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  • Author: Amanda Sloat
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers in the United States and European Union are struggling with how to manage their relations with Turkey. What makes the country such a conundrum is that its problematic leadership faces real threats. Turkey is confronting challenges from the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt and the destabilizing effects of the Syrian war. Yet the country’s president is growing more authoritarian, using virulent anti-Western rhetoric, and making foreign policy choices contrary to the interests of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The policy goal is navigating this gray zone today to preserve the possibility of better relations in the future.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Constanze Stelzenmüller
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Year one of the Trump administration has been uniquely unnerving. Yet the trans-Atlantic security community has also been breathing a sigh of relief, because many of their worst expectations seem to have been averted: trade wars, an attack on North Korea, the end of NATO. The conventional wisdom in Washington, DC and many European capitals today is that—despite a president who continues to defy conventions—U.S.-European relations have largely normalized. As a result, most Europeans are attempting to ride out what they believe to be a temporary aberration of American politics with a mixture of hugging and hedging. There is certainly evidence for a normalization of U.S. foreign policy, not least in the president’s formal endorsement of NATO’s mutual defense clause, and the reinforcement of American contributions to reassurance and deterrence in Eastern Europe. There are also many signs that the past year has re-energized American civil society, belying determinist critics in Europe. But Trumpism needs to be recognized as a massive discontinuity. Trump is the first postwar American president to question the liberal order as such. In its purest form, the “America First” doctrine has implications for the EU and some of its member states (especially Germany) that should be of intense concern to Europeans. Europeans should worry even more, however, about its fundamentalist critique of globalization (which it refers to as globalism) as a quasiadversarial ideology. The globalization-globalism dichotomy, unlike all previous transAtlantic disagreements, is a dispute about the nature of the world we live in. And it is a wedge that could drive the United States and Europe apart. America could attempt (at immense cost to itself) to decouple from the liberal world order and the global economy. But for Europe to do so would be suicidal. This flips the existing logic of the trans-Atlantic alliance on its head: it is Europe now that has the greater—and for it, existential—interest in preserving an international order that safeguards peace and globalization
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adam Looney, Constantine Yannelis
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We examine the distribution of student loan balances and repayment rates in the United States using administrative student loan data. We show that increases in credit limits and expansions in credit availability resulted in rising borrowing amounts, and that the share of borrowers holding very large balances has surged. For instance, the share of borrowers leaving school with more than $50,000 of federal student debt increased from 2 percent in 1992 to 17 percent in 2014. Consequently, a small share of borrowers now owes the majority of loan dollars in the United States. Although these large-balance borrowers have historically strong labor market outcomes and low rates of default, repayment rates have slowed significantly between 1990 and 2014 reflecting, in part, changes in the characteristics of students, the schools they attended, and the rising amounts borrowed. A decomposition analysis indicates that changes in the types of institutions attended, student demographics, default rates, and increased participation of alternative repayment plans and forbearance largely explain the decrease in student loan repayment.
  • Topic: Education, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed, Finn Stepputat, Lars Erslev Andersen, Maya Mynster Christensen
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: By 2035 an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. Due to the fast-growing rate of urbanisation, many future conflicts are expected to take place in urban terrains. Therefore defence and security organisations are becoming increasingly interested in understanding the trends and dynamics of cities. This report under the DIIS Defense and Security Projects contributes with a deepened understanding of the security challenges in four cities – Nairobi, Beirut, Hargeisa and Yangon – with a particular focus on mass migration and political authority.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Belgian defence budget for 2018 increases by a factor of 4.7 in commitment credits. Not only does this allow for offsetting the significant investment shortfalls of the previous years, it also provides a window of opportunity for regenerating the Belgian armed forces with a view to meeting future challenges. This Security Policy Brief makes the case that the longawaited modernisation of the major weapon systems needs to go hand in hand with a significant recruitment effort to address the critical human resources situation the Ministry of Defence finds itself in. Yet adding up personnel and equipment, the 25,000-strong force structure outlined in the Strategic Vision still risks being insufficient for meeting future requirements as they emerge in both the national and the international context (NATO/EU). As such, defence planners will need to engage with the question how best to redevelop the force structure from this minimum baseline in function of how the strategic environment evolves. For strengthening Belgium’s national security and diplomatic position in the twenty-first century the present window of opportunity is not to be missed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Belgium
  • Author: Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East is once again going through a period of war and upheaval, including mass murder of civilians, state failure, transnational terrorism, sectarian wars, physical and societal destruction, massive arms purchases, use of nonconventional weapons (notably chemical) and a permanent risk of proliferation of WMD. These developments are a threat to the region, but also to the rest of the world and to Europe in particular. The current turmoil should not be underestimated for its potential to trigger an even bigger hot war that could involve other players, if only because of miscalculations by some of the parties involved.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The 100th Egmont Paper deals with an issue that, unfortunately, provides little cause for celebration: the impact of Brexit on European diplomacy and defence. Unless, as Sven Biscop argues, a new “special relationship” can be established between Britain and the EU, both London and Brussels will
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andre Barrinha
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Cyberspace has become a major locus and focus of international relations. Most global powers have now streamlined cyber issues into their foreign policies, adopting cyber strategies, and appointing designated diplomats to pursue these strategic objectives. This article proposes to explore the concept of cyber-diplomacy, by analysing its evolution and linking it to the broader discussions of diplomacy as a fundamental institution of international society, as defined by the English School of International Relations. It argues that cyber-diplomacy is an emerging international practice that is attempting to construct a cyber-international society, bridging the national interests of states with world society dynamics – the predominant realm in which cyberspace has evolved in the last four decades.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Every year is special and challenging when it comes to European integration. The highlights of 2017 were a number of high-level strategy papers and speeches such as the European Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe, the State of the Union Address by Commission President Juncker, French President Macron’s Initiative for Europe, and the Future of Europe report by President of the European Parliament Tajani. These papers and speeches all pave the way for the discussions on improving and deepening the European Union in the months towards the European elections in spring 2019. The upcoming EP elections will be different from earlier elections as the current discussions aim to offer political choices to ensure the elections are content-based.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Recent years have seen many regions of Africa involved in war and internal or external conflict, from the seven or so countries directly involved in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the Libyan crisis and the war in Sudan/South Sudan and the various other civil wars. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), there were 6.9 million new Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) caused by conflict and violence in 2016. Sub-Saharan Africa overtook the Middle East as the region most affected with almost one million new displacements in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of violent clashes in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Kasai.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa