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  • Author: Vinod K. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The rise of a multiplicity of diverse bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) has led countries to pursue mega-FTAs to manage the growing complexity of global trade arrangements. The US and China are promoting rival accords: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would encompass 800 million people and almost 40 percent of global GDP, is a centerpiece of the Obama Asia Pacific strategy. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would account for 30 percent of global GDP, with a population of over three billion people, creating the largest FTA in the world. TPP advocates assert that it will strengthen the US’ strategic role in the region, in part by countering China’s membership in the RCEP. These claims, made in response to growing skepticism in the United States about the value of liberalized trade, overemphasize the TPP’s strategic value. At the same time, projecting the economic impact of the TPP is thorny, given the deal’s scope and the diversity of countries involved.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyo Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael Lt. Col. (ret.) Segall
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since June 2016, Iran has been enduring terror attacks and assassinations by ethnic-opposition elements operating within its territory and adjacent to it. Attacks on Iranian petroleum infrastructure in Ahvaz are a reaction to Iran’s ongoing repressive policy against the Arab minority in Ahvaz, including the ongoing arrests, trials, executions, and expulsions of young people in that area. There are currently six to seven million Kurds living in Iran. Although they are part of the Iranian state, they may be distinguished from the Shiite minority by language and religion (most Kurds are Sunnis). The Arab Sunni fighters’ targeting of the oil facilities, if it gains momentum, could pose a problem for Iran just as it is trying to renew oil exports after the lifting of sanctions. Attacks on energy infrastructure for gas and oil could foster an unsafe, unstable environment for international energy companies. Iran’s security forces have been cracking down on the Arabs, augmenting this population’s discontent along with its separatist aspirations. The Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Sprin
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Russian regime is ready to re-set its troubled relationship with the USA. While hopes are high, specific expectations are lower and the Trump presidency may eventually offer Russia a smaller action space than suggested by the campaign statements. The 2016 US presidential election was unusually dramatic. Part of the drama was allegedly provided by the Russian authorities as some of their state-spon- sored hackers broke into servers of the Democratic National Committee and released compromising emails immediately prior to the July 2016 Democratic Party Convention.
  • Topic: Elections, Geopolitics, Key players to watchPolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Andreas Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between Washington and Beijing are likely to face major change once Donald Trump takes over the White House. This DIIS Policy Brief by Andreas Bøje Forsby offers an overview of US-China relations and how they are likely to develop with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. If Trump follows through on his protectionist campaign statements, China will be targeted by economic sanctions against its export industries. In most other respects, however, the Chinese may actually come to benefit from a Trump presidency, whose ‘America First’ slogan suggests a more self-centered, even neo-isolationist US foreign policy. Most importantly, a Trump administration is unlikely to sustain key elements of the US rebalance to Asia like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the efforts to build a strategic network of like-minded states in the region to counter the rise of China.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the general impression that the US president-elect Donald Trump has given us very little clue to predict his foreign policy doctrine, a guiding framework behind his scattered statements does exist. In this DIIS Policy Brief, Senior Researcher Vibeke Schou Tjalve takes a closer look at the surprisingly consistent philosophy of power and interest that Trump has aired during the past two decades. Trump is labelled a ‘nationalist’ and an ‘isolationist’. These are understandable labels, and yet: Trump is not your classical cultural-conservative nostalgic with deep veneration for old alliances or shared norms. His American nationalism does not linger on the memories of the New World European roots. Rather, it is founded on a deeply Darwinist conception of the world as a cutthroat competition, in which raw strength - not cultural characteristics – matters. As such, Trump will have no sentimentality for NATO or Europe, and he will view the world through largely value-neutral eyes. This leaves Europe with a defining set of questions, and to influence a Trump presidency, we should understand and appreciate this not-so-simple nationalism, Tjalve writes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Yang Jiang, Aki Tonami, Adam Moe Fejerskov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: China actively seeks to expand its overseas investment in critical infrastructure. This involvement makes host countries uneasy especially in the West, even though financial benefits sometimes override broader national interests and security issues. China’s attempts to invest in overseas critical infra- structure, defined as infrastructure closely related to sovereignty and national security, has become a sensitive issue to host country governments parti- cularly in the West. They fear that Chinese investment in nuclear and telecommunications infrastructures entails consequences for nuclear security and safety and information security respectively. This policy brief provides an overview of how various countries have received Chinese interest in nuclear power and telecommunications.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Counter-narratives and campaigns promoting normality, are often highlighted as universal means against online propaganda from militant movements. However, such campaigns are driven by a number of unfortunate assumptions and are difficult to apply in practice. We often turn to information campaigns to inform and instruct the general population. Such campaigns are also pointed to as possible tools, to combat radical and militant counter-cultures on the internet. However, reaching broad segments of the population is one thing. It is more challenging, to direct communication at a smaller audience.
  • Topic: Politics, Political Theory, Political Activism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process, the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission – and particularly their leaders – has strengthened. This inter- institutional connection also has a party-political dimension, being intrinsically linked to the emergence of a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest groups of the EP. However, in an EU beset by crises, the political agenda is firmly under the control of the member states and the European Council, which makes it difficult for the EP to take advantage of its closer relationship with the Commission, as the latter acts very cautiously.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe