to determining criminal and misdemeanour liability of police officers and their transparency of work.
  • Topic: Civil Society, National Security
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This report views the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces, PMF) as having played an intrinsic role in the provision of security in Iraq since the dramatic rise of the Islamic State (IS). However, through the lens of nationalism it analyses the negative role the PMF may play once IS is defeated. The report therefore presents suggestions to deal with the perceived threat of the PMF in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Deception and active measures in all their incarnations have long been and will remain a staple of Russia’s dealings with the outside world for the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Haya Al Noaimi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The Great Game in West Asia examines the strategic competition between Iran and Turkey for power and influence in the South Caucasus. These neighboring Middle East powers have vied for supremacy and influence throughout the region and especially in their immediate vicinity, while contending with ethnic heterogeneity both within their own territories and across their borders. Turkey has long conceived of itself as not just a bridge between Asia and Europe but in more substantive terms as a central player in regional and global affairs. If somewhat more modest in its public statements, Iran’s parallel ambitions for strategic centrality and influence have only been masked by its own inarticulate foreign policy agendas and the repeated missteps of its revolutionary leaders. But both have sought to deepen their regional influence and power, and in the South Caucasus each has achieved a modicum of success. In fact, as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, as much of the world’s attention has been diverted to conflicts and flashpoints near and far, a new great game has been unravelling between Iran and Turkey in the South Caucasus
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: West Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Law, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: François Godement
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese have long been obsessed with strategic culture, power balances and geopolitical shifts. Academic institutions, think-tanks, journals and web-based debates are growing in
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Dinah Pardijs, Almut Möller
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Faced with internal and external pressures, the EU is increasingly focused on “cooperation” and “deliverables”, rather than “integration”. ECFR’s research shows that a critical mass of countries agree on the need for more flexible cooperation within the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Overshadowed by the Syrian tragedy, the collapse of the Libyan state had dangerous consequences for Mediterranean security. It also demonstrated the cost of a hastily organized intervention followed by disastrous neglect and the rise of Islamist forces. Still, its latest chapter – the successful campaign to eradicate IS in Sirte – proves that when carefully chosen, limited military means can achieve strategic goals: and in that basis, measures should be taken to satisfy General Hiftar and his Egyptian backers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Afghanistan Affectations,” a detailed report published by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series in April 2017, Vanda Felbab-Brown assesses how counterinsurgency, stabilization, and reconstruction dynamics have interacted with organized crime, illicit economies, and generalized predatory criminality since 2001 and warped and weakened the post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Myanmar Maneuvers,” a detailed report published by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series in April 2017, Vanda Felbab-Brown assesses complex interactions among illegal economies, conflict, peace, and political transitions in Myanmar since the 1990s. She analyzes the evolution of the illegal economies in drugs, logging, wildlife trafficking, and gems and minerals as well as land grabbing and crony capitalism, showing how they shaped political transitions and how political evolution and changes shaped them. She also examines the impact of geopolitics and the regional environment, particularly the role of China, both in shaping domestic political developments in Myanmar and the country’s illicit economies.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Large-scale illicit economies and organized crime have received increasing attention from governments and international organizations since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War brought a permissive strategic environment that allowed many states to focus on a broader menu of interests in their foreign policy agendas, such as the fight against drug trafficking and production. The post-Cold War era also exposed the fragility and institutional underdevelopment of many of these states, a deficiency perhaps exacerbated by globalization. At the same time, criminal and belligerent actors with significant power previously obscured by the shadows of Cold War politics were spotlighted by the international community, especially when their activities were associated with intense violence or corruption.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Esther Care, Helyn Kim, Kate Anderson, Emily Gustafsson-Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: There have been increased calls globally for students to develop a broader set of skills during the years of formal education than in the past. Education has typically been seen as a preparation for adulthood and its work-related responsibilities. Recently, however, the focus on academic, vocational, and technical skills (e.g., Brewer, 2013) has shifted toward an aspiration for education to inform both work and life more generally (e.g., Pellegrino and Hilton, 2012). Many frameworks describe the skills or competencies that this 21st century world demands (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012; Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, and Moore, 2015), and in so doing, they display strong commonalities. The frameworks examine what competencies people need to function effectively in society, with descriptions varying from very high level (e.g., Delors, 1996) to very detailed (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012). Differences also emerge primarily in the degree to which skills or competencies alone are identified or whether a wider range of human characteristics are included. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016) acknowledges this shift in the focus of education toward a broader approach. Of particular interest for Skills for a Changing World, Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for skills beyond literacy and numeracy—including readiness for primary education (4.2), technical and vocational skills (4.4), and skills needed to promote global citizenship and sustainable development (4.7). These targets signal an emphasis on the breadth of skills necessary to prepare children, youth, and adults comprehensively for 21st century citizenship and life.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Geoffrey Gertz
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which links the United States with two of its largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Officials in both Canada and Mexico have signaled they are open to renegotiations, and talks are expected to begin soon. New commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has indicated he hopes the negotiations could be completed within a year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global nuclear non-proliferation regime, as it has evolved since the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, has been remarkably resilient. Despite predictions of a “cascade of proliferation,” there are currently only nine states with nuclear weapons, and that number has remained the same for the past 25 years.[1] The NPT is nearly universal, with 190 parties and only five non-parties (India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, South Sudan). Several countries voluntarily abandoned nuclear weapons development programs (Argentina, Brazil, Egypt); several others were forced diplomatically or militarily to give up the quest (Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Syria); three former Soviet republics inherited nuclear weapons but gave them up (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine); and one country built a small arsenal before unilaterally eliminating it (South Africa). With Iran’s path to nuclear weapons blocked by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for at least 10 to 15 years, there are no non-nuclear weapon states currently believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources. And despite cases of nuclear smuggling and continuing interest of terrorist groups in acquiring nuclear weapons, no thefts of enough fissile material to build a bomb are believed to have taken place.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Millions of people face hazards like cyclones and drought every day. International aid to deal with disasters after they strike is generous, but it is unpredictable and fragmented, and it often fails to arrive when it would do the most good. We must stop treating disasters like surprises. Matching finance to planning today will save lives, money, and time tomorrow.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cindy Huang, Nazanin Ash
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world is witnessing higher levels of displacement than ever before. The statistics tell the story. Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 5 million people have fled to nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. And refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their countries. Equally striking as the scale of the crisis are the consequences of an inadequate response. Individual lives hang in the balance; refugees are struggling to rebuild their lives, find jobs, and send their children to school. Developing countries that are hosting the overwhelming majority of refugees— and at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own citizens—are shouldering unsustainable costs. We are seeing global stability and hard-won development gains threatened.
  • Topic: War, Refugee Issues, Territorial Disputes, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Manjeet S. Pardesi
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As China asserts itself economically and militarily, the United States is faced with maintaining a balance of power in East Asia and safe-guarding its global dominance. In contrast to its competitive position with China, the US relationship with India--projected to be the third-largest economy by 2030--is set on a more collaborative course. American support for a rising India aligns with its broader security and strategic goals. India, for its part, remains intent on achieving a position of regional primacy, but welcomes the US presence in the South Asia/Indian Ocean region. The two nations, for example, have signed an agreement giving each other access to military facilities, and they conduct many bilateral military exercises. These developments are a far cry from the mid-twentieth century, when Jawaharlal Nehru called for the removal of all foreign militaries from Asia. What factors pushed the India-US relationship in this new direction? And what shared interests and goals does the partnership reinforce?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Sumeet Saksena
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Cities are expanding very rapidly in Asia, often without adequate housing, transportation, water, or sanitation. ese new “peri-urban” areas may be hot spots for disease, both in humans and domestic animals. Research into the possible link between unplanned urban expansion and disease outbreaks compared patterns of land-use change with two major outbreaks in Vietnam of highly pathogenic avian in uenza (HPAI, subtype H5N1) that killed millions of chickens between 2003 and 2005. Work began by classifying communes into land-use categories: rural, peri-urban, urban, and urban core. e study found that peri-urban communes had at least a 150 percent higher risk of experiencing an H5N1 outbreak than did other types of commune, and that urbanization entails a spatial convergence of several key risk factors for H5N1 transmission. By focusing prevention programs on communes with these factors, the Vietnamese government can potentially improve disease prevention at lower cost. is research may also help explain the epidemi- ology of other infectious diseases, both in humans and livestock.
  • Topic: Health, Urbanization, International Development
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Pradeep S Mehta, Kyle Cote
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Less than three months into Donald Trump’s tenure as President of the United States, Indian observers are contempla ng the future of bilateral rela ons with the global leader, not to men on the regional implica ons of the new administra on. Questions arise whether to take Mr Trump’s “America First” rhetoric seriously, or to believe that dealing with a businessman persona will ul mately benefit India’s diplomats, businesses, and citizens. Taking into account such uncertainty and what we’ve seen of Mr. Trump and his team thus far, the path forward for India in key geo‐economics and geopoli cal areas is fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, India has an opportunity to expand and deepen its trade relations, upgrade its domes c capacity, move forward with climate change ac on, and become a leader in the Asia‐Pacific region. Therefore, India must design and implement a clear, internally‐based strategy through an inclusive process to promote open and fair trade and coopera on bilaterally, regionally, and mul laterally.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Denmark to be excluded from Europol due to electing not to abolish its JHA opt-outs. The Operational Agreement it has since negotiated with the EU falls short in several key areas, preventing optimal mutual cooperation between Denmark and the EU on important issues such as counter-terrorism and international organized crime. The implications ofthe operational agreement in regards to Europol are potentially far-reaching for Denmark in terms of both its EU policy and security, but also for the EU, which has to balance institutional dilemmas with security concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katerina Davidova
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The European Commission unveiled its long-awaited extensive package of energy legislation proposals at the end of 2016. While it is an important step on the way towards an integrated European Energy Union, the project still exists more on paper than in reality. Bridging the gap between vastly differing energy policies of various member states such as Germany and Poland will be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome on its way to success. With the increasing desire to limit the power of the Commission, however, the fate of the Energy Union will be decided more by what is going to happen outside of the EU, than in its centre.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: The aim of the Pharma Integrity Principles for Latin America is to provide a framework for good business practices and risk management strategies for promoting integrity in the pharmaceutical sector. They are intended to assist companies and industry associations across the region in: • eliminating bribery and related conflicts of interest; • demonstrating their commitment to doing business with integrity; and • making a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability. The Pharma Integrity Principles combine anti-bribery principles of general applicability developed by Transparency International with more specific guidelines for preventing conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical sector in relation to prescribing practices by healthcare professionals and interactions with healthcare institutions, patients and patient organisations.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: “Faulty Towers: Understanding the impact of overseas corruption on the London property market” assessed 14 new landmark London developments, worth at least £1.6 billion. It found 4 in 10 of the homes in these developments have been sold to investors from high corruption risk countries or those hiding behind anonymous companies. Less than a quarter had been bought by buyers based in the UK.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Healthcare and public procurement both suffer from high levels of corruption and the point at which they converge, procurement within healthcare, is an acute vulnerability that is routinely exploited. But governments and civil society organisations are now taking action to protect the lives of citizens by implementing open contracting. The proposition behind open contracting is that procurement reform requires a broad base of participation from outside government. Businesses must be able to compete for contracts and make sense of the market. The communities directly affected by procurement, and the groups and people that represent those communities, are often better placed than government to independently monitor the procurement process. To facilitate this participation, governments must publish useful, timely and accessible information about the procurement process. Healthcare and anti-corruption efforts share a common principle: prevention is better than cure. In the long term, open contracting offers a route for governments to move from the procurement status quo of corruption, waste and inefficiency, to clean contracting, in which fairness, integrity and efficiency are the norms. This report first outlines some of the major challenges in healthcare procurement before explaining how open contracting works and how it can support reform. Section two introduces different approaches to open contracting that have been used around the world. Finally, section three presents case studies of successful implementation from Honduras, Nigeria and Ukraine.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Corruption Cable is Transparency International UK’s quarterly newsletter. This edition includes features on: Rolls Royce & Deferred Prosecution Agreements; Health Corruption in Armenia; Why the UK Needs a World Class Anti-Corruption Strategy; and The 77th Brigade. Also featuring media mentions and upcoming events.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: In this submission, Transparency International UK’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme provides a response to NHS England’s Managing Conflicts of Interest in the NHS: A Consultation. The UK spends 9.9% of GDP on public and private healthcare, with private expenditure only accounting for 1.5%.1 The NHS England annual budget alone is set to rise to £120 billion with the vast majority being spent on equipment and services.2 The complex nature of the health system, a lack of adequate oversight and this level of resources makes the health sector highly vulnerable to conflicts of interest. Improving the transparency of interactions between NHS staff and other individuals and organisations, and minimising the variation in conflicts of interest rules across the NHS, is vital to fighting corruption.
  • Topic: Health, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Chris Kozak
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed at a new set of Astana Talks on May 3 - 4 to establish four large “de-escalation” zones over opposition-held regions of Western Syria. The deal allows for the three countries to deploy forces along the borders of the “de-escalation zones” to monitor a faltering nationwide ceasefire that excludes all opposition forces “associated” with Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Activists reported a general decrease in violence except along key frontlines such as Damascus and Northern Hama Province after the deal went into effect on May 6. Russia likely intends to leverage to “de-escalation zones” to subordinate the political process to its objectives, reset its military deployments, and block future unilateral action to implement so-called “zones of stabilization” by the U.S. in Syria. Pro-regime forces will likely also use the relative lull in Western Syria to refocus their military campaign towards Eastern Syria to preempt the U.S. from establishing a long-term foothold in regions formerly held by ISIS in Syria. Conditions on the ground remain unfit for a durable ceasefire or political settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. The U.S. signaled its intent to move forward with an imminent offensive to seize Ar-Raqqa City from ISIS that includes the Syrian Kurdish YPG despite clear objections from Turkey. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on May 8 authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense to directly provide weapons, ammunition, and other equipment to the YPG “as necessary” in support of upcoming operations against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City. Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White stated that the weapons deliveries will be “limited, mission specific, and metered out incrementally” in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PKK in Turkey. The U.S. also floated plans to expand an intelligence fusion center based in Ankara targeting the PKK in Turkey. These efforts remain insufficient to address the security concerns of Turkey. The decision will likely fuel a further breakdown in relations between Turkey and the U.S. that could include new cross-border operations by Turkey against the YPG in Northern Syria. This strategic break will form a core area of disagreement during a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Washington D.C. on May 16.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: “There can be no future for Assad and his regime in Syria. It is good that the Trump Administration has recognized that the regime must go in order for negotiated settlement to occur. Demonstrating American will to use military force is a necessary first step. President Trump still needs a larger strategy to achieve the outcomes that US national security and humanity require.” - Jennifer Cafarella
  • Topic: War, Developments
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In Canada, implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an opportunity to explore and reconceive the relationship between international law, Indigenous peoples’ own laws and Canada’s constitutional narratives. In May 2016, Indigenous and Northern A airs Minister Carolyn Bennett addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations and o cially endorsed UNDRIP1 — without the quali cations attached by the previous government, which held the declaration to be aspirational and not legally binding. While this announcement did not change the legal relevance of UNDRIP in Canada, it does express the political will to begin implementation and signals that Canada may be on a path toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. us, the announcement also raised legal and policy questions about how the federal government intends to adopt and implement this soft law instrument.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued to harm groups in opposition-held territory, namely in Idleb and northern Aleppo. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin initiated an offensive against opposition groups in northern Syria while advancing into Raqqa city to the east. Pro-government forces also advanced against ISIS in eastern Aleppo/western Raqqa and Homs. The situation around the US garrison at the al-Tanf border crossing continues to grow more complex as pro- government forces outflanked opposition groups advancing against ISIS in the area, reaching the Iraqi border to the north of opposition and US special forces positions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS continued to lose large portions of territory, particularly to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government Tiger Forces in northern Syria. New clashes erupted in rural Aleppo, Daraa, and Syria’s southern desert as the Syrian government began new offensives against opposition forces on those fronts. Intra-opposition strife continues to plague groups in the opposition-held Idleb pocket.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Daesh’s innovative and tailored use of social media has enabled the terrorist organization to lure and recruit disaffected young men and women on a global scale. Effective interventions to reduce the flow of foreign fighters to Daesh require a nuanced understanding of the organization’s recruitment strategies. This includes both the range of Daesh’s propaganda media (videos, online print materials, offline recruitment networks), and the material’s content.1 Such analysis is essential for policy-makers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of developing effective counter-narratives to Daesh’s insidious ideology.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS has continued to lose large swathes of territory, especially to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government forces. Conflict around Daraa city in Syria’s south escalated further this week as new pro-government offensives are slated to start. Intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province and in Rural Damascus.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: This reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province but has eased in Rural Damascus. Evacuation deals continued, most notably in Damascus and Homs. Coalition warplanes struck pro-government Iranian-backed militias in the southeastern Syrian desert as the groups advanced against FSA forces in the area. ISIS forces continued to crumble on fronts in Aleppo, Homs, and Raqqa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Since its inception, Daesh has been successfully recruiting women across national and ideological lines to assume key positions in advancing the organization’s objectives. According to recent estimates, out of 31,000 fighters within Daesh territories, almost one-fifth, roughly 6,200, are women. Yet, to date, research and policy focus on women’s involvement in Daesh has been scant. Several media accounts that have covered female participation tend to be alarmingly reductionist in their description of the roles women play in Daesh. These reports primarily categorize women as either passive victims, “Jihadi brides,” or subsidiary supporters of male guardians with negligible influence. This approach not only ignores the multiplicity of roles played by women to expand Daesh’s ideological and operational agenda, but also oversimplifies the motivations behind their decisions to join Daesh. Just like their male counterparts, women are complex human beings with conflicting aspirations, ideological leanings, and life struggles that inform the choices they make.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, elements of an Astana de-escalation plan were enacted while pro-government forces advanced in Hama and the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus. Opposition infighting in Eastern Ghouta and Idleb appears to have stopped for the time being. Fighting in and around Daraa city remained high this week, and both opposition and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to take territory from ISIS.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, opposition forces advanced once more against ISIS fighters in the southeastern desert of Syria, opposition forces fought with one another once again in the Eastern Ghouta area of rural Damascus, and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against ISIS in Tabqa city west of Raqqa. Additionally, pro-government forces advanced against feuding opposition forces in Eastern Damascus, and international and pro-government forces were deployed within YPG-held territory following recent exchanges of fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Charles Perry, Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This report summarizes key findings and policy recommendations developed by IFPA over the course of a two-year research and workshop project on the prospects for and future direction of U.S.-Japanese-South Korean maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Philippe Le Corre, Jonathan Pollack
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China’s emergence as a global economic power and its fuller integration in the international order are among the principal policy challenges facing Europe and the United States in the early 21st century. At the time of Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China (though already growing rapidly) was in global terms an economic actor of limited consequence. A decade and a half later, China’s transformation is without parallel in economic history. Over the past 15 years, China has experienced an eightfold increase in GDP, enabling it to serve as the pri- mary engine of global economic growth in the early 21st century. It has leapfrogged from sixth to second place among the world’s economies, trail- ing only the United States in absolute economic size. In addition, China has become the world’s leading trading state and is now the second largest source of outward foreign direct investment. Change of this magnitude has enhanced China’s political power and eco- nomic leverage. It has also stimulated China’s internal economic evolution, simultaneously expanding the power of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) while also contributing to major growth in the private sector. China has also begun to think bigger, devoting increased attention to the rules of global economic governance. Although Beijing insists it has no intention of supplanting the existing international order, China contends that chang- ing power realities will require modification of global rules.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, America, Europe
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: rms control has figured on the agenda between Washington and Moscow since the 1960s. Suc- cessive U.S. administrations since that of Richard Nixon have pursued negotiated arms control arrangements to limit and reduce the number of Soviet (and Russian) nuclear weapons, to enhance strategic stability, to increase transparency and predictability, to reduce the costs of U.S. nuclear forces, and to bolster America’s non-proliferation credentials. Negotiations on arms control have proceeded in times of both good and difficult relations. At times, progress on arms control has helped drive a more positive over- all relationship between Washington and Moscow. At other times, differences over arms control and related issues have contributed to a downward slide in rela- tions. The next president will take office in January 2017, when the overall U.S.-Russia relationship is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: David Mastro
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The international community is beginning to grapple with several questions regarding whether one or more countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)—which has been key to successes against al-Shabaab in recent years—will prematurely withdraw their troops from the mission due a confluence of regional and international factors.1 What is the likelihood that one or more troops contributing countries (TCCs)—Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda—withdraw from AMISOM? How would AMISOM’s operational effectiveness be impacted if a TCC left the mission? Would another country or countries be willing and able to fill the void created by a TCC’s withdrawal? This paper attempts to provide answers to these questions to inform policy discussions related to the long-term commitment of the TCCs to the mission. It also seeks to provide some actions or policies that the international community could undertake to reduce the likelihood that a TCC leaves AMISOM early.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Iñigo Guevara Moyano
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the Mexican military has been crafted into hardened and more professional military, skilled in fourth generation warfare, operating across the spectrum of conflict from surgical small-unit Special Forces missions to division-level stability operations in areas comparable in size to Belgium. As new—state and non-state—threats loom on the horizon, the U.S. and Mexican militaries will need to rely on deepening their connection and increasing bilateral trust to build a stronger and interdependent defense relationship. The increase in dialogue and cooperation builds trust and promotes mutual understanding between Mexico and the United States, crafting deep ties between both militaries during a time when the radicalization of political ideas threatens to transcend electoral campaign rhetoric and affect the economic and social fields of North America. For two neighbors that share an annual trade worth USD 534 billion along a 2,000-mile border, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses should be a priority. This paper is meant to provide a deeper understanding of the Mexican military and its contribution to the defense and security of North America. It does so by analyzing the evolution of Mexico’s armed forces, and the past and present cooperation between the Mexican and the U.S. militaries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The great value of innovation is not merely in invention but rather diffusion and adaptation. And real innovation requires an economy that runs on the culture of experimentation and is open to innovators and entrepreneurs contesting markets—challenging incumbents to such a degree that it redefines the market (like Apple’s iPhone did with the handset market in 2007). In the past decades, however, these forces of diffusion and adaptation simply have not been powerful enough; in fact, legislators have acted to shield incumbent businesses from them. Now the existential challenge that capitalism faces is the growing resistance to innovation.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: America, Global Markets
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, has re- configured more than contributed to resolving internal strife. A year ago, the conflict was between rival parliaments and their associated governments; today it is mainly between accord supporters and opponents, each with defectors from the original camps and heavily armed. The accord’s roadmap, the idea that a caretaker government accommodating the two parliaments and their allies could establish a new political order and reintegrate militias, can no longer be implemented without change. New negotiations involving especially key security actors not at Skhirat are needed to give a unity government more balanced underpinning.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The current government term may be the best chance for a negotiated political settlement to almost 70 years of armed conflict that has devastated the lives of minority communities and held back Myanmar as a whole. Aung San Suu Kyi and her admin istration have made the peace process a top priority. While the previous government did the same, she has a number of advantages, such as her domestic political stature, huge election mandate and strong international backing, including qualified support on the issue from China. These contributed to participation by nearly all armed groups – something the former government had been unable to achieve – in the Panglong- 21 peace conference that commenced on 31 August. But if real progress is to be made, both the government and armed groups need to adjust their approach so they can start a substantive political dialogue as soon as possible.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Demonstrations in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), turned violent on 19 September 2016, when the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) should have launched the constitutionally-required presidential election process. Protests were expected as a political dialogue launched on 1 September had failed to agree on what to do about the delay. This has accentuated the risk of violent popular anger in urban centres and of a heavy-handed security response. A risk also remains that political parties, including the ruling majority coalition (henceforth “the majority”) and the opposition that looks to the street to force President Joseph Kabi- la to step down, will seek to manipulate that anger. Depending on loosely organised popular revolts to force political change is a tactic that could spiral out of control. To prevent more violence, Congo’s partners need to use diplomatic and financial tools to focus the actors, particularly the majority, on the need to move rapidly to credible elections. They also need to use their leverage and public positions to minimise violence while the political blockage continues.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Elections, Democracy, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan models itself as Central Asia’s only parliamentary democracy, but multiple challenges threaten its stability. Divided ethnically between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks and geographically north and south, the state is deeply corrupt and fails to deliver basic services, in particular justice and law enforcement. Its political institutions are under stress: the October 2015 parliamentary elections had a veneer of respectability but were undermined by systematic graft at the party and administrative level, and presidential elections will test state cohesion in 2017. The 30 August suicide car bomb attack on the Chinese embassy in Bishkek underscored Kyrgyzstan’s security vulnerabilities. There is need to prevent and counter the threat of growing radicalisation by bolstering the credibility of its institutions and adopting a more tolerant attitude toward non-violent Islamists.
  • Topic: Corruption, Radicalization, Democracy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Due to developments in the international diplomatic arena, as well as the information revolution, foreign relations are no longer the sole purview of government officials. Increasingly, civil society organizations, businesses and private entrepreneurs are playing a pivotal role in international relations among states. Nevertheless, Israeli foreign policy is still considered the exclusive domain of experts. Indeed, significant sub-groups of the population – women, Palestinian citizens of Israel, ultra-Orthodox Jews, new immigrants and residents of the country's geographic periphery – do not participate meaningfully in the Israeli public debate concerning foreign affairs, let alone the corresponding decision- making process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israelis see high importance in advancing cooperation with Egypt, while cooperation with the Palestinian Authority is of low priority. This is the main finding from a public opinion poll conducted for the Mitvim Institute on July 13, 2016 by the Rafi Smith Institute and in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. It sampled 500 men and women, as a representative sample of the Israeli adult population (aged 18 and older, from both the Jewish and Arab sectors).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Ian Christoplos, Le Duc Ngoan, Thi Hoa Sen Le, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Goals for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management are widely recog- nised as overlapping, but little is known about the dynamics of this interplay in the perspectives and practices of local authorities. An important aspect of this is how provincial, district and municipal level institutions comprehend and operationalise climate change adaptation frameworks against the backdrop of their past experience of responding to disasters. This is in turn related to how they provide services to risk prone populations. This research report describes how meso-level institutions in Việt Nam mediate between the different intentions and priorities embodied in national climate change and disaster risk management policies, and ongoing efforts of indivi- dual households and communities to adapt to environmental change and natural hazards. Research findings suggest that they are doing this in a context wherein past assumptions about the role of the state are being questioned, but where answers remain ambiguous. Findings emphasise the process of ‘bricolage’ that is underway, wherein different disaster risk and climate goals, rules and structures are combined. Some of these institutional changes involve innovation and others reflect path dependencies anchored in past societal roles.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Environment
  • Political Geography: Vietnam
  • Author: Ian Christoplos
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Paris climate agreement established a new framework for global climate governance that is firmly anchored in national plans and commitments. But who is actually going to take the next steps to implement these plans on the ground and what are the incentives and obstacles they face in moving from words to action? Many have pointed to the important role of local governments and other sub-national institutions, not least in developing countries where the task of adapting to climate change is considerable. Yet little is known about the way such sub-national institutions are responding to climate change, and how they interact with the central state and local communities in practice.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Climate Finance, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Vietnam, Nepal, Zambia
  • Author: Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: As an important commercial gateway and a rich source of natural resources, the South China Sea holds great economic and strategic significance. This is manifested not only in the conflicting territorial and maritime claims of the coastal states, but also in the simmering geopolitical rivalry between an increasingly self-assertive China and a United States bent on `rebalancing´ China’s growing power in the region. This new DIIS report by Andreas Bøje Forsby examines recent development trends in the South China Sea, focusing primarily on three key areas: China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, the rebalancing efforts of the United States in the region and the recently-concluded arbitration case between the Philippines and China concerning their maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: During the second half of the twentieth century, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was hit by a demographic wave that saw its youth population grow at an unprecedented rate. This youth bulge spurred national and international debate regarding the challenges and opportunities that the youth cohort brings to the region. The potential that young people have—either as agents of positive change or instability—was illustrated during the Arab uprisings. In the wake of the unrest, there is a need to expand our collective understanding of the lives of young people in the MENA region, and to examine factors that affect their normative transitions to adulthood. The narrative around Middle Eastern youth often centers on their social, political, and economic exclusion and marginalization. Living through decades of authoritarian rule and political instability, youth in the Middle East have struggled to fulfill their aspirations related to citizenship, livelihood, and social and political participation. Given the continued jobs crisis in the Middle East, where youth generally experience high rates of unemployment and where labor market activity, particularly among young women, remains strikingly low, understanding the economic exclusion of youth and the various means by which to redress it remain significant.
  • Topic: Education, Youth Culture, Entrepreneurship, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The historic events of the Arab uprisings have been accompanied by profound changes in the role of traditional and new media across the Middle East. Early on in the revolts, printed and electronic media played critical roles in disseminating information, and conveying compelling sentiments, within and across national boundaries in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. As the uprisings grew in both intensity and scale, new media in the form of Twitter, Facebook, and the Blogosphere joined satellite television in helping facilitate popular mobilization aimed at overthrowing authoritarian establishments. Today, satellite television and the internet have become consequential in countries where popular uprisings are being cast in a sectarian light by some national and international actors, most notably in Bahrain and Syria.
  • Topic: International Organization, Social Movement, Popular Revolt, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Glittering skylines, high urbanization rates, and massive development projects in the Gulf have increasingly attracted the attention of urban development scholars and practitioners. Within the GCC, an average of 88 percent of the total population lives in cities, while on average only 56 percent of Yemen, Iraq, and Iran’s populations lives in urbanized spaces. The tempo and spatial ethos of urbanization in the Gulf differ markedly from patterns of traditional urbanism in other developing countries. Within a matter of decades, Gulf port cities have rapidly evolved from regional centers of cultural and economic exchange to globalizing cities deeply embedded within the global economy. Explicitly evident features of Gulf cities such as international hotel chains, shopping centers, and entertainment complexes have classified these cities as centers of consumption. Other urban trends, such as exhibition and conference centers, media and knowledge cities, and branch campuses of Western universities have integrated Gulf cities within numerous global networks. From the advent of oil discovery until the present day, forces of economic globalization and migration, national conceptualizations of citizenship, and various political and economic structures have collectively underpinned the politics of urban planning and development. While oil urbanization and modernization direct much of the scholarship on Gulf cities, understanding the evolution of the urban landscape against a social and cultural backdrop is limited within the academic literature. For instance, within the states of the GCC, the citizen-state-expatriates nexus has largely geared the vision and planning of urban real-estate mega-projects. These projects reflect the increasing role of expatriates as consumers and users of urban space, rather than as mere sources of manpower utilized to build the city. Other state initiatives, such as the construction of cultural heritage mega-projects in various Gulf cities, reveal the state’s attempts to reclaim parts of the city for its local citizens in the midst of a growing expatriate urban population.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Migration, Urbanization, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Increasingly, over the past few decades, the cross-border mobility of people and international migration has become a central and dynamic hallmark of human existence. While migration is by no means a recent phenomenon, present-day migratory experiences are increasingly informed by national and international policy settings, and by the needs of the global labor market. In contemporary times, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have emerged as the third largest hub of international labor migration. In recent years, migration to the GCC has attracted increasing journalistic attention, and a growing body of scholarship from academics. What has gone almost completely unnoticed, however, is the regional, intra-Arab aspect of the phenomenon. Migration into the Gulf region from other Arab countries by far outdates more recent, and comparatively more temporary, migratory patterns from South Asia and Western Europe. Not only are Arab migratory patterns into the GCC comparatively and qualitatively different from other similar patterns, the historical setting within which they have unfolded, the processes through which they have taken place, and their economic, sociological, and political consequences have all been different. This book examines the dynamics involved in the emergence of Arab migrant communities in the Gulf region, focusing specifically on how they came about, their overall sociological compositions and economic profiles, and the causes, processes, and consequences of their interactions with, and integration within, the host countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Iñigo Guevara Moyano
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: For two neighbors that share an annual trade worth USD 534 billioni along a 2,000-mile border, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses should be a priority. This paper is meant to provide a deeper understanding of the Mexican military and its contribution to the defense and security of North America. It does so by analyzing the evolution of Mexico’s armed forces, and the past and present cooperation between the Mexican and the U.S. militaries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: Diana Melisa Talamás Santos, Alma Thalía Aguilar Cabello
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Corruption is a grave and centuries-old phenomenon that has affected all countries across the globe to different extents. To date, there is still no precise solution to fight and, lesser still, eradicate corruption. Corruption can cause myriad problems in society, which include, but are not limited to, producing and increasing poverty, broadening the inequality gap, enriching the privileged, weakening the legal system, favoring insecurity and impunity, chipping away at public and private institutions, affecting the labor market and the economy, producing inefficiency in public services and goods, promoting a culture of illegality, and causing vast losses in material and economic resources that could have been used to satisfy societal needs.
  • Topic: Corruption, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Rupert Hammond Chambers, Pek Koon Heng, Tami Overby
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Since its rather humble beginnings as a free trade agreement between Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand in 2005, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has ballooned into a pact that includes two of the three biggest economies in the world. Signed by the 12 founding members in February 2016, namely the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia as well as the four original signatories, the TPP represents nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP. It has been described as the most ambitious multinational trade deal in history, with high standards that address issues that have not been address by trade agreements until now including environmental protection, labor rights, and addressing competition issues related to state-owned enterprises.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shihoko Goto, Robert Daly, Michael Kugelman, Sandy Pho, Meg Lundsager, Robert Litwak, Robert Person, James Person
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: The United States is a Pacific power. It may be so reluctantly, but its continued military, political, and economic engagement has been key to Asia’s stability and prosperity. Ensuring that the Asia-Pacific remains robust politically and economically will be in the United States’ own interest, and will be a key foreign policy challenge for any administration. The realities on the ground in Asia, though, are rapidly changing. The region has become increasingly divided, and rivalries are manifesting themselves in territorial disputes, competition for resources, as well as a growing arms race. Having overtaken Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, China has sought to become as much a political and military power as much as an economic one. Beijing’s vision for the region puts China at its center, which has led to rifts in relations among Asian nations, not to mention Sino-U.S. relations. Continued stability in the region cannot be taken for granted. Washington must continue to be committed to Asia, not least amid growing concerns about North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, maritime disputes, and alternative visions for economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Asia
  • Author: Ayla Gürel Moran, Harry G. Tzimitras, Hubert Faustmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On 16 November 2016 the PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Cyprus (FES) and the Atlantic Council (AC) co-hosted a one-day conference entitled ‘Global Energy Debates and the East Mediterranean’. The conference, held in the UN Buffer Zone in Nicosia, was organised with a view to introducing the Cypriot public to the increasingly complex global energy terrain. Thus, the main focus of the deliberations was not the Eastern Mediterranean, but rather the broader energy picture surrounding the region. The international experts who attended the conference presented topics that concern some of the more salient broader debates, such as the link between energy and global warming as well as the energy relations of the European Union, which constitutes the largest potential market in the neighbourhood for the hydrocarbons of the Eastern Mediterranean. The latter included examination of three important cases to Europe’s east: Russia, Iran, and Turkey. East Mediterranean energy develop- ments and regional cooperation prospects were also discussed by a panel of experts from Cyprus, Egypt and Israel. This edited volume comprises contributions submitted by speakers based on their talks delivered at the conference.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Eritrea is often in the news for all the wrong reasons: its high rates of migration to Europe (it has sent more refugees to Europe in recent years than any other African nation), its conflicts with neighboring Ethiopia and Djibouti, and controversy over its mandatory and indefinite national service conscription program. Human rights activists, in particular, have long singled out the country for criticism, calling it “the North Korea of Africa.” The inappropriateness of that comparison is increasingly recognized—but misunderstandings about the nature of the Eritrean regime continue to abound.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Eritrea
  • Author: Sergey Aleksashenko
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It has been more than two years since the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. For some of the measures, though not all, that is time enough to evaluate effectiveness. But before such an assessment can be made, the initial goals of the sanctions should be clearly stated. This is not as straightforward as it might seem.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Security, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, European Union
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Turmoil in traditional geopolitical hotspots—Europe, Russia, the Levant, and Asia—has distracted the United States from the numerous opportunities and challenges across the Atlantic in Africa. Over the last decade, Africa has celebrated economic growth and new levels of political and economic engagement with the United States. But the continent faces many challenges to its continued economic development, security, and governance. In this latest Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham persuasively argues that the United States needs to modernize its relations with a changing Africa to best engage a new range of actors and circumstances.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, America
  • Author: Alberto Martinelli
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Recent political events – from Trump’s election to the outcome of the Brexit Referendum - have somehow caught the world by surprise, and are contributing to a growing sense of concern or even alarm about the future of the Western world and, particularly, Western democracies as we know them. When looking at the political landscape in Europe, populism looks like an unprecedented game-changer. Populist parties are in power in Poland and Hungary, they are in the coalition governments in Switzerland and Finland, top the polls in France and the Netherlands, and their support is at record highs in Sweden. Not to mention the recent rise of Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the successful story of Syriza, Podemos and of the Five Stars Movement in Southern Europe. The volume explores the rise of populism in Europe and the US by analyzing its root causes and the rationale behind its success. It also draws some policy recommendations to tackle the populist challenge.
  • Topic: Democracy, Political stability, Populism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Walid Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has stated that relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a “a big priority” for the incoming administration. She added: “It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for." Meanwhile, in a passage that has since been removed from the online article, the Times of Israel has reported that the Trump transition team “has begun exploring the logistics of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, and checking into sites for its intended new location,” adding that the site being considered was formerly the location of the Allenby Barracks,the site of the British army's Jerusalem garrison during the Mandate.
  • Topic: International Security, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ahmad Samih Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: ONE OF THE MANY REASONS for the humbling of the mighty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the 2006 Lebanon War was an Israeli combat doctrine named Systemic Operational Design, better known by its perhaps aptly abbreviated acronym SOD.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Adriana Abdenur
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The present study aims to develop an analysis of how the fast-changing geopolitics and geoeconomics of East Asia impacts current and potential trends in cross-regional economic cooperation, with a focus on Latin America. The paper revolves around three anchor trends: i. The Economic Transformation of East Asia; ii. Security and Cooperation in the Pacific; and iii. Mega-Agreements. For each of these areas, the study provides a succinct yet analytical overview of current debates by incorporating both Western and non-Western perspectives from academe and policy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eduardo Viola, Leonardo Paz Neves
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: In December 2015, members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathered in Paris at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP). Expectations regarding the Conference were high: having failed to agree on a legally binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol at COP 15, in Copenhagen, when expectations were very high because of the new climate friendly presidency of Obama and the possibility of a shift in the Chinese position, and in 2012, when the first commitment period of the Protocol expired, members settled COP 21 as the new deadline. Achievements of the Conference, especially the Paris Agreement, will be judged differently depending from the point of view.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lindsey. W Ford
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: ON JANUARY 20, 2017, AMERICA’S FIRST “PACIFIC PRESIDENT” WILL DEPART OFFICE. Many Asian observers fear that America’s regional commitments will depart along with him. The election of Donald Trump raises more questions than answers for Asian leaders eager to under- stand the nature of U.S. engagement in the region in the future. There has been a remarkable history of consistency and bipartisanship in the U.S. approach to Asia over many decades. But this election has upended many assumptions about U.S. policy in ways that leave foreign policy experts, both in the United States and abroad, unsure of what to expect next. President-elect Trump has made clear that few things will be “business as usual” for the future. Several of his proposals, including withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and annulling U.S. ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement would reverberate across the region and mark a significant about-face in U.S. policy. Other proposals, less directly related to Asia, such as suspending immigration from certain Muslim nations, would also have implications for Asian countries with significant Muslim majorities or minorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: J. Jackson Ewing
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: FACING UP TO CLIMATE CHANGE IS A KEY CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME. We are on pace in 2016 to again record the warmest global temperatures ever measured; a distinction that now appears to be an annual occurrence. Weather is becoming less predictable, storms more intense, and drought and flooding more pervasive. This destroys livelihoods, impedes economic progress, and undermines the sustainable development gains we are working hard to achieve. Slowing down and ultimately reversing climate change requires us to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. And effectively pricing carbon emissions is a vital place to start. Pricing carbon through markets creates incentives, sets clear rules, and encourages regulated organizations to lower emissions in flexible ways that work for them. Like much in the current climate change arena, the main action on carbon markets is happening beneath the global scale. After years of chasing global mechanisms to price and trade carbon emissions credits, the landmark Paris Agreement of December 2015 both recognizes and provides political and policy space for efforts at local, state, and regional levels. The relevance of carbon markets is growing apace; almost doubling in scale since 2012 with forty states and twenty-three cities, regions, and provinces pricing emissions worth some $50 billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: As the world faces a slew of complicated challenges and the international community comes together to select the next UN Secretary General, there is renewed debate about the role of the UN in international affairs. In UN 2030: Rebuilding Order in a Fragmenting World, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) President Kevin Rudd argues that the UN continues to matter. The report makes the case that if the UN fails, falters, or fades away, it would fundamentally erode the stability of an already fragile global order. At the same time, Rudd contends, we tend to take the UN for granted, overlooking the reality that its continued existence is not inevitable. The UN, while not yet broken, is in trouble. The report concludes, however, that the UN is capable of reinventing itself. This requires not one-off reforms but a continual process of reinvention to ensure the institution is responding to the policy challenges of our time.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Harsha Singh, Anuphav Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: At a time of slowing global economic growth, the international community needs to fully tap all the sources of new dynamism and demand available in the world today. India, the world’s fastest-expanding major economy, holds the potential to shore up growth in both the Asia- Pacific region and globally. For that potential to be realized, however, India’s domestic reforms and integration with the Asian and world economies need to progress more rapidly. The advent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement offers much hope of reinvigorating trade growth in the Asia-Pacific region once it comes into force, but the TPP does not include India. The first and necessary step toward greater Indian participation in Asian trade and investment flows is membership in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. It is a step whose time has come, for India, for APEC, and for the international economy.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Armin Kržalić
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: The second round of the public opinion survey "The Citizens’ Opinion of the Police Force" was conducted in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The questionnaire based on which the public opinion survey was conducted was devised by the regional network POINTPULSE to provide answers concerning the citizens’ opinion of the police. The ques- tionnaire included six groups of questions: 1. The level of citizens’ trust and confidence in institutions; 2. The perception of the police as an institution, but also of policemen and policewomen as in- dividuals; 3. The perception of corruption in the society and the police force; 4. Opinions of citizens regarding the fight against corruption; 5. Opinions of citizens on the work of civil society organisations; 6. Demographics.
  • Topic: National Security, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Denis Hadžović
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: Since 1947, the Netherlands has participated in a number of UN peacekeeping operations and UN mandated mi- ssions. Besides the involvement in UN peacekeeping mi- ssions, the Netherlands also participates in NATO and EU missions. In Article 90, the Dutch Constitution (Nederlandse Gron- dwet) states that “The Government shall promote the de- velopment of the international legal order.”1 This article serves as a basis for Dutch involvement in peace and conflict prevention missions. This comes from historical pra- gmatism, with a long tradition of openness to the world and tolerance; the Netherlands are also deeply committed to Atlanticism and to the collective security system of the United Nations. This commitment is presented through the fact that the Netherlands, especially The Hague, are the hosts of headquarters of many international institutions, mainly those that serve the international legal order.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Scandinavia