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  • Author: Charlene Barshefsky, Evan G. Greenberg, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific is home to over half of humanity and many of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. Over the coming decades, no region of the world will do more to shape U.S. economic fortunes. More than ever before, American jobs and growth are tied to the Asia Pacific, and these opportunities are likely to grow. But the region is undergoing profound change. Today, mutually beneficial relations with the Asia Pacific are challenged by slowing growth, a rise in security tensions, and threats to the U.S.-led order. The rise of China is altering the Asia-Pacific landscape in profound ways and playing a critical role in the region’s prosperity and perceived stability. These economic and security shifts offer opportuni- ties for the United States to strengthen cooperation with emerging economies and reinforce part- nerships with established allies. But new policies are needed in what has become a more volatile environment. These policies must be grounded in the enduring interests of the United States and informed by the realities of a changing Asia Pacific. And just as economics is at the heart of Asia’s rise, so must economics be at the heart of an effective strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a former Iranian judiciary chief who holds a prominent position in the Assembly of Experts, now has two paths to leadership of the Shiite community. The first is as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, now seventy-seven; the second is to eventually take the place of Najaf-based Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who at eighty-six is the preeminent religious authority in Shia Islam. A certain air of mystery surrounds Shahroudi, whose life has been chronicled heretofore only in a flattering pamphlet produced by his own office. But the trends in his philosophy are clear enough: on the religious front, he has grown more conservative; in matters of Iranian nationalism, a harder-line revolutionary. Author Mehdi Khalaji offers here the first comprehensive study of Ayatollah Shahroudi, encompassing his upbringing in holy Najaf, his move to Iran after the Islamic Revolution, his role as a stalwart in Khamenei's power base, and his brutal tenure as chief justice from 1999 to 2009. A scenario worth imagining, though hardly inevitable, is one in which Shahroudi consolidates power as both Supreme Leader and transnational marja, thereby reinforcing Iran's regional clout and its revolutionary orientation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This report views the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces, PMF) as having played an intrinsic role in the provision of security in Iraq since the dramatic rise of the Islamic State (IS). However, through the lens of nationalism it analyses the negative role the PMF may play once IS is defeated. The report therefore presents suggestions to deal with the perceived threat of the PMF in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: rms control has figured on the agenda between Washington and Moscow since the 1960s. Suc- cessive U.S. administrations since that of Richard Nixon have pursued negotiated arms control arrangements to limit and reduce the number of Soviet (and Russian) nuclear weapons, to enhance strategic stability, to increase transparency and predictability, to reduce the costs of U.S. nuclear forces, and to bolster America’s non-proliferation credentials. Negotiations on arms control have proceeded in times of both good and difficult relations. At times, progress on arms control has helped drive a more positive over- all relationship between Washington and Moscow. At other times, differences over arms control and related issues have contributed to a downward slide in rela- tions. The next president will take office in January 2017, when the overall U.S.-Russia relationship is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Due to developments in the international diplomatic arena, as well as the information revolution, foreign relations are no longer the sole purview of government officials. Increasingly, civil society organizations, businesses and private entrepreneurs are playing a pivotal role in international relations among states. Nevertheless, Israeli foreign policy is still considered the exclusive domain of experts. Indeed, significant sub-groups of the population – women, Palestinian citizens of Israel, ultra-Orthodox Jews, new immigrants and residents of the country's geographic periphery – do not participate meaningfully in the Israeli public debate concerning foreign affairs, let alone the corresponding decision- making process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israelis see high importance in advancing cooperation with Egypt, while cooperation with the Palestinian Authority is of low priority. This is the main finding from a public opinion poll conducted for the Mitvim Institute on July 13, 2016 by the Rafi Smith Institute and in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. It sampled 500 men and women, as a representative sample of the Israeli adult population (aged 18 and older, from both the Jewish and Arab sectors).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Ian Christoplos, Le Duc Ngoan, Thi Hoa Sen Le, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Goals for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management are widely recog- nised as overlapping, but little is known about the dynamics of this interplay in the perspectives and practices of local authorities. An important aspect of this is how provincial, district and municipal level institutions comprehend and operationalise climate change adaptation frameworks against the backdrop of their past experience of responding to disasters. This is in turn related to how they provide services to risk prone populations. This research report describes how meso-level institutions in Việt Nam mediate between the different intentions and priorities embodied in national climate change and disaster risk management policies, and ongoing efforts of indivi- dual households and communities to adapt to environmental change and natural hazards. Research findings suggest that they are doing this in a context wherein past assumptions about the role of the state are being questioned, but where answers remain ambiguous. Findings emphasise the process of ‘bricolage’ that is underway, wherein different disaster risk and climate goals, rules and structures are combined. Some of these institutional changes involve innovation and others reflect path dependencies anchored in past societal roles.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Environment
  • Political Geography: Viet Nam
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Turmoil in traditional geopolitical hotspots—Europe, Russia, the Levant, and Asia—has distracted the United States from the numerous opportunities and challenges across the Atlantic in Africa. Over the last decade, Africa has celebrated economic growth and new levels of political and economic engagement with the United States. But the continent faces many challenges to its continued economic development, security, and governance. In this latest Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham persuasively argues that the United States needs to modernize its relations with a changing Africa to best engage a new range of actors and circumstances.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, America