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  • Author: Wada Haruko
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The United States, Australia, Japan, India, France, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and ASEAN have adopted the term “Indo-Pacific” as a policy symbol of regional engagement. However, less attention has been given to the change in the geographical definition of the “Indo-Pacific”. This study examines how these countries have adjusted the geographical scope of “Indo-Pacific” to understand how they conceptualise the region. It finds that the inherent core area of the “Indo-Pacific” is from India to the Southeast Asian countries and the seas from the eastern Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, and that the “Indo-Pacific” has converged eastwards and diverged westwards through the geographical adjustment process. It also found that some of the geographical definitions have an additional function of conveying diplomatic messages. These findings will help us understand how the concept of “Indo- Pacific” as conceptualised by various countries develops.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Asia, France, Australia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Malcolm Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the key drivers shaping Australia’s role as a middle power in an era of intensifying US-China strategic competition. These drivers include the influence of strategic geography; its historical legacy in international affairs; the impact of its economic relationships with states in the Indo-Pacific region; the changing demands of defence policy, including the potential offered by rapid technological change; and, the impact of climate change, resource constraints and demographic factors. The paper considers three possible scenarios that will shape Australia’s middle power policy choices – a US-China strategic equilibrium; a “China crash” scenario that promotes a more nationalist and assertive Chinese foreign policy; and a third “major power conflict” scenario where competition extends into military conflict. The paper concludes that Australia cannot maintain a delicate balance between its strategic alliance with the US and trading relationship with China. It argues there is a need for Australia to adopt a deeper strategic alliance with the US while promoting closer ties with its partners in the Indo-Pacific and supporting the growth of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region to counterbalance growing Chinese power. Australia needs to embrace an Indo-Pacific step up, and as a middle power, reduce the prospect of a Sino-centric regional order emerging.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nationalism, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: When Beijing threatened to restrict China’s export of rare earths (widely used in numerous important civilian and military technologies) to the United States at the end of May 2019, the world was reminded of China’s rare earths export disruption in the autumn of 2010 amid a maritime territorial conflict between China and Japan. In the past few years, the worldwide attention cast on the future supply security of rare earths and other critical raw materials has increased in the United States, the European Union, Japan and other countries owing to the global expansion of “green technologies” (including renewable energy sources, electric vehicles and batteries, and smart grids) and digitalisation as well as equipment and devices embedded with artificial intelligence. In this paper, the term “critical raw materials” (CRMs) refers to raw materials critical to industries that are also import-dependent on them, and to new technologies which often have no viable substitutes and whose supply, besides being constrained by limited recycling rates and options, is also dominated by one or a few suppliers. CRMs include rare earth elements (REEs), which comprise 17 different elements (see Figure 4). The global race for the most advanced technologies dependent on CRMs has intensified the competition for access to as well as strategic control of REEs, lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel and other CRMs. This working paper analyses the global supply and demand balance of three CRMs (REEs, lithium and cobalt, the latter two being major raw materials for batteries) in the foreseeable future and whether ASEAN countries can play a role as producers and suppliers of CRMs. It also examines potential counterstrategies for mitigating and reducing the global demand for CRMs, such as substitution, reduced use of CRMs, and recycling and re-use.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Digital Economy, Green Technology, Metals
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Despite having played a central role in the creation of the international nuclear commercial sector, today the United States is increasingly on the outside looking in when it comes to civil nuclear projects. The United States now accounts for a relatively small number of new reactor builds, both at home and abroad. There are a few rays of sunshine for the US nuclear industry, especially when it comes to new technology. In fact, many of the new reactor builds that are underway do involve US technology and intellectual property, even if others are performing the construction. To take advantage of a similar dynamic, US innovators are looking to both new and forgotten designs as a way of managing the challenges of nuclear fuel manufacture, safety, waste management, security cost, and proliferation. But these new technologies face an uncertain future (and so consequently does the US role), even notwithstanding the advantages nuclear energy would bring to managing climate change and the edge the United States may have in their development. Various factors account for the challenges facing the US nuclear industry, including the complex political, economic, scientific, and popular environment around nuclear technology and civil nuclear energy. Of the various problems potentially plaguing US nuclear energy policy, one remains both difficult to address and controversial: US requirements for nuclear cooperation, and in particular, the demand from many in Congress and the nonproliferation community that the United States insist on binding commitments from its cooperating partners to forswear developing enrichment and reprocessing technology. While this policy is not responsible for the decline of the US nuclear industry, it adds additional hindrance to US nuclear commerce abroad and may even be to the long-term detriment of US nonproliferation policy interests. If so, then the questions that arise are whether this is in the US interest and, if not, how the US ought to respond. If the government believes that having a role in international nuclear commerce is advisable on both economic and strategic grounds, then it needs to decide whether to commit resources to incentivize foreign partners to overlook the problems its nonproliferation policies may cause these partners or seek modifications to those policies. From a pure nonproliferation perspective, it would be preferable for the United States to invest in its nuclear industry to ensure it is competitive globally. But, this does not seem to be a likely course of action for the United States given the myriad political, legal, and budgetary complexities that would be involved. Consequently, this paper recommends several changes to how US nuclear cooperation agreements are negotiated as well as enhancements to overall US nuclear nonproliferation policies. In aggregate, they seek to rebalance and reformulate some aspects of US nuclear nonproliferation policy to make it more effective and efficient, particularly regarding engagement in civil nuclear commerce, but without compromising the core nonproliferation interests the current US diplomatic approach seeks to advance. With respect to nuclear cooperation agreements, the paper recommends the following: Relaxing the current US preference for a legally binding commitment to forswear all enrichment and reprocessing capabilities indefinitely for these agreements, while continuing traditional US policy to discourage these technologies development through various means. Relying on enhanced inspector access and improved verification tools, technology, and practices to provide confidence on the nondiversion of civil nuclear cooperation rather than assurances regarding enrichment and reprocessing that, in any event, are potentially revocable. Adopting a favorable view of “black box” transfers of nuclear power reactors and building this into policy as new, advanced reactor concepts are being explored, developed, and marketed. Creating a new sanctions regime to cover countries that pursue enrichment and reprocessing capabilities after concluding a 123 agreement. With respect to nuclear nonproliferation policy more generally, the paper recommends the following: Developing an annual nonproliferation indicators publication to identify trends in proliferation, including the kinds of goods that proliferators are potentially seeking. This document would also include a list of countries where there are presently enhanced concerns regarding national nuclear programs or concerns about transshipment and export control risk. Its objective would not be to serve as a proxy for future sanctions designations decisions but rather to give a broad perspective of the challenges that exist with particular jurisdictions even—and perhaps especially—if there is no need or justification for sanctions at present. Developing a warning system for sought-after goods. The United States should work with industry to develop a restricted database that identifies sensitive goods that are being sought. This database would be accessible to corporate compliance officers, who would be vetted for access to the information. Within it, the database could also include additional information about the sorts of tactics being employed by proliferators. Making greater use of end use verification as a means of facilitating monitoring of the nonproliferation commitments of countries, particularly regarding dual use technology. This could also be built out to include greater collaboration with partner countries and companies. Amending Executive Order 13382, which provides for sanctions against proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, to add a prong of “willful negligence.”
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation, United Nations, Infrastructure, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China hits back after NATO calls it a security challenge, dormant Chinese hacking group resumes attacks, and more.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Beijing, Asia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Eleanor Acer
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration has purposefully mismanaged the refugee and humanitarian challenges pushing people to flee political repression, human rights abuses, economic deprivation, and climate displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Trump Administration policies have actually made things worse, cutting programs countering displacement, turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, encouraging crossings between official ports of entry, and punishing people seeking U.S. protection through punitive and traumatizing family separations and detention. These harmful policies have aggravated humanitarian challenges—deliberately provoking disorder, chaos, and confusion. Congress must take swift action to push real solutions, and over the longer term the next administration will need to ensure these solutions are enduring. Congress should champion a new initiative to strengthen protection across the region. This initiative must truly tackle the rights abuses and deprivations pushing people to flee, greatly enhance the capacity of Mexico and other countries to provide asylum and host refugees, and set a strong example at home by upholding America’s own refugee protection commitments. Upholding human rights commitments is not only the right thing to do, it is also in the U.S. national interest. These commitments have saved millions of lives and encourage countries around the world—including front-line countries that host the vast majority of the world’s refugees—to continue hosting refugees. The heroic work of many Americans—working and volunteering with faith-based shelters, community groups, legal representation, and other organizations—should be supported. They are, and always have been, an essential part of the solution. The measures outlined below would restore order to the region and the U.S. border while upholding the United States’ legal and humanitarian commitments. Key steps include: 1. Address the actual causes of displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The United States should increase support for effective programs that counter violence, strengthen justice systems, spur economic opportunities, and safeguard communities from climate displacement, so that people do not need to flee in search of safety or survival. In addition, U.S. diplomats must press the leaders of these countries to safeguard rights, support anti-corruption efforts, and address abuses from security forces. 2. Strongly support increased asylum and refugee-hosting capacity in Mexico and other Latin American countries, so that these countries—which are already hosting growing numbers—have the ability to continue accepting refugees. Asylum filings in Mexico, for example, have increased by over 700 percent since 2014. The United States should sharply increase support for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to increase regional capacity, to develop strong asylum and refugee protection systems, and to better integrate refugees in Mexico and the region. U.S. diplomacy, law enforcement cooperation, and rule of law assistance should be leveraged to reduce violence against refugees and migrants in Mexico. In addition, the United States should launch a regional resettlement effort, providing some refugees with routes to safety in the United States as well as other countries, and relaunch the Central American Minors (CAM) program to allow some children with family in the United States to come to our country safely. 3. Combat smuggling in the region while safeguarding access to protection. U.S. agencies must ensure anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking efforts do not block escape from dangerous countries and include measures to safeguard human rights and access to asylum. By strengthening asylum, resettlement, and work visas in the region, more refugees and migrants will have alternate routes to protection. 4. Manage U.S. asylum arrivals effectively through a genuine humanitarian response that upholds U.S. law and provides order, including: Restore timely and orderly asylum processing at ports of entry and ensure humane conditions at all Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities; End the Remain in Mexico scheme and “metering” policies that push people to cross between ports of entry and put the lives of asylum seekers at risk as they wait in danger in Mexico; Support and fund NGOs and shelters in the United States—including faith-based groups that have been effectively partnering with DHS in U.S. cities along the border—to address humanitarian needs, a typical and necessary move in managing refugee arrivals; and Launch a community-based case management program that supports appearance, as recommended by ICE’s own advisory group, rather than jailing asylum seekers for even longer. 5. Restore order through measures providing timely, fair, and effective U.S. adjudications, including: Increase, rather than “get rid of,” immigration judges and interpreters. In order to understand what is being said in their courtrooms and ensure due process, judges must be supported by interpreters. And, since a judge set on furthering a politicized agenda is worse than no judge at all, safeguards against politicized court hiring must be immediately restored. Additional measures to support judges include: increased recruitment of interpreters who speak indigenous dialects to assure accurate hearings and prevent continued adjournments, ensuring the time necessary to gather evidence to prove cases, and rejecting absurd schemes that would entrust protection determinations to border agents or rush cases through adjudications; Support a major legal representation initiative to ensure eligible refugees receive protection at the earliest stages of the process and institute universal legal orientation presentations (LOPs)—including for families released from DHS/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody—to explain appearance obligations, the legal system, and how to secure counsel; Enable more cases to be granted efficiently at the USCIS asylum office by providing initial decision-making authority to the asylum office in all asylum cases, changing policies and practices that have prompted asylum officers to refer, rather than grant, cases that meet the asylum criteria— unnecessarily adding them to the immigration court caseload—and assure the availability of an application process for “cancellation of removal” relief so these cases do not clog the asylum system; Make the immigration courts independent, as the American Bar Association recommends, to secure due process and judicial independence, ensuring that political appointees can no longer attempt to improperly influence the courts’ decisions in asylum and other cases; and Reverse Trump Administration efforts to prevent refugees from receiving asylum in the United States—including former Attorney General Sessions’ ruling attempting to deny protection to women who have fled domestic violence and families escaping from deadly gangs. The measures outlined above would restore order and bring about real and enduring solutions. As the president and top Trump Administration officials are doubling down on punitive policies and political rhetoric that fail to solve these challenges, Congress must demand effective strategies that are consistent with America’s ideals.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Prisons/Penal Systems, Border Control
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Eleanor Acer
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: Families and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—fleeing human rights abuses, deadly violence, climate displacement and economic deprivations—continue to seek refuge in the United States and other countries. This is a regional humanitarian crisis—a manageable one that should be addressed using proven strategies, as are humanitarian challenges around the world. Yet instead of taking the steps necessary to address the crisis, the Trump Administration is making things worse, threatening cuts to effective programs that could reduce the problems forcing people to flee, sending refugees back to danger, canceling rather than expanding case management, and cutting orderly processing at ports of entry, increasing crossings between ports of entry. The Trump Administration’s actions appear designed to generate chaos. The regional crisis requires real solutions in several key areas: tackling the rights abuses and deprivations pushing people to flee, enhancing the capacity of Mexico and other countries to provide asylum and host refugees, and managing U.S. refugee protection requests in fair, effective and orderly ways—ways that uphold America’s refugee laws and treaty commitments. Most immediately, the United States must end the dysfunction at the border by launching a public-private humanitarian initiative and a long overdue case management system, which would keep asylum seekers informed and ensure they appear for their hearings. At the same time, the U.S. government should fix the asylum and immigration court adjudication systems to provide fair, non-politicized, and timely decisions. To effectively manage border and adjudication systems, the United States must upgrade to manage new realities, instead of pushing mass detention and other outdated, inadequate and ineffective responses that are also costly, cruel, and inhumane. As part of this strategy, the United States should launch a major initiative, with other countries, to expand regional protection so that Mexico and others, which are already hosting growing numbers, have the ability to continue accepting refugees. Critically, the United States and other donors should increase support for efforts to build the capacity of these countries to provide asylum, host, protect, and integrate refugees. In addition, the United States should work with other resettlement countries to launch a robust regional initiative that provides orderly routes to protection in the United States and other third countries. The United States must also advance a targeted strategy—leveraging both diplomacy and aid - to address the actual root causes of migration and displacement in the Northern Triangle. This should focus on programs that reduce violence, combat corruption, strengthen rule of law, decrease femicide and other gender-based harms, address gang violence, protect vulnerable populations, and promote sustainable economic development. By helping to build real protections for women, children, LGBTQ, indigenous, and other at-risk people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, while expanding protection of refugees in Mexico and other countries, this strategy will ultimately reduce the numbers fleeing to the United States. The measures outlined below would restore order to the region and the U.S. border while upholding U.S. legal and humanitarian commitments. Congress—and over the longer term, the next administration—must push real solutions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Prisons/Penal Systems, Border Control, Refugees
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Steve Chan
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This short essay introduces some concepts and propositions from social science research that I personally find helpful in understanding the ongoing Sino-American trade dispute. Naturally, they are not meant to suggest a comprehensive or exhaustive list of factors that inform this topic. Given the purpose and the limits of my essay, I also do not engage any specific theory or method, such as the efficient-market hypothesis or game theory pioneered by well-known Nobel laureates (e.g., Burton Malkiel and Eugene Fama1; Thomas Schelling2).
  • Topic: Conflict, Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia-Pacific