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  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, as Mainland China has been developing and liberalizing its economy, Taiwan has been undergoing an equally remarkable but very different political transformation, from martial law in 1987 to its current status as one of the most vibrant, stable democracies in Asia. Despite its eventful experience of the democratization process, the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008 proved that Taiwan is now a mature, and stable, democracy. It has passed the ultimate test, seeing the successful transition of rule from one party to another and back again, without social turmoil. Economic performance over the same period has been less striking. Once among the fastestgrowing economies, Taiwan is now afflicted by a relatively low growth rate, and problems over the outflow of capital and investment to the Mainland. The potential for conflict over cross-straits relations remains but it has been significantly reduced under President Ma and by the Mainland Chinese government's greater accommodation with a democratic Taiwan in the last decade. The risk of a military conflict between the two sides, which could drag in the US, and therefore the rest of the world, cannot be entirely discounted, however. Taiwan's greatest challenges in the next decade remain the same as in the last – to maintain its identity, to develop its democratic system, and to handle relations with the Mainland in a way that preserves its interests while avoiding conflict. Taiwan's system, which has so far proved itself robust and effective, faces a new challenge too: how to benefit from the increase in Mainland investment abroad.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Litvin
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the United States, European Union and Asia, fears about dependence on oil and gas imports from unstable regions have become a major theme of political debate. This paper provides a high-level and historical perspective on this complex issue. Dependence on oil and gas imports raises real economic- and political-security issues for many countries. Neither the global economic crisis nor climate change policies - both of which look set to restrain oil and gas demand - will solve the problem entirely. In fact, over the next few decades it is likely to become worse.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Claire Spencer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: North Africa may not be as stable as it looks: socio-economic and political pressures are fracturing the consensus between governments and governed and may overtake terrorism and criminality as the region's main destabilizing forces. With political leadership in the region effectively a lifelong position, the growth of authoritarianism is undermining the prospects for achieving political and economic liberalization. Despite the worsening global economic climate, a window of opportunity exists to accelerate socially sensitive and productive domestic investment and open space for greater autonomous political and economic development. Success depends on renegotiating the social contracts on which North Africa's states are based. A broadening of participation, above all through the extension of legal employment, targeted investment on education, health and skills, and the establishment of independent legal and regulatory frameworks, will go some way towards addressing socio-economic stresses. A change in the political environment, however, requires a re-evaluation of how the region's security climate is seen from outside, with adjustments in the kind of support given to regional governments by its key international partners, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Islam, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin J Cohen, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) became effective nearly a decade ago, the euro was seen as having the potential to be the second pillar of the international monetary system. It was expected to share leadership in monetary affairs with the United States. Ten years later, however, the story looks quite different. Although the euro has firmly established itself as an international currency, the degree of change has been considerably less than expected. Europe's joint money remains at a distinct disadvantage in relation to America's greenback, limiting the role it can play in global monetary governance. The euro is not yet ready for 'prime time' and can at best play only a subordinate role to the dollar in the global system. This can be described as a one-and-a-half currency system – certainly not a two-pillar world. The problem lies in the governance structure of EMU. Because the euro is a currency without a country, based on an inter-state agreement, participating members find it difficult to speak with a single voice. The solution lies in a reform of EMU's governing rules and institutions that would put greater emphasis on the euro's external dimension. On the one hand this calls for more proactive management of the currency's exchange rate by the European Central Bank (ECB), together with an explicit commitment by the Eurogroup –the euro zone's informal committee of finance ministers – to undertake effective coordination of national fiscal policies. On the other hand it means designating a single representative of EMU with real authority to speak on behalf of members in international councils. Unless the euro zone can learn how to project power more successfully than it has until now, dual leadership of monetary affairs at the global level will remain out of reach.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jim Rollo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Both Korea and the EU are pursuing free trade areas (FTAs) aggressively as part of their trade policy strategies. Korea is much further down the road. There are strong incentives on both sides to conclude an agreement. However, specific issues and EU's desire to do at least as well as, and preferably better than, the Korea–US FTA may delay or even preclude success. Korea and the EU are not principal suppliers to each other, so while an agreement is predicted to be economically favourable to both sides, the effects are not expected to be very large. Korea has the higher barriers and is expected to make the bigger economic gains. There are sensitive sectors on both sides, notably automobiles for the EU and services and processed foods for Korea. Both sides have important agricultural constituencies to protect. Korea's key role in the East Asian production system suggests that rules of origin could be an area of particular difficulty in the negotiation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, East Asia, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Max Watson
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Today's market turbulence and global imbalances prompt the question whether economic and regulatory policies are poorly designed or just badly implemented. The question is urgent for Europe, which has its own asset booms and imbalances to worry about as well as the backwash of US problems. The imbalances in Europe's economies in large part reflect favourable shocks, such as falling interest rates and growing financial integration. But the 'growth crisis' in Portugal underscores the fact that there can be hard landings, even without a financial crisis, if fiscal policy is unwise and if productivity fails to take off. The current global imbalances and turbulence also have a common backdrop in the long period of unusually easy liquidity and low risk premia during which today's problems built up. This suggests that central banks should be prepared more often to 'lean against the wind' in times of asset price exuberance, and that politicians should not cut taxes or boost spending permanently on the back of revenue gains that result from transient financial booms. Banks and supervisors have many lessons to draw. Some involve going 'back to basics' on issues such as liquidity, off-balance-sheet operations, and the ability to close and reopen banks. Others require a careful look at incentives – in executive pay, rating agency roles and loan production systems. Supervisors also need to take better account of boom-bust cycles when they assess risks, and address cross-border issues in EU banking. Moral hazard has been partly addressed by pain inflicted on bank managements and shareholders. But at the macro level it may be building up as policy-makers act to limit losses in a setting where they cannot trace the ultimate fallout from risks. In future, their discretionary interventions need to be truly exceptional and much more symmetrical, or the money supply and the public debt will ratchet up amid serious resource misallocation.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stephen Thomsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Global competition requires a global response, and European firms are now at the forefront of attempts to become internationally diversified multinational enterprises. European firms have been accused at various times of being too focused on their integrating regional market or too tied by historical links with certain countries or regions to develop a genuinely global strategy. Yet figures for foreign direct investment suggest not only that European firms have invested far more abroad than their American and Japanese rivals, but that they have also done so in far more countries. Of particular relevance for long-term profitability, European enterprises have a much stronger presence in emerging markets than either US or Japanese firms. Europe has in turn received more inward investment from those countries than either the United States or Japan. These growing links between Europe and emerging economies could provide European firms with a competitive edge in what are the most promising markets of the future.
  • Topic: Globalization, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Mike Smith, Nicholas Khoo
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific has been characterized by the assertion of American dominance. To this end, policy-makers in Washington have adopted a varied policy towards China. From 1950 to 1972, the US pursued a containment policy designed to thwart the revolutionary goals of Maoist foreign policy. Beginning with Nixon's rapprochement with Beijing in 1972, US policy was dramatically altered to meet the overriding goal of deterring the Soviet threat. The US and China actively cooperated to contain Soviet and Vietnamese influence in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The end of the Cold War, preceded shortly before by the Tiananmen massacre, saw another shift in the US position, whereby China was no longer looked upon with favour in Washington. Acting on his presidential campaign promises not to repeat George Bush Senior's policy of 'coddling dictators'in Beijing, President Clinton initially enacted a policy that explicitly linked China's human rights record to the renewal of most favoured- nation trade status with the US. When this linkage failed, a striking policy reversal occurred as the Clinton administration adopted an unrestrained engagement policy in which it eventually underplayed Sino-US differences in the spheres of trade, human rights, and strategic-military ties.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Terry Terriff, Mark Webber, Stuart Croft, Jolyon Howorth
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Nice Summit will best be remembered for the eponymous treaty, designed to make the necessary institutional reforms to allow the European Union to enlarge, but progress in the sphere of security and defence is no less significant. Following changes that began at St Malo in 1998, the EU member states demonstrated their willingness to share the security burden with the United States. However, this apparently positive move has been greeted with caution at best, hostility at worst in the US, where the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is sometimes portrayed as a threat to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). What has enabled the EU to produce a common policy on security and defence after decades of failure? What are the prospects for ESDP? What are the implications for the Atlantic Alliance?
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Mariyam Joyce-Hasham
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Fears about extremist groups operating on the Internet are on the increase. This is paralleled by concern about the ways in which such groups can use Internet technology to disrupt or undermine familiar ways of life in stable societies. The Internet appeals particularly to groups that operate at substate level, most visibly the neo-Nazis and hate groups at the forefront of the resurgent white pride movement in America.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Koji Morita
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Public projections by the International Energy Agency, the US Energy Information Administration and the European Commission suggest that, with present policies, world consumption of gas will roughly double by 2020, taking about 5% of the primary energy market from other fuels. About half this gain will be at the expense of more carbon-intensive fossil fuels, mainly coal, but the other half will replace carbon-free nuclear energy. The net effect on the growth of greenhouse gas emissions will therefore be small. For comparison, gas consumption increased in the past 20 years by almost 80%, at the expense of other fossil fuels. Half the increased gas demand is projected for developing countries, compared with 45% of the increase over the past 20 years and their present share of about a quarter of total world gas consumption.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Christopher P. Hood
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Ishihara Shintaro, known for his strong views particularly on Japan's relationship with the United States, became Governor of Tokyo on 11 April 1999. This paper considers the significance of his election, and whether it symbolizes a rise in nationalism in Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, Tokyo
  • Author: Abiodun Alao
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Prior to the recent controversy over the transfer of arms, little international attention was devoted to Sierra Leone. Even its civil war, which is at the root of the matter, did not attract any significant attention outside West Africa, despite the fact that it had claimed nearly 50,000 lives. Although its enormous diamond deposits have always attracted some interest, this has been limited to private companies and individual entrepreneurs. Many Sierra Leoneans believe that had there been sustained concern about the predicament of their country, the entire arms controversy might have been avoided. This briefing paper does not, however, attempt to delve into the complexities surrounding the sale of arms to Sierra Leone and deals only tangentially with the role of mercenaries that has been the subject of so much scrutiny. Rather, it traces the major events leading to the civil war that began in March 1991, bringing with it immense suffering for this impoverished nation. This is a tale of intrigue and power struggles that has involved most of the West African region, and has allowed unscrupulous actors from as far afield as South Africa, Britain and the United States to dabble in the affairs of this country. It is a salutary lesson in the lack of concern about the fate of small nations in the post-Cold War era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America
  • Author: Volker Perthes
  • Publication Date: 02-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the early months of 1998, the outlook for relations between Iraq and the West looked distinctly bleak. The crisis over UN inspections of Iraq's potential to create weapons of mass destruction began in November 1997 with the Iraqi government's attempt to control the make-up of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspection teams on the grounds that the Anglo-American components of them were, in effect, spies came to a head in February 1998 when the United States and Britain insisted on full, unrestricted compliance with all UN sanctions under the threat of military action. Even though Iraq reluctantly acquiesced in Western demands, little thought appeared to be given in American and British planning to what the consequence of such action would be on Iraqis themselves and on Iraqi public opinion.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Law, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East