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  • Author: Charles Chasie, Sanjoy Hazarika
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the first decade after India declared independence in 1947, the Indian state faced numerous challenges to its very existence and legitimacy. These ranged from a war with Pakistan over the state of Jammu and Kashmir immediately after independence, an issue that continues to challenge policy makers in both countries, to the first armed uprising in the country in Telengana led by Communists in what is today the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh
  • Author: Yitzhak Shichor
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Beginning in 1949, China considered, and dealt with, so-called Uyghur separatism and the quest for Eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang) independence as a domestic problem. Since the early 1990s, however, Beijing has begun to recognize the international aspects of this problem and to deal with its external manifestations. This new policy has affected China's relations with Turkey, which has ideologically inspired Uyghur nationalism, offered sanctuary to Uyghur refugees, and provided moral and material support to Eastern Turkestan movements, organizations, and activities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Minorities
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki, Sidney B. Westley, Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Concerns about energy security affect economic performance and political stability all over the world, but nowhere are these issues more critical than in Asia and the Pacific. Oil is at the heart of the region's energy challenge. Oil consumption is increasing nearly twice as fast in the region as in the world as a whole, while options for increasing production are severely limited. The result is a steadily growing dependence on imported oil, largely from the volatile Middle East. Apart from efforts to increase domestic production and slow consumption growth, recommendations for policymakers include initiating joint ventures with oil producers, improving the efficiency of domestic markets, building up strategic stocks, strengthening regional cooperation, reducing transportation bottlenecks, and establishing a regional market for oil futures. In the long run, policymakers need to devise new strategies for economic growth based on more efficient use of oil and natural gas, continuing dependence on coal, and ultimately, the development of alternative sources of energy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: East Asian trade agreements are often described as a complicated "noodle bowl," which shows links in the region as a snarled, overlapping and intertwined mass. But this is a misleading representation--Asia's regional agreements may in fact be creating an order of a different sort, building the foundations for a stronger regional trading system. Asian trade arrangements can be more constructively seen in terms of a trade agreements matrix, in which multiple negotiations produce an orderly progression of agreements to liberalize all potential bilateral relationships and move the region toward a coherent system of freer trade. The various approaches to deeper economic integration--regional arrangements, trans-Pacific agreements, and global engagement--are complementary paths that should eventually lead to an open global trading system. East Asia is of growing importance in the global marketplace, and adopting an aggressive multitrack strategy--as the region appears to be doing--may be the fastest route toward a new global framework.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Charles Morrison, Peter Petri
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The rise of China, India, and other Asian nations is creating a new “core” of the world economy centered on the Pacific. It is essential for the United States to remain vigorously engaged in this region, yet the climate of our relations with Asian partners is cooling. The United States and Asia have yet to find a way to cooperate effectively on any significant global issue. This dilemma, we argue, requires urgent attention on both sides of the Pacific, and specifically a U.S. strategy that features innovative civil diplomacy alongside official initiatives.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Toufiq Siddiqi
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: South Asia's rapidly accelerating economic growth is accompanied by energy requirements that are increasing at a similar pace. The development of cleaner sources of electricity, such as hydropower; the establishment of reliable sources and transport of natural gas; and the linking of electrical systems within the region would help to ensure the continued supply of energy needed to fuel South Asia's expanding economy. Currently, most of South Asia's commercial energy demand is supplied by coal and oil. While the use of these fuels will continue, there is a need to reduce the rate at which coal and oil consumption is increasing and to expand the use of other energy sources that are environment-friendly, readily available, and reasonably priced. Much of the increasing demand can be met by natural gas and hydroelectricity, and while the necessary electricity can potentially be produced within the region, natural gas will need to come from both within South Asia and from neighboring countries. Regional cooperation among the countries of South Asia as well as with surrounding countries is essential for meeting the region's future energy needs.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • Author: Joseph Chinyong Liow
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Both Thailand and the Philippines are home to Muslim minorities which have been engaged in persistent, at times virulent, conflict with the central Thai and Philippine governments for decades. While these drawn-out internal conflicts have primarily been ethno-nationalist in character, they appear to be taking on a more explicit religious dimension as a result of a range of factors. These include the failure of secular nationalism in achieving the ends of the respective rebellions, the resultant search for alternative (and presumably more effective) ideological impetus, the role of exogenous stimuli and catalysts such as the radicalization of local mujahideen volunteers involved in the international jihad waged in Afghanistan against Soviet occupation, and the impact of post-9/11 events on Muslim worldviews. Against the backdrop of ongoing international concern for Islamic terrorism, which is increasingly manifesting itself as a transnational phenomenon built on collaboration between jihadi terrorist and militant groups that capitalize on grievances throughout the Ummah, interest in the religious character of local conflicts, such as those under scrutiny in this monograph, have, not surprisingly, taken on greater urgency. Accordingly, what was not previously seen to be conflicts with decidedly religious contents are today being increasingly portrayed and understood in numerous policy, media, and security studies circles as a phenomenon driven and defined by Muslim radicalism, militancy, and international jihadi terrorism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Richard C. K. Burdekin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the past five years, U.S. exports to China have been dwarfed by imports from that country, with the resulting trade deficit igniting a bout of China bashing reminiscent of the Japan bashing of the 1980s. A major culprit in the trade imbalance, according to many U.S. analysts and policymakers, is China's currency: the renminbi, they say, is too cheap relative to the dollar. Some are calling for high tariffs on Chinese goods or for further exchange-rate adjustment that would revalue the renminbi significantly upward, making Chinese goods less competitive. But with just 10.4 percent of total U.S. trade attributed to China in the first half of 2005, it is unrealistic that any renminbi exchange-rate adjustment could rein in the burgeoning U.S. trade deficit. And if the adjustment were drastic the United States could be the big loser: driving China out of the market for U.S. treasuries would most likely have calamitous consequences, not only for the dollar but for U.S. credit markets and for the U.S. economy in general.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North America
  • Author: David Cohen
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: From 2000 to 2005 a UN-sponsored tribunal in East Timor sought to achieve accountability for violence associated with the 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia. Despite criticism of the tribunal's performance the UN has maintained that it was a success. In fact the East Timor tribunal represents a virtual textbook case of how not to create, manage, and administer a hybrid justice process. It was handicapped from the beginning by a debilitating lack of resources, an unclear mandate, inadequate recruitment, ineffective management by a peacekeeping mission that had other priorities, and above all a lack of political will both at UN headquarters and at the mission level. Trial practices and jurisprudence were too often deeply flawed, in important respects did not meet international standards, and, in a significant number of cases, undermined the rights of the accused to a fair trial. Because the UN risks repeating some of the same mistakes in Cambodia it is particularly important now to assess the failings of the East Timor trials.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Crime, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, United Nations
  • Author: Jennifer Amyx
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Regional financial cooperation in East Asia is proceeding with unprecedented intensity. Latest developments include two Asian Bond Funds, created by the regional central bankers group, and an Asian Bond Markets Initiative launched by the finance ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations member states plus China, Japan, and South Korea (or ASEAN+3). Some observers continue to attribute such cooperation to sharpened antagonism between East Asia and the West since the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98. But this view overlooks a key internal driver: ChinaÂ's shift to a more proactive stance toward regional cooperation. Far from demonstrating an antagonism toward market-based financial systems, ASEAN+3 members are embracing more liberal rules for economic interaction in their creation of regional bond funds and markets. Financial cooperation in East Asia is today motivated by factors that differ considerably from those observed in the immediate aftermath of the Asian financial crisis—and the implications extend beyond East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Wang Feng
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years after it was launched, China's “One Child” population control policy is credited with cutting population growth to an all time low and contributing to two decades of spectacular economic development. But the costs associated with the policy are also apparent and are rising: a growing proportion of elderly with inadequate government or family support, a disproportionately high number of male births attributable to sex selective abortion, increased female infant and child mortality rates, and the collapse of a credible government birth reporting system. Today, as China contemplates the future of the policy, many argue that a change that allows couples to have two children will not lead to uncontrollable population growth. Instead, it could help meet the fertility desires of most Chinese couples; avoid a worsening of the demographic and social consequences already evident; and relieve the Chinese government of the immense financial and political costs of enforcing an unpopular policy. But changes will need to come soon if China is to avert even greater negative consequences of the policy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ilan Noy
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The banking crises that swept through East Asia in 1997– 1998 set off dramatic recessions in the affected countries and imposed heavy costs on the domestic taxpayers. Fear of further crises prompted searches causes and early warning signs. It soon became apparent that liberalization the domestic financial sectors of the countries in crises contributed to genesis of these crises, but policymakers, regulators, and economists disagree about the reason for this. Initial scrutiny fell on unregulated international capital flows, but a comprehensive study suggests that liberalization can to financial instability either because of insufficient regulation of the financial sector or because of erosion of previously granted monopolies of existing banks. These possibilities suggest varying policy implications for the current state domestic financial systems in East Asia, including the challenges inherent opening up ChinaÂ's banking system to foreign competition as mandated in China–World Trade Organization accession agreement.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Eric Gutierrez, Jr. Borras
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The conflict in the southern Philippines is becoming increasingly complex, and untangling the knots for a greater understanding of the problem is no easy task. Yet underlying the many manifestations of a complex conflict is a straightforward political-economic explanation. This study represents a step toward a more systematic inquiry into the problem by developing a political-economic explanation of the conflict. It starts from two observations: first, the geographic areas in the southern Philippines where there is a significant if not a majority presence of Muslims are marked by a high incidence of poverty and social exclusion; second, there has been an alarming surge of "entrepreneurs in violence" in these areas determined to enforce their own nonstate systems of property relations. The study contends that these two observations result, to a significant degree, from the highly skewed distribution of ownership and control over land resources in the southern Philippines that should be traced back in the country's colonial history. Thus we argue that the continuing war, the persistence of poverty and landlessness, and the emergence of entrepreneurs in violence are mere symptoms of something that has not yet been sufficiently addressed by a succession of Philippine governments or even by mainstream Moro revolutionary organizations: the highly skewed distribution of land-ownership and control in the southern Philippines. Doctoral candidate at the Institute of Social Studies at The Hague.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Caribbean
  • Author: Elliot Sperling
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: This paper is a guide to the historical arguments made by the primary parties to the Tibet-China conflict. Given the polarization that has characterized this issue for decades, it is surprising that little has been done to analyze or at least disentangle the strands of historical argumentation that the parties have been using. This paper attempts to do this by relying as much as possible on the key assertions as they have been framed in Chinese and Tibetan sources. Chinese- and Tibetan-language materials dealing with the historical status of Tibet are often more detailed and better documented, and hew more closely than English-language materials do to the thinking of the people most directly concerned with (and affected by) the Tibet-China conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Toufiq A. Siddiqi
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India and Pakistan have had volatile relations ever since they became independent of Britain in 1947. Frequent hostility has stifled cooperation between the two countries and inhibited development in the region. Recently, however, tensions show signs of easing. In March 2004, India's then prime minister visited Pakistan to attend a South Asian regional summit. Flights, bus service, and cricket matches between the two countries have resumed; India's newly elected government continues to support the process. Peace could bring a wide range of benefits not only to India and Pakistan but to the wider region as well. For example, it could enable cooperation on importing energy via a natural-gas pipeline, which would support environmentally sound development. The improved road and rail system that would necessarily accompany a pipeline would also support the goal of building an Asian highway network and the resurgence of cross-border trade, another likely consequence of détente. These benefits could spread far beyond India and Pakistan into the wider west, central, and south Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Piers Blaikie, Joshua Muldavin
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: How we arrive at knowledge—and how we draw on knowledge to make policy—have been the subject of vigorous debate and analysis. Simple models of expertise and action are gradually yielding to a more complex vision of how truth speaks to power and power talks back. The Himalayan region—where scientists, statesmen, and citizens confront a unique set of environmental challenges and political legacies—provides a powerful case study. For more than a century, it was believed that over-use by local farmers and pastoralists threatened fragile mountain and river environments. Beginning in the colonial era and continuing into the present, governments have strictly curtailed traditional land-use practices. In the 1980s, scholars began to question the science on which those restrictive laws were based. But new science has not, in most cases, led to new policy. This disconnect inspires questions about the nature of both science and policy, their influence on each other, and whether each could benefit from greater openness to the insights of people who fall outside the narrow roles of expert and politician.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: T.C. Chang
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The development of tourist destinations that transcend national borders, first envisioned in the 1950s, gained momentum in the 1990s. Whether facilitated by large regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) or bilateral agreements, countries—especially smaller ones— have worked to identify and leverage their neighbor's strengths. Singapore, for example, adopted a national tourism plan based on the concept of "borrowed attractiveness." It has compensated for its limited natural resources and high costs by collaborating with Indonesia and Malaysia, which contribute cheaper labor and land in exchange for infrastructure, financing, and expertise. The city-state also aggressively sells its tourism expertise overseas and aspires to be Asia's tourism hub. But Singapore's experience demonstrates that regional tourism, while diversifying tourism development opportunities, can also perpetuate inequities between wealthier and poorer collaborators and present serious challenges to businesses operating in unfamiliar settings.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: A heightened sense of vulnerability to terror has touched every part of the world, including the Pacific Islands, and has linked small nations to large in new ways. Since the September 11 tragedy, concern has risen that so-called “failed states,” losing the struggle to maintain law and order at home, could become springboards for terrorism. Australia has shed its reluctance to intervene militarily in the Pacific trouble-sports—such as Solomon Islands, whose descent into chaos and violence was sparked in 1998 by civil unrest in Guadalcanal. With regional support, Australia led a mission in 2003 to restore law and order. A short-term success, the mission leaves questions about its long-term ability to achieve either well-being for Solomon Islands or security for the region. Its emphasis on shoring up a perennially weak central government, and its inattention to other pillars of Solomons society, threaten to undermine its success and create a crippling sense of dependency. For the mission to succeed, it must empower Solomon Islanders to take charge of their own destiny.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Reilly
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Democracies need both strength and flexibility—enough structure to transform a kaleidoscope of public opinion into coherent debate and effective policy, but enough openness to protect individual rights. Finding this balance is a particular challenge in ethnically diverse emerging democracies. Political parties usually serve a country best when they are limited in number, strong, and broad-based. Their evolution was once left mainly to chance; today, governments often seek to influence the process. Among those attempting reforms are Paupa New Guinea, home to hundreds of languages; Indonesia, with its separatist movements; the Philippines, experimenting with ways to balance party interests with other social concerns; and Thailand, whose once fragmented political scene seems headed toward domination by one party. Their strategies for encouraging stable party systems range from minimum-vote thresholds to efforts to stiffen internal party discipline. Much can be learned from these Asia Pacific efforts at political engineering—including the need for a cautious approach that minimizes unforeseen consequences and costs.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea