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  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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: Michael Dunne
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The recent US mid-term elections have not only dented President Obama's image at home and abroad, they have seen the return to 'divided government' whereby one party controls the Executive and the other controls either the Senate or the House of Representatives or both. Such divided government has been quite frequent since the Second World War; but the situation is often portrayed by political scientists as dysfunctional, even as they acknowledge that the Founders of the Republic deliberately created a federal system which would minimize concentrations of political power. Yet divided government is only one complaint among many levelled by American commentators at their political system. This article examines such criticisms both theoretically and historically, and also develops a historical approach which discusses American attitudes to the past, particularly US foreign relations. Here the emphasis is upon the ideologies that have powered American expansion, first across the North American continent and then overseas. A peculiar, even 'exceptional' aspect of this expansion has been its rhetorical form, in particular the invocation of past presidents to justify contemporary actions and the creation of a doctrinal canon (classically expressed in the Monroe doctrine). While these two lines of enquiry (emphasizing history and political science) are the methodological double core of the article, they are not treated discretely; rather the focus is on the interplay between the two.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America