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  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs convened a review conference under the theme, “A New Vision for Afghanistan: By Afghans, with Afghans, for Afghans and Afghanistan,” on September 4-7, 2008 on the Petersberg/Bonn, Germany. This was the tenth LISD-sponsored colloquium on Afghanistan since 2001. The meeting was funded in part by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, and the Stiftung fuer Selbstbestimmung und Internationale Beziehungen, in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, New York, Central Asia, Asia, Germany
  • Author: Lex Rieffel, James W. Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is one of the outstanding innovations of the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. No other aid agency-foreign or domestic-can match its purposeful mandate, its operational flexibility and its potential muscle.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Humanitarian Aid, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Johannes F. Linn, Colin I. Bradford, Paul Martin
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: At the invitation of President George W. Bush, the G20 leaders met on November 15, 2008, in Washington, DC, in response to the worldwide financial and economic crisis. With this summit meeting the reality of global governance shifted surprisingly quickly. Previously, major global economic, social and environmental issues were debated in the small, increasingly unrepresentative and often times ineffectual circle of G8 leaders. Now, there is a larger, much more legitimate summit group which can speak for over two-thirds of the world's population and controls 90% of the world's economy.
  • Topic: Environment, Globalization, Government, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Author: Guy de Jonquières
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The troubled history of the Doha trade talks, which suffered their latest breakdown in July 2008, is due to more than differences between members' negotiating positions. It is a symptom of deeper institutional problems in the WTO, as it struggles to adjust to global economic change. At stake are not only prospects for a further push to open world markets, but the primacy of the WTO as the maker and enforcer of the multilateral rules that underpin the international economic order. Although reforms of WTO procedures may be desirable, they will not be enough to restore momentum. WTO members need also to develop a new model of leadership, define a clearer mission for the organization and pursue domestic policies that buttress its role. It is unclear whether governments possess the political energy or commitment required to undertake that effort. But continued drift risks weakening the organization and could, in the longer term, undermine the integrity of the rules-based trade system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Tom Cargill
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The UN mission that led Sierra Leone out of bloody civil war in 2002 ends on 30 September 2008. Despite significant advances, and landmark elections last year that saw the opposition win power, the country remains amongst the poorest in the world. It is vulnerable to crime, corruption, and the growing power of South American drugs cartels. The UK has been Sierra Leone's major donor since its military intervention in 2000 - the last successful military intervention before the Iraq war. However, slow progress and uncertain prospects for the country mean that the UK is keen to broaden the responsibility for supporting Sierra Leone. There are good signs that the government of Sierra Leone is serious about reform. But if it is to cement stability and growth, it will need to find new international partners, continue its reform efforts, and deter drug-traffickers from establishing themselves in the country. Most importantly, it will need to show greater leadership, confidence and direction to both voters and donors to ensure that widespread goodwill is not eroded by uncertainty and drift.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Poverty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Roger Middleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has more than doubled in 2008; so far over 60 ships have been attacked. Pirates are regularly demanding and receiving million-dollar ransom payments and are becoming more aggressive and assertive. The international community must be aware of the danger that Somali pirates could become agents of international terrorist networks. Already money from ransoms is helping to pay for the war in Somalia, including funds to the US terror-listed Al-Shabaab. The high level of piracy is making aid deliveries to drought-stricken Somalia ever more difficult and costly. The World Food Programme has already been forced to temporarily suspend food deliveries. Canada is now escorting WFP deliveries but there are no plans in place to replace their escort when it finishes later this year. The danger and cost of piracy (insurance premiums for the Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold) mean that shipping could be forced to avoid the Gulf of Aden/Suez Canal and divert around the Cape of Good Hope. This would add considerably to the costs of manufactured goods and oil from Asia and the Middle East. At a time of high inflationary pressures, this should be of grave concern. Piracy could cause a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Aden if a tanker is sunk or run aground or set on fire. The use of ever more powerful weaponry makes this increasingly likely. There are a number of options for the international community but ignoring the problem is not one of them. It must ensure that WFP deliveries are protected and that gaps in supply do not occur.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Vanessa Rossi
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The global financial system has suffered a once-in-a-century meltdown that almost brought the world economy to a halt in late September. Confidence and trust have been shattered. In spite of concerted and extraordinary efforts on the part of central banks and political leaders, including recapitalizing the banks, it is not yet certain that the waves of panic and destruction have been halted. Many of the repercussions have yet to emerge, including possible legal action as well as economic damage. Even before this latest explosion, the leading OECD economies were plunging into an unusually synchronized recession, driven by the simultaneous collapse in consumer and business spending. This will now get worse.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets
  • Author: Ginny Hill
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Yemen presents a potent combination of problems for policy-makers confronting the prospect of state failure in this strategically important Red Sea country. It is the poorest state in the Arab world, with high levels of unemployment, rapid population growth and dwindling water resources. President Saleh faces an intermittent civil war in the north, a southern separatist movement and resurgent terrorist groups. Yemen's jihadi networks appear to be growing as operating conditions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia become more difficult. The underlying drivers for future instability are economic. The state budget is heavily dependent on revenue from dwindling oil supplies. Yemen's window of opportunity to shape its own future and create a post-oil economy is narrowing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Few countries have seen such rapid economic and educational change in so short a time period as China. Since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping began to send students and scholars to study abroad in large numbers as part of his broad modernization efforts, some 800,000 Chinese students and scholars have studied outside their home country. These numbers make China the overall largest supplier of international students to countries around the world over the past decade. The liberalization of the education sector, which accompanied China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, has also permitted more students from outside China to enter the Chinese educational system. The number of Americans studying abroad in China increased by over 500% in the past ten years, making China one of the top 10 study abroad destination countries for U.S. students, and one of the top 10 host countries for all internationally mobile students.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Education, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Island