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  • Author: Lorenza Errighi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If 2020 was the year of “mask diplomacy”, as countries raced to tackle the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and acquire the necessary protective gear and equipment, 2021 is likely to be remembered as the year of “vaccine diplomacy”. Growing competition between states to secure the necessary quantities of vaccines to inoculate their population has already become an established feature of the post-COVID international system and such trends are only likely to increase in the near future. It normally takes up to a decade to transition from the development and testing of a vaccine in a laboratory to its large-scale global distribution. Despite current challenges, the speed of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns is unprecedented. To put an end to the current pandemic – which in one year has led to the loss of 2.6 million lives and triggered the worst economic recession since the Second World War – the goal is to ensure the widest immunisation of the world population in a timeframe of 12 to 18 months. In this context, COVID vaccines emerge as instruments of soft power, as they symbolise, on the one hand, scientific and technological supremacy and, on the other, means to support existing and emerging foreign policy partnerships and alliances with relevant geopolitical implications. From their experimentation in laboratories, to their purchase and distribution, the vaccine has emerged as a significant tool for competition between powers, often associated with the promotion of competing developmental and governance models across third countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marijke Verpoorten, Nik Stoop
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2021, the European Conflict Minerals Act came into force. It aims to regulate the trade in four minerals—tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, also known as 3TG—that are often sourced from conflict-affected countries where the profits may allow armed groups to finance their activities. The regulation aims to break the link between minerals and conflict by ensuring that European Union (EU)-based companies only import minerals from conflict-free sources. If companies import minerals from conflict regions, the law requires them to report where the minerals were mined, the location of processing and trade, and the taxes and fees that were paid.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Conflict, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina von Uexkull, Halvard Buhaug
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: While former US President Donald Trump frequently denied man-made climate change, the Biden administration has pledged to make climate change a priority, including for national security. In line with years of thinking within the defense sector, the Biden-Harris team refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier,” pointing to risks of regional instability and resource competition driven by worsening environmental conditions. This perspective also aligns with the initiatives of other countries that have pushed climate security in the UN Security Council and other international bodies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, International Security, Conflict, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luca Franza
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Dolphins are being spotted in harbours, canals in Venice have never looked so clean and the temporary ban of corridas has spared the lives of a hundred Spanish bulls. Looking at the bright side of things is an admirable quality, but we should not get too carried away with the idea that COVID-19 is good for the planet. Besides the anecdotal phenomena quoted above, the collapse of mobility and economic activity induced by COVID-19 are generating meaningful short-term consequences for the environment. These include a sharp reduction in Hubei’s and Northern Italy’s air pollution levels and a likely reduction in global CO2 emissions in 2020. Rejoicing over such news rests on a short-sighted view. The interlinkages between COVID-19, energy and climate issues are so complex that we are actually looking at a mixed bag of consequences.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Pollution, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Giuliano Garavini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Oil markets are facing a perfect storm. The scissors of supply and demand are moving against one another, generating increasing pain on the oil industry and the political and financial stability of oil-producing countries. Global oil demand is dropping due to the recession induced by the COVID-19 shut down of economic activity and transport in the most industrialized countries. Goldman Sachs predicts that global demand could drop from 100 million barrels per day (mdb) in 2019 to nearly 80 mdb in 2020.1 If confirmed, this would be single biggest demand shock since petroleum started its race to become the most important energy source in the world.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Oil, Global Markets, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Global Focus
  • Author: Matt Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is going to change military recruiting. Recently, the Army and its sister forces have been forced to recruit virtually and have slowed processing through basic training. The Army has been vague about its recruiting goals, instead focusing on end strength, so it will not have to deal with the fanfare of missing its mission as it did in 2018. But the virus and its effects will actually help recruiting in the future. There was a storm gathering for recruiters, as the number of target youth would decrease in the years 2026-2031—a result of a decreased birth rate through the 2008 financial crisis and its fallout. Competition was going to be fierce with businesses and higher education. The virus changed everything.
  • Topic: Education, Military Affairs, Army, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paul R. Kan
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is the byproduct of illicit global trafficking. Although COVID-19 was likely transmitted to humans via pangolins sold in the wet markets of Wuhan, China, these markets acted as mere way stations for the virus. The natural habitats of the pangolins are the forests, grasslands, and savannahs of Africa. But, through a network of impoverished local communities, poachers, transnational organized crime, gangs and corrupt officials, approximately 2.7 million of this endangered species are captured and smuggled to Asia every year. The pangolin has earned the sad distinction of being “the most trafficked animal on earth.” The illicit global network of wildlife trafficking was a major facilitator of the pandemic, but the effects of the virus’ spread are, in turn, facilitating more criminal activities while creating the potential for greater internal instability in many states. The contagion-crime nexus has been overshadowed by the urgent need to combat the spread of the virus. Nonetheless, COVID-19 is acting as an amplifier for crime and conflict that will have repercussions in the international security environment in the near and long term.
  • Topic: Crime, Trafficking , Conflict, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Eldridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Even as many developing countries are confronting the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are already bracing for the widespread, global recession that will follow. These countries already struggle to provide many services and supports to their citizens, and although the emergency assistance packages of international financial institutions are a start, they alone won’t be enough to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and enable a strong recovery. Although most developing countries escaped the 2007–08 financial crisis with limited damage, for many, this economic downturn is expected to be much worse because of the direct health effects, the sharp decline in global economic activity, the structural composition of their economies, and constrained policy options.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emily J. Munro
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Prevention strategies warrant more attention and can be a framework to apply to situations with different levels of urgency. The cases of the Arctic, the Sahel and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate the value of prevention strategies in diverse ways. Anticipation is closely linked to prevention, and we should do more to understand how the future may unfold, and then act on the findings to help us to prevent crises and conflict. The interaction of issues often lies at the centre of the policy challenges we face today. It is necessary to unpack these interactions in order to strengthen our responses. Surprises cannot be entirely avoided, but we should place more emphasis on considering the implications of crises and ensure better integration of our approaches across the short, medium and long term.
  • Topic: Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Sahel, Arctic, Global Focus
  • 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
  • Author: Karen Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Fifteen years since the adoption of the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), I would like to reflect on what it is, at its core. R2P is essentially about preventing and protecting people from the most heinous atrocity crimes – genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This essence is sometimes undermined by debates in which criticisms about implementation deficits are used to discredit the entire principle. The disconnect between the UN World Summit in 2005, when UN member states unanimously committed to protect populations from atrocity crimes, and the disparity in its implementation is highly problematic, as it leaves open the door for atrocity crimes to continue to be committed, while effective national, regional and international action is displaced by what are essentially political arguments about lack of conceptual consensus. The grim reality of today’s ongoing crises is a stark reminder of the need to redouble efforts to effectively implement the responsibility to protect.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ivan Šimonović
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Fifteen years ago the Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity was unanimously adopted at the United Nations World Summit, the largest gathering of Heads of State and Government in history. To mark the 15th anniversary the Global Centre is publishing a series of reflections by key actors in the development of R2P. In this piece, Ambassador Ivan Šimonović shares lessons he learned regarding the prevention of atrocity crimes while serving as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and as UN Special Adviser on R2P. While reflecting on various country situations, Ambassador Šimonović explains what can be achieved through “atrocity crimes prevention diplomacy.”
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jahaan Pittalwala
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Since April 2019 Syrian government and Russian forces have carried out a brutal offensive in northwest Syria, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 civilians. As the bombings intensified in mid 2019, international outrage grew as airstrikes regularly hit health facilities, schools, displacement centers and other civilian objects, including those on a “deconfliction” list established by the UN to help facilitate their protection. Any joint action by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in response to these attacks was actively blocked by China and Russia, the latter of which was directly involved in the military offensive. Amidst frustration that perpetrators were being systematically shielded from accountability, and faced with few other diplomatic options, ten members of the UNSC issued a démarche to the UN Secretary-General requesting an investigation into attacks on civilian objects.
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, Global Focus
  • Author: Gareth Evans
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: In a world as full of cynicism, double standards, crude assertions of national interest and realpolitik as ours has so long been, not least in these last few years, it is very easy to believe that ideas do not matter very much. Achieving fundamental change in the way states and their leaders think and behave is as hard as international relations gets. But that is exactly the dream that those of us involved in the creation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept set out to make a reality two decades ago.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Speech
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alex Bellamy
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The Responsibility to Protect was adopted unanimously and without equivocation by the UN General Assembly in 2005. States accepted that each of them had a responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity – hitherto referred to as ‘atrocity crimes.’ They acknowledged their responsibility to assist one another to fulfil this primary responsibility. They declared they had a collective responsibility to protect populations in other countries using diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, and they promised to work through the UN Security Council to protect populations when national authorities were failing and peaceful means inadequate.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matteo Villa, James F. Myers, Federico Turkheimer
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In an ongoing epidemic, the case fatality rate is not a reliable estimate of a disease’s severity. This is particularly so when a large share of asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic patients escape testing, or when overwhelmed healthcare systems are forced to limit testing further to severe cases only. By leveraging data on COVID-19, we propose a novel way to estimate a disease’s infected fatality rate, the true lethality of the disease, in the presence of sparse and partial information. We show that this is feasible when the disease has turned into a pandemic and data comes from a large number of countries, or regions within countries, as long as testing strategies vary sufficiently. For Italy, our method estimates an IFR of 1.1% (95% CI: 0.2% – 2.1%), which is strongly in line with other methods. At the global level, our method estimates an IFR of 1.6% (95% CI: 1.1% – 2.1%). This method also allows us to show that the IFR varies according to each country’s age structure and healthcare capacity.
  • Topic: Health, Pandemic, Data, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, Global Focus
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Across the developing world the United States runs aid programs that have met the laudable goal of reducing infant mortality and maternal death resulting from childbirth. We have done some astonishing things, such as completely eliminating smallpox. Now we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by working to equip local communities with the tools needed to fight back against the coronavirus. Effective and inexpensive vaccines are everywhere administered to countless children who would otherwise die or be crippled by disease. More vaccines are on the way, perhaps even one for malaria, one of the biggest killers in the developing world. It is nothing short of a miracle. And yet the impact of these efforts in many countries could well be a legacy of war, famine, misery and the creation of new and even worse diseases.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, USAID, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Carter Wilbur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: As the U.S. shifts its focus to Great Power Competition (GPC), the relationship between USSOF and embassies worldwide must likewise shift to reflect a whole-of-government approach. In Part 1, I took stock of the current relationship between U.S. embassies and U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF), which, while good overall, is too often geared to separate efforts rooted in the counter-terrorism context, where a USSOF unit’s narrow mission against a terrorist cell requires minimal coordination with the embassy’s broader political and economic missions. There are more ways embassies and USSOF can support each other than are currently being realized. The next step is for both sides to develop a more symbiotic, institutional relationship. To that end, I propose five points to guide the development of USSOF-embassy relations, based loosely on the “Five SOF Truths” that have summarized USSOF philosophy since 1987.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: June Carter Perry
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: What is a Diplomat in Residence in 2020? In order to reach out to potential future Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), the Department of State places experienced officers at colleges and universities in sixteen regions of the United States. The FSOs assigned as Diplomats in Residence (DIRs) offer guidance and advice on careers, internships and fellowships to students and professionals in the communities they serve. Although one might compare their roles to those of recruiters for corporations or universities, in fact, the DIR’s responsibilities are much broader. Based on my position as Diplomat in Residence at Howard University 2001-2002, the DIR is a counselor, a teacher, a mentor and sometimes a parent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Renee M. Earle
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: A few weeks ago, on July 4, we Americans celebrated our country and its freedoms, and we clearly have much to be grateful for – and also much to ponder. Seen both from within the U.S. and from much of the rest of the world, early Massachusetts Colonialist John Winthrop’s idealized “city on the hill” where “the eyes of the people will be upon us,” no longer looks as bright, and this should worry us. Much has been written to lament America’s retreat from the world stage during the current administration, which has been driven apparently by the mistaken notion that the U.S. can escape what affects the rest of the world simply by opting out or by saber rattling to get its way. But the longer the U.S. continues down this path, the question changes from whether the U.S. will want to reassume its 20th century role to whether the rest of the world will be willing to welcome back the America it perceives today. To watchers around the globe the America that led the world to increases in stability, prosperity, democracy, and human rights has disappeared in the trashing of international treaties and trade agreements, riots against racial discrimination, police violence, and our inability to deal effectively with the corona virus pandemic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The issue of militarization of American foreign policy is one that has simmered for decades. The American preference for employment of economic pressure and/or military force as a ‘quick-fix’ to deal with international problems instead of a more nuanced diplomatic approach is not a phenomenon of the 20th or 21st century. The increased militarization of U.S. foreign policy of the last decade is a continuation of a trend that has existed in one form or another for most of the nation’s history. The over-reliance on military power in foreign affairs, the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, dramatically increased with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, almost from the beginning of the founding of the republic, under pressure from business interests concerned with maintaining or increasing their prosperity or groups interested in maintaining their positions of influence or power, American political leaders have often resorted to use of force for a short-term solution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs, History, Militarization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Raymond A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Dr. Smith’s 2011 book, The Craft of Political Analysis for Diplomats offered suggestions for doing political analysis better, from the viewpoint of a foreign service officer who had spent most of his diplomatic career practicing the craft. In this follow-on piece, Smith expands on his original discussion with thoughts on the cardinal sins of political analysis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Analysis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jimmy Kolker
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: : After retiring from the Foreign Service in 2007, Ambassador Kolker spent four years at UNICEF before moving to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs there, he dealt with a number of international health concerns, including Ebola, Zika, and HIV/AIDS. This piece is adapted from his Virtual Presentation to an online DACOR audience on April 8, 2020. While the Coronavirus outbreak and pandemic found nearly all countries unprepared, U.S. lapses in addressing major documented flaws in our preparedness contributed to breakdowns of international collaboration and solidarity as well as institutional conflicts and stress on our health system at home.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dominic Sachsenmaier
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Dominic Sachsenmaier, the President of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, is Chair Professor of Modern China with a Special Emphasis on Global Historical Perspectives in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. His expertise centers on global and transnational Chinese history, with a focus on Chinese concepts of society and multiple modernities, among other topics. He is co-editor of the Columbia University Press book series “Columbia Studies in International and Global History“ and an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • Topic: Health, International Affairs, Geopolitics, Global Focus, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Erez Manela
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Erez Manela researches international society and the modern international order. Recently he has written about smallpox and the globalization of development, illuminating the power structures and international infrastructure that underwrote the World Health Organization’s (WHO) smallpox eradication program from 1965 to 1980. Professor of History at Harvard University, Prof. Manela teaches the history of the United States in the world and modern international history, and is the Director of Graduate Programs at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard and co-chair of the Harvard International and Global History seminar. He co-edits the Cambridge University book series ‘Global and International History.’
  • Topic: Health, World Health Organization, Geopolitics, Public Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dipesh Chakrabarty
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Toynbee Prize Awardee Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College at University of Chicago. He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a consulting editor of Critical Inquiry, a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies, and has served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review and Public Culture, among others. His distinctions, publications, and awards are too numerous to mention; the landmark work for which he is perhaps best known, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2000; second edition, 2008), has been translated into Italian, French, Polish, Spanish Turkish, and Korean and is being brought out in Chinese. Included among his vast range of research interests are the implications of climate change science for historical and political thought and, most relevant for our discussion today, the Anthropocene.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19, Ecology, Anthropocene
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Adelman, Or Rosenboim, Jamie Martin, Cindy Ewing, Akita Shigeru
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Glenda Sluga, Jie-Hyun Lim, Lauren Benton, Hsiung Ping-chen
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it.
  • Topic: History, Geopolitics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sunil S. Amrith
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: “The history of water,” writes Sunil S. Amrith, “shows that nature has never truly been conquered.” Nature is a dynamic presence in Amrith’s oeuvre. As a historian of South and Southeast Asia, his research engages the spaces, movements, and processes of a uniquely Indian Oceanic region. The worlds recounted by Amrith are often ones marked by the ambitions of empires and polities, the mass migration of human labour, and indeed, the furies of nature itself. In his latest book, Unruly Waters, Amrith shows how “the schemes of empire builders, the visions of freedom fighters, the designs of engineers—and the cumulative, dispersed actions of hundreds of millions of people across generations—have transformed Asia’s waters over the past two hundred years.” It testifies to the dreams that societies have often pinned to water, as well as its unwieldy and turbulent nature. In his account of “the struggle for water” and control over the Asian monsoon, we come to understand how climate change exacerbates a problem both already in-progress and connected to histories of “reckless development and galloping inequality.” Sunil S. Amrith is presently the Mehra Family Professor of South Asian History at Harvard University. He was the 2017 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. From July 2020, Amrith will be the Dhawan Professor of History at Yale University. His most recent book publications include: Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History (Basic Books and Penguin UK, 2018), Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Harvard University Press, 2013), and Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2011). In this conversation, we discuss the role of water, nature, and inequality vis-à-vis history; the fields of global and environmental history; and lastly, some of the thoughts and practices that underlay the historian’s craft.
  • Topic: Globalization, History, Water, Oceans and Seas
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Joy Schulz
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: With young activists like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez coming to the fore of headlines and social movements, the present has proven itself to be an opportune moment to reassess the role of youths in historical change. In this vein, Dr. Joy Schulz's book Hawaiian By Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific (2017) stands out as crucial reading. Emphasizing the centrality of American missionary children in the domination of the Hawaiian Islands during the second half of nineteenth century, Schulz's analysis exposes the potency of youth power through a series of chapters that trace the development of these young evangelists into colonizers and revolutionaries. In the process, she draws attention to the complexities born at the intersections of childhood and empire and underscores the capacity of children to record their own histories in ways that may complement or complicate adult ambitions. Dr. Schulz and I discuss these themes, and the challenges and opportunities that children present as the subjects of transnational histories.
  • Topic: Religion, Political Activism, Children, Colonialism, Youth, Empire
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Immerwahr, Odd Arne Westad, David Milne, Emily Conroy-Krutz, Thomas Bender, Carol Chin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Imperialism, History, Empire, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelly M. McFarland, Lori Clune, Danielle Richman, Wilson D. (Bill) Miscamble, Seth Jacobs, Vanessa Walker, Joseph S. Nye Jr.
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Do Morals Matter?: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Political Theory, International Relations Theory, Political Science, American Presidency, Morality
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Theodore M. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A little more than two months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump began to lash out at the World Health Organization, blaming it for what he claimed were missteps, failures, and prevarications in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, on April 14, after several days of threats, he announced that U.S. funding for the WHO would be frozen for sixty to ninety days while his administration conducted a review to “assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus.” Widely seen as a transparent attempt to deflect attention from his own inconsistent, incompetent, and irresponsible response to the crisis, Trump’s threatened withdrawal of funds from the WHO at a critical moment drew widespread condemnation from medical and public health leaders. Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of Lancet, called Trump’s decision a “crime against humanity.” Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, “denounced” the Trump administration’s decision to halt U.S. contributions to the WHO, which, he said, would “cripple the world’s response to COVID-19 and would harm the health and lives of thousands of Americans.”
  • Topic: International Cooperation, World Health Organization, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Chester Pach, Cindy Ewing, Kevin Y. Kim, Daniel Bessner, Fredrik Logevall
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Daniel Bessner and Fredrik Logevall, “Recentering the United States in the Historiography of American Foreign Relations”
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Relations Theory, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Engel, R. Joseph Parrott, Heather Marie Stur, Steven J. Brady, Timothy Lynch
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: Roundtable on Timothy J. Lynch, In the Shadow of the Cold War: American Foreign Policy from George Bush Sr. to Donald Trump
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, American Presidency, Post Cold War, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Ida Rudolfsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Today the World Food Program (WFP) receives this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The award has been called happily uncontroversial, following last year’s prize, which was awarded to Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, for making peace with Eritrea. The current conflict in the Tigray region calls into question the durability of that peace. The award is also timely, as estimates show that, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a quarter of a billion people will face acute hunger by the end of the year, increasing from 135 million to 265 million.
  • Topic: Food, Hunger, World Food Program (WFP)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rose McDermott
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Recent commentary has noted that countries run by women have done a markedly better job at containing the COVID-19 pandemic than countries run by men. Previous commentary has also suggested that the public tends to think that female leaders do a better job on issues related to health and education. But the COVID-19 pandemic is not simply a health issue; it also presents major challenges in international relations, which begs the question: how does gender influence international relations? Gender affects international relations in many ways. It is at the root of many types and forms of conflict, from domestic violence to war. War is usually thought of as being something that is supported primarily by men even if the negative effects disproportionately fall on women. However, a great deal of conflict begins in and around battles over status between men, and between men and women. This is true in both domestic and international realms. Conflict, like much else, begins in the home. Children watch their parents disagree and observe how fights take place. Do parents have reasoned arguments that end in negotiated compromises? Or does their father beat their mother into submission? Children learn from watching, and take lessons about how to resolve conflict—and the role of domination and coercion in relationships—into the larger world, and use these models as the basis for how they feel they, and their nations, should behave.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Women, Leadership, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Nagel, Dara Kay Cohen, Ragnhild Nordås
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security (WPS). Where are we on the road to ending conflict-related sexual violence? There is good news and bad news. When the UN Security Council passed resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security it was a momentous event. Women’s rights and violence against women had never before been on the agenda of the Security Council. Resolution 1325 emphasized the need for increased participation of women in national, regional, and international institutions, and for women’s inclusion in peace negotiations. Perhaps even more importantly, it acknowledged the agency of women in matters of war and peace, in contrast to the predominant idea of women as merely passive victims. A central component of 1325 was to explicitly call on all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from violence, particularly sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, United Nations, Women, Gender Based Violence , Sexual Violence, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ida Rudolfsen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: According to the World Food Program’s (WFP) latest report, the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to an 82 percent increase in global food insecurity, affecting around 270 million people by the end of the year. On June 29, the organization announced it is undertaking its largest humanitarian effort to assist an increasing number of food-insecure low- and middle-income countries. In a statement about the plan, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said that “until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos. Without it, we could see increased social unrest and protests, a rise in migration, deepening conflict, and widespread under-nutrition among populations that were previously immune from hunger.”
  • Topic: Food, Food Security, Hunger, Pandemic, COVID-19, World Food Program (WFP)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Evan Perkoski
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Will the COVID-19 pandemic increase or decrease conflict around the globe? Across myriad blog posts and op-eds, a consensus appears to be emerging: in the short term, the global community may experience a pax epidemia, as Barry Posen refers to it, where “the odds of a war between major powers will go down, not up.” But the opposite may be true for intrastate conflict—e.g. civil wars and insurgencies—where conditions seem ripe for more turbulent subnational politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Conflict, COVID-19, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David A. Lake, Eli Berman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Violence is a feature of life in many developing countries. As governments, private philanthropic organizations, and communities work to reduce inequity, alleviate poverty, and improve the well-being of people living in low- and middle-income countries, what role does conflict play in stymying development? And can development reduce conflict? David Lake, distinguished professor of political science at UC San Diego, poses five questions about development and conflict to Eli Berman, research director at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and professor of economics at UC San Diego.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Governance, Afghanistan, Conflict, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin E. Bagozzi, Ore Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: At a time when global cooperation is needed more than ever, new research suggests that pandemics may weaken diplomatic connections between countries and lower the probability that nations will establish new diplomatic ties. Diplomacy is one of the most enduring forms of international political interaction. Administered through embassies, consulates, and their political and bureaucratic support staffs, on-the-ground diplomatic relations are a key tool for international political negotiation, cooperation, trade promotion, dispute settlement, foreign intelligence management, and cultural exchange.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Communications, Peacekeeping, Negotiation, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelly Dittmar
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • 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: 03-2019
  • 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: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many view the Belt and Road Initiative as the most geoeconomically significant infrastructure project since the Marshall Plan. Promising alternative trade routes, abundant capital flows, and advanced infrastructure to the developing world, the program has scaled significantly since its inception in 2013.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Saudi Vision 2030 — Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s bid to diversify his nation’s oil-dependent economy — is one of the most consequential development plans in modern history. So it was no surprise to see MbS, as he is known, grinning with Chinese leaders during his Asian investment trip last month. As Chinese officials raved about the “enormous potential” of the Saudi economy, Saudi officials praised the compatibility of Chinese and Saudi cultures, and MbS even defended China’s maltreatment of Muslim Uighurs
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin S. Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to increase the short-term interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, taking it from 2.25% to 2.5%. This was the fourth increase in 12 months, a sequence that had been projected a year ago, and the FOMC members also indicated that there would be two more quarter-point increases in 2019. The announcement soon met with widespread disapproval.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: H. Elizabeth Peters, Shirley Adelstein, Robert Abare
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Women around the world face barriers to participating in the labor force, especially in traditionally male-dominated sectors. Addressing these barriers in low-income countries can improve both women’s well-being and the countries’ entire economies (PDF). Building on Urban’s prior research, we recently completed a systematic review (PDF) of qualitative studies of women’s labor force participation and upward mobility. We focused on studies of the higher-productivity, male-dominated sectors of commercial agriculture, mining, and trade and found studies from 18 low-income countries, mostly those in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in East Asia, South Asia, and Latin America. Barriers to economic empowerment observed by the studies were far ranging, including gender-related laws, violence and sexual harassment, and limited access to land, technology, technology skills, credit and capital, and social and business networks. But one of the strongest and most consistent findings from our review was the influence of social norms about gender.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Eldridge
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The United Nations projects that by 2050, urban areas will swell in size by 2.5 billion people, with 90 percent of that growth occurring in Asia and Africa. Urbanization presents significant development benefits—boosting innovation, human capital accumulation, and access to opportunities—but it also strains existing physical infrastructure, social services, and public health systems. To manage the challenges and maximize the benefits of rapid growth, national and municipal governments, civil society, and development partners (among others) must weigh interrelated financial, political, cultural, economic, and technical considerations. For many, the big question is whether cities should build anew in urban peripheries or retrofit and reinvest in urban cores. At a recent event hosted by the Urban Institute, in partnership with the World Bank, experts considered this question through the lens of one rapidly growing city: Dhaka, Bangladesh, examined in a new World Bank report, Toward Greater Dhaka.
  • Topic: Development, Economic Growth, Urban
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Global Focus
  • Author: Mira Oklobdzija
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Self-restraint is one of the most important litmus tests for distinguishing between humans and other social animals. Major human leaders, both past and present, often fall short in this regard. Instead, particularly as they mobilize their countries for war, these leaders compete for the distinction of being the alpha male.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Gender Based Violence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emanuel Pastreich
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Now that the movement to address climate change at the systemic and cultural level has gained unprecedented momentum, it is critical for us to establish a viable alternative economy that committed citizens around the world can join. The basic unit of that economy should be fossil-fuel-free (FFF) communities. In these FFF (fossil-fuel-free) communities, to be built from the ground up, nothing eaten or consumed, no form of transformation or communication employed, and no aspect of housing, furniture or utensils will contain fossil fuels (including plastics or fertilizers). Nor will any of these items be produced, transported, or manufactured using fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew J. Bacevich
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Let us stipulate at the outset that President Trump is a vulgar and dishonest fraud without a principled bone in his body. Yet history is nothing if not a tale overflowing with irony. Despite his massive shortcomings, President Trump appears intent on recalibrating America’s role in the world. Initiating a long-overdue process of aligning U.S. policy with actually existing global conditions just may prove to be his providentially anointed function.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Allegra Harpootlian
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: America’s drone wars have gotten deadlier under Trump, but the Trump-first news cycle makes highlighting the human cost extremely difficult.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Harry Blain
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Lower courts are slowly but steadily eroding the legal basis for some of the most reactionary war on terror policies.
  • Topic: International Law, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament elections, far-right parties captured the most votes in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Hungary.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hannah Gurman
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: This moment should spark a conversation about the place of national security whistleblowing in a democratic society.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Political Activism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Olivia Alperstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: A new study shows just how bad a nuclear war could get. We need a plan to eliminate this risk permanently
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Khury Petersen-Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: It is sickening that the U.S. would deliver the Kurds to Turkish violence, but that doesn’t mean we should embrace the U.S. presence in Syria.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Human shields are increasingly used in modern conflicts, exposing civilians and other protected persons to high risk of death and injuries. Using human shields is a violation of international humanitarian law (IHL) and a war crime under the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and customary international law. Armed forces confronted with human shields are faced with the dilemma between causing civil casualties that may undermine the legitimacy of their operations and refraining from attack which results in military disadvantages. To address the use of human shields, the respective normative framework and the enforcement of the prohibition could be strengthened. Strategic communication could also be deployed to delegitimize the use of human shields. Thematic engagement among states and with armed non-state actors could further prevent the use of human shields. Operational and tactical measures to circumvent human shields could further support states engaged in military operations and prevent incidental harm to civilians. Any action to address the use of human shields should be coordinated among states and international organizations.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Law, Civilians, International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fleur Heyworth, Catherine Turner
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The number of civil wars tripled in the decade to 2015. In this context, mediation is widely recognised as a critical tool for promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes, and for conflict prevention and resolution. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has made mediation a strategic priority, stating in his latest address to the Security Council that “innovative thinking on mediation is no longer an option, it is a necessity.” i In addition, regional organisations including the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) are also increasing their mediation capacity. It is also increasingly recognised that those who lead high-level mediation processes need to be more representative of diverse stakeholders who bring different perspectives and experiences. Increasing the diversity of mediators is important, because the experience of the mediator will determine how they assess the relative priority of issues in the peace process, and how they are able to connect across tracks to lead inclusive processes. The barriers to inclusion of people with diverse backgrounds are highlighted by the lack of representation of women: this specific field is recognised as one of the most ‘stark and difficult to address gaps’ in achieving gender parity.ii As stated by Mossarat Qadeem, the exclusion of women is not about culture, it is about power.iii A gendered lens helps us to identify the processes, biases and barriers which contribute to the marginalisation and exclusion not just of women, but of all stakeholders who should be at the peace table.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Leadership, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Arms Trade Treaty and the Wassenaar Arrangement both seek to address the challenge posed by unconstrained transfer of conventional arms but differ in structure and approach. There are opportunities for synergies furthering the regimes’ common purpose. States members to both regimes can accentuate and interweave the strengths of the Arms Trade Treaty and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Transferring cutting-edge standards on export controls from the Wassenaar Arrangement to the Arms Trade Treaty would bolster the Arms Trade Treaty and foster global harmonization between exporting and importing countries. Political momentum on certain issues within the Arms Trade Treaty process may benefit the Wassenaar Arrangement’s further development. A derivative of the Wassenaar Arrangement’s regular ‘General Information Exchange’ on regions, transfers, and risky actors could be institutionalized within an Arms Trade Treaty working group. Sharing within the Wassenaar Arrangement information, concerns and practical challenges of states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty could make the Wassenaar Arrangement’s work more effective. Coordinating both regimes’ outreach activities, mentioning each other’s work and using each other’s documents for capacity building could mainstream arms transfer controls, prevent perceptions of conflicting standards as well as enable efficiencies regarding national efforts for compliance with international standards.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Arms Trade, Exports
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Lin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) fulfills a critical role in international financial governance as the global standards-setter for antimoney laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Money laundering and terrorist-financing challenges are evolving, particularly as AML/CFT regimes in developed countries become more robust and illicit financial flows move deeper into primarily cash-based informal economies. Recent political maneuvering by FATF member states to influence the organization’s decisions and global AML/CFT standards-setting has demonstrated that the FATF and AML/CFT policymaking are vulnerable to individual state interests and that the organization’s political independence needs to be strengthened. To more effectively address the above challenges, the FATF should establish an independent oversight function, provide clearer guidance and technical support to countries with deficient AML/CFT regimes, and expand the diversity of its membership.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Monetary Policy, Governance, Financial Crimes
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: This essay discusses the main elements of the American security document called the Missile Defense Review 2019, which was presented by the US Ministry of Defense in January 2019. It covers the possible reasons for the postponed publication of the document and informs about the main legal documents dealing with the peaceful use of space. It compares the current document with the similar one from 2010, which was published by the Obama administration. It also focuses on the possibility of the deployment of US spacebased interceptors in the Earth’s orbit. In this context it analyses the possible negative consequences of such a development, especially that it could lead to the beginning of a phase of a high risk weaponization of outer space and the start of an arms race in that domain.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Weapons , Space
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Brian Wakamo
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Companies willingly censor or condemn free speech to retain market share in authoritarian countries. Just ask Daryl Morey
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chris Dougherty
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) shifted the Department of Defense (DoD) away from a strategy focused on counterterrorism and deterring regional threats like Iran toward competing with, deterring, and, if necessary, defeating Chinese and Russian aggression. DoD is portraying the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020, which is the first such request submitted since the release of the NDS, as a down payment on the long-term investments required to develop a future force that can execute this strategy. Given the price tag of $750 billion, Congress and the American people should, in the words of Ronald Reagan, trust DoD, but verify that this is money well spent on advancing the priorities of the NDS
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The Vientiane–Hanoi Expressway (VHE) has been one of the most anticipated transportation projects between Lao PDR and Viet Nam. This report (1) explores the potentiality of the corridor between Hanoi and Vientiane as designated by the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Development Program; (2) illustrates impacts on economies and industries of Lao PDR and surrounding countries of the VHE; (3) sets out industrial development strategies for Lao PDR, Viet Nam, and Thailand that take maximum advantage of the VHE; and (4) suggests appropriate financial mechanisms to construct the VHE. Thus, this report focuses on how Lao PDR and neighbouring countries can benefit from the expressway by strengthening relevant industries and forming a Bangkok–Vientiane–Hanoi industrial corridor from the perspective of global value chains and production networks developed in the Mekong region
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Koichi Iwabuchi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper critically considers the operation and objective of Japan’s ‘creative industry’ policy and suggests how to redesign it to align it with recent attention to cultural diversity. But the paper’s scope goes beyond business and extends to defining ‘creativity’ as a means to enhance civic dialogue, sympathy, and inclusion, to imagine a better society. The ‘creative industry’ can include independent and non-profit cultural projects that promote diversity by involving artists, museums, non-governmental and non-profit organisations, public service corporations, local communities, volunteers, and researchers. Such a redesign is compatible with the creative industry policy’s aim to advance social inclusion and democratisation by promoting grassroots creativity.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ponciano Intal
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The volume consists of papers on critical elements for an integrated and connected Seamless ASEAN Economic Community up to 2040. The critical elements include seamless trade facilitation, managing nontariff measures, strategies on standards and conformance, engendering skills mobility and development, service sector development and open investment environment, competition and intellectual property policy, seamless logistics and connectivity, data flows and electronic payments in the digital economy, capital market deepening, and good regulatory practice.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Tay
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The papers in Volume II discuss the imperative of collective leadership and ASEAN centrality in light of the greater uncertainty in the global trading system and on regional security which have been underpinning ASEAN’s outward oriented strategy and development. It is suggested that ASEAN’s major Dialogue Partners in East Asia and the United States as well as ASEAN itself can be important contributors to strengthening collective leadership in East Asia and to enhancing ASEAN Centrality. The last paper in the volume presents ideas on how to strengthen ASEAN’s institutional ecosystem, which is important for ASEAN to be able to assert ASEAN centrality in an increasingly uncertain and changing regional environment.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dionisius Narjoko
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Trade and investment liberalization has been one of the key features of economic policy in many developing countries since the 1990s. Research on this subject has consistently produced more evidence on the benefits of globalization; theoretical studies give more attention to what happens within an industry when trade and liberalization occur, while empirical studies confirm the positive impact of trade liberalization. This paper reviews some recent studies on the subject of firms in a globalized economy to enable us to understand more about how firms respond to globalization or changes in trade and investment liberalization. The paper focuses on presenting or explaining the underlying mechanisms through which the effects are realized. The studies summarized in this paper generally confirm the positive impact of trade liberalization on productivity or the spectrum of measures reflecting productivity, such as product quality, firm size, or skill intensity. The positive impact goes through various channels, including competition and industry dynamics, exporting and innovation decisions, and production or investment decisions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: If groundbreaking technological developments in fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen power generation, and hydrogen supply were to be achieved, costs are expected to go down, resulting in the further benefits of an expansion of the hydrogen market and learning effects. Aggressive and environmentally friendly policies will certainly help to expedite the arrival of hydrogen as an important part in the transition to clean energy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: ERIA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) hosted a meeting between the heads and the Parliamentary Leagues for both organisations on 16 April 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. ERIA’s President Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura provided a brief overview of ERIA’s recent collaboration with OECD, which was the revised ASEAN SME Policy Index 2018. In addition, he requested further support from several Japanese ministries, namely the Cabinet Office; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of the Environment; Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare; and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Read more.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mario Esteban
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: This working paper is the result of a process of collective reflection in which many academics and diplomats –with whom I have had extraordinarily fruitful conversations in Brussels, Madrid, Pyongyang and Seoul– have participated. The contributions of those who responded to the policy Delphi that we launched in the spring of 2018, and of the participants in the seminar that we organised at the Brussels office of the Elcano Royal Institute on 5 October 2018, were especially valuable. I would therefore like to explicitly thank Alexander Zhebin, Axel Berkofsky, Bartosz Wisniewski, Charles Powell, Eric Ballbach, Félix Arteaga, Françoise Nicolas, Hideshi Tokuchi, Hiro Akutsu, John Nilsson-Wright, Kim Songyong, Lee Dongmin, Liu Qing, Luis Simón, Michael Paul, Mikael Weissman, Niklas Swanström, Ramón Pacheco, Shin Beomchul and Tariq Rauf for their contributions. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Elisa Lledó in organising the seminar and of Virginia Crespi de Valldaura in helping to prepare this paper.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: This report, building on a workshop held at LSE IDEAS in December 2018 and supported by the Horizon 2020 UPTAKE and Global Challenges Research Fund COMPASS projects, brings together some of the UK’s foremost scholars on Russia, the EU and the post-Soviet space to evaluate the challenges and opportunities facing Russia’s 'Greater Eurasia’ foreign policy concept.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: This report explores the impact of Brexit from an Irish perspective, explaining Europe’s role in improving Ireland-UK relations since 1970s and outlining the threat posed by Brexit to the political settlement in Northern Ireland. In April 2019, LSE IDEAS produced a second edition of this report, containing a new contribution from Michael Burleigh, important updates from Paul Gillespie and Adrian Guelke, and a refreshed introduction from Michael Cox.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Ireland, Global Focus
  • Author: George Magnus
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: The conventional narrative is that China is, or will, by 2030, be the largest economy in the world. Based on commonly held expectations historically about prewar Germany, the USSR and Japan, greater humility would not go amiss. It is not preordained that past economic trends will continue, especially in view of a much compromised outlook for both China and the rest of the world in the 2020s
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Linda Yueh
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: The EU referendum has thrown up many questions around globalisation as well as how to reposition Britain in the world after Brexit. The UK government’s professed intent to leave the European Union and negotiate its own free trade agreements means that Britain would be setting its own trade policies for the first time since 1973, and would need to explicitly set out the aims of British trade and associated foreign investment policies for the first time in four decades. With this in mind, clearly defining the UK’s economic diplomacy is crucial. Current global and domestic conditions are politically challenging. However, this offers an opportunity for the UK to take a lead in setting a helpful direction for the rest of the world, and ensuring that trade and investment policies benefit all in society.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The papers in Volume III delve into the theme of transforming and deepening the ASEAN Community. The main focus is on the digital and fourth industrial revolution as well as on innovation as both offer opportunities and challenges for ASEAN Member States for economic transformation and enhanced resiliency and sustainability. The volume also emphasises the drive towards greater inclusivity, leaving no one behind, and greater people centredness and engagement to deepen the sense of belongingness in the ASEAN Community.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: As Russia increases its geopolitical involvement across the globe, the concept of “Global Russia” has been gradually taking hold. Though Russia is inherently weak, it is likely that Moscow will continue its global initiatives throughout the 2020s. Only by the end of that decade and into the next is there likely to be a gradual decline in Russia’s adventurism abroad.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Elites
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Global Focus
  • Author: Gentiola Madhi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Gentiola Madhi authored, within the Think Visegrad Non-V4 Fellowship programme, an analysis on the state of the affairs of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Duff
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The UK has wasted precious time in the Brexit process. A no deal outcome has become the legal and political default. The new prime minister cannot avoid returning to Mrs May’s deal if he is to avoid no deal. Andrew Duff argues for changes to be made not only to the Political Declaration but also to the Withdrawal Agreement itself. One amendment is needed to buy time: the transition period should be made extendable until the final association agreement enters into force. Such a revision will not breach anyone’s red lines, will obviate the need for the Irish backstop, reassure businesses and citizens, and enable an orderly exit. Duff also argues that the British should pay far more attention to the joint governance of the Withdrawal Agreement. The idea that the UK will become a vassal of the EU is nonsense: in fact, the British will be able to wield influence after Brexit if the new prime minister adopts a positive attitude.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Miodownik
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Israel/Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI)
  • Abstract: This public opinion survey covers different issues of life in Jerusalem of its Israeli and Palestinian residents. It surveys their expressions about local needs, who they view as their local leadership, their social attitudes and ways of communication. It also explores perceptions of violence, life satisfaction and also questions about the future of Jerusalem and municipal elections. ​ This survey is a part of a larger peacebuilding initiative in Jerusalem called “Building Visions for the Future of Jerusalem: A Bottom-Up Approach”. As such, the survey is one of a few ways to collect and give voice to the residents’ needs and perceptions regarding their life in Jerusalem. Its final objectives are to to better understand the foundations for cooperation between the two populations in this contested city, in order to assist in improving their well-being
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Antonio Marquina
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: Entrevista en IBERCAMPUS sobre el libro La política exterior de Estados Unidos
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
84. BASC News
  • Author: Vinod K. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Berkeley APEC Study Center
  • Abstract: Industrial policy in cybersecurity: Origins, evolution and implications
  • Topic: International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adam Ewing, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, George White Jr, Michael L. Krenn, Keisha N. Blain
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Keisha N. Blain, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and Global Struggle for Freedom
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Nationalism, History, Women, Feminism, Diplomatic History, Black Politics, African American Studies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Our Secure Future
  • Abstract: On March 8, 2000, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury remarked in his International Women’s Day statement at the United Nations Security Council, …members of the Security Council recognize that peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men. They affirm that the equal access and full participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts for the prevention and resolution of conflicts are essential for the maintenance and promotion of peace and equality.i Later that year, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed the landmark resolution (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security. UNSCR 1325 is the first formal recognition of the critical role of women in effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The mandate requires attention to gender equality in all aspects of international peace and security decisionmaking. The vision of UNSCR 1325 is to fundamentally change often exclusionary peace and security approaches so that they are fully inclusive and sensitive to the needs and capacities of the entire population. Historically, gender inequality has remained outside the sphere of consideration for many security actors and policymakers. Unlike any other foreign policy agenda, Women, Peace and Security (WPS) originated from a global constituency of non-state actors—women. As a result, WPS promotes nonviolent, human rights–based approaches to peace and security decision-making. This approach explicitly acknowledges equality between men and women as intrinsic to achieving lasting peace.
  • Topic: Security, Women, Peace, WPS
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Ambassador Donald Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Our Secure Future
  • Abstract: The White House has now released its long-awaited Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). The strategy is mandated under the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, which requires the Administration to develop a broad national strategy to support meaningful roles for women around the world in peace operations and political, civic, economic, and security systems. The White House has instructed the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to produce specific implementation plans within 120 days. The short 15-page text is not the comprehensive strategy required by Congress, but rather a statement of principles and priorities that these four agencies are to use to adopt action plans. As such, it is vital that members of Congress and civil society organizations now assist these agencies in making time-bound, measurable commitments backed by accountability provisions and ample resources, and then hold the Administration’s feet to the fire.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Women, WPS
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post-9/11 era, Washington has waged innovative campaigns against terrorism finance, sanctions evasion, and money laundering. Leveraging America’s heavyweight status in the international financial system, the United States Treasury has isolated and bankrupted rogue regimes, global terrorists, and their enablers. As financial technology transforms global business, the traditional financial system faces new competition across a suite of offerings, ranging from brokerage services to peer to peer lending. In no area is this clearer than in mobile payments, where a global hegemon lies ready to exercise its weight, and it is not the United States
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin S. Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The cost to US consumers and firms imposed by tariffs on Chinese imports is not large relative to the gain that would be achieved if the US succeeds in persuading China to stop illegally taking US firms’ technology. But the Trump administration should state that this is the goal, and that the tariffs will be removed when it is met.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zeliha Eliaçık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To the contrary of its relatively “new” relations with the United States of America, Turkey’s relations with the West have been established and continued via Europe since the period of the Ottoman Empire.1 The military alliance and cooperation initiated between Turkey and Germany in the late 19th century have gained a human dimension in the frame of the “Turkish Labor Force Agreement” signed upon the settlement of Turkish workers in Germany in the 20th century. Bilateral relations have been maintained without interruption despite occasional fluctuations in the intensity of these relations. Recently, the two countries have maintained closer ties as they both are affected by the U.S. sanctions and “trade wars.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Konyndyk
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Government Reform and Reorganization Plan released earlier this year by the White House calls for substantial reform of US humanitarian institutions. The plan mandates that the State Department and USAID produce a “specific reorganization proposal” to “optimize” humanitarian assistance and “eliminate duplication of efforts and fragmentation of decision-making.” This policy note lays out guidance for how an ambitious but feasible optimization could be achieved. It is informed by two high-level private roundtables convened by the Center for Global Development to solicit expert input, as well as a desk review of documents, expert interviews, and the author’s own experiences serving in the humanitarian arms of both USAID and the State Department. While numerous experts contributed thoughts and feedback, the author takes sole responsibility for the views represented herein.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susannah Hares
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It’s tricky to evaluate government education policies. They’re not implemented in NGO-like laboratory conditions, and political motivation and public sector capacity constraints play as much of a role in their success or failure as policy design. Using the examples of three rigorous studies of three different education policies, this note aims to shed some light from the perspective of someone on the policy side on how, why, and when to evaluate government-led reforms. A government education policy is not an abstract theory that can easily be replicated in a different place. In each new context, it is effectively a brand-new programme and needs to be evaluated as that. None of the three examples presented was “new” as a policy: school inspections, school vouchers, and charter schools have all been tried and evaluated elsewhere. But the evaluations of these policies—when implemented in new contexts—illuminated a new set of challenges and lessons and generated a different set of results.
  • Topic: Education, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sebastian Kohl
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: America’s “infatuation with homeownership” has been identified as one cause of the latest financial crisis. Based on codings of 1,809 party manifestos in 19 OECD countries since 1945, this paper addresses the question of where the political ideal to democratize homeownership came from. While conservative parties have defended homeownership across countries and time, center-left parties have oscillated between a pro-homeownership and a pro-rental position. The former occurs in Anglo-Saxon, Northern and Southern European countries, while the latter prevails among German-speaking countries. Beyond partisan effects, once a country has a majority of homeowners and parties defending homeownership, larger parties are more likely to support it. The extent of center-left parties’ support for homeownership is conditionally associated with higher homeownership rates, more encouraging mortgage regimes, and a bigger housing bubble burst after 2007. The ideational origins of the financialization of housing and private Keynesianism are, after all, not only conservative and market-liberal.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan, Leanne Erdberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As governments and communities seek the right combination of methods to halt terrorism, one that we too often miss is nonviolent resistance. It’s not that we haven’t seen the power of protest movements that use mass marches, sit-ins, boycotts and other forceful but nonviolent tactics. To the contrary, people worldwide have been moved by watching such movements sweep aside the walls of apartheid, the tanks of dictators or the impunity of kleptocracies. But governments and civil society alike have failed to connect the dots—to promote nonviolent action that can help communities address grievances while absorbing the youth alienation upon which terrorist movements feed.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s government is focused on building consensus—both domestically and among states in the region—to support a peace process with the Taliban insurgency, according to the Afghan national security advisor, Hanif Atmar. The main challenges, he said, include continued support from Pakistan for the Taliban and an incremental recent Russian move toward immediate cooperation with the Taliban even without a peace process. Also, Atmar said, a web of disparate extremist groups is deploying increasing numbers of foreign fighters in his country.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United Nations has declared a priority this year to unify and strengthen its work in building peace—and U.N. bodies will meet in the next two months to advance that change. U.N. leaders have acknowledged that a vital element in peacebuilding is nonviolent, grassroots movements that can prevent violent conflict by providing ways for people to constructively address grievances, seek rights and advance justice. But as the United Nations aims to more efficiently promote peace, how prepared is it to actually work with the nonviolent grassroots movements that have proven to be peacebuilding’s most effective tool? The answer to that is unclear, but the U.N. system could take a few steps during and after its high-level meetings this spring to strengthen this neglected part of its peacebuilding strategy.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Don Rassler
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The Islamic State is a group known for doing things a bit differently, for its capacity for innovation, and for its many ‘firsts.’ Two of those ‘firsts’ happened within months of each other. The first occurred in October 2016 when the group used a bomb-laden drone to kill, after the explosive hidden within the drone killed two Kurdish peshmerga soldiers who were investigating the device. Another ‘first’ happened in January 2017 when the Islamic State released a propaganda video that showed nearly a dozen examples of the group releasing munitions on its enemies from the air with a fair degree of accuracy via quadcopter drones it had modified. And it wasn’t long before the group’s bomb-drop capable drones would go on to kill, too.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Warner, Hilary Matfess
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Since 2009, the Islamist group known as Boko Haram has ushered in a wave of violence across the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, at the intersection of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Among other tactics that it has employed during its reign of terror, the group has been noted for its use of suicide bombers. While the prevalence of suicide bombings has been duly recognized, little remains known about the broader arc of their existence and efficacy: What strategic and operational trends underlie Boko Haram’s use of suicide bombers, and how effective have they been at achieving their objectives? Just who are Boko Haram’s suicide bombers? Where are they deployed, what do they target, and how do different bomber demographics differ in their actions? More broadly, what does Boko Haram’s use of suicide bombers reveal about the past, present, and future of the terrorist group?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus