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  • Author: Margaret MacMillan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A century ago this autumn the first battle of the Marne ended Germany's attempt to crush France and its ally Britain quickly. In that one battle alone the French lost 80,000 dead and the Germans approximately the same. By comparison, 47,000 Americans died in the whole of the Vietnam War and 4,800 coalition troops in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In August and September 1914 Europe, the most powerful and prosperous part of the world, had begun the process of destroying itself. A minor crisis in its troubled backyard of the Balkans had escalated with terrifying speed to create an all-out war between the powers. 1 'Again and ever I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean,' wrote Walter Page, the American ambassador in London; and in Washington his president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, America, Europe, Washington, France, London, Vietnam, Germany, Balkans, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Before the ink on the Treaty of Versailles was dry, the idea of creating an organization dedicated to educating, informing and advising future leaders about the causes and consequences of war was already gaining traction. At 'a series of unofficial meetings held in Paris in 1919',1 Lionel Curtis, an Oxford professor and visionary with a reputation for possessing an impressive array of entrepreneurial skills, was spearheading efforts to establish an Anglo-American research institution where scholars could explore international problems and advocate policy solutions.2 This kind of organization appealed to Curtis and to those with whom he discussed it for several reasons, not the least of which was that it could provide a valuable forum for both policy-makers and prominent policy experts in the leading western powers to talk to one another about international affairs. It was also a concept with which several of the delegates attending the Paris peace talks had some familiarity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of institutions had already taken root in Great Britain and in the United States with the aim of helping policy-makers navigate their way through complex policy problems. They included the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (1831), founded by the first Duke of Wellington; London's Fabian Society (1884), home to a number of prominent scholars, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the London School of Economics; the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), established by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie; and the Institute for Government Research (1916), which merged with two other institutions to form the Brookings Institution in 1927.3 Curtis and his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States were also aware of the ground-breaking research that had been conducted at hundreds of settlement houses in their respective countries. It was at places such as London's Toynbee Hall (1884) and Chicago's Hull House, co-founded by Jane Addams in 1889, that sociologists and other university faculty with expertise in social welfare policy could study the working conditions of the poor.4 In short, proponents of establishing a foreign affairs research institution recognized the importance of encouraging a dialogue between leading social scientists and high-level policy-makers.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Washington, Paris, London, Wellington
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: On 20 January 1972 an alarming message reached Washington from General Creighton Abrams, the US commander in Vietnam. He stated that 'the enemy is preparing and positioning his forces for a major offensive. There is no doubt that this is to be a major campaign . We foresee a hard battle involving sophisticated weaponry and as much ground combat power as the enemy can generate.' He therefore asked for a number of 'standby authorities' for military actions, notably air power. This was just the latest of a series of warnings from Abrams, but it was deemed important enough to be forwarded to the White House, where President Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, raised the matter with his boss later the same day. It was agreed that any decision upon future action should be postponed until after the President's televised speech to the nation on Vietnam on 25 January (vol. VIII, no. 2).
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Vietnam
  • Author: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: US-Brazilian relations sunk to one of their lowest points ever following last year's exposure of the US government's massive surveillance of the South American giant-including the correspondence of President Rousseff and the business operations of Brazil's national oil company, Petrobras. Brazilian authorities responded angrily. The Brazilian president called off a highly valued state visit to Washington, denounced the US for violations of sovereignty and human rights, and proceeded to bypass the US to purchase nearly $5 billion worth of fighter aircraft from Sweden. In fact, US-Brazil ties have not been constructive for more than a generation. Yes, relations are mostly amiable, but with limited cooperation, considerable discord and some open clashes. Washington views Brazil primarily as a regional actor, and wants its cooperation mainly on inter-American issues. For Brazil, regional collaboration means working with other Latin American nations-not the United States. Brazil usually wants the US to keep a distance from the region. The US is no more enthusiastic about Brazil assuming a global role; differences over some of the world's most dangerous political and security challenges have made Washington uneasy about Brazil's engagement in international affairs and critical of its foreign policy judgements. Relations will probably improve, but they could get worse. The two governments need to acknowledge that their relationship is fragile and troubled, and take steps both to rebuild trust and to avert further deterioration and new confrontations. They have to be more careful with each other.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Brazil
  • Author: Alex Danchev
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This review article considers the case of Donald Rumsfeld and his disastrous tenure as US Secretary of Defense (2001-2006), as recounted by Rumsfeld himself in his memoirs and other writings, and in interviews with the celebrated documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, for The unknown known (2014). In all of these works he appears completely unreconstructed; indeed, remarkably self-satisfied. The article reflects on Rumsfeld as operator and courtier, and Morris's pursuit of a man without qualities, with reference to Hannah Arendt's notion of 'the banality of evil'.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Andrew M. Dorman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The NATO organization and its members are beginning to gear themselves up for the forthcoming summit in Chicago in May 2012. Such summits are always important, especially when they are held in the United States. For example, the 1999 Washington summit held to mark the alliance's 50th anniversary occurred against the background of an apparently failing war in Kosovo and a US President fearing impeachment as a result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Moreover, this summit is happening in a US presidential election year and in a location particularly symbolic for the current incumbent President Obama. It will also follow on from the French presidential elections, thus presenting the first opportunity for either the new French president or a re-elected Nicolas Sarkozy to make a mark on the international scene.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Chicago
  • Author: Richard J. Aldrich, John Kasuku
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: American intelligence continues to privilege strategic analysis for policy-makers. The core of the American intelligence system remains the National Intelligence Estimate process, the legacy of Sherman Kent, the 'Founding Father' of the analytical profession. In support of this process, vast technical resources are deployed in collecting secret material that is not available from open sources or from diplomatic reporting, and then subjecting it to elaborate analysis. The priority accorded to this activity is symbolized by the veneration of the President's Daily Brief, a top-level intelligence summary that is described by Bob Woodward as 'the most restricted document in Washington', and by the White House itself as 'the most highly sensitized classified document in the government'. George Tenet, one of the longest-serving directors of Central Intelligence, has insisted that President's Daily Briefs from his period of office were so important that none would ever be declassified and released for public inspection.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Bruce W. Jentleson, Charles A. Kupchan
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Charles Kupchan and Bruce Jentleson on the President's national security record
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Ward Wilson
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Pennyfarthing H-bomb
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Washington, London
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The US presidential election in November promises to be closely fought - and exceptionally raucous. Unprecedented amounts of money will be spent during the campaign, much of it on 'attack ads'. Here are five statistics to help sort out the issues from the noise.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Xenia Dormandy
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The end of an era? With a surprisingly subdued bang, the ten-year drive to find Osama bin Laden is over. The first night saw Washingtonians, mainly students who grew up in the 'bin Laden era', celebrating outside the White House. A week followed of front page news coverage analysing the Black Op and dissecting the small nuggets of information being released by the White House, alongside the predictable political debate between Republicans and Democrats over what was done right and wrong.
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: James M Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The foreign policy world views of George W. Bush and Barack Obama differ dramatically. Bush made terrorism the focal point of his foreign policy and dismissed the idea that either allies or international institutions should constrain America's freedom of action. Obama sees terrorism as one of many transnational problems that require the cooperation of other countries to combat and, as a result, the United States must invest more in diplomatic efforts to build partnerships. Despite these differences, both presidents share one common conviction: that other countries long for US leadership. Bush believed that friends and allies would eventually rally to the side of the United States, even if they bristled at its actions, because they shared America's goals and had faith in its motives. Obama believed that a United States that listened more to others, stressed common interests and favored multinational action would command followers. In practice, however, both visions of American global leadership faltered. Bush discovered that many countries rejected his style of leadership as well as his strategies. Obama discovered that in a globalized world, where power has been more widely dispersed, many countries are not looking to Washington for direction. The future success of US foreign policy depends on the ability of policy-makers to recognize and adapt to a changing geopolitical environment in which the US remains the most significant military, diplomatic and economic power but finds it, nonetheless, increasingly difficult to drive the global agenda.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: David Wedgwood Benn
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In 1989 the Soviet authorities officially denounced the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 1939 as illegal and void and for the first time admitted the existence of a secret protocol providing for a division on territorial spheres of influence. Today, however, some Russian historians, apparently with official support, are mounting a vigorous defence of the pact. Although some of their arguments are tendentious and selective, they do, in the opinion of the author, make certain valid points which deserve greater recognition by the western media. The author also argues that given the stated desire of the White House in Washington to press the 'reset button' in relations with Moscow, there are certain things which both Russian and western historians could do to narrow the gap between their perceptions of the Second World War.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: Russia, Washington