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  • Author: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan represents one of the most unique combinations a country and its society may offer. It is a country with a challenging and unforgiving but majestic geography which favors independence both to the central authorities in the capital but also to potential intruders from the outside. It holds a unique geopolitical location south and east of the Hindukush connecting Central Asia to South Asia, and the Middle East to each of them. It is home to a proud, independent people with a history of ages-old religions and diverse cultures, but also of conflict and war. The Afghans and their country stand out in terms of drama, disadvantages and sometimes even simple suffering, witnessing nearly three decades – an entire generation – of warfare and civil strife. Afghanistan too is home to one of the most archaic societies north of the Indian Ocean. It has very little transportation or energy infrastructure, one of the world's highest rates of poverty, and some of the lowest levels of literacy, health care and GDP per capita. However, Afghanistan is today the world's most important opium producer and is centrally located in a region marked by high population and poverty with tendencies toward fundamentalist religious expression. Afghanistan itself became a base of Islamic militancy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Joel E. Oestreich
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: In 1979 the Polish delegation to the United Nations proposed that the international community consider a new charter on children's rights. The Polish proposal came during the International Year of the Child, and it was meant to build on the publicity being generated for children's welfare around the world. The then-communist Polish delegation's proposal for the charter also had overtones of Cold War propaganda; it emphasized the sort of “positive” rights that were favored by socialist states (e.g., the right to health care or adequate housing) and that were used to embarrass those Western states that tended to promote more “negative” rights (e.g., free speech and freedom of religion).
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Organization, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Author: Kent J. Kille
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: The office of the UN secretary-general has been described as a needed voice in an international arena where moral principles are often seen as subservient to concerns over power and interest. In fact, because the secretary-generalship is a relatively constrained position lacking in traditional forms of power, those who analyze the position tend to see the moral authority of an officeholder as vital to the operation of the office. Such moral authority is often viewed as dependent on the personal qualities of individual officeholders. As one observer notes, “If it is a moral authority, one may ask, whence does this moral authority derive? It derives from the personality of the Secretary-General himself and not just from the office he holds.” It is therefore appropriate to inquire into the religious and moral values of those who hold the office. If a secretary-general's “own morality . . . must forbid him certain policies,” and presumably encourage other policies, then one should be able to trace the decision-making implications of these values across the activities of the officeholders.
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion, United Nations, International Affairs
  • Author: Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Failed states have made it to the top of the international agenda following 11 September 2001. This paper gives an overview of the debate on 'what to do'. Firstly, it suggests an explanation of where these so-called failed states are coming from: Why do some states self-destruct? Secondly, four different approaches to failed states are presented and discussed - with special emphasis on the dilemmas and predicaments they each hold. The paper concludes that the question of what to do with failed states requires a political answer. Not a technical one.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government, Terrorism
  • Author: Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Dangerous Strait provides fresh perspectives on the complex political, economic, and strategic issues of the Taiwan Strait. Essays examine a variety of topics, which include the movement for independence and its place in Taiwanese domestic politics, the underlying weaknesses of democracy in Taiwan, and the significance of China and Taiwan's economic interdependence. In the area of security, contributors provide incisive critiques of Taiwan's incomplete military modernization, the strains in U.S.-Taiwan relations and their differing interpretations of China's intentions, and the misguided inclination to abandon Washington's traditional policy of strategic ambiguity.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231509633
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: The regime of Kim Jong-Il has been called "mad," "rogue," even, by the Wall Street Journal, the equivalent of an "unreformed serial killer." Yet, despite the avalanche of television and print coverage of the Pyongyang government’s violation of nuclear nonproliferation agreements and existing scholarly literature on North Korean policy and security, this critical issue remains mired in political punditry and often misleading sound bites. Victor Cha and David Kang step back from the daily newspaper coverage and cable news commentary and offer a reasoned, rational, and logical debate on the nature of the North Korean regime. Coming to the issues from different perspectives—Kang believes the threat posed by Pyongyang has been inflated and endorses a more open approach, while Cha is more skeptical and advocates harsher measures—the authors together have written an essential work of clear-eyed reflection and authoritative analysis. They refute a number of misconceptions and challenge much faulty thinking that surrounds the discussion of North Korea, particularly the idea that North Korea is an irrational nation. Cha and Kang contend that however provocative, even deplorable, the Pyongyang government’s behavior may at times be, it is not incomprehensible or incoherent. Neither is it "suicidal," they argue, although crisis conditions could escalate to a degree that provokes the North Korean regime to "lash out" as the best and only policy, the unintended consequence of which are suicide and/or collapse. Further, the authors seek to fill the current scholarly and policy gap with a vision for a U.S.-South Korea alliance that is not simply premised on a North Korean threat, not simply derivative of Japan, and not eternally based on an older, "Korean War generation" of supporters. This book uncovers the inherent logic of the politics of the Korean peninsula, presenting an indispensable context for a new policy of engagement. In an intelligent and trenchant debate, the authors look at the implications of a nuclear North Korea for East Asia and U.S. homeland security, rigorously assessing historical and current U.S. policy, and provide a workable framework for constructive policy that should be followed by the United States, Japan, and South Korea if engagement fails to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231505338
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Has the international movement for democracy and human rights gone from being a weapon against power to part of the arsenal of power itself? Nicolas Guilhot explores this question in his penetrating look at how the U.S. government, the World Bank, political scientists, NGOs, think tanks, and various international organizations have appropriated the movement for democracy and human rights to export neoliberal policies throughout the world. His work charts the various symbolic, ideological, and political meanings that have developed around human rights and democracy movements. Guilhot suggests that these shifting meanings reflect the transformation of a progressive, emancipatory movement into an industry dominated by “experts” ensconced in positions of power. Guilhot’s story begins in the 1950s when U.S. foreign policy experts promoted human rights and democracy as part of a “democratic international” to fight the spread of communism. Later, the unlikely convergence of anti-Stalinist leftists and the nascent neoconservative movement found a place in the Reagan administration. These “State Department Socialists,” as they were known, created policies and organizations that provided financial and technical expertise to democratic movements and also supported authoritarian, anti-communist regimes, particularly in Latin America. Guilhot traces the intellectual and social trajectories of key academics, policymakers, and institutions, including Seymour M. Lipset, Jeane Kirkpatrick, the “Chicago Boys,” influenced by Milton Friedman, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Ford Foundation. He examines the ways in which various individuals, or “double agents,” were able to occupy pivotal positions at the junction of academe, national, and international institutions, and activist movements. He also pays particular attention to the role of the social sciences in transforming the old anti-communist crusades into respectable international organizations that promoted progressive and democratic ideals, but did not threaten the strategic and economic goals of Western governments and businesses. Guilhot’s purpose is not to disqualify democracy promotion as a conspiratorial activity. Rather he offers new perspectives on the roles of various transnational human rights institutions and the policies they promote. Ultimately, his work proposes a new model for understanding the international politics of legitimate democratic order and the relation between popular resistance to globalization and the “Washington Consensus.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, Human Rights, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231504195
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Gene Sharp
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Abstract: We live in a world of many conflicts, and we have a responsibility to face many of them. Not all conflicts are equal. Some are much more important than others, and in some conflicts the issues at stake are more difficult to resolve in acceptable ways than are those in other conflicts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies
  • Author: John S. Nurser
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: In this new century, born in hope but soon thereafter cloaked in terror, many see religion and politics as a volatile, if not deadly, mixture. For All Peoples and All Nations uncovers a remarkable time when that was not so; when together, those two entities gave rise to a new ideal: universal human rights. John Nurser has given life to a history almost sadly forgotten, and introduces the reader to the brilliant and heroic people of many faiths who, out of the aftermath of World War II and in the face of cynicism, dismissive animosity, and even ridicule, forged one of the world's most important secular documents, the United Nations's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These courageous, persistent, visionary individuals—notable among them an American Lutheran Seminary professor from Philadelphia, O. Frederick Nolde—created the Commission on Human Rights. Eventually headed by one of the world's greatest humanitarians, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Universal Declaration has become the touchstone for political legitimacy. As David Little says in the foreword to this remarkable chronicle, "Both because of the large gap it fills in the story of the founding of the United Nations and the events surrounding the adoption of human rights, and because of the wider message it conveys about religion and peacebuilding, For All Peoples and All Nations is an immensely important contribution. We are all mightily in John Nurser's debt." If religion and politics could once find common ground in the interest of our shared humanity, there is hope that it may yet be found again. - See more at: http://press.georgetown.edu/book/georgetown/all-peoples-and-all-nations#sthash.GJp0Kv8T.dpuf
  • Topic: Human Rights, Religion
  • Author: George Kent
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: Each year, more than 10 million children die before their fifth birthdays, about half of them from causes associated with malnutrition. This is a silent holocaust, repeated year after year. Malnutrition leads to death, illness, and a significantly reduced quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. This book's central concern is that very many people do not get adequate food, in terms of quantity or in terms of quality.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Food