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  • Author: Robert McNally
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: As OPEC has loosened its grip over the past ten years, the oil market has been rocked by wild price swings, the likes of which haven't been seen for eight decades. Crafting an engrossing journey from the gushing Pennsylvania oil fields of the 1860s to today's fraught and fractious Middle East, Crude Volatility explains how past periods of stability and volatility in oil prices help us understand the new boom-bust era. Oil's notorious volatility has always been considered a scourge afflicting not only the oil industry but also the broader economy and geopolitical landscape; Robert McNally makes sense of how oil became so central to our world and why it is subject to such extreme price fluctuations. Tracing a history marked by conflict, intrigue, and extreme uncertainty, McNally shows how—even from the oil industry's first years—wild and harmful price volatility prompted industry leaders and officials to undertake extraordinary efforts to stabilize oil prices by controlling production. Herculean market interventions—first, by Rockefeller's Standard Oil, then, by U.S. state regulators in partnership with major international oil companies, and, finally, by OPEC—succeeded to varying degrees in taming the beast. McNally, a veteran oil market and policy expert, explains the consequences of the ebbing of OPEC's power, debunking myths and offering recommendations—including mistakes to avoid—as we confront the unwelcome return of boom and bust oil prices.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil, OPEC
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231543682
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Paul R. Pillar
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Drawing a line from colonial events to America's handling of modern international terrorism, Pillar shows how presumption and misperception bolstered the "with us or against us" attitude of the George W. Bush administration. Fundamental misunderstandings have created a cycle in which threats are underestimated before an attack occurs and then are overestimated after they happen. By exposing this longstanding tradition of misperception, Pillar hopes the United States can develop policies that better address international realities rather than biased beliefs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, United States
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231540353
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: In the poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Mali, the United States has struggled to work with governments whose corruption and lack of capacity are increasingly seen to be the cause of instability and poverty. The development and security communities call for "good governance" to improve the rule of law, democratic accountability, and the delivery of public goods and services. The United States and other rich liberal democracies insist that this is the only legitimate model of governance. Yet poor governments cannot afford to govern according to these ideals and instead are compelled to rely more heavily on older, cheaper strategies of holding power, such as patronage and repression. The unwillingness to admit that poor governments do and must govern differently has cost the United States and others inestimable blood and coin. Informed by years of fieldwork and drawing on practitioner work and academic scholarship in politics, economics, law, and history, this book explains the origins of poor governments in the formation of the modern state system and describes the way they govern. It argues that, surprisingly, the effort to stigmatize and criminalize the governance of the poor is both fruitless and destabilizing. The United States must pursue a more effective foreign policy to engage poor governments and acknowledge how they govern.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, Development, Poverty, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Haiti, Mali
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231171205
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Seyom Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Seyom Brown's authoritative account of U.S. foreign policy from the end of the Second World War to the present challenges common assumptions about American presidents and their struggle with power and purpose. Brown shows Truman to be more anguished than he publicly revealed about the use of the atomic bomb; Eisenhower and George W. Bush to be more immersed in the details of policy formulation and implementation than generally believed; Reagan to be more invested in changing his worldview while in office than any previous president; and Obama to have modeled his military exit from Iraq and Afghanistan more closely to Nixon and Kissinger's exit strategy from Vietnam than he would like to admit. Brown's analyses of Obama's policies for countering terrorist threats at home and abroad, dealing with unprecedented upheavals in the Middle East, preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and containing new territorial expansion by China and Russia reinforce the book's "constancy and change" theme, which shows that serving the interests of the most powerful country in the world transforms the Oval Office's occupant more than its occupant can transform the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Terrorism, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231133296
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Nancy Bernkopf Tucker confronts the coldest period of the cold war--the moment in which personality, American political culture, public opinion, and high politics came together to define the Eisenhower Administration's policy toward China. A sophisticated, multidimensional account based on prodigious, cutting edge research, this volume convincingly portrays Eisenhower's private belief that close relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China were inevitable and that careful consideration of the PRC should constitute a critical part of American diplomacy. Tucker provocatively argues that the Eisenhower Administration's hostile rhetoric and tough actions toward China obscure the president's actual views. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, pursued a more nuanced approach, one better suited to China's specific challenges and the stabilization of the global community. Tucker deftly explores the contradictions between Eisenhower and his advisors' public and private positions. Her most powerful chapter centers on Eisenhower's recognition that rigid trade prohibitions would undermine the global postwar economic recovery and push China into a closer relationship with the Soviet Union. Ultimately, Tucker finds Eisenhower's strategic thinking on Europe and his fear of toxic, anticommunist domestic politics constrained his leadership, making a fundamental shift in U.S. policy toward China difficult if not impossible. Consequently, the president was unable to engage congress and the public effectively on China, ultimately failing to realize his own high standards as a leader.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231159258
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Joseph Cirincione
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: There is a high risk that someone will use, by accident or design, one or more of the 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Many thought such threats ended with the Cold War or that current policies can prevent or contain nuclear disaster. They are dead wrong--these weapons, possessed by states large and small, stable and unstable, remain an ongoing nightmare. Joseph Cirincione surveys the best thinking and worst fears of experts specializing in nuclear warfare and assesses the efforts to reduce or eliminate these nuclear dangers. His book offers hope: in the 1960s, twenty-three states had nuclear weapons and research programs; today, only nine states have weapons. More countries have abandoned nuclear weapon programs than have developed them, and global arsenals are just one-quarter of what they were during the Cold War. Yet can these trends continue, or are we on the brink of a new arms race--or worse, nuclear war? A former member of Senator Obama's nuclear policy team, Cirincione helped shape the policies unveiled in Prague in 2009, and, as president of an organization intent on reducing nuclear threats, he operates at the center of debates on nuclear terrorism, new nuclear nations, and the risks of existing arsenals.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231164054
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Jennifer Morrison Taw
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Defined as operations other than war, stability operations were, for the entire history of the United States military, considered a dangerous distraction if not an outright drain on combat resources. Nonetheless, American troops are now deployed far more often for stability operations than for conventional war. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense reversed its traditional stance on stability operations, elevating them to a primary mission alongside more conventional offense and defense goals. Jennifer Morrison Taw argues that this action represented a revolutionary change with significant implications on U.S. foreign policy. Through a detailed examination of the accompanying adjustments to U.S. military doctrine and adaptations in force preparation, Taw connects the elevation of stability operations to the far-reaching, overly ambitious American preoccupation with managing international stability. She also shows how the DOD's decision reinforced and exacerbated domestic politics that already had reduced civilian agencies' capabilities while fostering an unhealthy overreliance on the military.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Political stability
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231526821
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Laurent Cohen-Tanugi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Contrary to an optimistic vision of a world "flattened" by the virtues of globalization, the sustainability and positive outcomes of economic and political homogenization are far from guaranteed. For better and for worse, globalization has become the most powerful force shaping the world's geopolitical landscape, whether it has meant integration or fragmentation, peace or war. The future partly depends on how new economic giants such as China, India, and others make use of their power. It also depends on how well Western democracies can preserve their tenuous hold on leadership, cohesion, and the pursuit of the common good. Offering the most comprehensive analysis of world politics to date, Laurent Cohen-Tanugi takes on globalization's cheerleaders and detractors, who, in their narrow focus, have failed to recognize the full extent to which globalization has become a geopolitical phenomenon. Offering an interpretative framework for thought and action, Cohen-Tanugi suggests how we should approach our new "multipolar" world—a world that is anything but the balanced and harmonious system many welcomed as a desirable alternative to the "American Empire."
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus