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  • Author: Joel Negin, Jolyon Ford
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What should Australia do to assist Zimbabwe's re-emergence? In March 2009, Australia became the first major donor country to provide assistance to the new power-sharing government in Zimbabwe. Given the pervading influence of hardline elements, many doubt the merits and viability of the 'inclusive government'. Ought Australia continue its support, accepting the risk of buttressing Mugabe and his regime? Or should Australia stand back and maintain pressure for a more acceptable government – at the risk of contributing to theinclusive government's failure?
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Australia/Pacific, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Jenna Slotin
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The founding resolutions of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) state that one of the main purposes of the commission is “to improve the coordination of all relevant actors within and outside the United Nations.” What does this mean for an intergovernmental advisory organ? Can the PBC really be expected to coordinate the many UN agencies, funds, and programs on the ground, let alone the many bilateral, multilateral, and nongovernmental actors that are present in a postconflict country? What does the PBC have to offer with respect to coordination?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Mutual accountability has become one of several principles that underpin the PBC's work. The commission has facilitated the articulation of mutual commitments as part of the peacebuilding frameworks developed in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic. This has begun to fill an important gap. But, the PBC has so far not fulfilled the full promise of this principle: to serve as a forum where national and international actors can hold each other to their commitments. This brief reflects on the PBC's experience with mutual accountability and puts it into a broader context to highlight why it is an area where the PBC can potentially add value.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Burundi
  • Author: Kenneth P. Green, Steven F. Hayward
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: AEI's environmental team has been especially busy lately responding to numerous press inquiries about the “Climategate” scandal. We reprint below two pieces, one by Steven F. Hayward that appeared in The Weekly Standard, and another by Kenneth P. Green, which appeared on The American. Hayward's piece was mentioned prominently on Fox News Sunday. Green also testified on the science of global warming recently before the Senate Committee on Finance. In addition, Samuel Thernstrom and Lee Lane, who are codirecting AEI's Geo engineering Project, have been following the developments and commenting on them. AEI released an updated version of its Public Opinion Study “Polls on the Environment and Global Warming,” which shows that, even before the latest controversy, opinion about the seriousness of global warming had declined sharply in several recent polls.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Bryan E. Dowd
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Congressional mismanagement of Medicare is a bipartisan project in which Democrats and Republicans set aside the rancor of party politics and ideological differences and work hand in hand to run the program into the ground. The latest attempts to "fix" physician payments by replacing a sizeable cut in Medicare fees with a small increase provide the evidence.
  • Topic: Debt, Health, Markets, Politics
  • Author: Ronald W. Reagan
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In 1988, as he was about to step down as president, Ronald Reagan received the Francis Boyer Award, AEI's highest honor. He chose for the theme of his speech that December evening, eleven months before the Berlin Wall fell, the struggle of people everywhere for freedom. In his speech, he anticipated the momentous events that would occur in 1989: “So while our hopes today are for a new era, let us remember that if that new era is indeed upon us, there was nothing inevitable about it. It was the result of hard work—and of resolve and sacrifice on the part of those who love freedom and dare to strive for it.” Freedom works, he said. He saluted the Solzhenitsyns, the Sakharovs, and the Sharanskys, saying, “We have seen the thrilling spectacle of mankind refusing to accept the shackles placed upon us.” As we recall the events of November 1989, it is important to remember the struggle and to recommit ourselves to the hard work of extending freedom to those who have yet to enjoy its blessings.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Cold War, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Berlin
  • Author: Christopher DeMuth
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: AEI senior fellow Irving Kristol—godfather of the neoconservative movement and one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century—died peacefully on September 18 at the age of eighty-nine. Mr. Kristol's connection to AEI began long before he became a full-time scholar at the Institute in 1988. In 1973, he gave the first of AEI's Distinguished Lectures on the Bicentennial of the United States. The lectures were delivered at historic sites around the country, and Mr. Kristol's lecture, “The American Revolution as a Successful Revolution,” was given at St. John's Church in Washington, where many of the nation's presidents have worshipped. We reprint excerpts from it below after a tribute to him written by Christopher DeMuth, the D. C. Searle Senior Fellow at AEI.
  • Topic: Cold War, Politics, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin, Vincent R. Reinhart, Peter J. Wallison
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: One year ago, on September 14, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The next day the Dow fell five hundred points. Soon thereafter, the government essentially nationalized AIG, made Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley into bank-holding companies, and petitioned Congress for aid. In early September, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been placed in government conservatorship. These events followed the bursting of the housing bubble. We present here three essays written by AEI scholars in the spring and summer of 2009 on the origins of the financial crisis whose reverberations we continue to feel today. Vincent R. Reinhart sets the stage by reminding us of the importance of getting the story of what happened right, as policy recommendations flow from our understanding of what occurred. He also tells us that “the narrative first written about the Great Depression was wrong in many important respects.” John H. Makin and Peter J. Wallison focus on the misguided policies that contributed to the crisis. In a new Economic Outlook, Makin discusses three important lessons of the financial crisis that should be understood in order to enable a faster, more effective policy response to future crises.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Study abroad experience is widely recognized among senior management as having the potential to cultivate valued skills and desirable personal qualities in new recruits. In a recent survey, ninety percent of senior management who reported studying abroad during their own careers also reported a hiring or promotion strategy that actively sought out and rewarded study abroad experience. This suggests that individuals with personal experience studying abroad are more likely to place a higher value on the study abroad experience of a potential employee. However, appreciation of study abroad experience in recruitment is not limited to management with personal study abroad experience: 60 percent of all respondents reported that the hiring and promotion strategy of their companies acknowledge the importance of a study abroad experience.
  • Topic: Education, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Ten years ago, in June 1999, a group of 29 European Ministers signed the Bologna Declaration with the goal of establishing the European Area of Higher Education by 2010 and promoting the European system of higher education world-wide. In April 2009, 46 European Higher Education Area Ministers will gather for the fifth biennial EHEA Ministerial Conference, to take stock of this first decade and jointly define goals for the coming years. At this juncture, it is important to look at the changes that have occurred through the Bologna Process in the context of transatlantic exchange, and how they affect the way U.S. higher education institutions are approaching graduate admissions, awarding transfer credit and credit for study abroad, and advancing institutional linkages.
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: President Obama has been supporting a new bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, designed to promote the labor unions' drive for unionization. This bill, if enacted, will surely be a big boon for unions as it helps enlarge their membership, enhance their bargaining power vis-à-vis businesses, and enrich their coffers to wield political clout. An important issue here, however, is how such reinforced unionism contributes to the U.S.'s much needed industrial competitiveness and employment—and, more specifically, how this new policy will affect the U.S. as a host to FDI in the auto industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Laza Kekic
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The global economic and financial crisis has had a major impact on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. After declining in 2008 by 17% to US$1.73trn from US$2.09trn in 2007—the high point of a four- year long boom in cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M) and FDI—global FDI inflows are forecast to plunge by 44% to less than US$1trn in 2009. The big drop in 2009 is occurring despite the improvements in the global economy in recent months. A notable feature of trends in 2009 is that, for the first time ever, emerging markets are set to attract more FDI inflows than the developed world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles Kovacs
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The first sovereign wealth fund (SWF) was established by Kuwait in 1953, and was followed by many others from 1973-4, after the first oil crisis. Since then, each major jump in oil and gas prices increased the number and size of SWFs; after 2000, countries with large trade surpluses also began to establish SWFs. By April 2009, SWFs had grown to $3-5 trillion of assets under management, invested mostly in high quality bonds. Equity investments have been a much smaller part of their portfolio and began to grow only in the 1990s. This trend has since accelerated with at least 698 documented equity investments between June 2005 and March 2009.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Kuwait
  • Author: Luís Afonso Lima, Octavio de Barros
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The internationalization of Brazilian companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. From 2000 to 2003, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) averaged USD 0.7 billion a year. Over the four-year period 2004−2008, this average jumped to nearly USD 14 billion. In 2008, when global FDI inflows were estimated to have fallen by 15%, OFDI from Brazil almost tripled, increasing from just over USD 7 billion in 2007 to nearly USD 21 billion in 2008 (annex figure 1 below). Central Bank data put the current stock of Brazilian OFDI at USD 104 billion, an increase of 89% over 2003. Caution is in order about these figures, however, as in Brazilian outflows it is difficult to separate authentic FDI from purely financial investment under the guise of FDI. According to the most recent data, 887 Brazilian companies have invested abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Mortimore, Carlos Razo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite the global crisis, outward FDI by Latin American firms grew by more than 40% in 2008. The picture for 2009 is less clear, due to the expected regional GDP contraction, falling commodity prices, and tightening credit markets. Nonetheless, the authors argue that many countervailing factors make Latin American investment more resilient in the crisis than other regions may be.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Michael Mortimore, Carlos Razo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite the global crisis, outward FDI by Latin American firms grew by more than 40% in 2008. The picture for 2009 is less clear, due to the expected regional GDP contraction, falling commodity prices, and tightening credit markets. Nonetheless, the authors argue that many countervailing factors make Latin American investment more resilient in the crisis than other regions may be.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jaya Prakash Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from India seemed to be on a path of rapid and sustained growth. Its annual average growth of 98% during 2004–07 had been unprecedented , much ahead of OFDI growth from other emerging markets like China (74%), Malaysia (70%), Russia (53%), and the Republic of Korea (51%), although from a much lower base. Much of this recent growth had been fuelled by large-scale overseas acquisitions, however, and it faltered when the global financial crisis that started in late 2007 made financing acquisitions harder.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Malaysia, India, Korea
  • Author: Subrata Bhattacharjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On March 12, 2009, the Canadian federal government passed significant amendments to the Investment Canada Act (ICA), Canada's foreign investment law of general application. Though the amendments generally liberalize important aspects of the Canadian foreign investment review regime, they also include a broadly worded national security test that now allows the responsible Minister to review proposed investments in Canada on national security grounds. On July 11, 2009, the government published draft regulations that provide the details of the new national security review process. A detailed summary of the amendments and regulations is included in an extended note available at www.vcc.columbia.edu.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Veljko Fotak, William Megginson
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Until the end of 2007, western media, governments and regulators often seemed more concerned about protecting domestic firms from investments by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) than about attracting capital inflows. Politicians in many countries called for the regulation of sovereign foreign investments at that time, when SWF investments were growing rapidly. In fact, during 2006 and 2007, countries that introduced at least one regulatory change (many of them related to such investments) making the investment climate less welcoming for multinational enterprises accounted for 40% of all FDI inflows.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Author: Lorenzo Cotula
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the past 12 months, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Susan D. Franck
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: We know several things about foreign investment. First, foreign investment matters, reaching US$1.7 trillion in 2008. Second, we know that foreign investors have new international law rights to protect their economic interests. Third, we know that those rights are now being used.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christian Bellak, Markus Leibrecht
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A crucial challenge to all countries in the current economic crisis is to stimulate investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI). Countries striving to attract FDI often resort to two types of policies: improving infrastructure or lowering taxes, as a means of attracting new FDI, or keeping existing FDI. Indeed, recent empirical studies (e.g. Bénassy-Quéré et al. 2007; Bellak et al. 2009) confirmed that both lower taxes and improved infrastructure exert a considerable influence upon multinational enterprises' decision to invest in a particular country, when controlling for other important location factors (like market size, labor costs etc.).
  • Topic: Economics, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Ken Davies
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In 2008 global FDI fell by around 20%, while outward FDI from China nearly doubled. This disparity is likely to continue in 2009 and 2010 as China invests even more overseas. What is driving this continuing surge in China's outward FDI?
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Gert Bruche
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With some delay, the internationalization of business R is following the globalization of production. Starting on a small scale during the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of globally distributed R networks of multinational enterprises (MNEs) accelerated rapidly in the 1990s. The “globalization of innovation” was facilitated and driven by a complex set of factors, including changes in trade and investment governance, improved intellectual property rights through TRIPS, the growing ease and falling cost of communicating and traveling around the globe, and the concomitant vertical industry specialization and unbundling of value chains. The growing and sustained level of cross-border M was one major direct driver, often having the effect that merged firms inherited multiple R sites in a number of countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Anne Van Aaken, Jürgen Kurtz
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Several developed countries have introduced emergency measures to mitigate the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, including Australia, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Although the measures taken are still undergoing changes by the executive branch and are thus a “moving target”, our survey reveals early evidence of differentiation between foreign and domestic actors in the emergency plans adopted by this sample grouping. It is this differentiation that may give rise to liability as breaching guarantees against discrimination of foreign investors under international investment law.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Ireland
  • Author: Mark E. Plotkin, David N. Fagan
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On December 22, 2008, new regulations setting forth the U.S. government's national security review process for foreign mergers and acquisitions of U.S. businesses became effective. They are the ultimate step in a lengthy effort to revise and strengthen the reviews undertaken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”).
  • Topic: Economics, National Security, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Toby Archer
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Stockholm Programme sets the agenda for the European Union's actions for the next five years in the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). It is the next step towards the goal of making the EU into an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Justice and Home Affairs became the third pillar of the EU after the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. Originally, it was firmly intergovernmental area of policy-making but some parts were transferred to the supranational first pillar when the treaty of Amsterdam came in to force 1999. In the same year the EU decided it need a focused plan for cooperation in this field for the next five years; and the Tampere Programme was produced. This was followed in 2004 by the Hague Programme that ends this year, and the Stockholm Programme will lay out the next five years of JHA cooperation. Producing the programme has been complicated due to both the sensitive nature of many of the issues covered and by doubt until recently over whether the Lisbon Treaty would be ratified. The ratification of Lisbon changes the power balance between the European Commission, Council and Parliament and this has ramifications for the JHA area. With the success of the EU single market and the end of border controls within the EU, to stop crime within the EU, to guarantee the rights of citizens who are moving between EU member states, and to manage people from third countries who are seeking to come into the EU, requires cooperation across the Union. The Stockholm Programme seeks to lay out what path this should take. Migration policy is an important and difficult part of the programme. How Europeanised dealing with irregular migrants and asylum seeker should be has been one of the politically difficult areas within the programme.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's interests vis-à-vis international climate policy are fundamentally tied to its ownership of the world's largest proven oil reserves and its political economy, which depends on oil revenues for stability and survival. The 'discrimination' against carbon dioxide and fossil fuels is a recurring theme that reflects the country's disapproval of any constraints on global oil consumption. The Saudi position has evolved around four pillars: preserving oil revenues, receiving compensation for the adverse impacts of climate change mitigation, avoiding commitments, and acquiring technology and capacity for adaptation. Saudi Arabia's influence in the negotiations stems from a long-term strategy of obstructionism, the ultimate aim of which is to prevent an agreement from emerging. The country's status as a developing country is increasingly contested due to its high GDP per capita, while its calls for compensation for losses in oil revenue are strongly criticised, but Saudi Arabia still faces major development challenges, economic diversification being the most pressing. Although Saudi Arabia's position towards adaptation requires adjusting, there are clear points of dialogue with the West, including technology transfer and capacity building.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Yury E. Fedorov
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the 'Law on Amendments to the “Law on Defence”' proposed by President Medvedev entered into force. It allows the Kremlin to dispatch troops outside Russia for four purposes: to counter armed attacks against Russian armed forces, other troops and bodies deployed beyond its borders; to counter or prevent an armed attack against another country if this country has requested Russia to do so; to protect Russian citizens abroad from an armed attack; and to combat piracy and guarantee the safety of shipping. The law is an attempt to close the gap between Moscow's strategic goals, primarily the establishment of its geopolitical dominance over the former Soviet republics, and Russia's legislation, which restricted its ability to deploy armed forces beyond national borders. In effect, the amended legislation enables the Kremlin to deploy its armed forces abroad in a wide range of situations, precisely because of a lack of clear criteria. The wording of 'Medvedev's amendments' sheds light on some plans and scenarios that may be taking shape in Moscow. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Russia may plan to ignite large-scale disturbances and ethnic clashes in Sevastopol or in Latvia and Estonia, which may be used as a pretext for Russian military intervention. A Russo-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea would pose not so much a military as a political challenge for Europe and the West. Even though Ukraine does not belong to these organizations, if NATO and the EU failed to respond to Russian intervention in Crimea with strong political and economic measures, their strategic relevance would be seriously undermined. If NATO did not defend its member states in the Baltic, the strategic role of the Alliance would be reduced to zero. The aforementioned scenarios fall into the worst-case category, yet there are numerous precedents in Russia's history which demonstrate that worst-case scenarios can become reality. European dependence on Russian energy supplies and interest in Russia's support in resolving the Iranian nuclear problem and the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as the Obama administration's interest in Russia's partnership in nuclear issues, constrain Western ability to respond. However, the West could and should make it quite clear that new Russia's military interventions will result in the country's political ostracization. Furthermore, the West could propose and develop an internationally recognised mechanism regulating the most important aspects of humanitarian intervention. In particular, it should minimise the ability of individual states to make unilateral decisions to intervene militarily if the UN Security Council were unable to make firm decisions. Such mechanisms could be discussed and developed in the frameworks of the UN, the OSCE, the so-called Corfu process and similar international forums.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jefferson Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the last half-century, public policy has affected land-use practices across the borders linking China, Thailand, and Laos. Political and economic reforms have facilitated labor mobility and a shift in agricultural practices away from staple grains and toward a diverse array of cash crops, rubber being one of the foremost. China has promoted the conversion of forests to rubber agroforestry in southern Yunnan--profitable for farmers, but a concern in terms of biodiversity and long-term viability. In Thailand, the response is at the other end of the spectrum as the government's concerns about land-use practices and watershed management have led to policies that dramatically constrain land-use practices and limit tenure rights. In Laos the future is not yet clear. Government policies provide weak support for both private land ownership and protected areas. In a global environment where national policy has such a dramatic effect on land use and land cover, the factors behind land-use change merit close examination.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mark Poffenberger, Kathryn Smith-Hanssen
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Loss of the world's forests contributes an estimated 17 percent to all global greenhouse gas emissions, creating both a major challenge and an opportunity for international climate change agreements. In response, global policymakers have proposed that new carbon agreements include rewards for reducing forest-based emissions, an initiative known as REDD–Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. By creating financial incentives to reduce forest-sourced greenhouse gases, REDD projects could generate funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries. In addition, some climate change specialists believe that REDD projects could benefit forest-dependent communities, whose participation is key to controlling the local forces that drive deforestation. Some communities are already learning about the new REDD carbon projects. As one villager from Cambodia explains, "We are going to sell our air to the people who are polluting in the city."
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Cambodia
  • Author: Michelle Staggs Kelsall
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In late 2008 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) committed to creating a human rights body, which emerged as the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (ICHR), the terms of reference (TOR) for which have since been adopted. Although the TOR for the commission currently outlines a primarily advisory rather than an enforcement role, the very existence of the ICHR has the potential to act as a trigger to further discussion on human rights issues in member states and open avenues for further action. To take maximum advantage of this opportunity to further the human rights agenda in ASEAN member states, it is essential that critical early decisions are made carefully so as to leave the most latitude for future action. While some observers are concerned that the ICHR lacks teeth, the fact that all ten ASEAN governments have agreed to implement a human rights commission is remarkable and is an essential first step toward ASEAN's stated goal of respecting and protecting human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: A. Terry Rambo
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Southeast Asia faces enormous challenges in managing its agricultural and environmental resources, from global warming to biodiversity loss. But chances for effectively addressing these issues may be hampered by the wide acceptance of four basic assumptions that guide the way we think about problems of managing agriculture and the environment. These assumptions form an interlinked system of thought that privileges the traditional and local over the modern and cosmopolitan. When taken to an extreme they lead to the view that traditional farmers are always right and that modern science is the cause, rather than a possible cure, of the serious environmental problems associated with agricultural development in Southeast Asia. Although when first proposed these assumptions were a radical alternative to the conventional thinking, in recent years they have themselves become the new conventional wisdom.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Environment
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Hazel Smith
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The possibility that North Korean ships may be smuggling weapons of mass destruction is a matter of intense concern in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. The few reported incidents of North Korean ships involved in WMD transport are ambiguous; some ships have been engaged in legal weapons trade and some carried "dual-use" goods suitable for use in nonmilitary applications, like agriculture. Ownership of the North Korean merchant fleet is largely private and highly fragmented; most of its ships are small, old, and in poor repair, and are often subject to rigorous scrutiny in foreign ports. The inability of the government to effectively regulate the low-cost, substandard shipping industry creates the risk and incentives to smuggle goods, including WMD. Anti-proliferation efforts should abandon the divisive and unsuccessful Proliferation Security Initiative and concentrate on negotiating North Korea's entry into international arms control treaties, maintain stringent port controls, and negotiate technical assistance to reduce the vulnerability of the North Korean shipping industry.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Tone Faret, Eduardo Colindres
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The political scene in Haiti will be dominated by elections in 2010. The challenge is significant for the international community, which plays a prominent role and has a notable presence in the country, and for national actors, especially the much disputed Provisional Election Council (CEP).
  • Topic: Democratization, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Michael Renner
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Water issues play a crucial role in Central-South Asia, both in the quantity of water available and its quality. Access to clean drinking water is a major, though largely unmet, objective. While much of the region is experiencing water shortages, poor water management lies at the heart of many problems. Climate change — in the form of glacier melt, drought, rising temperatures, and changes to the monsoon cycle — will increasingly exacerbate water scarcity. Although the region's water challenges do not necessarily or inevitably lead to armed conflict, they increasingly threaten to undermine human security. Cooperation will be critical for the region to meet its water challenges in the years and decades ahead.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The absence of a functional government in Afghanistan has been creating economic and security challenges for the Central Asian states since their founding in 1991. Long frustrated by the international community's failure to end the Afghan civil war through negotiation, the 2001 September 11 attack created the expectation among these countries that the US would intervene successfully in Afghanistan, leading to an economic recovery that would advance the development of all the states in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Marco Mezzera
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief looks at the underlying causes of weak governance and poor interaction between Pakistan's institutions and its citizens. Factors are broadly organized in three dimensions: structural, including geopolitical position, historical backdrop and social structures; the distribution and exercise of power; and Pakistan's current state of affairs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Anna Matveeva
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2008, after a period of relative growth and social stability, the situation in Tajikistan has been steadily deteriorating, leading to increased speculation that the country could emerge as a failing state. Given its proximity to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the role it plays in the Northern Distribution Network – a line that funnels military supplies from Europe to NATO ISAF troops in Afghanistan – the ramifications of potential instability in Tajikistan would resonate beyond the country. The current briefing assesses to what extent such danger is in fact real by outlining developments in the key areas of economy and security, and examining the regime's capacity to cope with emerging challenges. The briefing concludes with recommendations for the EU and an outlook for future.
  • Topic: NATO, Fragile/Failed State, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński, Peadar ó Broin
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The first permanent European Council President and second High Representative for EU foreign policy have been chosen. After weeks of speculation, the question of who will occupy the roles has now been answered: Herman Van Rompuy will take office as European Council President on 1 January 2010; and Catherine Ashton will be appointed the EU's foreign affairs chief on 1 December 2009. The presidency of the European Council has until now been performed by the head of State or government of the member state holding the rotating presidency, but the Lisbon Treaty clearly stipulates that from its entry into force, the President of the European Council may not hold national office. The position of a High Representative had previously existed, but the function has been significantly re-written by the Lisbon Treaty. So, in addition to new faces, there are also new unknowns. The question of precisely what powers the President and High Representative will exercise remains largely unknown, as it is not yet clear how they will perform as individuals and in tandem. Nevertheless, the Treaties give at least a general indication of the powers these two leaders will wield.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Recent political changes in Moldova offer a window of opportunity for both EU-Moldova relations and for the Eastern Partnership. In the next few months, the EU should move quickly to consolidate the reform process in Moldova. In particular, the EU should send a group of high-level EU policy advisors to the country for the purpose of promoting reform of law-enforcement agencies. Leaders from the EU and its member states should also undertake a series of high-profile visits to Moldova to demonstrate support for reforms and European integration. Finally, the EU should support visible projects that have a quick policy impact, and will have broader relevance for Moldova's modernisation. Such projects could include equipping the entire country with free wireless internet access, the liberalisation of air travel between the EU and Moldova, replacing the corrupt traffic police with speed cameras and traffic patrols and moving forward on liberalising visas for Moldovans.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova
  • Author: Jos Boonstra
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Central Asia faces a broad range of security challenges. Due to the region's position at the crossroads between Russia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the Caspian Sea it is confronted with a range of trans-national issues such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, organised crime and terrorism. Central Asia also encounters specific regional threats including scarcity of water resources for generating power and irrigation purposes, which is currently causing tension. On a national level the five Central Asian republics face the threat of instability due to bad governance and the harsh impact of the economic crisis.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Central Asia
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Ineke Gubbels-van Hal
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Little is heard these days about REACH, the new EU Regulation on the Registration, E valuation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. For the general public and non-specialised EU observers, the ongoing implementation of what is perhaps the biggest EU regulation ever undertaken appears to be proceeding in serene tranquillity. What a contrast with the turmoil and hectic debates that raged between mid-2003 and December 2006, when this new EU chemicals regulation (of some 850 pages) was finally enacted.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ivo Slosarcik
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In October 2009, the lion's share of media and political attention given to the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic has been devoted to the antics of the President, Václav Klaus. However, it is important to point out that the process is being delayed not only by the President's reservations and requests for a Czech (quasi)opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, but also by the pending review of the Treaty by the Czech Constitutional Court (CCC), which is set to give a second ruling on the Lisbon Treaty on November 3 rd, having delivered its first decision in autumn 2008.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Union needs a new five-year strategy for the development of the next phase of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). The existing plan, designed in The Hague Programme of 2004, expires at the end of this year. The Justice and Home Affairs research unit of CEPS has already set out, in several contributions, the big issues and provided policy recommendations for the next five-year plan – The Stockholm Programme – which will be adopted under the Swedish Presidency in December. In June 2009, the European Commission published its perspective towards the Stockholm process in its Communication: “An area of Freedom, Security and Justice serving the citizen: Wider freedom in a safer environment”.3 In this Policy Brief, we take a closer look at the Commission's Communication and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches adopted for each of the different policy domains falling under the AFSJ rubric. The Communication assesses the AFSJ under three main headings: 1. successes, 2. ambivalent areas and 3. challenges. We will also follow these headings and comment accordingly. Our commentary on the three areas also provides answers to some of the thorny questions raised in the priorities for the Stockholm Programme. We spell these out in the conclusions and put forth a set of policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China's economic statistics have become the envy of the world. On July 15, China reported a 7.9 percent growth rate for the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, China's stock markets are on fire, and its property markets are heating up fast as well. Shanghai's two stock markets are up 75 percent and 95 percent respectively so far this year. The more widely traded Hong Kong Index is up 27 percent, a stellar performance compared to largely flat stock markets in the United States, Europe, and Japan. In even stronger contrast, Russia, which is one of China's emerging-market peers, has seen its economy drop by 10.1 percent during the first half of this year, while its stock market has struggled as well.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Hong Kong
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Governor Zhou Xiaochuan's comment is an open acknowledgement that the “adverse feedback loop,” in which financial-sector problems hurt the real economy, which in turn intensifies negative conditions in finance, has hit China hard. China's real growth rate, which peaked at 13 percent in 2007 and is heavily dependent on exports, plunged to 6.1 percent on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2009. Nominal growth, a measure of the current money value of goods and services, fell even more sharply, from 21.4 percent in 2007 to 3.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. The fact that the nominal growth rate is 2.5 percent below the real growth rate suggests that, at least as far as output is concerned, deflation has taken hold at a 2.5 percent rate in China.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A new truth of geopolitics has emerged during 2009. It is that the complex and rapidly evolving Sino-American relationship has become the most important bilateral relationship either country has. To this observation, made recently by William C. McCahill Jr. in the November 13 special issue of The China Report, must be added another claim: the course of the Sino-American relationship in both the economic and the political spheres will play a growing role in determining the levels of global economic and geopolitical stability. Trips like President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Shanghai and Beijing November 15–17 will probably be made with increasing frequency in coming years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Shanghai, Beijing
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The recent steps by the Federal Reserve to preempt deflation have—ironically and unexpectedly— prompted a surge in inflation fears both inside the United States and abroad, especially in China. Specifically, the Fed's measures to go beyond the stimulus inherent in a zero percent federal funds rate by purchasing Treasury and mortgage securities has conjured visions—especially in the eyes of major buyers of Treasury securities, China foremost— of massive money printing to underwrite trillions of dollars of additional government borrowing at low interest rates. As markets have shown, if that were the Fed's intention—which it decidedly is not—the effort would fail because excessive money printing—creating a money supply larger than the quantity of money demanded— would push up interest rates as inflation expectations rose.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: More than two years have passed since the U.S. housing bubble burst. That event ushered in a financial crisis that was not only intense but also stunning. So stunning in fact, that in August of last year, just a month before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global economy was close to a crisis worthy of comparison with the Great Depression, yet neither the markets nor the Federal Reserve had much of an inkling of what was to come. The Standard and Poor's (S) 500 Index had come down to about 1,300 from its October 2007 high of 1,576. Positive growth had just been reported for the U.S. economy during the second quarter of 2008 at an annual rate of 2.8 percent (later revised down to 1.5 percent). Almost one percentage point of that growth came from U.S. consumption, and government spending also contributed. The wave of relief after the Bear Stearns scare in March 2008 had provided a nice boost to the economy and to markets. That boost was further enhanced by the substantial contribution to growth from net exports (2.9 percentage points) thanks to what was, then, continuing strength in the global economy, especially in China, which had reported blistering 10.1 percent year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2008. These and other positive components more than offset a drag from inventories and residential investment. In short, the real economy had not shown much evidence of damage emanating from the chaos that was churning in the financial sector.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China