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  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue analyses both progress made by and challenges facing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It does so in order to explore under what conditions and to what extent these two conventions might help build a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs). Finally, the issue presents some options for the future and a major long-term initiative towards this ambitious goal.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Jérôme Tubiana, Clotilde Warin, Gaffar Mohammud Saeneen
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This report studies the effects of EU migration policies and the externalisation of EU border control on Saharan migration routes and on practices in the border regions connecting Niger, Chad, Sudan and Libya. The report finds that, in response to the obstacles and opportunities that border externalisation policies present for migrants, migration routes diversify and move to other countries. Beyond the fact that migration is a transnational phenomenon not linked to one particular route or itinerary, this continuous moving of routes is made possible by cross-border Saharan trade and trafficking networks that have put in place the necessary logistics to facilitate migration and which often fall outside government control. Pushed by EU efforts to curtail migration, states such as Niger, Chad and Sudan have shored up border patrols and anti-smuggling operations in the border regions under study here. The report shows that this has been done in a manner that is often not conducive to stability in the region and which contributes to the ‘militia-isation’ – the growing power of militias whose presence undermines the state – of the countries at issue.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Maria Mayda
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Political leaders’ positions on the issue of immigration can be an important determinant of their electoral success or failure. Immigration took center stage in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its aftermath, as now-president Donald Trump took strong stands on illegal immigration, the construction of a border wall, refugees from Syria, and “sanctuary cities.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Malcolm D. Knight
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper is premised on the fact that the most important macroeconomic policy issue confronting global leaders at this time is the need to restore, modernize and expand the international network of basic infrastructure that underpins global economic activity. This would help foster stronger long-term productivity growth and per capita output. This paper first outlines key policy elements that are needed within each country to design and implement a successful National Infrastructure Investment Programme (NIIP). It then describes how these NIIPs could be integrated into an Internationally Coordinated Infrastructure Investment Programme (iCIIP), and the complementary roles that the G7 and G20 summit leaders could play in carrying out this vast programme of infrastructure renewal and expansion. The G7, as a tightly knit group of advanced countries, can be instrumental in giving a clear impetus to key elements of the iCIIP strategy. The G20 instead is the appropriate body to set the course of modernization and expansion of a renewed, internationally-integrated network of basic productive infrastructure, and to guide the iCIIP as it is implemented over the next decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Pickford, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most G7 countries are facing political and economic uncertainties, and long-standing structural problems.The short-term outlook is reasonably positive, but longer term prospects are more challenging. These challenges have underlying economic causes stretching back many years, fostered by low productivity growth, stagnating real incomes and living standards, rising inequality and technological change. G7 countries should address short-term weaknesses, reduce political and policy uncertainties, and tackle these longer-term problems as well. Acting together to address these challenges will be more effective: (1) short-term and medium-term measures to boost growth should focus on fiscal actions (including infrastructure spending), normalizing monetary policy, completing financial regulatory reforms, and structural policies; (2) tackling policy uncertainties requires international consensus on consistent policies, starting with greater certainty over the direction of trade policy and over the Brexit negotiations. Sending positive signals on trade cooperation will be difficult, but the G7 could make progress on some specific issues such as a code of practice against competitive exchange rate devaluations; (3) an agenda to emphasize fairness could include: fair trading arrangements, implications of financial regulation for fairness and agreement on international corporate taxation to ensure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dr Vincent Boulanin, Maaike Verbruggen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Article 36 of the 1977 Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions imposes a practical obligation on states to determine whether ‘in the study, development, acquisition or adoption of a new weapon, means or method of warfare’ its use would ‘in some or all circumstances be prohibited by international law’. This mechanism is often colloquially referred to as an ‘Article 36 review’.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lisa Marie Dellmuth
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Climate change poses a new class of security challenges that is confronting societies worldwide. Increased risk of famine, destroyed infrastructure, houses and shelter, and violent conflicts might all be consequences of climate change through gradual changes to ecosystems and extreme weather events. As a way to mitigate these challenges, states have delegated increased power to intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). This Fact Sheet summarizes the key findings of the first systematic review of research on IGOs and climate security, and the implications of existing studies for the theory and practice of global climate security governance.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus