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  • Author: David Calleo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: America's diplomacy towards Europe has passed two broad historic phases. A first, isolationist phase, determined in part by America's need to maintain its domestic multinational consensus, was replaced, after World War II and under the Soviet threat, by a policy of hegemonic engagement. The Soviet collapse opened a new era forcing a reinterpretation of America's role in Europe and the world. Four different narratives have emerged: triumphalist, declinist, chaotic or pluralist. If a unipolar American role seems unlikely to persist, American decline is all too possible. A new hegemonic replacement seems unlikely, which makes the pluralist narrative plausible and desirable. This multipolar world will require an adaptation of the Western alliance and a new way of thinking about interstate relations. Confederal Europe, for its experience in bargaining and conciliation, might have much to offer to the new plural world order.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Alessandro R. Ungaro
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: The Strategic Use of Military Contractors. American Commercial Military Service Providers in Bosnia and Liberia, by Marcus Mohlin, Finnish National Defence College, 2012
  • Political Geography: America, Bosnia, Liberia
  • Author: David Camroux
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Revolving around the concept of 'Community' or 'community', debate on an Asian region has ostensibly pitted those who proposed an entity limited to East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN) against those who proposed a much wider region embracing India, North (and, perhaps, South) America, as well as Australasia. Previously these two conceptualisations possessed their eponymous translation in the East Asian Economic Caucus (reincarnated as ASEANĂ¾3) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. However, with the creation in 2005 of the East Asian Summit to include India, Australia and New Zealand and, above all, its 2011 enlargement to include the United States and Russia, the contrast between the two conceptualisations of an Asian region has become confused. In order to explain this development, this article suggests that the language of 'region' or 'community' is a discursive smokescreen disguising changes in approaches to multilateralism. An examination of the East Asia Summit, contrasting it with another recent regional project, the Trans Pacific Partnership, suggests that the actors involved are seeking to ensure the primacy of individual nation states in intergovernmental multilateral relations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, America, India, East Asia, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Michael Yahuda
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Chinese maritime assertiveness since 2008 is a product of China's growing economic and military power combined with a centrally fostered nationalism. Although incidents with several maritime neighbours may not have all been initiated by China, the Chinese over-reacted. Matters were made worse by the opacity of Chinese decision-making processes and by problems of governance as shown by the multiplicity of Chinese authorities in charge of separate naval forces. The American 'pivot' to Asia provides neighbours with a hedge against an overbearing China. But they still need to cultivate relations with China on whom they were economically dependent.
  • Political Geography: China, America, Asia
  • Author: Matthias Matthijs
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the turn of the millennium, scholars and pundits have been musing over the decline of the West. The disappointing US military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the subprime mortgage crisis, seem to be evidence of an abrupt end to America's 'unipolar' moment. In Europe, the sovereign debt crisis has amplified Europe's long-term structural economic problems and laid bare the fragile institutional foundation on which the Economic and Monetary Union was built. At the same time, the BRICs and other emerging economies have been growing at unprecedented rates. Those same analysts see a 'decoupling' in the world economy: the developing economies pulling the world out of recession, while the advanced industrial economies are unable to solve their domestic difficulties. So to them, the events of the past five years signify the beginning of the end of Western influence, eventually leading to a more complete rebalancing of the world economy's current 'Western' system of governance. This article argues instead that the West still has a significant edge when it comes to most critical factors that determine long-term economic growth potential, including technology, innovative capacity, research and development, investment climate and education. Furthermore, the transatlantic economy is less vulnerable than the rest of the world to outside economic shocks and might eventually prove more capable of reform than many expect. The current malaise in the transatlantic community might therefore prove once again to be more cyclical than structural. Relying on linear projections, many are 'crying wolf' again, too loud and too soon.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America, Europe
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Obama administration is attempting to 'lead from behind' in Libya, causing much concern among its allies and derision among its adversaries. Nevertheless this strategy represents an appropriate response both to the specific situation in Libya and to the wider constraints on American global leadership. With the shift in global resources from North to South and West to East, collective action has become more difficult to organise and global institutions have become harder to reinforce. Meanwhile governments in the United States and elsewhere must wrestle to bring their fiscal accounts back under control. A cooperative approach is the only answer. The difficulty for the Obama administration is that by emphasizing cooperation they make the success of their Libya intervention depend upon the actions of the other countries involved. Should France and Great Britain fail in Libya, President Obama's new conception of American global leadership will falter as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France, Libya
  • Author: Roberto Menotti, Jason W. Davidson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: American primacy continues to characterise the international system, despite trends toward a diffusion of power. The discussion is too often biased in favour of multipolarity due to imprecise or misleading definitions of US primacy. On the basis of a simple definition of what a "pole" is, combining GDP and defence expenditure, only the US can be considered a global pole. The current economic crisis is not changing this reality. Even considering perceptions, soft power, and the ability to translate power into influence, rising powers like China or an aggregate power like the EU have a long way to go before they can get on an equal footing with the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: Cesare Merlini
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: While a global recession of uncertain duration plagues the planet, the Atlantic countries are faced with an agenda of complicated, almost intractable international challenges. The surge of new protagonists on the world scene has been largely the result of a long period of relative stability and extraordinary economic growth thanks to the prevalence of Western paradigms. And yet they mark another step in the shrinking of the West's geostrategic relevance. Obama's America and half-integrated Europe should deal with this new multipolar world with a consistent and synergic approach, made up of a mix of traditional balance-of-power skills and systemic innovations. Over the past two decades, the US' solitary position at the apex of global power has made the analogy with imperial Rome common currency. While this is the wrong lesson to learn from classical history, the achievements and mistakes of ancient Greece and republican as well as imperial Rome may still help us, third millennium Europeans and Americans, sail through the stormy waters of today's planetary Mediterranean.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Asle Toje
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Transatlantic relations are in flux: NATO's struggle for self preservation; the diminished importance of Europe in American geopolitics; the semi-failure of European foreign policy integration; and the absence of a grand bargain among Europe's leading powers. These four trends are making the current transatlantic order unsustainable. But if the international system becomes multipolar, will the "West" be one of the poles? These developments can be assessed by applying the "transatlantic bargain" as a conceptual lens through which to select and assess information. The result is that the dynamics of multipolarity could spell the end for the "transatlantic West".
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Alberto Biginelli
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: The post-American world, Fareed Zakaria, W.W. Norton, 2008
  • Political Geography: America