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  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Human activities, technology and climate change drive changes to our environmental landscape and societal order. Marine microplastics arising from woeful human use of plastics threaten marine ecology. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels disrupts weather systems and consequently undermines food security. Unequal access between the “haves and have nots” aggravates food insecurity. Without meaningful intervention, annual deaths from food-borne diseases (FBDs) caused by anti-microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria will reach 10 million in 2050. Human displacement continues unabated across state lines as humanitarian crises require fresh responses. Ubiquitous use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has created a new landscape where cyber-threats target both hardware and software and where truth has become its latest victim. Moreover, social media has been weaponized to breed intolerance. The Annual Conference of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia held in Singapore recently examined responses to these uncertainties, if not threats to humanity, arising from key disruptions. This report captures the responses and hopes touted by experts at the Conference with the view of providing policy makers and invested scholars interested in such developments with some recommendations towards building resilience within and across states.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although China's statements about the Ukrainian crisis have been weighed very carefully, there are concerns that China is drawing lessons such as 'might is right' and 'geopolitics is all that matters' from the crisis. The hawks in China have adopted a similar tone to that of the Kremlin, with both wishing to see a relatively diminished Western influence in the international arena. The Chinese Dream is all about national rejuvenation, which entails redressing past grievances. Nevertheless, the Dream need not turn into a nightmare for other powers. The increase in China's military budget does not indicate growing ambitions of a global power projection. China's primary concern remains stability both within and without its borders.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: John Lee, Charles Horner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: U.S. administrations and officials are consistently caught flat-footed by the increasing assertiveness of the People's Republic of China (PRC) over disputed territories in the East China and South China Seas. This assertiveness is strident, yet controlled. Beijing's objectives in the region, with respect to maritime issues in particular, have been apparent for several decades. While the United States is well aware of the PRC's "talk and take" approach—speaking the language of negotiation while extending de facto control over disputed areas—U.S. policy has been tactical and responsive rather than strategic and preemptive, thus allowing China to control the pace and nature of escalation in executing talk and take.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Alain Guidetti
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Seoul in July 2014 shows how the relations between China and South Korea have taken center stage in North- East Asia. Both countries are building up a growing strategic partnership, as a result of emerging cross-interests in the region and robust trade relations. This dynamic underlines the dilemma Seoul faces in maintaining a strong military alliance with the United States, while turning increasingly toward China as its core partner for both its economic development and its North Korea policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Northeast Asia
  • Author: Banning Garrett, Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As China's National Party Congress gathered in early March to anoint Xi Jinping and the next generation of Chinese leaders, Beijing's behavior at home and abroad strongly suggested that, while they have strategic goals, they have no strategy for how to achieve them. Beijing seems unable to change course from following a development model it has outgrown and pursuing assertive, zero-sum foreign policies that are counter to its long-term interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Corruption, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Tural Ahmadov
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Throughout the years the overwhelming preponderance of US global leadership is debated by scholars and politicians. In light of the 'rise of the rest', this preponderance is either diminishing or still standing. As of now, yet again, the US is a dominant player both economically and militarily. However, economic recession is likely to make the United States put more emphasis on domestic problems and less emphasis on foreign challenges. Since political and economic landscape is swiftly changing overseas, the United States should act accordingly and cooperate with regional powers on issues of mutual interest. Similarly, as current development is under way in the Middle East, the United States should staunchly back Turkey as the regional hub in dealing with Syrian crisis and foiling Iranian menace.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Neither the current US administration nor US academics recognize Russia as a major Asian power. Although Russia faces many obstacles to becoming a credible Asian actor, Moscow is making resolute diplomatic overtures to secure its Asian standing. Stephen Blank argues that these activities merit US attention because they enhance understanding of Asian international relations and offset the pronounced ethnocentrism of so much American writing on the subject.
  • Topic: International Relations, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion last year. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are asking to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a once-in-a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Thomas G. Mahnken
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: Given the high stakes involved in China's rise, both in Asia and globally, understanding the scope and pace of Chinese military modernization is an important undertaking. This brief applies insights from the theory and history of military innovation to the task of understanding China's development of anti-access and area denial capabilities and provides recommendations on how the United States can improve its ability to detect and recognize Chinese military innovation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Katrine Barnekow Rasmussen
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This is a brief English version of a Danish DIIS Report on the foreign policy of Iran. In the Report, Iran's foreign policy is investigated both ideologically and in respect of its pragmatic motivations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Asia
  • Author: Christine Lynch, Devon Tucker, Michael Harvey, Jacqueline McLaren Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Drawing on a diverse array of opinions from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, the EastWest Institute's Fifth Worldwide Security Conference brought together specialists from the spheres of policy, academia, and civil society. Participants addressed a variety of issues on the contemporary global security landscape. These ranged from specific security threats (whether illicit trade, the targeting of critical infrastructure or cyber crime) to the role of interested actors (such as business, NGOs, and media), as well as a focus on potential strategies to counter terrorism and extremism (either in terms of constructing global cooperative architectures or, more controversially, the possibility of opening dialogue with the terrorists). A variety of policy recommendations emerged from each session—detailed in the main body of the report—but there were several recurring themes binding the debate together and animating the core arguments of proceedings as a whole. These policy recommendations were not necessarily consensus recommendations but reflected a wide range of debated policy prescriptions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Education, Globalization, Human Rights, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ahmet Davutoğlu was appointed Foreign Minister of Turkey on May 1, 2009. Chief advisor to the Prime Minister since 2002, Davutoğlu is known as the intellectual architect of Turkish foreign policy under the AK Party. He articulated a novel foreign policy vision and succeeded, to a considerable extent, in changing the rhetoric and practice of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey's new dynamic and multidimensional foreign policy line is visible on the ground, most notably to date in the country's numerous and significant efforts to address chronic problems in the neighboring regions. Davutoğlu's duty will now shift from the intellectual design of policies to greater actual involvement in foreign policy, as he undertakes his new responsibilities as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Davutoğlu era in Turkish foreign policy will deepen Turkey's involvement in regional politics, international organizations, and world politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum comprises 21 developed and developing economies that surround the Pacific Rim. The organization was created in 1989 and holds annual Leaders' Meetings that bring together its heads of government. In this policy brief, I assess the record of the APEC over the 20 years of its existence and discuss the world environment in which APEC is likely to be operating in the next 20 years, with a particular focus on the major change in global institutional arrangements implied by the replacement of the Group of Seven/Eight (G-7/8) by the Group of Twenty (G-20) as the chief steering committee for the world economy and, within that group and other international economic organizations, the increasingly central role of an informal and de facto Group of Two (G-2) between China and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen, Thilo Hanemann
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 1967 Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber published Le defi americain, a call to beware of American multinationals buying up the world. In the 1980s and 1990s it was Japan's turn, spawning books like Clyde Prestowitz's 1993 Trading Places: How We Are Giving Our Future to Japan. Today it is China's outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) that elicits the most anxiety China's OFDI has reached commercially and geoeconomically significant levels and begun to challenge international investment norms and affect international relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, America, Asia
  • Author: Enika Abazi
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Kosovo's independence has revealed shifting strategic landscapes, security concerns and domestic developments in regional and international politics with significant implications for all actors in the region. Russia calculated to restore its lost 'superpower' status and control Serbia's strategic oil industries. Turkey's prompt recognition of independence increased its impact and prevented a stronger Greek-Serb- Russian axis in the region, while strengthening its Western identity. Kosovo's independence will be a test case for keeping peace and stability in the Balkans within the new dynamics of regional and international politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Kosovo, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The self-assertive rhetoric of the Russian leadership, in which President Putin's Munich speech marked a shift towards a more aggressive style, has been translated into such demonstrative actions as the resumption of regular patrols by Long Range Aviation and the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty. Despite new funding and against confident self-assessments, Russia's strategic arsenal continues to shrink, and many key modernization projects, such as the Bulava missile for strategic submarines, have encountered setbacks. The need for brandishing the diminishing capabilities is driven by the desire to deter the perceived threat of a 'coloured revolution' sponsored by the West, the urge to assert a more solid status than just that of an 'energy super-power', and the complicated intrigues surrounding the on-going reconfiguration of the political leadership. Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type. The most worrisome point in Russia's ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus. Russia's desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's current foreign policy should be understood as an element of the political regime that was built under Vladimir Putin's leadership. The major domestic impact on foreign policy seems to stem from the inclination among the elites and the power groups to maintain the power status quo in the country whilst profiting from the economic ties with the West. In this context the West becomes perceived as an unwanted external political factor on the one hand, and as a source of profits and financial stability for the Russian elites on the other. The current political system has given rise to a specific kind of foreign policy and diplomacy that both actively criticizes and challenges the West in rhetoric, while furthering economic ties between Europe and Russia's major business players. This contradiction is not self-evident as it is often couched in the assertive discourse of “strong state” and “national interest”. In reality, it is the “special interests” of Russia's state-private power groups and networks that lie behind the country's international standing. As long as the internal order in the country remains as it is, it is not feasible to expect any critical rethinking on foreign policy. The scope for public and expert debate has shrunk tremendously as foreign policy-making becomes increasingly bureaucratic and profit-driven. The prevailing climate of tense relations and diplomatic bickering in Russia-Western relations may linger despite the change of president. This does not mean that stabilization of relations or even engagement with Russia should be ruled out, however. Western actors should pay close attention to the domestic development in Russia, particularly the economic side. Further growth in the economy will push Russia towards a more intense (both in terms of cooperation and competition) interaction with the West. It is in the interests of the West to respond to this development in a consistent and constructive way by anchoring Russia in the rule-based economic environment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War EU–Russia relationship has been based on erroneous premises: Russia has not been willing to live up to its original aims of pursuing a western democratic and liberal path; nor have the European Union and its member states been able to develop a coherent policy line that would have consistently nudged Russia in that direction. The lack of a genuinely shared understanding concerning the relationship has resulted in chronic and growing political problems and crises between the parties. The increasingly fraught nature of the EU–Russia relationship has also played to Russia's strengths. It has enabled Russia to re-assert its sovereignty and walk away from the commonly agreed principles and objectives already codified in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1994. The erosion of the original central aims of the partnership has not resulted in an atmosphere of working relations. Although Russia has been able to get its own way in most of the issues, a relationship worthy of the name “strategic partnership” is currently more elusive than ever. Instead of toning down its relations with Russia, the EU should seek to re-invigorate its approach to the country. It should also acknowledge that despite the current problems the EU's policy on Russia has, by and large, been based on sound principles. Democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human and minority rights, and liberal market principles are all factors that are badly needed in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Russia. The EU should, through its own actions, also make it clear to Russia that it deserves respect and needs to be taken seriously. It would be prudent to proceed from the sector that seems to be the key to the current relationship: energy. By pursuing a unified internal energy market and subsequent common external energy policy, the EU might be able to make Russia take the Union level more seriously again. It would also deprive some of the main culprits – Russia and certain key member states alike – of the chance of exploiting the economic and political deals cut at the bilateral level to the detriment of the common EU approach to Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
19. Putin-3
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the past nine years, Russian foreign policy has been examined several times in these pages. At no other time, however, has its direction been as troubling as it is today. To understand the causes of this disturbing evolution and to gauge its future course, the changes have to be examined in the context of the regime's ideological and political transformation since 2000, when Vladimir Putin was elected president.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Before 2001, Australian policy in the region defined here as West Asia – that stretching from India's western borders across to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, encompassing Southwest Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Levant – focused on two broad objectives: supporting American-led efforts to promote regional stability, and securing opportunities for Australian exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia