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  • Author: Serena Giusti, Enrico Fassi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a recently established instrument of democracy promotion intended to complement existing EU tools. Fashioned after the US National Endowment for Democracy, the EED's privileged area of action is the European neighbourhood. Meant as a small rapid-response, actor-oriented 'niche' initiative, its main task is to select those actors, from both civil and political society able to produce a change in their country. The EED represents a step forward in the EU's capacity to foster democracy, but does not necessarily go in the direction of more rationality and effectiveness. Not all EU member states support the EED with the same enthusiasm and it is still not clear how it fits into the EU's overall democracy promotion architecture. Its actions may be successful in a very constrained timeframe. However, recent crises at the EU's borders would seem to call for a strategy that takes into consideration systemic hindrances, post-regime change complexities, regional dynamics and finally rival plans of autocracy promotion.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza
  • Author: Mónica García-Salmones Rovira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The article examines the substance and form of 20th century positivist international law; in particular the way in which each determines the other. The text describes the turn to interests in international law, which evolved slowly in scope and depth. By examining Lassa Oppenheim's focus on 'common interests' that united states and Hans Kelsen's focus on the 'struggle of interests' that constituted politics, the article studies two phenomena produced by the foundational role taken by interests during the 20th century. First, this role contributed to putting an end to the moral discussion about the treatment of native populations. Secondly, it curbed debate about a common political project for a global order, thus creating conformity characterized by abuse of power – all in the name of the neutrality of positivist law. This article suggests that the work of these two leading theoreticians in the field has contributed to the shaping of the legal theory of mainstream positivist international law, and seeks to foreground discussions about the different theories on the role of law in politics. In this manner it aims to help reconceptualize law in such a way as to bring about a situation in which discussions of a common political project for the international arena are more central.
  • Topic: International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: George C. Bitros
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the unprecedented 2008 financial crisis, researchers of macroeconomics, finance, and political economy are showing renewed interest in the old but very significant question: Are central banks in large reserve currency democracies—in particular, the U.S. Federal Reserve—prone to creating asset bubbles, and if so, how is it possible to prevent the misuse of the banks' discretionary powers?
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, England
  • Author: Edmund S. Phelps
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In his most recent tome, Edmund Phelps, the 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, addresses a topic crucial to successful national capitalist systems: the dynamics of the innovation process. Phelps develops his thesis around three main themes: In part one, he explains the development of the modern economies as they form the core of early—19th century societies in the West; in part two, he explores the lure of socialism and corporatism as competing systems to modern capitalism; and, in part three, he reviews post-1960s evidence of decline in dynamism in Western capitalist countries.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: James L. Buckley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: “The United States faces two major problems today,” writes James L. Buckley: “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence.” Contributing significantly to both, he argues, are the more than 1,100 federal grants-in-aid programs Congress has enacted—federal grants to state and local governments, constituting 17 percent of the federal budget, the third-largest spending category after entitlements and defense, with costs that have risen from $24.1 billion in 1970 to $640.8 billion in fiscal 2015. His “modest proposal”? Do away with them entirely, thereby saving Congress from itself while emancipating the states and empowering their people. If that sounds like a program for revising constitutional federalism, it is.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Terry Terriff, James Keeley, John Ferris
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The US and a coalition of allies are once again intervening in the Middle East. This time it is in response to the rapid military advancement of Daesh, the acronym Arabic speakers use for the Arabic name of ISIS, Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Some ten weeks into the start of military operations a common view is that the coalition's aerial campaign has only had limited success at best. On the plus side, coalition air power coupled with local forces on the ground were able to save a great many Iraqi Yazidis who were being threatened by Daesh, but equally a great many of this sectarian minority were massacred and, in the case of women and girls, raped or sold into sexual slavery. The Kurds subsequent to the initial retreat of their much vaunted Peshmerga forces have been able to stabilize their fighting lines against Daesh and regain control of the important Mosul dam. This particular success is in part due to the Kurds themselves and in part due to the support of coalition air strikes and delivery of supplies, but it also appears to be due in part to Daesh turning its focus to Anbar and northern Syria. On the negative side, Daesh not only continues to hold Mosul, among many other Iraqi cities and towns, but it has also expanded its control of territory in Anbar province from where it now poses a potential threat to Baghdad and areas in and around the Iraqi capital city. Daesh also made significant advances in northern Syria where it threatened to overrun the Kurdish city of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border, creating the looming prospect of the massacre of the fighters and civilians still there. Over the past few days the intensification of coalition air strikes in and around this city appears to have halted and at least partially pushed back the Daesh assault, but the city and its inhabitants are far from being safe as it could still fall in the days and weeks to come.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Martin Samuels
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A former writer of British military doctrine, Jim Storr, recently lamented that, although many books explore what happens in war (history) or why wars happen (international relations), very few focus on how wars should be fought (warfare). He concluded this reflects warfare's status as 'a poorly developed discipline'. Consequently, 'It is incoherent, contains a range of poorly described phenomena and is pervaded by paradox.' The underdeveloped discourse concerning warfare, and within it the limited consideration of different approaches to command, may be considered an important contributor to the longstanding gulf between the doctrine of Mission Command espoused by the United States and British armies and actual operational practice, such that the doctrine is 'realized only in some places some of the time'.
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In America and the Rogue States, Thomas Henriksen lays out the relationships that exist, and have existed, between America and the states that made up George W. Bush's 'Axis of Evil.' Henriksen outlines the history of the interactions between the United States and North Korea, pre-invasion Iraq, and Iran, and through this draws out a number of themes. He also shows that the ways the relationships have played out are highly situational and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In the last chapter, Henriksen explores American relationships with a number of states that were either once considered rogue or could become rogue, like Libya, Syria, and Cuba, referring to them as either “lesser rogues” or “troublesome states.” These states have remained “a puzzle for US foreign policy” (1) and are characterized by three things: autocratic governance, sponsorship of terrorism, and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There is no clear definition provided by Henriksen for what can be considered a rogue state, making it difficult to judge what other states, if any, could be considered rogue. Henriksen seems to arbitrarily decide who is rogue and who is not: Cuba is a rogue state, while Myanmar is merely troublesome. Instead of synthesizing a clear definition of the term, something that could then be applied to other states in order to judge their 'rogueness,' Henriksen uses the Bush administration's criteria (the term itself was coined by President Bill Clinton in a 1994 speech in Brussels), which was outlined in the National Security Strategy of 2002 (NSS-2002). These were “brutality toward their own people; contempt for international law; determination to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD); advanced military technology; sponsorship of terrorism; rejection of human rights values; and hatred for the United States and 'everything it stands for'”. The use of the NSS-2002 definition allows for the 'Axis of Evil' to fit neatly into the term, which constitutes a problem of tautology, at least for the Bush administration. Further compounding this was that, according to Henriksen at least, the administration was set on going to war in Iraq prior to assuming office. This creates a situation in which it is hard to determine whether the idea of rogue states was created to justify this desire, or it informed the desire prior to the administration taking office.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, North Korea, Libya
  • Author: Katharine M. Donato, Blake Sisk
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: In light of rising numbers of unaccompanied minors at the Mexico- US border in 2014, this article examines child migration from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Using data from the Mexican and Latin American Migration Projects that permit us to go beyond simple descriptive analysis about children apprehended at the border, we investigate the extent to which children from these countries: 1) enter without legal authorization to do so; 2) are more likely to cross the border now than in the past; and 3) are tied to their parents' migration. In theory, if immigration and refugee protections worked well for children and offered them legal pathways to reunify with their families, then we would expect low levels of unauthorized entry and no dramatic shifts over time. However, our examination of child migration shows that it is strongly linked to unauthorized entry, period of entry, and parents' US experience.The findings show that the migration of children is closely linked to their parents' migration history. Although the overall likelihood of a Mexican child making a first US trip is quite low, it is practically non-existent for children whose parents have no US experience. Thus, the increase in child migration from Central America, and the continued high levels of child migration from Mexico result from widespread migration networks and the United States' long-standing reliance on the children's parents as immigrant workers. The findings suggest that these children need protection in the form of family reunification and permanent legal status.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, Mexico