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  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This report presents data from a series of surveys of safety net organizations, clients who access care at these sties, and the providers who work there. The goal of this project was to identify issues and needs facing clients at these sites and the unique role of safety net organizations in meeting these needs. An additional goal was to identify potential challenges to the mission and capacity of this network of providers that is caring for society’s most vulnerable and needy individuals. The surveys were conducted by medical students participating in the Soros Service Program for Community Health. This summer internship, part of the Open Society Institute’s Medicine as a Profession initiative, places first year medical students from around the country in community-based organizations for a seven-week internship. The students get to experience first-hand issues facing patients trying to access care in the face of poverty, addiction, abuse, and homelessness. They receive mentoring from a very talented and committed team of community providers and participate in an intensive curriculum that focuses on issues of professionalism facing physicians. The goal is to introduce students early in their education and training to positive examples of empowered communities and providers serving the needs of traditionally disenfranchised patient populations and to introduce the concepts and practice of patient advocacy.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Public Policy, Welfare, Public Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The EU Accession Monitoring Program of the Open Society Institute was initiated in 2000 to encourage independent monitoring of the process by which the European Union is considering applications for membership from the ten candidate States of Central and Eastern Europe. The Program aims to contribute to this historic process by producing monitoring reports to complement the evaluations already being conducted by the European Commission, as reflected in its annual “Regular Reports” on candidate States’ progress towards meeting accession criteria. The enlargement of the European Union is a positive development, and independent monitoring is one means of magnifying its beneficial effects, both within the candidate States and in the EU itself.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia
  • Author: Dimitar Bechev
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: Facing commonalities and yet fully aware of differences, this paper addresses the question whether there is a broader regional identity in the Balkans, which transcends national boundaries. It is critical to define what that specific identity means, what its political implications are, what the relationship between things national and regional is. Assuming identities and collective solidarities tend to be “discursively constructed, particularly enacted, and historically situated” (Wendt, 1994) or “plural, malleable, flexible” (Ferguson and Mansbach, 1994), I argue that as far as the Balkans are concerned there are both unexplored possibilities and a number of impediments in the quest for broader and multiple conceptions of belonging. The paper proposes a middle way of dealing with the issue of the relationship between national and regional which focuses on the proposition that a regional system of international relations is gradually emerging, which configures state-to-state interactions in particular ways and provides grounds for new identifications. The first section of the paper underlies the merely practical implications of the project of self-determination and particularisation that has governed Balkan politics for at least 200 years and has triumphed with the last wave of national secessionism in the 1990s. The imperative to come up with modes of interstate co-operation inevitably leads to the question what the primary source of disunity is. Making some preliminary theoretical points (second section) and tracing the emergence of national identities and the demise of broader loyalties (third section), the paper proceeds to elaborate on two strategies attempting to reconcile parochialism and regionalism: the revaluation of the exclusivist narratives of ethnocentrism, and the construction of a specific regional political context that the Balkan states participate in. I consider the latter minimalist understanding superior and suggest that it contains the right explanation of Balkan regional identity.
  • Topic: Politics, Regionalism, Post Cold War, Identity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Last July, Mexico underwent a medium-sized political earthquake—it elected Vicente Fox, candidate of an opposition alliance, to a six-year presidential term. In so doing, it ended seventy-one years of hegemonic rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and unleashed a host of possibilities for the nation’s future. What are those possibilities, and what do they mean—for Mexico and the United States? The truth is that nobody—not even veteran Mexico-watchers—is quite sure. Fox himself is a man of paradox: His relationship with his own party is ambiguous, to say the least, and the platform on which he ran points both left and right, as do his cabinet appointments. Moreover, Mexico itself, long in the thrall of a kind of benevolent authoritarianism, is new to the art of divided government. While there may be some changes in the relationship with the United States, tensions and conflicts based on history, geography, and the vast asymmetries of wealth are bound to persist.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Politics, Authoritarianism, Elections
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: After forty years of politics as usual, Venezuela has suddenly become an object of curiosity to the world’s press. The reason is President Hugo Chávez, a forty-six-year-old former lieutenant colonel who first came to the attention of Venezuelans in 1992 when he and a group of other junior officers attempted to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Amnestied by Pérez’s successor, Chávez began a political career of his own, and in 1998, running as the candidate of the so-called Fifth Republic Revolutionary Movement (MVR), he was elected by a decisive majority. Two and a half years later, he is still an enigma—to Venezuelans, to the United States, and to everyone else. Given the centrality of his country to the oil producers’ cartel and, even more, given the current dependence of the United States on Venezuelan oil, he merits a closer look.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Hugo Chavez
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Last November Peruvian politics were turned upside down by the revelation that the president’s security chief had been bribing members of congress, other prominent political personalities, and the media. The “smoking gun” was a series of filmed videos actually recording the shady transactions, involving millions of dollars in one of Latin America’s poorest nations. Popular indignation was so great that the president, Alberto Fujimori, diverted a flight to the Asia-Pacific conference in Brunei and went to Tokyo instead, where he precipitously claimed Japanese citizenship and asked for political asylum. At home, one of the strongest political machines in Latin America was dismantled almost overnight. Congress deposed the president, named an interim chief executive and prime minister, and called for new elections on April 8. Thus ends an era in Peruvian politics, one rich in paradox and moral ambiguity. What, one wonders, is next?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Corruption, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Though summer is still with us in the northern hemisphere, Latin America languishes deep in the winter of its discontent. Ten years after the international scene was transformed by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, many Latin Americans have become disillusioned with their role in the new world order. The principal problem is that in spite of vigorous, in some cases drastic, market reforms, most of the region’s economies are in the doldrums. More to the point, in spite of a significant return of foreign investment to the area in the early 1990s, the number of Latin Americans living in poverty has increased. Public services have deteriorated or in some cases even disappeared. And crime is rampant everywhere, even in cities such as Buenos Aires, where until ten years ago inhabitants boasted-with reason-that their streets were safer at 3 a.m. than those of New York or Los Angeles in daytime.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Democracy, Investment
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On November 4, Nicaraguans will go to the polls to select a president, vice president, and all sixty-six members of their unicameral congress–an event that on its own merits would hardly deserve much attention on the part of foreign observers. But the drama unfolding in that tiny country is characteristic of many small (and not so small) Latin American countries today: the inability of democracy alone to address effectively some of the fundamental problems of society. Nicaragua also provides some interesting insight into the peculiar pathologies that afflict postrevolutionary states, and as such may provide some light on what we can expect in post-Castro Cuba and even, eventually, in post—Chávez Venezuela.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America, Nicaragua
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Sunday, October 14, Argentines went to the polls to culminate what must surely have been the most ideological, hard-fought, and potentially decisive legislative election in their country’s history. At stake were all seventy-two seats in Argentina’s senate (chosen for the first time by popular vote[1]) and half of those in the Chamber of Deputies. What made the exercise particularly fraught with political significance was the fact that—coming as it did in the third year of a deep recession—the outcome was bound to be unfavorable to President Fernando de la Rúa, now midway through his four-year term. Given the parlous economic indicators—a near record 16 percent unemployment, laggard or negative economic growth for many months, drastic cuts in social spending with apparently more to come—the fact that the opposition Peronist Party won control of the senate and a plurality in the lower house can hardly be considered a surprise. But more serious still was the fact that, with few exceptions, candidates from the president’s own Radical Civic Union (and its coalition partner) ran against him with equal, if not greater, zeal. To the extent that the election was a plebiscite on de la Rúa’s stewardship, the vast majority voted “no.” What it voted for, however, is far from clear.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America
  • Author: Kevin O'Neill
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Science and International Security
  • Abstract: A little over a year ago, ISIS initiated an annual review of fissile material controls covering a broad spectrum of initiatives. To do so, 19 separate initiatives were identified and assessed. Based on this assessment, grades were awarded on a scale of A, B, C, D, and F, where an “A” is excellent and an “F” is failing. Numerically, an “A” corresponds to a numerical grade of four, and an “F” to zero. The results of the first review were disappointing. Only 12 of the 19 initiatives received a passing grade of “C” or higher. The average grade of the initiatives was a “C”-showing an unfortunate level of mediocrity across the fissile material control agenda. In ISIS’s 2000 review, we found that the outlook is worse today than it was a year ago. Rather than make progress during the past 12 months, the overall fissile material control agenda fared poorly. The average grade of the identified initiatives fell from a “C” to a “C-minus.” This overall finding is borne out if one looks at the individual grades assigned to each of the 19 identified initiatives. ISIS judged that five initiatives remained essentially static, nine received lower grades, and five initiatives received higher grades.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons , Fissile Material
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States of America