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  • Author: Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a communication of 12 April, the European Commission assessed the potential political and economic consequences of suspending visa exemption for U.S. citizens. Lacking pressure from individual EU Member States, the Commission discouraged such a move and gave the EU Council and European Parliament three months to take an official position. It seems almost certain that the measure of applying pressure on a non-EU country will not be used to help Poland and four other Member States obtain visa-free travel to the United States or other countries with a similar restriction. However, if current trends continue, Poland should join the U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in five years.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, European Union, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carolina Salgado, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Visegrad Group is still a new label among policy makers as well as public and private investors, scholars and media in Brazil. However, since their accession to the EU in 2004, and the financial crisis that started in 2008, the four Central European countries in this group have started to look beyond Europe in order to formulate their economic and political agenda, aiming to boost partnerships, for example among the biggest South American countries such as Brazil. V4 and Brazil should build momentum to deepen cooperation in the most promising prospective areas such as trade, military, tourism and education.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Cordella Buchanan Ponczek
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Traditionally, there is a partisan split on foreign policy in the United States: Republican candidates and voters worry more about terrorism, defense and national security than Democratic candidates and voters, thereby putting more stock in foreign policy issues, which manifests itself in the aggressiveness—of lack thereof—of each party’s foreign policy platform. But the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can be categorised by more than just party: a line can also be drawn between conventional candidates—Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Republicans—and unconventional candidates—Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat. Should a conventional candidate be elected president, U.S. foreign policy would be based on predictable adaptation to the changing international environment. An unconventional candidate, however, would be a wild card, whose actions would be difficult to predict.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Transnistria, in exchange for meeting certain conditions, was allowed to benefit from the free trade agreement that Moldova signed with the EU, there are plenty of obstacles which could derail the deal. The business community in the breakaway republic is eager to enjoy the fruits of the DCFTA but is reluctant to shoulder the price of necessary reforms, the outgoing leader of the separatist enclave could undermine the agreement for electoral reasons, Russia might be tempted to test the EU’s resolve to defend its trade-related norms, and Moldova could erect bureaucratic barriers for producers from the left bank of the Nistru River. In the light of these many risks, the EU should persistently encourage all sides to stick to their commitments while averting disputes that would undermine enforcement of the DCFTA in Transnistria in a timely manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Transnistria
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Piotr Kościński
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At a time when many European countries are strengthening border protection (including building walls), migrants will seek new avenues to Europe. In this context and of particular importance will be the policy of the authorities of Ukraine, which currently, and despite the still unstable situation in the country (war in the east and economic problems) could become the country of choice for migrants. Another problem for Kyiv may be internal migration. Both forms increase the risk of migration to EU countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which are neighbours of Ukraine. In this situation, additional EU assistance to the authorities in Kyiv will be necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Counter-narratives and campaigns promoting normality, are often highlighted as universal means against online propaganda from militant movements. However, such campaigns are driven by a number of unfortunate assumptions and are difficult to apply in practice. We often turn to information campaigns to inform and instruct the general population. Such campaigns are also pointed to as possible tools, to combat radical and militant counter-cultures on the internet. However, reaching broad segments of the population is one thing. It is more challenging, to direct communication at a smaller audience.
  • Topic: Politics, Political Theory, Political Activism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simeon Djankov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the 15 years of President Vladimir Putin's rule, state control over economic activity in Russia has increased and is greater today than in the immediate postcommunist era. The concentration of political and economic power in Putin's hands has led to an increasingly assertive foreign policy, using energy as a diplomatic tool, while plentiful revenues from extractive industries have obfuscated the need for structural reforms at home. The West's 2014 sanctions on Russia have brought about economic stagnation, and with few visible means of growth, the economy is likely to continue to struggle. Watching Europe struggle with its own growth, in part because of deficiencies in its economic model, Russia will not be convinced to divert from state capitalism without evidence of a different, successful economic model. Changing course can only be pursued in the presence of political competition; the current political landscape does not allow for such competition to flourish
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia’s only even nominal parliamentary democracy, faces growing internal and external security challenges. Deep ethnic tensions, increased radicalisation in the region, uncertainty in Afghanistan and the possibility of a chaotic political succession in Uzbekistan are all likely to have serious repercussions for its stability. The risks are exacerbated by leadership failure to address major economic and political problems, including corruption and excessive Kyrgyz nationalism. Poverty is high, social services are in decline, and the economy depends on remittances from labour migrants. Few expect the 4 October parliamentary elections to deliver a reformist government. If the violent upheavals to which the state is vulnerable come to pass, instability could spread to regional neighbours, each of which has its own serious internal problems. The broader international community – not just the European Union (EU) and the U.S., but also Russia and China, should recognise the danger and proactively press the government to address the country’s domestic issues with a sense of urgency.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Mark Seip
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and the Nordic states enjoy a strong, productive relationship. However, stability in the Nordic-Baltic area is under increasing stress, which has implications for both NATO and its partner members, Finland and Sweden. In "Nordic-Baltic Security and the US Role," the Atlantic Council's US Navy Senior Fellow Mark Seip argues that the United States must prioritize bolstering assurance among NATO members, principally the Baltic states. Additionally, the United States and NATO should enhance its capabilities through collaboration, leverage soft power instruments, and find mutuality between NATO and its key partners, Finland and Sweden. In doing so, the United States and the Nordic nations stand to solidify the gains of the thriving region and strengthen European security.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: Nordic Nations
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since August 2014, the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has successfully inflicted casualties on ISIS and weakened its oil revenues. However, the same efforts have also accelerated the rise of the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, and the near-collapse of nationalist rebel forces. In "Defeating the Jihadists in Syria: Competition before Confrontation," Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East details the unintended consequences of the coalition air campaign and proposes a revised US strategy. He argues that the United States can effectively assist nationalist insurgents to defeat ISIS and the Nusra Front by enabling them to compete with and contain these groups before ultimately confronting them. Itani writes that the US-led campaign thus far and the train-and-equip initiative set to begin next month undermine and weaken nationalist rebel forces. He criticizes these efforts for failing to provide sufficient support to the rebel forces, while directing them to target ISIS instead of the regime. Meanwhile, the Nusra Front and other jihadist organizations have greater resources and have been effective in targeting the Assad regime. As such, nationalist rebel forces and local populations have increasingly aligned with the Nusra Front and even tolerate ISIS in order to protect themselves against regime violence, criminality, and chaos. Itani's proposed US strategy offers a practical and workable response to the rise of jihadists groups in Syria; this revised strategy seeks to support rebel forces to compete with the Nusra Front for popular support and to take control of the insurgency, contain ISIS, and build capacity for an eventual offensive against the jihadists. This approach will build on positive results in southern Syria by significantly increasing direct financial and material support and training for vetted nationalist groups that have already shown significant success. Simultaneously, in the north the campaign can provide sufficient material support to nationalist forces while expanding coalition air strikes to target ISIS's frontlines, allowing the nationalist insurgency to defend and govern territory. Only once nationalist insurgent forces have successfully competed with the Nusra Front and contained ISIS can they confront and ultimately defeat the jihadist groups in Syria.
  • Topic: Politics, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Eujiin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: After surviving its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and the near collapse of its common currency, Europe is now engulfed by hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa. It needs new and permanent migration institutions and resources not only to accommodate the influx of refugees but also to set up a new border control system throughout the region. These demands pose a challenge for European policymaking as serious as the euro crisis of the last five years. Kirkegaard proposes a migration and mobility union, to be implemented gradually, with the goal of comprehensively reforming European migration policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tomas Hellebrandt, Paolo Mauro
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the next two decades, hundreds of millions of people in emerging economies are projected to reach income levels at which they will be able to afford cars and air travel. As purchasing power increases worldwide, people will spend proportionately less on food and beverages and more on transportation. Higher spending on transportation, especially in China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa, will increase pressures on the infrastructure in these economies and aggravate global climate change. Governments will need to respond to these challenges in a fiscally sustainable and environmentally responsible way.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Economies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund recently concluded its quinquennial review of the composition of the Special Drawing Right (SDR), accepting the Chinese currency into the SDR basket alongside four major international currencies — the US dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen. The Chinese government has spent a great deal of energy and political capital to achieve this outcome. This policy paper explains China’s interest in this seemingly exotic and technical pursuit, identifying the political and economic motivations underlying this initiative.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Samuel Helfont
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Defining – and distinguishing between – the terms Islam and Islamism has broad consequences for America, both domestically and internationally. However, teaching about the relationship between these two concepts involves negotiating numerous sensitivities and it can cause considerable consternation for educators. At the most basic level, Islam is a major world religion practiced by well over a billion people, and Islamism is a political ideology to which a subset of the broader Islamic community adheres. The importance of this distinction seems fairly clear. The United States, and the American body politic more generally, views itself as committed to secular governance and religious freedom. While Islam is not completely immune from criticism, Americans have traditionally objected to state interference in religious matters and, theoretically, they should expect the same standards to apply to Islam. Therefore, Islam as a religion would seem to have a clear place in the diverse fabric of American society. Islamism, as a political ideology, opens itself to harsher critiques and even questions about its appropriateness in, or compatibility with, the American political system. Unsurprisingly, American public discourse suggests that Americans generally feel much more comfortable with Islam than they do with Islamism.
  • Topic: Islam, Political Economy, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Carl Van Horn, Tammy Edwards, Todd Greene
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century explores how new policies and practice can meet the changing needs of workers, businesses and their communities. Produced in partnership by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City, and the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, this edited volume presents contributions from more than 65 leading scholars and practitioners engaged in workforce development. The book includes chapters co-written by two leaders at the Economic Opportunities Program.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Politics, Communications, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In New York City on October 16-17, 2014, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program hosted a Symposium focused on exemplary teaching at the business and society interface with a particular emphasis on sourcing and employment practices-leveraging increased consumer demand for "responsible" labor practices and supply chains, and employer demand for graduates with strong operational skills. This meeting brought together an impressive roster of corporate, academic and non-profit leaders, and identified ways for business schools to effectively prepare future leaders for the challenges of our complex economy, and to lead companies in ways that help build a vibrant economy for all.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although it happens rarely, national governments, including those of EU countries, do sometimes hire foreign experts. In Ukraine, employing Georgians from former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration seems to be a logical move. His presidency’s biggest successes were the establishment of well-functioning police and an efficient fight against corruption, something both of which Ukraine badly needs. Other foreigners, including renowned experts such as Ukrainian American Natalie Jaresko and Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavičius, responsible for economic recovery, may be successful but face extremely difficult tasks. As all these figures are affiliated with the West in one way or another, their failure would be interpreted by pro-Kremlin media as a collapse of President Petro Poroshenko’s policies (perceived by Russia as a Western project).
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Governance, Self Determination, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Victoria Bucătaru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Leading up to the formation of Moldova’s third government since elections a year ago, Chisinau faces not only political and macro-financial instability, but also suffers from a severe trust deficit in relations with external partners, some of which have suspended aid flows this year. If Moldova was once the most advanced Eastern Partnership state in terms of aid coordination, government ownership of the process has significantly weakened as a result of the protracted political crisis. Although donors continue to cooperate among themselves via well-established channels, participation by state institutions is currently limited. Once the political setting is stabilised, the government will need to go to great lengths to regain the trust of its external partners and re-establish donor coordination. This is fundamental if Moldova is to make the best use of assistance in order to recover its finances quickly.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time since the outbreak of the war in Donbass, the situation on the frontline is nearly a proper cease-fire. This is the outcome of the interplay of three factors: the political-military balance in Donbass, sanctions and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. Nevertheless, it is premature to assume that military options in Donbass are no longer in the cards. Russia is likely to use force if needed to repel a Ukrainian attempt to retake parts of the area, to obstruct the Minsk process if it goes in a disadvantageous direction for Moscow, or to seize more territory if there is further political and social turmoil in Ukraine. To minimize the risks of an eruption of violence in Donbass, the EU and U.S. should prolong the sanctions, fine-tune the diplomatic pressure on both sides to implement and uphold the Minsk Protocols, and pay more attention to the political and economic transformations in the rest of Ukraine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Politics, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Anita Sobjak
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan revolution, Ukraine has seen an unprecedented boom in external assistance in support of reforms, which needs to be synchronised appropriately in order to be effective. Although most of the structures and mechanisms for aid coordination have been conceived, they still need to be set in motion, and this requires time. For the system to be functional, the donors should improve coordination at a planning stage (especially those large donors with strict development agendas), while the Ukrainian government has to enhance its capacities for implementation of the reform as a matter of urgency. The present set of 18 reform priorities also needs to be narrowed down further, to focus on the most urgent needs.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first visit to Warsaw after re-election as prime minister of the UK, David Cameron found an ally in support of one of his ideas to reform the EU. Rafał Trzaskowski, the Polish minister for Europe, speaking on behalf of the Polish government, officially endorsed the British position to strengthen national parliaments in EU policymaking. Yet, the proposals to date either require treaty changes or are merely technical adjustments. In fact, much more could be achieved by enhancing the mechanisms of inter-parliamentary cooperation within the existing scope of the treaties. Although this would play very well with the current institutional climate of better regulation and more transparency, it also requires a genuine political will on the side of EU institutions and Member States, which seem to be the missing link.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Kinga Dudzińska, Jakub Godzimirski, Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The migration and refugee situation in Eastern Europe receives comparatively little attention in the EU for a simple reason: the people displaced by the fighting in eastern Ukraine have tended to stay close to home or travel to Russia rather than head to the European Union. But eastern migration deserves attention. Migration issues, including questions of population loss, diaspora loyalty and border management, are gaining real geopolitical significance across Eastern Europe. Moreover, the EU’s technocratic efforts to leverage access to its labour markets in return for political reform in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are becoming increasingly politicised there. This paper therefore sets out some basic data on the issue. It takes as its case studies the receiving countries Norway and Poland, both located at the external border of the EU, EEA and Schengen zone and next to Russia, and pays special attention to the question of border management, including small border traffic and migration control, looking particularly at the gender dimension of migration.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kamran Ismayilov, Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan recently had to face a wave of criticism from the European institutions (the OSCE and the European Parliament) due to its government’s undemocratic practices. In response, Baku accused its European partners of Islamophobia and declared the suspension of parliamentary cooperation in the framework of the EU’s Euronest. The Azerbaijani ruling elite also blames the West of supporting a “fifth column” in Azerbaijan (meaning civil society organisations) as well as of giving political support to its arch-enemy Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time authorities in Baku are displaying their developing political partnership with Russia. This paper examines the consequences of the crisis in relations between the EU and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani-Russian rapprochement for the prospects for EU-Azerbaijan energy projects and regional security in the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Civil Society, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Patryk Kuglel
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004 has made only modest achievements and needs a thorough rethink. Both sides must reset cooperation and base it on a more realistic footing centred on common interests, such as economic cooperation, global governance, development cooperation, and defence. The resumption of free trade negotiations, the organisation of a long overdue bilateral summit, and more frank dialogue on contentious issues is necessary in order to utilise the partnership’s potential. Poland may use this strategic drift to revitalise bilateral cooperation and play a more active role in reviving EU-India dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, India
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Insurgency, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Provincial Councils (PCs) represent one of the best hopes for the future of local democracy in Afghanistan. Yet since their shaky formation in 2005, they continue to be overlooked by international actors preferring to interact with parliamentarians, ministers and appointed governors. The significance assigned by Afghans to winning PC seats has steadily increased over the last decade. Indeed, for many, the April 5 PC elections will do more than the presidential poll to determine whether democratic practices continue to take root in local politics. PC elections offer a chance to build local, personal ties and accountability mechanisms connecting to increasingly centralized government resources, and, in particular, an opportunity for a new generation of young, motivated Afghans to begin their political careers. As the locally-visible manifestation of the Afghan political system, PCs are the immediate face of democracy—or a lack thereof—for many Afghans. In 2009, with most news stories covering the widespread fraud in the presidential contest, the uproar over the fraud and delay throughout the PC polling process rarely received coverage on newspaper front pages. Yet those problems contributed significantly to people's sense of alienation and disillusionment with their country's political actors and electoral institutions. In spite of these experiences, Afghans are once again preparing to go to the polls. Voters, candidates, parties and local organizations are putting greater emphasis than ever on the process of provincial council polling—expressing concern about the prospects for fraud, mobilizing around their candidates and campaigning in earnest. If due attention to the process is not paid by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and by international agencies, popular participation in future elections could drop. Prospects for Afghan democratization will depend much on how these and future provincial-level elections are conducted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Demographics, Development, Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Michel Theys
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the City, the citizen is king. At least theoretically. In the European City currently being built around twenty eight national democracies, the citizen will soon be called upon, in May, to democratically elect his or her representative in the European Parliament for the next five years. Since the very first election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in 1979, spectacular progress has been made by the "European Economic Community" that we now all know as the European Union. And the powers vested in citizen representatives are equally impressive. But there is a real possibility that European citizens will turn their backs on the upcoming European elections like never before. Why?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: De juillet à décembre 2013, la Tunisie a connu une crise politique dont les éléments de sortie n'étaient pas fournis d'avance, mais dont l'issue était assez claire : violences ou compromis. Depuis la promulgation de la Constitution et la nomination d'un nouveau gouvernement indépendant dit de technocrates, remplaçant la troïka emmenée par le parti islamiste An-Nahda, en janvier 2014, le pays est entré dans une nouvelle phase de transition. Si celle-ci semble moins agitée que la précédente, son issue demeure tout aussi incertaine. L'enjeu de la période actuelle est de prolonger le consensus issu du dialogue national et de préparer le prochain rendez-vous électoral, qui va suspendre en partie le compromis, tout en prévenant le retour de la polarisation. Plutôt que de se concentrer de manière exclusive sur un partage du pouvoir qui implique l'équilibre électoral entre islamistes et sécularistes, les forces politiques devraient aussi envisager les scénarios les plus inattendus, s'entendre pour limiter le pouvoir des gagnants et garantir la sérénité des perdants.
  • Topic: Politics, Armed Struggle, Reconstruction, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Oliver Stuenkel
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Emerging powers frequently stress the importance of sovereignty and the inviolability of international law. As a consequence, many Western observers expected that emerging powers such as Brazil would be quick to condemn Russia's annexation of Crimea. Yet Brazil remained neutral and abstained from the UN General Assembly resolution that criticised Russia. Together with the other BRICS countries, it opposed suggestions to exclude Russia from the G-20, thus markedly reducing the effectiveness of Western attempts to isolate President Putin. Brazil's unwillingness to criticise Russia may have less to do with its opinion on Russia's annexation of Crimea per se and more to do with Brasília's scepticism of Western attempts to turn Russia into an international pariah. From Brasilia's perspective, pushing countries against the wall is rarely the most constructive approach. In addition, many in Brazil are wary of a global order that privileges the U.S. and allows it to flout many norms that apply to everyone else, arguing that these double standards are far more damaging to international order than any Russian policy. Finally, Russia annexed Crimea at a time when anti-Americanism around the world still runs high as a consequence of the NSA spying scandals, making alignment with U.S. positions politically costly at home.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Patrick Nopens
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: ISAF's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 will directly impact the wider region. Not only is there a risk of instability spilling over to Central Asia, but the drawdown will also accelerate the ongoing shift in the balance of power in Central Asia towards China. Should a spillover occur, the burden will mainly fall on Russia and China. Russia will, however, only continue playing the dominant role in the security of the former Soviet Central Asia (FSCA) until China takes on responsibility for the security of its direct sphere of influence or "dingwei". Russia's Near Abroad, however, overlaps both with the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood in Europe and China's dingwei in Central Asia and the Far East. It is, therefore, necessary to approach Russian reactions to these encroachments on its historical spheres of influence in a single context, taking into account the interrelationship between these three.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Palwasha L. Kakar
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the economic, security and political transitions take place in Afghanistan, it is essential to work with religious leaders who have credibility and moral authority among large segments of the Afghan public. Religious leaders are among Afghanistan's traditional "gatekeepers" for making local decisions, especially on questions of women's rights, and they can be effectively engaged. Despite the very negative reactions by religious leaders to women's rights at the national political level, some at the local level have shown continuing interest in women's rights when they are involved within an Islamic framework and have participated in protecting such rights. Effective engagement with religious leaders starts with respecting their opinions and involving them directly in processes of changing strongly held social norms on women's rights and other sensitive topics, such as tolerance and peacebuilding.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa
  • Author: András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The destabilization of Ukraine and the possible escalation of the crisis have presented a direct security risk to the Visegrad countries - Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - particularly concerning military security, the potential interruption of energy transit, and the possible influx of refugees. These factors have forced the Visegrad states to show unprecedented unity and activism in addressing the crisis. However, regarding the possibility of sanctioning Russia, the Visegrad Group is unable to take a joint position. The main reason for this is that Russia does not pose a direct military threat to the region. Consequently the individual policies of the Visegrad countries towards Russia are defined by a constellation of geopolitical concerns, normative motivations, business interests and domestic political ambitions, which are decidedly different in all four cases. Domestic political motivations, such as the will to increase domestic legitimacy, and concerns over the economic effects of sanctions, obviously influence the foreign policy actions of the Visegrad governments. However, Viktor Orbán of Hungary was the only one to break the Visegrad solidarity on Ukraine with his domestically-motivated remarks in May 2014 and demanding autonomy for Hungarians living in the Trans-Carpathian region. As most normative, business and domestic political motivations are of a lasting strategic nature, it is highly likely that the general incoherence of the Visegrad region regarding Russia will prevail.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Poland
  • Author: Sanna Salo
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the May 2014 European Parliament elections, Eurosceptic parties mobilized on a new cleavage between the winners and losers of globalization, which mainstream parties have neglected. The Eurosceptic surge should not be regarded merely as populism or protest, but a legitimate articulation of concerns about the new economic underclass - the globalization losers. The articulation of the new cleavage varies according to domestic political contexts and traditions: in France, the Front National mobilized on themes of ethnic unity and national sovereignty; in Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland raised concerns over monetary independence in the eurozone, while in the UK, UKIP campaigned with anti-immigration and economic welfare themes. Since the EP elections, the Eurosceptics have seemed intent on polishing their images and on being perceived as respectable office-seeking parties, both in the EP and at domestic levels. Respectability requires a non-xenophobic agenda: in the EP, other Eurosceptics refused to cooperate with the FN due to the party's anti-semitic past; yet the AfD, mobilizing on a more economic agenda, managed to join the ECR group dominated by British Conservatives, while UKIP managed to reform its EFD group.
  • Topic: Globalization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Koch
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The breakdown of state structures and the wider regional political order has resulted in a complex tapestry of conflict throughout the Middle East that is likely to produce a continued period of volatility and violence for several years to come. This is because there are numerous dynamics at play that are competing with one another across various levels. Within these dynamics, religion as a mobilizing factor which, alongside sectarianism has emerged as a primary driving force for many of the ongoing conflicts. In addition, the deep crisis of the nation-state has released different dichotomies resulting in overlapping lines of confrontation that seem to be exploding all at once. The situation is exacerbated by the diminished leverage of global players on regional forces and regional players over national ones, thus significantly complicating the search for solutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North Africa
  • Author: Wakefield Shawna
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In its 'World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development', the World Bank asserted that gender equality was a core development objective in its own right and also 'smart economics' The same year, in their Los Cabos Declaration, G20 leaders committed to tackling the barriers to women's full economic and social participation and to expanding opportunities for women in their countries. Oxfam supports this commitment, and calls on the G20 to go further and assess the entirety of their agenda and actions in the light of development and rights-based commitments to women's rights and gender equality.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Politics, Labor Issues, Sociology
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The July 2013 election victory of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) failed to secure broad-based legitimacy for President Robert Mugabe, provide a foundation for fixing the economy, or normalise external relations. A year on, the country faces multiple social and economic problems, spawned by endemic governance failures and compounded by a debilitating ruling party succession crisis. Both ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) are embroiled in major internal power struggles that distract from addressing the corrosion of the social and economic fabric. Zimbabwe is an insolvent and failing state, its politics zero sum, its institutions hollowing out, and its once vibrant economy moribund. A major culture change is needed among political elites, as well as commitment to national as opposed to partisan and personal interests.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Elina Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The number of netizens in China is growing year on year and the increase in the use of mobile technologies to access the internet is the most notable trend of late. Around half of the Chinese population are now internet users. The Chinese leadership has tightened internet control since August 2013. In February 2014, China established Central Internet Security and Information Leading Group, headed by President Xi Jinping, to monitor Chinese cyberspace. Defamatory social media posts were criminalized, and the first sentence was imposed in April 2014. Despite stricter internet control, criticism of the state and politicians has often been tolerated in social media, whereas any content that promotes offline collective action is systematically censored. However, the idea that the development of the internet in China would lead to significant political change seems unwarranted in the current circumstances. Poll data released on September 9 show that almost 90 per cent of the Chinese respondents harbour negative views about Japan. Internet forums and increasing commercialization of the traditional media are contributing to this public opinion trend, which complicates the handling of China's turbulent relations with Japan.
  • Topic: Politics, Communications, Mass Media, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew Adams, Lyne Maheu, Kieran McDougal
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Northern Pass Transmission Project is mired in political deadlock due to conflict over its potential impacts and current assessment process. Although the proposal has little political support within New Hampshire, the US Department of Energy (DOE's) assessment process is moving forward. New England has become increasingly dependent on natural gas for power generation, which has dramatically risen in price recently, and the Northern Pass presents an opportunity to diversify the region's electrical supply. However, as the project stands, New Hampshire bears a majority of the economic, social and ecological costs, while receiving little of the regional benefit of affordable, flexible and reliable energy. There may be similar alternatives to the Northern Pass that secure the regional benefits of energy security and reliability while also reducing local costs. Without comparing the Northern Pass against alternative infrastructure projects, policy makers cannot assess which project generates the most net benefits. This policy brief contrasts the local and regional impacts of the Northern Pass, in order to shed light on the deficiencies that arise when analysing energy infrastructure projects in isolation.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Canada, England
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Maya Rostowska
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the reigning consensus that the Russian economy is facing trouble ahead, some indicators suggest that the situation is not as dire as first appeared. Moreover, it may seem that the fiscal situation in the country—particularly its copious foreign currency reserves and substantial sovereign wealth funds—could still help extricate Russia from its economic difficulties. However, the very difficult budgetary situation in the regions and the staggering levels of debt of its companies suggest that economic problems could hit the country hard. Investors should remain vigilant of social and political tensions and the possible further deterioration of the business environment in Russia.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Politics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the context of the Ukraine crisis, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania have called for significant strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence policy and for permanent deployments of Allied troops in the region. This position is, however, not shared by the rest of the Central and Eastern European NATO members. Similar to Western European countries, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia do not feel as threatened by Russia’s actions and do not support moves that could damage their political and economic relations with Moscow. Fundamental differences among the current positions of the regional Allies indicate a profound divide between Central and Eastern European NATO members.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Economics, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Maria Nozhenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Debates on nationalism acquired a great deal of significance in Russia in the summer of 2013, with the activities of right-wing nationalists increasing during this period too. Modern Russian nationalism has its roots in anti-immigrant sentiments, mainly as a consequence of failed nation-state building in the post-Soviet period. Most right-wing organisations are marginalised, with membership and support relatively low. But the anti-immigrant ideas which these organisations propagate currently enjoy high levels of support in Russian society. Over the past eight years, the activities of right-wing nationalists have been largely limited to 'the streets', due to the lack of opportunities open to nationalist parties to participate in electoral processes. The prospects for Russia's right-wing nationalist organisations will depend on the regime's approach to 'illegal' immigration, but also on the state's overall policy towards right-wing nationalism. Three scenarios are seen to be possible at this juncture: 'marginalised nationalists', 'underground nationalists', and 'incorporated nationalists'.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Politics, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Macedonia is a country in deep trouble. Under a veneer of normality lies a climate of deep mistrust between all the political parties and between the main ethnic communities. Several incidents of inter-ethnic violence took place in the capital city earlier this year and are on the increase. Political dialogue, insofar as it exists between the parties, remains confrontational.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eva Gross
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following President Obama's budget proposal on 8 April, the US has embarked on another round of negotiations in attempts to reach a fiscal deal. Differences between the two sides (Democrats insist on taxing the wealthy whereas Republicans insist on spending cuts) have their roots in respective party doctrines, and the current gridlock displays the exceedingly partisan nature of the current US political process. Although the origins of this dispute are clearly to be found in domestic politics, they increasingly have foreign policy implications as well. They are likely to have an impact across the Atlantic - where fiscal austerity and budgetary cuts are equally underway, albeit for reasons that do not entirely coincide - and an effect on EU-US security cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Roberts
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Emir Tamim has become the new ruler of Qatar after the abdication of his father, Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani. The latter followed an independent foreign policy throughout his reign and sought good relations with all states, although Qatar's taking sides in the Arab uprisings have somewhat modified this position. Evaluating Qatar's foreign policy under Emir Tamim is difficult. In his upbringing Tamim was imbued with their vision of Qatar as an internationally oriented state. It would be very surprising if he were to backtrack on this basic thrust and withdraw Qatar internationally. Emir Tamim's Qatar will therefore likely continue to seek to extend the small state's influence throughout the region wherever and whenever possible.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Laurent Bonnefoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Due to the specific history of Saudi Arabia, the export of religious ideologies has long been seen as an important tool of Saudi "soft power". Through a variety of institutions and actors, only some of which can be linked to Wahhabism or even to Islam, interactions between Saudi Arabia and the world are complex and diverse. While mechanisms aiming to export a conservative interpretation of Islam that have been labelled Salafism may be manifest, this policy brief intends to question the efficiency of such mechanisms for the dissemination of religious ideologies. In order to do so, it will first define Salafism. It will then highlight the diversity of this concept, in particular when it comes to its relations with the Saudi monarchy. Finally, it will conclude by highlighting some changes triggered by the "Arab Spring" uprisings that affect the relationship among Salafi movements in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Cathrine Thorleifsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the paradox of Mizrahim (Arab Jews) supporting right-wing Israeli policies through a case study of the border town of Kiryat Shemona. Based on ethnographic research, it illuminates the enduring power of ethno-nationalism and demonstrates how it affects Mizrahi lives. Mizrahim became trapped by Israeli nation-building on the geographic and socioeconomic margins of the state positioned between the dominant Ashkenazi elite and the Palestinian population. Factors such as Mizrahim's partial inclusion in the nation; tensions between Jews and Arabs, and between the secular and the religious; the decline of the welfare state; and a shared perception of threats and dangers informed everyday nationalism in the town. Mizrahim contested Ashkenazi Israeliness through ethnic and transnational identifications and practices. Simultaneously, their support for the nation-in-arms and identification as "strong"and "civilised" reinforced the dominant logic of ethno-nationalism. Mizrahi support for right-wing militarism is likely to persist as long as national unity is used as a colonial practice by the centre. The inclusion of Mizrahim as equals together with other marginalised citizens would necessarily entail an Israeli Spring.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Nationalism, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current turbulent global landscape recalls past key transition points in history such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, when the path forward was not so clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of very different global futures. As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the transatlantic community is entering a new era in history that will pose a very different set of challenges and offer unprecedented opportunities. If it is to survive, the NATO Alliance must navigate this crucial period by fundamentally reconsidering its place in the global landscape as well as its future roles, missions, and functions from a strategic, long-term perspective. The world is changing rapidly, and if NATO does not adapt with foresight for this new era, then it will very likely disintegrate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rahman Dag
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis
  • Abstract: Once the Newroz on 21 March, 2013 in Diyarbakir would be the subject of any sort of conversation, academic discussion, journalistic research and daily bread on the lips of people, it would be absolutely considered as one of the most significant turning points in the history of politics in Turkey. Since, whether it will be successfully accomplished or dramatically failed and cause an internal high-level armed struggle, as a part of peace process initiated by AKP and assisted by BDP, the announcement of Öcalan calling for leaving the armed forces out of Turkey's border and superseded it with ideas and politics will be the inception of new horizons in Turkish politics. The main crux of Öcalan's most recent announcement should not be narrowly seen as part of the Kurdish question alone, but rather in my point of view, its consequences are expected to affect every tiny aspect of Turkey; ranging from the prime sphere of politics to social, cultural, and economic structures. When it comes to specific analysis of these aspects, the implication and strategy of peace process will be much clearer in minds.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Karim Emile Bitar
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Writing in September 2011, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley pointed out that the Arab awakening was "a tale of three battles rolled into one: people against regimes; people against people and regimes against other regimes." Nowhere is this more evident than in Syria where all three dimensions are forcefully present, simultaneously making Syria arguably the most complex of all Arab revolutions. The Syrian revolution started in March 2011 as an inevitable, spontaneous, legitimate and overwhelmingly non-violent movement, much akin to the Arab Spring revolutions that had taken place in Tunisia and Egypt. While the underlying political, economic and demographic causes of the Syrian uprising were quite similar to those which triggered the earlier revolutions, the regime's brutal reaction, Syria's geostrategic positioning and its sectarian heterogeneity, as well as the political agendas of regional and international powers led the revolution to morph into a bloody civil war.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Economics, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Mathurin C. Houngnikpo
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of military coups from 2008 to 2010 in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar raised the specter of a return to military rule in Africa. While the subsequent resumption of civilian government in Guinea and Niger has reduced these concerns, evidence of military influence in politics remains widespread across the continent. This is prominently in view in Egypt where, in the midst of political transition, the military is attempting to maintain a privileged role for itself despite the widespread demands for genuine democratic reform.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Author: Scott Flower, Jim Leahy
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: This paper draws on fieldwork undertaken by the authors between January 2011 and January 2012 among local communities in Port Moresby and three of the more unstable highlands provinces of PNG (Southern Highlands, Western Highlands and Enga).
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Guinea
  • Author: Justina Chen
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Since Malaysia Day last September, the administration of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has undertaken a whirlwind of legislative and policy reforms—making Najib arguably the most reformist Malaysian prime minister ever. Political pundits remark that the rushed reforms which were undertaken without consultation with key stakeholders are a sign that a general election is imminent, perhaps to be held in less than two months. Over the course of the last six months there have been a record number of legislative forms including: repeal of the infamous Internal Security Act; amendments to the University and University Colleges Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act; announcement of a minimum wage policy as well as the passing of the Security Offenses Bill and Peaceful Assembly Act.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tin Maung Maung Than
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: By-elections in electoral democracies usually elicit very little excitement beyond the affected constituencies. However, Burma/Myanmar's recent by-elections held most of Asia and the West in rapt attention, with droves of international observers, media representatives, and curious foreigners flocking to Myanmar on an unprecedented scale. As anticipated, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 43 of the 44 seats that it contested, subsequently hailed as the “victory of the people.” The lead-up, campaigning, and the actual voting, along with the post-election euphoria, resembled a regime-changing national election rather than a series of by-elections that secured the NLD a very minor 6.4 percent of the overall seats in the parliamentary Union Assembly's Lower and Upper Houses. The current government of President U Thein Sein most likely regarded these by-elections as a means of legitimizing its mandate to govern and enhance its own reform credentials.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Politics, Regime Change, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Taiwan's elections on January 14, which for the first time combined polls for the presidency and the legislature, displayed further positive evolution in Taiwan's now well-established democracy. The results also precluded an immediate disruption in relations between Taiwan and the PRC, which is good news in Washington. In Beijing's view, however, the goal is not stability across the Taiwan Strait, but unification. Chinese impatience might weigh more heavily on President Ma Ying-jeou, and by extension on the United States, during Ma's second term.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stephanie Flamenbaum
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the Pakistani electoral cycle gears up for an election, the country's traditional political stakeholders face a change in the tenor of political discourse and a more robust electoral field due to the recent rise in popular support for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, helmed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Kiyoaki Aburaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “Decide when it is time to decide, draw a conclusion, don't postpone; this is the type of politics I want to create.” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made this declaration in a press conference on June 26 immediately after the passage of the consumption tax-hike bill in the Lower House of the Diet. Noda's conviction to pass a tax increase had a political cost: 57 lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) voted against the bill, while 15 DPJ members abstained. Former DPJ president Ichiro Ozawa, who leads the anti-tax-hike movement, and his followers created a deep rift within the ruling party over the tax legislation and subsequently damaged Noda's political power base by defecting from the party on July 2.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who had not been seen in public for several months, was announced on 20 August 2012 by Ethiopian state television. The passing of the man who has been Ethiopia's epicentre for 21 years will have profound national and regional consequences. Meles engineered one-party rule in effect for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and his Tigrayan inner circle, with the complicity of other ethnic elites that were co-opted into the ruling alliance, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The Front promised freedom, democracy and ethnic devolution but is highly centralised, tightly controls the economy and suppresses political, social, ethnic and religious liberties. In recent years, Meles had relied ever more on repression to quell growing dissent. His successor will lead a weaker regime that struggles to manage increasing unrest unless it truly implements ethnic federalism and institutes fundamental governance reform. The international community should seek to influence the transition actively because it has a major interest in the country's stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: En l'absence de décisions rapides, fortes et cohérentes aux niveaux régional (Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest, Cedeao), continental (Union Africaine, UA) et international (Nations unies) avant la fin de ce mois de septembre, la situation politique, sécuritaire, économique et sociale au Mali se détériorera. Tous les scénarios sont encore ouverts, y compris celui d'un nouveau coup d'Etat militaire et de troubles sociaux dans la capitale, aboutissant à une remise en cause des institutions de transition et à un chaos propice à la propagation de l'extrémisme religieux et de la violence terroriste au Mali et au- delà. Aucun des trois acteurs qui se partagent le pouvoir, le président intérimaire Di oncounda Traoré, le Premier ministre Cheick Modibo Diarra et le chef de l'exjunte, le capitaine Amadou Sanogo, ne dispose d'une légitimité populaire et d'une compétence suffisantes pour éviter une crise plus aiguë. Le pays a urgemment besoin de la mobilisation des meilleures compétences maliennes au-delà des clivages politiques et non d'une bataille de positionnement à la tête d'un Etat qui risque de s'écrouler.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: GDP fell by a larger than expected 1% on the quarter in 2012Q1 according to initial data released in mid-May. As a result, we now expect GDP will fall 1.1% in 2012. On the political side, the government has avoided a snap election by surviving a confidence vote on 27 April. However, it will find it harder to stick to its austerity plans as its majority was weakened by the vote. Under current policies, we now expect the fiscal deficit to rise to 3.6% of GDP in 2012 from 3.1% in 2011 due to the weakness of the economy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Czech Republic
  • Author: Christopher Davidson
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Formed in 1971 following Britain's departure from the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation made up of seven monarchies, each of which retains traditional powers alongside more formal emirate-level and federal governments. With the bulk of the UAE's hydrocarbon reserves in the largest emirate of Abu Dhabi, the latter's ruling family continues to dominate UAE politics. Although a semi-elected consultative council exists, this is far from being an effective parliament, and since the 2011 “Arab Spring” there have been strong calls for greater democracy, which have led to the imprisonment of more than 50 activists. Externally, Iran remains the most significant threat to the UAE regime, having occupied three UAE islands since 1971 and continuing to alarm the UAE with its nuclear programme. Although the UAE is a wealthy country, often suffering from “voluntary unemployment” among its nationals, there is a serious wealth distribution problem, with poorer parts of the country experiencing poverty. Hydrocarbons remain the mainstay of the UAE's economy, although there have been some spirited attempts to diversify into other sectors, especially in Dubai, which is the UAE's most business-friendly emirate.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Dubai
  • Author: George Joffé
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The election of a new national assembly in Libya is good news in several respects after a decidedly difficult transition from the elation that accompanied the collapse of the Gaddafi regime last October to the realities of reconstructing the Libyan state. Perphaps the first piece of good news is the simple fact that it actually took place and did so in a relatively peaceful atmosphere. Secondly, the electoral process has been judged by outside observers to have been free and fair. And, finally, the outcome seems to have been a victory for moderation, rather than an outright win for Libya's Islamist movements - unlike the situation elsewhere.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The political stalemate in Côte d'Ivoire following the November 28, 2010, presidential election continues. The majority of the international community recognizes Alassane Ouattara as the winner, but Laurent Gbagbo, the sitting president, insists he won. Financial and diplomatic sanctions imposed on the Gbagbo administration have thus far not forced Gbagbo from power. Maintaining international pressure and focus is critical to resolving the Ivorian crisis, but African states are increasingly divided on how to proceed. The power-sharing arrangement settled on by five African nations in recent elections sets a dangerous precedent. Losers with a strong militia may find it easier to use threats of violence or actual violence to retain a critical power role, thus subverting the intent of the election. African states will continue to experience violence during elections until the security sector is reformed, states refrain from holding elections while militias remain mobilized and armed, elections can be clearly and independently verified, institutions are politically independent, and policies exist to discourage the violent acquisition of power.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Post Colonialism, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jeffrey Hornung
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) kicked the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) out of power in 2009, there was some sense of hope amongst the Japanese that things would change. If nothing else, the Japanese hoped that the DPJ would bring new ideas to tackle some of the country's ongoing problems. Reality soon proved otherwise. Not only has the DPJ quietly abandoned many of its campaign pledges, it has proved just as incapable at resolving ongoing problems. Seventeen months into a DPJ-led Japan, Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces a number of domestic problems that threaten his government's survival. The unfortunate result is another expected turn of the revolving door that is the Japanese premiership.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, Asia, Tokyo
  • Author: Stephen P. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: As a state and a nation Pakistan has been in trouble for many years, but both now seem to be in a downward spiral. As a recent Brookings study observed, it is very difficult to predict Pakistan's short-term future, or the impact on its neighbours, let alone the wider international community. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, its history of irresponsible behaviour as a nuclear proliferator, the close ties between radical Islamists and Pakistan, and its continuing hostile relations with India and Afghanistan all complicate efforts to look ahead even five years, let alone to speculate about effective policies.
  • Topic: Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On 1 January 2011, Hungary, the third member of the European Union to join the club in 2004, took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. This represents the first presidency of a newer member state under Lisbon Treaty rules. After the new treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, all rotating presidencies are, in a sense, first time presidencies. Their relative success now depends more on administrative ability than political leadership.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Simon Saradzhyan, Nabi Abdullaev
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: This Occasional Paper outlines alternative scenarios for Russia's short-term future with a focus on potential outcomes of the March 2012 presidential elections. To construct these scenarios, the paper first identifies key predetermined factors in Russia's domestic and foreign policy domains. The paper then outlines and analyses key factors of uncertainty, which the authors define as events that could be 'game changers', having the potential to lead to a significant change in the course of Russia's development over the coming twelve months. The paper goes on to present three scenarios, based on three different interpretations of key areas of uncertainty and their interaction with predetermined factors. The paper concludes which scenarios are more probable and which are more favourable for Russia and by extension for its partners, and primarily the European Union.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Haiti's justice system remains dysfunctional and continues to pose significant obstacles to its democratic process, security, reconstruction and development. While some steps have begun with regard to the police, institutional reform in the sector has lagged, allowing further impunity and persistent criminal threats to citizen safety. Despite five years of pledges, the majority of Haitians still have limited access to justice, and mistrust of the formal judicial system is widespread. President Michel Martelly and parliament must work in a non-partisan manner to at last produce reform, including by modernising the 174 year- old criminal code and procedures and setting standards for judges, giving the judiciary adequate resources and creating efficient mechanisms that guarantee proper access to justice.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics, Poverty, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Caribbean
  • Author: Dominic Tierney, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., he broke an ancient law forbidding any general to enter Italy with an army-thus making war with Rome inevitable. Ever since, "crossing the Rubicon" has come to symbolize a point of no return, when the time for deliberation is over and action is at hand. When decisionmakers cross the Rubicon, or stop debating which of several options to pursue and start implementing a chosen policy, the psychological effects can shape the political world in powerful ways-including the outbreak of war.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Jim Harper
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Government transparency is a widely agreed upon goal, but progress on achieving it has been very limited. Transparency promises from political leaders such as President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have not produced a burst of information that informs stronger public oversight of government. One reason for this is the absence of specifically prescribed data practices that will foster transparency.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Communications, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Many in Russia have expressed their disappointment with Putin's decision to run for a third presidential term.They claim that Putin is becoming the new Brezhnev and that the stability he was once praised for bringing about in Russia is now turning to stagnation. Cynicism and disillusionment with the Putin regime seem to be becoming more widespread in Russia. Ever-increasing corruption, lack of the rule of law and political competition as well as lack of innovation and dynamism in the economy all reinforce the general feeling of pessimism. One would expect that the weakening legitimacy of the regime would lead to vocal demands for change. However, this is not the case in Russia, where several historical, political, structural and sociological conditions make wider popular protests unlikely. The tragedy of today's Russia seems to be that the regime is too weak to reform itself, yet simultaneously strong enough to prevent viable alternatives to its rule from gaining ground. Despite the likelihood of a negative future trajectory, Putin's Russia seems set to drag on.
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: It is time to close international supervision of Bosnia's Brčko District. Once seen as a model of post-war reconciliation and good government, it is drowning in corruption and mismanagement that flourished despite its supervisors' best efforts. The territory is vital to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)'s stability: it links the two halves of both Republika Srpska (RS) and the BiH Federation (FBiH), and belongs technically to both entities but is independently governed and multi-ethnic. Many of its former leaders are under suspicion in a corruption probe that may have only scratched the surface; several high profile development projects are collapsing in bankruptcy and litigation. RS has a strong influence on the district but is not threatening to undermine its status. Nevertheless, the international community should ensure that Serb leaders of that entity are left in no doubt that any move to take Brčko over would meet a strong reaction. Stability is now dependent on whether local politicians, law enforcement and the judiciary can take responsibility. International supervision is no longer helping, and a new strategy is needed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal's peace process has moved into a phase of definitive progress. More than five years after the ceasefire, the parties have reached a deal on the Maoist fighters, who will leave the cantonments and enter the army or civilian life. An unofficial deal sets out power-sharing arrangements until the next election. The parties are focusing on the critical task of writing a new constitution, which promises a deep restructuring of the state to become more representative and decentralised. Challenges remain, including from continuously evolving coalition dynamics and divisions within parties. There will also have to be further discussions on the combatants. As the parties discuss federalism, which of all peace process issues goes most to the heart of ordinary Nepalis' expectations and anxieties, groups within and outside the Constituent Assembly will see their options narrow, which could strain the process. Yet, this is still the best chance the parties have had to reach formal closure on the war and to institute some of the fundamental changes they promised, provided they have the courage to make far-sighted compromises.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Politics, Armed Struggle, Governance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Arthur Boutellis
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: President Michel Martelly of Haiti was widely expected to make the creation of a new Haitian army official on November 18, 2011, on the anniversary of the last major battle for Haitian Independence in 1803. Instead, he announced the creation of a civilian-led commission that will have forty days to finalize a plan for the creation of the new army, which should be presented by January 1, 2012. The newly elected president has made reinstating the army, which was disbanded in 1995, a priority. A draft of the “Martelly plan,” dated August 2011, called for building an army of 3,500 troops that would be operational within three years and progressively take over as the UN peacekeeping force MINUSTAH withdraws.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Caribbean
  • Author: William Case
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In an influential study, Fish and Kroenig argue that "overarching institutional designs" (i.e., presidential, parliamentary, and dual systems) tell us less about the prospects of a new democracy than does the particular strength of the legislature. Specifically, executives are best checked where legislatures are powerful, generating horizontal accountability. In addition, ordinary citizens are better informed by the robust party systems that strong legislatures support, fostering vertical accountability. In comparing Freedom House scores with their Parliamentary Powers Index (PPI), Fish and Kroenig show clear correlations, leading them to conclude that democracies are made strong by legislatures that are empowered. In this monograph, this thesis is tested in five country cases in Southeast Asia: the Philippines and Indonesia, both new democracies, and Malaysia, Cambodia, and Singapore, cases of electoral authoritarianism. Analysis uncovers that in the new democracies, though their legislatures may be rated as powerful, members are geared less to checking the executive than to sharing in state patronage. In addition, although the legislature is evaluated as weak under electoral authoritarianism, it features an opposition that, with little access to patronage, remains committed to exposing executive abuses. What is more, when the executive operates a regime type that lacks the full legitimacy gained through general elections, he or she grows more receptive to at least mild legislative scrutiny. Contrary to Fish and Kroenig, then, this study concludes that the executive is held more accountable by legislatures under electoral authoritarianism than in new democracies. But rather than leading to a transition to democratic politics, this accountability strengthens authoritarian rule.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia, Cambodia, Singapore
  • Author: Duncan Pickard
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The paper is intended for all policy analysts interested in Tunisia, but it could be especially helpful for members of the NCA and the legal advisory committee, chaired by Yadh Ben Achour, that was recently established to advise the NCA on constitutional law and drafting procedure. The National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia (NCA) will act as the constitutional convention and transitional legislature of Tunisia and was elected on 23 October 2011.1 Decree No. 582, released on 20 May 2011, extends a one-year mandate to the NCA to write a new constitution for the republic. This commitment was also reflected in a September 18 agreement signed by Tunisia's largest political parties. Drawing from recent cases and academic literature, this paper explores key procedural questions that will confront the NCA in its first month in office.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Hoste, Andrew Anderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The climate change negotiations in Cancun saved the multilateral negotiation process under the UNFCCC, but what were the African political dynamics at the negotiations? In this Africa policy brief the international climate change negotiations are analysed as a “political marketplace” where international, regional and national agendas meet and have an impact that goes far beyond the theme of the negotiations. It addresses three questions to understand the African political processes at the climate negotiations. First, why did the African Union endorse the Copenhagen Accord after COP 15? Second, why was Kenya so active in the high-level segment of the negotiations in Cancun? Third, what could South Africa do to bring the negotiations forward in Durban?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Globalization, International Cooperation, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, South Africa, Durban
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: The uprisings that unfolded in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa during the first half of 2011 triggered a wave of electoral reforms and proposals for reform. In Egypt, one of the most pressing and controversial questions has been how to elect a new parliament that, as part of its charge, will select a body to draft a new constitution. How to elect representative assemblies is one of the fundamental questions of democracy. The resulting choice is greatly consequential in the transition from a despotic regime to a democratic system. The real challenge of election system design is producing an assembly that represents societal diversity, supports the important policy decisions made by legitimate governments, and provides a check on the exercise of executive authority.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Political Activism
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Elevation of Haiti's planning minister to the post of prime minister offers the prospect for continuity in development policies and programs that were identified at the international donors conference held in April 2009. Greater attention to rural and community development and to police and judicial reform is essential in assisting Haiti to meet poverty alleviation and economic growth goals and to consolidate gains in security. The new prime minister will be challenged by Haiti's array of deeply-rooted problems and by the ticking clock of President Rene Preval's final year in office. The new government will have to move quickly to institute reforms before political maneuvering related to the presidential election takes over. Immediate, robust international engagement in Haiti's current electoral process is critically required following a decision by the provisional election commission to ban several political parties.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A few hours after the official demonstration marking the February 11 anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated, "Was the presence of tens of millions of motivated and aware people in the festival of the thirty-first anniversary of revolution enough to awaken [to their mistakes] the internal enemies and deceived individuals who sometimes hypocritically speak of 'the people'?" Khamenei had spent months worrying that the opposition Green Movement would hijack the anniversary. Yesterday, he seemed to regain his self-confidence by proving that he could manage Tehran's streets. In light of this development, how will the Supreme Leader deal with both Iran's political crisis and the nuclear dossier?
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji, David Cvach, Ali Alfoneh
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The means for assessing political fissures in Iran are by nature very limited and have become even more so since the June 12, 2009, election. Independent studies and data on the Iranian public, such as opinion polling, are sparse and not useful, and the Iranian press follows very strict red lines in discussing politics. Western diplomats in Iran are also restrained from understanding the political environment due to the oppressively formal nature of relations with Iranian officials, who rarely discuss sensitive issues with their Western counterparts. The latter are thus forced to gather information anecdotally, in private meetings with business leaders, cultural elites, and journalists -- hardly a sufficient sample of Iranian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The past five tumultuous years of the Viktor Yushchenko presidency laid bare Ukraine's gravest problem—its seeming inability to govern itself properly. Following the victory at the polls, the new Ukrainian leadership will inevitably be seeking to consolidate power, correct the country's flawed constitutional design and establish a strong government. This is a tall order indeed, given the anarchic state of Ukraine's political system and the weakness of most of its public institutions. Ukraine's dismal economic situation and the limited set of international options will severely constrain the president-elect in pursuing domestic and foreign policies. For the new leader, the job ahead will be a balancing act, at home and abroad. To see Kiev succeed in its attempts at stabilization and reform, the European Union needs to re-engage Ukraine. Disillusionment and frustration should give way to patience and perseverance. Focusing on step-by-step integration will be a good way to revitalize the troubled relationship.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The political system that Vladimir Putin established during the first decade of the 2000s is often referred to as 'the power vertical'. The term suggests a stable, streamlined and effective centre-led system. Yet, this image does not quite correspond with Russian reality. The system creates inefficiency, encourages corruption and is hostile towards bottom-up political initiative. The current leadership acknowledges that Russian stability is on shaky ground and therefore the system is in need of modernization. The economy is clearly a priority for the leadership: it believes that the political system's modernization should emerge gradually and in a highly controlled fashion from economic achievements. The current system in Russia is hostile to innovation and prone to corruption and therefore Medvedev's modernization plan is unlikely to succeed unless transparency and open competition within the system are considerably enhanced. This will be difficult to achieve because the elite benefits from the current corrupt and non-transparent system where the lines of responsibility are unclear. The West should not expect dramatic changes and radical liberal reforms in Russia. Western actors should, nevertheless, actively support and encourage economic and political reforms in the country and engage with it through international cooperation on specific issues such as anti-corruption policy. By stepping up its engagement with Russia, the West can demonstrate that a prosperous, competitive and modern Russia is also in the interests of the West.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: George Avery
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Science is increasingly being manipulated by those who try to use it to justify political choices based on their ethical preferences and who are willing to suppress evidence of conflict between those preferences and the underlying reality. This problem is clearly seen in two policy domains, health care and climate policy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Politics, Science and Technology
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: February always brings with it the president's proposals for taxing and spending in the coming fiscal year. The president's budget proposals are accompanied by congressional and administration estimates of the path deficits and government debt are expected to take in coming years. Last year, those projections, especially a three-year string of actual and projected deficits over a trillion dollars from 2009 through 2011, excited widespread comment and handwringing about runaway deficits and their allegedly damaging effects in the form of lower growth, higher inflation, and higher interest rates.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Arnold Kling
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recently, the Federal Reserve has significantly altered the procedures and goals that it had followed for decades. It has more than doubled its balance sheet, paid interest to banks on reserves held as deposits with the Fed, made decisions about which institutions to prop up and which should be allowed to fail, invested in assets that expose taxpayers to large losses, and raised questions about how it will avoid inflation despite an unprecedented increase in the monetary base.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Myanmar will shortly hold its first elections in twenty years. Given the restrictive provisions of the 2010 Political Parties Registration Law that bar anyone serving a prison term from membership in a political party, many imprisoned dissidents will be excluded from the process, unless they are released in the near future. Aung San Suu Kyi – whose suspended sentence and house arrest possibly exclude her also – has condemned the legislation, and her National League for Democracy (NLD) has decided not to participate and has, therefore, lost its status as a legally-registered party. There has rightly been much international criticism of the new constitution and of the fact that the elections will not be inclusive, but the political and generational shift that they will bring about may represent the best opportunity in a generation to influence the future direction of the country.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As the Philippine election on 10 May 2010 draws nearer, voters in central Mindanao are focused on the political fallout from the “Maguindanao massacre”; clan politics; the new automated election system; and whether any agreement between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is possible before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo leaves office on 30 June.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David Pollock, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Two months after nationwide elections, Iraq's government formation process is still on hold. The final voting results have yet to be announced as disputes over recounts and candidate disqualifications linger. Nor is it clear how a governing majority will be formed, and power shared, among the four major party alliances, each of which garnered somewhere between 16 percent and 28 percent of the vote: the Kurdish bloc and its affiliates; the largely Sunni or secular Iraqiyah party led by a former prime minister of Shiite origin, Ayad Allawi; incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's largely Shiite State of Law Alliance (SLA); and SLA's rival Shiite/Sadrist list, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition that includes the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Central Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 6, Britain went to the polls to elect a new government, producing no clear result but forcing the resignation of Labor Party leader Gordon Brown. Within hours of taking over as prime minister, Conservative Party leader David Cameron had created a new body, a British national security council, whose first meeting focused on "discuss[ing] the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and review[ing] the terrorist threat to the UK." Apart from Britain's economic problems, these issues and Middle East policy in general will likely dominate the new government's agenda -- and its relations with Washington.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Terrorism, International Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, United Kingdom, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Monday, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri will visit Washington for a meeting with President Obama. In announcing the meeting, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called it "a symbol of the close and historic relationship between Lebanon and the United States." Indeed, between 2005 and 2009, bilateral ties were never closer or more consequential, with the Cedar Revolution ending nearly three decades of Syrian suzerainty in the country. Over the past year, however, Hariri has had to govern in coalition with Hizballah. The Iranian-Syrian backed Shiite militia will be the elephant in the Oval Office during Monday's meeting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Ernest Z. Bower
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Five-point plan 1.Respect for the monarchy 2.To resolve fundamental problems of social injustice. 3.To ensure that the media operate constructively 4.To establish facts about violent incidents 5.To establish mutually acceptable political rules
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Thailand
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Elections are being held in Afghanistan. The result will not change Afghan political landscape. As Obama said, the war was not one of choice but of necessity. Yet the Western project of building a unified Afghan nation and creating a modern state was a matter of choice. It has a very slim chance of succeeding. Today, it is better understood.
  • Topic: Politics, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban