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  • Author: Katherine C. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article uses the centenary of the First World War as an opportunity to re-examine a major element of the existing literature on the war—the strategic implications of supposed British decline—as well as analogies to the contemporary United States based upon that interpretation of history. It argues that the standard declinist interpretation of British strategy rests to a surprising degree upon the work of the naval historian Arthur Marder, and that Marder's archival research and conceptual framework were weaker than is generally realized. It suggests that more recent work appearing since Marder is stronger and renders the declinist strategic interpretation difficult to maintain. It concludes by considering the implications of this new work for analogies between the United States today and First World War-era Britain, and for the use of history in contemporary policy debates.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America
  • Author: Richard J. Aldrich
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The 'Five Eyes' alliance, led by the United States, spends close to 100 billion dollars a year on intelligence. This review article argues that western countries are distinguished by their sophisticated approach to the making of intelligence-led national security policy. Political leaders and policy-makers who access this sensitive material are often involved in elaborate systems that constitute part of the core executive and which seek to task and improve the intelligence leviathan. Western intelligence therefore has a 'central brain' that devotes considerable energy to both analysis and management. By contrast, in the majority of other states around the world, the orientation of intelligence has often been inward facing, with a high priority given to regime security. Some would suggest that intelligence has been an important component of western power projection, while others would argue that this process has been over-expensive and has under-delivered, not least in the last decade. Either way, the debates about development of the central intelligence machinery that supports western security policies are of the first importance and fortunately this discussion has been advanced by the appearance of several valuable new studies: these are discussed in this review article.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Barry Buzan, George Lawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is general agreement that the world is changing, but considerable disagreement about how it is changing. Commentators variously locate this change in a 'power shift' from West to East, a trade in superpower status between the United States and China, or a transition from an era of bipolarity to one of unipolarity, multipolarity or even non-polarity. These analyses are linked by attention to a smorgasbord of dynamics that are said to be disrupting the smooth functioning of international order: globalization, US militarism, dynamics of revolution and counter-revolution, finance capital, climate change, the rise of non-state actors, new security threats, the dislocating effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and more.
  • Topic: Communications, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Before the ink on the Treaty of Versailles was dry, the idea of creating an organization dedicated to educating, informing and advising future leaders about the causes and consequences of war was already gaining traction. At 'a series of unofficial meetings held in Paris in 1919',1 Lionel Curtis, an Oxford professor and visionary with a reputation for possessing an impressive array of entrepreneurial skills, was spearheading efforts to establish an Anglo-American research institution where scholars could explore international problems and advocate policy solutions.2 This kind of organization appealed to Curtis and to those with whom he discussed it for several reasons, not the least of which was that it could provide a valuable forum for both policy-makers and prominent policy experts in the leading western powers to talk to one another about international affairs. It was also a concept with which several of the delegates attending the Paris peace talks had some familiarity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of institutions had already taken root in Great Britain and in the United States with the aim of helping policy-makers navigate their way through complex policy problems. They included the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (1831), founded by the first Duke of Wellington; London's Fabian Society (1884), home to a number of prominent scholars, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the London School of Economics; the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), established by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie; and the Institute for Government Research (1916), which merged with two other institutions to form the Brookings Institution in 1927.3 Curtis and his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States were also aware of the ground-breaking research that had been conducted at hundreds of settlement houses in their respective countries. It was at places such as London's Toynbee Hall (1884) and Chicago's Hull House, co-founded by Jane Addams in 1889, that sociologists and other university faculty with expertise in social welfare policy could study the working conditions of the poor.4 In short, proponents of establishing a foreign affairs research institution recognized the importance of encouraging a dialogue between leading social scientists and high-level policy-makers.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Washington, Paris, London, Wellington
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: On 20 January 1972 an alarming message reached Washington from General Creighton Abrams, the US commander in Vietnam. He stated that 'the enemy is preparing and positioning his forces for a major offensive. There is no doubt that this is to be a major campaign . We foresee a hard battle involving sophisticated weaponry and as much ground combat power as the enemy can generate.' He therefore asked for a number of 'standby authorities' for military actions, notably air power. This was just the latest of a series of warnings from Abrams, but it was deemed important enough to be forwarded to the White House, where President Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, raised the matter with his boss later the same day. It was agreed that any decision upon future action should be postponed until after the President's televised speech to the nation on Vietnam on 25 January (vol. VIII, no. 2).
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Vietnam
  • Author: Takashi Inoguchi
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The world was different in 2002 when Henry Kissinger published a book entitled Does America need a foreign policy?, and Le Monde came out in support of the United States after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 by proclaiming: 'We are all American.' In many ways, this was the high point of the American global era—the era of unipolar American power. In 2014 the world has moved on. The United States is still the leading global power with unique capabilities and responsibilities for global leadership. But other states—particularly in Asia and the non-western developing world—are on the rise. The world is more fragmented and decentralized. States are rising and falling. The terms of global governance are more contested and uncertain. This article addresses the foreign policy of Japan and the choices that Japan faces in this shifting global context.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, America, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert H. Wade
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Why has Piketty's Capital become a publishing sensation? Not for revolutionary findings; its message that western societies have experienced increases in inequality of income and wealth over the long term is hardly new. Of the several reasons discussed in this article, attention is paid in particular to the book's timing and its claim to reveal the laws of income and wealth distribution in western societies. Had the book been published before 2008 it would have been much less successful. Piketty's revelation of the big trends and their underlying logic helps to objectify, legitimize and offer a kind of catharsis for surging middle-class anxieties during the Great Recession. These anxieties have been further intensified by evidence that over 90 per cent of the increase in disposable income in the United States has accrued to the top 1 per cent of the population in the past several years, and a not much lower percentage to the top 1 per cent in Britain. In the conclusion it is argued that if Piketty's forecasts are even remotely accurate, capitalism will lose its core claim to legitimacy.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alex Danchev
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This review article considers the case of Donald Rumsfeld and his disastrous tenure as US Secretary of Defense (2001-2006), as recounted by Rumsfeld himself in his memoirs and other writings, and in interviews with the celebrated documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, for The unknown known (2014). In all of these works he appears completely unreconstructed; indeed, remarkably self-satisfied. The article reflects on Rumsfeld as operator and courtier, and Morris's pursuit of a man without qualities, with reference to Hannah Arendt's notion of 'the banality of evil'.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The final volume of the Foreign relations series of documents on Indochina during the Nixon and Ford presidencies is not as detailed as those which preceded it. However, the documents do not support the view that, once the January 1973 Agreement between the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam and the United States had been concluded, the US was prepared to accept DRV's hegemony over the rest of Indochina, provided only that there was a 'decent interval' before it occurred. In fact, both the Nixon and Ford administrations did seek to prevent this from happening, but found their hands tied by congressional opposition. In the case of Cambodia, the United States also found itself the victim of its own illusions about the willingness of the People's Republic of China to support an alternative government led by the former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Following the more or less total collapse of American policy in April 1975, some interesting 'post-mortems' from various government departments on the history of US involvement in Indochina are also printed in the volume under review.
  • Topic: Government, History
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Vietnam, Cambodia
  • Author: Michael Keating
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This has been a roller-coaster year for Afghans. It has included vigorous presidential and provincial election campaigns, a protracted political crisis, the formation of a government of national unity, the inauguration of a president with big new ideas, a financial crunch, devastating natural disasters, widening Taliban attacks and a surge in the number of Afghans being killed. Meanwhile, the US-led International Security Assistance Force is winding down and will conclude in December.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Why the US still dominates the world of innovative ideas
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Ronen Palan
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Tax havens have been around for decades but they were viewed as marginal if not esoteric phenomena. Attitudes are changing. As new data on international financial flows becomes available, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that tax havens are at the very heart of 'neoliberal' globalization, aiding and facilitating tax avoidance on a vast scale.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean
  • Author: Paul Cornish, Andrew Doorman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition was formed in May 2010 it was confronted with a Ministry of Defence (MoD) in crisis, with armed forces committed to intensive combat operations in Afghanistan and with an unenviable financial situation. Yet within five months the coalition government had published a new National Security Strategy (NSS—the third in three years), a new Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and a spending review. Among the United Kingdom's allies, France and Australia had prepared their defence white papers of 2008 and 2009 respectively in the context of a more benign global economic environment, while the United States used its national security policy of 2010 to provide a strategic overview without setting out in much detail what it would require of the relevant departments. The UK was effectively, therefore, the first western state to undertake a complete defence and security review in the 'age of austerity'. To add to the challenge, the coalition recognized that there were also problems within its own machinery of government, and came up with some novel solutions. In a radical step, it decided that national security would henceforth be overseen by a new National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister. A National Security Advisor—a new appointment in UK government—would lead Cabinet Office support to the NSC and the review process. The novelty of these arrangements raised questions about whether a more established system might be required to manage such a major review of UK national security. Nevertheless, the strategy review proceeded apace.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, United Kingdom, Australia
  • Author: Geoffrey Sloan
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It was the British maritime strategist Sir Julian Corbett who, on the eve of the First World War, described doctrine as 'the soul of warfare'. This assertion conceals as much as it reveals, leaving out any explanation of how doctrine is formulated, disseminated or used, and any account of the relationship between doctrine and command philosophy. It is only through a synthesis of these two factors that fighting power can be generated. Doctrine can be described as a force multiplier in that a fighting organization that applies it consistently will be able to take on a larger force in battle and win. It is often analysed and evaluated in isolation from command philosophy. How, then, do we define doctrine and what are the major variants of command philosophy? What is the nature of the relationship between doctrine and command philosophy? Is it possible to identify and assess the component parts of doctrine, and to understand how they manifest themselves at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war?
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Timothy Edmunds
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The theme of risk pervades the western security discourse at the beginning of the 2010s. The United Kingdom's 2010 National Security Strategy (NSS) employs the term 'risk' no fewer than 545 times, while its 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) mentions the word 96 times. The United States' 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) uses the words 'risk' or 'risks' 95 times over the course of its analysis. Risk is an explicit theme in the Australian Defence White Paper of 2009, Germany's Defence Policy Guidelines of 2011, The French White Paper on Defence and National Security of 2008 and the Spanish Security Strategy of 2011. It is also implicit in almost all other western security documentation since 2001 in one way or another.
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia
  • Author: Andrew M. Dorman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The NATO organization and its members are beginning to gear themselves up for the forthcoming summit in Chicago in May 2012. Such summits are always important, especially when they are held in the United States. For example, the 1999 Washington summit held to mark the alliance's 50th anniversary occurred against the background of an apparently failing war in Kosovo and a US President fearing impeachment as a result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Moreover, this summit is happening in a US presidential election year and in a location particularly symbolic for the current incumbent President Obama. It will also follow on from the French presidential elections, thus presenting the first opportunity for either the new French president or a re-elected Nicolas Sarkozy to make a mark on the international scene.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Chicago
  • Author: Ellen Hallams, Benjamin Schreer
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: On 31 October 2011 NATO successfully ended its seven-month military mission in Libya (Operation Unified Protector). Coalition air strikes were instrumental in protecting civilians and ousting the Qadhafi regime. In terms of alliance politics, the operation also seemed to reflect a new transatlantic burden-sharing model. The United States, the most powerful military actor within NATO, decided to play only a supporting role, forcing some European allies, predominantly France and Britain, to take the lead. Consequently, some commentators saw the Libya campaign as a 'historical milestone' for the Atlantic alliance and a potential model for future NATO burden-sharing. The US government seemed to share this view. In a speech in Brussels in October 2011, acting Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta described the Libya operation as an example of a more equal transatlantic burden-sharing arrangement. He also emphasized that the current level of US commitment to the alliance was unsustainable owing to the significant pressure on the US defence budget. In June that year his predecessor as Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, had also called for better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. Specifically, he criticized the lack of defence spending on the part of most European allies and predicted a 'dim, if not dismal, future' for the alliance if this trend is not reversed. NATO's Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has also called for members of the alliance to make renewed efforts to come to a better burden- sharing arrangement whereby European allies invest more in 'smart defense', with its emphasis on the pooling and sharing of military resources.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France, Libya
  • Author: Suzanne C. Nielsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Fifty-five years after it was first published, Samuel P. Huntington's The soldier and the state remains an essential starting point for serious discussions of American civil–military relations. This is remarkable for two reasons. First, the United States has seen enormous changes in its strategic environment in the past six decades. The country has gone from fearing for its survival during the Cold War to enjoying a concentration of military and economic power arguably unprecedented in human history. Second, the field of civil–military relations has been an active area of research in which political scientists, military sociologists and historians have made important and valuable contributions. However, even as these scholars have critiqued and built upon Huntington's work, they have not transcended it. To this day, a course in civil–military relations would be incomplete if The soldier and the state did not appear on the syllabus. It needs to be there not just to enable students to see how the field of civil–military relations has moved on, but also to expose them to concepts that remain foundational.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Andrew Hurrell, Sandeep Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is a widespread perception that power is shifting in global politics and that emerging powers are assuming a more prominent, active and important role. On this account the global system is increasingly characterized by a diffusion of power, to countries including emerging and regional powers; by a diffusion of preferences, with many more voices demanding to be heard both globally and within states as a result of globalization and democratization; and by a diffusion of ideas and values, with a reopening of the big questions of social, economic and political organization that were supposedly resolved with the end of the Cold War and the liberal ascendancy. There is a strong argument that we are witnessing the most powerful set of challenges yet to the global order that the United States sought to construct within its own camp during the Cold War and to globalize in the post-Cold War period. Many of these challenges also raise questions about the longer-term position of the Anglo-American and European global order that rose to dominance in the middle of the nineteenth century and around which so many conceptions and practices of power-political order, of the international legal system and of global economic governance have since been constructed.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Maria Ivanova
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Large-scale environmental problems captured the world's attention in the early 1970s, as countries recognized the close links between environmental integrity and economic prosperity. In response to these problems, states created a system of international environmental governance, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established at the 1972 Stockholm Conference, at its core. Since then, the institutional framework has grown in size and complexity, with a steady increase in the number of institutions, agreements, meetings, reports, and actors; yet global environmental concerns remain largely unresolved. In the absence of clear goals, a shared vision, and effective communication and coordination among international institutions, a gap between a growing body of policies and decreasing implementation has become ever more evident.
  • Political Geography: United States, China