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  • Author: John Herbst
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: In Great Game, Local Rules the New Great Power Contest in Central Asia, Alexander Cooley develops an excellent analytical framework for looking at the activities of China, Russia and the United States in Central Asia. Cooley offers three broad arguments. First, he observes that the three big powers have pursued different goals in Central Asia, which has meant that their interests do not necessarily conflict. China's main objective has been to stabilize Xinjiang by ensuring cooperative relationships on Xinjiang's border. This prompted beijing to resolve border disputes with kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and kazakhstan on favorable terms for its Central Asian neighbors. The U.S. has sought to stabilize Afghanistan by establishing supply and base arrangements in Central Asia. Despite the ups and downs with Tashkent which led to the closing of the U.S. base at karshi khanabad in 2005, washington has largely achieved its objectives in the region. Russia has sought to remain the major power or hegemon in the region. Despite this ambitious goal, Moscow has been willing to accept efforts by the U.S. to establish bases in Central Asia because it also is interested in containing, if not defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, China, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Phil Williams
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: After the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the United States encountered a series of strategic surprises, including the hostility to the occupation, the fragility of Iraq's infrastructure, and the fractious nature of Iraqi politics. One of the least spectacular but most significant of these surprises was the rise of organized crime and its emergence as a postconflict spoiler. This development was simply not anticipated. Organized crime in Iraq in the months and years after March 2003 emerged as a major destabilizing influence, increasing the sense of lawlessness and public insecurity, undermining the efforts to regenerate the economy, and financing the violent opposition to the occupation forces. In 2003, the theft of copper from downed electric pylons made the restoration of power to the national grid much more difficult. In 2008, the capacity to generate funds through criminal activities enabled al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to continue resisting both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government. Moreover, with the planned U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, organized crime in the country will continue to flourish by maintaining well established crime-corruption networks. It might also expand by exploiting the continued weakness of the Iraqi state.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Pauline Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Of the many foreign policy challenges of the 21st century, one of the most complex and unpredictable is the problem of fragile and failing states, which often leads to civil war, mass atrocities, economic decline, and destabilization of other countries. The political era stemming from such challenges not only threatens civilians who are in harm's way, but also endangers international peace. Since the 1990s, such crises have become more prominent on the agendas of the major powers, intergovernmental institutions, humanitarian organizations, and vulnerable states themselves. Indeed, while the number of violent conflicts, particularly interstate wars, declined after the end of the Cold War, the duration and lethality of internal conflicts are rising. Casualty figures are considerably higher when “war deaths” beyond the battlefield and deaths resulting from infrastructure destruction are included. While Iraq and Afghanistan have dominated the public discourse on fragile states, the problem is not confined to these countries or their neighbors. Indeed, it is likely that global trends in civil conflicts will present more, not fewer, challenges to international peace and security, particularly in states where there is a history of instability, demographic pressures, rich mineral resources, questionable political legitimacy, a youth bulge, economic inequality, factionalized elites, and deep-seated group grievances.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States