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  • Author: Jason Warner, Hilary Matfess
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Since 2009, the Islamist group known as Boko Haram has ushered in a wave of violence across the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, at the intersection of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Among other tactics that it has employed during its reign of terror, the group has been noted for its use of suicide bombers. While the prevalence of suicide bombings has been duly recognized, little remains known about the broader arc of their existence and efficacy: What strategic and operational trends underlie Boko Haram’s use of suicide bombers, and how effective have they been at achieving their objectives? Just who are Boko Haram’s suicide bombers? Where are they deployed, what do they target, and how do different bomber demographics differ in their actions? More broadly, what does Boko Haram’s use of suicide bombers reveal about the past, present, and future of the terrorist group?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philip Chartoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Throughout the late 90s, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda allegedly made numerous attempts to acquire nuclear material from illicit actors. Starting in 2004, Hezbollah has been deploying Iranian-made, military-grade drones for surveillance and engagement. Terrorist groups, illicit organisations, and other non-state actors have a long fascination with advanced weapons technologies. In the early 90s, the Japanese death cult Aum Shinrikyo pursued multiple avenues to develop chemical, nuclear and biological weapons, eventually succeeding in the creation and deployment of Sarin gas. Throughout the late 90s, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda allegedly made numerous attempts to acquire nuclear material from illicit actors. Starting in 2004, Hezbollah has been deploying Iranian-made, military-grade drones for surveillance and engagement. Despite the relative success of less sophisticated weapons, and the substantial expense and difficulty of acquisition for more advanced systems, non-state actors continue to pursue advanced weapons for two significant reasons. For less funded, less powerful non-state actors, advanced weapons substantially increase the scale of the force they can wield against enemies—they promise to “level the playing field”. Advanced weapon systems also offer a significant reputational and symbolic benefit to non-state actors, as the ownership of such weapons confer a status limited to only a handful of powerful nations. States have long recognized these risks, and established numerous arms and export controls to restrict and regulate the transfer of massively destructive weapons. However, international efforts to restrict proliferation of such weapons are currently lagging behind the emergence of new, possibly as-destructive, technologies. In particular, the last few years have marked the rapid development of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). Considering their potential to escalate conflicts and inflict massive collateral damage, the international community has long been debating necessary restrictions on the implementation of autonomy in weapons systems, even considering a ban on fully-autonomous systems. However, such conversations have largely been limited to state use. The international community has been painfully slow to address the possible acquisition and use of LAWS by non-state actors.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Weapons , Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Misha Nagelmackers-Voinov
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Long considered a natural partner for peace through economic diplomacy and bilateral trade agreements, business has increasingly become ignored or demonised. The private sector comprises a wide diversity of organisations and is the part of the economy that is not run by a state, but by individuals and companies for profit. Small businesses/micro-companies serve as a good starting point for a conflict resolution process because they often constitute the only form of economic activity in a conflict zone. MNCs have a range of options to respond to conflict, but cannot openly take part in conflict resolution and peacebuilding initiatives, and rarely become involved officially. Track Two diplomacy is their more likely area of involvement. The United Nations has frequently supported the view that the private sector can be a powerful agent of change. However, the UN still engages only two players in conflict resolution and peacebuilding: civil society/NGOs and armed actors. UN peace operations have never been expressly mandated to consult with business or use its influence to build peace. Combining the resources, expertise and leverage of all possible actors would produce a more formidable force for peace. World affairs would benefit from integrating the private sector into a new UN system of governance; new routes are possible for a truly inclusive approach, recognising the business sector’s positive contribution to sustainable peace through informal mediation and collaborative engagement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economy, Business , Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Youssef Mahmoud, David Connolly, Delphine Mechoulan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Prevention is generally viewed as a crisis management tool to address the destructive dynamics of conflict. The sustaining peace agenda challenges this traditional understanding of preventive action by shifting the starting point of analysis to what is still working in society—the positive aspects of resilience—and building on these.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Josh Freed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Third Way Senior Vice President for Clean Energy Josh Freed released the following statement on the United Steelworkers and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers drive to organize production and maintenance workers at Tesla’s solar factory in Buffalo, New York:
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Josh Freed
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: I am not only the Vice President for Clean Energy at Third Way, a center left think tank based in Washington dedicated to getting the United States to zero carbon pollution by 2050. I am also a native of the DC area and almost twenty-year District resident. My father was born here, as were my children.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: My name is Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I am a resident of Ward 5 in the District of Columbia and Deputy Director of Clean Energy for Third Way, a policy think tank here in DC. As we saw yesterday with the release of the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is facing an enormous challenge in the fight against climate change. We at Third Way believe that this demands urgent, aggressive action now to reduce and eliminate carbon pollution as cost-effectively, and from as many sectors of the economy, as possible
  • Topic: Climate Change, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gabe Horwitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: The basic tenets of Unemployment Insurance (UI) have changed little since the program was enacted during the Great Depression. It was built as a bridge for workers between jobs in similar industries that required similar skills. You lose your job and a weekly check tides you over until you land a new one, usually doing the same type of work as before.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Employment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Simon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Europeans and Japanese are often described as ‘natural’ partners. As liberal democracies, market economies and close allies of the US, they have similar world views and share many interests. They also have a long history of cooperation, whose foundations go back to Japan’s embracing of modernisation and industrialisation in the late 19th century along European lines
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Whichever way one looks at it, Spain has been profoundly transformed since the 1978 democratic Constitution that sealed the end of the 1939-75 dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, the victor of the three-year Civil War. Be it economically with, for example, the creation of significant number of multinationals or the world’s second-largest tourism industry in terms of visitors (81.8 million in 2017), politically with a vibrant democracy that ranks high in classifications, socially with the greatly improved status of women or in foreign policy –where Spain has reclaimed its place on the international stage–, the country bears no resemblance to what it was like 40 years ago. Over the period, per capita income at purchasing power parity increased fivefold and life expectancy at birth rose by almost 10 years. All the more remarkable is that the transition, guided by King Juan Carlos I, was achieved in the face of considerable adversity. It was not guaranteed from the outset to be successful: the Basque terrorist group ETA killed an average of 50 people a year in the first decade of democracy (and mounted assassination attempts in 1995 on both the King and the Prime Minister, José María Aznar), and Francoist officers staged a coup in 1981 in an attempt to turn back the clock. The economy, which was entering a period of recession, galloping inflation and rising unemployment, was also subjected to unprecedented competition after decades of protectionism. In the first three months of 1976 there were 17,731 cases of industrial action alone. Today’s problems, such as the very high jobless rate, particularly among young adults, acute income inequality, increased social exclusion, the illegal push for independence in Catalonia and corruption in the political class do not detract from the fact that Spain has enjoyed an unprecedented period of prosperity and stability over the past 40 years. Spain has achieved conditions that are similar –in some cases better– than in the rest of Western European nations, disproving the theory, still beloved in some quarters, of the country’s ‘exceptional nature’ or ‘anomaly’.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus