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  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world's opium. Despite concerted efforts to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, the industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, particularly in the south, where reconstruction efforts lag amidst poor security. Afghanistan's opium crop grew 59 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to UN reports, and officials expect a crop equal to if not greater than the 2006 crop in 2007. Overall, the industry accounts for nearly one-third of the country's economy and remains one of the chief threats to Afghanistan's security and development, as it becomes increasingly linked to corrupt Afghan officials and the Taliban.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Scott Worden, Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, efforts to develop civil society are showing tentative signs of progress. Advances are especially evident in the increasing capacity of Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kabul. But the effectiveness of civil society in influencing development in the provinces remains low, and rising insecurity in many regions threatens the future prospects of the nascent Afghan civil society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Emily Wann
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nepal is in a period of transition to peace and democracy, progressing on many fronts but encountering some challenges and threats to sustainable peace along the way. King Gyanendra relinquished absolute control and reinstated the House of Representatives on April 24, 2006, underscoring the movement toward democracy. The Maoists and the government of Nepal signed a peace agreement on November 21, 2006, and then a ceasefire agreement on December 8, 2006, ending the ten-year insurgency. An Interim Constitution was adopted on January 15, 2007, and the Maoists joined the government. Despite these positive steps, the Terai region, located in the southern lowlands of Nepal near the border of India, has experienced a surge in violence from the last six months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Rachel Steele
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the election of new leaders and the establishment of a new constitution, the government of Afghanistan has been trying to prove its legitimacy and ability to foster stability, security, and the rule of law. The Taliban resurgence is playing a major role in public perception of the government's competence and the role of the international forces. Understanding current trends in public opinion can aid in tailoring the international intervention to ensure that prior progress is not lost and that elements corroding the strength of the state are diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • 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
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has in a very short time span embraced multilateral mechanisms to address a broad range of issues and avoided confrontation with the United States. Both stances have shaped Asian and European views of a rising China. At present, Asian and European leaders take China's word regarding its peaceful intentions as a rising power. However, Asian and European policy-makers tend to refrain from confronting China too strongly on issues sensitive to Beijing (poor implementation of intellectual property rights, disregard for human rights, etc). The more prosperous China grows, the less influence any other country will have over Beijing's policies. A rising China is a challenge to others because of its sheer size, its great need for imported energy, and the environmental degradation it causes due to its ongoing industrialization. The troubled relationship between China and Japan is one of increasing concern and could lead to aggravated tensions in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Frédéric Grare
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The risk of an Islamist takeover in Pakistan is a myth invented by the Pakistani military to consolidate its hold on power. In fact, religious political parties and militant organizations are manipulated by the Pakistani Army to achieve its own objectives, domestically and abroad. The army, not the Islamists, is the real source of insecurity on the subcontinent.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In December 2004 China's top political leadership agreed to fundamentally alter the country's growth strategy. In place of investment and export-led development, they endorsed transitioning to a growth path that relied more on expanding domestic consumption. Since 2004, China's top leadership, most notably Premier Wen Jiaobao in his speech to the National People's Congress in the spring of 2006, has reiterated the goal of strengthening domestic consumption as a major source of economic growth. This policy brief examines the reasons underlying the leadership decision, the implications of this transition for the United States and the global economy, and the steps that have been taken to embark on the new growth path.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • 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: Albert Kiedel
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What are the implications if China sustains nine-percent growth through 2010? This is the basic question posed by conference organizers. The relevant time frame is what matters most. If China merely maintains nine-percent growth until the year 2010, the implications are not great. Too much is left unknown about what comes after 2010. Even with nine-percent growth over the next five years, China in 2010 will still be at a relatively low level of performance, both overall and in per-capita terms. But if sustaining nine-percent growth to 2010 means that China has launched on-going reforms that will continue to engineer institutional changes needed for a market economy's successful commercial and political management, then the resulting successful development trajectory in the rest of the century will generate profound and, from today's perspective, unexpected consequences.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia