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  • Author: Adam Ewing, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, George White Jr, Michael L. Krenn, Keisha N. Blain
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Keisha N. Blain, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and Global Struggle for Freedom
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Nationalism, History, Women, Feminism, Diplomatic History, Black Politics, African American Studies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Laura Hein, Michael J. Hogan, Aaron O'Connell, Carolyn Eisenberg, Curt Cardwell, Grant Madsen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Grant Madsen, Sovereign Soldiers: How the U.S. Military Transformed the Global Economy After World War II
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, History, World War II, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: United States
303. Migrations
  • Author: Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, Emman Usman Shehu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration
  • Abstract: Another year has ended. The editorial staff of Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration wish you a happy new year. What better way than to share the poem written by Dr. Emman Shehu?
  • Topic: Migration, Poem
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Institute CATO
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Why do we pay $600 for EpiPens, a long-existing piece of technology that contains just a dollar’s worth of medicine? Why do hospitalized patients so frequently receive bills laden with inflated charges that come out of the blue from out-ofnetwork providers or that demand payment for services that weren’t delivered?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Cato Institute
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Congressional staff members play a vital role in shaping policy—they make decisions on which issues their bosses prioritize, which arguments the representatives and senators hear, and what language makes it into legislation. Cato’s popular Capitol Hill Briefings offer these staff members timely briefings on the most pressing issues facing their offices. At these events, Cato scholars and other experts update the staff on their latest scholarship and policy recommendations, critique current or upcoming legislation, and answer staffers’ questions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Ambulances are notoriously expensive—one ride may cost more than $1,000, and insurance companies frequently refuse to cover them. In the past, patients had few alternatives to get themselves to the hospital—but in “Does Ride-Sharing Substitute for Ambulances?” (Research Briefs in Economic Policy no. 114), Leon S. Moskatel of Scripps Mercy Hospital and David J. G. Slusky of the University of Kansas demonstrate how the age of Uber and Lyft is changing that and is reducing expensive and unnecessary ambulance trips.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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: Martin S. Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The cost to US consumers and firms imposed by tariffs on Chinese imports is not large relative to the gain that would be achieved if the US succeeds in persuading China to stop illegally taking US firms’ technology. But the Trump administration should state that this is the goal, and that the tariffs will be removed when it is met.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The decline in the speed of the EU enlargement and in the EU’s transforming power has led to the rise of alarmism among international commentators regarding the future of the Balkans. The argument is usually twofold: if the EU integration of the Balkans is delayed further, not only will ominous third actors jump in and bring instability, but also the Balkan people will start grabbing each other’s throats. This is obviously a hegemonic discourse based on the immutable assumption that the EU is and will be the only legitimate international actor to be present in the region and ensure peace and prosperity there. It also assumes, by disregarding the historical contexts of the earlier conflicts in the region, that the Balkan societies are inherently violent and immature.
  • Topic: International Organization
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • 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: Evan A. Laksmana
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: A maritime realignment of Australia–Indonesia defence relations could shape the broader Indo-Pacific security architecture and provide an additional strategic hedge for both countries. One of the key prerequisites for the implementation and sustainability of the newly announced Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is the stabilisation of bilateral defence relations. To achieve such sustainability, bilateral defence engagement should focus on joint maritime challenges. Canberra should formulate long-term plans to assist the modernisation of Indonesia’s armed forces with a focus on maritime security operations, and should increase the number and scope of maritime exercises.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Putin’s foreign policy will remain grounded in long-standing assumptions about Russia, the West, and international order. There will be broad continuity in Russian foreign policy over the course of Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term. Any policy changes will be stylistic, not transformative. The Kremlin is committed to asserting Russia as a global power, although it will be tactically flexible in pursuing this ambition. Putin will present different faces to the West: sometimes accommodating, at other times assertive and even confrontational. But there will be no compromise on core principles.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Grand Strategy, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Australia’s dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN is more suitable for Australian interests in Southeast Asia than the idea of ASEAN membership. Australian membership in ASEAN is currently not possible. Australia’s dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN supports Australian policy autonomy and Australia’s engagement with Southeast Asia. The ASEAN–Australia dialogue partner relationship has significant room for growth.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Partnerships, Regional Integration, Trade
  • Political Geography: Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rita Parker
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Potential drivers of unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands require attention from regional governments including Australia. The challenges of unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands region are the result of several push-pull factors and can lead to instability and insecurity in the region. Unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands region has implications for more than one nation state and civil society and the balance of security and domestic stability can be disrupted. The challenge for policymakers is to recognise that drivers of unregulated population migration, including political or economic uncertainty, natural disasters, pandemics, climatic or environmental change, food or water scarcity, civil conflict, or organised crime, do not occur in isolation.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Migration, Natural Disasters, Immigration, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: James Curran
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: President Trump may be unwittingly preparing the United States for the end of American global hegemony. President Trump invokes neither the language nor history of the Pax Americana. His America First approach is only hardening, meaning allies will need to think about American power differently. The United States will not become a ‘normal nation’, but the distance between its sense of providential destiny and limited capacity to effect transformational change abroad will only grow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Hegemony, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Manu Bhaskaran
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Without bold adjustments, Singapore’s extraordinary economic performance may prove difficult to sustain. The Singapore economy retains many strengths but is facing growing challenges, including to its key regional hub status. Singapore’s ability to adjust effectively to these challenges may have weakened compared to the past. The major reason for this diminished capacity is that the policy responses required to support a successful adjustment may not be evolving quickly enough. Moreover, the capacity for companies to make more spontaneous bottom-up adjustments seems to be lacking.
  • Topic: Government, Economy, Business , Economic growth, Economic Policy, Capacity
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Stewart Firth
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic developments in the Pacific Island states matter more than ever to Australia. The challenges to internal resilience in the Pacific Islands are both structural — in the form of issues arising from population growth, urbanisation, land, immigration, health, and gender relations — and particular to the political situation in each Island nation. The inability of Pacific states to match service provision in cities with their growing populations is a major challenge to resilience. Of all political issues in Papua New Guinea, loss of customary land is the most likely to provoke protest and conflict.
  • Topic: Politics, Political stability, State Formation, Services
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Asia-Pacific, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia
  • Author: Euan Graham
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump–Kim summit is a distinct new phase in the dramatic cycle that defines the North Korea nuclear issue and the peninsula’s highly theatrical brand of geopolitics. Now that North Korea has finally reached the threshold of a nuclear missile capability to directly threaten the US mainland, its scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering a different sort of melodrama: the political theatre of Donald Trump. The North Korean nuclear issue cannot be understood without an appreciation of the fundamental tension within inter-Korean relations. There is no precedent for a minor, revisionist power developing an asymmetrical nuclear deterrence relationship with the United States. The result is unlikely to be stable.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Weapons , Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Greg Colton
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Greater Australian engagement in the Pacific Islands region is needed if Canberra wants to ensure regional stability and underpin Australia’s national security. Inconsistent engagement by Australia, the United States, France and New Zealand in the Pacific Islands region has created space that non-traditional powers have exploited to engage with sovereign Pacific Island states. There is an increasing risk of geostrategic competition in the region, particularly with the growing influence of China and the economic leverage it holds over some indebted Pacific Island nations. The Australian Government should pursue a deliberate strategy of forging stronger links with its traditional partners in the region, and more equitable partnerships with its Pacific Island neighbours, if it is to underpin regional stability and strengthen Australia’s national security.
  • Topic: International Relations, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, France, Australia, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Rodger Shanahan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Terrorists have manipulated the humanitarian crisis in Syria to create a cover for foreign fighters and to raise funds for terrorist groups under the guise of charitable donations. While terrorist abuse of charitable donations is a limited problem, even small amounts of funding can have disproportionately large effects. Early government intervention in setting due diligence standards for humanitarian aid groups operating in, or raising funds for use in, high-risk conflict zones is essential. The Australian Government should use the ‘declared area’ legislation more widely to raise the risk threshold for those seeking to use humanitarian assistance as cover for supporting terrorist causes overseas.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Australia, Syria
  • Author: Andrew Rosser
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Indonesia’s education system is low in quality and the underlying causes are political. Indonesia’s education system has been a high-volume, low-quality enterprise that has fallen well short of the country’s ambitions for an “internationally competitive” system. This outcome has reflected inadequate funding, human resource deficits, perverse incentive structures, and poor management but has most fundamentally been a matter of politics and power. The political causes of poor education performance include the continued dominance of political, bureaucratic, and corporate elites over the education system under the New Order and the role that progressive NGOs and parent, teacher, and student groups have had in education policymaking since the fall of the New Order, making reform difficult.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Politics, Children, Youth, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Andrea Aversano Stabile, Paola Sartori
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On 15 October 2018, the Italian Ministry of Defence released its Plurennial Programmatic document (Documento Programmatico Pluriennale, DPP) outlining Italy’s defence expenditure forecasts until 2020.[1] The DPP was eagerly awaited this year, especially in light of the defence cuts announced by the current government, which is already embroiled in a difficult negotiation with the EU over Italy’s increasing budget deficit. Coming at a time when the EU is devoting increased effort and resources to boost its defence cooperation and the US Trump administration is admonishing its European allies for not paying their share to defend Europe through NATO,[2] Italy’s envisioned defence cuts are likely to cause some concern in Brussels and Washington. Ultimately, these may also increase scepticism as to Rome’s reliability as a key European partner in the defence realm.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Affairs, Budget, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, European Union
  • Author: Andrea Maccanico
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU is involved in economic diplomacy since the establishment of the Single Market and the ensuing negotiations for trade and economic partnership agreements conducted by the EU’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) for all EU member states (MSs). European economic diplomacy (EED) is a new EU venture that aims to improve the coordination between EU institutions and MSs in an effort to enhance their economic and trade relations and strengthen their ability to compete with major countries such as the US, China and Russia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Governance, Institutions, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A coalition government that is largely, if not entirely, alien to mainstream party politics has run Italy since June 2018. The coalition is made up of the League, a right-wing anti-immigration party, and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, M5S), which refuses to categorize itself as either left or right wing. While the two parties did not campaign on a joint agenda, and actually competed in the March 2018 election, a number of important commonalities are present, particularly if one looks at party politics not through the horizontal “left-right” prism but through a vertical “open-closed” one.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Political Parties, European Parliament, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, European Union
  • Author: Jeremy Konyndyk
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Government Reform and Reorganization Plan released earlier this year by the White House calls for substantial reform of US humanitarian institutions. The plan mandates that the State Department and USAID produce a “specific reorganization proposal” to “optimize” humanitarian assistance and “eliminate duplication of efforts and fragmentation of decision-making.” This policy note lays out guidance for how an ambitious but feasible optimization could be achieved. It is informed by two high-level private roundtables convened by the Center for Global Development to solicit expert input, as well as a desk review of documents, expert interviews, and the author’s own experiences serving in the humanitarian arms of both USAID and the State Department. While numerous experts contributed thoughts and feedback, the author takes sole responsibility for the views represented herein.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susannah Hares
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It’s tricky to evaluate government education policies. They’re not implemented in NGO-like laboratory conditions, and political motivation and public sector capacity constraints play as much of a role in their success or failure as policy design. Using the examples of three rigorous studies of three different education policies, this note aims to shed some light from the perspective of someone on the policy side on how, why, and when to evaluate government-led reforms. A government education policy is not an abstract theory that can easily be replicated in a different place. In each new context, it is effectively a brand-new programme and needs to be evaluated as that. None of the three examples presented was “new” as a policy: school inspections, school vouchers, and charter schools have all been tried and evaluated elsewhere. But the evaluations of these policies—when implemented in new contexts—illuminated a new set of challenges and lessons and generated a different set of results.
  • Topic: Education, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bart Gaens, Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Even though bilateral relations have warmed somewhat, Japan has failed to convince Russia to make concessions with regard to the territorial issue of the Northern Territories/South Kuril Islands, or to cut back its cooperation with China
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Foreign policy rarely plays a decisive role in congressional elections in the US. However, President Trump’s tendency to mix foreign policy into the domestic debate might increase its salience. Electoral success for the Democrats could both constrain and embolden the president’s international conduct.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jason D. Delisle , Preston Cooper
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Contrary to popular perception, the share of students at the 200 most selective public and private colleges who are from low-income households did not decline over the past 16 years. However, the share of students at these institutions who are from middle-income families has steadily declined.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel Míguez, Matias Dewey
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: A growing body of research, based on large-scale international comparisons, has associated socioeconomic development with several intervening factors, such as levels of respect for social norms, interpersonal trust, degrees of confidence in public institutions, or incidence of corruption in governmental bodies. The paper contributes to this body of scholarship by comparing the differing socioeconomic development experienced by Chile and Argentina between 1983 and 2013. Specifically, the paper inquires whether the greater socioeconomic development experienced by Chile was actually related to greater legitimacy of the law, higher levels of trust in public institutions, lower perceived levels of corruption, and greater interpersonal trust. The results of our exploration do not completely confirm or disprove this thesis. Instead, they reveal not only the need for a nuanced approach to how these factors relate to socioeconomic progress but also for their forms of association to be considered in the context of politically, socially, and economically fluctuating conditions.
  • Topic: Development, Political and institutional effectiveness, International Development
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Fritz W Scharpf
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The performance of EMU member economies is shaped by different and structurally entrenched “growth models” whose success depends on specific macro-regimes – restrictive for export-led growth, accommodating for demand-led growth. These two types of models cannot be equally viable under a uniform macro regime, and their divergence threatens the stability of the EMU. The present attempt to enforce structural convergence in the eurozone appears economically ineffective and lacks democratic legitimacy on the national and the European level. Assuming that complete integration in a democratic federal state is presently unattainable, the paper presents the outline of a more flexible European Currency Community that would include a smaller and more coherent EMU and the member states of a revised “Exchange Rate Mechanism II” (ERM) whose currencies are flexibly linked to the euro. It would restore the external economic viability of autonomous domestic policy choices, and it would protect its members against speculative currency fluctuations.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kohl
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: America’s “infatuation with homeownership” has been identified as one cause of the latest financial crisis. Based on codings of 1,809 party manifestos in 19 OECD countries since 1945, this paper addresses the question of where the political ideal to democratize homeownership came from. While conservative parties have defended homeownership across countries and time, center-left parties have oscillated between a pro-homeownership and a pro-rental position. The former occurs in Anglo-Saxon, Northern and Southern European countries, while the latter prevails among German-speaking countries. Beyond partisan effects, once a country has a majority of homeowners and parties defending homeownership, larger parties are more likely to support it. The extent of center-left parties’ support for homeownership is conditionally associated with higher homeownership rates, more encouraging mortgage regimes, and a bigger housing bubble burst after 2007. The ideational origins of the financialization of housing and private Keynesianism are, after all, not only conservative and market-liberal.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lea Elsässer
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Empirical studies have shown that US politics is heavily tilted in favor of the better-off, as political decisions tend to reflect the preferences of the rich while largely ignoring those of the poor and the middle classes. These findings have prompted a lively debate about potential mechanisms that cause this pattern of unequal responsiveness. Existing studies suggest that specific characteristics of the political system are a major explanatory factor – in particular, private donations and campaign financing. We build on these studies but focus for the first time on an entirely different case. In this paper, we ask whether similar patterns of unequal responsiveness are discernible in Germany, which not only is a more egalitarian country, but also funds election campaigns entirely differently from the US. We analyze an original dataset of more than 800 survey questions posed between 1980 and 2013. The questions deal with specific political decisions debated at the time and cover a broad range of politically relevant topics. Our results show a notable association between political decisions and the opinions of the rich, but none or even a negative association for the poor. Representational inequality in Germany thus resembles the findings for the US case, despite its different institutional setting. Against this background, we conclude by discussing potential mechanisms of unequal responsiveness
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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: Donato Di Carlo
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: German public sector wage restraint has been explained through the presence of a specific type of inter-sectoral wage coordination in the industrial relations system – i.e., export sector-led pattern bargaining. This paper has a twofold ambition. First, as a literature assessing exercise, I review the literature in industrial relations and comparative political economy (CPE) and find that (1) the origins and mechanics of inter-sectoral wage coordination through pattern bargaining have never been laid out clearly; (2) the mechanisms of the pattern bargaining thesis have never been tested empirically; and (3) the CPE literature reveals a limiting export-sector bias. Second, as a theory-testing exercise, I perform hoop tests to verify whether the pattern bargaining hypothesis can really account for wage restraint in the German public sector. I find that Germany cannot be considered a case of export sector-driven pattern bargaining. These findings challenge core tenets of a longstanding scholarship in both CPE and industrial relations. Most importantly, they open a new research agenda for the study of public sector wage-setting that should shift its focus to public sector employment relations, public finance, public administrations, and the politics of fiscal policy
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Daniel Kinderman, Mark Lutter
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Two strands of literature have emerged to explain the rise of a new form of private governance, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). One camp argues that CSR expansion is likely during periods of economic liberalization because CSR tends to substitute for growing institutional voids and a lack of social regulation. The other camp argues that CSR is likely to diffuse within coordinated economies because it mirrors these institutional settings. While both camps find empirical support for their arguments, no one has yet managed to combine both perspectives. In our study, we develop three hypotheses based on two (rationalist and constructivist/sociological) strands of institutional theory. Based on a new dataset comprising the corporate membership in business-led CSR organizations in over thirty countries from 1981 to 2008, we show that economic liberalization has a strong effect on CSR expansion when the legitimacy of CSR is low. However, when the practice has achieved substantial cultural acceptance, economic liberalization no longer drives CSR expansion. In this setting, CSR expansion is most likely to occur within socially regulated economic contexts.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fritz W Scharpf
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The end of the Bretton Woods regime and the fall of the Iron Curtain deepened the export orientation of the German model of the economy. Only after entry into the Monetary Union, however, did rising exports turn into a persistent export–import gap that became a problem for other eurozone economies. This Discussion Paper shows why the present asymmetric euro regime will not be able to enforce their structural transformation on the German model. Neither will German governments be able to respond to demands that would bring the performance of the German economy closer to eurozone averages. Instead, it is more likely that present initiatives for financial and fiscal risk sharing will transform the Monetary Union into a transfer union.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan, Leanne Erdberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As governments and communities seek the right combination of methods to halt terrorism, one that we too often miss is nonviolent resistance. It’s not that we haven’t seen the power of protest movements that use mass marches, sit-ins, boycotts and other forceful but nonviolent tactics. To the contrary, people worldwide have been moved by watching such movements sweep aside the walls of apartheid, the tanks of dictators or the impunity of kleptocracies. But governments and civil society alike have failed to connect the dots—to promote nonviolent action that can help communities address grievances while absorbing the youth alienation upon which terrorist movements feed.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s government is focused on building consensus—both domestically and among states in the region—to support a peace process with the Taliban insurgency, according to the Afghan national security advisor, Hanif Atmar. The main challenges, he said, include continued support from Pakistan for the Taliban and an incremental recent Russian move toward immediate cooperation with the Taliban even without a peace process. Also, Atmar said, a web of disparate extremist groups is deploying increasing numbers of foreign fighters in his country.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In an American political culture coarsened by belligerence, dozens within Congress still are shaping bipartisan foreign policies to maintain a strong U.S. defense of human rights worldwide. The ability of Congress to sustain bipartisanship on human rights issues is vital to long-term international stability and U.S. national security, according to the Republican and Democratic co-chairs of Congress’ prominent human rights group—the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United Nations has declared a priority this year to unify and strengthen its work in building peace—and U.N. bodies will meet in the next two months to advance that change. U.N. leaders have acknowledged that a vital element in peacebuilding is nonviolent, grassroots movements that can prevent violent conflict by providing ways for people to constructively address grievances, seek rights and advance justice. But as the United Nations aims to more efficiently promote peace, how prepared is it to actually work with the nonviolent grassroots movements that have proven to be peacebuilding’s most effective tool? The answer to that is unclear, but the U.N. system could take a few steps during and after its high-level meetings this spring to strengthen this neglected part of its peacebuilding strategy.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Don Rassler
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The Islamic State is a group known for doing things a bit differently, for its capacity for innovation, and for its many ‘firsts.’ Two of those ‘firsts’ happened within months of each other. The first occurred in October 2016 when the group used a bomb-laden drone to kill, after the explosive hidden within the drone killed two Kurdish peshmerga soldiers who were investigating the device. Another ‘first’ happened in January 2017 when the Islamic State released a propaganda video that showed nearly a dozen examples of the group releasing munitions on its enemies from the air with a fair degree of accuracy via quadcopter drones it had modified. And it wasn’t long before the group’s bomb-drop capable drones would go on to kill, too.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Marc Finaud, Gaurav Sharma
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since 1998, both nation states have pursued their nuclear ambitions via the use of new ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Events in the last five years have put emphasis on nuclear weapons technology, research and development, as well as production and testing. This evolution has taken place in a context of deteriorating bilateral and regional relations: the tense situation across the line of control (LoC); China’s support for Pakistan’s missile programme; the one-month stand-off between Indian and Chinese military forces; India’s test of the Agni-V ICBM; Pakistan’s testing of the nuclear capable Ababeel missile with a multiple warhead (MIRV) payload; and India’s surgical strike response to attacks attributed to Pakistani terrorists. These developments underscore the growing nuclear complexity in South Asia, the increasing investments in nuclear capabilities, and a dangerous nuclear arms race in the region. Key Points: The current evolution of military doctrines and technological choices by India, Pakistan and China in favour of the full triad of nuclear capacities contribute to lowering the threshold of an all-out nuclear war. This is all the more worrying in a context characterised by protracted conflict, bilateral and regional tensions, as well as lack of communication, transparency and long-term strategic vision. Due to the global and regional consequences of such a dangerous trend, this paper recommends urgent measures to prevent escalation or mitigate this threat. These measures include more transparency in nuclear doctrines, more focus on non-use of nuclear weapons, greater mutual communication, and a long-term outlook.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India
  • 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: Gabriel Cederberg, Jarno limnéll
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This paper examines the concepts of cyber politics and cyber-enabled hybrid warfare. It pays specific attention to the vulnerabilities of modern Western societies from a strategic-political perspective. The paper concludes that instead of cyber politics as such, a new kind of politics is needed – hybrid politics. Hybrid politics will be presented as a potentially winning concept for European security. Key Points: Issues related to cyberspace and its uses have risen to the highest levels of international politics, creating an area and discipline known as cyber politics. Protecting critical infrastructure and services from cyber threats is a complicated matter. The cyber domain is a central part of modern hybrid warfare, and malicious cyber-technical and cyber-psychological threats have both increased. Hybrid politics is a useful concept to describe both the importance of a holistic approach and the nature of high politics in the modern security reality. Hybrid politics is constantly changing the modern political process. The European Union (EU) should primarily understand hybrid politics as a potentially “winning concept” and take active steps to implement and sustain this understanding.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, War, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • 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: 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: Hans Blix
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The SIPRI Lecture is an annual event focusing on major themes in peace and security. The event provides a platform for prominent global thought leaders sharing the values underpinning SIPRI, its research and other activities. The inaugural SIPRI Lecture was held in May 2018 on the theme ‘Is the world on the road to peace or war?’ in the presence of His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. The lecture honoured HE Dr Hans Blix and his lifelong career of distinguished public service dedicated to peace, disarmament, non-proliferation and conflict resolution and was followed by a distinguished panel discussion.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In May, the Turkish lira reached a record low to the U.S. dollar. Turkey’s growing economic problems stem from Turkish politicians’ preference for political goals over economic ones. For now, the authorities have begun to undertake actions to regain investors’ trust, but in the longer term, Turkey’s economy needs to undergo deep and probably unpopular structural reform. The country’s economic problems may significantly influence the parliamentary and presidential elections set for 24 June.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Jakub Pieńkowski, Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Initiated at the end of 2017, the Varna Quadrilateral is a forum for cooperation between Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania. It is intended to improve coordination of cross-border infrastructure and energy investments between the largest countries in southeastern Europe. Meetings to date also show that collaboration can have clear political elements. However, a half year after the inauguration of the new initiative, its future is in doubt due to the great differences between its members.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The DRC’s ongoing political crisis is straining local peace agreements forged after the Second Congo War, threatening wider instability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The violence in the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s elections and ongoing disputes over their credibility undercut the goal of establishing legitimacy for the post-Mugabe government.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Sex Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Mali faces multiple security challenges that demand both strengthened legitimacy and state capacity to address. Building on credible elections, stabilization will also require reconciliation and extending the presence of the state.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Paul Nantulya
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Sweeping changes to Burundi's constitution have consolidated power in the presidency, dismantled much of the Arusha Accords, and heightened the risk of greater violence and instability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Burundi
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five YALI Mandela Washington Fellows participated in a one-day simulation exercise focused on Africa’s security concerns.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A time-lapse review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in African since 2010 provides insights into the evolution of these actors over the course of this decade.
  • Topic: Islam, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul Nantulya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Multiple possible scenarios could emerge from Zimbabwe’s July 30 polls—the country’s first without Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot. For now, the military appears intent on leveraging its interests.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since Egypt’s appearance in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, African countries’ performance in the tournament has been a source of pride and national identity.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: There is certainly no denying that, in terms of trade and investment alone, the burgeoning economic partnership between Israel and China has at least the potential of transforming not only Israel itself but also Israel’s position vis-à-vis the rest of the Middle East—and most notably vis-à-vis Iran, which happens to be Beijing’s other key partner in the region. Inevitably, it could also have an impact on Israel’s relations with the United States. But is this a marriage made in heaven? Or is it something else? Weighing the answer to that question involves probing beneath the two countries’ currently successful dynamic of trade and commercial transactions to their respective geopolitical agendas. When it comes to Israel, the acknowledged junior partner, it also requires examining whether and how the relationship with China could become a dependency. Such a change might please Beijing, but it would impose on Israeli national security a new kind of vulnerability, one very different from the challenges it has faced successfully in the past.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, National Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • 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
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Africa is a fast-changing continent and an area of rising global relevance, where major transformation processes are currently underway, from demographic expansion to economic development, from social progress to environmental challenges, from technological innovation to continental integration, from political change to migratory pressures. How will these complex transformations shape the Africa of tomorrow? This Report sets out a vision for Africa’s future based on five key traits: an archipelago of heterogeneous growth trajectories; the revolutionary impact of technological leapfrogging; regional integration and the growing role of sub-regional processes; the clustering of instability mainly around the core of the region; and the migration movements that originate from – but also predominantly remain within – the African continent.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Samuele Dominioni
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Elections, when free and fair, are regular and legitimate occasions to vie for power in a democratic country. In order to compete and to be elected, political competitors, usually organized into parties or movements, must follow the democratic principles that rule electoral competitions. There are numerous international regulations that set worldwide standards for democratic elections, which have been adopted by many countries and that constitute the concept of electoral integrity.[1] This refers not only to management of the so-called e-day (election day), but also includes many provisions that must be respected throughout the electoral cycle.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In President Donald Trump’s first year in office, U.S. policy relating to supporting democracy abroad became starkly divided. At the level of “high policy”—direct engagement and messaging by President Trump and his principal foreign policy advisers—the United States sharply downgraded its global pro-democratic posture. Trump’s praise of dictators, criticism of democratic allies, and anti-democratic actions at home recast the United States as at best an ambivalent actor on the global democratic stage. Yet at the same time, pro-democratic “low policy”—quiet but serious engagement by U.S. diplomats to counter democratic backsliding and support democratic advances overseas, and the extensive but generally low-profile domain of U.S. democracy assistance programs—largely carried on, making important contributions in many countries. During Trump’s second year, this policy schism has only widened. He has doubled down on his embrace of dictators and spurning of democratic partners, as well as his anti-democratic actions at home. His new secretary of state and national security adviser may not share his anti-democratic impulses, but they have done little to mitigate his anti-democratic actions and have reinforced a transactional foreign policy with little apparent commitment to the idea of democracy as a universal value. Still, U.S. pro-democratic low policy carries on, as American diplomats support democracy in various countries at important moments of political change, and as democracy assistance remains at pre-Trump levels of activity. Yet the manifest lack of commitment to democracy at the top is increasingly corroding the low policy domain. Under Trump, U.S. democracy high policy has reached its lowest ebb of at least the past forty years. If the United States continues its present course for two more years, it will end up stranded on the sidelines, or even on the wrong side, of the global democratic struggle, precisely at a time when that struggle is more acute than at any time in modern history. Nevertheless, democracy’s defenders—both inside and outside of the U.S. government—still have the opportunity to mitigate the damage.
  • Topic: Politics, Democracy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrey Chuprygin, Valeriy Matrosov
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The campaign carried out by the government of eastern Libya and by military forces associated with it (the Libyan National Army or LNA) since 2014 has been mainly finalized towards capturing Benghazi and Derna from the local municipalities. By July 2017 Benghazi was captured, or, to quote eastern Libyan pundits, "liberated" (although, contrary to the LNA reports, the situation in the city is still far from stable), and the siege of Derna began. These advancements of Tobruk and LNA leadership, however, failed to solve harrowing problems affecting the whole of Libya, such as radical Islam, lack of fair leadership or social security, economic stability and development, whose solution remains essential for transitioning Libya from the condition of a failed state to a country on the up-hill track of development. On the contrary, the tendencies to intra-territorial clashes between different seats of power and military forces in Libya contributed to the rise of traditional historic trends: the search for a new strong leader, who will be able to keep Libya safe, the fatigue of the war and the rejection of all contemporary centers of power. In this context the dichotomist relationship between tribes vs urban centers, which allows for a semblance of stability in several regions of Libya, constitutes a major destabilizing factor along the coastal planes. Derna and Benghazi are the stark examples of this socio-political conundrum, which has determined the evolution of the social psyche from 2011 onwards. Every subsequent government, of which there were quite a few since the "February Revolution", promised peace and modernization of the state but, instead, what we have been witnessing lately, is the phenomenon of "Dernisation".
  • Topic: Politics, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, North America
  • Author: Eleanore Ardemagni
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Western Indian Ocean (the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian/Persian Gulf) is the new Gulf powers’ battlefield. Saudi Arabia and Iran, as already in the Middle East, are vying for hegemony in this sub-region: the Gulf monarchies also compete for influence, especially after the 2017 Qatari crisis and Doha’s boycott by neighbours. Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman but also Turkey, struggle to acquire geopolitical leverage in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). Nowadays, the multipolar system which shapes International Relations maximizes the geostrategic relevance of WIO, at the crossroads between Eastern Africa, the Gulf, and Southern Asia. In these waterways, regional and international players share security and energy interests (as freedom of navigation), but they also compete, more and more, for local alliances, commercial ports, and/or military agreements and bases. In the WIO, China and India are designing rival nodes of influence: the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative (OBOR), which adapted the previous “string of pearls” strategy, pushed New Delhi to counterbalance Beijing’s plans with a policy of connectivity in the sub-region. For the Gulf powers, maritime politics enters a new protagonist season: WIO is its basin. The Gulf “pivoted to East” since the 2010s, in terms of energy export, trade and market routes, investments, and infrastructures. Gulf monarchies’ strategies of economic diversification, as the Saudi “Vision 2030”, have further enhanced this trend: would-be post-oil economies need Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and partners for infrastructural projects. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pursue a new interventionist and military-driven foreign policy: this pro-active posture has to be supported by maritime power and sea expertise, as demonstrated by the military operation in Yemen. On the other shore of the Gulf, Iran seeks economic modernization and recovery after years of international sanctions: Iranian port throughput increased after 2015. Asian markets can boost trade and investments in Teheran, helping the Islamic Republic to develop a new set of alliances since Iran also aims to upgrade its naval power. Gulf powers’ maritime competition in the WIO crafts fresh alignments with Asian and Eastern African players, adding to the traditional map of rivalries in the Indian Ocean (India vs Pakistan; China vs India). This intra-Gulf competition can be traced along three vectors of geostrategic influence: commercial ports, military agreements and bases, and choke-points.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Geopolitics, Economy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indian Ocean, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Giuseppe Dentice
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the wake of the killing of more 300 Muslim worshippers by allegedly Jihadist militants during al-Rawdah massacre in November 2017, President Sisi launched a new military campaign - “Comprehensive Operation-Sinai 2018” - with the aim of putting an end to terrorism and restoring security within three months in turbulent Egypt. The military operation, which precedes the presidential election of March 26-28, 2018, has pursued growing repression of the opposition and militarization of institutions in the country. Despite the media fanfare and pro-Sisi triumphalism, the Egyptian government needed a red herring and the construction of an ‘enemy’ to help engineer some ‘national unity’ among disgruntled Egyptians, with the aim of diverting public attention away from atrocities and structural reform failures. Operation Sinai-2018 represents a new step in the militarization of the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, where the State and the Army have reasserted their control under authoritarian policies based on brutal force and harsh methods against the local population. This paper analyses the reasons behind the military operation and examines the threats arising from the militarization policy in Sinai and the impact of authoritarian measures on domestic politics. It also probes into the emerging correlation between military measures and militaristic nationalism, and how new risks may arise during Sisi’s second presidential term.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Fabio Rugge
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The good old days of cold war disinformatia are gone. Social media are increasingly relevant in shaping the public opinion, but they are just “eco chambers”. Foreign actors with malicious intent can easily exploit this intrinsic feature of social media manipulating online information in order to influence the public opinion. Moreover, cyberspace allows a large degree of anonymity, behind which it is easy to automate propaganda, and cyber attacks may be leveraged to exfiltrate and expose sensitive content or to gain information dominance during military operations, increasing the strategic relevance of the “information space”. Operations in this domain are central in Russia’s security strategic thinking, featuring predominantly in its “New Generation War” military doctrine. But the ongoing militarization of cyberspace risks having dangerous spillovers in the conventional domain. What can we do in order to protect our open democracies while preserving a global, free and resilient Internet? The answer is multi-faceted, in as much as CEIW (cyber-enabled information warfare) is an emerging asymmetric threat that forces us to innovate our security approach in many ways.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: François Lhoumeau
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Centre for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The third round of the public opinion survey "The Citizens’ Opinion of the Police Force" was conducted in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The questionnaire based on which the public opinion survey was conducted was devised by the regional network POINTPULSE to provide answers concerning the citizens’ opinion of the police. The questionnaire included six groups of questions
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna-Lena Kirch, Daniel Braun
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Germany considers itself a leading European power that utilizes its influence to promote EU cohesion in the face of Brexit and numerous other crises. However, a different picture emerges in European health policy, an area that is not only being discussed as an essential part of the EU’s social dimension but also in the context of its security and development positioning: Far from shaping the discussion, Germany is at times even perceived as the brakeman to an effective European health policy.
  • Topic: Health, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Currently, Russia is trying to maintain its political and security understandings with key parties to the Syrian conflict. But one of the main obstacles facing it is the intertwining and conflicting interests of parties, which leaves Russia with limited options and narrow room for maneuvering. Furthermore, it strains its relations with these parties, as is the case with Israel, following the Russian accusation to Israel of shooting down the Ilyushin Il-20 in September 17, 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Sanctions, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Bashar al-Assad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Syria
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has replaced Total of France as a major operator in the development of phase 11 of the South Pars gas field. This is a substantial gain for the Iranian government, which strives to lure international investors to shore up its economy following the withdrawal of most foreign companies from the market due to US sanctions in last August and November. However, the project appears to hit many hurdles, including the Chinese company’s fears of heavy US fines or escalation of the US ongoing trade war against the county in the coming period.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Oil, Sanctions, Gas, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The accusations leveled by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, On November 12, 2018, at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of profiting from money laundering and obstructing Iran’s signing of the relevant treaties, provoked a new conflict between the government and the IRGC. These accusations highlight the latter’s involvement in large scale money laundering activities, which it employs to support terrorist organizations and armed militias, a matter the Western countries may exploit to impose further sanctions. Such accusations also bring the past corruption cases to the fore, particularly that of the Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani case.
  • Topic: Corruption, Financial Crimes, Money, Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: French President Emmanuel Macron’s call to create a unified European army, independent of NATO, to defend the European continent in the face of major powers such as Russia, China and even the US, has sparked a political firestorm. The most notable of these reactions came from US President Donald Trump, who tweeted rejecting the proposal and criticizing the French President, heightening tensions between the two sides. At the official level, the US State Department commented on the idea of the European Union forming an independent army of member states, stating that the US opposes any actions that could contribute to weakening NATO. “That’s been a sustained entity that the United States government and many others supported for many years, and so we would not want the weakening of NATO”, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on November 14, 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Armed Forces, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Although the first round of Sweden talks led to soaring expectations that a change will take place in the course of the Yemeni crisis from the path of war to that of negotiation, its outcome is limited to the settlement of the humanitarian crisis, which the UN envoy underlined in his statement to the Security Council following the negotiations. The issues pertaining to the crux of the conflict will likely be addressed in the second round, scheduled at the end of next January, which should include the comprehensive framework for the settlement, as a road-map for shaping Yemen’s post-war future, and solving political and security issues. The outcome of the first round sought to neutralize the manifestations of the Houthi “militiation”, not to end it. It can also be argued that the outcome equates between the parties to the crisis in terms of tasks, implementation mechanisms and the formed committees under the auspices of the UN, a key indicator that risks transforming the Houthi movement into a major party in the Yemeni scene under the aegis of the UN.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Conflict, Houthis
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Gulf Nations
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: As Israel’s Operation Northern Shield continues, with the aim of dismantling the tunnels discovered on the Lebanese border, the Israeli policies mark a remarkable shift in confronting Hezbollah’s threats. The operation comes as part of a series of parallel measures, employing a tactic different from the military escalation scenario, which cannot be completely ruled out in the future with the aim of launching a preemptive strike. However, with no variables yet to enhance such scenario, the Tel Aviv tactic will focus on linking the party’s new threat and escalation with the latter, along with Iran, on the Syrian front, on the belief that the party's new approach stems from the interactions of the equation itself. On the other hand, Hezbollah has reacted in a similar way, based on calculations that do not lean toward engaging in mutual escalation, albeit threatening of military “surprises” as part of a defensive strategy. Among those “surprises” is deploying the new and unconventional techniques of its missile capabilities, which have been developed by its expertise on the Syrian ground and with the help of Iran. Apart from these expected messages, Hezbollah has, since the discovery of tunnels, questioned Tel Aviv's account of the issue. Hezbollah's various media platforms have focused on attributing the escalation to the Israeli internal developments, amid the crisis facing Netanyahu's government, after the withdrawal of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman from the government coalition.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Conflict, Borders, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran has shown a particular interest in improving its bilateral relations with Turkey, mainly at the economic level. This was evident in the visit of Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, to Turkey, on December 20, to participate in the fifth session of the Supreme Council for Strategic Relations between the two countries, accompanied by a mostly economic delegation. Tehran believes that there are several factors, related to developments in the regional and international arenas over the past period, which can help achieve this goal, namely increasing the volume of trade between both countries to USD 30 billion. However, Iran’s betting on the Turkish role seems to have limits due to the ever-changing and unstable nature of Turkish policy, which casts doubts over the possibility of reaching such level of rapprochement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Hassan Rouhani
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey has recently stepped up its economic presence in the cities of northern Syria, including Al-Bab, Jarablus, and Azaz, among others. Those cities are now controlled by the Syrian opposition with the assistance of the Turkish army through two military operations between 2016 and 2018 dubbed Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Turkey has worked to rehabilitate the basic services of electricity, education and health in these cities in cooperation with private Turkish companies, as well as promoting the export of various goods to these cities. Through its presence there, Turkey is aiming to achieve numerous goals in line with its vision towards the trajectories of the Syrian conflict, and its position, in the coming phase.
  • Topic: Economy, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Despite that ISIS may have dealt with heavy blows, whether in the previously-dominated areas or the emerging ones, it is still able to stage terrorist attacks by employing various tactics, key among them the “lone- wolves” and “sleeper cells”. This has been evident in the recent terrorist operations in many countries, such as Tunisia and Morocco, as well as several European countries, which ISIS have threatened to target by using explosive belts, car-ramming and stabbing during Christmas holidays. Notably, some of such attacks have been carried out using tactics and methods that have not been widely used in the past. This raises questions about the ideological transformations that ISIS, its sleeper cells and sub-groups may have witnessed, given the new realities brought about by the war on the organization.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The announcement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, on December 22, 2018, of a change in its military doctrine during recent exercises in the Gulf region, to keep pace with numerous developments in the internal and external fronts, reflect the mounting threats facing Iran due to its aggressive policy. This new move, however, may not necessarily reflect an overall shift in doctrine, as much as a pivot towards adopting new tactics in the military strategy to be better able to confront these threats. Most importantly, it does not involve a development in the tenets of the traditional military doctrine, which is predicated on a central doctrinal pillar that is hard to change, amid the current regime. Moreover, the IRGC has always pursued aggressive policies, as evident in its roles in conflict zones, exacerbating them and hampering the efforts to reach a settlement.
  • Topic: History, Military Strategy, Conflict, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Indian energy sector faces a dilemma amid the US administration plans to impose the second batch of sanctions on Iran in November. The US exerts pressure on the main buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to stop importing it in the coming period. For India, Iranian oil is one of the indispensable options for its energy security because of the preferential terms granted by Iran. Despite the Indian stance rejecting the US sanctions, Indian refineries have decided to halt the Iranian oil shipments starting from next November, and hence they may turn to other producers to fill the potential gap, but at a higher cost.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Sanctions, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, South Asia, Middle East, India, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: As the second batch of US sanctions, which are set to focus on oil exports, approaches, the government of President Hassan Rouhani are taking proactive measures to ease the sanctions that coincide with the spiraling internal protests due to the failure of handling various crises affecting living conditions. However, many obstacles continue to undercut the ability of government to pass its plans to cope with the sanctions, most notably the regime’s attempts to revive the roles of certain institutions that have oversight powers over government programs, such as the Expediency Council, and to continue questioning the ministers, such as the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance on some security and cultural issues.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Al-Qaeda has sought to exploit the 17th anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001 to assert its survival and ability to stay at the forefront of terrorist organizations worldwide. In doing so, it seems to be trying to cover up the multiple challenges facing it at the present stage, which may cause its influence to diminish in the medium and long term. Thus, it cannot be ruled out that the fears expressed by many of its leaders over the organization declining influence is the main factor that prompted Ayman al-Zawahiri to increase the media messages he sends to the organization cadres and members along with other organizations, especially its rivals, as well as the international and regional powers concerned with combating terrorism. It is a remarkable shift from what happened in the past years, which witnessed a relatively limited appearance of al-Zawahiri to comment on events with the aim of proving that he is still alive and interacting developments. The new development raises many questions about the significance of the flurry of messages, particularly that they come at a time the region is witnessing numerous important variables with profound impacts, such as the receding influence of the pro-al-Qaeda groups in Syria against the backdrop of the recent security and political arrangements.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria, Maghreb
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran has reacted swiftly after the kidnapping of 14 of its soldiers from the Basij and border guards in Mirjaveh, along the border with Pakistan, on October 16. Tehran summoned the Pakistani ambassador to inform him that Islamabad should take the necessary actions to secure the release of soldiers after being transferred to Pakistan. Remarkably, Iran has been keen- this time - not to escalate with Islamabad, unlike previous incidents, the latest of which was the killing of 10 Iranian soldiers, on April 26, 2017, which prompted Iran to threaten military intervention if the Pakistani government did not launch strikes against the armed groups that carry out such operations. Iran went further, firing mortar shells on the border on May 27, 2017. This cannot be separated from Iranian efforts to handle the fallout of the new US sanctions, as well as the implications of Imran Khan’s rise to power in Islamabad.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Conflict, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Iran, South Asia, Turkey, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: ISIS seems to be intent on returning to the areas from which it was driven out or its influence has receded over the past period, such as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in Syria. The two cities have recently witnessed a remarkable activity by ISIS, which is evident in the organization’s terrorist attacks against its opponents, raising many concerns that it may further expand, taking advantage of impasse over the Syrian crisis and the increasing security troubles in those areas.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Islamic State, Conflict, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Although most of the parties concerned with developments in the Syrian conflict do not expect the Quartet Summit held today in Istanbul -with the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian president Vladimir Putin, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel- to make a breakthrough in the efforts to reach a political settlement of the crisis, this in its entirety does not diminish the anxiety of Iran, which is the most prominent absent at that summit.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, France, Germany, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The European Union seeks to continue its economic relations with Iran under the nuclear deal, despite the US withdrawal from the deal on May 8 and the imposition of new economic sanctions against Iran. Accordingly, the EU has adopted, over the past months, countermeasures to protect its economic interests with Iran and to sidestep US sanctions. The most important of these measures is introducing the “Special Purpose Vehicle” and reviving the “Blocking Statute”, as well as allowing the European Investment Bank (EIB) to work in the Iranian market. However, these mechanisms seem to have little impact due to the reluctance of the European companies and institutions themselves to continue to deal with Iran for fear of US sanctions.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, European Union, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia seems to be gearing for fresh efforts to reach new political arrangements in Syria, after the balance of power has shifted in favor of the Syrian regime. During a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club at Sochi resort on October 18, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country achieved its goals in Syria. He noted that the Russian military intervention was aimed at fighting terrorism and preventing the fragmentation of Syrian territory, invoking the case of Somalia as a model that Russia prevented its recurrence in Syria, adding that the next stage will be devoted to settlement in the United Nations. However, this does not negate the fact that such efforts may encounter many challenges, over the key outstanding issues, foremost among is the position of the Syrian regime itself.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Politics, United Nations, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: With the second batch of US sanctions on Iran, coming into effect today, the government of President Hassan Rouhani is taking preemptive measures to strengthen its ability to confront sanctions. It seeks to exploit the sanctions to endorse its candidates for the four ministerial portfolios whose ministers were dismissed in the past months, following a no-confidence vote in the Consultative Assembly.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Sanctions, Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The suicide bombing in Tunisia which occurred near a security patrol on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the Tunisian capital, on October 29, 2018, injuring 20 people, including 15 policemen, marks a new shift in terrorist operations in the country. The latest terrorist operation was carried out in November 2015, when ISIS targeted a security patrol in the center of the capital, which suggest that the repercussions of the defeats of terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS, in both Syria and Iraq, began to spill over to Tunisia, which showed particular interest in the developments of military operations against these groups, and has increased the level of coordination with the many international powers involved in confronting them.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Sleeper Cells
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, Tunisia