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  • Author: Dana Stroul, Hanin Ghaddar
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Apart from its military intervention, Tehran has pursued a wide range of economic and social tactics for increasing its sway in Syria, but Washington can still push back with targeted assistance, innovative sanctions, and strategic messaging. This PolicyWatch is the first in a two-part series on how to counter Iran’s expanding activities in Syria amid talk of U.S. military withdrawal. Part 2 will discuss the array of Iranian-backed armed groups currently operating there
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jerusalem seeks to mitigate the potential risks of the president’s decision by shaping its implementation and obtaining U.S. security guarantees, though long-term concerns still loom. Israeli officials have been careful not to publicly criticize President Trump’s recent announcement that all U.S. military forces will be pulled out of Syria. Below the surface, however, they have exuded dissatisfaction, concern, and a desire to make the best out of the situation. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s initial public response was lukewarm, stating that Israel will continue to take care of its security and “will not abide Iranian entrenchment in Syria.” He followed those remarks with hectic bilateral discussions on the matter, holding a phone call with President Trump, meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of a gathering in Brazil, and hosting National Security Advisor John Bolton in Jerusalem. These discussions elicited U.S. public assurances about Israel’s security and, so it appears, opened opportunities to affect the manner in which Trump’s decision is implemented.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jana Juzová
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The Visegrad countries have since their own accession to the EU been one of the most active European actors advocating for further EU enlargement towards South- Eastern Europe. On the joint Visegrad-level as well as in their own foreign policies, the Western Balkans have a special position; the V4 countries provided them support on their path of European integration with transfer of know-how based on the V4’s own successful experience with economic and political transformation, regional cooperation and Euro-Atlantic integration. However, the Visegrad approach towards the Western Balkans is now being undermined and is losing its legitimacy due to several factors outlined in this paper. In spite of the positive impact of the Visegrad policy towards Western Balkans1, recent trends, such as worsening state of democracy in Hungary, Hungarian PM Orbán’s connections to autocratic leaders in the region (recently granting the asylum to former Macedonian PM Gruevski who escaped to Hungary from a jail sentence at home) are weakening not only Visegrad’s legitimacy as advocate for transformation of the region and its integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures, but also the normative power of the EU. Other V4 countries’ indifference towards this trend coupled with Poland’s new involvement in the Berlin Process framework, another EU member states’ initiative focused on the Western Balkans, only contribute to raising doubts about the commitment and legitimacy of Visegrad’s Western Balkan policy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Frank Gorenc
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the world enters an era of great-power competition, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) faces a renewed challenge from an old adversary. A Europe whole, free, and at peace is now at risk as Russian aggression challenges the traditional rules-based world order. Russia’s activities in and against Ukraine and Georgia, rampant intrusion on Western democratic processes and political discourse, blatant assassination attempts on NATO soil, support for rogue regimes in Syria and Iran, and military deployments and force accumulation in Kaliningrad and Crimea, as well as in the Sea of Azov, demonstrate that the threat is as real and compelling as it ever was.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The global and European security environments have changed drastically in just a few years. The world is entering a new era of great power competition, which will play out alongside continued political instability and weakening states in key regions of the world. This has profound implications for the United States and its friends, allies, and partners including those in Europe. Bilateral US defense and security relationships must be examined and evolved in order to be relevant for a new era. One example of this is the US-Denmark defense and security relationship
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As energy markets and technologies rapidly change, international oil companies (IOCs) are facing a set of interconnected challenges that will fundamentally affect their business models. From changes in the supply and demand picture, to shifts in how energy is produced and consumed, to public pressure to decrease greenhouse gas footprints, companies have a wide range of issues to consider as they decide how to prepare for an unpredictable future. In a new issue brief, “Navigating the Energy Transition: International Oil Company Diversification Strategies,” Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Koranyi provides a macro picture of select IOC’s strategic (re)thinking and explores some of the strategies IOCs have undertaken to diversify their portfolios and prepare for the unfolding energy transition.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ramzy Baroud
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Deal of the Century will allow Trump/Kushner, Netanyahu and bin Salman to merely buy time, each for his own domestic benefit. It is likely to split up an Arab camp that has served as the American vanguard.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yahia H. Zoubir
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Hirak has been the relegation of the Islamists because the protesters showed no interest in an Islamist ideology. They are opposed to foreign interference and have warned the West, particularly the former colonial power France, from interfering in their movement.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Borzou Daragahi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For much of its four decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been blessed with a weak political opposition. While Iran has faced competent and powerful foreign enemies—such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the United States, and Israel—its Iranian political challengers, both domestically and abroad, have been largely fragmented, unrealistic in their aims, and sometimes as authoritarian as the regime. But, though few credible Iran watchers argue that opposition groups and figures arrayed against Tehran’s establishment pose a serious threat, Iran treats them as if they are mortal dangers to the regime. This paper attempts to sketch out the landscape of the various major political opposition groups, and begin to grapple with the question of why Iran perceives them as such a challenge
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Perhaps the most famous quote from Thucydides is “the strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.”1 For thousands of years, it has been accepted that the weak must comply or face the fate of the Melians. Today, the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution may be revising that truth. It is creating a wide range of small, smart, cheap weapons that can provide small states combat power previously reserved to major powers
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard L. Morningstar
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This brief emerged from discussions during an Atlantic Council Global Energy Center roundtable on European energy security held in Brussels on March 27, 2019, as well as other events and individual meetings with government officials, private sector executives, and leading academics in the global energy sector. The collective dialogues and key takeaways are reflected in this brief. Because the conversations took place under the Chatham House Rule, the information will not be attributed to any specific individual. The brief will provide a current assessment of EU energy security focusing on the role of gas markets, while future briefs in the European Energy Security series will take a closer look at other critical issues impacting European energy security. Following these briefs, a final report in 2020 will propose specific recommendations for the US and EU governments on how to address transatlantic energy security issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: uring the Cold War, the Soviet Union posed a challenge to the United States throughout the entire world, including in the Middle East. Soviet activity in the Middle East, though, was also a challenge for many US allies in the region, and beyond. Soviet influence in the Middle East expanded during the 1950s and 1960s, in particular, as many in the Arab world became angry about US support for Israel, and as several pro-Western Arab governments were overthrown and replaced by anti-Western ones that actively sought Soviet support. Due to several factors, however, many of the gains made by the Soviets in the Middle East ended up being lost. These included: the defection of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s successor in Egypt, Anwar Sadat, from the Soviet to the US camp; Washington’s successful 1970s-era diplomacy in bringing about an Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement; genuine fear of the Soviet threat on the part of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies; the 1979 Iranian Revolution, in which the downfall of a pro-Western regime did not lead to the rise of a pro-Soviet one, but to the rise of one that was both anti-American and anti-Soviet; and, finally, the collapse of both communism and the Soviet Union itself from 1989 to 1991
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Borzou Daragahi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For much of its four decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been blessed with a weak political opposition. While Iran has faced competent and powerful foreign enemies—such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the United States, and Israel—its Iranian political challengers, both domestically and abroad, have been largely fragmented, unrealistic in their aims, and sometimes as authoritarian as the regime. But, though few credible Iran watchers argue that opposition groups and figures arrayed against Tehran’s establishment pose a serious threat, Iran treats them as if they are mortal dangers to the regime. This paper attempts to sketch out the landscape of the various major political opposition groups, and begin to grapple with the question of why Iran perceives them as such a challenge.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Frank Gorenc
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the world enters an era of great-power competition, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) faces a renewed challenge from an old adversary. A Europe whole, free, and at peace is now at risk as Russian aggression challenges the traditional rules-based world order. Russia’s activities in and against Ukraine and Georgia, rampant intrusion on Western democratic processes and political discourse, blatant assassination attempts on NATO soil, support for rogue regimes in Syria and Iran, and military deployments and force accumulation in Kaliningrad and Crimea, as well as in the Sea of Azov, demonstrate that the threat is as real and compelling as it ever was
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The global and European security environments have changed drastically in just a few years. The world is entering a new era of great power competition, which will play out alongside continued political instability and weakening states in key regions of the world. This has profound implications for the United States and its friends, allies, and partners including those in Europe. Bilateral US defense and security relationships must be examined and evolved in order to be relevant for a new era. One example of this is the US-Denmark defense and security relationship
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As energy markets and technologies rapidly change, international oil companies (IOCs) are facing a set of interconnected challenges that will fundamentally affect their business models. From changes in the supply and demand picture, to shifts in how energy is produced and consumed, to public pressure to decrease greenhouse gas footprints, companies have a wide range of issues to consider as they decide how to prepare for an unpredictable future. In a new issue brief, “Navigating the Energy Transition: International Oil Company Diversification Strategies,” Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Koranyi provides a macro picture of select IOC’s strategic (re)thinking and explores some of the strategies IOCs have undertaken to diversify their portfolios and prepare for the unfolding energy transition.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lisa Sharland
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: his year marks twenty years since the Security Council added the ‘protection of civilians in armed conflict’ to its agenda and authorised the first UN peacekeeping mission to explicitly protect civilians. Yet efforts to carry forward that mandate in the field over the last two decades have been mixed. While there is consensus among the member states within the UN that peacekeeping missions should protect, there remain different views among the various stakeholders on the limits and expectations of peacekeepers when it comes to implementing this mandate. And the consequences for the civilians on the ground—which expect protection from the UN—can be dire.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rajiv Shah
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Today, we’re seeing an increasing convergence between the digital and the physical worlds. This is sometimes referred to as the convergence of IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology)—devices that monitor physical effects, control them, or both. More and more devices are becoming interconnected to create the ‘internet of things’
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Recently, the economic front of US–China major-power rivalry has deepened and expanded beyond the legalistic confines of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many in Australia, which has the US as its security ally and main source and destination of investment and China as its main trading partner, are rightly concerned by this evolution.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ken Barker
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Canadian government is now openly discussing the possibility of making cyberweapons part of its official national defence strategy. The new development was revealed in a recent government white paper, entitled “Strong, Secure, and Engaged” (SSE), which outlined defence policy across a wide range of activities. Specifically, the paper discusses working toward a “more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences, and by conducting active cyber operations against potential adversaries in the context of government-authorized military missions” with an explicit commitment to developing cyberattack capabilities. This direction not only opens up new possibilities for Canadian defence, it could also represent significant new risks. Without good answers to the difficult questions this new direction could raise, the country could be headed down a very precarious path.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The “America First” agenda will persist well beyond the life of the Trump administration. Washington no longer “has Canada’s back”. We are living in a new age of great power rivalry. Populism poses a major challenge to the rules-based international order. Adult supervision in global politics is in short supply. These are some of the themes that surfaced during a recent CGAI conference titled What Role for Canada on the Global Stage? Implied, if unstated, was that Canada is adrift internationally on these waters, in search of a role in a new world order of which most Canadians seem unaware. The question remained: How should Canada respond to these new global currents in a way befitting a middle power entering the third decade of the 21st century?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Purchasing a fleet of fighter aircraft is a complex process with many variables and the Canadian government has a duty to ensure the billions of procurement dollars required are properly spent. The interplay between the four dimensions involved in military procurement (military, technological, economic, and political) defies simple analysis. The government has directed the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, and engage in extraterritorial missions. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has responded to its responsibilities to support these commitments with a thorough, capability-based Statement of Requirements for the future fighter, taking critical functionalities of operating in the future battlespace and emerging technologies into consideration.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeff Collins
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: While both Canada and Australia share similar constitutional frameworks and imperial histories, they are also no stranger to procurement challenges. Cost overruns, delays, regionalism, and protracted intellectual property disputes have all been part of major defence acquisition projects in recent decades. This Policy Paper analyzes the largest and most expensive procurement projects undertaken by either country, Canada’s $73 billion (estimated) National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), launched in 2010, and Australia’s A$90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan (NSP), launched in 2017. Each project represents an attempt to implement a rational, multi-decade approach to naval acquisition. Driven by a desire to overcome previous boom-and-bust cycles, the NSS and NSP aim to create a sustainable shipbuilding sector capable of meeting the immediate and future naval demands of Ottawa and Canberra. Neither country has attempted a shipbuilding plan on this scale before.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ron Wallace
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Canada and the Russian Federation have pursued significantly different strategies for economic development and security in their respective circumpolar regions. These policies have resulted in very different northern strategic outcomes. While Canada and its circumpolar neighbours (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and the United States) have advanced their polar resource claims through the UN, Russia has taken additional bold steps to secure its polar resources. Events since 2000 have demonstrated a fierce Russian political resolve to secure its economic independence from the West and to achieve a prominent place on the world geopolitical stage. In a steadily warming Arctic, Russia has recognized the potential economic and strategic significance of its Northern Sea Route and is now the foremost military and shipping leader in the circumpolar region. Russia continues to accelerate its efforts to re-open abandoned former Soviet Siberian military bases and to construct new operational bases. The largest Russian military build-up in the polar region since 1991 provides an indication that, consistent with its geopolitical aspirations, Russia is prepared to assert and defend its Arctic resources and sea routes. This accelerating Russian presence and military capability, paralleled by certain Chinese initiatives (China increasingly views itself as a near-Arctic state) have occasioned not just re-evaluations, but a reinvigoration of certain Arctic defence postures among circumpolar allies in NATO.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanna Norberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, but already it has begun to revolutionize global trade. Its lure is irresistible because of the simplicity with which it can replace the standard methods of documentation, smooth out logistics, increase transparency, speed up transactions, and ameliorate the planning and tracking of trade. Blockchain essentially provides the supply chain with an unalterable ledger of verified transactions, and thus enables trust every step of the way through the trade process. Every stakeholder involved in that process – from producer to warehouse worker to shipper to financial institution to recipient at the final destination – can trust that the information contained in that indelible ledger is accurate. Fraud will no longer be an issue, middlemen can be eliminated, shipments tracked, quality control maintained to highest standards and consumers can make decisions based on more than the price. Blockchain dramatically reduces the amount of paperwork involved, along with the myriad of agents typically involved in the process, all of this resulting in soaring efficiencies.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cynthia Bansak, Nicole Simpson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The federal government has pledged to update Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) policy and this paper examines the potential important role of remittances in the development program. Remittances can serve as a significant form of cross-border capital flows and can have sizable effects on both the sending and receiving countries. This policy piece provides an overview of trends in global remittances and gives a context for the policy discussion on the relationship between remittances and ODA. The paper discusses the primary reasons behind global remittances and their impacts on sending and receiving countries, with a particular emphasis on Canada, the United States and Mexico. Past findings provide insight into the reasons and impacts of remittances on both developed and developing countries. Within the context of Canada, the paper also examines how remittances have been able to complement and possibly drive other development reform efforts domestically and abroad. The goal of the analysis is to help inform the policy discussion in Canada and concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the Canadian federal government.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Orkhan Huseynov
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The automotive industry is a major employment generator in many economies, with millions of people earning their livelihood, both directly and indirectly. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (IOMVM), the current turnover of the automobile industry is around 2 trillion EURO and is equivalent to the size of 6th largest economy in the world. While there has been a growth momentum for the global automotive industry in the past, it is also facing challenges of late, especially in view of the increasing cost of production and slowing down of demand. The world automotive industry is also faced with the challenge of undertaking R&D and designing fuel-efficient vehicles in view of volatile oil prices. The environmental challenges have also assumed critical importance to the automotive industry at the backdrop of climatic change
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The existence of a well-functioning business environment is a key factor in the diversification of the economy, the efficient use of available resources and ensuring sustainable growth. The business environment, in its turn, should be regarded as a composite of conditions that incorporate quite complex components. If one or more of the composition components are not functioning appropriately, the result you will get is not adequate to the available capacity. The existence of contemporary institutions is the absolute requirement for a "good business environment", performing functions such as coordinating all other economic advantages, organizing appropriate arrangements, and risk management.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: In January-February of 2019, activity in foreign exchange markets has further escalated. According to the information provided by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), during the corresponding period 951 million US dollars were sold, including 634.9 million in January and 316.2 million in February. This is 47.2% higher than the same period of the previous year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: Following the recession and stagnation of the economy of Azerbaijan in 2015-2017, a growth of 1.4% was recorded in 2018. Economic growth has been mainly driven by the following factors. Favorable foreign economic environment for Azerbaijan from the context of oil prices: the initial forecast of the oil prices by the Azerbaijani government at the beginning of 2018 was 45 US dollars per barrel. Then, during the second half of the year, the forecast was adjusted to 55 US dollars per barrel. However, the actual price of one barrel of oil for the reporting period was above 71 US dollars (29% higher than forecasted)…
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dan Breban
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The current external macroeconomic conditions observed throughout the year of 2018, such as increasing rates by FED/ECB, exerts certain pressure on the economies of developing nations. Despite hovering well-over its predicted value for most of the year, the recent decline in the price of oil once again puts question marks for the future of the commodity. Considering all of the above mentioned facts in mind, dependence of 2019 state budget of Azerbaijan on oil, where 50.4% of revenues directly come from the oil sector further makes the country more vulnerable to oil price fluctuations. The largest hike is observed in the amount of revenues collected through the excise taxes while the biggest decline is in income taxes, reflecting the new amendments to the tax code. Expenditures of the state budget are going to be 7.3% higher in 2019, with the most significant boost observed in construction sector. This fact undermines the efficiency of the public funds, as the expenditures towards construction are more likely to become subject of mismanagement. When looking at the SOFAZ’s budget, a clear trend of increasingly allocating more and more funds to the state budget can be seen. As expected, new amendments were made to the fiscal rule in order to make it more flexible, however, the effectiveness of these changes are still unclear.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victoria Bittner
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The establishment of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy as a part of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) sets new objectives for the deepening of cooperation between the EU and EaP countries, and the greater integration of the EaP based on shared norms, values and standards. Forming the eastern divide of the ENP, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia are considered official neighbors of the EU, although half of these countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) do not lie on the immediate borders of the EU. However, these South Caucasian countries play an important transit role by connecting the EU with Central Asia and China. Hence, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad, crossing Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, establishes a significant link in the further development and integration of regional and global transit corridors stretching from China to Europe through Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Seio Nakajima
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to describe the recent transformation of the automobile industry from a manufacturing industry to include aspects of the service and creative industries. Firstly, it reviews the recent trend of the automobile industry as a service industry. Secondly, it discusses the automobile industry’s move toward the creative industries. It examines these two trends, mostly based on the next-generation automobile industry in Japan. Finally, it discusses the implications of the above transformation of the automobile industry on academic studies of the creative industries, and argues for what it calls a strong programme in creative industries studies. It also provides a provisional note on government policies in the era of the next-generation automobile industry.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Volume I consists of the integrative report and executive summary of ASEAN Vision 2040, and a briefer on new challenges and key priorities and strategies. ASEAN Vision 2040 has been drawn up in the context of ASEAN’s achievements, revealed aspirations, and expectations of the peoples of ASEAN for the near future, and the recent and expected global, regional, and technological developments. The volume presents the ASEAN Vision 2040 and highlights key areas of collective leadership and ASEAN centrality, harnessing the emerging Industry 4.0 to transform the ASEAN economies and enhance ASEAN resiliency and developmental sustainability, realising a seamless ASEAN, engendering greater inclusivity, and a deeper sense of community and belonging, and strengthening the ASEAN institutional ecosystem.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Anti-corruption is central to building capable and legitimate security institutions in fragile states. However, military capacity-building programs often do not include anti-corruption measures. Denmark should strive to put the fight against military corruption on the international agenda
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tony Bricktua, Abigail Lawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Report Recommends Approaches to Meet Needs of Law Enforcement While Managing Risks to Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wael Abdul-Shafi, Jan Hanrath
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The repercussions of climate change and environmental challenges pose enormous risks to Iran and Saudi Arabia alike. While there are differences in geography and climate in both countries, they also have many environmental challenges in common. Problems such as sand and dust storms or diminishing water resources are border-crossing phenomena that no country can deal with alone; therefore, cooperation is key. At this point in time, however, willingness to cooperate is utterly lacking in a region marked by geo-strategic rivalries, ongoing military conflicts and deep-rooted mutual distrust between regional rivals, and between Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular.
  • Topic: Environment, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Renard , Rik Coolsaet
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Some 5000 men, women and children have travelled from Europe to Syria and Iraq since 2012. An estimated 1500 of these foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) have returned so far. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands represent a third of European FTF and returnees. This report looks into the evolution of policies on returning foreign fighters in these three countries, comparing responses with regard to fighters that are still in the conflict zone, policies to deal with returnees in prison and attitudes towards the children of foreign fighters. It is the very first systematic and in-depth study into national approaches and policies vis-à-vis returnees. Its added value lies in the wealth of data, including data that has not been published before, and in the comparative angle.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Dabarre
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: While humanitarian action was traditionally designed to be a short-term emergency response, this is increasingly perceived as inaccurate and even undesirable. Humanitarian actors have acknowledged a responsibility to work toward bridging the “humanitarian-development divide” and not to overlook the nexus between addressing and reducing humanitarian needs and building the foundations for sustaining peace.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Current drug policy too often has a negative impact on communities and runs counter to efforts to ameliorate poverty through sustainable development. However, this is often not captured by the metrics used to measure the impact of drug policy. One way to improve these metrics is to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would not only help overcome many of the limitations of drug policies resulting from suboptimal metrics but also make sure these policies enhance, rather than hinder, efforts to achieve the SDGs.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Els Debuf
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: IPI’s research project on mechanisms to investigate attacks on healthcare aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, member states, and other stakeholders in operationalizing Resolution 2286 and the UN secretary-general’s recommendations for its implementation. The project focuses on recommendations regarding the use of international mechanisms to ensure that the “full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations” required by Resolution 2286 are carried out when parties to the conflict are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Through a combination of desk research, key informant interviews, and an expert meeting bringing together stakeholders in the implementation of Resolution 2286 and experts on international fact-finding and investigation into violations of international humanitarian law, the project developed a set of tools, available on this page. These include:
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Kadtke, John Wharton
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Rapid globalization of science and technology (S&T) capacity presents a serious and long-term risk to the military and economic security of the United States. To maintain U.S. preeminence, our domestic science and technology enterprise requires a new paradigm to make it more agile, synchronized, and globally engaged. U.S. technological competitiveness depends not only on research but also on legal, economic, regulatory, ethical, moral, and social frameworks, and therefore requires the vision and cooperation of our political, corporate, and civil society leadership. Re-organizing our domestic S&T enterprise will be a complex task, but recommendations presented in this paper could be first steps on the path to maintaining our future technological security.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vivek Chadha
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: During the last couple of years, India has recalibrated its policy towards Pakistan by adopting a two-pronged approach. One prong consists of not holding formal talks until Pakistan stops using terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India.1 And the second prong involves retaining the right of retaliation against those elements and locations along the Line of Control (LoC) that are complicit in perpetrating cross border terrorism.2 In essence, India's aim has been to gain leverage over Pakistan by striking it where it hurts the most.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: P. Stobdan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: The recent launch of the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC) by China and Pakistan has provided India with a fresh impetus to assert its sovereign claim over Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region, which had hitherto remained in diplomatic abeyance. The Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 warranted India’s control over the entire territory of the erstwhile Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir. And, Section 4 of the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Constitution defined the State’s territory as comprising all the territories which, on the fifteenth day of August 1947, were under the sovereignty or suzerainty of the Ruler of the Stat
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Once again, the United States and other members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been asked to address the adequacy of IMF financial resources and the distribution of voting power in the Fund. Observers are justified in thinking that they just witnessed this drama. IMF members completed an agreement on the size of IMF quota resources and governance—or voting power—reform in November 2010. As part of that agreement on the 14th general review of IMF quotas, members committed to bring forward the completion of the 15th general review of quotas to January 2014. The target was not met because the United States delayed approving the 2010 agreement until December 2015, which was necessary for the implementation of the 14th review. As a result, in December 2016, the governors of the IMF freshly resolved to complete the 15th review by the spring of 2019 or the fall of 2019 at the latest.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Euijin Jung, (Lucy) Lu Zhiyao
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The fraught negotiations over revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have focused largely on US demands to limit imports from Canada and Mexico. But one little discussed step could help the United States increase exports to Canada and Mexico in a way the Trump administration ought to support. US express shipments to its NAFTA partners are far below potential, partly due to what are called low de minimis thresholds in those countries. The de minimis threshold refers to the value of imported goods below which no duty or tax is collected, and the customs declaration is very simple.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: President Trump has asserted that trade balances are a key measure of a nation’s commercial success and that large US trade deficits prove that past trade approaches have been flawed. But trade deficits are not in fact a good measure of how well a country is doing with respect to its trade policies. Many of the assumptions on which the administration’s beliefs rest are not supported by the evidence. This Policy Brief argues that trade deficits are not necessarily bad, do not necessarily cost jobs or reduce growth, and are not a measure of whether foreign trade policies or agreements with other countries are fair or unfair. Efforts to use trade policy and agreements to reduce either bilateral or overall trade deficits are also unlikely to produce the effects the administration claims they will and instead lead to friction with US trading partners, harming the people the policies claim to help
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tetyana Payosova, Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Jeffrey Schott
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since its inception in 1995, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism has resolved an impressive number of trade disputes and has earned a reputation as the “crown jewel” of the global trading system. Today, however, the mechanism is in crisis. WTO members have failed to negotiate updates to the rulebook, including rules on dispute settlement itself. As a result, the WTO Appellate Body increasingly is asked to render decisions on ambiguous or incomplete WTO rules. Its interpretations of such provisions have provoked charges by the United States and others that binding Appellate Body rulings, which establish precedents for future cases, effectively circumvent the prerogative of member countries to revise the WTO rulebook and thus undercut the national sovereignty of WTO members. For the past few years, US officials have blocked appointments of Appellate Body members to force WTO members to negotiate new rules that address US concerns and limit the scope for judicial overreach. If this problem is not resolved, the Appellate Body soon will not have enough members to review cases and the vaunted WTO dispute settlement system will grind to a halt.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William R Cline
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The centerpiece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 is the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated the net revenue loss from the tax overhaul at $1 trillion over the next decade. The underlying premise of the legislation is that lower corporate taxes will spur growth, with trickle-down wage benefits that spread the resulting economic gains.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Chorzempa
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Formidable barriers stand between the modern financial system and the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens still using costly informal credit. For many, the financial data that could be used to give them a credit score that would lead to a fair priced loan exist but are not being used. This analysis finds that the most difficult barriers cutting these data off from their potential use for greater financial inclusion are the legal and political restrictions on data sharing and use, economic and competitive concerns from data holders, and the technical difficulty of integrating disparate systems. Policies that encourage coordination between public authorities and private actors in finance and technology can go a long way towards making these data available and driving access to credit in China. This shift would not only help borrowers: It would also encourage the needed economic rebalancing towards consumption, increase competition in the financial sector, raise efficiency through better credit allocation, and contribute to sustainable economic growth and social welfare.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus