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  • Author: Philippe Le Corre
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan is one of China’s direct neighbours, and a prominent one by size and border. As the Chinese proverb states, “a close neighbour is more valuable than a distant relative”,[1] hence the importance of Sino-Kazakh ties, especially at a time when Beijing tries to promote its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) across Eurasia. The country has a 1782.75 km-long border with China, and shares much history and people with the former Middle Kingdom. Although data is sparse, it is known that many Uyghurs –the main tribe of Xinjiang, China’s troubled autonomous region – live in Kazakhstan. There are also ethnic Kazakhs living on the Chinese side, in Xinjiang (many of them facing great political difficulties, if not persecutions).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Kobi Michael, Gabi Siboni
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is heavily engaged in preparations for a the “Great March of Return,” scheduled for May 14, 2018, when thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians will march toward the security fence and position themselves in tent cities along the Israeli border. The event is intended to highlight the Palestinian refugee issue and connect it to the plight of those living the Gaza Strip
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Yoel Guzansky, Kobi Michael
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Qatar’s support for Hamas and its investment in the Gaza Strip, though based more on pragmatism than on ideological identification, suit its foreign policy, which supports political Islam and aims to increase Doha’s influence in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Sarah Hellmüller , Marie-Joelle Zahar
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: On March 15, 2018, the Syrian armed conflict entered into its eighth year. Since 2011, attempts to facilitate a political solution to the Syrian conflict have either failed or stalled. Amidst this deadlock, one track that has not stalled is the civil society track. Against the odds, progress can be observed at this level as Syrian civil society has become better organized and more tightly interconnected, and as its voice in the process has grown stronger.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Fred Strasser
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the U.S. seeks to advance its interests in South Asia 17 years into the Afghanistan war, a basic policy question unavoidably presents itself: How much leverage does America really have in the region?
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, South Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post-9/11 era, Washington has waged innovative campaigns against terrorism finance, sanctions evasion, and money laundering. Leveraging America’s heavyweight status in the international financial system, the United States Treasury has isolated and bankrupted rogue regimes, global terrorists, and their enablers. As financial technology transforms global business, the traditional financial system faces new competition across a suite of offerings, ranging from brokerage services to peer to peer lending. In no area is this clearer than in mobile payments, where a global hegemon lies ready to exercise its weight, and it is not the United States
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zeliha Eliaçık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To the contrary of its relatively “new” relations with the United States of America, Turkey’s relations with the West have been established and continued via Europe since the period of the Ottoman Empire.1 The military alliance and cooperation initiated between Turkey and Germany in the late 19th century have gained a human dimension in the frame of the “Turkish Labor Force Agreement” signed upon the settlement of Turkish workers in Germany in the 20th century. Bilateral relations have been maintained without interruption despite occasional fluctuations in the intensity of these relations. Recently, the two countries have maintained closer ties as they both are affected by the U.S. sanctions and “trade wars.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: UN-brokered talks to finally reunify Cyprus after 43 years offered hope, but obstacles remained and any deal would have to be approved in referendums on both sides. Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement put forward by the United Nations in 2004. The reunification of Cyprus is one of the world’s longest running and intractable international problems. The latest talks in Geneva in January 2017 between Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek-Cypriot President, and Mustafa Akıncı, his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart, after 20 months of negotiations, made significant progress. The issues of territorial adjustments and security and guarantees are the most sensitive and core issues yet to be resolved and ones that will determine whether a solution can be reached and approved in referendums on both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus
  • Author: Karim Mezran
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the Trump administration assumes office, it faces a major challenge in Libya, where the country’s situation continues to deteriorate as an ongoing conflict worsens. The Libya Peace Agreement produced in 2015 by a UN-backed process, which established a Presidential Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA), is floundering. The PC/GNA has failed to garner credibility on the ground since landing in Tripoli almost a year ago and it has suffered from significant infighting.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: America, Libya
  • Author: Virginie Collombier
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: More than one year after the signing of the Libyan Political Accord (LPA) in Skhirat, implementation of the agreement is impeded by obstacles which now look insurmountable. Despite efforts by Western countries and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to empower the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), major constituencies have continued contesting its legitimacy and refusing its authority.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya, Global Focus
  • Author: Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: During 2016 and in the first few weeks of 2017, it has become clear that General Khalifa Haftar is gaining support both locally and internationally. Egypt, the Emirates, Russia, and France, all played a role in strengthening his power.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya, Global Focus
  • Author: Sami Zaptia
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Six years on from its February 2011 revolution, Libya’s political scene is characterized by fragmentation and polarization. The constantly shifting political and military allegiances and contested legitimacy since 2014 have today resulted in three Libyan ‘‘governments’’ claiming legitimacy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Tim Oliver, Michael Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: Even before Donald Trump won the US presidential election he left an indelible mark on US politics and on views of the US in Britain and around the world. his victory means those views will now have to be turned into policy towards a president many in Britain feel uneasy about. Current attitudes to Trump can be as contradictory and fast changing as the president-elect’s own political positions. They can be a mix of selective praise and horror. he has in the past been criticised by British political leaders from the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to the Mayor of london Sadiq khan. In early 2016 a petition of over half a million signatures led Parliament to debate (and reject) banning Trump from entering the Uk. Yet he has also drawn the support of politicians such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and polling showed support amongst the British public for his 2015 proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US. After the presidential election British ministers were quick to extend an olive branch. Johnson himself refused to attend a hastily convened EU meeting to discuss Trump’s election. Instead he called on the rest of the EU to end its collective ‘whinge-o-rama’.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political stability, Post Truth Politics, Populism
  • Political Geography: Britain, America
  • Author: Dmitry Streltsov
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: International analytical center “Rethinking Russia” presents a commentary of Dmitry Streltsov, doctor of history, head of the Department of Oriental studies of the MGIMO University, on the results of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Sarah Feuer
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The countries of northwest Africa -- Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia -- have proven either more resilient or more adaptive than other Middle East states to the political upheavals that have engulfed the region over the last half-dozen years. To varying degrees, however, stability remains a major challenge for all these countries as they face transnational terrorism, spillover from the conflict in Libya, abrupt shifts in domestic political dynamics, potential flare-ups of regional conflicts, and unforeseen events that could ignite deep-seated resentment at a local mix of stagnant economies, endemic corruption, and profound disparities between wealth and poverty. In this Transition 2017 essay, Robert Satloff and Sarah Feuer warn against overlooking a corner of the Middle East that doesn't attract the same attention as areas facing more-acute conflict. Outlining America's key strategic interests in this region, they discuss specific ways the Trump administration can advance these interests in terms of both bilateral and regional relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Northwest Africa
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Like many of his predecessors, President Trump has come to office pledging to solve the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In this paper, two veteran U.S. peace negotiators point out the repeated failure of past efforts to reach "all-or-nothing" solutions to this conflict, urge the president not to seek a comprehensive settlement, and instead recommend an approach based on reaching an understanding with Israel on steps that could, preserve the potential for a two-state outcome in the future; blunt the delegitimization movement against Israel; and give the administration leverage to use with the Palestinians, other Arabs, and Europeans. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has faded in significance in the Middle East against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria, the rise of ISIS, and the regionwide clash of Sunni and Shiite powers. Both the likelihood for a return to the negotiating table and the prospects for a two-state solution are growing dim.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: James F. Jeffrey, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Given the unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty afflicting the Middle East, the new administration will need to devote particular care and urgency to understanding the essence of America's interests in the region, and applying clear principles in pursuing them. This is the advice offered by two U.S. diplomats with a distinguished record of defending those interests under various administrations. As Trump and his team take office, they face a regional state system that is under assault by proxy wars that reflect geopolitical rivalries and conflicts over basic identity. Rarely has it been more important for a new administration to articulate clear goals and principles, and Ambassadors James Jeffrey and Dennis Ross outline both in this transition paper. With 30 percent of the world's hydrocarbons still flowing from the Middle East, safeguarding that supply remains a critical U.S. national security interest, along with preventing nuclear proliferation, countering terrorism, and preserving stability. In their view, the best way to pursue these interests is to emphasize a coherent set of guiding principles, namely:
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Ronald Lee, Andrew Mason
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In advanced economies around the world, population growth is slowing down and populations are growing older. Economic growth is also slowing, at least in part because of the slow growth of the labor force and of populations as a whole—despite immigration. Many empirical studies have found that gross domestic product (GDP) growth slows roughly one to one with declines in labor-force and population growth—a disquieting prospect for the United States and for advanced economies in Asia and Europe. If there are fewer workers to support a growing elderly population and worker productivity remains the same, either consumption must be reduced or labor supply increased—for example, through later retirement. By 2050, the projected slowdown in growth of the labor supply could lead to a drop in consumption of 25 percent in China, 9 percent in the United States, and 13 percent in other high-income countries. The situation could be improved, however, by a rise in labor-force productivity. In fact, standard growth models predict that slower population growth will lead to rising output and wages per worker. The underlying question is whether this higher output per worker will be sufficient to offset the rise in the number of dependents per worker as the population ages. To help answer this question, this article looks more closely at how economic activity varies by age, drawing on national transfer accounts, which measure how people at various ages produce, consume, and save resources. This analysis shows that GDP and national income growth will most certainly slow down as populations age, but the effect on individuals—as measured by per capita income and consumption—may be quite different.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As many analysts have pointed out, US policy towards North Korea is “failing.” It is true that Pyongyang has declined the US/South Korean offer to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic opportuni es and upgraded poli cal rela ons. Instead, the North Korean government remains intensely hos le towards Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo, and con nues making progress towards deploying a nuclear‐ pped intercon nental ballis c missile — a frightening prospect.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: John R. Haines
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Several weeks after winning a plurality in Bulgaria’s late March parliamentary election, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov did something unprecedented: he brought the nationalist United Patriots (Obedineni Patrioti) into his coalition government. The United Patriots is an electoral alliance of three parties, the IMRO[2]-Bulgarian National Movement (VMRO-Bulgarsko Natsionalno Dvizhenie), the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (Natzionalen Front za Spasenie na Bulgaria), and Attack (Attaka). Their inclusion in the coalition government has given rise to concern among Bulgaria’s NATO allies (and many Bulgarian themselves) about what the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Korneliya Ninova called Mr. Borissov’s “floating majority, his unprincipled alliance”[3] (plavashti mnozinstva, bezprintsipni sŭyuzi). That concern is well placed for several reasons. Only a few years ago, even the nationalist IMRO-BND and NFSB excluded the radical Ataka[4] from their electoral alliance dubbed the “Patriotic Front” (Patriotichen front) because of Ataka’s positions on Russia and NATO. Even then, however, the Patriotic Front’s “nationalist profile” (natsionalisticheskiyat profil) was so far to Bulgaria’s political right to cause Mr. Borissov to exclude the Patriotic Front from his coalition government. He did so with the active encouragement of his center-right European People’s Party allies across the European Union. “Nothing against the PF, but unfortunately the things Valeri Simeonov [a PF leader, more about whom anon] proposes do not correspond to our Euro-Atlantic orientation,” said Mr. Borissov at the time.[5]
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Bulgaria
  • Author: David Danelo
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: On January 29, 2016, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a law changing the official name of Mexico’s capital region from Distrito Federal, or D.F., to Ciudad de Mexico. Beyond altering nearly two centuries of dialectical urban description—the region had been called D.F. since 1824 when Mexico’s first constitution was written—the adjustment grants Ciudad de Mexico a level of autonomous governance similar to the country’s other 31 states. The name change devolved power from Mexico’s federal government “to the citizens of Mexico City” and was presented with great public fanfare. Much of Ciudad de Mexico’s new constitution, which was signed in February 2017 and will become law in September 2018, was crowd-sourced from online petitions and community advocates. With articles enshrining green space and LGBT protections, the document has been hailed by liberal advocates as the most progressive in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: June Teufel Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The first 100 days of a president’s term—the “honeymoon period,” during which his power and influence are believed to be their greatest—are, whether rightly or wrongly, regarded as a predictor of a president’s success during the remainder of his term. Given the often bombastic tone of Candidate Trump’s campaign rhetoric, it was to be expected that the foreign powers against whom much of his vitriol was directed would seek to challenge the determination of President Trump to live up to his promises. And so it has been.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: June Teufel Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Palm Beach heaved a collective sigh of relief as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plane lifted off from the county airport. Gone were the noisy cheers of his supporters and the anti-Xi banners and jeers of Falongong practitioners, human rights advocates, and admirers of Tibet and Taiwan. The Palm Beach Post reverted from moment-to-moment briefings from the chief of police on street blockages and security precautions to issues of more immediate concern like rip tides and coverage of the Master’s golf tournament competition. Members of Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago private club, whose initiation fee had doubled to $200,000 after his election, could now return to accessing the privileges for which they had paid so handsomely.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Artyom Lukin
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Russia is now the only major country that is on more or less friendly terms with Pyongyang. Its current economic leverage with the North comes mostly from the importation of North Korean labor, which provides Pyongyang with a vital source of cash. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) trusts no person or country, but it probably distrusts Russia much less than China and the United States. This dynamic gives Russia a potential diplomatic role in the North Korean problem. The Kremlin does not support using high pressure tactics against Pyongyang, especially military options, as it might have unpredictable and disastrous consequences for the entire Northeast Asian region. Moscow is committed to the denuclearization of North Korea, but sees it as a long-term goal, while the most realistic objective at present should be a North Korean nuclear and missile moratorium, or “freeze.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: China’s increased engagement in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe has aroused concerns in Europe that China is pursuing a divisive strategy. Its primary goal, however, is to use the region as a gateway to Western Europe’s markets while including the EU in its own Eurasian integration project; in Beijing’s view, a robust regulatory EU is doubtless preferable to a fragmented Europe. China’s deepening involvement in the region could nevertheless increase economic divisions within the EU as whole. As a trade triangle emerges involving China, Germany, and the Visegrad states, the “German-Central European manufacturing core” potentially stands to gain at the expense of the EU’s Atlantic and southern European member states. Germany must address this risk with a triple strategy that balances national interest, EU cohesion, and engagement with China. This involves, first, working with the Visegrad Four, with other European countries, and with EU institutions to forge a deeper and more effective cooperation with China to enhance transport connectivity and economic modernization, particularly in the Western and Eastern Balkans. Second, Germany should increase pressure on China to open up the Chinese domestic market to ensure mutual access. And third, it should promote forward-looking European industrial policy centered on the digitalization of value and supply chains for Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe. This would allow Germany to prevent intra-European divisions from deepening, while taking advantage of its triangular relations with China and the countries of Central Europe and fostering mutually advantageous integration across Eurasia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Raz Zimmt
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The new government proposed by President Hassan Rouhani is the first significant evidence of his intentions, priorities, and limits of power. While forming his government, the President was forced to balance the opposing forces in the Iranian political system. The composition of the government reflects his wish to avoid open conflict with the religious establishment, led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his intention to place the economic crisis at the top of his government's priorities, even at the expense of civic reforms. His decision to ignore calls for reforms and the failure to include women and minorities in the government have already sowed disappointment and drawn criticism from broad sections of the public that supported him in the last elections. However, public support depends to a large extent on actual policies and success in realizing promises, mainly in the area of the economy. Putting economic matters at the top of the agenda for his new government requires cooperation with other centers of power in Iran, above all, the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards. This means that with regard to foreign affairs and security issues no significant changes in Iranian policy are expected.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Emily Landau
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: While North Korea’s recent nuclear tests significantly raised the level of fear in the United States, they were not a surprise. North Korea, long a nuclear state, is a dangerous nuclear proliferator that has shirked international commitments. Pyongyang issues highly aggressive rhetoric toward the United States and its regional neighbors on a regular basis; it flaunts its nuclear capability and threatens to use it, and tends to share nonconventional know-how and technologies. And herein lies a link to Tehran: as Iran also remains motivated in the nuclear realm despite the JCPOA, the direct implications of North Korea's activities for Iran's nuclear program must be under constant scrutiny. The indirect implications for dealing with Iran's nuclear motivation invoke the ability to rely on negotiations to stop a determined proliferator. The North Korean case of failed negotiations must be heeded when thinking about Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The crisis concerning the Temple Mount that erupted in July 2017 appears to have ebbed. Despite predictions to the contrary, the Middle East is not ablaze; peoples and leaders of the region remain preoccupied with other crises; and there is no third intifada at Israel’s doorstep. At the same time, the attack on the Temple Mount that left two Israeli policemen dead brought on serious additional consequences, including the murders in Halamish, the tension with Jordan, worsened relations between Israel’s Jewish population and its Arab sector, and further erosion of Israel’s vague sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Daniel Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Jerusalem’s holy sites have a way of asserting strategic significance far beyond what their simple physical presence would suggest. Events in the aftermath of the shooting of two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount highlight this truth. So it was with respect to the Kotel (Western Wall) a month earlier, albeit in a non- security context. Following the Israeli government’s decision to reverse course on an agreement with the liberal streams of Judaism and Diaspora representatives to establish a third section of the Kotel for egalitarian prayer, a crisis erupted that has called into question Israel’s very relationship with Diaspora communities, first and foremost the American Jewish community, which has been steadfast in its support of the US-Israel bilateral relationship. The sense of crisis was deepened further by a separate government decision to advance a law on conversion that could call into question the validity of conversions when Jews converted by Reform and Conservative rabbis overseas come to Israel.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension on the Temple Mount and the crisis between Israel and Jordan following the attack on a security guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman need more than ad hoc solutions that leave the basic situation unresolved and the strategic opportunities untapped. Israel would do well to seize the political and operational initiative before international and regional entities do, and propose, inter alia, an international meeting on steps that can prevent radical entities from violating freedom of worship and freedom of access to the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Judaism and Islam. The proposals on the Temple Mount issue relate to another key issue, namely, Israel’s response to key regional changes - the accelerated weakening of Arab political unity and the strengthening of the parties threatening the survival of the moderate Arab regimes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Sima Shine, Raz Zimmt, Anna Catran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards that was evident during the presidential election campaign has intensified in recent weeks and evolved into a confrontation that is unprecedented in its openly severe nature. The current confrontation surrounds two main issues: Iran’s missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria, and President Rouhani’s criticism of the Revolutionary Guards’ involvement in the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The agenda alone of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7-8, 2017 was not sufficient to draw the world’s attention. Although the forum brings together the leaders of the world’s 19 leading economies and the European Union, representing two thirds of the global population and 80 percent of the global GDP, it generally draws little more than thousands of demonstrators protesting globalization. This summit, however, generated much interest as it provided the stage for personal meetings between leaders, some the first of their kind, such as between Presidents Trump and Putin. In addition, at the summit Trump had to confront the other 19 leaders directly on some trade issues and the Paris Agreement, and the summit itself took place while eyes were also directed eastward, starting just after North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amos Yadlin, Avner Golov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: On July 4, 2017, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of flying a distance of over 6,000 kilometers. With the test, the first of its kind for Pyongyang, North Korea sought to highlight its ability to threaten United States territory, not merely American forces stationed in Northeast Asia. The missile, which was in the air for nearly 40 minutes, was launched specifically on American Independence Day, a few days after the meeting between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who favors a conciliatory approach to North Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fuad Olajuwon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In recent news, North Korea has been the hot button issue with governments and bureaucrats alike. The geopolitical nature of the country leaves many world leaders apprehensive as to what will happen next. Recent missile tests conducted by Pyongyang as well as brazen rhetoric spouted by Kim Jong Un towards neighboring countries poses a threat as to what actions North Korea will take moving forward. While it’s interesting to note the movements of the country in question, the reaction of the other nations in the region have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance of power. So the questions remain the same; is North Korea an aggressive force that has the resources and capability to fracture East Asian relations? Or can countries use these events to craft a new reality to preserve the sanctity of their respective states?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Critical reviews of hard-hitting commentaries on urgent global issues are published periodically by Project Syndicate as part of their Issue Adviser series. In the latest instalment, below, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation assesses the populist threat to globalization and international trade and considers arguments by economists such as Kaushik Basu, Jeffrey Frankel, Laura Tyson and other commentators
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group (AIHSG) is a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts who convene periodically to discuss these issues and to make recommendations to policy makers. To ensure the Department of Homeland Security makes further progress toward securing the homeland against ever evolving threats the AIHSG urges the President, Secretary, and Congress enact their recommendations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: William Schneider
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jeffrey Bleich
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: We grew up in a century defined by the Second Industrial Revolution. Today, that revolution is being eclipsed by a Digital Revolution. The uncertainty that we are experiencing in every aspect of our society is the same disorientation that occurred between 1870 and 1910 when the first Industrial Revolution ended and a second one began.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward M. Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: From a strategic perspective, Morocco’s decision to join the African Union (AU) 33 years after quitting the bloc illustrates King Mohammed VI’s vision of his country’s role on the continent as a platform for regional economic, political and security cooperation. It followed almost two decades of personal diplomatic efforts by the king to further Morocco’s goal of supporting greater regional and continental stability through common economic and political interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Robert Jackson
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Ghana is one of the leading democracies on the African continent, with multiple peaceful interparty transitions since the return of multi-party democracy in 1992; a good record on human rights; an apolitical military; and a lively, free media. Ghanaians often note that whenever the Republican Party wins the White House, Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins Jubilee House—a coincidental tradition that held true again in 2016. Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections were peaceful, transparent, and credible; U.S. engagement played a critical role in that success, as well as in the resulting peaceful transition of power.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ghana
  • Author: Morgan Wesley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The sudden resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri on October 4, 2017, may impose implications on the country’s economy, which showed signs of recovery over recent months. The recovery came on the heels of economic reforms introduced by the government and the parliament. The reforms, which included tax reforms and restructuring the oil industry, led to a rise in tourist arrivals and increasing confidence in the economy. The implications would hinge on how much time is need- ed to form a new government that would complete the economic measures initiated by its predecessor.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran appears to be trying to repeat its experience of establishing paramilitary militias, which started after the fall of Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime in 1979. Yet, this time it is in neighboring countries. On Novem- ber 7 in Tehran, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, urged the visiting Pakistani Chief of Army Staff , General Qamar Javed Bajwa to establish a Pakistani version of the Iranian Basij militia to back the regular army. He even said Iran was ready to o er its experience to the neighboring Pakistan, and showed o his country’s experience in Syria and Iraq. He further claimed that their previous experiences succeeded in achieving their goals. However, his assertion is not consistent with the realities on the ground, because Iranian-led militias have exacerbated regional crises and blocked efforts to reach settlements.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Charles A. Ford
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s leading exporter, the world’s leading importer, and the world’s primary source and destination of funds for foreign investment. Our position as the best place in the world to do business—the most reliable in which to buy, the most lucrative in which to sell, and the safest and surest in which to invest or to raise capital—is the cause, not an effect of American global leadership. Protecting and expanding the US role as the world’s supplier and customer of choice for goods, services, ideas, capital, and entrepreneurial energy should be a foreign policy objective second only to securing the homeland.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Jr. James D. Melville
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In August, Estonia marked 25 years since the end of Soviet occupation and the restoration of its national institutions. Estonia’s rapid reintegration with the West as a sovereign, stable, and prosperous democracy is nothing short of remarkable, and it serves as an inspiration to other nations. Theirs is a journey made possible through disciplined leadership, solid regulatory frameworks, strategic decisions, and a steadfast commitment to being a contributing member of European, transatlantic, and international alliances. Our partnership is one of allies with synchronized goals and values, a rare combination that gives both countries leverage to do even more.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Estonia
  • Author: William J. vanden Heuvel
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: On January 6, 1941, President Roosevelt came before the Congress and gave us a vision of the world that would be worthy of our civilization. He spoke—simply, eloquently—of a nation dedicated to the Four Freedom everywhere in the world
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Cyprus conflict has been a protracted, unresolved conflict for roughly five decades. The two conflicts share ethno-nationalist and territorial dimensions; tension between a sovereign state and a sub-state entity, and a hostile military presence; decades of failed negotiations, with both sides showing ambiguous commitment to the intended political framework for resolution (two states, or a federated state, respectively); and high involvement of the international community. This paper maps points of comparison related to conflict resolution efforts in both cases, including references to the civil society, public, political leadership, and negotiation processes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: It is rare to hear any good news about conflicts de-escalating. This week, the world rallied around the implementation of a ceasefire between the notorious and shadowy FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombia government. The conflict has dragged on for over fifty years. The most obvious and optimistic point is that a long and bloody past need not be the future forever. But other useful points are emerging, for comparison and maybe inspiration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Colombia, Palestine