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  • Author: Abdullah Al-Arian
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Prof. Abdullah Al-Arian discusses how Islamist movements have historically viewed diplomacy as important to their activist missions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, History, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Benjamin Attia, Shayle Kann, Morgan D. Bazilian
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The global energy transition has reached an inflection point. In numerous markets, the declining cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has already beaten the cost of new-build coal and natural gas and is now chasing down operating costs of existing thermal power plants, forcing a growing crowd of thermal generation assets into early retirement. Perfect comparability between dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources invites debate, but the cost declines in solar PV are irrefutable: the global average unit cost of competitively-procured solar electricity declined by 83 percent from 2010 to 2018. This is due in part to module cost reductions of approximately 90 percent, capacity-weighted average construction cost declines of 74 percent, and a global paradigm shift in renewable energy procurement policies in the last six years.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carly Kabot
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: History is the storyteller that holds all truth, yet when she speaks, much of mankind closes its ears. Hasan Nuhanović, a survivor of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide committed by a Bosnian Serb militia, narrates his family’s harrowing journey through Bosnia in The Last Refuge: A True Story of War, Survival, and Life under Seige in Srebrenica. Though Nuhanović’s story is tragic, it is not uncommon. He makes this clear from the beginning, writing, “I did not write this book to tell my own story” (5). Rather, his story embodies the experiences of eight thousand Bosniaks who were executed by Serb forces on July 11, 1995, and brings to mind the millions of genocide victims worldwide who have been mercilessly slaughtered in the past century.
  • Topic: Genocide, War, History, Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Srebrenica
  • Author: Yehuda Shaffer, Stefan D. Cassella
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the past few years, a number of European banks have been implicated in money laundering scandals in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, and, most recently, Scandinavia. Although European and international voices are putting pressure to take further action by all including the banks against this, the issue continues to emerge in the continent. In this short article, we attempt to explain this trend and how might it be resolved.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Finance, Business , Financial Crimes, Banks, Currency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Latvia, Scandinavia, Cyprus, Malta
  • Author: Shaoyu Yuan
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the South China Sea continue to rise. China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, regarded as a hawkish military commentator, recently proclaimed that the continuing dispute over the ownership of the South China Sea could be resolved by sinking two US aircraft carriers. Statements like these result in a legitimate fear that China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea might spark a kinetic military conflict with the United States. However, while most Western scholars and media are paying excessive attention to the rise of China, few are contemplating China’s weaknesses in the region. Despite China’s constant verbal objections and rising tensions with the United States in the last century, the world has yet to witness any major military confrontation between the two superpowers. China will continue to avoid directly confronting the United States in the South China Sea for at least another decade because China’s military remains immature and defective.
  • Topic: Security, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Younes Mahmoudieh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety—longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder—caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace.
  • Topic: Health, Sanctions, International Community, International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Theresa Reidy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage through a national referendum vote. The decision to introduce equal marriage received a great deal of attention, and not just because it was the first positive referendum decision on this issue; the vote was also preceded by a citizens’ assembly which recommended the referendum and endorsed a “yes” vote. The resounding victory for the liberal position provided definitive evidence of Ireland’s shift from a conservative, inward-looking European periphery state to a modern, liberal, and inclusive republic.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture, Domestic politics, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland, European Union
  • Author: Scott M. Thomas, Anthony O'Mahony
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In February 2019, Pope Francis became the first pope to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Like John-Paul II before him, he has also visited Egypt, and he went to Morocco in March 2019. The pope participated in a colloquium on “human fraternity” and interreligious dialogue sponsored by the UAE-based Muslim Council of Elders—the brain-child of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the most important Sunni Muslim university in the world. The Council of Elders sponsors initiatives to engage young Muslims on Islamist ideology by promoting a more “authentic” interpretation of Islam. Islamist violence—with its beheadings and mass executions—has provoked disgust across the Muslim world and is causing young Muslims to become more distant from their imams and mosques. It is becoming clear to many Muslim intellectuals in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon that, in order to defeat Islamism, there needs to be greater dialogue and coexistence with Christians. Pope Francis is attempting to lead the way, extending his “culture of encounter.”
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Culture, Violence, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Vatican city
  • Author: Huma Saeed
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s presidential election took place on September 28, 2019, with less than 2 million people participating out of 9.7 million registered voters. Taking into consideration Afghanistan’s total population of 35 million, the turnout was a historic low—a problem further amplified by the fact that the government poured a huge amount of financial and human resources into election preparation. The main explanation for such low turnout is twofold. On the one hand, security threats such as suicide attacks or gun violence—which reached their peak during the presidential election campaigns—deterred many people from going to polling stations. On the other hand, Afghans have become wary about determining their own political fate because, for decades, regional and international powers have steered the political wheel in Afghanistan, rather the people. After four months, election results have still not been announced, leading to further speculation and anxiety among a population which has already been the victim of four decades of violent conflict in the country. This anxiety is further exacerbated by the ongoing “peace” negotiations with the Taliban. Afghan people have learned from experience that, even in the best-case scenario of the election results or peace negotiations, they cannot hope for new justice measures to heal their wounds. As demonstrated by the experience of Afghanistan and other countries, peace and security will not last without addressing the people’s demands for justice.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Politics, Elections, Taliban, Justice
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Max Erdemandi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recent discussions on the Turkish state’s actions, which have devastated Kurdish people within and outside of its borders, suffer from a familiar deficiency: they neglect the historical and cultural foundations of the dynamics that placed the Kurdish people at the center of Turkey’s national security policy. Serious human rights violations and voter suppression in southeast Turkey, the massacre of Kurdish people in various parts of northern Syria, and purging of Kurdish politicians on false accusations are all extensions of Turkey’s decades-long, repeated policy mistakes, deeply rooted in its nationalist history. Unless there is a seismic shift in the drivers of Turkish security policy, especially as it pertains to the Kurdish people, Turkey is bound to repeat these mistakes. Furthermore, threat externalization with linkage to legitimacy of rule will further erode the democratic institutions of the state and other authentic aspects of Turkish identity.
  • Topic: Security, Nationalism, Ethnicity, Syrian War, Borders, Violence, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Richard L. Morningstar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On November 18, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service welcomed former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Richard Morningstar for a conversation on energy security in the Caspian region. Prior to the event, GJIA sat down with Ambassador Morningstar to discuss the intersection of energy and geopolitics, legacies from the Soviet Union, and energy security challenges facing Central Asian states.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Interview
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Soviet Union, Caspian Sea, United States of America
  • Author: Helen McEntee
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On December 5, 2019, Georgetown University welcomed Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, to the conference “Bridging the Atlantic: Ireland’s Role in EU-US Relations after Brexit.” Following the event, GJIA and The Europe Desk sat down with Minister McEntee to discuss the Good Friday Agreement, Brexit, and transatlantic relations. The Europe Desk is a podcast launched by the BMW Center for German and European Studies where leading experts discuss the most pertinent issues facing Europe and transatlantic cooperation today.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Negotiation, Interview
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: H. Sebnem Düzgün
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Soma Mine Disaster (SMD) was the most massive mine disaster of the twenty-first century, with 301 fatalities. This was due to a mine fire in an underground coal mine. Although mine fires usually do not cause a large number of casualties in comparison with other explosions in underground coal mines, the SMD has an anomaly. The cause of the mine fire has not been precisely determined, though various groups of experts developed several hypotheses. Most of the fatalities were due to an inadequate safety culture, unstructured organizational and human performance, and improper decision-making and risk perception during the emergency management. So far, only minimal steps have been taken to improve the safety standards of the coal mines. Larger improvements are necessary to address the variety of factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Labor Issues, Regulation, Mining
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Gabriel Panuco-Mercado
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Natalie Scenters-Zapico is a poet from the United States-Mexico border towns of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Her work, like her origin, is about borders. In her debut collection, The Verging Cities, Scenters-Zapico explores immigration, marriage, and femicide in the realm of border culture and identity [1]. She expands these themes in her second collection, Lima :: Limón, where she creates a scathing depiction of the brutal machismo that conditions a Mexican woman’s experience. Lima :: Limon is especially personal to Scenters-Zapico. Her lyrical passages draw from the music of her childhood. In an age where distorted narratives about immigration lead to family separation and threaten asylum seekers, Lima :: Limon’s intimacy is especially critical. Unlike the efficacy of border policy or trade negotiations, Scenters-Zapico’s personal narrative is undeniable—as are the harrowing experiences of millions of Mexican women.
  • Topic: Immigration, Women, Borders, Literature
  • Political Geography: Central America, North America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Thomas Barnosky, Patrick S. Roberts, Joie D. Acosta
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The 2017 hurricane and wildfire seasons were among the worst on record in the United States. The storms that year included three of the five costliest in the nation’s history: Harvey and Irma along the Gulf Coast, and Maria in the Caribbean. More than 70,000 wildfires scorched about 10 million acres. All told, these events affected the lives of nearly 47 million people, testing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in unprecedented ways.
  • Topic: Natural Disasters, Governance, Political Science
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Yuriy Danyk, Chad Michael Briggs, Tamara Maliarchuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine has received renewed attention in Washington D.C., and it is worth considering the relevance of this conflict to US national security interests. The open conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has been part of a larger hybrid war, including political and information warfare, cyber warfare, assassinations, promotion of corruption, and traditional (kinetic) warfare carried out by destructive geopolitical actors (DGAs) [1]. The conventional conflict cannot be taken out of context, and it is the less visible and “dark” aspects of hybrid warfare that should particularly worry the United States. Hybrid warfare consists of a wide spectrum of attacks, from conventional to covert, carried out to destabilize one’s opponent. Rather than being isolated incidents, cyber attacks often represent part of a wide spectrum of coordinated, offensive strategies against countries like Ukraine and the United States.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Cybersecurity, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Obert Hodzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With a few exceptions, armed civil wars are no longer commonplace in Africa, but anti-government protests are. Instead of armed rebels, unarmed civilians are challenging regimes across Africa to reconsider their governance practices and deliver both political and economic change. In their responses, regimes in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Burundi have favored the combat mode—responding to dissent with military and repressive means. With few options, civilian movements look to the United States for protection and support while their governments look to China for reinforcement. If the United States seeks to reassert its influence in Africa and strengthen its democratic influence, its strategy needs to go beyond counterterrorism and respond to Africa’s pressing needs while supporting the African people in their quest for democracy and human rights.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, State Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Civilian governance in Pakistan has never lasted longer than eleven years. 2019 is the eleventh year since General Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency and fears of a coup may exist, but one is not probable—at least not in the near-term future. In fact, two recent Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS)—Generals Kayani and Raheel in 2009 and 2014, respectively—considered taking, but decided not to take, direct control of the government. These decisions demonstrate that military rule is no longer necessary because the Army has already attained its major goals of de facto control of the country’s nuclear and missile programs, key foreign relationships, the military budget, and national security decision-making. In effect, the military has achieved what I have previously termed a “coup-less coup.” Instead of the traditionally fraught civil-military relationship, it seems that, for the first time in Pakistan’s turbulent history, the government and military agree on the three major issues facing Pakistan: domestic politics, the economy, and India. However, key variables, such as economic stability, could quickly change the course of this relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Governance, Conflict, Civilians, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For decades, China has engaged in a fervent game of “catch-up” with U.S. military capabilities. This effort, which has ballooned China’s defense spending to 620 percent of its 1990 level, is beginning to bear real fruit. While still far from achieving military parity, China’s military technology and doctrine are quickly coalescing into a coherent form of warfare, tailored to overpowering the U.S. military in a short, sharp conflict in the Eastern Pacific. This strategy of “informationized” warfare focuses first on eroding U.S. situational awareness, communications, and precision targeting capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending, Conflict, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeff Bachman
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Transnational solidarity movements have typically flowed from a central point located in the West, particularly in the United States, to the East and the Global South. Shadi Mokhtari describes this phenomenon as the “traditional West-to-East flow of human rights mobilizations and discourses.” Viewed individually, this phenomenon is not problematic in all cases. However, as Mokhtari argues, this one-directional flow of human rights politics precludes non-Western non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from weighing in on human rights violations committed in the United States. Human rights violations in the United States are typically experienced by marginalized communities, from the mass incarceration and disenfranchisement of African-Americans to the detention and ill-treatment of immigrants, migrants, and refugees. For a truly global human rights movement to emerge—one that is not grounded in Western paternalism and perceived moral superiority—this must change.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Immigration, Refugees, NGOs, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. Carrier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Big Tech is in the news. At the center of our political and economic dialogue is the effect that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have on our lives and what, if anything, governments should do about it. In this article, I explain how Big Tech has come under scrutiny, the antitrust implications of the industry’s behavior, and the potential remedy of breaking up the companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology, Regulation, Internet, Social Media, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Maggie Brady
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity, a book sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and boasting fifteen international authors, describes alcohol policies as authoritative decisions made by government or non-government groups designed to minimize or prevent the adverse consequences of alcohol consumption. This compilation of high-quality research and advice, in addition to the WHO’s other channels of communication, provides a blueprint for action for WHO member states designed to help governments around the world make national policies. This is necessary because many countries have no clear alcohol policies at all. Uganda, for example, has not reviewed its liquor laws since the 1960s, and China has no systematic data collection, legally enforceable drinking age, nor regulation over sales, despite rising alcohol consumption.
  • Topic: Health, World Health Organization, Governance, Culture, Public Policy, Indigenous, Alcohol
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Sujata Ashwarya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: Despite substantial efforts and investments in rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country is still struggling to deliver on public services. Years of destruction in conflict, as well as alleged mismanagement and neglect, have taken a heavy toll on the country’s power infrastructure. Severe power cuts and rolling blackouts are endemic in Iraq today. Between 2014 and 2018, Islamic State terrorism inflicted billions of dollars in damage on the already dilapidated electricity infrastructure, causing a cumulative potential and actual loss of a whopping 7GW in generation and transmission capacities.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Business , Conflict, Services, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
  • Topic: United Nations, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: This year the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations. But celebrations recognizing this historical landmark will occur at a time when the entire post-1945 structure of human rights, humanitarianism and multilateral diplomacy are under threat. Not since the UN was first formed have so many people been displaced by persecution, conflict and war. Not since the peak of the Cold War has the UN Security Council appeared so bitterly divided and incapable of decisive action. And as a new decade begins, there are renewed threats to international peace and security, and fresh assaults on human dignity.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Social Movement, Refugees, Syrian War, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Yemen, United Nations, Syria, Chile, Myanmar, Global Focus, Xinjiang
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: A letter to the UN Human Rights Council from a number of NGOs (African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS); AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network); Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Center for Reproductive Rights; Central African Network of Human Rights Defenders (REDHAC) CIVICUS; Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan; Crown The Woman – South Sudan; DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project); Dominicans for Justice and Peace; Geneva for Human Rights / Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme; Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P); Human Rights Watch; International Commission of Jurists; FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights); International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR); International Service for Human Rights; Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada; Legal Action Worldwide (LAW); National Alliance for Women Lawyers – South Sudan; Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN); South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN); World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, South Sudan
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 49 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Veronica Mihalache
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: This paper brings into discussion a concept that has not yet been distinctively and uniquely defined but which, at the same time, can be considered a classical one, thanks to the establishment of the theoretical basis of the social frameworks of memory in 1925 by the sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. Basically, any past memory reaches the fields of human memory causing a process of perpetual transformation. The social frameworks of memory are pieces of collective memory, past memories that are dominant and persistent in time, which offer explicit historical and social coordinates that lead to the interpretation of the past and the orientation of present values. Both public and collective environments offer the individual social and historical coordinates as well as a certain orientation of these values, an implicit ideology, so that the individual is influenced, and in time, even shaped by these coordinates and values that are implicitly transmitted by the social fields of memory.
  • Topic: Sociology, Memory, Identities, Values
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ieva Gajauskaite
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: Lithuania is a small state by objective features (population, territory, GDP) and subjective ones (geopolitical position, resilience from external security threats, national identity). The goal of this research is to define the main roles of Lithuania, which are relevant to the Lithuanian foreign policy decision-making process nowadays. Those roles are the structure for Lithuania’s new President Gitanas Nausėda. While during his presidency he will have the possibility to modify them, for now for the roles formed and enacted over the last ten years serve as the limits of the change of the policy in the Euro-Atlantic area. The main assumption regarding the roles of Lithuania in the Euro-Atlantic area is that policymakers emphasize the smallness of the state. Accordingly, being a small state is translated to a set of expected and appropriate behavior. Therefore, the classical definition of smallness suggests that Lithuania’s roles should include the strategies of hiding and appeal to democratic values. In order to deny or confirm the assumptions, the research includes the definition of small states, an analysis of small state foreign policy strategies, the main thesis of the Role theory, the theoretical basis of subjective smallness concept, and discussion of Lithuania’s roles in the Euro-Atlantic area, using an interpretive methodology of Social constructivism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Small states, Constructivism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lithuania, Baltic States
  • Author: Elena V. Baraban
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: In this paper I examine two popular Russian television series: the historical drama The Demon of the Revolution, or Parvus’s Memorandum (Demon revoliutsii, ili Memorandum Parvusa, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko, 2017) and the biopic Trotsky (Trotskii, dirs. Alexander Kott and Konstantin Statskii, 2017). These mini-series were released on Russia’s main television channels on the occasion of the centenary of the October Revolution. Given their salience amidst otherwise subdued commemoration of the Revolution’s centenary in Russia, it is important to analyze these films in the current ideological and political context. What do they tell us about present-day Russia? What is their cultural significance? In what way does the negative depiction of the Revolution and its leaders in The Demon and Trotsky relate to the Russian authorities’ ideology concerning national unity and the nation’s steady development? This discussion is especially pertinent for understanding how the creation and circulation of such narratives shape the public opinion in today’s Russia. This, in turn, helps to understand current trends in the relation between power and culture.
  • Topic: History, Ideology, Revolution, Lenin, Trotsky
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Adrian Popa, Cristian Barna
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: Russia’s recent buildup of A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) forces in Crimea and Kaliningrad, coupled with its increasingly confronting rhetoric in the Black and Baltic Seas, pose a serious challenge for the NATO’s Eastern flank countries. While the mare sui generis status of the Black Sea might be altered under the expected inauguration of Canal Istanbul in 2023 as it would probably require the revision of the Montreux Convention, the mare liberum status of the Baltic Sea might also be questioned as Russia contests NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in this region. Facing this challenging geostrategic context, Pilsudski’s ideas of Intermarium seem to have revived within the Central and Eastern European countries under modern interfaces such as the Bucharest Nine and the Three Seas Initiative. This paper proposes a comparative analysis between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea in terms of their newly-emerged geostrategic context, discusses the feasibility of the recent endeavours to promote cooperation within the Central and Eastern European countries and not ultimately, highlights the utility of a regional military alliance in support of NATO.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Crimea, Baltic Sea, Baltic States
  • Author: Weronika Michalak, Dr hab. Zbigniew Karaczun
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The phenomenon of climate change, observed for years and constantly intensifying, has had a negative impact on health, significantly deteriorating the quality of life of people in many regions of the world, including Poland. Already now we are dealing with increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena; hurricanes, storms and increasingly longer heat waves no longer surprise us. Unfortunately, this is merely the beginning of the negative effects of climate change. Others will come before long. In the coming years, many other new threats will be observed, such as flooding of ocean islands, desertification of areas exposed to water scarcity or serious loss of biodiversity, which will translate into food security. Unfortunately, it does not end there.1 The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiation from the Earth’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. We can differentiate short-term solar radiation (0.15-4.0 nm) and long-term radiation. Thermal radiation escapes into the cosmic sphere and heat radiation returns to the ground, being stopped by a layer of GHG – greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, water vapor etc.), which warm up Earth’s athmosphere to a dangerous level – even a 1°C degree increase (in comparison to pre-industrial level, when emissions stared to rise) in the average world temperature can be detrimental to human health and change the conditions of life on this planet (Figure 1). However, we currently face a risk of global warming even up to 3°C degrees, unless GHG emissions are significantly reduced. Any further rise of the global temperature will have deteriorating impact on people and whole humanity, as well as staying at the current level of emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Food, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Global Focus
  • Author: Alaa Tartir
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Palestinian political leadership’s obsession with the idea of statehood as a means to realise self-determination and freedom has proved to be detrimental to the struggle of decolonising Palestine. By prioritising “statehood under colonialism” instead of focusing on decolonising Palestine first and then engaging in state formation, the Palestinian leadership – under pressure from regional and international actors – disempowered the people and empowered security structures which ultimately serve the colonial condition.
  • Topic: State Formation, Colonialism, Decolonization, Repression
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Intissar Kherigi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: An account of the Arab uprisings of the last decade would be incomplete without an understanding of regional inequalities. While each country’s protests were driven by a distinct combination of grievances, a common factor has been the marginalisation of “peripheries”. The Sidi Bouzid region of Tunisia from which the Arab Spring started is a region rich in agricultural resources yet poor in infrastructure and economic opportunities. Its connection rate to running water is half the national average. A similar story can be seen across the flashpoints of unrest in the Arab world, a story of widening urban-rural divides, uneven regional development and political and economic exclusion of entire regions. Can decentralisation address these grievances? Since the 1980s, decentralisation has been championed as a driver for both democratisation and development, promising to empower regions, granting them political representation and enabling them to create their own economic strategies. However, a key fear among many, from politicians and bureaucrats to ordinary citizens, is that decentralisation is a means for the central state to withdraw from its traditional functions and transfer responsibility for service provision to under-resourced and over-burdened local government. Yet, the demands for freedom, dignity and social justice voiced by the Arab uprisings require the central state to be more present in peripheries, not less. Can decentralisation help achieve greater local development in peripheral regions without allowing the central state to withdraw from its obligations to citizens? Is it even possible to envisage new forms of local development within the framework of highly centralised Arab states? How can Arab states reconfigure their relations with local communities in the context of severe political and economic crises? This article explores these questions in the Tunisian context, where a major decentralisation process is taking place in response to demands for inclusion and development. It argues that in order to produce new modes of local development in peripheries, central state institutions need to fundamentally reform the way they function.
  • Topic: Inequality, Arab Spring, Decentralization , Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Dina Wahba
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In my visit to Egypt in late March 2018, two things were happening simultaneously: the demolition of Maspero Triangle, the neighbourhood I have been working on for my case study, and the re-election of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for his second term. There was a big campaign banner, one of many engulfing Cairo, with El Sisi’s face and the slogan “You are the hope”. This banner on 6th of October bridge was overlooking the neighbourhood as the bulldozers were hard at work demolishing what was for years the homes of over 4000 families spanning generations. I was in a taxi trying inconspicuously to take pictures of the banner and wondering what my interlocutors would say when I ask them about how they view this promise of hope overlooking the destruction of their homes. I was also marvelling at the almost nonsensical sequence of events. In 2011 Maspero was one of the most militant neighbourhoods, among many in downtown and old Cairo (Ismail 2013), that defended the occupation of Tahrir Square. As it was adjacent to Tahrir, it played a crucial role in sustaining the square during the first 18 days of the uprising. Seven years after the revolution, the neighbourhood was faced with complete erasure. How did we get here? I argue for the productivity of looking at Egyptian politics through the lens of affect as a possible way to answer this question. As Laszczkowski and Reeves argue in their edited book Affective States (2017) “Affect is at the heart of those moments when the political catches us off guard or when it leaves us feeling catatonically suspended, wondering where we are, how we even go there, and when this became so ordinary”. In this paper, I examine one such moment: the demolition of Maspero neighbourhood that coincided with the re-election of Abd El Fattah El Sisi in early 2018. I investigate state-society relations and the shifts throughout those moments by looking at how one neighbourhood negotiated their survival that culminated in their removal. Much like the wider socio-political context in Egypt and the story of the Egyptian revolution itself, Maspero is a story of a negotiated failure. A youth-led movement that demanded basic rights, exhausted various political tactics to lobby the government and failed the bigger fight, but scored some victories, such as the ability of some 900 families to come back to Maspero after the development project is over. I argue that Maspero can uncover much about the wider political tribulations since 2011. The case offers a lens through which we can see political openings and opportunities, clampdowns and closures as well as the current regime’s agenda for ensuring that what happened on 25 January 2011 does not happen again. I claim that one of the tactics of the regime is to systematically deconstruct the politics of the urban subaltern that played a major role in the revolution (Ismail 2013) through urban reconfiguration as well as new and old methods of affective co-optation and coercion. In her analysis of state-society relations, Cilja Harders argues that “political science tends to privilege macro-level perspectives” rendering the urban subaltern as only passive subjects of political transformations (Harders 2003). I argue that this has not changed in analysing the aftermath of the revolution. Few studies discussed the role of the urban poor in the revolution; however, many scholars neglected the politicisation of the urban subaltern when analysing transformation (or lack thereof) in Egyptian politics in the last few years. After eight years, the situation seems bleak and the task futile. To argue for any kind of change, let alone transformation, one must be blind to the strong backlash against any attempt to capitalise on the temporary gains of the revolution. The only story left to be told seems to be one of failure. The utter failure of a reformist movement to impose even partially its agenda for change (Bayat 2017). However, the case of Maspero neighbourhood and its youth alliance allow me to trace the revolution back into the everyday politics of citizens in a crushing struggle with the regime to examine whether the revolution disrupted informal traditional ways of doing politics. Rather than examine radical or even reformist regime or legal changes in national politics, I am interested in informal politics and its disruption. “It is in the local scale that power relations become tangible and abstract concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘politics’ observable” (Hoffmann, Bouziane & Harders 2013, 3). Building on the work of scholars of everyday politics, street politics and politics from below, I focus, therefore, on the street and, more specifically, Maspero, a neighbourhood adjacent to Tahrir Square that lived the revolution with all its tribulations, a neighbourhood that affected and was affected by the revolution. I find Salwa Ismail’s work on the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution productive in unpacking and tracing the “everyday” in the Egyptian revolution. “The infrastructures of mobilisation and protest lay in the microprocesses of everyday life at the quarter level, in their forms of governance and in the structure of feelings that developed in relation to state government” (Ismail 2012, 450). Ismail’s argument highlights the quarters or neighbourhoods as spatial political laboratories where the urban subaltern, through rigorous negotiations and “every day” encounters with the different arms of the state, accumulates knowledge about modes of governance and how to resist them. This was obvious in the role that the urban subaltern played in the revolution and was reflected in the narratives of my interlocutors and highlighted in some of the scholar’s accounts of the revolution. In Ismail’s (2012) account of the “backstreets of Tahrir”, she narrates several important “battles” in informal neighbourhoods that she believes were vital to the success of the revolution. These “battles” manifest the moment of convergence between locally grounded grievances and national revolutionary politics. “The account of the battles serves to draw attention to the place of popular quarters in the geography of resistance, and to the spatial inscription of popular modes of activism”. (Ismail 2012, 446) The importance of Ismail’s account is in linking popular resistance to the spatial characteristics of the quarter, which brings up the question of what will happen to popular resistance when the neighbourhood is gone. I argue that the removal of entire neighbourhoods has a political purpose, that of dismantling the political laboratories and crushing street politics. In discussing the battles in Tahrir, Bulaq Abu Al-Ila features prominently in sheltering activists, defending the occupation of the square and engaging in prolonged street fights that exhausted the police and kept it from reclaiming the square. Ismail (2012, 448) links the neighbourhood’s repertoire of contention to a history of patriotism that goes back to the resistance of the French colonial conquest, again highlighting a spatially bounded accumulation of generational knowledge and affective register of popular resistance. The aim of my endeavour is not just to highlight the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution and the subsequent politicisation and depoliticization and what one may learn from it. It is also to link this to what the state has been learning about countering any possible future mobilisation in order to foresee state strategies of radically altering the “every day” modes of governance and with it modes of resistance and to connect this to the urgency of urban restructuring processes happening in Cairo on an unprecedented scale since the 1990s. Asef Bayat (2012) explores the politics of the urban subaltern in “neoliberal cities” in an authoritarian regime. Bayat offers the concept of “social non-movements” to analyse street politics (2012, 119). According to him, the streets are vital to the urban subaltern: he writes that “[t]he centrality of streets goes beyond merely the expression of contention. Rather, streets may actually serve as an indispensable asset/capital for them to subsist and reproduce economic as well as cultural life” (2012, 119). Bayat describes the ongoing conflict over the public space between the state and the urban subaltern as “street politics” (Bayat 2009). These ongoing processes consequently create the “political street”, hence, politicising ordinary citizens through their struggles over urban space. Some of the questions that arise here and reflect the limitations of Bayat’s arguments in this point of history relate to what happens to “street politics” when the urban subaltern loses the “political street”. Reflecting on the case of Maspero neighbourhood, what happens to the politicisation and cultural and economic appropriation when they are relocated to Asmarat, a far-off gated community out of central Cairo? What happens to the politics of the urban poor when they lose their “capital”? And, what kind of political and spatial affects are tied to this dispossession? One of the challenges of studying Maspero was to understand the affective attachments that people had to the neighbourhood. Drawing from the literature on street politics and Asef Bayat’s notion of encroachment (2009), I could understand materially the reasons why forcefully displacing people from their homes could be traumatic. However, as I witnessed them mourn the neighbourhood it became clear to me that there are reasons beyond what this literature can offer. Here, affect theories can be helpful. Yael Navaro Yashin calls for “a reconceptualization of the relation between human beings and space” (2012, 16). Yashin critiques what she calls “the social-constructionist imagination” in its focus on conceptualising space only through what humans project on it. Building on Teresa Brennan’s work on the transmission of affect, Yashin argues for affective relationality between humans and their environment. However, she does not take an object-centred approach but combines the human subjective approach with one that explores that “excess” in the environment that she studies through the lens of affect. Yashin’s work on the collision of the phantasmatic and the material is essential in understanding the “affect” of the neighbourhood. According to Yashin, “the make-believe is real” (2012, 10). Reflecting on the case of Maspero, the affective attachments that the inhabitants of the neighbourhood developed was built around the material, the encroachment, and the social networks but moved beyond this. To them, Maspero is their country and their home. Below one of my research interlocutors, a male resident of Maspero in his 30s explains to me the attachment of the people to Maspero Triangle. “We belong to this place; it is part of us, and we are a part of it. This place holds our memories and childhood. This is something that officials never understood. But we felt it. In this place I used to play, when I am upset, I like to sit in this place and talk to my friends. We are attached to this place not just because it is close to our work. We are linked spiritually to this place; our hearts are attached to this place. I do not want to go out. I do not want to live even in Zamalek, which is very close to us. I do not want to live there. We are attached to this place.” Nigel Thrift (2007) argues that for the political importance of studying affect in cities and affective cities to trace how affect and cities interact to produce politics. The interactions between space, bodies and affect are linked to political consequences. Thrift goes further to point to the political engineering of affect in urban everyday life and what might seem to us as aesthetic is politically instrumentalised. This engineering of affect can have various political aims. To erase emotional histories, create new affective registers or mobilise old ones in urban settings through urban restructuring (Thrift 2007, 172). Thus, it is not farfetched to argue that the urban restructuring of cities is linked to eliciting or inhibiting political responses. The massive plan of the Egyptian government to drastically change downtown Cairo, a space that witnessed a revolution has interlinked political and affective goals. It aims at erasing the affective register of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and inhibits the politics of the urban poor.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Revolution, Urban, Youth Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Maspero
  • Author: Alex Walsh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The 2011 Egyptian protests started in earnest nine years ago on National Police Day on 25 January, a holiday that Hosni Mubarak had introduced to commemorate Egyptian police officers killed and wounded by British colonial forces in 1952. Protesters upended the original meaning of the holiday to turn it into a symbol of police brutality and corruption under Mubarak. In the drama of the 18 days that followed, Egypt’s internal security apparatus fought the protesters in the streets, delivering one shocking provocation after another, galvanizing the protest movement and ultimately contributing to the removal of Mubarak. Since 2011, the police and internal security forces of many countries in the Arab world have been at the centre of the conflicts and struggles that shape the region for better and for worse. Recent and ongoing encounters between protestors and police in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan are a stark reminder that the police are more than just a proxy target for a protestation of the state. They are also the object of much anger both as a grouping, and in terms of the concept of policing and social control they embody. The impact of this sustained contestation of police behaviour and doctrine in the region deserves reflection. Has the police and policing changed in the Arab world? And if so, in what ways? This paper maps out some of the main modes in which the police and policing have been contested since 2011, and provides a preliminary assessment of its impact. It argues that mass mobilised contestation has only been successful in the instance where institutional reform followed. It notes that hybridisation of policing – where informal security actors cooperate and challenge formal security actors – has spread in many countries but that the concept of state security – with its emphasis on the state over citizens – continues to prevail across the region. Indeed, almost a decade after that fateful 25 January 2011, many of the aspirations of citizens protesting the police are far from realised, even while there are some promising developments.
  • Topic: Protests, Repression, Police, Police State
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Carmen Geha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Lebanese women have been leaders in the revolution that has shaken Lebanon since October 2019. This paper argues that the next stage will be critical if women want to transform their involvement into equal rights. For them to do so, they need to move beyond informal revolutionary politics to formal electoral and party politics with meaningful and substantive representation.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Feminism, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Nadine Abdalla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Various forms of local activism in Egypt are challenging the shortcomings in local governance and the lack of any developmental urban vision. This paper examines three examples from different neighbourhoods in Giza and Cairo. All three share the goal of resisting exclusionary policies while trying to overcome the absence of political means to register their frustrations given the absence of local councils since 2011.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo, Giza
  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The first reflection about the geopolitical environment that Bulgaria faced after the tectonic systemic shifts in the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century thirty years later is that the efforts of the country to influence the transformation of the Balkans into a regional security community were successful. The second reflection is that Bulgaria was not able to influence effectively a similar development in the Black Sea area. Both the Balkans and the Caspian Sea-Caucasus- Black Sea area were conflictual knots of relations inherited from the Cold War divide. While the traditional European great powers that polarized the Balkan system of international relations pushing the small countries one against the other and the United States had the strategic interest of pacifying the South Eastern region of Europe, the dominating great power in the Black Sea area – Russia, aimed at preserving the opportunities of coming back to the territories that the Soviet Union lost after its collapse by preserving various degrees of conflictness in the neighbouring countries. Depending on the general condition of the Russian economy and state as well as its domestic political status different opportunities were either designed or just used to preserve the profile of Russia of the empire that sooner or later will be back. What are, in this regard, the perceptions in Bulgaria of the annexation of Crimea?
  • Topic: Security, International Security, Geopolitics, Conflict, Empire
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Caspian Sea
  • Author: Defne Günay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: According to the International Panel on Climate Change, climate change will affect the rivers leading to the Mediterranean, desertification will increase, rise in sea level will affect coastal settlements, and crop productivity will decrease in the region. Therefore, climate change is an important issue for the Mediterranean region. The European Union (EU) is a frontrunner in climate change policy, committing itself to a decarbonized economy by 2050. The EU also promotes climate action in the world through its climate diplomacy. Such EU action in promoting the norm of climate action can be explained with reference to EU’s economic interests. In this paper, I analyse whether the EU serves its economic interests by promoting climate action in its neighbourhood policy towards Egypt. Based on documentary analysis, this paper argues that European companies benefitted from the market-based solutions adopted by the Kyoto Protocol in Egypt, exported renewable energy technologies to Egypt and face a level-playing field in terms of regulations promoted for them by the EU in Egypt.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, European Union, Regulation, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Ebru īlter Akarçay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Early studies on presidentialism associated the design with political instability and weak democratic credentials, with deeply divided societies being particularly advised not to craft presidential regimes. Practices of presidentialism around the world later reframed the debate, as the focus shifted to variants of presidentialism. Presidentialism, in all its shades and colors, negates a monolithic set of political outcomes as evidenced by the constant experimentation in Latin America. This study scrutinizes how some reforms in Latin America served to pluralize presidentialism whereas other steps reinforced the opposite results. Lessons can be drawn from the two steps forward and one step back advance of presidentialism in the region. While the changing role of vice presidency, the impact of electoral system reform, and allowing for presidential exit through the intervention of the electorate diffuse power, the growing legislative powers of presidents and flexibilization of term limits dent pluralization.
  • Topic: Reform, Democracy, Political structure, Political stability
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China hits back after NATO calls it a security challenge, dormant Chinese hacking group resumes attacks, and more.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Beijing, Asia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich, James Hackett, Meia Nouwens
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, European governments’ combined defence spending, when measured in constant 2015 US dollar terms, surpassed the level reached in 2009, before the financial and economic crisis led to a series of significant defence-spending cuts. However, a different strategic paradigm – one that Europe is struggling to adjust to and which is once more a concern for European governments – has re-appeared in this past decade: great-power competition. Russia attempted to change international borders in Europe through the use of force in 2014 by annexing Crimea and continues to support an armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s challenge to Euro-Atlantic security exists in multiple dimensions: as both a conventional military and also a hybrid-warfare issue, with Russia working to dislocate existing societal alignments and disrupt political processes in Western states. The poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer (and of his daughter) in the United Kingdom, attributed by the British government to Russia, underlines further how much the character of conflict has changed. How to manage the challenge Russia poses without simply reverting to Cold War logic remains a worrying problem for governments in NATO and the European Union member states. Meanwhile, European security establishments are beginning to recognise the growing political, economic and military influence of a rising China. Although less of an immediate challenge, China’s growth in these areas has possible profound consequences in the long run. Indeed, in December 2019, NATO declared: ‘We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.’2 For the United States, China has already become the pacing military threat. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, released in June 2019, opens with the assertion that ‘the Indo-Pacific is the Department of Defense’s priority theater’. In other words, the European theatre is not. European analysts and officials have begun to wonder whether the US might begin to see Europe through an Asian lens, seeking to generate European commitments to the Indo-Pacific region, or at the very least getting Europeans to take on greater responsibility for their own security and thereby freeing up US resources. Although there will be some elements of the US military presence in Europe that are indispensable to US military action in other regions of the world, that might not be enough to sustain Washington’s firm commitment to European security in the future, regardless of who occupies the White House. Significantly, not even the US has the capability to fight two major wars simultaneously any more, meaning binary choices regarding focus are inevitable. As some observers have argued, Europeans need to urgently assess what Washington’s choices in this regard – and their implications for Europe – might look like. Considering both how to deter Russia and what a European contribution to containing China might entail represents a major challenge for Western European nations, which have relegated defence to a secondary position, as almost a discretionary activity. European states partially demobilised in the 1990s and early 2000s, intellectually and in terms of their force structures, in response to the end of the Cold War. For example, according to IISS data, in 1990 West Germany alone was thought to be able to field 215 combat battalions and the UK 94. Today it is a fraction of that. However, security challenges relating to regional instability, crisis management and transnational terrorism – which all dominated the previous two decades – have not disappeared. On the contrary, all these still demand attention and the investment of European resources. While there is a growing recognition among Europe’s analytical community, and some governments, that things cannot simply continue as before in terms of regional security and defence, coherence and resolve among core actors in the Euro-Atlantic sphere have weakened. The US administration has intensified its call for better transatlantic burden sharing, at the same time displaying a cavalier attitude to the collective-defence commitment enshrined in NATO. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed severe doubts about the viability of NATO’s collective-defence mission. In addition, the British decision to leave the European Union in 2020 implies that the EU has lost one of its most militarily experienced and one of its most capable member states. There is a tendency among many observers and some politicians to argue that European NATO and EU member states need to clarify the political dimension of their defence ambition, via-à-vis greater strategic autonomy, before resolving the problem of how to meet this ambition militarily, at what cost and in what time frame. Indeed, at times, the debate about European strategic autonomy seems to focus more on the degree of independence from the US that its various proponents would like to achieve and less on the military requirement that autonomy is meant to respond to. It is now widely accepted across Europe that Europeans need ‘to do more’ for their own security and defence. Most of the intellectual energy allocated to this aspiration is spent on achieving better coordination – and even a level of integration – among European armed forces. This is useful, but only if it is directed at building capability to provide for the defence of Europe. The existing military capabilities of the European NATO member states fall short when compared to the force requirements generated by the political–military level of ambition as defined by NATO, or for that matter the EU.5 However, this should not be an excuse to lower the level of ambition, nor should the assumption that Europeans are unable to defend themselves be declared an inevitability. Defence output is the result of political, financial and military choices by governments. To think systematically about the challenge of providing capabilities that can meet Europe’s emerging military requirements, The International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Hanns Seidel Foundation convened a group of thinkers and practitioners from Germany and the UK. The group took seriously the US assertion that Europe needs to be able to provide for its own defence. If Europeans can achieve this, they will be valuable partners to the US in upholding and strengthening the liberal international order on which Euro-Atlantic prosperity and security depend. Meeting twice in 2019, the group discussed threat assessments, debated European capability gaps and scoped potential approaches to addressing them. The following pages draw on the group’s deliberations but do not represent a consensus position.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Ulaş Bayraktar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report has been produced in the framework of the Empowering Civil Society for a More Democratic Local Governance Project funded by the scope of Republic of Turkey and European Union supported Partnerships and Networks Grant Program. TESEV is the lead, Şişli Municipality and Association of Union of Citizen Assemblies are the co-applicants, and the Checks and Balances Network is the associate of the project. The transition from the classical management approach to the governance approach, in which private sector and non-governmental organisations take on roles in determining public policies, has been the dominant discourse of politics for more than a quarter century. Instead of a hierarchical and monolithic bureaucratic process, this approach envisions a management triangle that engages other stakeholders. However, these governance principles have not been fully put into practice in Turkey and those that have been implemented have not yielded the expected results. The present study aims to test these statements at the level of local governments and politics. Its purpose is also to open up a discussion based on the findings of interviews and roundtables conducted in ten cities in Turkey and of a comprehensive survey administered to a nationally representative sample of civil society organisations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Shamindra Nath Roy, Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India is one of the lowest globally in terms of female labour force participation (FLFP), ranking only better than Pakistan in South Asia. While the decline in FLFP in rural areas is starkly visible, the urban FLFP has been consistently low since the 1980s despite higher economic growth and increasing level of education among females. The economic cost of such low FLFP (16.8%) is huge and if, for instance, it could be raised to the level of FLFP in China (61.5%), it has the potential to raise India’s GDP up to 27%. This paper attempts to investigate the structural deficiencies behind this consistently low urban FLFP through a variety of perspectives, ranging from measuring the complexity of women’s work to the implications of caste, location and family structure. It finds factors like presence of female-friendly industries, provision of regular salaried jobs and policies that cater to women’s needs to work near home like availability of part-time work, can improve the situation, though prejudices arising from patriarchy require to be addressed to make these measures truly transformative and not palliative.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Inequality, Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Meghna Paul, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Poshan Abhiyaan earlier known as the National Nutrition Mission is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship scheme that aims to holistically address the prevalence of malnutrition in India through the use of technology, convergence, behavioural change, training, and capacity building. This brief uses government data to report on the following: Trends in GoI allocations, releases and expenditures; Trends in expenditure of selected individual components of Poshan Abhiyaan; Trends in participation by gender and activities conducted under the Mission.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Budget, Food Security, Economy, Capacity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Snehal Shah, Avani Kapur, Abhishek Andasu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: he National Health Mission (NHM) is Government of India’s (GoI’s) largest public health programme. It consists of two sub-missions: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). Using government data, this brief reports on: GoI allocations and releases; Incentives and penalties to states under conditionality framework; NHM approvals and expenditures as per programmatic components; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Social Policy, Public Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin or SBM-G is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural sanitation programme run by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MJS). Using government data, this brief reports on trends for SBM-G along the following parameters: Allocations and expenditures; Physical progress of toilets built; Expenditures incurred under Information, Education, and Communication (IEC); Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities; and Coverage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Infrastructure, Budget, Social Policy, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Tenzin Yangki
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief reports on two schemes: a) The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Government of India’s (GoI’s) maternity benefit scheme aimed at providing partial compensation for wage loss and improving health seeking behaviour of pregnant women and lactating mothers, and b) the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) aimed at incentivising institutional and safe delivery to reduce infant and maternal mortality. Using government data, this brief reports on: Trends in allocations, releases, and utilisation; Coverage and payments; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Women, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ritwik Shukla, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Ayushman Bharat, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) was launched by Government of India (GoI) on 23 September 2018. The programme consists of two initiatives: (1) The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY); and 2) The establishment of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs). Using government data, this brief reports on the following indicators: GoI allocations and releases; Eligibility and claims under PMJAY; and Number of operational HWCs and diseases screened.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Ritwik Shukla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Integrated Child Development Services is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme aimed at providing basic education, health, and nutrition services for early childhood development. This brief uses government data to analyse ICDS performance along the following parameters: Allocations, releases, and expenditures, Component-wise trends, Human and physical resources, Coverage, and Malnutrition status.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Budget, Children, Food Security, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Vastav Irava, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is an income support scheme by the Government of India (GoI) in which small and marginal farmers get up to Rs 6,000 per year to supplement their financial needs. Using government data, this brief reports on trends in PM-KISAN along the following parameters: Trends in allocations and releases; Receipt of funds by beneficiaries; Status of coverage.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Budget, Social Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Vastav Irava
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In Financial Year (FY) 2019-20, the National Rural Drinking Water Mission (NRDWM) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). It is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural drinking water programme to provide functional tap connections to every household for drinking, cooking, and other domestic needs on a sustainable basis. Using government data, this brief reports on: Overall GoI allocations; Trends in releases and expenditures; Component-wise trends; and Progress on coverage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Infrastructure, Budget, Finance, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Meghna Paul
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is a flagship scheme of the Government of India (GoI) which aims to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household that demands work. Using government reported data, this brief reports on: Trends in GoI allocations and releases and total expenditures; Trends in employment provided and wages paid; Physical assets created and status of work completion.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Rural, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Samagra Shiksha – An Integrated Scheme for School Education is Government of India’s (GoI’s) school education programme extending from pre-school to senior secondary classes. The scheme was launched in April 2018 to ensure equitable and inclusive quality education. The three erstwhile schemes brought under Samagra Shiksha are: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA); Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA); and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Topic: Education, Government, Budget, Children, Youth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Sharad Pandey, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The National Programme of Mid-Day Meals in School (MDM) scheme is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship school-based feeding programme aimed at improving the nutritional status of students and promoting the universalisation of elementary education. Using government data, this brief reports on trends for MDM performance along the following parameters: Overall trends in allocations, releases and expenditures; Expenditure performance on key MDM components such as food grains, cooking costs, honorarium to cook- cum-helper (CCH), traveling assistance and monitoring, management and evaluation; Progress on construction of kitchen-cum-stores, and; Coverage as indicated through the provision of meals to students.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Children, Food Security, Youth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) is the Government of India’s (GoI) flagship programme targeting universal sanitation coverage in urban areas. Using government data, this brief reports on: Allocations, releases, and expenditures; Progress on toilets built; Progress on Solid Waste Management (SWM); Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, and; ODF+, ODF++ and garbage free cities.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Child Protection Services is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme to provide preventive and statutory care, and rehabilitation services to children in need of care and protection and those in conflict with the law as defined under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. This brief uses government data to analyse CPS performance along the following parameters: Trends in overall GoI allocations, releases and expenditures; State wise GoI releases and expenditures; Child Care Institutes (CCIs) and beneficiaries; Registered cases of crimes against children.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Children, Legislation, Justice
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aditya Bhol, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This report aims to explore the nuances of the prevalence of on-site sanitation systems in large and dense villages of India. Villages which have a population of 1000 persons or more and a density of greater than or equal to 400 persons per square kilometre were classified as large and dense villages in earlier research – Towards a New Research and Policy Paradigm: An Analysis of the Sanitation Situation in Large Dense Villages. Stimulated by the findings revealing a preferential pattern for selection of on-site sanitation systems in these settlements, a primary household survey was conducted in large and dense villages from five Indian states - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The survey also included qualitative components – stakeholder interviews and transect walks. In this study the survey data has been canvassed to explore the preference patterns of households and the factors guiding them in their decision making for the construction and maintenance of on-site sanitation systems. We find that these large and dense villages exhibit a higher preference for septic tanks over pits in all states except West Bengal where pits are preferred. A majority of households have reported their toilets were private constructions. Broad findings and trends emerging from the survey were discussed in details in the report – Sanitation in Large and Dense Villages of India: The Last Mile and Beyond. In this report we discuss targeted questions on the preference patterns for on-site containment systems that are manifested not only by the choices of building septic tanks or pits but also through the large variations in their design and sizes which are influenced by socio-economic, technical and behavioural factors. We also find specific trends in deviations from prescribed design and demand for desludging services by households which are influenced by internal factors such as their social status and economic well-being and by external factors such as availability of mechanised operators or continued reliance on manual cleaning and their costs which cumulatively constitute the supply side of sanitation services.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The United Nations and its partner agencies have pledged to focus on the problem and eradication of early, child, and forced marriage. On November 12, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on child, early, and forced marriage. As part of this resolution, the General Assembly highlighted the need for better data collection and disaggregation of that data for improved analysis and learning. This report is a comprehensive and user-friendly concept note for a database on child marriage in humanitarian settings, a first step in eradicating the problem. The report identifies the existing knowledge and data on child marriage in humanitarian settings, gaps in that evidence base, and provides recommendations for moving forward with the creation of a comprehensive database. The authors interviewed key stakeholders on child marriage across program, policy, and academia in combination with a comprehensive literature review. The report was commissioned and funded by Save the Children U.S.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Children, Basic Data, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Despite humanitarian information being more available than ever, confusion persists as to what the information means, how to analyze it and turn it into actionable evidence, and how to ensure that evidence-based actions are actually undertaken on a timely basis. The key points of confusion and issues include: The difference between current status information, projections of populations in need, and early warning of threats or hazards. The difference between “hard” numbers (implying things that have already happened and can be counted) versus probabilistic information (implying things that are likely, but not certain, to happen). Linkages, or the lack thereof, between information systems and policy or programmatic action to anticipate, mitigate, or respond to a shock or worsening situation. Despite the fact that conflict is the most common factor driving extreme humanitarian crises, conflict analysis is the weakest part of early warning and information systems. The information systems do not (or minimally) engage with the communities at risk of shocks or resulting humanitarian crises. This paper reviews these and a number of additional issues with contemporary humanitarian information and early warning systems. While the cases focus on the East Africa region, they have broader implications as well.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Food, Famine, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: In Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mozambique and Somalia
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Cameroon, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Tchinda Kamdem Eric Joel, Kamdem Cyrille Bergaly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Cameroonian farmers face two tenure systems: a modern regime and a customary regime. These two regimes are perpetually confronting each other, putting farmers in a total uncertainty as to the regime to adopt to ensure the sustainability of their ventures. This study aims to assess the influence of land tenure security on agricultural productivity through credit access. To achieve this goal, a two-stage sampling technique was applied to data from the third Cameroon Household Survey (ECAM 3). The number of farmers selected for the analysis was 602. These data were analysed using descriptive and three-step recursive regression models. The results of the analysis reveal that land tenure security improves agricultural productivity through the credit access it allows. A proof of the robustness of this result has been provided through discussion of the effects of land tenure security in different agro-ecological zones and through a distinction between cash crops and food crops. The overall results confirm that land tenure security positively and significantly influences agricultural productivity. The regression has also shown that the size of the farm defined in one way or another, the perception of farmers on their level of land tenure security and therefore indicates the intensity with which land tenure security influences agricultural productivity. The recorded productivity differential indicates that smallholder farmers, because they keep small farms, feel safer and produce more than those who keep medium-sized farms. The results also show that land tenure security significantly improves the value of production per hectare of food products that are globally imported into Cameroon. Therefore, we recommend that the public authorities promote land tenure security by reinforcing the unassailable and irrevocable nature of land title, but also by easing the conditions of access to it.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Economic structure, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Lewis Landry Gakpa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to examine the consequences of interaction between political instability and foreign direct investment (FDI) on economic growth of 31 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to analyse one of the channels through which political instability affects economic growth. To achieve this objective, the study relies on a dynamic panel procedure and the Three Stage Least Squares Method to estimate a model of simultaneous equations over the period 1984-2015. The empirical results indicate that political instability affects economic growth directly and indirectly through its impact on foreign direct investment. We also highlight the simultaneous character of the relationship between political instability and the level of economic development in Sub-Saharan African countries. The results of the study then corroborate the idea that political instability hinders growth and thus calls for measures to improve the quality of political climate, which is one of the conditions necessary for a country’s economy to benefit from foreign direct investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Political stability, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana
  • Author: Kouassi Yeboua
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: For a long time, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries have been experiencing persistently high budget and current deficits. This study was undertaken to empirically test the “Twin Deficits Hypothesis” in these countries. The analysis was conducted within the framework of the Panel Vector autoregressive (VAR) approach over the period 1975–2013. In contrast to the conventional view which claims a one-way relationship between budget and current account deficits, the results show that budget deficits lead to a deterioration in the current account balance, and vice versa (bilateral relationship). We also found that budget deficits have an impact on current account balance mainly through imports.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Budget, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This study sets out to estimate the determinants of household economic wellbeing and to evaluate the relative contributions of regressed-income sources in explaining measured inequality. In particular, a regression-based decomposition approach informed by the Shapley value, the instrumental variables econometric method, and the 2007 Cameroon household consumption survey, was used. This approach provides a flexible way to accommodate variables in a multivariate context. The results indicate that the household stock of education, age, credit, being bilingual, radio and electricity influence wellbeing positively, while rural, land and dependency had a negative impact on wellbeing. Results also show that rural, credit, bilingualism, education, age, dependency and land, in that order, are the main contributors to measured income inequality, meanwhile, the constant term, media and electricity are inequality reducing. These findings have policy implications for the ongoing drive to scale down both inequality and poverty in Cameroon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Inequality, Economic Inequality, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Ebaidalla M. Ebaidalla
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite the importance of non-farm income in the livelihood of the rural population in Sudan, information available on its size and determinants is scanty. This study examined the patterns and determinants of decisions to participate in non-farm activities in rural Sudan. It also investigates whether the determinants of participation in non-farm activities vary across agriculture sub-sectors and income groups as well as among males and females. The data for this study was sourced from the Sudanese National Baseline Household Survey (NBHS) conducted by Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009. The results show that non-farm income is a crucial source of livelihood, contributing about 43% to household income in rural Sudan. The results of multinomial logit and probit estimation methods indicate that educational level, mean of transportation, lack of land and lack of access to formal credit are the most significant factors that push rural farmers to participate in non-farm activities. Surprisingly, the effect of household income was positive and significant, implying that individuals from rich households have higher opportunity to engage in non-farm activities compared to their poor counterparts. Moreover, the analysis revealed some symptoms of gender and location disparities in the effect of factors that influence participation in non-farm activities. The study concluded with some recommendations that aim to enhance the engagement in non-farm activities as an important diversification strategy to complement the role of the agriculture sector in improving rural economy in Sudan.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Rural
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Reuben Adeolu Alabi, Oshobugie Ojor Adams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This study examined the impacts of the e-wallet fertilizer subsidy scheme on quantity of fertilizer use, crop output and yield in Nigeria. The study made use of the Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS)-Panel Datasets of 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 which contain 5,000 farming households in each of the panel. We applied relevant evaluation techniques to analyse the data. The results of the impact analysis demonstrate that the scheme has generally increased the yield, crop output and quantity of fertilizer purchase of the participating farmers by 38%, 47%, and 16%, respectively. The study concludes that increased productivity, which the scheme engenders, can help to reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Provision of rural infrastructure, such as good road network, accessibility to mobile phones, radio, etc., will increase accessibility of the small-scale farmers to the scheme or any other similar agricultural schemes in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Income Inequality, Economic growth, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, Niger
  • Author: Yahya Abou Ly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The empirical context of this research is in an environment where malnutrition is a real public health concern. The objective of this study was to identify the determinants of the nutritional state of children under the age of five years in Mauritania. Using data obtained from multiple indicators cluster surveys (MICS) in Mauritania in 2007 and 2015, we undertook fixed-effects clusters techniques to control for unobserved heterogeneity. The empirical results demonstrate that the age and sex of a child, level of education of the mother, the standards of living of the household, the area of residence, the availability and use of health care services and access to drinking water are all important factors for the good health of children in Mauritania. These findings suggests improvements in nutritional health, for example, by education of girls until completion of secondary school; an improvement in the conditions of households that are headed by women and an expansion in the coverage rate of multi-purpose health centres.
  • Topic: Health, Food, Children, Food Security, Child Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mauritania
  • Author: Dongue Ndongo Patrick Revelli
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Understanding how domestic prices adjust to the exchange rate enables us to anticipate the effects on inflation and monetary policy responses. This study examines the extent of the exchange rate pass-through to the Consumer Price Index in Cameroon and Kenya over the 1991-2013 period. The results of its econometric analysis shows that the degree of the exchange rate pass-through is incomplete and varied between 0.18 and 0.58 over one year in Kenya, while it varied between 0.53 and 0.89 over the same period in Cameroon. For the long term, it was found to be equal to 1.06 in Kenya and to 0.28 in Cameroon. A structural VAR analysis using impulse-response functions supported the results for the short term but found a lower degree of pass-through for the exchange rate shocks: 0.3125 for Kenya and 0.4510 for Cameroon. It follows from these results that the exchange rate movements remain a potentially important source of inflation in the two countries. Variance decomposition shows that the contribution of the exchange rate shocks is modest in the case of Kenya but significant in that of Cameroon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Monetary Policy, Exchange Rate Policy, Economic Policy, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Albert Makochekanwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The main objective of the study was to investigate the impact of policy regulations on investments in mobile telecommunications network infrastructure in all the 15 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The research employed panel data econometrics to achieve its stated objective. Estimated results shows that the coefficient of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is positive and statistically significant, implying that an increase in this variable results in increase in demand and this in turn motivates infrastructure investment in mobile telephone. The coefficient on the previous level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment variable (Invkt-1) was found to be positive and statistically significant. This means that there is a systematic positive association between the previous level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment and the current. The coefficient of the main variable of interest representing mandatory unbundling (Regkt) was found to be positive and statistically significant. This implies that, overall, mandatory unbundling access regulation boost infrastructure investment in mobile telecommunication. Regression estimates shows that the coefficient on one of the variable of interest, political constraint (POLCON) has a negative and statistically significant impact on determining the level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment in SADC countries. Whilst this result is against expectations, one possible explanation may be presence of high level of rent seeking behaviour.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Regulation, Economic growth, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Negou Kamga Vincent de Paul, Nda’chi Deffo Rodrigue
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite free basic vaccines administered by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), there is still a fairly high death rate of children aged 0-5 worldwide due to vaccine-preventable diseases. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region due to low levels of vaccination. This study analyses the effect of birth order on the immunization status of children in Cameroon, considering the contribution of cultural, economic and community factors. To do this, it uses data from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011 produced by the National Institute of Statistics with the support of UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Bank and USAID. The EPI module was administered to 3,350, 2,317, 8,125 and 25,524 children under five in 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011, respectively. The multinomial probit model makes it possible to find that birth order has a negative and highly significant effect on the full and timely immunization of children under five and the impact increases with birth order. Moreover, the impact of birth order increases after adjusting for cultural factors. This increase indicates that, beyond the effect of birth order, cultural factors are at the root of prejudices leading to the abandonment of children. Considering children under two years of age, and vaccines taken during the first four months, the corresponding birth order effect points to the benefits of routine immunization and response campaigns in promoting immunization of children under five.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Nathan Nunn
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: In this brief, I discuss the current state of economic development policy, which tends to focus on interventions, usually funded with foreign aid, that are aimed at fixing deficiencies in developing countries. The general perception is that there are inherent problems with less-developed countries that can be fixed by with the help of the Western world. I discuss evidence that shows that the effects of such ‘help’ can be mixed. While foreign aid can improve things, it can also make things worse. In addition, at the same time that this ‘help’ is being offered, the developed West regularly undertakes actions that are harmful to developing countries. Examples include tariffs, antidumping duties, restrictions on international labor mobility, the use of international power and coercion, and tied-aid used for export promotion. Overall, it is unclear whether interactions with the West are, on the whole, helpful or detrimental to developing countries. We may have our largest and most positive effects on alleviating global poverty if we focus on restraining ourselves from actively harming less-developed countries rather than focusing our efforts on fixing them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Developing World, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Anne C. Schenderlein
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Berghahn Books
  • Abstract: Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, approximately ninety thousand German Jews fled their homeland and settled in the United States, prior to that nation closing its borders to Jewish refugees. And even though many of them wanted little to do with Germany, the circumstances of the Second World War and the postwar era meant that engagement of some kind was unavoidable—whether direct or indirect, initiated within the community itself or by political actors and the broader German public. This book carefully traces these entangled histories on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating the remarkable extent to which German Jews and their former fellow citizens helped to shape developments from the Allied war effort to the course of West German democratization.
  • Topic: Migration, Religion, Refugees, Holocaust, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, North America
  • Author: Heather Grabbe
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This report is a rallying cry for Europeans to pull together and mobilize the EU’s assets to manage the three biggest changes of our times. Each section briefly diagnoses the consequences of climate change, aging populations, and digital revolutions and then explores the role the EU could play in supporting the inevitable transitions. The purpose is not to provide a detailed blueprint for each transition, but rather to launch a new kind of debate about the EU—a debate that does not revolve around how to tweak the current institutions but instead how to address a reordered set of priorities
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ionut Popescu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: FOR MOST OF THE POST–COLD WAR ERA, and some say even as far back as the dawn of the Cold War, America’s grand strategy has been portrayed as having had its theoretical underpinnings in a liberal internationalist understanding of world politics. Washington’s role in the world, the dominant narrative goes, was that of a security and economic guarantor of a “liberal world order.” 1 More often than not, this world order was grounded in a set of rules and institutions that helped advance America’s goals but also generally promoted international peace, stability, and prosperity. In G. John Ikenberry’s words, America was a “liberal Leviathan.”
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christopher Wlezien
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Much research posits a “disconnect” between the public and government. This work focuses primarily on the behavior of politicians and the mismatch between their policy actions and citizens’ preferences. Suzanne Mettler’s book concentrates instead on the public and the degree to which people accurately perceive and appreciate what government does. This book complements her earlier work Submerged State, which delineated how many government policies, such as tax expenditures, are not visible to many citizens, which distorts their views. The Government‐Citizen Disconnect, by contrast, examines how experience with government policies influences what people think.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Bateman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In his treatise on southern politics, V.O. Key Jr. wrote that “in state politics the Democratic party is no party at all but a multiplicity of factions struggling for office. In national politics, on the contrary, the party is the Solid South; it is, or at least has been, the instrument for the conduct of the ‘foreign relations’ of the South with the rest of the nation” (Southern Politics in State and Nation [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949], 315). In an early (and laudatory) review of that book, Richard Hofstadter suggested that Key missed an opportunity to fully consider whether the South had affected national politics in more ways than through the reliable delivery of Democrats to Washington, but he noted that this might require another book (p. 7). David Bateman, Ira Katznelson, and John S. Lapinski have written that book. Southern Nation examines how the South influenced public policy, Congress, and the development of the American state from the close of Reconstruction to the beginning of the New Deal. The authors focus on the region’s role in national politics at a critical juncture when industrialization and a rapidly changing economy required new policy solutions. They show that the white South used this opportunity to rebuild its place in the federal government, secure home rule, and shape the national agenda
  • Topic: Post Colonialism, Race, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: George Hawley
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Survey data consistently show that large swaths of the American electorate favor restrictionist immigration policies. Politicians at the state and national levels regularly campaign on promises to crack down on undocumented immigration and discuss immigrants as a source of crime and a drain on resources. They are often rewarded at the ballot box for doing so. Yet these facts coexist with another trend: relatively few municipal governments pursue restrictionist policies at the local level. In fact, even in places where the GOP dominates, policies that accommodate immigrants are more common than policies designed to drive them away.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: How do international migrants affect their origin countries’ politics? Drawing on evidence from the cases of Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico, Migrants and Political Change in Latin America argues that migrants gain new attitudes and economic resources as a result of experiences in their receiving countries that they then transmit to their origin countries through economic and social remittances and through return migration. Jiménez claims that by transmitting resources and ideas through these three channels, migrants create changes in the politics of their origin countries that they never intended or envisioned. These effects are mediated by local conditions in origin countries such as levels of education and wealth. Moreover, the social networks in which both types of remittances and return migrants are embedded augment their political effects.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David L. Wiltse
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In the study of candidate emergence, the cost term in the utility calculus has been of central concern. In this book, Mary Jo McGowan Shepherd makes a valuable contribution to the study of candidate emergence and campaign finance by considering how legal complexity increases the cost term in the emergence calculus. Grounded in complexity theory, she employs complexity measures of entire sections of state campaign finance laws to test whether candidates are deterred from running for office by the costs incurred in learning and complying with campaign finance law.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kristen Coopie
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In this book, former CNN analyst and current George Mason University professor Bill Schneider offers his take on the causes and implications of the growing partisan divide in the United States. Conflict exists between the “New America,” a product of the 1960s that “celebrates diversity in age, race, sexual orientation, and lifestyles” (p. 11), and the “Old America,” consisting of the “mostly white, mostly male, mostly older, mostly conservative, and mostly religious, and mostly nonurban,” (p. 2) which longs for the days when “the country was whiter, men were in charge, government was smaller, and religion was more influential” (p. 117). This rift is reflected in the parties and politics of the nation (it is easy to see how the “New America” is representative of the Democratic coalition and the “Old America” of the Republican Party), ultimately leading to the populist backlash that elected Donald Trump in 2016
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kenneth Wink
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: FOR DECADES NOW, political scientists, journalists, campaign managers, and pundits have sought to predict the outcomes of elections well in advance of the day the votes are cast. As the ultimate office in the U.S. political system, the presidency has been the focus of much of this activity. Since the late twentieth century, a number of prognosticators in the discipline of political science have used forecasting models to predict presidential elections. These models have become visible in pre‐ and post‐ election coverage, and a sort of competition has emerged to produce the most accurate model whose variables offer the greatest amount of forecasting lead time before the election. Once considered “recreational political science,” forecasting presidential elections has become a cottage industry. Furthermore, the attention paid to the accuracy of these models has led to better explanations of election outcomes and allowed interested persons to see patterns in elections that are stable from year to year and to identify outlier elections and the factors that led to unique election outcomes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kay Lehman Schlozman, Henry E Brady
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Who participates in American democracy? In particular, is it those with high levels of resources who most often vote, protest, contact elected officials, and discuss politics with friends? How unequal is political participation? Political scientists Kay Lehman Schlozman, Henry E. Brady, and Sidney Verba have contributed important answers to these questions over the past few decades. In their first book, Voice and Equality (1995) these scholars traced associations between resource possession and political participation, finding extensive evidence of inequalities in political voice. In their second book, The Unheavenly Chorus (2012), the authors reiterated and updated the analyses of the first. The authors also extended Voice and Equality in a number of ways, primarily by examining organizational-level as well as individual-level participatory inequalities, and by assessing the likely efficacy of various reform strategies.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: F Inglehart
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Consolidating more than four decades of research, Ronald F. Inglehart elaborates on the enlightenment story that reliance on science and technology enables nations to meet the material needs of their populations. To that story he adds that populations, finding their security needs being met, are increasingly abandoning materialist values for post-material values. The meaning of life satisfaction is changing.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victor Asal
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Over the last 20 years, research in the area of terrorism studies has expanded enormously in many directions, including studies focusing on terrorist events as well as on individual behavior and the behavior and characteristics of organizations. One of the topics that has been of great interest to researchers of terrorist organizations is the nature, impact, and cause of terrorist organizational alliances. From Marc Sageman’s groundbreaking book Understanding Terror Networks and a growing body of articles and books, researchers are trying to understand the impact of such connections on terrorist organizations. There is still a lot of research, though, that needs to be done in this area. For example, Sageman’s book focuses more on internal connections and especially on jihadist organizations. Much of the other literature focuses on organizations allying in the same milieu.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Arjan H. Schakel
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The statement that geography matters for politics probably will not be contested by many political scientists. Therefore, it is quite surprising that few studies have systematically explored how the territorial distribution of preferences affects political processes and policy outcomes. This book by Scott Morgenstern is an important landmark study that puts geography high on the research agenda of comparative political science. Three features make this book worthwhile reading for scholars working on the nationalization of elections and parties.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelly Dittmar
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In this book Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt leverage an impressive data collection to make the case that women legislators are more active and more responsive to their constituents than men. Moreover, they offer a theoretical argument to explain why women appear to work harder to meet constituent needs and demands, suggesting that women legislators’ perceptions of their electoral vulnerability—even as incumbents—motivate them to focus their legislative efforts on proving to their constituents that they are worthy of re-election.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matt Grossmann
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Everyday claims that the United States is descending into a culture war of two polarized and irreconcilable parties deserve more scrutiny. Morris P. Fiorina has been at the forefront of assessing and pushing back against this view, especially the blame placed on the American public. Unstable Majorities goes beyond this important myth busting to offer an explanation for contemporary paralysis: many Americans have sorted into two minority parties with distinct issue positions, but both sides have empowered their officials to overreach in office, losing the support of independents in subsequent elections and thus having to share and alternate power.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Teodore Stan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: As the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) foreign ministers gather this week in Washington to mark the 70th anniversary of the most successful military alliance in history, trouble is brewing over Brexit and the rise of populism in the western front and the challenges brought by autocratic leaders on its eastern front. Democratic backsliding, particularly in Turkey, Poland, and Hungary, has painted a bleak picture for the shared values-centered rationale of the alliance. Not unlike its troubled neighbors, Romania also presents its own frailty with regards to the challenged independence of its justice system and its defanged prosecution of high-level corruption.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Romania
  • Author: You Young Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Hearing my grandfather state, "I'm forever grateful to Kim Il-sung," baffled me. His words of gratitude to the first supreme leader and the eternal president of North Korea did not match his heartbreaking tale of defecting to the South during the Korean War. Recalling his stories of hiding in the mountains and his relatives trapped in the isolated dictatorial communist state, I couldn't fathom being grateful for a man who pushed my grandfather to make such a difficult choice when he was only a few years older than I am now.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Perla Issa
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the practices of humanitarian aid distribution from the perspective of aid recipients rather than providers through an immersion in the daily home life of Palestinian residents of Nahr al-Barid refugee camp (north Lebanon) in 2011. It argues that in the name of distributing aid fairly, humanitarian aid providers put in place a pervasive system of surveillance to monitor, evaluate, and compare residents’ misery levels by relying on locally recruited aid workers. This regime of visibility was designed to be one directional; NGOs never disclosed how much aid they had available, nor when or how it would be distributed. The inclusion of local aid workers in this opaque framework turned a process that relied on community and neighborhood ties into an impersonal machine that fostered doubt and suspicion and ultimately hindered the community’s ability to engage in collective political action.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, International Security, International Affairs, Occupation
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Amal Eqeiq
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article explores border crossing and the Palestinian city as a literary metropolis—two major themes in the works of emerging Palestinian novelists in Israel. It looks at the “re-Palestinization” of urban space by writers who belong to a post-Oslo generation of Palestinian intellectuals that left villages and small towns in Israel to go and study, work, and live in the city. What distinguishes the literature of this generation is its negotiation of border crossing in a fragmented geography and its engagement with the city as a space of paradoxical encounter between a national imaginary and a settler-colonial reality. Based on a critical reading of their works, the article argues that Adania Shibli and Ibtisam Azem challenge colonial border discourse, exposing the ongoing Zionist erasure of the Palestinian city and creating a new topography for Palestinian literature. The article also traces the role of these writers in the “twinning” of Haifa and Ramallah starting in the late 1990s, and it examines how this literary and cultural “sisterhood” informs spatial resistance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Nora Parr
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Conceptually linked, noncontiguous, and undeniably national, Ibrahim Nasrallah’s book series Al-milhat al-filastiniyya (The Palestine Comedies) breaks conceptual ground. Told across twelve volumes, the Comedies represents the long-called- for Palestinian national novel, though in unconventional form. The series uses diverse literary devices, including intertextuality and the archetype of the twin, to demonstrate how formal innovations can redirect assumptions about what constitutes not only a national novel, but also a nation. The series reimagines relationships between space, time, and people, giving narrative shape to a community so often imagined as fragments. Abandoning the retrospective prerequisite of bounded sovereign space and homogeneous, linear time, the Comedies imagines a “nation constellation.” A close examination of two novels within the series, A‛ras amna (2004) and Tifl al-mimhat (2000), shows how Palestinian relationships can be imagined outside existing national logics. It reads the constellation as an alternative nation form that can both encompass colonial frameworks and free the delimitation of Palestine from the dominance of power structures that only begin with the nation-state
  • Topic: International Affairs, Power Politics, Linguistics
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Mandy Turner
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Richard Falk’s quest to combine academic scholarship with political activism is witnessed throughout his lifework, but perhaps especially so during his tenure as United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, a position he held from 2008 to 2014. Falk is a vocal critic of Israel’s occupation and a staunch supporter of Palestinian self- determination, positions that have drawn strong condemnation from Israel and its supporters, but praise from Palestinians and their supporters. There is little doubt that Falk’s work has had a huge influence on public debate and activism pertaining to this issue, both within Israel-Palestine as well as globally. This article outlines Falk’s scholarship and activism regarding Palestine, analyzes the post of UN special rapporteur in general, reviews both criticism of and support for Falk’s work, and assesses Falk’s concept of the “citizen pilgrim.” It concludes by reflecting on what this reveals about the experience of praxis for politically engaged academics.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Victor Kattan
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: On 25 March 2019, U.S. president Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel. The Golan Heights proclamation, which endorses Israel’s annexation of the territory captured from Syria in the 1967 war, was issued two weeks before the Israeli general election in a photo-op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Undermining internationally agreed-upon norms prohibiting states from recognizing the annexation of territory by force, the proclamation could have detrimental consequences for the international legal order, providing a precedent for other states to take steps to annex territory they claim is necessary for their defense.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs, Occupation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Shir Hever
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: German organizations are among the last Palestine solidarity groups in Europe to have embraced the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), launched in 2005. Pro-Israel German groups have been quick to respond with aggressive rhetoric equating a BDS-favorable stance with Nazism. The vilification of the movement has had the unintended consequence of inserting BDS into German politics, both at federal and local levels. Select case studies show that the BDS debate in Germany has developed somewhat differently than in other European countries, and that religious discourse is significant in shaping attitudes to Israel and Palestine. While the Palestine solidarity movement tends to single out the “Anti-Germans”—a pro-Israel formation that grew out of the Left after the reunification of Germany—as the major culprit, it is in fact conservative Christian, mostly Evangelical, organizations that are largely responsible for discouraging BDS activism.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Maha Nassar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines early Palestinian engagements with multiple facets of the Black American struggle for freedom through a content analysis of influential Palestinian press outlets in Arabic prior to 1967. It argues that, since the 1930s, Palestinian intellectuals with strong anti-colonial views linked anti-Black racism in the United States to larger imperial and Cold War dynamics, and that they connected Black American mobilizations against racism to decolonization movements around the world. This article also examines Mahmoud Darwish’s early analytical writings on race as a social construct in both the U.S. and Israeli contexts. Understanding these early engagements sheds light on subsequent developments in Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity and on Palestinian Afro-Arab cultural imaginaries.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Russell Rickford
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay traces the arc of Black American solidarity with Palestine, placing the phenomenon in the context of twentieth-century African American internationalism. It sketches the evolution of the political imaginary that enabled Black activists to depict African Americans and Palestinians as compatriots within global communities of dissent. For more than half a century, Black internationalists identified with Zionism, believing that the Jewish bid for a national homeland paralleled the African American freedom struggle. During the 1950s and 1960s, however, colonial aggression in the Middle East led many African American progressives to rethink the analogy. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, African American dissidents operating within the nexus of Black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Third Worldism constructed powerful theories of Afro-Palestinian kinship. In so doing, they reimagined or transcended bonds of color, positing anti-imperialist struggle, rather than racial affinity, as the precondition of camaraderie.
  • Topic: International Organization, Race, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Palestine