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  • Author: Ondrej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine has turned the tables of the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia. The ongoing transformation can result in a number of outcomes, which can be conceived in terms of scenarios of normalisation, escalation and 'cold peace' - the latter two scenarios being much more probable than the first. NATO ought to shore up its defences in Central and Eastern Europe while Washington and its allies engage in a comprehensive political strategy of 'new containment'. This means combining political and economic stabilisation of the transatlantic area with credible offers of benefits to partners in the East and pragmatic relations with Russia which are neither instrumentalised (as was the case with the 'reset') nor naïvely conceived as a 'partnership'.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Washington, Ukraine
  • Author: Serena Giusti, Enrico Fassi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a recently established instrument of democracy promotion intended to complement existing EU tools. Fashioned after the US National Endowment for Democracy, the EED's privileged area of action is the European neighbourhood. Meant as a small rapid-response, actor-oriented 'niche' initiative, its main task is to select those actors, from both civil and political society able to produce a change in their country. The EED represents a step forward in the EU's capacity to foster democracy, but does not necessarily go in the direction of more rationality and effectiveness. Not all EU member states support the EED with the same enthusiasm and it is still not clear how it fits into the EU's overall democracy promotion architecture. Its actions may be successful in a very constrained timeframe. However, recent crises at the EU's borders would seem to call for a strategy that takes into consideration systemic hindrances, post-regime change complexities, regional dynamics and finally rival plans of autocracy promotion.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Luigi Carafa
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States and China recently announced a joint climate agreement that creates unprecedented political momentum for the Paris COP21 to be held in December 2015. Yet, it is unclear whether such a deal is an historic breakthrough or business as usual policy. A closer look at the US-China climate agreement shows that the chances that the agreed measures have of limiting global warming to 2°C are very few. If seen in terms of concrete policy action, the US pledge comes closer to a pathway compatible with a 2°C target. By contrast, however, China's pledges are far from consistent with a 2°C pathway. As the COP21 approaches, it is becoming clear that China matters more than ever for an effective climate deal. But it is also becoming increasingly clear that, in the best case scenario, Beijing will support a start now/sprint later agreement in Paris.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Raffaele Marchetti
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The articles of this core present a number of innovative studies on transnational networks. Mainstream transnational network research has suffered from a number of theoretical biases which have prevented comprehensive study of the wide range of transnational activism of civil society organisations (CSOs). These biases concern, in particular, the notion of the ' civilness ' of CSOs, their Western origin, their bourgeois nature, and their centre-left political orientation in terms of views on global politics.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Agustin Rossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Data Protection Directive is often considered the Internet Privacy Global Standard, but this in only partially true. While the European Union sets a formal global standard, the 1995 Data Protection Directive has two loopholes that Internet companies exploit to set the effective global standard for internet privacy. The United States and Ireland have become safe harbours for Internet companies to collect and process Europeans' personal data without being subject to the stringent laws and regulations of some continental European countries. Companies, and not the European Union or governments, are the ones that set the effective global standard of internet privacy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States is currently negotiating two massive regional economic agreements, one with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim countries and the other with the 28-member European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) herald a substantial shift in US foreign economic policy as Washington turns its focus from the stalemated Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and scattered bilateral trade agreements to 'mega-regional' trade diplomacy. As the only party to both negotiations, Washington seeks to leverage issues in one to advance its interests in the other, while reinvigorating US global leadership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Robert Dover
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The revelations from the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, in July 2013 will have an enduring impact on the modern business of intelligence and the communication strategies of governments and non-state based adversaries alike. Snowden's revelations do not mark a fundamental divergence from the general understanding of intelligence. In making these implied understandings public, however, Snowden has changed the political dynamic around mass surveillance. The revelations amplify a tension within several layers of social contract from interactions between governments to those between governments and citizens. Long-term, diplomatic relations between the US and European governments should remain largely unaffected.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and EU3+3 have provided the grounds for establishing direct talks between Iran and the United States, subsequently creating a positive prospect for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff after a decade of negotiations. The effect of economic sanctions and political change in Iran have made it possible to bring an important foreign policy issue into domestic politics discourses. The fact that the nuclear negotiations put Iran in a position comparable to the other world powers strengthened a sense of movement towards a win-win situation among Iranian political forces. All of this created a relative political consensus among Iran's ruling elites regarding the need to initiate direct talks with the United States in order to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff. The nuclear programme is also linked with the regional equation, the result of which has been the emergence of a new kind pragmatism in the conduct of Iranian regional policy in hope of revising Iran's place in US Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Hassan Mneimneh
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After more than three years of corrosive wars, Syria no longer exists as a nation-state. It has been replaced by disparate entities and precarious arrangements – to the detriment of the Syrian population. The 'Divided States of Syria' are in large part the result of the survival strategy of the regime, aided by the futile pursuit of a 'political solution' by the international community. As the tragedy deepens, the recovery of Syria becomes more difficult, and the implications for regional stability increase in gravity. The West – the United States in particular – has abstained from forceful engagement. Yet, the price to pay today may in retrospect pale in light of the political, strategic and moral catastrophes that the current reserved approach is enabling.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Twining
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China and the United States have just experienced political transitions that allow the leaders of both countries to focus on bilateral relations free from the pressures of domestic political campaigns. But the domestic politics of the bilateral relationship inside each country are, like the structural tensions between the established power and the rising challenger, intensifying, as Washington takes new steps to assert its primacy in Asia and Beijing works to edge America out of its neighbourhood. US-China relations are likely to be less stable and more prone to conflict over President Obama's second term, unless the two nations can arrive at a modus vivendi to keep the peace in Asia. The challenge is that such an entente likely requires the kind of political change in China its leaders seem determined to block for fear of the threat it would pose to their own legitimacy. The reverberations of a relationship that is conflict-prone, but in which conflict holds such downside risks for both countries, will be felt well beyond Asia.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Tom Farer
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The only means available to the US to assume a responsibility to protect the Syrian people from slaughter was by credibly threatening Bashar al-Assad and the security and military elite surrounding him with a decapitating air strike if they did not immediately cease murdering protestors and begin negotiations with opposition figures to the end of making the regime broadly representative of the Syrian population. Credibility probably demanded an initial decimation, a technically possible move. In part because the US lacks the ideology and institutional structure of a real imperial power, in part because it is post-Bush a careful calculator of national interests, Syria, unlike Libya but much like Sudan and the DRC, was a bridge too far.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Syria
  • Author: Augustus Richard Norton
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab awakening augurs the return of political contestation to key Arab societies in which little more than token opposition had been tolerated. Unfolding experiments in democratisation in which Islamically-oriented parties are leading players are underway but the prospects for the consolidation of stable political systems in key countries, such as Egypt or Syria are problematic. These developments have hastened a new regional balance of power in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to stem the tide of change as well as thwart the hegemonial ambitions of Iran. Persistent issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, remain unresolved and have a powerful grip on the conscience of the Arab world. Key external powers, especially the United States, confront not only stubborn familiar issues but also a host of new strategic, economic, diplomatic and military challenges.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Arturo Marzano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel's international position has declined in recent years. Even if its relationship with the EU - and even more with the US - is solid, there have been frictions that are not likely to disappear in the years to come. Its relations with other states, from Middle Eastern countries to India and China, are either highly problematic or have not improved despite the Israeli government's efforts. It is Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories that is being increasingly criticised and this is creating a sort of 'vicious circle' in Israel: the critiques reinforce Israeli's 'bunker mentality', strengthening the ethno-nationalist character of Israeli politics and society and causing de-democratisation, and this, in turn, brings on more international isolation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The furore that greeted news that negotiations were to start on a transatlantic free trade agreement revealed not only the potential importance of any putative deal, but also the tendency of Europeans to view international politics almost uniquely in economic terms. This neglect of security and broader geostrategic issues is short-sighted and dangerous. It is precisely the liberal world order in place since the Second World War that has allowed Europeans to develop their economic potential. Leaving it to the United States to preserve that order is an increasingly problematic strategy, with the US ever more reluctant to police the world in the way it once did. The US has, for many years, asked its partners to contribute more to the preservation of common security interests. Given the failure of these attempts to date, it might be time for Washington to resort to tougher tactics in an attempt to entice Europeans out of their geostrategic retirement.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Daniel Fiott
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union and the United States are on the verge of agreeing to a transatlantic free trade agreement. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is aimed at boosting EU and US economic growth, but the negotiating partners have not excluded the defence sector from negotiations. Europe is at a tipping point regarding the rationale for its defence-industrial integration efforts. Any TTIP extending to the defence sector will raise questions about the nature of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, and, crucially, how it impacts the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Common Security and Defence Policy.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Zhu Liqun
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This rejoinder to Daniel Twining's article in the last issue (June 2013) of The International Spectator argues that both China and the United States recognise how important their relationship is for the world and the Asia-Pacific in particular. But the risk of tension on the security front has increased recently due to the US policy toward maritime disputes that has actually involved meddling between the parties involved, and its 'pivot' to Asia which targets China with more military engagement in the region. The China-US relationship has never been an easy one with the US certain of its primacy and China proud of its glorious past, which almost makes a conflictual power transition a self-fulfilling prophecy. Management of the relationship is the key for both countries to bring about more cooperation and to rein in competition. Co-evolution, a new type of relationship among major countries, is the only way out, in which the logic of interaction is 'live-and-let-live' rather than mors tua, vita mea.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The momentous changes in the Middle East and North Africa have brought the issue of human rights and democracy promotion back to the forefront of international politics. The new engagement in the region of both the US and the EU can be scrutinised along three dimensions: targets, instruments and content. In terms of target sectors, the US and EU are seeking to work more with civil society. As for instruments, they have mainly boosted democracy assistance and political conditionality, that is utilitarian, bilateral instruments of human rights and democracy promotion, rather than identitive, multilateral instruments. The content of human rights and democracy promotion has not been revised.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: François Godement
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The term "peaceful development" has created ambiguity. It fails to capture the extent to which China has become a global influence whose economic policy decisions are essential to the world multilateral system. China's international strategy can no longer be guided only by the quest for "stability" and by the principle of non-interference, because change and interdependence are a hallmark of this century. Neither can a relation with the United States alone define China's international strategy. Hopefully, China will understand the usefulness for rising powers to make long-lasting compromises, and it will strengthen instead of weaken a set of international institutions that have allowed for the most prosperous and peaceful era in human history.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Chinese overseas investment is a new, and growing phenomenon. In the last decade, there have been exponential increases in how much direct investment is flowing from China, particularly into the resource sector. As the eurozone crisis has deepened since 2008, there has been continuing talk by political and business leaders of investment in Europe being a key target for Chinese companies. And yet, the amounts invested so far come to less than 5 percent of China's global overseas foreign direct investment (FDI) total. In the crucial determinants of Chinese FDI, the EU ranks low. There is therefore a good structural reason why, despite the ambitious talk of the Chinese coming to invest more in vital sectors in the EU, this is not happening at the moment and is not likely to happen until China develops into a middle income, more developed economy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Here are three very different books about China's rise and its relations with the world. The first two tend to give the shivers while the third, much more nuanced and balanced, is somewhat reassuring – up to a point. However, the three authors highlight the challenges that China's apparently irresistible re-emergence represent for the world. They also all share a focus on, if not an obsession with the United States which, in spite of its supposed decline, clearly remains in their eyes the ultimate benchmark of leadership and success, neglecting to various degrees other and less classical forces structuring and constraining China's rise, such as the European Union, globalisation, multipolarity and the social media.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The transatlantic tensions of the Bush years are behind us but the future of transatlantic relations remains uncertain at the closing of the Obama term. Policy alignment has been found on a host of issues but 'existential' questions have resurfaced, casting shadows on Western unity and relevance in the coming years. So far the crisis has failed to focus attention on the need for a common vision for the 21st century. Key strategic issues, from the future of the European order to transatlantic engagement in the Middle East, should figure prominently on the next transatlantic agenda, shifting the debate from the notion of a 'Pacific century' to how the West can address ongoing power transitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Ruth Hanau Santini, Oz Hassan
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab Awakening can be seen as a symptom of failure of US and EU democracy promotion policies in the region. By identifying democracy with 'liberal democracy' - a discursively powerful political move - the contingent character of democracy has been lost. The US and the EU, the main promoters of a neoliberal understanding of democracy, have sided with the wrong side of history. And because they have failed to deeply revise the philosophical underpinnings of their policies, even after 2011, they risk another, even bigger, policy failure.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ulrich Volz
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This article provides an overview of the current state of financial regionalism in East Asia and discusses why and how the East Asian countries should go forward in terms of financial and monetary regionalism. It highlights intra-regional exchange rate stability as an important regional public good and makes the case for greater exchange rate cooperation. To this end, East Asian countries should gradually reduce their exposure to the US dollar and move towards currency basket regimes which would sustain relative intra-regional exchange rate stability while allowing for sufficient flexibility to accommodate idiosyncratic shocks. Against the backdrop of the global and European financial crisis, the article also urges a reconsideration of the costs and benefits of international – and regional – financial integration and calls for a further strengthening of East Asia's regional financial architecture.
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia
  • Author: Iyad Barghouti
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Despite the efforts put into negotiations, they have created a self-perpetuating cycle of disappointment, frustration and empty dialogue. With contradictory Palestinian and Israeli agendas - Palestinians negotiating for an independent state, an end to occupation, etc., and Israel negotiating primarily over security concerns - one must question the reason behind prolonged negotiations. Is US mediation, accused by many of extreme bias towards Israel, to blame? Or are negotiations an Israeli objective to execute a particular political agenda? In spite of the international community's recognition of establishing an independent Palestinian state, the current reality on the ground undermines any creation of one. This reality was allowed only by the strategic prolonging of negotiations. A particular focus on the proceedings following the Oslo Accords explains how Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have been used to pursue a particular objective.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Incentives are capable of creating favourable environments in which peace processes can make progress. This is especially true for mega incentives, which can assist in overcoming political and socio-psychological barriers to peace. In Israeli-Arab peacemaking, incentives have not yet proven efficient. To date, they have been used in a limited and inefficient manner. In 2010, the US offered Israel incentives in return for an extension of Israel's settlement freeze. This move failed due to unfavourable political conditions and scepticism regarding its ability to bring about a major breakthrough. Nevertheless, it signaled that incentives are now an integral tool in US diplomacy and could serve as a step towards crafting a multi-national mega incentive package for Middle East peace.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Marcin Zaborowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU and the US, mainly through NATO, have been successful in securing peace and prosperity in Europe during the Cold War and in promoting peace beyond Europe after 1990. With the emergence of new powers and the rise of multipolarity, however, it is no longer apparent that transatlantic relations are indispensable and ways must be found to make sure that the relationship remains relevant. The EU and the US currently relate poorly to each other and as a result do not obtain the best possible outcome from their combined resources. Two elements are key to improving transatlantic relations: an inclusive policy towards Turkey (in the strategic interests of both the EU and the US) and more permanent and workable structures suited to the realities of the 21st century.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, 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: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the US prepares to pull out of Iraq, the 'national reconciliation' process that was launched in the Summer of 2006 remains stalled. The March 2010 legislative elections, which were expected to consecrate the rebuilding of a national pact between Iraqis, have led to even greater fragmentation of Iraq's socio-political landscape. The power sharing agreement ultimately presages more tensions to come. With the essence and reality of the Iraqi 'nation' long debated and subjected to continued deconstruction under the combined effects of authoritarianism, military conflagrations and economic sanctions, it will likely take decades before a genuine reconciliation can come about.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Roberto Aliboni
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab revolts are one dimension of the strategic change that is affecting the Middle East and Arab world as a consequence of the failure of the West, especially the United States, to shape the region in line with their views during the last decade. They definitely point to the weakening, or perhaps even the end, of a long period in which US and Western objectives in the region were supported by a large coalition of regional powers with conservative interests. The revolts did not come out of the blue and have quite a different nature and significance from the ones that Western official rhetoric and media tend to assign them. To understand the Arab revolts and work out a fresh Western approach toward the region, the West must frame the revolts in the region's evolving strategic context.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: More often than not, United States policies toward Latin America and the Caribbean have had the appearance of a kaleidoscope. They are shaped by so many different forces and variables that it is hard to find a consistent pattern of decision-making. On its face, this should not be a surprise – given the enormous variations among the 33 countries of this diverse region and the multitude of interests at play in their relations with the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, widely suspected of having a secret and illegal military objective, is a major flashpoint. A nuclear Iran would alter the balance of power in the strategic Gulf area and seriously weaken the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a party as a non-nuclear state. The magnitude of the issue has prompted a number of countries to step in to curb Iran's nuclear plans. The European Union and the United States have been at the forefront of this effort. However, it was only at the end of a gradual, irregular and difficult process that the two sides were able to reach convergence.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran
  • Author: Harald Müller
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 8th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) started on 5 May 2010. The mood was 'cautiously optimistic' as the parties had experienced a productive last preparatory phase. In contrast to the fatally failed 2005 conference, the agenda and rules of procedures had been agreed and conference officers designated. The new US–Russian disarmament treaties on strategic nuclear weapons (NSTART) and disposal of weapon plutonium contributed to raising optimistic expectations. President Barack Obama's commitment to a nuclear weapons free world had impressed many people.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Steven E. Miller
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States had mixed results at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. On the one hand, it avoided the isolation and criticism directed at Washington in connection with the failed 2005 Review Conference, in large measure because the Obama administration took more congenial positions on a number of nuclear issues. Its cooperation also facilitated the successful achievement of a consensus final document. On the other hand, there was wide resistance to a number of measures for strengthening the NPT system favoured or promoted by the United States, resistance that reveals deep and worrying divisions within the regime.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Huang Ping, Tao Wenzhao, Wang Rongjun, Yuan Zheng, Zhao Xingshu
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, and it is progressively maturing. Non-traditional security threats are expanding the shared interests of China and the US. The two countries have developed more realistic views of each other than they had decades ago, and this is making military relations more practical. The two are also interdependent in the economic realm, whether they like it or not, and therefore must work together to succeed in handling the current economic crisis. Connected to this economic challenge is that of climate change, an issue which the US must handle wisely in its relations with China. In addition, traditional security and peace issues will remain important, some even sensitive and difficult, in relations in the near future. The better relationship which China and the US are moving towards will contribute substantially not only to bilateral relations but also to global peace and order.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The US-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. As two of the world's largest economies, there can be no solution to the global economic crisis if the two work at cross purposes and many of the region's most complex security challenges - North Korean denuclearisation first among them - require Sino-US cooperation. The good news is that both US President Barrack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are aware of and accept the shared responsibility and necessity for a cooperative approach toward dealing with the global financial crisis and regional security challenges; both have pledged to develop a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive" relationship and build mutual trust in a way that encourages, rather than worries, friends and allies in the Asia Pacific.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, North Korea
  • Author: Robert Ayson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: From Australia's perspective, and in spite of the global economic crisis, an increasingly strong China will remain the dominant theme in Asia's evolving distribution of power. Australia has benefited from the prosperity which is the foundation of China's rise. But it continues to value the reassurance that a strong United States can bring to Asia. This favourable status quo seems superior to the alternatives: a cooperative Asian community which may be more aspirational than practicable; an Asian concert which requires an unlikely sharing of leadership between the great powers; or a coalition of Asian democracies which could be especially divisive. But as this comfortable status quo is strained, Australia may need to consider geopolitical options which until now have appeared fanciful and risky.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia
  • 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: Sergio Fabbrini, Daniela Sicurelli
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Although foreign policy changes reflect transformations in the international system, they are also strongly conditioned by domestic factors. This is particularly true in the United States. Domestic factors have affected US decision-makers' interpretation of the international system and the role their country should play in it. That interpretation has gone through various phases, each characterised by a predominant paradigm or a struggle between competing paradigms. If the period between 11 September 2001 and the 2006 mid-term elections witnessed the uncontested success of unilateralism, after those mid-terms and the elections of 4 November 2008, the necessary domestic conditions for a new multilateral paradigm may have been created.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eric Rosand
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Bush administration's strong preference for seemingly more flexible initiatives, involving a select group of countries, and limiting the size of international bureaucracies, which has resulted in three US-driven multilateral initiatives to address the threat of WMD-terrorism - the Proliferation Security Initiative, the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the committee and group of experts it established - has produced mixed results so far. Although it helped to ensure a more rapid initial response to WMD terrorism, such an approach has also impeded efforts to build and sustain global support to respond to that threat.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an innovative, multi-pronged action aimed at enhancing the domestic capacities of a state, as well as its ability to interconnect internationally and to deal with the risk of a terrorist attack involving nuclear or radioactive materials. The GICNT, a joint US-Russian initiative, has now evolved into an informal network of over 70 countries. It pursues it objective of boosting the protection, detection, prosecution and response capabilities of a state by fostering cooperation on three levels: between a government and its agencies; between government and the private sector; and between like-minded states. Given its comprehensive approach to the nuclear terrorism threat, the initiative has great potential. Nevertheless, structural flaws such as the absence of any evaluation mechanism and the exclusion of military-related nuclear materials and sites are likely to make its impact far less global than expected.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States