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  • Author: Stephen M. Walt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power, Mlada Bukovansky, Ian Clark, Robyn Eckersley, Richard Price, Christian Reus-Smit, and Nicholas Wheeler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 290 pp., $29.99 paper. Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright famously described the United States as the “indispensable nation,” entitled to lead because it “sees further than others do.” She was one of the many government officials who believed their country had “special responsibilities,” and was therefore different in some way from other states. Such claims are sometimes made to rally domestic support for some costly international action; at other times they are used to exempt a great power from norms or constraints that weaker states are expected to follow.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: James W. Nickel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Like people born shortly after World War II, the international human rights movement recently had its sixty-fifth birthday. This could mean that retirement is at hand and that death will come in a few decades. After all, the formulations of human rights that activists, lawyers, and politicians use today mostly derive from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the world in 1948 was very different from our world today: the cold war was about to break out, communism was a strong and optimistic political force in an expansionist phase, and Western Europe was still recovering from the war. The struggle against entrenched racism and sexism had only just begun, decolonization was in its early stages, and Asia was still poor (Japan was under military reconstruction, and Mao's heavy-handed revolution in China was still in the future). Labor unions were strong in the industrialized world, and the movement of women into work outside the home and farm was in its early stages. Farming was less technological and usually on a smaller scale, the environmental movement had not yet flowered, and human-caused climate change was present but unrecognized. Personal computers and social networking were decades away, and Earth's human population was well under three billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Andrew Gilmour
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Ever since the Charter of the United Nations was signed in 1945, human rights have constituted one of its three pillars, along with peace and development. As noted in a dictum coined during the World Summit of 2005: "There can be no peace without development, no development without peace, and neither without respect for human rights." But while progress has been made in all three domains, it is with respect to human rights that the organization's performance has experienced some of its greatest shortcomings. Not coincidentally, the human rights pillar receives only a fraction of the resources enjoyed by the other two—a mere 3 percent of the general budget.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Jens Bartelson
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Sovereignty apparently never ceases to attract scholarly attention. Long gone are the days when its meaning was uncontested and its essential attributes could be safely taken for granted by international theorists. During the past decades international relations scholars have increasingly emphasized the historical contingency of sovereignty and the mutability of its corresponding institutions and practices, yet these accounts have been limited to the changing meaning and function of sovereignty within the international system. This focus has served to reinforce some of the most persistent myths about the origin of sovereignty, and has obscured questions about the diffusion of sovereignty outside the European context.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sir Richard Jolly
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: As of 2007 the world economy has been caught in the worst crisis since the 1930s. Yet after two years of only partly successful efforts to mobilize and coordinate global action of financial control and stimulus, ending with the G-20 meeting of March 2009, responsibility for corrective economic initiatives has essentially been left to individual countries, supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU). Moreover, such support has been usually conditional on countries following financial policies of tough austerity. The United States took some actions to stimulate its economy, but by many accounts these were insufficient. Most of Europe has not even attempted stimulus measures and has been in a period of economic stagnation, with falling real incomes among the poorest parts of the population. Although some signs of “recovery” have been heralded in 2013 and 2014, growth has mostly been measured from a lower base. There is little evidence of broad-based economic recovery, let alone improvements in the situation of the poor or even of the middle-income groups.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: James Bohman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: In Just Freedom, Philip Pettit undertakes significant revisions of some of his republican commitments. The book has many new and innovative ideas, but most of all this work sharpens Pettit's thinking on the role of democracy in republicanism, and on the often positive interaction between the two. Above all, it seems to me that Pettit's own account of basic freedoms has become broader and wider, and now includes a cosmopolitan conception of what we owe other human beings, whoever they are.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Steve Vanderheiden
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: With the failure of the international community to negotiate a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol in late 2011, and with little prospect of U.S. ratification of any treaty framework that includes binding green¬house emission targets, hope for a sustainable and effective international climate policy appears dim. As of 2012, only Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union continue to endorse binding post-Kyoto greenhouse emissions targets, with countries representing half the emissions controlled under Kyoto rejecting any further binding mitigation commitments in the absence of a treaty framework that includes the United States. Further, the remaining commitments are likely to be tested by political and economic turmoil that strains the ability of the governments to maintain them. While the "roadmap" that emerged from the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-17)of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)-held in Durban, South Africa-calls for a post-Kyoto treaty to be negotiated by 2015 and to take effect by 2020,ongoing reluctance by China, India, and the United States to accept binding emissions caps threatens to frustrate progress toward any such future agreement. Given the rapidly closing window of opportunity to begin reversing current trends of increasing global emissions and to eventually stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels that would prevent the dire consequences predicted by "business as usual" trajectories, significant mitigation action remains urgently needed, with climate change adaptation programs becoming increasingly important.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  • Author: Nader Hashemi
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring of 2011 is widely viewed today as one of the great historical moments of political transformation. Comparisons have been made to the European revolutions of 1848 and the post-cold war democratic transitions in Eastern Europe, while some have spoken of a possible "fourth wave" of democratization. These analogies make sense given that longstanding dictators who seemed impervious to political change, in a region known for persistent authoritarianism, were suddenly toppled by largely nonviolent protesters invoking the universal themes of political freedom, dignity, and social justice. From the outset, however, the Arab Spring was met by a small chorus of criticism and contempt from prominent intellectuals, writers, and politicians.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: This is an extraordinary book by two extraordinary thinkers. Diagnosed with a terminal illness that made the use of his hands impossible, the eminent historian and public intellectual Tony Judt agreed to an unusual project: a series of free-flowing conversations with fellow historian Timothy Snyder, organized topically around areas of mutual interest, such as the intellectual history of twentieth-century Europe and the history of and future prospects for social democracy in Europe and North America. Snyder, whose groundbreaking 2010 book Bloodlands established him as one of the most important historians of European history working in the English language, serves as the interlocutor here, encouraging (and at times nudging) Judt to expand upon many of the themes of his earlier books and essays, such as Reappraisals, Ill Fares the Land, and the monumental Postwar.
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Leif Wenar
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The "resource curse" can strike countries that derive a large portion of their national income from exporting high-value natural resources, such as oil, gas, metals, and gems. Resource-exporting countries are subject to four overlapping curses: they are more prone to authoritarianism, they tend to suffer more corruption, they are at a higher risk for civil wars, and they exhibit greater economic instability. The correlations between resources and such pathologies as authoritarianism, corruption, civil conflict, and economic dysfunction are evident in the list of the five major African oil exporters: Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan. The recent histories of mineral exporters support the correlations: for example, "blood diamonds" fueled Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war, and the continuing conflict in the metal-rich eastern Congo has caused up to 6 million deaths. The phenomenon is not solely African: Burma, Yemen, and Turkmenistan, for example, are also resource cursed. Moreover, poor governance in resource-cursed countries can engender follow-on pathologies, such as a propensity to cause environmental damage both domestically (for example, through the destruction of forests) and globally (through increased greenhouse gas emissions). Most research on the resource curse has focused on the institutions of exporting countries. This essay focuses instead on importing countries, especially those in North America and Europe. I survey how the resource curse impedes core interests of importing states. I then discuss how the policies of importing states drive the resource curse, and how these policies violate their existing international commitments. The second half of the paper describes a policy framework for importing states that can improve international trade in resources for both importers and exporters.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Burma, North America, Nigeria, Angola