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  • 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: 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: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For nearly two weeks, the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain has experienced near-daily disturbances following government arrests of opposition activists from the majority Shiite community. The timing of the arrests seemed geared toward preempting trouble in advance of the scheduled October 23 parliamentary and municipal elections, which minority Sunni parties and candidates are currently projected to win. The street violence and other incidents are of particular concern to the United States because Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, whose mission is to "deter and counter disruptive countries" -- a wording likely aimed at Iran, which claimed the island as its territory prior to 1970.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • 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
  • 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: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During recent years, transport and infrastructure development has acquired the status of a 'topic to be mentioned by the president' and other high-level state officials in their public appearances. The rise of transport from almost complete oblivion into the sphere of state strategic interests has been rapid, and it is a subject which is likely to maintain a high profile in the years to come. Success in implementing the current plans for infrastructure development is considered critical in order to generate further economic growth. From the longer-term perspective, it will also be critical in ensuring the diversification of the economy and securing Russia's place amongst the most advanced economies in the world. The modernization of the transport infrastructure is also seen as a lever with which Russia can reposition herself as a power-house in Eurasia. In actual fact, Russia is not a bridge but the dead-end of Eurasia. The country is faced with the enormous task of modernizing its transport infrastructures and implementing structural reforms that have been postponed for years. This would pose a tremendous challenge even in the best possible external circumstances, never mind against the backdrop of inflation and uncertainty in the world markets which exists at present. Something which has changed is that Russia now has the resources and the appropriate legislation in place to carry out these tasks. Yet, even if considerable effort has gone into defining strategic priorities, infrastructure investments are still implemented in an ad-hoc manner. The country is in dire need of massive construction projects. If the quality of the state apparatus in managing government spending does not improve – and there are few signs of that materializing – infrastructure development will become the Trojan horse of the Russian economy.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's resignation of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf creates a power vacuum in the most crucial country in the fight against al-Qaeda and Islamic extremism. For the foreseeable future, political power in Pakistan will not be in the hands of lackluster prime minister Yousef Raza Gilani, but in those of the ruling coalition rivals -- Benazir Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Future political contests will likely emphasize Musharraf's perceived closeness to Washington, an issue that united domestic opinion against him. This growing political reality, in addition to Islamabad's unwillingness to confront Islamic militants, further complicates U.S. policy toward Pakistan.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After a six-week delay following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis will go to the polls on February 18 to elect a new National Assembly. Pakistan and Afghanistan are "where many of our most important interests intersect," as Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5. Accordingly, the election results could affect the position of a key U.S. ally in the war on terror -- the increasingly unpopular President Pervez Musharraf.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China\'s banking sector has been largely transformed over the past decade. Several of the largest banks have been restructured, recapitalized, and listed. Governance has improved, notably through the appointment of independent members to boards of directors. A vigorous new regulatory and supervisory agency, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has introduced new accounting standards, a revised risk weighting system for measuring capital, more rigorous loan loss criteria, heightened provisioning requirements, and other significant changes. Foreign banks have entered the market, both through their own branches and subsidiaries and through strategic investments in domestic banks, bringing better banking practices and much needed additional competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, G Shabbir Cheema, Cameron Lowry, Mark Notaras
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Scholars and development practitioners recognize the centrality of governance capacity to achieve sustainable peace and development objectives, including the eradication of extreme poverty, access to services and livelihoods, promotion of economic growth, environmental protection and gender equality among others. With these in view, developing countries are emphasizing the need to improve governance systems and processes to promote people-centered sustainability. The United Nations, development banks, bilateral donors and private sector foundations have been supporting these efforts through governance assistance programs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • 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: Minxin Pei
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Corruption poses one of the most lethal threats to China's future economic development and political stability. Illicit activities such as bribery, kickbacks, theft, and misspending of public funds cost at least 3 percent of GDP. Corruption also undermines the legitimacy of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, fuels social unrest, contributes directly to the rise in socioeconomic inequality, and undermines China's environmental security. The prevalence of corruption in China is rooted in the country's partially reformed economy and absence of genuine political reform. Corruption in China has spillover effects beyond its borders. To protect its own interests and encourage China in its transition toward a more market-based economy and open society, the United States should rely on mutual legal cooperation to assist China in its struggle against corruption.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: While the growing insurgency is attracting increasing attention, long-term efforts to build the solid governmental institutions a stable Afghanistan requires are faltering. Following conclusion of the Bonn process, which created the country's elected bodies, the Afghan government and the international community committed at the London Conference (31 January-1 February 2006) to the Afghanistan Compact, which identified “three critical and interdependent areas or pillars of activity” over five years: security; governance, rule of law and human rights; and social and economic development. The government signed on to realizing a “shared vision of the future” for a “stable and prosperous Afghanistan”, while over 60 nations and international institutions promised to provide the necessary resources and support. A year on, even those most closely associated with the process admit that the Compact has yet to have much impact. Afghans and internationals alike still need to demonstrate the political will to undertake deep-rooted institutional changes if the goals of this shared vision are to be met.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, London
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly, Colin Monaghan
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The White House has recently taken important steps to ensure that the tenets of the Bush Doctrine endure beyond the end of President George W. Bush's administration, including a new strategy in Iraq and an increase in the size of U.S. land forces. But as time grows short, the president needs to attend closely to three matters. The first of these—a surge in U.S. efforts in Afghanistan—was discussed in the February 2007 edition of National Security Outlook, is a need as obvious and pressing as Iraq and an important factor in the urgency of rebuilding land forces, especially the Army. The second and third factors are less frequently discussed but essential for the long-term viability of the Bush Doctrine and the continuation of the Pax Americana: articulating a strategy for the “Long War” in the greater Middle East and devising a genuinely global response to the rise of China. This issue of National Security Outlook is devoted to the second factor, the strategy for winning the Long War in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Government, National Security, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, America, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With the recent announcements of a new strategy for Iraq and a commitment to begin increasing the size of U.S. land forces, the White House has taken two important steps to ensure that the tenets of the Bush Doctrine endure beyond the end of President George W. Bush's administration. Since 9/11 and indeed since the beginning of this administration, strategy has been made by an odd combination of ad hoc improvisation and expansive rhetoric. The day-to-day business of fitting means to ends and filling in the policy blanks has either been delegated to subordinates, left to the bureaucracy, or put in the “too hard” box. As time grows short, Bush needs to attend closely to three further matters. The first is as obvious and pressing as Iraq and an important factor in the need to rebuild land forces, especially the Army: a surge in U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. The second and third factors are less frequently discussed but essential for the long-term viability of the Bush Doctrine and the continuity of the Pax Americana: articulate a strategy for the “long war” in the greater Middle East and devise a genuinely global response to the rise of China. This issue of National Security Outlook begins a series devoted to these three measures of the enduring meaning of the Bush Doctrine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, America, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: J Alexander Thier, Leigh Toomey
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A legitimate, functioning and coherent justice system is urgently needed to establish peace and stability in post-Taliban Afghanistan. After three decades of war, continued insecurity, endemic corruption, and lack of resources hobble the formal justice system. Informal, community-based dispute resolution mechanisms—which are more readily accessible and understood than formal courts by most Afghans, particularly outside urban areas—are widely used to resolve both civil and criminal matters. These mechanisms are critical to maintaining stability within communities, and at present handle over 80 percent of disputes in Afghanistan. At the same time, informal or traditional practices may fall short of due process and human rights standards.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, 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: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing highlights the findings regarding the security situation in Nepal in the run up to constituent assembly elections scheduled for November 22, 2007. Since February 2007 the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has held individual meetings and group dialogue sessions on strengthening security and the rule of law in Nepal. These events have taken place in Washington, D.C., Kathmandu, Banke, Siraha, Kailali, Jhapa, Chitwan and Rupandehi Districts. During the sessions and meetings, including with members of the security sector, challenges and solutions to strengthening security and the rule of law were identified and discussed. While election security for the upcoming Constituent Assembly Election was not the primary subject of the discussions, various participants offered a number of recommendations and raised several concerns. Additionally, general security issues, many of which are related to election security, were discussed and can be included in a broader long-term security strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs convened the colloquium, “State, Security and Economy in Afghanistan: Current Challenges, Possible Solutions,” on 16-18 November 2007 in Brussels, Belgium. The conference was funded in part by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the House of Liechtenstein, and the Government of Austria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia, Belgium, Austria
  • Author: Victoria Samson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: The United States just took one small step away from the brink. Congress has opted against funding research for a nuclear weapon that would target underground bunkers. This decision squelched a program that would likely have created a new nuclear warhead, something that is particularly incongruous at a time when nations around the world are fervently trying to convince the leaderships of North Korea and Iran that their countries do not need nuclear weapons. However, this wisdom on the part of the U.S. government may prove to be temporary.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The delivery of humanitarian assistance in Burma/Myanmar is facing new threats. After a period in which humanitarian space expanded, aid agencies have come under renewed pressure, most seriously from the military government but also from prodemocracy activists overseas who seek to curtail or control assistance programs. Restrictions imposed by the military regime have worsened in parallel with its continued refusal to permit meaningful opposition political activity and its crackdown on the Karen. The decision of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to withdraw from the country in 2005 was a serious setback, which put thousands of lives in jeopardy, although it has been partly reversed by the new Three Diseases Fund (3D Fund). There is a need to get beyond debates over the country's highly repressive political system; failure to halt the slide towards a humanitarian crisis could shatter social stability and put solutions beyond the reach of whatever government is in power.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Street battles between thousands of pro and antigovernment protestors broken up by police billy clubs and tear gas in the central square of the capital this week illustrate dramatically that Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of political breakdown and possible civil war. The government and opposition have begun talks to pull the country back from the brink, and the president signed a new constitution on 9 November that the parliament had passed the previous day. But tensions are still high. The talks will need to be widened if they are to resolve the underlying dispute, which is centred on the division of power between the president and the parliament, and related issues. The international community should become much more active in preventive diplomacy because if a solution is not found quickly, Kyrgyzstan's instability could easily affect other states in the fragile Central Asian region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After the indiscriminate killing of civilians by Uzbek security forces in the city of Andijon in 2005, the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on the government of President Islam Karimov. EU leaders called for Uzbekistan to allow an international investigation into the massacre, stop show trials and improve its human rights record. Now a number of EU member states, principally Germany, are pressing to lift or weaken the sanctions, as early as this month. The Karimov government has done nothing to justify such an approach. Normalisation of relations should come on EU terms, not those of Karimov. Moreover, his dictatorship is looking increasingly fragile, and serious thought should be given to facing the consequences of its ultimate collapse, including the impact on other fragile states in Central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Germany
  • Author: Michael Fullilove
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Australia is an abolitionist country. Both the Australian Government and the Opposition are opposed to capital punishment. Australia engages in modest advocacy against the death penalty but most of Canberra's efforts are directed toward cases involving Australian citizens. These are likely continue to occur: our closest Asian neighbours retain the death penalty, and Australian nationals will probably continue to commit ciminal acts carrying this penalty. For example, the looming execution of Van Tuong Nguyen last year led to calls from Australian commentators for trade and business sanctions against Singapore, and charges of hypocrisy being levelled against Australia in the regional press.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • 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: Emily Hsu, Beth DeGrasse
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan government and international community have charted out a joint strategy to tackle the country's most pressing challenge: building state institutions. Approved earlier this month at a conference in London, the Afghanistan Compact maps out the country's way ahead and reaffirms the shared commitment of the international community. USIP held a Current Issues Briefing in early February 2006 to review the Afghanistan Compact. The speakers at the briefing were Barnett Rubin, director of studies at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, and Alex Thier, senior advisor in USIP's Rule of Law program. Beth DeGrasse, coordinator of USIP's Afghanistan Working Group, moderated the discussion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, New York, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 25, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE's website (assembly.coe.int), the resolution, which passed by a vote of 117 to 24, stated that the Strasbourg-based assembly "is deeply concerned that a fair number of governments, member states and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have failed to address the ongoing serious human rights violations in a regular, serious and intensive manner, despite the fact that such violations still occur on a massive scale in the Chechen Republic and, in some cases, neighboring regions in a climate of impunity." The assembly also reiterated its "unambiguous condemnation of all acts of terrorism" and expressed "its understanding of the difficulties the Russian Federation faces in combating terrorism."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Jeff Feffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: This paper was produced under the auspices of a research project sponsored by the Sejong Institute. It will be published in book form later this year. The author would like to thank the following people for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts: Ruediger Frank, Sang-jin Han, Chuck Hosking, Karin Lee, Wonhyuk Lim, Marcus Noland, and Kie-duck Park. He would also like to thank Randy Ireson, Erica Kang, Rajiv Narayan, Richard Ragan, and Sun-song Park for agreeing to be interviewed.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's evolution from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy is leading to major transformations of its public expenditure policies. Much progress has been made in raising infrastructure spending to a level more in line with China's development needs and in modernising mechanisms for budget planning and implementation. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's economic growth has averaged 9½ per cent over the past two decades. The rapid pace of economic change is likely to be sustained for some time. These gains have contributed not only to higher personal incomes, but also to a significant reduction in poverty. At the same time, the economy has become substantially integrated with the world economy. A large part of these gains have come through profound shifts in government policies. Reforms have allowed market prices and private investors to play a significant role in production and trade.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Many of you are aware of CDI's 30-year history of research and commentary on U.S. defense topics. You may also have noticed the expanding breadth of our international projects and activities, such as our ground-breaking China Security Bulletin featuring contributions from a retired Chinese general, and a forthcoming report on Russia's defense spending by a Russian scholar who heads our Moscow office. To better reflect our global scope and project diversity, we have created the World Security Institute — which can be thought of as our “holding company.” We felt that this title better describes all of our activities that now encompass a wider definition of “security.”
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Disaster Relief, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After the fall of Communism, Russia reverted to czarism. But more importantly, Russia embraced capitalism. Although not democratic, Russia is largely free. Property rights are more deeply anchored than they were five years ago, and the once-collectivist society is going private. Indeed, private consumption is the main driver of economic growth. Russia's future now depends heavily on how fast a middle class—a self-identified group with personal stakes in having a law-based government accountable to tax payers—can be created. The West needs to take the long view, stay engaged, and maximize contacts, especially with younger Russians.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, 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: Albert Keidel
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In Washington, politicians and pundits have settled on a single magical solution for the country's economic ills: getting China to revalue its currency, the RMB. By any reasonable economic measure, however, the RMB is not undervalued. China does have a trade surplus with the United States, but it has a trade deficit with the rest of the world. And China's accumulation of dollar reserves is not the result of trade surpluses, but of large investment inflows caused in part by speculators' betting that China will yield to U.S. pressure. Focusing on China's currency is a distraction. If the United States wants to improve its economy for the long haul, it had best look elsewhere beginning with raising the productivity of American workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal is in turmoil and the monarchy is in question. King Gyanendra had calculated that his authoritarian moves since October 2002 would return order to a land wracked by Maoist insurgency and political instability but he has failed. The seven months since the royal coup have seen security degenerate under a royal government with no plans for peace and democracy. The Maoists seized the initiative by announcing a unilateral three month ceasefire on 3 September 2005. The international community needs to recognise that its calls for palace/political party reconciliation as the sole path toward stability are unrealistic. New lines need to be explored, beginning with support for the ceasefire and the tentative dialogue underway between the parties and the Maoists.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? While Australian governments have successfully built pragmatic ties with Asian leaders, a popular dimension to our engagement with Asia has in many respects been missing. This didn’t matter greatly in the past, but today public opinion is increasingly a factor in foreign policy. Governments must influence individuals as well as elites to address global problems such as terrorism and disease and ‘branding’ has become critical to a state’s ability to attract trade, investment and international political support. But a new opportunity to deepen people-to-people links with Asia has arrived in the form of Australia’s recent admission into the Asian Football Confederation. For the first time, Australia will have a significant sporting relationship with Asia. The question is, how can Australia best use this opportunity to enhance its regional image and engagement?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2004, Russia's minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, announced plans to eliminate draft deferments for college students. Predictably, the popular reaction was so uniformly negative and furious that the abolition of deferments has been postponed—but not eliminated from the Kremlin's agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's economic reforms over the past two decades have brought remarkable growth, the development of a vibrant private sector and significant reform of the state-owned sector. Private businesses now represent some 57% of GDP, and productivity in the state-owned sector has improved significantly. However, a number of problems threaten to undermine prospects for sustainable growth. These notably include social tensions, partly due to increasing inequality within society and massive migration to the cities, but also linked to corruption, insufficient public services and rising unemployment as millions of workers have been laid off in the reform of the state-owned sector, while agriculture still displays huge structural under-employment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mohan Malik, Frank Ching, Willy Lam, William R. Hawkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: One of Beijing's worst nightmares seems to be coming true. Having apparently steadied the course in the Middle East, the Bush administration is turning to Asia to tame its long-standing “strategic competitor.” While this particular term has been shelved since 9/11 – and Sino-U.S. relations have improved thanks to China's cooperation with Washington's global anti-terrorist campaign – there are signs at least from Beijing's perspective that Washington is spearheading multi-pronged tactics to contain the fast-rising Asian giant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many, though not all, reports of this event in the Russian media have failed to mention the key tactical method by which this victory was apparently achieved: The systematic targeting, kidnapping and torture of the Khambiev family's relatives.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Korea has been one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD area over the past five years, with an annual growth rate of about 6 per cent. Such rapid growth, which has lifted per capita income to two-thirds of the OECD average, reflects Korea's underlying dynamism and its progress in implementing a wide-ranging reform programme in the wake of the 1997 crisis. However, the recession in 2003 – which was due in part to structural problems in the labour market and in the corporate and financial sectors – indicates that the reform agenda is unfinished. Sustaining rapid growth over the medium term as the contribution from inputs of labour and capital slows requires further progress in structural reform, particularly in the labour market and in the corporate and financial sectors, accompanied by appropriate macroeconomic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Matthew Oresman, Drew Thompson, John C.k. Daly, Harvey Stockwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: While much of the world is fixated on China's booming economic growth and its ravenous appetite for energy, untidy diplomatic loose ends in the form of territorial disputes with neighbors have many of the countries bordering the Asian giant nervous. Though Beijing's claims over Taiwan remain the focus of world attention, China is embroiled in unresolved territorial maritime and land issues with no less than thirteen of its neighbors. Given that China's military capability is growing apace with its economy, the potential for military conflict over the disputed regions is similarly on the rise. While China up to now has attempted to address these issues diplomatically, the fact that many of the unresolved border disputes involve potential energy reserves might prompt China to use military force to resolve issues of strategic economic interest.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Taiwan, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Willy Lam, Lionel Martin, John Tkacik, Toby Lincoln
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Beijing is flashing the North Korean (DPRK) card at a time when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership feels increasingly threatened by an anti-China “containment policy” that Washington is supposedly spearheading with the help of Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries and regions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Washington, Israel, Taiwan, Beijing, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Christine Loh, Willy Lam, Eric Teo, Steven Sun
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: If China had sufficient economic and military prowess, there seems little doubt the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership would “go teach the U.S. a lesson” for the wrongs it had allegedly inflicted upon on the country. Previous CCP administrations had used similar clauses of indignation – and the assertion of a moral high ground based on self-defense and the preservation of sovereign rights – when they went to war with nations including India, Russia and Vietnam. And while the Chinese party and military leadership may for the time being be deterred by America's superpower status from trying out something rash, tension between China on the one hand, and the U.S. and many Asian countries on the other, is expected to rise in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Did the U.S. and Russian governments both know that, when Russian commandos stormed Moscow's Dubrovka theater in October of 2002, the Chechen terrorists inside it had already agreed to release several of their hostages, including U.S. citizen Sandy Booker? Booker's fiance, Svetlana Gubareva, says that the answer is Yes. Booker and Gubareva's 13-year-old daughter, Sasha, both died in the tragedy; Gubareva was also taken hostage but survived.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The purging from Chechnya's government structures of sup porters of the main opposition candidates in the recent election has apparently intensified since October 5. Marina Perevozkina of Moskovsky komsomolets reported in an October 21 article on her conversation with Salavat Gebertaev. He is the mayor of Urus-Martan, which lies southwest of Grozny, and was one of the leaders of the movement for the Urus-Martan district to secede from Dudaev's jurisdiction in 1994. Dudaev's army stormed his town four times. When Maskhadov came to power, Gebertaev was sentenced to death and for some time hid abroad; after returning he survived an assassination attempt that he believes was organized by Maskhadov's circle. “It would seem,” suggested Perevozkina, “that Moscow should be relying on precisely such people in Chechnya. But Gebertaev is a relative and friend of Malik Saidullaev [who tried to run for president against Kadyrov]. On top of that, he committed a terrible crime: He received from Saidullaev and distributed some 500 wheelchairs and 2,000 crutches. Because of this the head of the district administration told him on the day after the election: “From now on we will not work with you.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In a remarkably under reported statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently accused lower echelon U.S. government officials of meeting with known Chechen terrorists. On September 20, a few days before flying to the United States for his summit meeting with President George W. Bush, Putin met with several U.S. television journalists. Asked about Chechnya, the Russian president gave a long answer that mostly repeated points that he and his spokesmen have made before. But toward the end of his response he said the following (as translated by Chechnya Weekly from the text placed on the official website Kremlin.ru): “The United States has now voted in the Security Council in favor of recognizing several individuals as international terrorists. The State Department has announced that it has included several figures in its list of international terrorists. But unfortunately we know that on the executive level there are continuing attempts at contacts with some people under the pretense that what's happening is only work with the opposition. Even with people who are included on the United Nations list. These people come, say that they are 'political activists' and present them- selves in all sorts of guises. But I assure you, I know about this precisely—they are maintaining connections with their allies in Afghanistan, including those who have gone there from the Northern Caucasus of Russia and who are fighting with arms in their hands against American soldiers. Such absurdities on the working level must be stopped, the sooner the better.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Have Chechen separatist guerrillas been fighting against the United States and its allies in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan—and if so, how many have been captured or killed? The U.S. government has been strikingly passive in seeking to learn (or, at least, in publicly disclosing) the answer to that question. Chechnya Weekly began pressing for a precise, concrete answer months ago, but we have yet to get one from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Pramit Mitra
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The July 2003 state visit to China by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India, the first by an Indian prime minister in a decade, represented a major step forward in New Delhi's relations with its giant neighbor and competitor. Dramatic increases in bilateral trade set the stage for nine bilateral agreements covering trade, education, easing of visa regulations, and development projects. The artful language of the agreements suggested progress on the long-standing Sino-Indian border dispute. More substantial relations between India and China are good news for regional stability, although this relationship will remain wary, and China's strong interest in Pakistan will continue to be a constraint.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Kavita Sangani, Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is broadening its relations with South Asia, as illustrated in the recent visits by Pakistan's President Musharraf to Russia and Russia's President Putin to India. Russia's long-standing ties with India are still driven by important defense links and shared hopes to create a multipolar world. Both countries are trying to breathe new life into their much-diminished economic relationship. Russia's new interest in Pakistan is driven largely by concerns about Islamic extremism and Central Asia. At a time when Russia's priorities are to a large extent internal, South Asia is a relatively accessible area for engaging in global geopolitics, but Russia is unlikely to become a major player in India- Pakistan diplomacy in the next few years.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Robert Litan, Michael Pomerleano, V. Sundararajan
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers and analysts are still sifting through the wreckage of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the subsequent crises in Russia, Turkey, and Argentina to discern key lessons so that similar crises will not recur. Some lessons are by now well understood. Pegged exchange rates can encourage excessive borrowing and expose countries to financial collapse when foreign exchange reserves run dry. Inadequate disclosures by both private companies and public bodies can lead to similar dangers. Although many factors undoubtedly contributed to these crises, it is now widely recognized that each suffered from a failure in “governance,” and in particular a failure in governance in their financial sectors. Accordingly, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Brookings Institution devoted their fourth annual Financial Markets and Development Conference, held in New York from April 17-19, 2002, to the subject of financial sector governance in emerging markets. This conference report summarizes some of the highlights of the conference, whose full proceedings will be published as a Brookings book in the fall of 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, New York, Turkey, Asia, Argentina
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. and Japanese policy-makers have successfully reaffirmed the U.S.-Japan security alliance. Yet, even as they have done so, a series of events has revealed a deeper ambivalence in Japan about the terms of the alliance. These events began with the 1995 rape of a school girl in Okinawa by U.S. servicemen, focusing attention on the social costs to residents of hosting U.S. forces. In 1999 came North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan, raising doubts among many Japanese about their alliance partner's ability to protect them. Most recently, the outcome of the 2001 sinking of the Ehime Maru training ship by a U.S. nuclear sub seemed to many to sacrifice Japanese citizens' interests to those of the U.S. military. Taken independently, these developments may seem temporary set-backs to policymakers, but together they suggest that there is increasing impatience among Japan's citizens with the way the alliance is managed. This disconnect between the public and policymakers could, if untended, have serious implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A recent meeting of Asian countries on how to combat increasingly violent pirates in the region follows landmark prosecutions of those involve, but years of half-hearted action by coastal states. The International Chamber of Commerce has already called on ASEAN trade bloc nations to join China and Japan in signing the 1988 UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (the Rome convention). It would allow pirates caught in seas beyond national maritime jurisdictions to be prosecuted as international criminals. However, 14 of the 16 countries at the Japanese-sponsored talks in Singapore last March have yet to sign. Findings will be presented to a high-level international conference between regional maritime security agencies and government shipping bodies in Tokyo this month.
  • Topic: Security, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's new State Duma ended its first day's work in an uproar on January 18. An unlikely alliance of pro-Communist and pro-Kremlin parties was in control of the chamber's agenda, while an equally improbable alliance of smaller factions vowed not to participate in the running of the chamber until their demands for a greater say were met. This unpromising start presents acting President Vladimir Putin with both a short-term boost and a fresh political challenge. It also highlights one of Boris Yeltsin's more surprising political legacies.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia