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  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The highlight of US-ROK relations was the first summit between Barack Obama and Park Geunhye in Washington where the two presidents celebrated the 60th birthday of the alliance. Obama announced his support for Park's “trustpolitik” initiative, demonstrating bilateral agreement on policies toward North Korea. The US also voiced support for the thaw in inter-Korean relations reflected in resumption of dialogue over the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Meanwhile, South Korea and the US agreed to an extension of the US-ROK civil nuclear agreement, began negotiations on a Special Measures Agreement (host nation support for US forces), and restarted discussions on a possible delay of OPCON transfer.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Washington, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon Simon
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III has linked its military modernization and overall external defense to the US rebalance. Washington has raised its annual military assistance by two-thirds to $50 million and is providing surplus military equipment. To further cement the relationship, Philippine and US defense officials announced that the two countries would negotiate a new “framework agreement” under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty providing for greater access by US forces to Philippine bases and the positioning of equipment at these facilities. Washington is also stepping up participation in ASEAN-based security organizations, sending forces in June to an 18-nation ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus exercise covering military medicine and humanitarian assistance in Brunei. A July visit to Washington by Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang resulted in a US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, actually seen as a step below the Strategic Partnerships Hanoi has negotiated with several other countries. Myanmar's president came to Washington in May, the first visit by the country's head of state since 1966. An economic agreement was the chief deliverable. While President Obama praised Myanmar's democratic progress, he also expressed concern about increased sectarian violence that the government seems unable (or unwilling) to bring under control.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Biljana Popovska
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The theoretical framework of this article is based on several published works whose content deals with history teaching as a key mechanism of justice in transitional societies. Then, it draws from the work of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe and their project "Clio in the Balkans" and the Joint History Text- book Project. In addition, there are materials from interviews with Macedonian and Albanian history teachers, experts, and government representatives selected from the participants in the Macedonian project presented at a United States Institute of Peace conference in Washington, D.C. in November 2005.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Daniel W. Dresner
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The 2008 financial crisis dramatically worsened the fiscal future of the United States. In the first five years of the Great Recession, the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of the United States more than doubled, and multiple bond-ratings agencies downgraded U.S. federal government debt. The inevitable debate in Washington is where and how much to cut federal spending. The national security budget is a natural target for fiscal conservatives. Their logic is clear-cut: defense and war expenditures are not the primary culprits for the parlous fiscal state of the United States, but they acted as accessories. For the 2013 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government has budgeted more than $685 billion in defense expenditures. Tacking on budgeting for intelligence and nuclear forces raises that figure to more than $725 billion. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down and al-Qaida's top leadership decimated, the security threats to the United States have also declined. At the same time, the country possesses an unparalleled lead in defense assets and expenditures. Given its unchallenged military supremacy, targeting cuts toward defense spending after a decade of dramatic budgetary increases is a natural ambition.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Steve Simpson
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The revelation in May of this year that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was systematically targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny under the laws governing nonprofit organizations shocked the nation and triggered one of the Obama administration's biggest scandals to date. According to a Treasury inspector general's report, in May of 2010, agents in the IRS's Cincinnati office began singling out applications for nonprofit status from groups with terms such as "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their names. The agents conducted lengthy investigations of the groups to determine whether they intended to spend too much of their money on political activities that are prohibited to most nonprofits.1 The IRS required some groups to answer long lists of questions about their intentions, it demanded donor lists from others, and it even examined Facebook and Internet posts.2 Some groups simply gave up and withdrew their applications. Others spent two years waiting for a decision that never came.3 When Congress investigated the scandal, Lois Lerner, the former head of the office that oversees nonprofit organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify. Later, hearings revealed that Douglas Shulman, the former head of the IRS, was cleared to visit the White House at least 157 times during his tenure and that IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was one of two Obama appointees at the IRS, helped develop the agency's guidelines for investigating the Tea Party groups.4 As a result, critics of the IRS have good reason to think that the scandal reaches the highest levels of our government. The public's outrage over this scandal is, of course, entirely appropriate. If the government can enforce laws based on nothing more than one's political views, then both freedom of speech and the rule of law are dead. But the outrage over the IRS's focus on conservative groups obscures a far more important question: Why was the IRS investigating the political activities of any group? The answer to that question is more troubling than the possibility of rogue IRS agents, biased law enforcement, or even abuses of power at the highest levels. As bad as all of those things are, the bigger threat to freedom is a legal regime that requires scrutiny of Americans' political activities and a political and intellectual culture that applauds such scrutiny and openly calls for more of it. This is the situation in America today. Our tax and campaign finance laws impose a host of regulations on Americans based on how much time, effort, and money they spend on political speech, and many opinion leaders agitate for even more laws and investigations every day. Against this backdrop, the IRS scandal should not surprise us. Our politicians and intellectuals demanded regulation of some of the loudest voices in our political debates, and the IRS delivered. Unfortunately, far too many critics of the IRS have accepted the premise that our laws should distinguish between groups that spend money on political activities and groups that do not. Expressing this view, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has argued that the real scandal was that the IRS did not treat all nonprofits as harshly as it treated the Tea Party groups.5 Using the same reasoning, congressional Democrats have attempted to blunt the scandal by claiming that the IRS also investigated some groups on the left.6 It appears that these claims are untrue, but the message is clear: As long as the government is scrutinizing everyone's speech equally, then there is no scandal. But this is the opposite lesson to learn from the IRS scandal. For anyone who cares about freedom of speech, the real scandal is that the government regulates Americans' campaign spending at all. So long as laws remain on the books that do so, scandals such as this one-and far worse-are inevitable. But to understand why that is so requires a deeper understanding of the premises on which the laws are based and how the laws operate in practice. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: ISAF's mission in Afghanistan has shifted from a combat role to focus more on pre- paring ANSF units to assume lead security responsibility by the end of 2014. A key element in advising and assisting the ANSF is SFA advisor teams, provided by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. A House Armed Services Committee report accompa- nying its version of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act directed GAO to review DOD's establishment and use of SFA advisor teams. Specifically, GAO evaluated the extent to which (1) DOD, in conjunction with ISAF, has defined SFA advisor team missions, goals, and objectives; (2) the Army and Marine Corps have been able to provide teams; and (3) the Army and Marine Corps have developed programs to train teams for their specific missions. GAO reviewed doctrine and guid- ance, analyzed advisor requirements, reviewed training curricula, and interviewed Army, Marine Corps, theater command, and SFA advisor team officials in the U.S. and Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The SCO grew out of a Chinese initiative (hence its name) from the late 1990s that brought together all the states that had emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991 and signed bilateral border-delimiting treaties with China: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001, these states and Uzbekistan formally created the SCO. Since then it has added observer states—Mongolia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Pakistan—and dialogue partners—Turkey, Belarus, and Sri Lanka. The SCO's original mandate seemingly formulated it as a collective security organization pledged to the defense of any member threatened by secession, terrorism, or extremism—for example, from Islamic militancy. This pre-9/11 threat listing reflected the fact that each member confronted restive Muslim minorities within its own borders. That threat may indeed be what brought them together since China's concern for its territorial integrity in Xinjiang drives its overall Central Asian policy. Thus, the SCO's original charter and mandate formally debarred Central Asian states from helping Uyghur Muslim citizens fight the repression of their Uyghur kinsmen in China. Likewise, the charter formally precludes Russian or Chinese assistance to disaffected minorities in one or more Central Asian states should they launch an insurgency. In practice the SCO has refrained from defense activities and followed an idiosyncratic, even elusive, path; it is an organization that is supposed to be promoting its members' security, yet it is difficult to see what, if anything, it actually does. Officially published accounts are of little help in assessing the SCO since they confine themselves to high-flown, vague language and are short on specifics. We see from members' actual behavior that they primarily rely on bilateral ties with Washington, Beijing, or Moscow, or on other multilateral formations like the Russian-organized Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), itself an organization of questionable effectiveness. Therefore, this essay argues that the SCO is not primarily a security organization. Rather, it provides a platform and regulatory framework for Central Asian nations to engage and cope with China's rise and with Sino-Russian efforts to dominate the area. As such, it is attractive to small nations and neighboring powers but problematic for Russia and the United States. Analyzing the SCO's lack of genuine security provision, its membership expansion considerations, and Russia's decline in power will help clarify the organization's current and future roles.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, United States, China, Iran, Washington, Central Asia, India, Shanghai, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Beijing, Tajikistan, Soviet Union, Moscow
  • Author: Moritz Pieper
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Turkey's role in the Iranian nuclear dossier is often portrayed as that of a 'facilitator' and 'mediator' in scholarly analyses. NATO member Turkey was seen as a potential bridge-builder between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 'Western camp' of negotiators. During prime minister ErdoÄŸan's first legislature, however, Ankara's and Washington's foreign policy outlooks and strategic priorities started to diverge in the course of Turkey's new regional engagement in what has been theorized as a 'Middle-Easternization' of Turkish foreign policy. It is Turkey's location as a geostrategic hub in a politically instable region that informed Turkey's 'Zero problems with neighbors' policy and foreign minister DavutoÄŸlu's advocacy for a 'Strategic Depth' in Turkey's foreign and regional policies. Ankara emphasizes its need to uphold sound relations with its neighbors and publicly stresses an unwillingness to go along with Western pressure on Iran, and insists on the principle of non-interference and Iran's right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. All the same, Turkish-Iranian relations are undergoing a deterioration in the wake of the Syrian civil war at the time of writing, with both sides supporting diametrically opposite causes and factions. Turkish-Iranian fundamentally differing conceptions of regional order will also impact upon Turkey's leverage power to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis. This paper therefore adds a timely contribution to our understanding of a multifaceted and nuanced Turkish foreign policy toward Iran that can be a critical complement to 'Western' diplomatic initiatives in the search for new paradigms for a new Middle East order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • 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: Christian Caryl
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: A SPECTER is haunting Washington-the specter of George W. Bush. President Obama may have spent almost five years in the White House by now, but it's still possible to detect the furtive presence of a certain restless shade lurking in the dimmer corners of the federal mansion. Needless to say, this is something of a first: usually U.S. presidents have to die before they can join the illustrious corps of Washington ghosts, and 43 is, of course, still very much alive in his tony Dallas neighborhood, by all accounts enthusiastically pursuing his new avocation as an amateur painter. Yet his spirit is proving remarkably hard to exorcise.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East