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  • 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: Slade Mendenhall
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, by Timothy Sandefur. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2014. 200 pp. $24.95 (hardcover). While the principles of liberty on which America was founded are under attack from so-called liberals and conservatives alike, and while expanding abuses of government power are too vast and complex for most Americans to fully follow, books by rational, knowledgeable professionals clearly and concisely explaining the problems and offering solutions are of immense value. Timothy Sandefur's The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty fits this bill. Sandefur, a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, bases his latest work on an underappreciated idea in American legal thinking. It is the idea that the Declaration of Independence—understood as a formal, legal, diplomatic document issued by the representatives of thirteen British colonies to the king of England—is part of the law of the land, just as are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, argues Sandefur, the Declaration used to be seen as the “conscience of the Constitution,” and reviving this understanding of its position in the framework of U.S. law will go a long way toward establishing the moral and political context within which lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices should argue and interpret constitutional law. Sandefur's thesis is controversial and is not likely to be well received in modern courts and law classrooms. Most law schools teach students to view the Declaration as a mere manifesto or letter of aspiration. But Sandefur wages a compelling intellectual defense of the Declaration-as-law on two fronts: against leftists, who have ridiculously claimed that the document was drafted as a wink-and-nod effort by elite white men to put down minorities and the lower classes; and against conservatives such as Russell Kirk and neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol who, afraid of its “natural rights” language, dismiss the ideas of the Declaration and characterize it as an underhanded “ploy to lure the French” into conflict with the English (p. 14). Sandefur, pointing out the baseless nature of such criticisms, puts forth a strong argument for holding the Declaration as law and highlights the Founding Fathers' own understanding of it as such. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, England
  • Author: Jonathan Blanks
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Criminal justice reform has been gaining momentum in Washington, attracting policymakers from both sides of the aisle. Draconian mandatory minimum sentences, overcrowded prisons, and bloated criminal justice budgets have made reform a bipartisan issue. This is undoubtedly a positive development, but—as is typical with the political process—the most popular reforms are not enough. Most of the political capital and rhetoric focuses on "back-end" criminal justice reforms, such as sentencing reform, early release, and alternatives to incarceration. While these reforms are sorely needed, the "front end" of the criminal justice system—criminal laws, the courts, and policing itself—also needs thorough examination. Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop is an exemplar of what these assessments should look like in the American context.
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • 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: Shashank Joshi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For India, the Western drawdown of forces in Afghanistan will represent the greatest adverse structural shift in its security environment for over a decade. Yet, a fundamental congruity of interests between Washington and New Delhi, and opportunities for cooperation, remain.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Environment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Washington, India
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Washington, East Asia
  • Author: Sanam Vakil
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: US-Iranian relations have been stalled for over three decades due to missteps in timing, distrust, hostility and ideological differences between Tehran and Washington. Six American presidents have experimented with different political and economic tools in an effort to reverse Iranian support for terrorist groups, its opposition to Israel and its pursuit of a nuclear programme. President Barack Obama's direct engagement with Tehran to end the nuclear standoff is a first step towards improved relations between two estranged countries that share a number of mutual interests.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Tehran
  • Author: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • 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: Alex Danchev
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This review article considers the case of Donald Rumsfeld and his disastrous tenure as US Secretary of Defense (2001-2006), as recounted by Rumsfeld himself in his memoirs and other writings, and in interviews with the celebrated documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, for The unknown known (2014). In all of these works he appears completely unreconstructed; indeed, remarkably self-satisfied. The article reflects on Rumsfeld as operator and courtier, and Morris's pursuit of a man without qualities, with reference to Hannah Arendt's notion of 'the banality of evil'.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Kent Harrington, Bennett Ramberg
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After several years of uncertainty about Kim Jong-un and his grip on power, analysis of North Korea has settled back into well-worn patterns. In Washington, Seoul, and elsewhere, mainstream commentary seems to have shelved concerns about the North's stability, returning instead to questions that represent hearty perennials for Pyongyang watchers: Is Kim prepared to open the North's moribund economy to Chinese-style reform, or is the latest dynastic offspring simply intent on the survival of his draconian family regime? Do the North's rhetoric and intermittent provocations threaten conflict, or are they simply more of the same theatrics out of an isolated elite? Notwithstanding its long history of broken pledges, is a nuclear deal possible—or are the North's weapons permanently in its arsenal? Add to all this the focus on North Korea's recent offer to Tokyo to investigate the fate of scores of Japanese citizens kidnapped by its agents since the 1960s, as well as the warming relations with Moscow as President Putin reaches out to burnish Russia's Asian role, and attention to Pyongyang's new normalcy appears to have supplanted anxiety about the regime's potential to fall.
  • Political Geography: Washington, North Korea, Tokyo