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  • Author: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan represents one of the most unique combinations a country and its society may offer. It is a country with a challenging and unforgiving but majestic geography which favors independence both to the central authorities in the capital but also to potential intruders from the outside. It holds a unique geopolitical location south and east of the Hindukush connecting Central Asia to South Asia, and the Middle East to each of them. It is home to a proud, independent people with a history of ages-old religions and diverse cultures, but also of conflict and war. The Afghans and their country stand out in terms of drama, disadvantages and sometimes even simple suffering, witnessing nearly three decades – an entire generation – of warfare and civil strife. Afghanistan too is home to one of the most archaic societies north of the Indian Ocean. It has very little transportation or energy infrastructure, one of the world's highest rates of poverty, and some of the lowest levels of literacy, health care and GDP per capita. However, Afghanistan is today the world's most important opium producer and is centrally located in a region marked by high population and poverty with tendencies toward fundamentalist religious expression. Afghanistan itself became a base of Islamic militancy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Failed states have made it to the top of the international agenda following 11 September 2001. This paper gives an overview of the debate on 'what to do'. Firstly, it suggests an explanation of where these so-called failed states are coming from: Why do some states self-destruct? Secondly, four different approaches to failed states are presented and discussed - with special emphasis on the dilemmas and predicaments they each hold. The paper concludes that the question of what to do with failed states requires a political answer. Not a technical one.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Dangerous Strait provides fresh perspectives on the complex political, economic, and strategic issues of the Taiwan Strait. Essays examine a variety of topics, which include the movement for independence and its place in Taiwanese domestic politics, the underlying weaknesses of democracy in Taiwan, and the significance of China and Taiwan's economic interdependence. In the area of security, contributors provide incisive critiques of Taiwan's incomplete military modernization, the strains in U.S.-Taiwan relations and their differing interpretations of China's intentions, and the misguided inclination to abandon Washington's traditional policy of strategic ambiguity.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231509633
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: The regime of Kim Jong-Il has been called "mad," "rogue," even, by the Wall Street Journal, the equivalent of an "unreformed serial killer." Yet, despite the avalanche of television and print coverage of the Pyongyang government’s violation of nuclear nonproliferation agreements and existing scholarly literature on North Korean policy and security, this critical issue remains mired in political punditry and often misleading sound bites. Victor Cha and David Kang step back from the daily newspaper coverage and cable news commentary and offer a reasoned, rational, and logical debate on the nature of the North Korean regime. Coming to the issues from different perspectives—Kang believes the threat posed by Pyongyang has been inflated and endorses a more open approach, while Cha is more skeptical and advocates harsher measures—the authors together have written an essential work of clear-eyed reflection and authoritative analysis. They refute a number of misconceptions and challenge much faulty thinking that surrounds the discussion of North Korea, particularly the idea that North Korea is an irrational nation. Cha and Kang contend that however provocative, even deplorable, the Pyongyang government’s behavior may at times be, it is not incomprehensible or incoherent. Neither is it "suicidal," they argue, although crisis conditions could escalate to a degree that provokes the North Korean regime to "lash out" as the best and only policy, the unintended consequence of which are suicide and/or collapse. Further, the authors seek to fill the current scholarly and policy gap with a vision for a U.S.-South Korea alliance that is not simply premised on a North Korean threat, not simply derivative of Japan, and not eternally based on an older, "Korean War generation" of supporters. This book uncovers the inherent logic of the politics of the Korean peninsula, presenting an indispensable context for a new policy of engagement. In an intelligent and trenchant debate, the authors look at the implications of a nuclear North Korea for East Asia and U.S. homeland security, rigorously assessing historical and current U.S. policy, and provide a workable framework for constructive policy that should be followed by the United States, Japan, and South Korea if engagement fails to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231505338
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Has the international movement for democracy and human rights gone from being a weapon against power to part of the arsenal of power itself? Nicolas Guilhot explores this question in his penetrating look at how the U.S. government, the World Bank, political scientists, NGOs, think tanks, and various international organizations have appropriated the movement for democracy and human rights to export neoliberal policies throughout the world. His work charts the various symbolic, ideological, and political meanings that have developed around human rights and democracy movements. Guilhot suggests that these shifting meanings reflect the transformation of a progressive, emancipatory movement into an industry dominated by “experts” ensconced in positions of power. Guilhot’s story begins in the 1950s when U.S. foreign policy experts promoted human rights and democracy as part of a “democratic international” to fight the spread of communism. Later, the unlikely convergence of anti-Stalinist leftists and the nascent neoconservative movement found a place in the Reagan administration. These “State Department Socialists,” as they were known, created policies and organizations that provided financial and technical expertise to democratic movements and also supported authoritarian, anti-communist regimes, particularly in Latin America. Guilhot traces the intellectual and social trajectories of key academics, policymakers, and institutions, including Seymour M. Lipset, Jeane Kirkpatrick, the “Chicago Boys,” influenced by Milton Friedman, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Ford Foundation. He examines the ways in which various individuals, or “double agents,” were able to occupy pivotal positions at the junction of academe, national, and international institutions, and activist movements. He also pays particular attention to the role of the social sciences in transforming the old anti-communist crusades into respectable international organizations that promoted progressive and democratic ideals, but did not threaten the strategic and economic goals of Western governments and businesses. Guilhot’s purpose is not to disqualify democracy promotion as a conspiratorial activity. Rather he offers new perspectives on the roles of various transnational human rights institutions and the policies they promote. Ultimately, his work proposes a new model for understanding the international politics of legitimate democratic order and the relation between popular resistance to globalization and the “Washington Consensus.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, Human Rights, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231504195
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN