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  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: With 190 state members, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is almost universal. However, it has fallen on hard times. North Korea violated it and withdrew in 2002. Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea—the nuclear-armed states most likely to use them—refuse to sign. Others—e.g., Syria, South Korea, and Egypt—have violated its safeguards and yet suffered no serious consequences. Also, with the Iran deal, enriching uranium or re- processing spent reactor fuel, which can bring states to the very brink of bomb making, is now less taboo. Finally, with President Trump’s suggestion that South Korea’s and Japan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is inevitable, the prospect of the treaty lasting in perpetuity is easily open to question.1
  • Topic: International Organization, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Soon after the American Revolution, ​certain of the founders began to recognize the strategic significance of Asia and the Pacific and the vast material and cultural resources at stake there. Over the coming generations, the United States continued to ask how best to expand trade with the region and whether to partner with China, at the center of the continent, or Japan, looking toward the Pacific. Where should the United States draw its defensive line, and how should it export democratic principles? In a history that spans the eighteenth century to the present, Michael J. Green follows the development of U.S. strategic thinking toward East Asia, identifying recurring themes in American statecraft that reflect the nation’s political philosophy and material realities. Drawing on archives, interviews, and his own experience in the Pentagon and White House, Green finds one overarching concern driving U.S. policy toward East Asia: a fear that a rival power might use the Pacific to isolate and threaten the United States and prevent the ocean from becoming a conduit for the westward free flow of trade, values, and forward defense. By More Than Providence works through these problems from the perspective of history’s major strategists and statesmen, from Thomas Jefferson to Alfred Thayer Mahan and Henry Kissinger. It records the fate of their ideas as they collided with the realities of the Far East and adds clarity to America’s stakes in the region, especially when compared with those of Europe and the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231542722
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Robert McNally
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: As OPEC has loosened its grip over the past ten years, the oil market has been rocked by wild price swings, the likes of which haven't been seen for eight decades. Crafting an engrossing journey from the gushing Pennsylvania oil fields of the 1860s to today's fraught and fractious Middle East, Crude Volatility explains how past periods of stability and volatility in oil prices help us understand the new boom-bust era. Oil's notorious volatility has always been considered a scourge afflicting not only the oil industry but also the broader economy and geopolitical landscape; Robert McNally makes sense of how oil became so central to our world and why it is subject to such extreme price fluctuations. Tracing a history marked by conflict, intrigue, and extreme uncertainty, McNally shows how—even from the oil industry's first years—wild and harmful price volatility prompted industry leaders and officials to undertake extraordinary efforts to stabilize oil prices by controlling production. Herculean market interventions—first, by Rockefeller's Standard Oil, then, by U.S. state regulators in partnership with major international oil companies, and, finally, by OPEC—succeeded to varying degrees in taming the beast. McNally, a veteran oil market and policy expert, explains the consequences of the ebbing of OPEC's power, debunking myths and offering recommendations—including mistakes to avoid—as we confront the unwelcome return of boom and bust oil prices.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil, OPEC
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231543682
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Manlio Graziano
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Religions are reemerging in the social, political, and economic spheres previously occupied and dominated by secular institutions and ideologies. In the wake of crises exposing the limits of secular modernity, religions have again become significant players in domestic and international politics. At the same time, the Catholic Church has sought a "holy alliance" among the world's faiths to recentralize devout influence, an important, albeit little-noticed, evolution in international relations. Holy Wars and Holy Alliance explores the nation-state's current crisis in order to better understand the religious resurgence's implications for geopolitics. Manlio Graziano looks at how the Catholic Church promotes dialogue and action linking world religions, and examines how it has used its material, financial, and institutional strength to gain power and increase its profile in present-day international politics. Challenging the idea that modernity is tied to progress and secularization, Graziano documents the "return" or the "revenge" of God in all facets of life. He shows that tolerance, pluralism, democracy, and science have not triumphed as once predicted. To fully grasp the destabilizing dynamics at work today, he argues, we must appreciate the nature of religious struggles and political holy wars now unfolding across the international stage.
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231543910
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Ann M. Lesch
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s ruler since July 2013, brooks no dissent. Having “saved” Egypt from the Muslim Brothers, he has ruled by decree in the absence of a parliament, supported by a handpicked technocratic cabinet. His security apparatus muzzles the press, keeps dissident voices off-air, arrests secular as well as Islamist critics, and clamps down on civil society. He has built ten new prisons to accommodate the overflow, as political prisoners may now total 60,000.[1] As typical of military rulers, he announces grandiose projects – the new channel in the Suez Canal, the Dabaa nuclear power plant, million-unit agricultural and housing schemes, and a multi-billion dollar new capital city – without taking into consideration their cost, integrating them into long term plans, conducting comprehensive feasibility studies, or examining their social and environmental impact.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Islam, Politics, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: A. Yakovna
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Success multiplied by intuition is behind many discoveries. This fully applies to British historian Prof. Gabriel Gorodetsky* who has written numerous scholarly works including The Precarious Truce: Anglo-Soviet Relations, 1924-1927, Stafford Cripps’ Mission to Moscow, 1940-1942, etc. Prof. Gorodetsky came across the diaries of Ivan Maisky,** Soviet Ambassador to London while preparing official Soviet-Israeli documents for publication and was immediately interested. Before him few historians had paid attention to this unique historical document. in fact, Stalin never encouraged officials to keep diaries; this explains why they are few and far between in soviet archives.
  • Topic: Communism, Diplomacy, History
  • Political Geography: Israel, Soviet Union
  • Author: Paul R. Pillar
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Drawing a line from colonial events to America's handling of modern international terrorism, Pillar shows how presumption and misperception bolstered the "with us or against us" attitude of the George W. Bush administration. Fundamental misunderstandings have created a cycle in which threats are underestimated before an attack occurs and then are overestimated after they happen. By exposing this longstanding tradition of misperception, Pillar hopes the United States can develop policies that better address international realities rather than biased beliefs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, United States
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231540353
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Blake Atwood
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: It is nearly impossible to separate contemporary Iranian cinema from the Islamic revolution that transformed film production in the country in the late 1970s. As the aims of the revolution shifted and hardened once Khomeini took power and as an eight-year war with Iraq dragged on, Iranian filmmakers confronted new restrictions. In the 1990s, however, the Reformist Movement, led by Mohammad Khatami, and the film industry, developed an unlikely partnership that moved audiences away from revolutionary ideas and toward a discourse of reform. In Reform Cinema in Iran, Blake Atwood examines how new industrial and aesthetic practices created a distinct cultural and political style in Iranian film between 1989 and 2007. Atwood analyzes a range of popular, art, and documentary films. He provides new readings of internationally recognized films such as Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry (1997) and Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Time for Love (1990), as well as those by Rakhshan Bani, Masud Kiami, and other key Iranian directors. At the same time, he also considers how filmmakers and the film industry were affected by larger political and religious trends that took shape during Mohammad Khatami's presidency (1997-2005). Atwood analyzes political speeches, religious sermons, and newspaper editorials and pays close attention to technological developments, particularly the rise of video, to determine their role in democratizing filmmaking and realizing the goals of political reform. He concludes with a look at the legacy of reform cinema, including films produced under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose neoconservative discourse rejected the policies of reform that preceded him.
  • Topic: Film
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231543149
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Nadya Hajj
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: The right to own property is something we generally take for granted. For refugees living in camps, in some cases for as long as generations, the link between citizenship and property ownership becomes strained. How do refugees protect these assets and preserve communal ties? How do they maintain a sense of identity and belonging within chaotic settings? Protection Amid Chaos follows people as they develop binding claims on assets and resources in challenging political and economic spaces. Focusing on Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, it shows how the first to arrive developed flexible though legitimate property rights claims based on legal knowledge retained from their homeland, subsequently adapted to the restrictions of refugee life. As camps increased in complexity, refugees merged their informal institutions with the formal rules of political outsiders, devising a broader, stronger system for protecting their assets and culture from predation and state incorporation. For this book, Nadya Hajj conducted interviews with two hundred refugees. She consults memoirs, legal documents, and findings in the United Nations Relief Works Agency archives. Her work reveals the strategies Palestinian refugees have used to navigate their precarious conditions while under continuous assault and situates their struggle within the larger context of communities living in transitional spaces.
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, Refugee Issues, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231542920
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Ching-Chang Chen, Denny Roy, Utpal Vyas
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Kim Jong Un (KJU) regime, since its inception, has ratcheted up tension on the Korean Peninsula. His decision to dishonor what he had agreed to—a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches as well as the return of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors to Yongbyon—at several rounds of bilateral talks with the United States in February 2012 confirmed the belief that North Korea is a historically unpredictable and unreliable actor. Because the new North Korean leadership needed to fulfill its promise that North Korea would enter an “era of being a strong and prosperous nation ( gangseongdaeguk ),” pursuing economic recovery by easing tension through reconciliation with the international community, including the United States, was of significance. North Korea could have obtained nutritional assistance including corn, soy beans, vegetable oils, and ready-to-eat therapeutic food, but instead it initiated a string of provocations and hostile threats, which brought China's patience to the limits, strengthened UN sanctions, and consolidated the US position not to engage with North Korea before Pyongyang shows concrete steps for denuclearization. Hence, for the international observers, North Korea's gamble seemed to be a grave mistake.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, North Korea