Search

You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Political Geography Asia Remove constraint Political Geography: Asia Topic Democratization Remove constraint Topic: Democratization
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Casey Garret Johnson, William A. Byrd, Sanaullah Tasal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The still unsigned Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States provides the legal basis for continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In addition to its substantive importance, the BSA is also a confidence-building mechanism. The delay in putting it in place is compounding uncertainty and further diminishing economic confidence during Afghanistan's already challenging and uncertain transition. Afghans' responses include, among others, hedging behavior (legal and illegal), personal decisions on whether to come back to or stay in Afghanistan, delays in investments, incipient job losses, declining demand for goods and services and real estate prices, and farmers planting more opium poppy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Democratization, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Michael Semple
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Taliban Movement has publicly rejected the legitimacy of the April 2014 elections. The Taliban's military leadership has issued instructions to officials and commanders to disrupt the elections but has left field commanders with wide discretion on how to go about doing so. Many in the Taliban follow the electoral contest closely and comment on developments in terms very similar to how they are described by the political and educated class in Kabul. However, the anti-election sentiment in the Taliban leaves no scope for any faction to cooperate with the process. The Taliban will likely be able to intensify violence approaching the election, but not sufficiently to derail the overall process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Russia's plans for chairing the G20 in 2013 go further than staging a pompous summit in St Petersburg similar to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok in September 2012. Russian leadership feels an acute need to re-establish a solid international profile eroded by the evolving domestic crisis, which undermines the credibility of Putin's regime.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Emerging Markets, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Norway, Asia, Moscow, Syria
  • Author: Scott Flower, Jim Leahy
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: This paper draws on fieldwork undertaken by the authors between January 2011 and January 2012 among local communities in Port Moresby and three of the more unstable highlands provinces of PNG (Southern Highlands, Western Highlands and Enga).
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Guinea
  • Author: Tin Maung Maung Than
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: By-elections in electoral democracies usually elicit very little excitement beyond the affected constituencies. However, Burma/Myanmar's recent by-elections held most of Asia and the West in rapt attention, with droves of international observers, media representatives, and curious foreigners flocking to Myanmar on an unprecedented scale. As anticipated, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 43 of the 44 seats that it contested, subsequently hailed as the “victory of the people.” The lead-up, campaigning, and the actual voting, along with the post-election euphoria, resembled a regime-changing national election rather than a series of by-elections that secured the NLD a very minor 6.4 percent of the overall seats in the parliamentary Union Assembly's Lower and Upper Houses. The current government of President U Thein Sein most likely regarded these by-elections as a means of legitimizing its mandate to govern and enhance its own reform credentials.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Politics, Regime Change, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin, Maria Lipman, Alexey Malashenko, Nikolay Petrov
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: To the casual observer, Russia is stuck where it was a decade ago. Vladimir Putin has once again assumed the presidency and any semblance of organized political opposition largely faded away after the March elections. But popular protests persist, and the existing politico-economic system can no longer adequately address the shifting social realities inside the country or the challenges of the global environment. The system must change if Russia is to develop further, and Moscow's policies of economic modernization alone are neither sufficient nor possible without political reform.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Political Economy, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp, Suzanne DiMaggio
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In January 2012, an Asia Society delegation visited Burma/Myanmar to engage in a Track II dialogue with the Myanmar Development Resources Institute (MDRI), a newly created, independent think tank based in Yangon. The MDRI participants in the dialogue include advisors with a mandate to provide policy advice in the areas of political, economic, and legal affairs to President Thein Sein and his government. The goal of this informal dialogue is to establish an ongoing channel of communication between experts from both countries and to explore opportunities to advance U.S.–Myanmar relations during a particularly fluid and fragile period of transition in Myanmar.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Özdem Sanberk
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: 2011 was undoubtedly a year that witnessed the beginning of grand transformations which will continue in the years ahead. The popular movements under the name of the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread quickly to the rest of the region, sparking the process of political transformation. In another part of the world, the economic crisis which began in Greece and then engulfed the whole eurozone took the European Union to a difficult test regarding its future. Both events, one lying to the south of Turkey and the other to its west, interact directly with our country and therefore its zone of interest. Ankara inevitably stands in the epicenter of these two transformations of which the effects will certainly continue for a long period. Consequently, rising as a stable focus of power with its growing economy and its expanding democracy, Turkey has tried to respond to historically important developments throughout the year. In light of these realities and developments, this study will focus on the performance of Turkish foreign policy with regard to global and regional transformations which took place during 2011.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The November 2010 elections in Myanmar were not free and fair and the country has not escaped authoritarian rule. Predictably, in such a tightly controlled poll, the regime's own Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won a landslide victory leaving the military elite still in control. Together with the quarter of legislative seats reserved for soldiers, this means there will be little political space for opposition members in parliament. The new government that has been formed, and which will assume power in the coming weeks, also reflects the continued dominance of the old order with the president and one of the two vice presidents drawn from its ranks and a number of cabinet ministers recycled.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: William Case
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In an influential study, Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig argue that “overarching institutional designs” (i.e., presidential, parliamentary, and dual systems) tell us less about the prospects of a new democracy than does the particular strength of the legislature. Specifically, executive abuses are best checked where legislatures are powerful, generating horizontal accountability. Indeed, Fish and Kroenig suggest that with judiciaries and watchdog agencies weak in most new democracies, the legislature is the only institution by which accountability can be imposed. What is more, ordinary citizens are better informed by the robust party systems that strong legislatures support, fostering vertical accountability. In comparing Freedom House scores with their Parliamentary Powers Index (PPI), Fish and Kroenig show clear correlations, leading them to conclude that democracies are made strong by legislatures that are empowered.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Asia, Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sourabh Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Civilizational, cultural, and geographic neighbors, India and Indonesia share striking commonalities in their modern historical trajectories. In both societies, European powers, the Dutch and the British, benefited from the decline of tired Islamic land empires to graft colonial modes of exploitation that progressed fitfully from coast to hinterland to interior. Following proto-nationalist revolt s, the Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and the Java War of 1825-30, both the Dutch and the British skillfully engineered a buffer of indigenous elite collaborators. This strategy succeeded to such an extent that their faraway possessions were governed by less than two hundred and a thousand expatriate administrators, respectively.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Post Colonialism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, India, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Hornung
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) kicked the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) out of power in 2009, there was some sense of hope amongst the Japanese that things would change. If nothing else, the Japanese hoped that the DPJ would bring new ideas to tackle some of the country's ongoing problems. Reality soon proved otherwise. Not only has the DPJ quietly abandoned many of its campaign pledges, it has proved just as incapable at resolving ongoing problems. Seventeen months into a DPJ-led Japan, Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces a number of domestic problems that threaten his government's survival. The unfortunate result is another expected turn of the revolving door that is the Japanese premiership.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, Asia, Tokyo
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nearly a year after the crackdown on anti-establishment demonstrations, Thailand is preparing for a general election. Despite government efforts to suppress the Red Shirt movement, support remains strong and the deep political divide has not gone away. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's roadmap for reconciliation has led almost nowhere. Although there have been amateurish bomb attacks carried out by angry Red Shirts since the crackdown, fears of an underground battle have not materialised. On the other side, the Yellow Shirts have stepped up their nationalist campaigns against the Democrat Party-led government that their earlier rallies had helped bring to power. They are now claiming elections are useless in “dirty” politics and urging Thais to refuse to vote for any of the political parties. Even if the elections are free, fair and peaceful, it will still be a challenge for all sides to accept the results. If another coalition is pushed together under pressure from the royalist establishment, it will be a rallying cry for renewed mass protests by the Red Shirts that could plunge Thailand into more violent confrontation.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jenny Hayward-Jones
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? Australia's tough-love policy towards Fiji has failed to persuade the government of Voreqe Bainimarama to restore democracy to Fiji and may even be helping to entrench his regime. The Fiji government, resistant to external pressure, has instead developed new allegiances and partnerships which undermine Australia's influence. Australia's reputation as a major power in the South Pacific and as a creative middle power more broadly may be diminished by the Fiji government's continued intransigence. Over time the Fiji people's once-strong connections with Australia may dwindle and Australia's relevance to Fiji gradually diminish unless the Australian government takes decisive action now.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Alistair D.B. Cook
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Indonesia's position as a regional champion of democracy and human rights has become prominent in international forums since the resignation of President Suharto in 1998 and the subsequent period of internal democratic reform. Its proactive foreign policy culminated in the establishment of the Bali Democracy Forum in 2008 to promote and strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Asia through a process of learning and sharing. While Indonesia's proactive foreign policy continues, significant internal challenges remain. This policy brief offers an insight into one of Indonesia's longest running internal challenges, Papua, and suggests the use of the human security lens as an alternative to the dominant traditional security lens used by many policymakers, in an effort to promote conflict resolution and match developments at home with its proactive strategies abroad.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal's peace process has moved into a phase of definitive progress. More than five years after the ceasefire, the parties have reached a deal on the Maoist fighters, who will leave the cantonments and enter the army or civilian life. An unofficial deal sets out power-sharing arrangements until the next election. The parties are focusing on the critical task of writing a new constitution, which promises a deep restructuring of the state to become more representative and decentralised. Challenges remain, including from continuously evolving coalition dynamics and divisions within parties. There will also have to be further discussions on the combatants. As the parties discuss federalism, which of all peace process issues goes most to the heart of ordinary Nepalis' expectations and anxieties, groups within and outside the Constituent Assembly will see their options narrow, which could strain the process. Yet, this is still the best chance the parties have had to reach formal closure on the war and to institute some of the fundamental changes they promised, provided they have the courage to make far-sighted compromises.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Politics, Armed Struggle, Governance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Karol Kujawa
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For several months, we have witnessed rapid change in the countries of North Africa. Researchers and politicians have raised questions about the future of Arab countries once the revolution has run its course. Will the new authorities attempt to build a theocratic state or will they follow the example of Turkey and implement democratic reforms? The latter choice is becoming increasingly popular in the Arab world. This article will address the key questions that come up in connection with Turkey and Arab countries, including: the source of Turkey's popularity in the Arab world, what do they have in common, what divides them and, finally, whether Turkey could become a model for Arab countries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Turkey, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: William Case
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In an influential study, Fish and Kroenig argue that "overarching institutional designs" (i.e., presidential, parliamentary, and dual systems) tell us less about the prospects of a new democracy than does the particular strength of the legislature. Specifically, executives are best checked where legislatures are powerful, generating horizontal accountability. In addition, ordinary citizens are better informed by the robust party systems that strong legislatures support, fostering vertical accountability. In comparing Freedom House scores with their Parliamentary Powers Index (PPI), Fish and Kroenig show clear correlations, leading them to conclude that democracies are made strong by legislatures that are empowered. In this monograph, this thesis is tested in five country cases in Southeast Asia: the Philippines and Indonesia, both new democracies, and Malaysia, Cambodia, and Singapore, cases of electoral authoritarianism. Analysis uncovers that in the new democracies, though their legislatures may be rated as powerful, members are geared less to checking the executive than to sharing in state patronage. In addition, although the legislature is evaluated as weak under electoral authoritarianism, it features an opposition that, with little access to patronage, remains committed to exposing executive abuses. What is more, when the executive operates a regime type that lacks the full legitimacy gained through general elections, he or she grows more receptive to at least mild legislative scrutiny. Contrary to Fish and Kroenig, then, this study concludes that the executive is held more accountable by legislatures under electoral authoritarianism than in new democracies. But rather than leading to a transition to democratic politics, this accountability strengthens authoritarian rule.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia, Cambodia, Singapore
  • Author: Scott Worden
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The presidential and provincial council elections held in Afghanistan in August 2009 were marred by irregularities and fraud, leading voters and candidates to question the fairness and utility of the democratic process there. The Afghan government announced in late January that it will delay Parliamentary elections until September 2010—several months beyond the deadline set by Afghanistan's constitution. The extra time is needed to make adequate logistical preparations, but little has been done so far to reform electoral institutions or policies to prevent a repeat of the problems of the 2009 elections. Without signi_cant changes in the personnel and policies of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)—the constitutional body responsible for overseeing all electoral processes— the 2010 election is likely to fall below international standards and risks undermining government (and international) legitimacy at a critical period for the counterinsurgency strategy. In addition, signi_ cant long-term reforms, including a wholesale revision of the voter registry, must be initiated now to ensure that the district council and other future Afghan elections are credible and acceptable.
  • Topic: Democratization, Sovereignty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The political system that Vladimir Putin established during the first decade of the 2000s is often referred to as 'the power vertical'. The term suggests a stable, streamlined and effective centre-led system. Yet, this image does not quite correspond with Russian reality. The system creates inefficiency, encourages corruption and is hostile towards bottom-up political initiative. The current leadership acknowledges that Russian stability is on shaky ground and therefore the system is in need of modernization. The economy is clearly a priority for the leadership: it believes that the political system's modernization should emerge gradually and in a highly controlled fashion from economic achievements. The current system in Russia is hostile to innovation and prone to corruption and therefore Medvedev's modernization plan is unlikely to succeed unless transparency and open competition within the system are considerably enhanced. This will be difficult to achieve because the elite benefits from the current corrupt and non-transparent system where the lines of responsibility are unclear. The West should not expect dramatic changes and radical liberal reforms in Russia. Western actors should, nevertheless, actively support and encourage economic and political reforms in the country and engage with it through international cooperation on specific issues such as anti-corruption policy. By stepping up its engagement with Russia, the West can demonstrate that a prosperous, competitive and modern Russia is also in the interests of the West.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The situation in Burma/Myanmar remains grave. With elections scheduled for 7 November 2010 international attention on the country has increased. Such attention, and any policy action taken, must focus not only on the goal of democratic transition, and concerns about the regimes nuclear collaboration with North Korea, but also on the plight of Burma's ethnic minorities who continue to suffer atrocities at the hands of the government. These atrocities may rise to the level of crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing – crimes states committed themselves to protect populations from at the 2005 World Summit, as described in the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect policy brief dated 4 March 2010, “Applying the Responsibility to Protect to Burma/Myanmar.”
  • Topic: Democratization, Genocide, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Burma, Myanmar
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The election for governor in Indonesia's North Maluku province was one of the most bitterly contested since direct elections for local government heads were introduced in 2005. Held in November 2007, it remains in dispute more than a year later, although a winner has been named and inaugurated. At one point it seemed as if violence between the two sides could escalate into serious communal conflict, in an area where thousands had died in religious violence a decade earlier. By early 2009, however, it looked as though Indonesia's democratic institutions would be resilient enough to cope with an election gone wrong, and the dispute would be quietly resolved in the Constitutional Court. The Court's decision is expected in early February. The dispute that many thought could trigger further turmoil may prove instead to be a minor wrangle in Indonesia's largely successful effort to choose local government leaders by direct popular vote.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Tensions in Aceh are high as elections approach, although they have receded somewhat from a peak in mid-February. The murders of three former combatants of the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM), other shootings and numerous grenade attacks over the last two months – all with unidentified perpetrators – have set the province on edge, and there remains a risk of sporadic, low-level violence before and after general elections on 9 April. Disputes over the results, with 44 parties competing for seats in district, provincial and national legislatures using a new and complicated system of voting, are also likely. There is little danger in the short term of violence escalating out of control, let alone a return to armed conflict, but the underlying causes of the tensions are not just election-related and need to be addressed if peace is to be preserved in the long term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, as Mainland China has been developing and liberalizing its economy, Taiwan has been undergoing an equally remarkable but very different political transformation, from martial law in 1987 to its current status as one of the most vibrant, stable democracies in Asia. Despite its eventful experience of the democratization process, the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008 proved that Taiwan is now a mature, and stable, democracy. It has passed the ultimate test, seeing the successful transition of rule from one party to another and back again, without social turmoil. Economic performance over the same period has been less striking. Once among the fastestgrowing economies, Taiwan is now afflicted by a relatively low growth rate, and problems over the outflow of capital and investment to the Mainland. The potential for conflict over cross-straits relations remains but it has been significantly reduced under President Ma and by the Mainland Chinese government's greater accommodation with a democratic Taiwan in the last decade. The risk of a military conflict between the two sides, which could drag in the US, and therefore the rest of the world, cannot be entirely discounted, however. Taiwan's greatest challenges in the next decade remain the same as in the last – to maintain its identity, to develop its democratic system, and to handle relations with the Mainland in a way that preserves its interests while avoiding conflict. Taiwan's system, which has so far proved itself robust and effective, faces a new challenge too: how to benefit from the increase in Mainland investment abroad.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: ALİ ÇARKOĞLU
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims at presenting a descriptive account of the March 2009 local elections in Turkey. Comparing the general and local elections since 2004, an overall evaluation of trends in electoral preferences is presented. Using provincial general council election results, a detailed geographical comparative analysis of the 2004 and 2009 local elections is also carried out. The analyses show that the AKP's rise has stalled but it still remains as the dominant power in the party system. The electoral map continues to be divided between the coastal western and most developed provinces where the opposition is significantly supported, the east and southeastern provinces where the Kurdish ethnic electoral support is rising and the more conservative provinces in between where the AKP continues to be dominant with the MHP trailing behind. Even though the March 2009 elections had all the characteristics of a local election, they also revel the rising trends in electoral behaviour in Turkey.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Alexandru Luta
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent elections for the lower house of Japan's Diet herald the end of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) domination of Japanese politics. The winner, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), aims to thoroughly reform the way the country is governed. The strategic goals of the DPJ's reform agenda are to shift the locus of policy-drafting away from civil servants to the legislature, and to bring the latter firmly under the control of the Prime Minister's Cabinet. In order to be able to work towards its strategic goal, the DPJ needs tactical victories to maintain its popularity with the electorate. The climate negotiations' high profile makes domestic climate policy a natural area for the DPJ to differentiate its political brand from that of the LDP. Just as with governance reform, the DPJ has time and again asserted its commitment to pro-active climate goals both in pre-and post-electoral speeches, at home and abroad. Therefore it is very likely to continue pouring political capital into this policy area. The division between major ministries about how to formulate Japanese climate policy presents a willing Cabinet with structural advantages to assert its leadership successfully. The wider reforms currently being implemented further strengthen the new government's position. There are some factors that might limit the ability of Japan's new leadership to fight climate change. These include how their relationship with domestic media outlets shapes their approval ratings, how the positions of other stakeholders develop, how other electoral promises conflict with the new climate platform, and how the climate negotiations progress on the international level.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, Asia
  • Author: J Alexander Thier
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan, a nuclear-armed, predominantly Muslim nation of 165 million, has experienced a dramatic rise in political turmoil and violence in the last year. Following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, analysts have raised serious concerns about Pakistan's stability and the possibility of a collapse of the federation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Duma election and its results reinforce the prevailing undemocratic trends in Russia. The changes in electoral laws, the election campaign and its biased coverage in the Russian media, the Russian authorities' hostile attitude towards international election observation and the so-called Putin's Plan leave very little hope of democratic pluralism developing in Russia anytime soon. Russia's political system has been built gradually over the years. The system aims at controlling the competition for power and securing the political elite's interests. The system is characterised by non-transparent and manipulated political processes, misleading doublespeak on democratic norms, and the misuse of soft and hard administrative resources. Putin's overwhelming popularity does not compensate for the lack of democratic accountability. Likewise, his possible premiership would not strengthen parliamentarism in Russia because the decision is driven by instrumentalism towards political institutions. Instead, it would create a dangerous precedent for an ad hoc separation of power. Western actors should be more aware that the stability that Putin is often praised for bringing about is not build on solid ground, and they should change their policies accordingly. Promoting democracy – and thus longterm stability – in Russia is in western actors' interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: It is very much in the Russian and, even more so, Soviet political tradition for rulers to deprecate their predecessors. As they climb up the power ladder, the would-be Kremlin occupants must profess complete loyalty to the current leader in order to succeed. Once in power, the country's new masters bolster their authority by dissociating themselves from previous leaders. Along with the weakness of the country's political institutions, which undermines the legitimacy of the transitions, such repudiations almost inevitably result in the personalization of power, as the new occupants mold the political, social, and economic systems to their liking. Hence, Russian and—again and especially—Soviet history have often looked like a succession of very distinct personal political regimes—indeed, sometimes different states under the same name.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Cold War, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Part I of this Russian Outlook dealt with what might be called the errors of commission, or false attribution, in the "chaos-of-the-1990s" stereotype, which became a major theme of the Putin Kremlin's propaganda. The economic crisis of that era, mostly inherited from the decaying Soviet economy, was laid at the revolutionary regime's door. Yet the "chaos" legend also contains errors of omission, for, on closer inspection, there was a great deal in the 1990s besides the alleged "chaos."
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: How should the United States respond to Pakistan's ongoing political crisis? In particular, what position should the Bush administration take with regard to Pakistan's national elections?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: General Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law in Pakistan on 3 November 2007. He suspended the constitution, sacked the chief justice of the Supreme Court and removed other judges of that court who declared his act illegal. Police immediately began arresting lawyers, politicians and human rights activists. Independent television channels were taken off the air and reporting restrictions imposed. Thousands have since been jailed, journalists threatened and protests by lawyers and others suppressed. Replacing dissenting judges with hand-picked appointees, and ruling by decree, Musharraf's objective is to retain personal power by gaining judicial approval for martial law, followed by the creation of a democratic façade through rigged elections. The international community should demand the immediate restoration of constitutional order, the rule of law and the legitimate judiciary, the release of political prisoners and the appointment of an impartial caretaker government to oversee free and fair elections.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Pavithra Banavar, Nicholas Howenstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In early January, in a surprising turn of events, the head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed, stepped down under military pressure. As he did so, he declared a state of emergency, suspended civil liberties, and indefinitely postponed Bangladesh's elections, which had been scheduled for January 22, 2007. Fakhruddin Ahmed replaced him as head of the caretaker government. Most of these events have taken place with relatively little attention from the international community.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: Lynn Tesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On November 21, 2006, Nepal's government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) to formally end their ten-year conflict, which has resulted in an estimated 13,000 deaths. The agreement has been widely hailed as historic and many observers feel cautiously optimistic, in spite of the hurdles that lie ahead. On January 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace sponsored a one-day program in Washington, D.C., to address the challenges Nepal now faces. It brought together a broad spectrum of attendees, from representatives of academia and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice. Presenters were asked to comment on particular challenges that Nepal faces during the peace process. This USIPeace Briefing provides an overview of the presentations given at the conference, and includes remarks from Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch (former U.S. ambassador to Nepal and president of the U.S.–China Education Trust); Dr. Chitra K. Tiwari (journalist, The Washington Times); Dr. Jaya Raj Acharya (senior fellow, USIP); and Kul Chandra Gautam (assistant secretary-general of the UN and deputy executive director of UNICEF). It was prepared by Lynn Tesser, program officer in USIP's Jennings Randolph Fellowship program.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Taliban fighters have re-emerged in full force in Afghanistan and insurgency-related violence has increased to record levels, resulting in 2,732 fatalities between September 1, 2006, and February 25, 2007. According to the United Nations, the 35,460-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), along with the 8,000 troops deployed under the United States-led coalition command, has begun its own offensive against the insurgency in the south, targeting opium growing regions and Taliban safe zones. From safe havens in the Pakistan border areas, the Taliban are now pursuing a long-term strategy of exploiting their control of remote villages to gain control of districts and then regions. Thus, a conflict that had been pushed down on the U.S. and international agendas is now reemerging. As the Taliban regroups and continues its insurgency, the international community is faced with the need to re-evaluate and strengthen its own plan of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Amid the run-up to the Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for November, Nepal's government has prepared a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, as required by the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is the most prominent of several commitments made during the peace process to promote transitional justice following Nepal's more than ten-year civil war—along with a committee to investigate disappeared persons and a commission to investigate abuses of the armed forces and police during democracy protests in 2006. But transitional justice—or the process of fairly confronting the legacy of past crimes committed during the armed conflict—is only beginning to be discussed in the general public in Nepal. Consequently, there is little understanding outside a small circle in the capital of what options there are to provide truth and accountability for atrocities and rights abuse that occurred during Nepal's conflict or what other countries have done to cope with similar issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Law, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On January 1, Russia became the chair of the Group of Eight (G-8), the exclusive group of the biggest industrial democracies. This chairmanship raises many eyebrows. Russia was originally included in the G-8 to help lock in its democratic reforms, 1 but Russia is no longer even semidemocratic. Last year, US senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman sponsored a resolution urging President Bush to work for the suspension of Russia's membership until the Russian government accepted and adhered to “the norms and standards of free, democratic societies as generally practiced by every other member nation of the Group of 8 nations.” Jeffrey Garten ( Financial Times , June 28, 2005) has called Russia's chairmanship “farcical,” saying, “Two trends are changing the world for the better—freer markets and democratization. . . . But, alone among the summit member Russia is moving in the opposite direction. . . . Moscow's leader - ship of the G-8 reduces the credibility and the relevance of the group to zero.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Robert F. Noreiga
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While the world's attention is focused on a struggling Iraq and a rising China, a battle for the heart and soul of the Americas is being waged closer to home. A simplistic account might describe this confrontation as a tug of war between U.S. president George W. Bush's vision and that of his self-appointed nemesis, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Equally misleading are characterizations that describe the showdown as one between left and right, rich and poor, north and south. But this is not a battle between two powerful leaders or between ideologies of the left and right. The contest being waged in the Western Hemisphere is about democracy itself: can it deliver the goods for impatient publics? On one side are leaders from the left and right who see democratic institutions and the rule of law as indispensable to prosperity and liberty. On the other are those who treat democracy as an inconvenience and see free markets as a threat.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Emily Hsu, Beth DeGrasse
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since they reorganized their forces in Pakistan in 2003, Taliban and other anti-government militia have sought to disrupt democratization efforts and sow a climate of fear in Afghanistan. As a result, violence has crept back onto the international radar screen in the last couple of years, a brutal reminder the insurgency is far from defeated. This rise in bloodshed is particularly problematic today, as U.S. forces begin this summer to transfer control of insurgent-heavy regions of the country to NATO. The U.S. Institute of Peace held a recent special session of its Afghanistan Working Group dedicated to this topic, with counterinsurgency experts Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation and Colonel David Lamm of National Defense University. Beth DeGrasse, coordinator of USIP's Afghanistan Working Group
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's regime has gone through a major aggravation during the first year of President Vladimir Putin's second term. The regime suffers from serious overcentralization of power, which has led to a paralysis of policy making. Putin's power base has been shrunk to secret policemen from St. Petersburg. Although his popularity remains high, it is falling. Neither unbiased information nor negative feedback is accepted. As a result, the Putin regime is much more fragile than generally understood. Russia's current abandonment of democracy is an anomaly for such a developed and relatively wealthy country, and it has made Russia's interests part from those of the United States. The United States should not hesitate to promote democracy in Russia, while pragmatically pursuing common interests in nonproliferation and energy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: James R. Lilley
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Nationalistic competition between Japan and China could undermine progress on economic and security concerns in east Asia. U.S. diplomacy has an important role in preventing that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since its disastrous showing in the 2003 Duma elections, Russia's badly splintered and quarrelling democratic opposition has been trying to find ways to forge a common platform that would unite and energize its sizeable but apathetic and disillusioned constituency. The stakes are very high. The liberal (that is, in Russian political parlance, right-of-center, pro-market, pro-reform, and pro-Western) forces view the Putin Kremlin's turn to recentralization of national politics and the economy as a dead-end street, leading to creeping authoritarianism, rampant corruption, political crises, economic slowdown, and even disintegration. In this perspective, forging a united opposition strong enough to contest the Kremlin's control over the Duma in 2007 and the presidency in 2008 acquires particular urgency.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Emily Hsu, Beth DeGrasse
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With the September 18 parliamentary elections, Afghanistan completes its internationally mandated blueprint for democracy and enters a new phase of state building in uncharted waters. This transition occurs against the backdrop of rising threats to security and an economy dominated largely by illicit production and export of opium. On October 12, 2005, the U.S. Institute of Peace convened a meeting of the Afghanistan Working Group to review the recent parliamentary elections. The presenters at the meeting included Robert Varsalone, resident country director for Afghanistan for the International Republican Institute; Sam Zia-Zarifi, research director for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch; Larry M. Sampler, former chief of staff for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; and Barnett R. Rubin, chairman of the Afghanistan Working Group. The following USIPeace Briefing summarizes views expressed at the meeting. The views expressed here do not reflect those of the Institute, which does not take positions on policy issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Sonali Kolhatkar, Jim Ingalls
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The United States has supposedly created new "democracies" in Afghanistan and Iraq, but these endeavors give democracy a bad name. Sure, the two countries have some ingredients of representative democracy, such as elected officials and a constitution. But both countries are still beset by grinding poverty, insurgencies, and entrenched militia forces that make the exercise of democracy either impractical or dangerous. Both countries have high numbers of foreign troops occupying their land and terrorizing the population while hunting "terrorists." And both countries' governments answer to their respective U.S. ambassador on most issues. In the midst of such a violent and coercive environment, Afghans are pressing ahead with the latest in a series of "democratic" exercises imposed by the United States: the first Afghan parliamentary elections in four decades will take place this Sunday, September 18. Even though many Afghans hope that the elections will empower them to end their troubles, the fear is that the elections will probably be as undemocratic in practice as every other U.S.-inflicted Afghan institution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Claude Barfield
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush offer distinct visions of how free trade would operate for the next four years. Senator Kerry has staked out a more unilateralist position with promises to review all trade agreements to strengthen labor and environmental sanctions, while President Bush reinstated trade promotion authority and expanded free trade agreements. The next president will face challenges regarding the WTO Doha Round and markets in Latin America and Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Scott Wallsten
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although success stories do exist, most high-technology cluster-development projects do little to enhance regional economic growth. The taxpayer costs for a wide array of tax incentives offered by politicians to corporations and research institutes as inducements to move facilities into their districts are rarely recouped, and often only wealthy organizations and developers benefit from the projects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Russia, whose birth rates have declined and whose mortality rates have dramatically increased in the last several decades, faces a demographic crisis. Thus far, Russian political leaders have focused on trying to increase birth rates, but a greater sense of urgency must be applied to diminish mortality rates and to respond to health threats, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Revolution had, indeed, two distinct phases: one in which the sole aim of the French nation seemed to be to make a clean sweep of the past; and a second, in which attempts were made to salvage fragments from the wreckage of the old order. For many of the laws and administrative methods which were suppressed in 1789 reappeared a few years later, much as some rivers after going underground re-emerge at another point, in new surroundings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, France
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The December 7, 2003, election to the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has been portrayed in the U.S. media as mostly a product of the Kremlin's machinations. Its "administrative resources"--most importantly, its control of national television channels--are said to be almost entirely responsible for the winning performance of the "party of power," United Russia, which garnered 37 percent of the party-list vote among twenty-three parties and blocs on the ballot.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Allan H. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While Alan Greenspan and most analysts continue to discuss the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs since the Bush administration took office, the Labor Department Household Survey shows such claims to be either wrong or greatly exaggerated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia