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  • Author: Ofer Israeli
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: After a century of an American world order established by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at the end of the First World War, we are facing a shift in Washington’s global attitude. President Trump’s approach to world affairs is different. Although Obama, and to some extent Bush before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, was starting to withdraw from the U.S. historical position of key global superpower, President Trump’s approach to world affairs is a much more drastic acceleration of this move. Continuing in this direction means we may soon face a collapse of America’s century-long preeminence, and the creation of a new world order in which the U.S. is no longer leading the global power, but only first among sovereigns, if at all.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Government, World War I, World War II, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union, United States of America
  • Author: William A. Rugh
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Despite the focus on the results of the Yemeni conflict, its underlying causes have not been very well understood. It is a complicated story but this essay seeks to highlight three important factors behind the current turmoil in Yemen that are often overlooked. First, the country has major domestic divisions that are the primary reasons for the conflict in the first place. Second, Saudi direct intervention in Yemen is nothing new and is motivated by Saudi leadership’s strong views about the country. Third, American policy toward Yemen has more to do with Saudi Arabia and the region than with Yemen itself.
  • Topic: Civil War, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Soviet Union, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Benjamin Tua
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Efforts to portray Muslims and their faith as threatening diminish our society by stigmatizing a significant American minority. They also can facilitate costly foreign policy blunders such as the 2017 Executive Order banning entry into the US of visitors from several Middle Eastern majority-Muslim countries, an order purportedly based on terrorist activity, technical hurdles to properly document these countries’ travelers, and poor coordination with US officials. Two recent books, “Mohammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires” and “What the Qur’an Meant: And Why it Matters,” take on the task of broadening Americans’ still unacceptably low understanding of Islam. The authors – Juan Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, and Garry Wills, a Pulitzer Prize winning lay scholar of American Catholicism – approach their subject in distinctly different manners. Yet, their message and conclusions are remarkably similar – namely, that ignorance of and distortions of Islam and what the Quran says both alienate vast numbers of Muslims and have led to foreign policy missteps. The books complement each other nicely.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Judaism, Islamophobia, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Alon Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The EU is in a unique position to prevent the outbreak of a war between Israel and Iran that could engulf the Middle East in a war that no one can win.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Ophir Falk
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Today, after years of modern terrorism and counterterrorism, the international community still does not agree on a single definition of terrorism. Despite the daily threats posed to many states, the definition conundrum prevents an agreed classification that could better facilitate the fight against terrorism and thwart the public legitimacy that most terrorist organizations seek. When a problem is accurately and acceptably defined, it should be easier to solve. Terrorism is an overly used term often heard in different discourses and contexts. It is used by the general public and in the course of academic, political, and legal debates, not to mention constantly referenced in the media. It may not be feasible to verse one universal definition for all discourses, but the term’s key criteria can and should be agreed upon.
  • Topic: International Law, Politics, Terrorism, Military Affairs, Violence, Hezbollah, White Supremacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Haviland Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: It is clear that there are powerful people both in the United States and in Iran who would like to force a real confrontation between our two countries. What is completely unclear is whether or not those hawks on both sides want a modified Cold War type confrontation, built perhaps on cyber warfare, or an all-out military confrontation. What this situation, with all its incredibly profound dangers and possible disastrous outcomes, has done is once again prompt the question, “what is the United States doing in the Middle East and what precisely are our goals there?”
  • Topic: Cold War, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, Minorities, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Edward Marks
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration Middle East Plan appears to call for a Palestinian “Bantustan” (maybe two with Gaza) and legally enforced separation of communities based on ethnic grounds. It is difficult to believe that this resurrection from the discredited past could be acceptable to anyone but its authors, who appear to be completely oblivious to the history of South Africa. That includes Netanyahu, who has obviously been fully engaged in the plan’s development. However the plan will be unacceptable to everyone else, including Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments who have been flirting with Israel and the US in an informal anti-Iranian alliance. The plan would certainly exacerbate – if that is possible – the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. The Kushner Plan would be like throwing oil on a fire; it will end badly for everyone concerned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Apartheid, Development, Diplomacy, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America, West Bank, Golan Heights
  • Author: W. Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey are dancing a complicated pas de deux—for separate and common reasons. The happy couple has captivated global attention. There are reasons today to anticipate greater collaboration between Turkey and Russia in Syria and against Europe and the United States. However, there are also significant contradictions that could weaken the prospects of cooperation between the two countries. For gains against Syrian Kurds and to fan nationalist flames domestically, Turkey may be ignoring longer term needs. Russia is the major partner in the arrangement and sees little reason to sacrifice its interests to please Turkey. One day this unequal relationship may cause Turkey to question its value.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, History, Bilateral Relations, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Erika Weinthal
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In the Middle East, water often crosses political borders; because water is a shared resource, its effective management demands cooperation among different users. In the absence of cooperation, conflict is likely. Indeed, conflict and cooperation over shared water has defined Israeli-Palestinian relations since 1967 when Israel gained full control over the Eastern and recharge zone of the western Mountain aquifer, as well as the southern Coastal aquifer. These resources, combined with water from the Sea of Galilee have provided about 60% of Israel’s water consumption. With the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel placed restrictions on the drilling of new wells for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, and instead chose to supply water to Palestinian households through its national water company, Mekorot. The signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Oslo I) and the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II) between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization offered an historic opportunity to move from conflict to cooperation over shared water resources. Unlike many other peace agreements, water was codified in the Oslo Accords, as it was understood that water sharing was of critical importance for human security, economic development, and regional cooperation. Specifically, the Oslo Accords called for the creation of a Joint Water Committee (JWC) during an interim period before the final status negotiations, comprised of equal number of members from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, whose functions would include the coordinated management of water resources and water and sewage systems in the West Bank. Oslo II, Article 40 on water and sewage recognized Palestinian water rights in the West Bank and the need to develop additional water supply. Oslo II also detailed specific water quantities to be allocated to the Palestinian population, mostly from the eastern Mountain aquifer in the West Bank.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Water, Conflict, Negotiation, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Edward Marks, Michael B. Kraft
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The issues that faced the Obama administration and will face the Trump administration—as well as the basic policies and programs—had roots in previous generations, some of them going back to the 1970’s and President Richard Nixon’s administration. Many programs conceived and developed during previous administrations continued, evolved, and were expanded during subsequent administrations. These programs include antiterrorism training for American and foreign law enforcement officials, the interagency Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, and the ever pressing need for improved international cooperation and intelligence sharing. They are likely to continue, in one form or another, as ongoing efforts. This article is adapted from a draft of a forthcoming book: U.S Counterterrorism efforts, from Nixon to Bush. (CPC Press/Taylor&Francis Group).
  • Topic: Science and Technology, History, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abdallah Al Dardari
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Aleppo is a landmark in the Syrian conflict and has become the strongest signal of the failure of the western approach to diplomacy and other means of influence to end the conflict. This failure calls for a dramatic change in the approach if we want to preserve Syria as one country, safeguard its diversity, and ensure the rebuilding of the nation. The moment fighting in Aleppo ends and the current government, along with the Russians and the Iranians, feel they have the upper hand in this conflict, the immediate goal and challenge is to rebuild. Yet, how do we deliver services and create jobs? How do we support reconstruction? How do we ensure stability after “military achievement”?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economy, Political stability, Conflict, Syrian War, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This famous opening line from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is important also for democracies. While Turkey and Venezuela are each unhappy in their own way, they also may share some common elements in their struggles for democracy that provide lessons.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy, Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, South America, Venezuela, United States of America
  • Author: Steven G. Greenbaum, David P. Hajjar
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In a world of diverse transnational priorities across the globe, the advancement of science is seen by many countries as a solution to promote a knowledge-based economy, yet few resources are actually committed to this policy. For example, countries in the Middle East face a range of social, political, economic and security challenges that are unparalleled in the world. Many of these countries are trying to manage their economies during declining oil and gas prices which have now had a negative impact on their ability to make local investments in science and technology. Unemployment is high, political upheaval is often at the core of civil war, and the last priority of government officials is the development of science and technology expertise. Except for Israel, most Middle East nations are underperforming in science in this region of the world where only 1% of their expenditures include research and development (R&D). Science diplomats and/or health attaches have tried to assist countries in the Middle East to address the short-falls in scientific and technological program development. These efforts have been welcomed, but the results have been marginal. One way to remedy the situation is for these countries to grow their scientific communities, and this includes the encouragement of a highly under-developed workforce, viz., women and ethnic minorities. Enabling this largely neglected and under-utilized intellectual resource to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is the focus of this article.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Education, Gender Issues, Science and Technology, Women
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Margo Berends
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Although Aleppo is now under the control of forces supporting the Syrian government and the city has been evacuated, it is but one city and the Syrian crisis is far from over. Millions have been displaced by the violence, either within Syria or across its borders, and the refugee crisis reverberates across the Middle East, Europe and beyond. While there has been much discussion of the refugee crisis, there has been limited coverage in mainstream American media of the needs of refugees and displaced people beyond the basics.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Humanitarian Aid, Non-Governmental Organization, Refugee Issues, Women, Displacement, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Jordan, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Cooley
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the United States government embarked on a campaign to weaken the Islamic extremist organizations that were present in the world. Some of the steps that this lone superpower took to accomplish this objective could be easily detected. However, there were others that went undetected until investigative reporters wrote about them in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other reputable newspapers. Once these covert initiatives were exposed, certain parties began to conduct inquiries to ascertain whether or not they were helping the United States prevent terrorist attacks by Islamist networks. Two initiatives, which received a considerable amount of attention in the post-9/11 era, were the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone and enhanced interrogation programs. In 2009, the members of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee revealed that they would be conducting a thorough review of the latter. Approximately five years after this announcement, the committee released a report to the public that said sleep deprivation, waterboarding and other forms of torture did not lead to actionable intelligence. In other words, they did not produce any information that enabled the CIA to foil terrorist attacks which were on the verge of being carried out against the United States (Klapper and Dilanian 2014). A lot of the analyses of the CIA’s drone program were conducted by prominent academics like Fawaz Gerges. At one point in The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda, this professor at the London School of Economics mentions how drone strikes often killed innocent civilians in Muslim countries. When civilians did perish, extremist organizations would see a rise in the number of recruits who were interested in executing terrorist operations (Gerges 2014, p.25).
  • Topic: Intelligence, Regime Change, 9/11, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John R. Murnane
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In a series of interviews with Jefferey Goldberg in the April 2016 Atlantic, President Barack Obama provided a much-needed and sober reappraisal of the limits of American power and a realistic view of U.S. foreign policy based on a careful assessment of priorities, or what Goldberg calls the “Obama Doctrine.” The heart of the president’s approach is the rejection of the “Washington Playbook.” Obama told Goldberg, “there’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses.”1 According to the Playbook, military power and the “creditability” it provides is the principle instrument of American foreign policy; it has been accepted wisdom at think tanks and among foreign policy experts since the end of World War II; Obama has challenged this dictum.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United Nations, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lucy Chester
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: When the British Empire withdrew from South Asia in 1947, it carried out a hasty and poorly planned partition. When it withdrew from the Palestine Mandate in 1948, imperial officials chose not to divide Palestine. Prior to the Palestine decision, British officials spent decades examining the practical implications of partitioning the Mandate. During the same period, the British resisted discussing the possibility of partition in South Asia, only to hastily divide India and Pakistan in 1947.1 Despite their radically different approaches, these cases demonstrate three important points about the relationship between infrastructure, power, and partition (defined as territorial division carried out by a third party). First, infrastructure expresses state and colonial power.2 Second, in the case of Mandate Palestine, infrastructure illuminates how imperial priorities limited and ultimately doomed prospects for an Arab-Jewish partition. Detailed planning contributed to Britain’s rejection of partition in Palestine. Third, in South Asia, Britain’s lack of serious planning and failure to understand what partition would involve facilitated a territorial division marred by ethnic cleansing and mass migration—while also creating two proudly independent states.
  • Topic: History, Territorial Disputes, Infrastructure, Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Britain, South Asia, Middle East, Palestine, West Bank