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  • Author: Katherine Zimmerman
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Yemen is at a pivotal moment today, three years after the outbreak of popular protests, and the future of America's strategy against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is on the line. Yemen is in the midst of a political transition process that will eventually reform and decentralize the government. But the success of the effort is by no means assured. The reforms will not, in any case, address the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions that provide fertile ground for al Qaeda. Moreover, the central state, never fully able to exercise its sovereignty throughout the country, is weaker than it was before 2011. Opposition groups, which have turned to violence in the past, may still seek to form independent states of their own, potentially collapsing the fragile Yemeni state structure entirely. American interests are bound up in this process by the fact that AQAP is among the most virulent al Qaeda affiliates that poses a direct threat to the U.S. homeland. Syria, Iran, and other foreign and domestic policy issues are distracting the United States and its regional partners from sustained engagement in Yemen. Without international support, the country is much less likely to ride this transition process smoothly and our security interests will be severely harmed.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991, it has been only the world's second Shi'ite-led state after Iran. Azerbaijan respects separation of mosque and state, and despite pressure from its neighbors, remains independent from political domination. Given its strategic importance, safeguarding the country's independence remains a US priority. And the threat from Iranian meddling is particularly acute. From Tehran's perspective, the combination of Azerbaijan's pre-19th-century Iranian past, modern Azerbaijan's embrace of secularism, and its relative economic success challenge Iran's legitimacy. As Iranian authorities have sought to undermine and destabilize Azerbaijan through political, clerical, charitable, and media channels, Azerbaijan's counterstrategy has been both restrained and effective.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Sovereignty, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Every Olympiad is a complex and, until the end, uncertain endeavor. In the case of the 2014 Winter Games, which begin February 7 in Sochi, Russia, the challenges and vulnerabilities are far more significant and numerous than usual. It will be the first (and almost certainly the last) Winter Games in the subtropics. Virtually the entire infrastructure had to be built from scratch and in haste, with abuse of laborers and corruption overhead likely further compromising the construction. While various interest groups exploit every Olympiad to draw international attention to their causes, protests in Sochi could be particularly intense. Finally, and most ominously, Sochi is next door to a fundamentalist Islamic uprising in which terrorism claims victims almost daily. For the sake of the athletes and millions of fans, one hopes that none of these potential problems will precipitate a disruption, much less a crisis or bloodshed. Yet in their choice of location and the manner in which they have gone about organizing the Games, the Russian authorities have greatly increased that risk. By highlighting some key features and practices of Vladimir Putin's regime, a major setback at the Olympiad could deal a serious blow to the regime's legitimacy, prompt national soul searching, and trigger another round of civil resistance in search of reforms.
  • Topic: Corruption, Islam, Insurgency, Infrastructure, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Iran's national security decision-making process is not remotely as opaque as it sometimes appears. The recent crisis in Iraq and the nuclear negotiations in Geneva have opened a fascinating window into the efforts of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to bring rival groups within his government together behind a single set of policies. He appears to have been remarkably successful in mediating tensions between President Hassan Rouhani and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps senior leaders. They have come together, at least for the moment, behind a coherent set of strategies for dealing with a number of thorny problems in Iraq, the nuclear negotiations, and even economic reforms. It remains to be seen if these accommodations will survive the current crisis, of course, but the success of Khamenei's efforts so far is impressive.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Governance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin is exploiting the Ukrainian revolution-specifically, by manufacturing "crises" in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and nationalist euphoria and anti-Western paranoia at home-to fashion a more repressive and increasingly unpredictable Russian dictatorship for life. With the Russian economy heading for recession, the Putin regime's popularity largely depends on Russia's foreign policy successes, which Putin hopes to achieve by humiliating, destabilizing, and eventually derailing Ukraine; by cajoling the West into rejecting sanctions against Russia; and by fueling Russian patriotism. The West should, in an effort spearheaded by the United States, aim its sanctions at increasing the costs of the regime's malignant transformation rather than simply attempting to dissuade Moscow from further action in eastern Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Law, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine
  • Author: J. Bruce Jacobs
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China has recently attempted to use military force to back up alleged historical claims to the South China Sea and East China Sea; however, upon closer examination, the claims do not hold up. China's belligerent attempts to enforce its claims in the South and East China Seas endanger peace in Asia. China appears unlikely to accept any reasonable proposals that respect history and geography. Southeast Asian nations and other interested countries, like the United States and Australia, must maintain a military presence to deter Chinese aggression while attempting to negotiate a peaceful settlement with China.
  • Topic: International Law, Sovereignty, History, Territorial Disputes, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia, East China, South China
  • Author: John L. Kokulis
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The rise in military health care spending has been a primary driver of the large growth in military personnel compensation over the past decade. Left unchecked, these costs will impact the ability of the DoD's Military Health System (MHS) to support its three critical missions: 1. Readiness for deployment: Maintaining an agile, fully deployable medical force and a health care delivery system so they are capable of providing state-of-the-art health services anytime, anywhere; 2. Readiness of the fighting force: Helping commanders create and sustain the most healthy and medically prepared fighting forces anywhere; and 3. The benefits mission: Providing long-term health coaching and health care for 9.7 million DoD beneficiaries.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The 2008–09 financial crisis demonstrated that gas and oil exports could no longer serve as Russia's engine of economic progress and the source of a steady rise in personal incomes. Russia needed to dramatically change its investment climate through deep institutional reforms that would boost economic liberty, expand the rule of law and property rights, diminish corruption, and create more political choices for its citizens. Such reforms are all the more urgent now as Russia's economy is slowing to a crawl and trust in President Vladimir Putin is steadily declining. Yet the Kremlin has chosen to address these challenges with authoritarian consolidation, buying short-term stability at the expense of the country's longer-term prosperity and progress. Elements of the Kremlin's massive propaganda campaign include militarized patriotism and patriotic education; a selective recovery of Soviet symbols and ideals; the ultraconservative Russian Orthodox Church as the moral foundation of the regime; the promotion of a culture of subservience; and the intimidation, stigmatization, and repression of civil society and its vanguard, nongovernmental organizations. Yet instead of producing the consolidation and unity expected by the Kremlin, this campaign may yield polarization, radicalism, and violence that will prevent the country's peaceful and inclusive transition to a more dignified version of citizenship.
  • Topic: Corruption, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Governance, Authoritarianism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Robert Klitgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake of January 12, 2010, Haiti will receive unprecedented aid for reconstruction and for its promising economic strategy. But given the country's legacy of corruption, massive aid could simply result in another massive Haitian failure. Success hinges on facing corruption squarely and developing a hard-headed, politically sensitive anticorruption strategy. How this could be done, given Haiti's realities and lessons from fighting corruption around the world, is the subject of this paper.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Michael Auslin
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Ensuring security in the Indo-Pacific region will be the primary foreign policy challenge for the United States and liberal nations over the next generation. Doing so successfully will provide the greatest economic and political opportunities for the next quarter century. Conversely, a failure to maintain stability, support liberal regimes, create cooperative regional relations, and uphold norms and standards of international behavior will lead to a region, and world, of greater uncertainty, insecurity, and instability. Due to its economic strength, military power, and political dynamism, the Indo-Pacific will be the world's most important region in coming decades, and its significance will be felt throughout the globe. Since the end of World War II, it has transformed itself into the world's economic powerhouse, yet has also witnessed a struggle between tides of liberalism, authoritarianism, and even totalitarianism. It remains riven by distrust, territorial disputes, ethnic tensions, and painful historical memories. The Indo-Pacific's unique geography makes the balance of regional security most vulnerable in its "commons": the open seas, air lanes, and cyber networks that link the region together and to the world.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Emerging Markets, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, Australia/Pacific