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  • Author: Rebecca Strating
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the past five years, Australia has expressed concern over China’s island building, militarization of land features, and excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS). Australia shares similar interests with the United States in upholding the maritime rules-based order, yet there are important divergences that reflect differing perspectives on geostrategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. While bipartisan support for the U.S. alliance remains strong, the importance of protecting trade relations with China has also shaped Canberra’s response to the SCS disputes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: N Janardhan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Following five years of periodic controversies and criticism – some factual, others contrived – President Xi Jinping used the Belt and Road (BRI) Forum in April to set the agenda for the next five years of his hallmark project. At the forum’s second edition, meant to promote a “stronger partnership network,” the Chinese leader pledged to “clean up,” stressed “zero tolerance” to corruption, and emphasized readiness to adopt “internationally acceptable” standards in the bidding process of BRI projects in the future. This language indicates Beijing’s openness to constructive criticism and willingness to objectively tweak some inherent weaknesses in the strategy and implementation mechanisms for the BRI during the 2013-2018 period. It also sets the stage for the start of “BRI 2.0,” where the stress is likely to be on the qualitative, rather than just quantitative, attributes. The following are some analytical pointers on how BRI 2.0 is likely to be different from version 1.0, especially keeping in mind what Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi referred to as a “high-quality” shift from “big freehand” to “fine brushwork” in planning BRI’s future projects
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ranjan K. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India-China relations witnessed a new wave of optimism for a progressive and engaging partnership following the Wuhan Summit, the informal 2018 meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. Key to this has been continuous exchange of political and official visits from both sides. However, these exchanges might not be sufficient to remove uncertainty and suspicion from their relations. As long as China’s relationship with the United States remains adversarial, China will embrace India—without guaranteeing that it will not adopt a confrontational posture in the future. Their shifting relations, though suggesting an official longing for an upward trajectory, are based on a compromised context. External circumstances have pushed them to rapprochement, but could also drive them apart. Whether India and China will sustain this rapprochement is difficult to foresee.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mira Oklobdzija
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Self-restraint is one of the most important litmus tests for distinguishing between humans and other social animals. Major human leaders, both past and present, often fall short in this regard. Instead, particularly as they mobilize their countries for war, these leaders compete for the distinction of being the alpha male.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Gender Based Violence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emanuel Pastreich
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Now that the movement to address climate change at the systemic and cultural level has gained unprecedented momentum, it is critical for us to establish a viable alternative economy that committed citizens around the world can join. The basic unit of that economy should be fossil-fuel-free (FFF) communities. In these FFF (fossil-fuel-free) communities, to be built from the ground up, nothing eaten or consumed, no form of transformation or communication employed, and no aspect of housing, furniture or utensils will contain fossil fuels (including plastics or fertilizers). Nor will any of these items be produced, transported, or manufactured using fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew J. Bacevich
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Let us stipulate at the outset that President Trump is a vulgar and dishonest fraud without a principled bone in his body. Yet history is nothing if not a tale overflowing with irony. Despite his massive shortcomings, President Trump appears intent on recalibrating America’s role in the world. Initiating a long-overdue process of aligning U.S. policy with actually existing global conditions just may prove to be his providentially anointed function.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Allegra Harpootlian
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: America’s drone wars have gotten deadlier under Trump, but the Trump-first news cycle makes highlighting the human cost extremely difficult.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Harry Blain
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Lower courts are slowly but steadily eroding the legal basis for some of the most reactionary war on terror policies.
  • Topic: International Law, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament elections, far-right parties captured the most votes in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Hungary.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hannah Gurman
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: This moment should spark a conversation about the place of national security whistleblowing in a democratic society.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Political Activism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Olivia Alperstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: A new study shows just how bad a nuclear war could get. We need a plan to eliminate this risk permanently
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Galant
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The #MeToo movement started with a single tweet — now, it has produced an international treaty. One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, while close to three in four report having been sexually harassed. Much of this violence occurs in the workplace, where power imbalances and economic pressures increase the risk of abuse. Yet 59 countries have no legislation specifically addressing workplace harassment.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Khury Petersen-Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: It is sickening that the U.S. would deliver the Kurds to Turkish violence, but that doesn’t mean we should embrace the U.S. presence in Syria.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gary King, Melissa Sands
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part-time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well-meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Schroeder
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As a young, single-seat fighter pilot based in Germany in the Royal Air Force of the early 1980s, I enjoyed a degree of certainty about my role in life. The world was, to all intents and purposes, a bi-polar place. We knew exactly from where our threat emanated and, indeed, had comprehensive standing plans for dealing with it. In the event of an attack by the Warsaw Pact on NATO’s eastern flank, we had pre-designated areas in which we would interdict any enemy military force heading westwards. We had pre-planned missions for systematically taking down all elements of Soviet air power — be it through suppression of enemy air defense sensors and surfaceto-air systems or denial of his airfields’ operating surfaces. In the event that the conflict escalated too rapidly, or went too far, we even had plans to resort to the ultimate sanction of the pre-planned and graduated employment of tactical nuclear weapons. Our plans, and our skills, were tested on a frequent and regular basis. It was no rare experience to be woken by a siren in the middle of the night to be called to duty. Our response time was measured, as was the ability to demonstrate our preparedness to brief our wartime missions, arm our aircraft, and prove our abilities to be airborne within the allocated time period. The results of these exercises—known as NATO Tactical Evaluations (TacEvals)—were equally rigorous in the Land and Maritime domains. Their results were widely shared within Alliance circles. Achieving a “one” for a TacEval result was every commanding officer’s goal
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Frank Gorenc
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the world enters an era of great-power competition, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) faces a renewed challenge from an old adversary. A Europe whole, free, and at peace is now at risk as Russian aggression challenges the traditional rules-based world order. Russia’s activities in and against Ukraine and Georgia, rampant intrusion on Western democratic processes and political discourse, blatant assassination attempts on NATO soil, support for rogue regimes in Syria and Iran, and military deployments and force accumulation in Kaliningrad and Crimea, as well as in the Sea of Azov, demonstrate that the threat is as real and compelling as it ever was.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Given that offshore tax havens are largely located in small, independent states or self-governing territories, it could be assumed that they have little connection to OECD states and major financial centers such as London and New York. This is not the case. The so-called tax havens are in fact part of a much larger network of financial and corporate services that depends on lawyers, accountants, and bankers located in major Western cities. Only one part of the havens’ business actually involves providing lower tax rates to individual foreign account holders
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As energy markets and technologies rapidly change, international oil companies (IOCs) are facing a set of interconnected challenges that will fundamentally affect their business models. From changes in the supply and demand picture, to shifts in how energy is produced and consumed, to public pressure to decrease greenhouse gas footprints, companies have a wide range of issues to consider as they decide how to prepare for an unpredictable future. In a new issue brief, “Navigating the Energy Transition: International Oil Company Diversification Strategies,” Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Koranyi provides a macro picture of select IOC’s strategic (re)thinking and explores some of the strategies IOCs have undertaken to diversify their portfolios and prepare for the unfolding energy transition.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Borzou Daragahi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For much of its four decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been blessed with a weak political opposition. While Iran has faced competent and powerful foreign enemies—such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the United States, and Israel—its Iranian political challengers, both domestically and abroad, have been largely fragmented, unrealistic in their aims, and sometimes as authoritarian as the regime. But, though few credible Iran watchers argue that opposition groups and figures arrayed against Tehran’s establishment pose a serious threat, Iran treats them as if they are mortal dangers to the regime. This paper attempts to sketch out the landscape of the various major political opposition groups, and begin to grapple with the question of why Iran perceives them as such a challenge
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Perhaps the most famous quote from Thucydides is “the strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.”1 For thousands of years, it has been accepted that the weak must comply or face the fate of the Melians. Today, the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution may be revising that truth. It is creating a wide range of small, smart, cheap weapons that can provide small states combat power previously reserved to major powers
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus