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  • Author: Stephen Halbrook
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Use and manipulation of the pejorative term “assault weapon” is a classic case of “an Alice-in-Wonderland world where words have no meaning.” The Second Amendment provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Arms, such as rifles, pistols, and shotguns, do not lose their constitutional protection because the legislature describes them with a derogatory term. Indeed, “no pronouncement of a legislature can forestall attack upon the constitutionality of the prohibition which it enacts by applying opprobrious epithets to the prohibited act . . . .”
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jennifer Harris
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Comprising roughly 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in caverns throughout Texas and Louisiana, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was established by Congress in the mid-1970s in response to the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo and ensuing oil price shocks. Its purpose was to insulate the United States from crude oil supply disruptions. In the decades since, despite significant changes in global oil markets, the basic logic and design of the SPR have remained largely unchanged.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Kathryn McNabb Cochran, Gregory Tozzi
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Humanity is fascinated by prediction failures. The failure to predict the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has replaced the failure to predict the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as the United States’ canonical intelligence failure, but the failure to predict the Arab Spring is gaining ground. These failures have prompted some to argue that because prediction is a futile exercise, organizations are better served by investing in agile systems that can react rapidly to change rather than investing in predictive systems that help them anticipate change. The authors argue that this is a false dichotomy. Predictive systems can support agility, and recent advances in the science of forecasting offer multiple tools for organizations seeking to see around the corner faster and with more acuity.
  • Topic: Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ramon Pacheco Pardo
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, the multilayered international financial governance regime has been strengthened. In East Asia, this regime includes an ASEAN+3 regional layer designed to complement – rather than replace – the global layer. This regional layer has three goals: crisis prevention, crisis management and resolution, and market strengthening. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), and Economic Review and Policy Dialogue (ERPD) are the key institutions in the areas of crisis prevention, management, and resolution. South Korea has become increasingly central to this regional financial governance regime over the past few years. Seoul was crucial to the setting up of CMIM, holds top management positions in AMRO, and is involved in the ERPD dialogue process. Three key reasons explain Korea’s centrality
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Scholars and policymakers have increasingly recognized that Islamist movements and actors vary widely – from domestically oriented, quietist movements engaging in democratic systems to revolutionary, armed movements aiming to upend the nation-state system. Yet little has been done to understand how the nature of individual movements, and their success, often differs substantially at the subnational level. Some communities are much more likely to support different Islamist actors than others, and even the same movement may have very different strategies in some localities than others. Many questions remain regarding if and how Islamist movements and actors look or act differently in rural areas and secondary cities as they do in the capitals. To what extent do the strategies and performance of Islamists vary subnationally? And what explains this variation?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Long repressed, banned, and exiled, many Islamist movements and parties across the Middle East and North Africa witnessed a moment of electoral success after the 2011 uprisings. Since then, their fates have varied widely. Some have made significant compromises to stay in power, others have ostensibly separated their religious and political efforts, while others have been repressed more brutally than before or have fragmented beyond recognition. What accounts for these actors’ different adaptation strategies and divergent outcomes? Earlier this year, the Project on Middle East Political Science brought together a dozen top scholars for our 4th Annual workshop on Islamist politics to address these questions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Engaging and influencing public policy debates on areas of their expertise is a core part of the mission of academics. The last decade has in many ways been the golden age of academic policy engagement. Social media, the proliferation of online publishing platforms, and a generational change in disciplinary norms and practices has unleashed an impressive wave of writing by academics aimed at an informed public sphere. The Project on Middle East Political Science has worked to promote such public and policy engagement, with hundreds of academics each year contributing their expertise on the Middle East on publishing platforms such as The Middle East Channel and The Monkey Cage and through direct policymaker engagement.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: In years past, Islamist televangelists like Amr Khaled, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Tareq Suwaidan seemed like the future of Arab media. Advancing a form of “soft Islam” focused on personal betterment and religiosity, these preachers were seen by some as a potential counterweight to extremist voices and by others as a sinister leading edge of radicalization. The contretemps between Amr Khaled and Yusuf al-Qaradawi over the Danish Cartoons Crisis of 2006 inspired numerous academic articles
  • Topic: International Affairs, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michael A Mehling, Gilbert E. Metcalf, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Paris Agreement has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success—a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved—adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and sub-national policies—that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions: type of policy instrument; level of government jurisdiction; status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement; nature of the policy instrument’s target; and the nature, along several dimensions, of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacqueline L. Hazelton
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How can the United States best assure its interests abroad when a partner state faces an insurgency? The question has vexed policymakers, military officers, and scholars throughout the Cold War and into the post–9/11 era. When the United States finds its military might turned against itself by insurgents, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, thoughts often turn to the small U.S.-supported counterinsurgency campaign in El Salvador from 1979 to 1992. The Salvadoran government defended itself against Marxist-nationalist-liberal-socialist rebels in a civil war that ended in a peace deal. The small-footprint U.S. intervention is appealing as an alternative to the tens of thousands of troops deployed in bigger quagmires. Conventional wisdom says that the brutal, repressive Salvadoran government instituted liberalizing, democratizing reforms to defeat the insurgency. Analysis of contemporaneous documents and interviews with participants, however, reveals that the campaign is a poor model for future U.S. interventions, for three reasons. First, the government retained power by waging a war of terrorism and attrition against insurgents and civilians alike. Second, Salvadoran elites resisted U.S. pressure for reforms. Third, chance rather than U.S. choices played a significant role in the war's outcome, meaning that replication of the pattern of events is unlikely.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America