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  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Neither the current US administration nor US academics recognize Russia as a major Asian power. Although Russia faces many obstacles to becoming a credible Asian actor, Moscow is making resolute diplomatic overtures to secure its Asian standing. Stephen Blank argues that these activities merit US attention because they enhance understanding of Asian international relations and offset the pronounced ethnocentrism of so much American writing on the subject.
  • Topic: International Relations, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf, Huma Yusuf, Salman Zaidi
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This brief summarizes the perceptions of Pakistani foreign policy elite about Pakistan's strategy and interests in Afghanistan, its view of the impending “end game”, and the implications of its policies towards Afghanistan for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. These perceptions were captured as part of a project, co-convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Jinnah Institute (JI) in Pakistan, aimed at better understanding Pakistan's outlook towards the evolving situation in Afghanistan. A full report carrying detailed findings will be launched in August 2011 in Pakistan. Pakistani foreign policy elite perceive their country to be seeking: (i) a degree of stability in Afghanistan; (ii) an inclusive government in Kabul; and (iii) to limit Indian presence in Afghanistan to development activities. They perceive America's Afghanistan strategy to date to be largely inconsistent with Pakistan's interests. Pakistan insists on an immediate, yet patient effort at inclusive reconciliation involving all major Afghan stakeholders, including the main Afghan Taliban factions. Other issues that Pakistan's policy elite view as impediments to a peaceful Afghanistan settlement include: questionable viability of a regional framework; lack of clarity on Taliban's willingness to negotiate; the unstable political and economic situation in Afghanistan; and concerns about Afghan National Security Forces adding to instability in the future. Project participants felt that greater clarity in U.S. and Pakistani policies is critical to avoid failure in Afghanistan, to convince the Taliban of the validity of a power-sharing agreement, and to urge regional actors to play a more constructive role.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy. The lingering income and distributional effects of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, anticipated changes associated with the new constitution and the 2010 elections and the Obama administration's decision to devote more attention to Burma suggest that the time is ripe for the creative application of economic mechanisms to promote and sustain peace. Looming challenges could derail Burma's prospects for economic and political stability. These challenges include irrational macroeconomic policies, failing to ensure all citizens enjoy benefits accrued from natural resources, endemic corruption, a flourishing illicit economy, a dysfunctional financial system and critical infrastructure bottlenecks. Failure to address these problems would frustrate peacebuilding efforts. A conflict sensitive economic strategy for Burma would focus on effective capacity-building, sustained policy reform, progressive steps to reduce corruption, fiscal empowerment of subnational authorities and prudent natural resource management. Success in these areas requires unwavering political will for sensibly sequenced policy improvements by domestic actors and finely targeted support from Burma's international partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December taught many lessons to the participating stakeholders. The European Union learned that a choir of European leaders could not sing convincingly even with a single voice. These lessons are still being processed in many national capitals and in Brussels, especially in the context of the new legal framework provided for by the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009. It is important to recognise, however, that the new rules came into effect only after nine long years of negotiations and its application is being tested in a wholly different international environment than prevailed in the early 2000s.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations, Lisbon
  • Author: David Pollock, Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Public opinion polls and the media tell us that Arabs disliked the George W. Bush administration and have high hopes for President Barack Obama. Indeed, the new administration enjoyed majority Arab approval ratings throughout 2009 (up to 50 percentage points higher than his predecessor), while the overall U.S. image in Arab countries also recovered significantly. Yet the question remains: what is the record of actual Arab behavior toward the United States? This question was the starting point of the forthcoming study, which presents a new model for understanding U.S.-Arab relations since the Clinton administration -- one that emphasizes actions much more than attitudes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week in Beirut, the United Nations Special Tribunal charged with investigating and prosecuting the killers of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri brought six members of Hizballah in for questioning. The tribunal's decision to interview Hizballah in connection with the 2005 murder appears to confirm a 2009 report in Der Speigel -- corroborated more recently by Le Monde -- implicating the Shiite militia in the conspiracy. A shift in the short-term focus of the investigation from Syria to Hizballah will have a profound impact on domestic politics in Lebanon, and potentially on U.S.-Lebanese relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Law, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In less than forty-eight hours, U.S.-Israel relations went from "unbreakable," according to Vice President Joe Biden, to "perilous," as ascribed to an "unnamed senior U.S. official." This drastic mood swing risks overshadowing the great achievement of the vice president's Middle East trip -- the affirmation for Israelis (as well as those Arabs and Iranians following his words) that the Obama administration is "determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Tal Becker, Hussein Ibish
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A great deal of misinformation and disinformation surrounds Israel's desire to be recognized as a Jewish state. In practice, the concept refers to acknowledgment of the Jewish people's right to self-determination in the land of Israel, also known as Zionism. The land does not necessarily encompass what many call "Greater Israel," which includes the West Bank, or deny the right to self-determination of neighboring Palestinians, who deserve a state of their own. The issue of Israel's recognition as a Jewish state has grown in prominence in the last year as Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it a point of emphasis.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Thomas de Waal
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The historic normalization between Armenia and Turkey has stalled and it is critical to prevent relations from deteriorating further. If Armenia and Turkey eventually succeed in opening their closed border, it will transform the South Caucasus region. But the concerns of Azerbaijan, Turkey's ally and the losing side in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, need to be taken into account. The international community needs to pay more attention to the conflict and work harder to break the regional deadlock it has generated. The annual debate over the use of the word genocide to describe the fate of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 has turned into an ugly bargaining process. It is time to take a longer view. President Obama should look ahead to the centenary of the tragedy in 2015 and encourage Turks to take part in commemorating the occasion.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Kristian Tangen
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: It is far from certain that a strong, legally-binding climate agreement preferred by the EU will produce better environmental results than the broader and weaker scheme proposed by the USA. By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, countries that are listed in Annex B of the protocol also committed themselves to inscribe new emission reduction targets for the period after 2012. The push by some countries for a single legal outcome to replace the Kyoto Protocol has antagonized developing countries, who see this as an attempt by the developed countries to back out of their commitments. In terms of environmental results and the negotiation dynamics there are significant merits to a system where one group of countries takes on legally binding commitments under the Kyoto Protocol for the post-2012 period, and another group of countries take on less binding commitments under the Climate Change Convention. Such a system could broaden participation by including countries not yet ready to accede to a legally-binding instrument (i.e. the USA and major developing countries), while preserving the operational detail of the Kyoto Protocol to serve as a benchmark for the development of the climate regime going forward.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Environment, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Albrecht
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen has caught the eye of the international community above all because it has been portrayed as a hotbed of radicalisation and a training ground for al-Qaeda. As a state, Yemen is broadly considered to be both fragile and on the brink of failure. This Policy Brief argues that for a variety of reasons – largely relating to the political system and dynamics within the country – support from Europe and North America will have limited effect. There are limited, if any, technical solutions to the challenges that confront the country; only political ones. International actors from outside the regional context must therefore think twice before engaging and, above all, have a good understanding of the political system that they will be engaging with.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Allis Radosh, Ronald Radosh
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Harry Truman became president in April 1945, he had not thought deeply about the exact form a Jewish national home in historic Palestine would or should take. Following his landmark decision to recognize the state of Israel in May 1948, he would suggest that his support for such a development had been unwavering, and that his decisions had come easily. Yet the record shows otherwise. Between Truman's first days as president and Israel's formation, his approach to the idea of a Jewish state evolved significantly, at times seeming to change in response to the last person with whom he met. Although he ultimately made the historic decision, a Jewish state had never been, in his mind, a foregone conclusion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace George Mitchell is currently in Jerusalem amid wide expectation that on Saturday the Palestinians will approve proximity talks with Israel. For its part, Israel has already agreed to the talks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nicholas Turner, Nanako Otsuki
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Genocide and ethnic cleansing have all- too-clearly demonstrated the dangers of failing to protect minority groups. A “kin-state” with strong ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic links to a minority population abroad, may be well-placed to assist in its protection. But unilateral interference by kin-states can raise tensions with host-states, endangering international peace and security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Nationalism, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Minorities
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion last year. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are asking to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a once-in-a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Balkans face more trouble in Kosovo as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina unless the United States and European Union take dramatic steps to get both back on track towards EU membership. In Bosnia, the international community needs to reconstitute itself as well as support an effort to reform the country's constitution. In Kosovo, Pristina and Belgrade need to break through the barriers to direct communication and begin discussions on a wide range of issues. This brief proposes specific diplomatic measures to meet these needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: William R. Cline, John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This policy brief updates our estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs) to the latest issue of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) published by the International Monetary Fund in April 2010 (IMF 2010a). It is part of what has now become an annual cycle drawing out what we believe to be the implications of the IMF's forecasts for the pattern that exchange rates need to take if the world is to approach a reasonably satisfactory medium-run equilibrium position. This year we also published an interim report (Cline and Williamson 2010), partly drawing on the October 2009 WEO but essentially examining the implications of the pattern of market exchange rates as of January 1, 2010 for how misaligned currencies were at that time, assuming that the FEERs estimated in June 2009 were correct. In this publication we have estimated the FEERs anew on the basis of revisions in the methods employed and new data presented in the April 2010 WEO, after incorporating adjustments to the IMF forecast needed to take account of recent changes in exchange rates and especially the euro.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Congress returns from its summer recess after Labor Day, the Department of Defense will provide informal notification of the U.S. intention to sell up to $60 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The likely deal is part of a U.S. commitment predating the Obama administration to strengthen regional allies in the face of a growing threat from Iran. For the Saudis, the transaction represents a clear return to considering the United States as its principal arms supplier, a position the Americans risked losing to France as recently as 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ash Jain
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Four years ago this week, Israel launched a military campaign in Lebanon in retaliation for a brazen Hizballah attack on its soldiers. The goal, according to an Israeli official, was "to put Hizballah out of business." But neither war nor subsequent U.S. diplomatic efforts aimed at weakening the group have succeeded, and some in the Obama administration now appear to view direct engagement as an option worth exploring. Reaching out to Hizballah, however, at a time when it is politically and military emboldened, would be an exercise in futility that could prove counterproductive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Dr Graeme P. Herd, Mr Dale A. Till
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: We live in the “Anthropocene” era – the Age of Humans: human activity impacts earth's at-mosphere, its climate system, and is the driver of one of the biggest mass extinctions in history.The rapid advancement and application of NBRIC technologies (Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Robotics, and Information and Communications technology) both enable and exacerbate the global impact of human activity. The rise in speed and fall in the cost of computational analysis and the force multiplying convergence of NBRIC clusters have led revolutions in these inter-enabling technologies. Such technologies are located in biological systems where biotechnology and genetics, post-genomics, and epigenetics try and bridge the gulf between the genome and the or-ganism, and material systems, where advances in nanotechnology, robotics and information and communications technologies are ground-breaking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Genocide, Politics, Science and Technology, Power Politics