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  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: European defence cooperation will be a key issue at this week's European Council (EC) summit. It looks likely that ministers will agree that Europe should move towards an autonomous military capability independent of NATO. However, significant problems remain before these plans can be realised in operational terms.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The quarter-point increase in the fed funds rate announced at the November 16 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was accompanied by the adoption of a neutral directive for the inter-meeting period, in place of the bias towards tightening in force since early October. The directive indicates that the Fed intends the rise to be the last of this year. However, the OECD, in its recent Economic Outlook, predicted that another one percentage point increase in the fed funds rate will be needed to restore demand and supply to equilibrium. While the economy will probably not slow sufficiently of its own accord, the incentives to defer action into 2000 mean that rates are likely to remain as they are during 1999, though probably associated with an announced bias towards tightening.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Council will meet on November 27 to deliberate the political understanding reached between First Minister-elect David Trimble and the Sinn Fein leadership. Trimble will probably achieve the level of support necessary for devolution to occur in Northern Ireland, by a narrow margin. However, significant political difficulties, remain to be addressed in the months following devolution. The medium-term prospects for the peace process will primarily depend on the IRA's approach to implementing its commitment to decommission.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Despite Hanoi's repeated assertions of its commitment to reform, the gap between the government's stated policies and what happens on the ground remains as wide as ever. The root of this problem is the diffusion of power throughout the multiple layers of government and bureaucracy. There are no quick-fix solutions which will centralise political power. A combination of continued global economic integration and exposure to outside ideas, allied with the government's own initiatives in areas such as administrative reform, provide the most likely route to strengthening the central administration's power.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Compromise and accommodation are the watchwords of the new Indonesian government. During the past two weeks, the top legislative and executive positions have been distributed to the leaders of four of the country's five major political parties. The new cabinet, announced on October 26, continues this trend. Active and retired members of the military hold six seats, giving them a larger representation than any single political party. Not only President Abdurrahman Wahid, but all of Indonesia's political leaders, are hoping that by sharing power, rather than struggling for supremacy, conflict can be minimised and some measure of reform achieved. However, it is likely that governmental splits will emerge in the medium term.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's military operations in the North Caucasus have, so far, received broad domestic support and enhanced the popularity of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. This stands in contrast to the 1994-96 conflict. The difference can be explained by the successful characterisation of the enemy as terrorists combined with the low level of conscript casualties. Moscow politicians have united broadly behind the military strategy, with opposition limited to extreme reformist groups. Two key consequences emerge from this situation. Firstly, Putin's political future is tied to the continued success of the campaign. Secondly, the nationalist fervour sparked by the conflict has reduced international investor confidence and led to domestic calls for increased defence spending.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Pessimism surrounding the Japanese economy has lessened as, against most expectations, recovery continues to take hold. Analysts who predicted further contraction in Japan's GDP during fiscal 1999 have altered to a more optimistic outlook. The reason for this turnaround is a general change in perception of the recession. Rather than the downturn being part of a decade-long stagnation persisting since the collapse of the bubble economy in 1991, the recession was in fact of more recent origin and, therefore, of a less intractable nature than commonly supposed.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Daily demonstrations calling for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to resign have, over recent weeks, been poorly attended. In part this reflects the opposition parties' failure to resolve their differences. This has led to growing scepticism in the West about the Serbian people's ability to bring about political change. In these circumstances, the international community may alter its policy towards the country. However, greater efforts to support the democratic opposition could prove counter-productive in the short-to-medium term due to anti-Western sentiment in the aftermath of the NATO air campaign. In the longer term the West will need to reconsider its policy towards the Balkans if it wants to play a constructive role in regional democratisation.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The outright victory of the Alliance candidate, Fernando de la Rua, on the first round of voting in the presidential elections on October 24, reflects the desire for a change of political style. De la Rua's approach to government will be less personalist and more consensual than that of the outgoing president, Carlos Menem. While economic policy is unlikely to change in any fundamental way, the new government will be under pressure to root out corruption. It will be the first time since the return to civilian rule in 1983 that a government lacks a majority in either chamber of Congress, which may strengthen democratic institutions.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Indonesian army has, so far, failed to derail President BJ Habibie's plans for East Timorese self-determination. Nevertheless, military leaders have reasserted themselves as key players in domestic politics by imposing a high cost on politicians who fail to take sufficient account of their agenda. Civilian contenders for political power are actively courting army support. A likely consequence will be the emergence of a civilian-led government with close ties to the military. Opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri is the front-runner for the presidency, possibly with Army Chief General Wiranto as her vice-president.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia