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  • Author: Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: As an important commercial gateway and a rich source of natural resources, the South China Sea holds great economic and strategic significance. This is manifested not only in the conflicting territorial and maritime claims of the coastal states, but also in the simmering geopolitical rivalry between an increasingly self-assertive China and a United States bent on `rebalancing´ China’s growing power in the region. This new DIIS report by Andreas Bøje Forsby examines recent development trends in the South China Sea, focusing primarily on three key areas: China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, the rebalancing efforts of the United States in the region and the recently-concluded arbitration case between the Philippines and China concerning their maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: During the second half of the twentieth century, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was hit by a demographic wave that saw its youth population grow at an unprecedented rate. This youth bulge spurred national and international debate regarding the challenges and opportunities that the youth cohort brings to the region. The potential that young people have—either as agents of positive change or instability—was illustrated during the Arab uprisings. In the wake of the unrest, there is a need to expand our collective understanding of the lives of young people in the MENA region, and to examine factors that affect their normative transitions to adulthood. The narrative around Middle Eastern youth often centers on their social, political, and economic exclusion and marginalization. Living through decades of authoritarian rule and political instability, youth in the Middle East have struggled to fulfill their aspirations related to citizenship, livelihood, and social and political participation. Given the continued jobs crisis in the Middle East, where youth generally experience high rates of unemployment and where labor market activity, particularly among young women, remains strikingly low, understanding the economic exclusion of youth and the various means by which to redress it remain significant.
  • Topic: Education, Youth Culture, Entrepreneurship, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The historic events of the Arab uprisings have been accompanied by profound changes in the role of traditional and new media across the Middle East. Early on in the revolts, printed and electronic media played critical roles in disseminating information, and conveying compelling sentiments, within and across national boundaries in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. As the uprisings grew in both intensity and scale, new media in the form of Twitter, Facebook, and the Blogosphere joined satellite television in helping facilitate popular mobilization aimed at overthrowing authoritarian establishments. Today, satellite television and the internet have become consequential in countries where popular uprisings are being cast in a sectarian light by some national and international actors, most notably in Bahrain and Syria.
  • Topic: International Organization, Social Movement, Popular Revolt, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Glittering skylines, high urbanization rates, and massive development projects in the Gulf have increasingly attracted the attention of urban development scholars and practitioners. Within the GCC, an average of 88 percent of the total population lives in cities, while on average only 56 percent of Yemen, Iraq, and Iran’s populations lives in urbanized spaces. The tempo and spatial ethos of urbanization in the Gulf differ markedly from patterns of traditional urbanism in other developing countries. Within a matter of decades, Gulf port cities have rapidly evolved from regional centers of cultural and economic exchange to globalizing cities deeply embedded within the global economy. Explicitly evident features of Gulf cities such as international hotel chains, shopping centers, and entertainment complexes have classified these cities as centers of consumption. Other urban trends, such as exhibition and conference centers, media and knowledge cities, and branch campuses of Western universities have integrated Gulf cities within numerous global networks. From the advent of oil discovery until the present day, forces of economic globalization and migration, national conceptualizations of citizenship, and various political and economic structures have collectively underpinned the politics of urban planning and development. While oil urbanization and modernization direct much of the scholarship on Gulf cities, understanding the evolution of the urban landscape against a social and cultural backdrop is limited within the academic literature. For instance, within the states of the GCC, the citizen-state-expatriates nexus has largely geared the vision and planning of urban real-estate mega-projects. These projects reflect the increasing role of expatriates as consumers and users of urban space, rather than as mere sources of manpower utilized to build the city. Other state initiatives, such as the construction of cultural heritage mega-projects in various Gulf cities, reveal the state’s attempts to reclaim parts of the city for its local citizens in the midst of a growing expatriate urban population.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Migration, Urbanization, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Increasingly, over the past few decades, the cross-border mobility of people and international migration has become a central and dynamic hallmark of human existence. While migration is by no means a recent phenomenon, present-day migratory experiences are increasingly informed by national and international policy settings, and by the needs of the global labor market. In contemporary times, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have emerged as the third largest hub of international labor migration. In recent years, migration to the GCC has attracted increasing journalistic attention, and a growing body of scholarship from academics. What has gone almost completely unnoticed, however, is the regional, intra-Arab aspect of the phenomenon. Migration into the Gulf region from other Arab countries by far outdates more recent, and comparatively more temporary, migratory patterns from South Asia and Western Europe. Not only are Arab migratory patterns into the GCC comparatively and qualitatively different from other similar patterns, the historical setting within which they have unfolded, the processes through which they have taken place, and their economic, sociological, and political consequences have all been different. This book examines the dynamics involved in the emergence of Arab migrant communities in the Gulf region, focusing specifically on how they came about, their overall sociological compositions and economic profiles, and the causes, processes, and consequences of their interactions with, and integration within, the host countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Iñigo Guevara Moyano
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: For two neighbors that share an annual trade worth USD 534 billioni along a 2,000-mile border, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses should be a priority. This paper is meant to provide a deeper understanding of the Mexican military and its contribution to the defense and security of North America. It does so by analyzing the evolution of Mexico’s armed forces, and the past and present cooperation between the Mexican and the U.S. militaries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: Diana Melisa Talamás Santos, Alma Thalía Aguilar Cabello
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Corruption is a grave and centuries-old phenomenon that has affected all countries across the globe to different extents. To date, there is still no precise solution to fight and, lesser still, eradicate corruption. Corruption can cause myriad problems in society, which include, but are not limited to, producing and increasing poverty, broadening the inequality gap, enriching the privileged, weakening the legal system, favoring insecurity and impunity, chipping away at public and private institutions, affecting the labor market and the economy, producing inefficiency in public services and goods, promoting a culture of illegality, and causing vast losses in material and economic resources that could have been used to satisfy societal needs.
  • Topic: Corruption, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Rupert Hammond Chambers, Pek Koon Heng, Tami Overby
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Since its rather humble beginnings as a free trade agreement between Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand in 2005, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has ballooned into a pact that includes two of the three biggest economies in the world. Signed by the 12 founding members in February 2016, namely the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia as well as the four original signatories, the TPP represents nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP. It has been described as the most ambitious multinational trade deal in history, with high standards that address issues that have not been address by trade agreements until now including environmental protection, labor rights, and addressing competition issues related to state-owned enterprises.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shihoko Goto, Robert Daly, Michael Kugelman, Sandy Pho, Meg Lundsager, Robert Litwak, Robert Person, James Person
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: The United States is a Pacific power. It may be so reluctantly, but its continued military, political, and economic engagement has been key to Asia’s stability and prosperity. Ensuring that the Asia-Pacific remains robust politically and economically will be in the United States’ own interest, and will be a key foreign policy challenge for any administration. The realities on the ground in Asia, though, are rapidly changing. The region has become increasingly divided, and rivalries are manifesting themselves in territorial disputes, competition for resources, as well as a growing arms race. Having overtaken Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, China has sought to become as much a political and military power as much as an economic one. Beijing’s vision for the region puts China at its center, which has led to rifts in relations among Asian nations, not to mention Sino-U.S. relations. Continued stability in the region cannot be taken for granted. Washington must continue to be committed to Asia, not least amid growing concerns about North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, maritime disputes, and alternative visions for economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Asia
  • Author: Ayla Gürel Moran, Harry G. Tzimitras, Hubert Faustmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On 16 November 2016 the PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Cyprus (FES) and the Atlantic Council (AC) co-hosted a one-day conference entitled ‘Global Energy Debates and the East Mediterranean’. The conference, held in the UN Buffer Zone in Nicosia, was organised with a view to introducing the Cypriot public to the increasingly complex global energy terrain. Thus, the main focus of the deliberations was not the Eastern Mediterranean, but rather the broader energy picture surrounding the region. The international experts who attended the conference presented topics that concern some of the more salient broader debates, such as the link between energy and global warming as well as the energy relations of the European Union, which constitutes the largest potential market in the neighbourhood for the hydrocarbons of the Eastern Mediterranean. The latter included examination of three important cases to Europe’s east: Russia, Iran, and Turkey. East Mediterranean energy develop- ments and regional cooperation prospects were also discussed by a panel of experts from Cyprus, Egypt and Israel. This edited volume comprises contributions submitted by speakers based on their talks delivered at the conference.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus