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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Tatyana Alekseeva
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The International Primakov Readings Forum took place November 29-30, 2016, in commemoration of Yevgeny Primakov. The meeting was organized by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO led by Alexander Dynkin) and was backed by the World Trade Center, the Russian Science Foundation, the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and the University of Pennsylvania. In his address to the Forum, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin argued that Primakov had succeeded in predicting the events unfolding in today’s world, especially in the Middle East. As the Head of State put it, “Actually, I was always taking heed of Primakov’s assessments, as he was a wise and astute diplomat. I trusted him and asked to accomplish responsible and sensitive missions rather than ordered him”. Besides, the Primakov Readings Conference brought together Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chair of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, and President’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov who delivered an opening speech. The Forum was also attended by most leading experts on international relations. The Rethinking Russia Think Tank presents the comment of Tatyana Alekseeva, a participant of the Primakov Readings Forum.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Bryan MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: At the start of 1917, rumours reached London that something was stirring in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). As a result, the concerned Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, urgently dispatched Lord Milner, a diplomat of some repute, to the Russian capital. His Lordship visited the Tsar and spoke to ministers and members of the Duma, who informed him that enemies of the state were spreading groundless yarns. Sadly, being a creature of his class, Milner believed that only the elites mattered so he neglected to consult any of the general public. Thus, cocooned in his bubble, the peer reported to London that there was nothing the government could not handle and no need to expect no major changes. However, the same British travelling party also included Lloyd George’s private secretary Philip Kerr. A little more clued in, Kerr walked the streets and interviewed the plain folk. Armed with their predictions, he sent a telegram to Downing Street which asserted that Russia was on the verge of an unstoppable revolution. As it happens, the man who stepped out of the comfort zone was right because Nikolai II was shorn of his crown before the British delegation made it home. We know this story because many years later the ‘Welsh Wizard,’ Lloyd George, revealed the details to Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London. And almost a hundred years later, it is a salutary lesson in the dangers of the establishment refusing to acknowledge ordinary people’s concerns when evaluating the causes of political upheaval.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The transatlantic relationship is likely to face difficult challenges whatever the result of the US election. If Trump wins he will launch a revolutionary presidency — pulling back from NATO and other security guarantees, undermining key parts of the global free trade regime and building closer relations with strong-man leaders than allies. Even if Hillary is elected the transatlantic relationship could still face difficult albeit more everyday challenges. Her poor relations with Moscow, exacerbated by gender issues, could threaten transatlantic unity on Russia. Europe would be foolish not to learn lessons from the experience of Trump’s candidacy. Trump represents only an extreme version of a growing feeling in the United States that, in a time of relative decline, the country is getting a raw deal from its allies. The EU should not be complacent in assuming that the transatlantic relationship will continue as it is and should begin to take more responsibility for its own defence and build resilience against a potentially more self-interested US.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: Central Asia presents a broad spectrum of security challenges. These range from religious terrorism, organised crime and simmering ethnic quarrels to endemic corruption, environmental decline and a disintegrating infrastructure. Besides, the danger of instability is heightened by a lurking receptiveness to religious extremism among returned migrants.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: On 12 May we received the news that David Greenwood had passed away. It was expected in a way, but still it came as a shock. David had been suffering from a disease one can fight for some time, but never beat. Although at the end he was very weak and never left home anymore, David was not supposed to leave Margaret and all of us so soon.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: In the second half of 2007 we decided to take the Starlink programme further east and got in touch with the Netherlands Embassy in Astana to investigate possibilities in Kazakhstan. During a fact-finding mission in November 2007 we found that there was a clear need to develop capacity for democratic governance in the security sector of Kazakhstan. The country is engaged in a process of reform that, if successful, will improve oversight of the security agencies, enable the country to fulfil the commitments it undertook in its NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan of 2006, and enhance Kazakhstan’s standing at the OSCE. Kazakhstan will hold the presidency of the OSCE in 2010. It is obvious that Kazakhstan has put in place several of the laws and institutions required for democratic oversight of the security sector, and others are likely to follow. However, Kazakhstan still has some way to go to foster a culture of accountability. Here Starlink training courses will be helpful. The Starlink programme has been included in Kazakhstan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus