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  • Author: Roger Middleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has more than doubled in 2008; so far over 60 ships have been attacked. Pirates are regularly demanding and receiving million-dollar ransom payments and are becoming more aggressive and assertive. The international community must be aware of the danger that Somali pirates could become agents of international terrorist networks. Already money from ransoms is helping to pay for the war in Somalia, including funds to the US terror-listed Al-Shabaab. The high level of piracy is making aid deliveries to drought-stricken Somalia ever more difficult and costly. The World Food Programme has already been forced to temporarily suspend food deliveries. Canada is now escorting WFP deliveries but there are no plans in place to replace their escort when it finishes later this year. The danger and cost of piracy (insurance premiums for the Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold) mean that shipping could be forced to avoid the Gulf of Aden/Suez Canal and divert around the Cape of Good Hope. This would add considerably to the costs of manufactured goods and oil from Asia and the Middle East. At a time of high inflationary pressures, this should be of grave concern. Piracy could cause a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Aden if a tanker is sunk or run aground or set on fire. The use of ever more powerful weaponry makes this increasingly likely. There are a number of options for the international community but ignoring the problem is not one of them. It must ensure that WFP deliveries are protected and that gaps in supply do not occur.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Few countries have seen such rapid economic and educational change in so short a time period as China. Since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping began to send students and scholars to study abroad in large numbers as part of his broad modernization efforts, some 800,000 Chinese students and scholars have studied outside their home country. These numbers make China the overall largest supplier of international students to countries around the world over the past decade. The liberalization of the education sector, which accompanied China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, has also permitted more students from outside China to enter the Chinese educational system. The number of Americans studying abroad in China increased by over 500% in the past ten years, making China one of the top 10 study abroad destination countries for U.S. students, and one of the top 10 host countries for all internationally mobile students.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Education, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Scott Worden, Rachel Ray Steele
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Documentation centers dedicated to researching, recording, archiving and protecting information related to mass crimes and human rights abuse conflict have been organized in countries as diverse as Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Iraq. Their work is an integral part of a transition from an authoritarian regime or war to sustainable peace. Victims want to tell what happened to them, be acknowledged, and know how and why atrocities occurred. Moreover, an accurate accounting of past crimes applies pressure to remove perpetrators from power and raises awareness toward preventing future abuse.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Asia, Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, Guatemala, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David Wendt
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: As major consumers of the world's energy resources, the United States and China are in dire need of secure energy solutions that can keep pace with their large appetites for energy. Enter coal. Both countries possess abundant coal reserves measured in the hundreds of billions of tons. But the approach to coal policy has been one of favoring cheap extraction rather than taking into serious consideration the societal costs of coal. For the United States, coal represents a major source of electrical power—and a major source of pollution. In China, the accessibility of coal has overtaken the environmental and health arguments against its widespread use. China uses more coal than the United States and European Union combined. The damaging side effects of coal mining and consumption have been overlooked in the face of easy availability and undeveloped or less accessible alternatives. In the current context of global energy uncertainty, coal has been forgiven much.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Jones James
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Retired Marine General James Jones, Chairman of the Atlantic Council, chaired the Committee that produced this report assessing Iraq's national police force. The report's overall assessment said "the Iraqi armed forces - Army, Special Forces, Navy, and Air Force - are increasingly effective and are capable of assuming greater responsibility for the internal security of Iraq; and the Iraqi police are improving, but not at a rate sufficient to meet their essential security responsibilities. The Iraqi Security Forces will continue to rely on the Coalition to provide key enablers such as combat support (logistics, supply chain management, and maintenance), and training. The Commission assesses that in the next 12 to 18 months there will be continued improvement in their readiness and capability, but not the ability to operate independently. Evidence indicates that the ISF will not be able to progress enough in the near term to secure Iraqi borders against conventional military and external threats."
  • Topic: Security, War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kenneth Katzman
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This compendium contains the text of major regulations, laws, and other documents governing U.S. interactions with North Korea. Also provided are the text of U.N. Resolutions, agreements, and other documents that represent major policy decisions in U.S. relations with North Korea. Accompanying each major document, law, or regulation is a brief analysis discussing the policy reflected by that document and major significance of the provisions of the law or regulation promulgated.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The U.S. government has sought to advance democratic and free-market change in Cuba for 47 years. Those efforts have failed. Indeed, the transfer of power from Fidel Castro has produced little change in Cuba's politics and took place with no manifestations of broad popular demands for an end to one-party Communist rule. Instead, the Cuban people appear to be resigned to peaceful and gradual change on the island. Most observers judge that any transition to democracy, rule of law, and capitalism is years away.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs convened a conference, “Iran, Its Nuclear Ambitions, the Region, and the West,” on 31 March and 1 April 2006. The conference gathered a group of diplomats and international practitioners concerned with the ongoing Iranian nuclear crisis, as well as academics and experts familiar with the nuclear question, Iran, the region, and related policy issues. Over two days of intensive discussions, participants engaged with the pressing issues of Iran's nuclear aspirations based on the internal politics of the country, Iran's interstate relations and the role it occupies within the Middle East and Central Asia, and Iran's and the wider region's relations with Asia and the West. On Friday, participants viewed, via videolink with the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Switzerland, an address delivered at the Center earlier in the day by Manouchehr Mottaki, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On Saturday Ambassador Javad Zarif, Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations in New York, also participated in the discussions via videolink.
  • Topic: Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: New York, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Switzerland
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The success of NATO in forcing the Serbian army to quit Kosovo has led some western leaders, notably the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, to espouse a new 'moral' emphasis in foreign policy. While a complete abandonment of self–interest for ethics can be dismissed, there are important new factors affecting the conduct of international affairs, which vary in regional applicability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia