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  • Author: Norah Niland
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: The United States and its allies, in control of Afghanistan since October 2001, failed to support the development of an inclusive, legitimate and accountable political system. This paper examines how the imposition of an inappropriate model of democracy, the prioritization of American interests over those of Afghans, and a pattern of expedient political decisions have contributed to the destabilization of the country. The democracy and state-building model imposed on Afghanistan was stymied from the outset by critical foundational flaws. These include the return to power of discredited warlords reviled by most Afghans, the marginalization of particular groups including the remnants of the Taliban movement, and the concentration of power in an executive Presidency at the expense of a weak parliamentary structure. In 2014, along with the drawdown of US and NATO troops, Afghanistan's disputed election saga ended in a no-victor deal that effectively discarded the (as yet unknown) results of the ballot box. Once again, Washington politics reinforced the grip of a warlord-dominated elite on the machinery of the state and exposed the hollowness of the US-led and UN-supported state building project.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Democratization, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Victoria Christensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since the summer of 2011, the country of Myanmar has been experiencing rapid democratic reform. Headlines lauding these positive changes have become common-place in the international media. However, experts and academics who have been involved in the decade-long campaign to bring peace and democracy to Myanmar remain divided over how sincere these changes are. Some accuse the Government of carrying out “window-dressing” reforms to please the Western governments and enable the lifting of sanctions. They argue that the Government has a vested interest in maintaining the reins of power and that there is no incentive to make true democratic reforms. During a speech in Oslo in June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmarese Pro-democracy leader described the recent reforms as positive but warned against blind faith in the process and pointed out the main challenges that remain unresolved – namely the ethnic issues and the ongoing imprisonment of political prisoners.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Political Economy, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, China, Tehran, Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christian von Soest, Julia Grauvogel
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: International sanctions have been one of the most commonly used tools of Western foreign policy in the post‐Cold War era to instigate democratization globally. However, despite long‐term external pressure through sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States and/or the United Nations, nondemocratic rule in cases such as Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea and Syria has proven to be extremely persistent. In this paper, we analyze a new global dataset on sanctions from 1990 to 2011 and assess which international and domestic factors account for the persistence of nondemocratic rule in targeted regimes. The results of a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 120 episodes of sanctions provide new insights for the research on both sanctions and authoritarian regimes. Most significantly, sanctions strengthen nondemocratic rule if the regime manages to incorporate their existence into its legitimation strategy. Such a “rally‐round‐the‐flag” effect occurs most often in cases where comprehensive sanctions targeting the entire population are imposed on regimes that enjoy strong claims to legitimacy and have only limited linkages to the sanction sender.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Governance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North Korea, United Nations, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As the presidential election approaches in 2014, with the security transition at the year's end, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. Afghanistan's stabilisation ultimately rests on the state's accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.
  • Topic: NATO, Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Peter Andreas, Angelica Duran-Martinez
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Illicit trade has long been a central feature of Latin America's engagement in the world. In this chapter we first briefly sketch the scope and dimensions of illicit trade in the region, and stress the importance of various types of power asymmetries. Drawing on illustrations primarily from drug trafficking (by far the most studied and documented case), we then outline in a preliminary fashion some of the key issues in understanding transnational illicit flows and their impact on Latin America foreign and domestic policy and governance. We concentrate on four themes: 1) the relationship between illicit trade and diplomatic relations with the United States; 2) the relationship between illicit trade and democratic governance; 3) the relationship between illicit trade and organized violence; and 4) the relationship between illicit trade and neoliberalism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Latin America
  • Author: Steve J. Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The aim of this article is to introduce an original framework in which new media ecologies can be understood to develop. Specifically, it examines the unique, world-leading online ecology of South Korea, to suggest how new forms of democratic process and social organisation can be emulated elsewhere. The discussion identifies and analyses several policy and cultural factors to distil three encompassing variables that comprise a framework for understanding the Korean situation, and the application of new technologies: structure, ethos and activity. Ultimately, it is a framework that may be used to investigate social organisation mechanisms that may potentiate news media's role in democratic society. This concept of social organisation is constructed around the notion of social capital and theorised as an infrastructure for new news media models. In the outcome, it is argued that news media could themselves become civic socialization mechanisms that encourage a more active and engaged citizenry, reflecting social capital's strong relationship with political participation, and thus a continuing foundational role for journalism in democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Communications, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Carl Meacham
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Is democracy in danger in the Dominican Republic? Is the country headed toward sustained one-party rule? In an effort to understand the state of Dominican democracy and rule of law, CSIS Americas Program director Carl Meacham led a six-month initiative to answer these questions. This report, which details the project's findings, pays particular attention to alleged growing levels of corruption within the government and the independence—and effectiveness—of the country's judiciary, as well as implications for the Dominican Republic's relations with the United States.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean
  • Author: Aparna Mathur, Sadanand Dhume, Julissa Milligan, Hemal Shah
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Two decades after the end of the Cold War, US–India relations stand at a crossroads. Not so long ago, many in Washington viewed the signing of the historic US–India civil nuclear deal as the advent of a dynamic partnership with the potential to transform Asia and the world. Today US–India ties are just as often characterized as unrealistic or oversold.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Diplomacy, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, Washington, India
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and Europe have yet to show the requisite political will or to develop sustainable strategies to help Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen in their democratic transitions more than two years after a wave of popular revolutions toppled decades-old autocracies. To be sure, deepening political, economic, and security challenges in these countries from June 2012 to August 2013, the period analyzed in this report, complicated efforts to provide support. Yet the United States and the European Union (EU) missed important opportunities to capitalize on openings where they existed or to send consistent and sustained diplomatic messages where needed. Faced with the vast amounts of cash the Gulf countries could provide rapidly to the transition countries, especially to Egypt, some in Washington and Brussels wondered if the United States and the EU even had much to offer. In the past year, fatigue and frustration more than energy and hope have characterized US and European engagement with these countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Peter Cary
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: After the ouster of the Taliban from power by U.S.-led coalition troops in November 2001, the media scene in Afghanistan exploded. Under the Taliban, only one government radio station was allowed to operate, and there were no independent media. Ten years later, the Afghan media scene is a lively place, with more than 175 FM radio stations, 75 TV channels, four news agencies, and hundreds of publications including at least seven daily newspapers. Internet cafes can be found in major cities, and 61 percent of Afghans have mobile phones, which some use to listen to radio.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia, Taliban