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  • Author: Sarah E. Mendelson
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The Joseph Biden Administration has rather famously committed to convene a Summit for Democracy, likely later in 2021 or early in 2022. The Summit has become, as some diplomats have suggested, “the talk of the town,” not only in Washington but also in multiple other national capitals. A cottage industry has sprung up debating the who, the what and the where. More focus is needed on the why — which, in turn, ought to shape the how. To my mind, albeit one preoccupied for over a quarter of a century with human rights and democracy, the why is rather straightforward. The alternatives — bending to the rise of authoritarians, or leaving unaddressed the weakened liberal international order that the United States originally helped create —are not in our or our allies’ national interest. Many democracies are experiencing intense challenges on multiple levels. Chief among these is the global pandemic, which revealed deep socioeconomic inequities in societies that have long been labeled “developed,” when in fact these democracies have not been delivering to many communities. Freedom House has now recorded 15 straight years of decline globally in democracy. The crises at home have been widely broadcast: the new Congress came under physical attack January 6 after a U.S. President attempted, as part of a protracted effort, to overturn the 2020 election and prohibit the peaceful transfer of power. How then the Summit for Democracy can help repair and revive democracy here and among our allies needs more consideration and detail. Numerous factors roll up to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and refresh exactly how we advance democracy at home and abroad. New approaches, themes and methods can help revitalize strategy and policy. Such new approaches need to connect and account for domestic shortcomings and link progress at home to efforts abroad. In doing so, post-pandemic democracy promotion needs to reflect a comprehensive focus on rights that includes socioeconomic issues and sustainable development (e.g., democracies must deliver dignity). The Biden Administration ought to consider labeling the Summit “Democracies Deliver Dignity and Development” or the 4Ds Summit. The Summit can provide the road map for these new approaches while being informed and shaped by extensive consultations at home and abroad. Finally, new methods should include data-driven, human-centered design shaping foreign assistance as well as elevating local voices. Internationally, that would be a significant change to the dominant modalities, largely Congress-driven, supporting specific types of institution building, such as central election commissions. Such work will undoubtedly continue, given support in Congress and among the U.S.-based NGOs that receive the funding (notwithstanding the damaged credibility of our democracy). At a minimum though, demonstrably demand-driven assistance ought to supplement this older business model in order to better deliver to populations, listening and responding to the multitude of needs.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Authoritarianism, Democracy, NGOs
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kenneth I. Juster
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The conventional wisdom is that the foreign policy of Donald Trump’s Administration severely damaged relations with U.S. allies and partners. Commentators point to repeated criticism by the United States of friends in Europe and Asia, as well as the abrupt withdrawal from trade and other arrangements. But such critics overlook the U.S. relationship with India, which made significant advances and will be an area of substantial continuity in Joseph Biden’s Administration. The U.S.-India partnership has grown steadily since the turn of the century, with the past four years seeing major progress in diplomatic, defense, economic, energy and health cooperation. The strengthened bilateral relationship has become the backbone of an Indo-Pacific strategy designed to promote peace and prosperity in a dynamic and contested region. The longstanding U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific has underpinned the stability and remarkable economic rise of this region over the last 70 years. While the concept of the Indo-Pacific has been many years in the making, in the past four years the United States and India have turned it into a reality. For the United States, the Indo-Pacific agenda meant working with India to provide coordinated leadership in addressing the threat from an expansionist China, the need for more economic connectivity and other challenges in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard N. Holwill
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The U.S. policy of normalization toward Cuba in the Barack Obama Administration was reversed by President Donald Trump, largely because it failed to address an underlying issue. The Cuban “revolution,” though consolidated on the Island, was soundly rejected by the Cuban exile community who view their country as mired in an unresolved civil war. The importance of the Florida vote was sufficient to prompt President Trump to “cancel” President Obama’s efforts at normalization. Meaningful change will require a more comprehensive approach to the challenge of implementing an effective Cuba policy. In truth, there is no justification for overt hostility toward Cuba. The Cold War is over, and the role that Cuba played in that conflict – an alliance with the Soviets, exporting violent revolution and doctrinaire socialism – has ended, as well. Going forward, the Biden Administration must adjust policies to reflect the fact that Cuba is on the verge of becoming a failed state, which would have negative consequences for the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Fragile/Failed State, Conflict, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Caribbean, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John M. Logsdon
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that “the new horizons of outer space must not be driven by the old bitter conflicts of imperialism and sovereign claims.” Kennedy announced that the United States would “urge proposals extending the United Nations Charter to the limits of man’s exploration of the universe, reserving outer space for peaceful use, prohibiting weapons of mass destruction in space or on celestial bodies, and opening the mysteries and benefits of space to every nation.”[1] Just over five years later, after several rounds of negotiations carried out primarily with the Soviet Union but within the framework of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), the “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activity of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies” was opened for signature on January 27, 1967.[2] As of February 2021, 111 nation states, including all major space-faring countries, are party to that treaty; another 23 have signed the treaty but not yet ratified it. The principles set out in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, supplemented over the more than 50 years since 1967 by four implementing treaties and a number of non-binding statements of principles and multilateral agreements, constitute today’s international governance framework for space activities. It was Kennedy’s 1961 speech that started the process of creating that framework. President Joseph Biden has a similar opportunity, 60 years later, to take the lead in updating space governance for the 21st century.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Governance, Space
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Felipe Ferreira de Oliveira Rocha, Marcelo de Almeida Medeiros
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: In this article, we analyse the content of the speeches delivered by Brazilian Presidents, Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors at annual Ordinary Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly in the period between 1946 and 2019. Our primary objective is to find out how often and under what circumstances Brazilian diplomats mentioned the subject of American regionalism and whether the mention was made in reference to specific projects or to abstract concepts of regional integration and cooperation. Based on this analysis, we highlight the great deal of importance that was given to MERCOSUR – and, to a lesser extent, UNASUR – to the detriment of other regional integration projects, as well as the preference, by Brazilian diplomats, for a flexible, low-profile, ab- stract and low-cost discursive approach. In short, we found that cooperation and integration have frequently been discussed, although little attention has been devoted to the limits and possibilities of each project under construction.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James Franklin Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Institution: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Abstract: In his foreign policy, President Trump followed new approaches and shaped the international stage in ways that will be hard for the Biden administration to reverse. These approaches, nowhere more apparent than in the Middle East, include, first, focus on near peer competition, in the Middle East, that included containing Russia, Iran, and Islamic violent extremists such as al-Qaida and particularly Daesh or ISIS. The second is reliance upon partners and allies. The Trump administration succeeded by its standards using the above approaches: Iran’s regional advance was contested and to some degree constrained, Teheran is under far greater economic pressure and faced with a regional coalition encouraged by the Abraham Accords. The administration had moved most of the region beyond the endless Palestinian issue as the lodestone of regional diplomacy, destroyed the ISIS territorial state, and with help from Turkey contained Russian advances. With the exception of the Iranian nuclear file, this looks like success. The issue now is whether the Biden administration can build on this success or revert to Obama
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Leadership, Transition
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Assal Rad
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Institution: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Abstract: The attacks on 11 September 2001 not only shaped the focus of US foreign policy over the last two decades, but also de!ned how a generation of Americans understood the gravity of these policies by bringing the cost and tragedy of con"ict home. For many young Americans, it was the !rst time they became aware of the extent of US interventionism and how it impacts the way other nations and peoples view the United States. But events over the last year in the United States have brought the attitude of US foreign policy—which has long been driven by the idea that problems can be solved exclusively through militarism and force—much closer to home. Images of police violently confronting Black Lives Matter protestors and an insurrection at the Capitol were often likened to images of war zones abroad, the very wars started by the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Merari Hall Fortun
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Institution: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Abstract: Ileft Cuba as a young two-year-old child on 9 April 1968 with my parents, an older brother, and sister. My parents were also expecting another child, my younger brother, who was later born in the United States. My parents’ oldest son was of military age and at university and was not granted the exit visa with the rest of the family. He would eventually join us as an adult, ten years later with his own family. We settled in Union City, New Jersey, after a few months at my father's uncle's home in New York. As I recall, the residents of Union City (or at least in my close community) at the time were mostly Cubans; a good number of Italians; a few Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Germans; and people who practiced conservative Judaism. In our home we only spoke Spanish, but I remember the feeling of not understanding all of the children when I played outside, as they would speak English, the language I was yet to speak or understand. I was pretty much always surrounded by Cubans, the Cuban culture, and an all-Spanish community. Not a day went by in our home when Cuba was not mentioned. My mother had left all of her six brothers behind, and my father, his only sister. Both had left behind numerous nephews and nieces, friends, neighbors, and a whole life's worth of relationships. The main reason for the daily mention, however, was that their eldest son remained there and this separation was too much to bear and very painful for them. All they wanted was to have the family unit together again.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Immigration, Peace, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Caribbean, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Augusto C. Dall'Agnol, Marco Cepik
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI)
  • Institution: Instituto Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (IBRI)
  • Abstract: This article explains changes in strategic stability through a path dependence framework, discussing its antecedent conditions, increasing returns, cleavages, critical junctures, reactive sequences, and legacy. We identify the leading causes of its formation, reproduction, modification, and, eventually, its end. Such an analysis is relevant as far as we observe significant changes in cornerstone’s aspects of strategic stability after the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty. We argue that strategic stability as an institution passes through radical modifications produced by reactive sequences breaking the causal loop that allowed its reproduction since its formation.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael McFaul
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: President-elect Joseph R. Biden has an opportunity to forge a bipartisan, sustained grand U.S. strategy for Russia. With decades of experience in foreign affairs, especially transatlantic relations, he knows Russia, he knows Vladimir Putin and, equally important, he knows the region. When I worked at the National Security Council during the Barack Obama administration, I traveled with then-Vice President Biden to Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. Unlike his immediate predecessor, President Biden rightfully will not try to befriend Putin. He and his expert team of foreign policy advisors understand that the central objective in U.S. policy towards Russia today is to contain Putin’s belligerent behavior abroad. At the same time, the incoming Biden administration offers the U.S. a chance to develop a more predictable pattern of bilateral relations with the Russian government and Russian people, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. After relations with China, competing with Russia is the second-greatest foreign policy challenge of our time, complicated by the fact that China and Russia today are closer to each other now than they were during the Cold War. To successfully achieve American objectives will require the implementation of a comprehensive, sophisticated and nuanced strategy for containing Putin’s belligerent actions abroad and simultaneously cooperating with Moscow on a small set of issues of mutual benefit.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Conflict, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America