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  • Author: Peter Hakim
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Andrea Baranenko, Venezuela Latin America is moving forward, but Venezuela is moving in the opposite direction,” says Andrea Baranenko, a 28-year-old Venezuelan filmmaker whose recent documentary, Yo Indocumentada (I, Undocumented), exposes the struggles of transgender people in her native country. The film, Baranenko's first feature-length production, tells the story of three Venezuelan women fighting for their right to have an identity. Tamara Adrián, 58, is a lawyer; Desirée Pérez, 46, is a hairdresser; and Victoria González, 27, has been a visual arts student since 2009. These women share more than their nationality: they all carry IDs with masculine names that don't correspond to their actual identities. They're transgender women, who long ago assumed their gender and now defend it in a homophobic and transphobic society.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela, Guatemala
  • Author: Santiago A. Canton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Inter-American System enshrined the right to freedom of thought and expression in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 1998, to further protect this right, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) established the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. I served as the first head of the office.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jiun Bang, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea-Japan relations have been frozen for some time and despite the summer heat, no thaw appears likely anytime soon. Although economic interactions continue to deepen between the two countries, and although there is a clear desire – and even a need – to coordinate policies toward North Korea and China, the two countries appear more focused on other issues as their main foreign policy priorities in the short-term. The two recently elected leaders have yet to meet for a summit, a sign that even a symbolic attempt to repair relations is proving difficult. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has grown stronger with a rousing Liberal Democratic Party victory in Upper House elections, yet a number of rhetorical controversies kept attention focused on Abe's foreign policy, particularly toward Korea and China. To date not much has changed and there is little evidence that either Seoul or Tokyo desires improved relations.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Christian Pangilinan
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The streets of Catmaran, a small town in Northern Samar province in the Philippines, seem wide compared to those of the capital, Manila. There is almost no traffic. Instead of dense rows of aluminum-roofed shacks, rough concrete houses, and stalls with plastic signs for soda and cell phone companies, green farms and bahay kubo, traditional thatch houses on stilts, border the roads. At first glance, the beaches look idyllic.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America, Philippines
  • Author: Walter Lohman
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: In the course of two months in the fall of 2011, the President and his administration—particularly the Secretary of State—conducted a political and diplomatic offensive to prove American staying power in Asia. It marked a 180-degree turn from where the White House had begun three years earlier. The fall offensive began with the long-awaited passage of the Korea-U.S. FTA (KORUS), an agreement of major economic importance. After years of accumulated opportunity costs, in October, the administration finally pushed the agreement forward and arranged for South Korean President Lee Myun-bak to be in Washington for the occasion of its passage. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton framed the new approach in her November “America's Pacific Century” speech, wherein she declared the Administration's “Asia Pivot.”1 President Obama gave the approach authority and economic substance at APEC, where the U.S. secured a game-changing commitment from Japan to join the Transpacific Partnership trade pact (TPP). The President then embarked on his third visit to the Asia Pacific. In Australia, he announced new training rotations of up to 2,500 U.S. Marines through Australia's northern shore, a move with obvious implications for the security of our allies and sea lanes, and in Indonesia, he became the first American president to participate in the East Asian Summit (EAS). At the EAS meeting of 18 regional leaders, President Obama raised the importance of maritime security and freedom of navigation and “expressed strong opposition to the threat or use of force by any party to advance its territorial or maritime claims or interfere in legitimate economic activity”—thereby tying American interests to regional concerns about China. For her part, Secretary Clinton headed to Manila to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT)—and then on to America's other treaty ally in Southeast Asia, Thailand. In Manila Bay, she signed a reaffirmation of the U.S.-Philippines MDT on the deck of a U.S. Navy destroyer and essentially declared America ready to “fight” for the Philippines. She also announced the dispatch to Manila of the second (of what will likely be four) refurbished coast guard cutters. En route to Indonesia, President Obama phoned long-suffering Burmese human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi to get her blessing for a Burma visit from Secretary Clinton. Clinton arrived in Burma by the end of November, meeting Suu Kyi and the Burmese president and beginning a careful, “action for action” process of normalization that could have major implications for the U.S. strategic position in the region. The Chinese have long taken advantage of Burma's isolation from the U.S. If Burmese political reform proves to be real, it will offer an opportunity for the U.S. to reassert itself there. It will also remove a roadblock in America's relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with which it has long disagreed on Burma. A democratic Burma would tip the scales in ASEAN—a hodgepodge of governing systems—in favor of democracy, a state of play that improves the sustainability of American engagement.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Japan, America, Washington, Asia, Australia, Korea
  • Author: Judith R. Fergin
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: When I first visited Timor-Leste twenty-two years ago, I witnessed the courage of students demonstrating for independence. Throughout the following years, I joined other Americans in observing with intense interest Timor-Leste's travel along the road to independence, from the exhilarating popular consultation and its tragic aftermath in 1999 to the joyous assumption of sovereignty in 2002. Since then, the government and people of Timor-Leste have met the manifold and complex challenges of establishing an entirely new country from the ground up with courage and dedication. Even as a young nation, Timor-Leste has exhibited a tremendous commitment to the principles of democracy and human rights. The result is a country that counts, in the Asia-Pacific and around the globe.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Muhammad Azam, Sagheer Ahmad Khan
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
  • Abstract: Advanced democracies, including the United States, have been championing democratic promotion around the world. In the past, American policy towards the Arab Middle East, however, had been mainly based on just paying lip-service to democracy sans concrete measures for promoting a democratic culture in the region. The events of 9/11 marked a watershed in the history of US foreign policy towards the region. Facing calls for a democratic Arab World from home and abroad in the wake of 9/11 the US government raised the ante for pushing democracy in the Arab Middle East. The rhetoric and emphasis laid on 'democracy in the Arab World' by the American leadership over the years after 9/11 was unprecedented. This study deals with the visible shift in US foreign policy vis-à-vis democracy in the region, focusing on the six GCC states, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to American approach and strategy, practical measures taken in the areas of politics, economy, education, media, civil society, and human rights is also furnished. An effort is made to understand and highlight the methods and tools employed by the foreign democracy promoters, both at the levels of state and society. However, a large part of the study appertains to the activities conducted at the grass-roots level. The study is comparative in its nature, based on empirical analysis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman
  • Author: Pierre Thielbörger
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article uses the case of the Libya intervention to address three general claims about international law. Firstly, it examines whether the reliance of the intervention on the mechanisms of collective security under the UN Charter suggests that international law relating to peace and security has finally overcome its post-9/11 crisis. It concludes that the resolution's vague wording – which makes the distinction between what is “legal” under the resolution, and what is not, hard to draw – undermines such an assumption. Secondly, it explores whether the Libya intervention has put new emphasis on what has been termed the “emerging right of democratic governance”. In spite of the underlying democracy-enhancing spirit of the execution of the intervention, Resolution 1973 was exclusively written in the language of human rights. It did little to indicate a changed attitude of States towards a norm of democratic governance. Finally, the article examines whether the case of Libya shows a renewed international attitude towards States which violate the most fundamental human rights of their citizens. The article concludes by suggesting that, in this third respect, a more muscular liberalism is indeed on the rise again in international law, challenging the formerly almighty concept of State sovereignty. In contributing to this subtle transformation, the Libyan case has made a genuine contribution to the development of the international legal order.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: America, Libya, United Nations
  • Author: Benjamin A. Valentino
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As forces fighting Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi consolidated control of Tripoli in the last days of August 2011, many pundits began speaking of a victory not just for the rebels but also for the idea of humanitarian intervention. In Libya, advocates of intervention argued, U.S. President Barack Obama had found the formula for success: broad regional and international support, genuine burden sharing with allies, and a capable local fighting force to wage the war on the ground. Some even heralded the intervention as a sign of an emerging Obama doctrine. It is clearly too soon for this kind of triumphalism, since the final balance of the Libyan intervention has yet to be tallied. The country could still fall into civil war, and the new Libyan government could turn out to be little better than the last. As of this writing, troubling signs of infighting among the rebel ranks had begun to emerge, along with credible reports of serious human rights abuses by rebel forces. Yet even if the intervention does ultimately give birth to a stable and prosperous democracy, this outcome will not prove that intervention was the right choice in Libya or that similar interventions should be attempted elsewhere. To establish that requires comparing the full costs of intervention with its benefits and asking whether those benefits could be achieved at a lower cost. The evidence from the last two decades is not promising on this score. Although humanitarian intervention has undoubtedly saved lives, Americans have seriously underappreciated the moral, political, and economic price involved. This does not mean that the United States should stop trying to promote its values abroad, even when its national security is not at risk. It just needs a different strategy. Washington should replace its focus on military intervention with a humanitarian foreign policy centered on saving lives by funding public health programs in the developing world, aiding victims of natural disasters, and assisting refugees fleeing violent conflict. Abandoning humanitarian intervention in most cases would not mean leaving victims of genocide and repression to their fate. Indeed, such a strategy could actually save far more people, at a far lower price.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Libya