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  • Author: Leonard Wong, Dr. Stephen J. Gerras
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Previous studies analyzing disability compensation have decried its $76 billion annual budget or warned of its perverse ability to incentivize veterans not to work. This study focuses on the impact of this moral hazard on the US Army profession. If soldiers continue to capitalize on an extremely permissive disability system, the trust between society and the military may be threatened, and future Army readiness may be jeopardized should disability compensation be added to the marginal cost of a soldier. More importantly, many of today’s soldiers are rationalizing disability compensation as something owed to them—not for a debilitating injury, but for the hardships of service to the nation. This study uses US Army and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel files, soldier interviews, and discussions with senior leaders to support its conclusions. The intent of the study is to prompt the Army profession to act before the culture surrounding disability compensation becomes permanent. In the end, the essence of the entitlement—taking care of veterans—must remain sacrosanct. This call for reform is driven not by fiscal considerations, but by a desire for the Army to remain both an institution trusted by society and a profession marked by selfless service.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, Disability, Army, Veterans
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hanmin Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: State-funded news media outlets and the ways in which they convey the messages of government and government-affiliated officials represent an essential but under-emphasized area of study in the realm of international diplomacy. Through a case study of the Hong Kong protests of 2019, this paper draws on theories from journalism and public diplomacy to analyze articles by state-funded media covering the unrest. This paper argues that the state-funded news outlets of the US and China used the same frame—violence and conflict—but approached the Hong Kong protests differently. Using this frame, state media outlets made themselves channels for government officials during the US-China rivalry, but made different arguments regarding the violence that occurred there. While US government-funded media focused on the violence of the Hong Kong Police Force as a danger to the territory’s democracy, Chinese state media emphasized the violence of the Hong Kong protestors as a danger to national security.
  • Topic: Government, Communications, Media, Protests, Journalism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Hong Kong
  • Author: Michael A. Carrier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Big Tech is in the news. At the center of our political and economic dialogue is the effect that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have on our lives and what, if anything, governments should do about it. In this article, I explain how Big Tech has come under scrutiny, the antitrust implications of the industry’s behavior, and the potential remedy of breaking up the companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology, Regulation, Internet, Social Media, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Tim Glawion
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Central African Republic (CAR) could be a case of hope. After years of violence, the main armed groups and the government signed a peace agreement last year. At the end of 2020, elections are set to take place that could strengthen the democratic credentials of the country and grant its institutions the legitimacy needed to rebuild the state. As surveys have shown the populace is tired of the armed groups scattered (and fighting) throughout the country and demand the return of the state. The state is building up its army and deploying troops across a growing part of the country’s territory with the help of international actors. However, the restoration of state authority in the CAR remains unlikely. The state’s history is one of neglect, meaning there remains little to be “restored” and much to be built in the first place. Whether the state is willing and able to live up to the population’s demands is questionable. The military approach to state authority restoration and the integration of armed actors risks marginalizing the calls for an emphasis on public services. Locals hope for the return of the state—and one that is robust and caring. The reality of a militarized and inefficient state would shatter these hopes.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Governance, State, Society
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Most Syrian refugees in Lebanon have thought many times about going home but in the end deemed the risks too great. Donors should increase aid allowing the Lebanese government to continue hosting the Syrians, so that any decision they make to leave is truly voluntary. What’s new? Pressure on Syrian refugees in Lebanon to return home is rising. Although Syria remains unsafe for most, refugees are trickling back, escaping increasingly harsh conditions in Lebanon and hoping that the situation will improve back home. Procedures that clarify refugees’ legal status are making return more plausible for some. Why does it matter? While even a small number of successful repatriations represents positive news, conditions are too dangerous for mass organised returns. Yet the Syrian government and some Lebanese political factions increasingly insist that it is time for large-scale returns to begin. What should be done? Donors should plan for many refugees to stay for many years, and provide support to help Lebanon meet Syrians’ needs, ease the burden on Lebanon’s economy, and reduce friction between refugees and their Lebanese hosts. The Lebanese government can take additional administrative steps to ease voluntary returns.
  • Topic: Government, Refugees, Syrian War, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Zachary Abuza, Luke Lischin
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was formally established as part of a peace agreement to end nearly five decades of conflict between the Philippine government and Moro secessionists. This report discusses the many notable achievements of the BARMM government during its first year while cautioning that these accomplishments are not irreversible, and that the BARMM will need international support—including from the United States—to confront future challenges.
  • Topic: Government, Separatism, Peace, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Philippines, United States of America
  • Author: Sameer P. Lalwani, Gillian Gayner
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On August 5, 2019, the government of India revoked the constitutional autonomy of its Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. This report—based on field interviews, new data collection, and extensive research— focuses on the revitalized insurgency and mass uprising between 2013 and 2019, explains how the Kashmir conflict evolved to a point that contributed to India’s extraordinary political gambit, and lays out both New Delhi’s strategy and the challenges the government faces going forward.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Government, Insurgency, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Kelly M. McFarland
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: In recent years, a growing number of governments, non-state actors, and citizens have rapidly expanded their use of pernicious information operations against other countries and even their fellow citizens. Social media and the internet have become the main tool. The current technological revolution has lowered the cost of entry for those wishing to spread misinformation and disinformation. Some use the internet to propagate an alternative version of the global order they seek to dominate, to damage a regional rival, or to influence their own or others’ elections. The players, tactics, tools, and topics will continue to expand in the months and years ahead, and the coronavirus pandemic has only enhanced the salience of these activities. Information operation campaigns sow confusion, further divide deeply partisan societies, and are an existential threat to democracies around the world. Thus far, governmental, tech sector, and civil society responses have fallen short, although some have fared better than others. In fall 2019 and the spring 2020, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy convened a series of working group meetings that included academics and practitioners, private sector specialists, and representatives from civil society. The attendees mapped out this space and identified the challenges inherent in this new form of incipient and widespread information operations. This group also identified potential areas of further engagement, collaboration, and research within the private sector, academia, and civil society. Ultimately, the group came up with a set of principles and policy recommendations for governments, private sector companies, and civil society to enact in both the near-and-long-term in order to mitigate information operations.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Marek Wąsiński, Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus outbreak is spreading throughout the United States. After its initial underestimation of the threat, the Trump administration has acted to fight against the pandemic, including the introduction of a national emergency. The effectiveness of these actions will be an important factor in whether Trump is re-elected. The limits on social life despite the enormous financial support from the government and the Federal Reserve have dramatically slowed the economy, heading into a recession. Public debt will increase much more rapidly, which may force budget cuts in the coming years.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Financial Crisis, Health Care Policy, Crisis Management, Donald Trump, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America