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  • Author: Katherine C. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article uses the centenary of the First World War as an opportunity to re-examine a major element of the existing literature on the war—the strategic implications of supposed British decline—as well as analogies to the contemporary United States based upon that interpretation of history. It argues that the standard declinist interpretation of British strategy rests to a surprising degree upon the work of the naval historian Arthur Marder, and that Marder's archival research and conceptual framework were weaker than is generally realized. It suggests that more recent work appearing since Marder is stronger and renders the declinist strategic interpretation difficult to maintain. It concludes by considering the implications of this new work for analogies between the United States today and First World War-era Britain, and for the use of history in contemporary policy debates.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America
  • Author: Alex Danchev
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This review article considers three works by the distinguished documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras: My country, my country (2006); The oath (2010); and the recently released Citizenfour (2014), focusing on the whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Poitras describes these works as a trilogy about American power after 9/11, but they are also about disobedience and resistance, or the problem of dissent. The article argues for the significance (and the virtue) of Poitras's project, as film maker and troublemaker, and for the necessity of what Solzhenitsyn calls civil valour. You can listen to Alex Danchev discussing his review article in IA's March podcast here http://cht.hm/1N5JeoK
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Margaret MacMillan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A century ago this autumn the first battle of the Marne ended Germany's attempt to crush France and its ally Britain quickly. In that one battle alone the French lost 80,000 dead and the Germans approximately the same. By comparison, 47,000 Americans died in the whole of the Vietnam War and 4,800 coalition troops in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In August and September 1914 Europe, the most powerful and prosperous part of the world, had begun the process of destroying itself. A minor crisis in its troubled backyard of the Balkans had escalated with terrifying speed to create an all-out war between the powers. 1 'Again and ever I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean,' wrote Walter Page, the American ambassador in London; and in Washington his president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, America, Europe, Washington, France, London, Vietnam, Germany, Balkans, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Before the ink on the Treaty of Versailles was dry, the idea of creating an organization dedicated to educating, informing and advising future leaders about the causes and consequences of war was already gaining traction. At 'a series of unofficial meetings held in Paris in 1919',1 Lionel Curtis, an Oxford professor and visionary with a reputation for possessing an impressive array of entrepreneurial skills, was spearheading efforts to establish an Anglo-American research institution where scholars could explore international problems and advocate policy solutions.2 This kind of organization appealed to Curtis and to those with whom he discussed it for several reasons, not the least of which was that it could provide a valuable forum for both policy-makers and prominent policy experts in the leading western powers to talk to one another about international affairs. It was also a concept with which several of the delegates attending the Paris peace talks had some familiarity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of institutions had already taken root in Great Britain and in the United States with the aim of helping policy-makers navigate their way through complex policy problems. They included the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (1831), founded by the first Duke of Wellington; London's Fabian Society (1884), home to a number of prominent scholars, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the London School of Economics; the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), established by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie; and the Institute for Government Research (1916), which merged with two other institutions to form the Brookings Institution in 1927.3 Curtis and his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States were also aware of the ground-breaking research that had been conducted at hundreds of settlement houses in their respective countries. It was at places such as London's Toynbee Hall (1884) and Chicago's Hull House, co-founded by Jane Addams in 1889, that sociologists and other university faculty with expertise in social welfare policy could study the working conditions of the poor.4 In short, proponents of establishing a foreign affairs research institution recognized the importance of encouraging a dialogue between leading social scientists and high-level policy-makers.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Washington, Paris, London, Wellington
  • Author: Takashi Inoguchi
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The world was different in 2002 when Henry Kissinger published a book entitled Does America need a foreign policy?, and Le Monde came out in support of the United States after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 by proclaiming: 'We are all American.' In many ways, this was the high point of the American global era—the era of unipolar American power. In 2014 the world has moved on. The United States is still the leading global power with unique capabilities and responsibilities for global leadership. But other states—particularly in Asia and the non-western developing world—are on the rise. The world is more fragmented and decentralized. States are rising and falling. The terms of global governance are more contested and uncertain. This article addresses the foreign policy of Japan and the choices that Japan faces in this shifting global context.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, America, Asia, North America
  • Author: Chris Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The vulnerable in international society is the latest in a series of books by Ian Clark exploring different aspects of international society, following Legitimacy in international society (OUP, 2005) and Hegemony in international society (OUP, 2011). The two earlier books—along with his co-authored Special responsibilities: global problems and American power (with Mlada Bukovansky, Robyn Eckersley, Christian Reus-Smit and Nicholas Wheeler; CUP, 2012)—are largely concerned with the ways in which international society reproduces itself and manages Great Power relations; The vulnerable in international society shifts the focus towards the other end of the food chain, towards those who are without power. The thesis is that the vulnerable are not simply ill served by international society, by definition insufficiently protected by it, but in a wider sense actually created by international society—the risks they face may sometimes be 'natural', but equally they may actually be a by-product of the way in which international society works. Just as international society confers legitimacy on its members, so it may also create vulnerability. The vulnerable are a socially crafted category and international society is involved in that crafting process, as well as being involved in measures taken to cope with the consequences of this process.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: US-Brazilian relations sunk to one of their lowest points ever following last year's exposure of the US government's massive surveillance of the South American giant-including the correspondence of President Rousseff and the business operations of Brazil's national oil company, Petrobras. Brazilian authorities responded angrily. The Brazilian president called off a highly valued state visit to Washington, denounced the US for violations of sovereignty and human rights, and proceeded to bypass the US to purchase nearly $5 billion worth of fighter aircraft from Sweden. In fact, US-Brazil ties have not been constructive for more than a generation. Yes, relations are mostly amiable, but with limited cooperation, considerable discord and some open clashes. Washington views Brazil primarily as a regional actor, and wants its cooperation mainly on inter-American issues. For Brazil, regional collaboration means working with other Latin American nations-not the United States. Brazil usually wants the US to keep a distance from the region. The US is no more enthusiastic about Brazil assuming a global role; differences over some of the world's most dangerous political and security challenges have made Washington uneasy about Brazil's engagement in international affairs and critical of its foreign policy judgements. Relations will probably improve, but they could get worse. The two governments need to acknowledge that their relationship is fragile and troubled, and take steps both to rebuild trust and to avert further deterioration and new confrontations. They have to be more careful with each other.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Brazil
  • Author: Nicholas Westcott
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Summits with Africa are in fashion: in August, President Obama hosted America's first; in April, the European Union staged the fourth EU-Africa summit in Brussels; the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–held one in Durban in March last year; and in June 2013 Japan hosted its five-yearly conference on African development in Yokohama. Next year will see the sixth China-Africa summit. South America, South Korea and Turkey, which have all held summits with African leaders in recent years, have pledged return matches in Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe
  • Author: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Why the US still dominates the world of innovative ideas
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Phillip Blond
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Looking at structural problems that can blinker academic innovation
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Canada
  • Author: Alan Philps
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: He shares his thoughts on on America's role in an increasingly affluent world, Russia's decline and China's own goals
  • Topic: Economics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Suzanne C. Nielsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Fifty-five years after it was first published, Samuel P. Huntington's The soldier and the state remains an essential starting point for serious discussions of American civil–military relations. This is remarkable for two reasons. First, the United States has seen enormous changes in its strategic environment in the past six decades. The country has gone from fearing for its survival during the Cold War to enjoying a concentration of military and economic power arguably unprecedented in human history. Second, the field of civil–military relations has been an active area of research in which political scientists, military sociologists and historians have made important and valuable contributions. However, even as these scholars have critiqued and built upon Huntington's work, they have not transcended it. To this day, a course in civil–military relations would be incomplete if The soldier and the state did not appear on the syllabus. It needs to be there not just to enable students to see how the field of civil–military relations has moved on, but also to expose them to concepts that remain foundational.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: David Benn
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Crimean War of 1854–6 has been described in many books. Nevertheless, the present book, written by a professor of history at the University of London, does in important ways supply a new dimension to the subject. It provides a wealth of new colour and detail, mentioning for instance that France bore the brunt of the fighting and that 40 American doctors volunteered their services on the Russian side. Above all, it places the war in its historical context, relying not just on English but on French, Russian and Turkish sources. The subject is of obvious importance to diplomatic historians—and also to military historians, if only because it seems to provide a textbook example of how not to conduct a war.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, London
  • Author: Andrew Hurrell, Sandeep Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is a widespread perception that power is shifting in global politics and that emerging powers are assuming a more prominent, active and important role. On this account the global system is increasingly characterized by a diffusion of power, to countries including emerging and regional powers; by a diffusion of preferences, with many more voices demanding to be heard both globally and within states as a result of globalization and democratization; and by a diffusion of ideas and values, with a reopening of the big questions of social, economic and political organization that were supposedly resolved with the end of the Cold War and the liberal ascendancy. There is a strong argument that we are witnessing the most powerful set of challenges yet to the global order that the United States sought to construct within its own camp during the Cold War and to globalize in the post-Cold War period. Many of these challenges also raise questions about the longer-term position of the Anglo-American and European global order that rose to dominance in the middle of the nineteenth century and around which so many conceptions and practices of power-political order, of the international legal system and of global economic governance have since been constructed.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Richard J. Aldrich, John Kasuku
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: American intelligence continues to privilege strategic analysis for policy-makers. The core of the American intelligence system remains the National Intelligence Estimate process, the legacy of Sherman Kent, the 'Founding Father' of the analytical profession. In support of this process, vast technical resources are deployed in collecting secret material that is not available from open sources or from diplomatic reporting, and then subjecting it to elaborate analysis. The priority accorded to this activity is symbolized by the veneration of the President's Daily Brief, a top-level intelligence summary that is described by Bob Woodward as 'the most restricted document in Washington', and by the White House itself as 'the most highly sensitized classified document in the government'. George Tenet, one of the longest-serving directors of Central Intelligence, has insisted that President's Daily Briefs from his period of office were so important that none would ever be declassified and released for public inspection.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Robert Cooper
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Forty years after Britain joined Europe both have changed, mostly for the better. This story does not, however, begin in 1972 when the negotiations finished and were ratified by parliament, nor in 1973 when the UK took its place at the Council table as a full member, but ten years before with the first British application and the veto by General de Gaulle. Sometimes, going further back still, it is suggested that if Ernest Bevin's ideas for West European cooperation had been pursued, or if Britain had decided to join talks on the Schuman Plan, or to take the Spaak Committee seriously, things might have been different. But the truth is there was no Robert Schuman or Jean Monnet in Britain, and no readiness to think in radically new terms. Had the UK been present at the negotiations that led to the European Coal and Steel Community, the outcome for Britain would probably still have been the same, precisely because the vision was lacking. The decision on the Schuman Plan was a close-run thing—the idea of planning for heavy industry being in accordance with the ideas of the Labour government. But British ideas were very different from those of the French or the Americans, who were thinking in terms of supranational bodies—indeed, for Monnet this was a cardinal point. His approach was supported by the Benelux countries, which were already setting up their own customs union. Bevin had an ambition to lead Europe, but it is not clear where he wanted to take it. British policy was sensible and pragmatic but it offered no vision and few resources, and still gave as much priority to the empire as to Europe. Most probably, participation in those early talks would only have postponed a decision not to join the new enterprise. It was only when that enterprise looked successful and likely to last that Britain began to take it seriously and to think of membership.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, France
  • Author: Danny Kushlick
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It is time to consider all alternative options
  • Topic: Crime
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Alan Philps
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Richard Wolffe
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: With one month to go before election day, Richard Wolffe looks at Barack Obama's campaign and finds he is borrowing from George W. Bush's playbook.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: America, Chicago
  • Author: John Bolton
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: John Bolton argues that Obama's failure to exert power has left the US vulnerable
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Bruce W. Jentleson, Charles A. Kupchan
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Charles Kupchan and Bruce Jentleson on the President's national security record
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Tony Karon
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: US fast-food outlets under fire should tighten local links
  • Political Geography: China, America, California
  • Author: Ian Bremmer
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Ian Bremmer is an American political scientist and founder of the Eurasia Group. He is the author of Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The US presidential election in November promises to be closely fought - and exceptionally raucous. Unprecedented amounts of money will be spent during the campaign, much of it on 'attack ads'. Here are five statistics to help sort out the issues from the noise.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Michael Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Anthony Shadid, the prize-winning American journalist who died this year while covering the Syrian uprising, has left an evocative portrait of a disappearing Lebanese Christian community.
  • Political Geography: America, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: James M Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The foreign policy world views of George W. Bush and Barack Obama differ dramatically. Bush made terrorism the focal point of his foreign policy and dismissed the idea that either allies or international institutions should constrain America's freedom of action. Obama sees terrorism as one of many transnational problems that require the cooperation of other countries to combat and, as a result, the United States must invest more in diplomatic efforts to build partnerships. Despite these differences, both presidents share one common conviction: that other countries long for US leadership. Bush believed that friends and allies would eventually rally to the side of the United States, even if they bristled at its actions, because they shared America's goals and had faith in its motives. Obama believed that a United States that listened more to others, stressed common interests and favored multinational action would command followers. In practice, however, both visions of American global leadership faltered. Bush discovered that many countries rejected his style of leadership as well as his strategies. Obama discovered that in a globalized world, where power has been more widely dispersed, many countries are not looking to Washington for direction. The future success of US foreign policy depends on the ability of policy-makers to recognize and adapt to a changing geopolitical environment in which the US remains the most significant military, diplomatic and economic power but finds it, nonetheless, increasingly difficult to drive the global agenda.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It has been almost ten years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon led President George W. Bush to proclaim a 'war on terror'. This article focuses on the difficulties faced by his successor, Barack Obama, as he has attempted to move away from much of the Bush rhetoric and practice of counterterrorism. Obama came to office determined to 'reboot' US counter-terrorism policy so that it would not only be more effective but also more in keeping with what he perceived as the core moral values and principles at the heart of American political culture. For many observers, Obama has not lived up to expectations as he has not made wholesale changes to counter-terrorism policy. This article argues, however, that he always intended to not only maintain but, in fact, deepen Bush's war against terrorism, not because he was trapped by Bush's institutionalized construction of a global war on terror, but because he agrees fundamentally with the core assumptions and imperatives of that war on terror narrative. Nonetheless, Obama promised to continue combating terrorism in ways that were distinctive from his predecessor, not least because a higher moral standard would be applied to the conduct of counter-terrorism. By addressing his policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and torture, and the use of unmanned drone attacks, it is argued that Obama's 'war' against terrorism is not only in keeping with the assumptions and priorities of the last ten years but also that, despite some successes, it is just as problematic as that of his predecessor.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Adam Quinn
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Predictions of 'American decline' have come and gone before, apparently in cycles, leading some to regard it as a cultural trope stemming from domestic insecurities rather than a serious prospect. There is reason to believe, however, that this time is different. Fundamental erosion of the United States' decades-long primacy may finally be at hand, and wise analysis should resist the temptations of contrarianism or denial. Critics of 'declinism' have offered important caveats with which we should qualify any overly simplistic or deterministic portrait of America's trajectory from hegemon to lesser status. This article gives such qualifications due weight while nevertheless seeking to steer our gaze back towards the core truth at the heart of the declinist thesis. That is: unless something very significant changes to jolt the course of events onto a different track, the relative power of the United States—measured in terms of its advantage over others in economic and military capacity—will be shrinking significantly over the decades to come. Happily, the nation's current president seems to have a disposition well fitted to leading the nation into the opening stages of an era of relative decline. President Obama has made headlines in recent months for his boldness in orchestrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. A fuller survey of his foreign policy, however, reveals that its most signal feature has been prudence and circumspection regarding American power and its exercise. Major divergence between the ends pursued and the capacities available for their pursuit is one of the cardinal sins giving rise to strategic failure. It is thus fortunate for the United States that it should have a president who, even if he may not be inclined to cast it in such words himself, seems disposed not to 'rage against the dying of the light' of American primacy, but to practice the admirable art of declining politely.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Brendan Taylor
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Japan has long been regarded as a central component of America's grand strategyin Asia. Scholars and practitioners assume this situation will persist in the face of China's rise and, indeed, that a more 'normal' Japan can and should take on anincreasingly central role in US-led strategies to manage this power transition. Thisarticle challenges those assumptions by arguing that they are, paradoxically, beingmade at a time when Japan's economic and strategic weight in Asian security isgradually diminishing. The article documents Japan's economic and demographicchallenges and their strategic ramifications. It considers what role Japan mightplay in an evolving security order where China and the US emerge as Asia's twodominant powers by a significant margin. Whether the US-China relationshipis ultimately one of strategic competition or accommodation, it is argued thatJapan's continued centrality in America's Asian grand strategy threatens to becomeincreasingly problematic. It is posited that the best hope for circumventing thisproblem and its potentially destabilizing consequences lies in the nurturing of anascent 'shadow condominium' comprising the US and China, with Japan as a'marginal weight' on the US side of that arrangement.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, America
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Europe and the United States—the West—urgently need political leadership, economic fortitude and a clear vision of the future if they are to contend with the challenges posed by emerging regional powers and to resist the downward pressures of 'relative decline', the central focus of David Marquand's book, The end of the West: the once and future Europe. Central to this goal will be the West's ability to 'rebalance' between its institutions and democracy; its power and commitments; and its political and moral authority. Europe must 'rebalance' on issues related to ethnicity and identity, governance and authority, and civilization and territory. EU enlargement and its institutional reform processes have exacerbated this imbalance. American foreign policy objectives currently exceed its resources and are hampered by lack of strategic clarity and intellectual vision which keeps the United States from achieving an adaptive leadership model more capable of successfully operating in an increasingly complex and multipolar world. For Europe to become internally healthy and externally productive—both politically and economically—it needs to regain balance between its utopian, institutional objectives and democratic support for its future ambitions and policy course. Strong leadership and a powerful vision of prosperity from the West will be vital to return the transatlantic partnership to global economic and political advantage.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Stefan Halper
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article provides an analysis of President Obama at mid-term. It looks at the mid-term elections from the perspective of the political issues that informed the debate, the implications of Republican control of the House of Representatives for both legislation and relations between the administration and Congress, and the policy areas where cooperation and possible progress is possible. The article looks at the Tea Party movement as a collection of single issue and multi-issue political groups ranging from 'nativists' to Christian fundamentalists to the eclectic and unprecedented combination of fiscal and social conservatives seen at Glen Beck's 'honoring America' event at the Washington Monument. This broad movement may be seen as a classical revitalization movement, not unlike those described by Anthony F. C. Wallace. It is opposed by another 'revitalization movement' namely the 'American renewal' promised by Obama as he ran for office in 2008. These countervailing narratives—in effect two different versions of America, one reflecting the Tea Party broadly conceived and the other reflecting Obama's 'promise'—are seeking political traction among independents. The implications of this struggle are momentous. The prevailing narrative will frame policy going forward on a range of domestic issues and on selected foreign policy questions, which will include the present debate on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia and the upcoming debate on China, which will have even further reaching effects. Finally, this article describes Obama's struggle to frame his policy successes and the ensuing debate in a favourable light. His opponents have sought to limit his progress by presenting him as 'the other', an effective but destructive technique that could have longer term effects on the domestic political discourse. However, the author remains an optimist; he believes, together with 50 per cent of Americans, the president is likable, logical and gives a good speech, and that he will be re-elected in 2012.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Michael Dunne
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The recent US mid-term elections have not only dented President Obama's image at home and abroad, they have seen the return to 'divided government' whereby one party controls the Executive and the other controls either the Senate or the House of Representatives or both. Such divided government has been quite frequent since the Second World War; but the situation is often portrayed by political scientists as dysfunctional, even as they acknowledge that the Founders of the Republic deliberately created a federal system which would minimize concentrations of political power. Yet divided government is only one complaint among many levelled by American commentators at their political system. This article examines such criticisms both theoretically and historically, and also develops a historical approach which discusses American attitudes to the past, particularly US foreign relations. Here the emphasis is upon the ideologies that have powered American expansion, first across the North American continent and then overseas. A peculiar, even 'exceptional' aspect of this expansion has been its rhetorical form, in particular the invocation of past presidents to justify contemporary actions and the creation of a doctrinal canon (classically expressed in the Monroe doctrine). While these two lines of enquiry (emphasizing history and political science) are the methodological double core of the article, they are not treated discretely; rather the focus is on the interplay between the two.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America