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  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Foreign policy experts have struggled to describe the unusual character of contemporary world politics. Much of the debate revolves around the concept of polarity, which deals with how power is distributed among nations, as experts ask if the United States is still a unipolar power or in decline as new powers emerge. The polarity debate, however, obscures more than it clarifies because the distribution of power does not determine the fate of nations by itself. It leaves out strategic choice and does not predict how the United States would exercise its power or how others would respond to U.S. primacy. World politics can take many paths, not just one, under any particular distribution of power. The most remarkable feature of post-Cold War world politics has not been the much-discussed power accumulation of the United States—although that is indeed noteworthy—but rather the absence of counter- balancing and revisionist behavior by other major powers.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Bagger
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “Germany is Weltmeister ” or world champion, wrote Roger Cohen in his July 2014 New York Times column—and he meant much more than just the immediate euphoria following Germany's first soccer world championship since the summer of unification in 1990. Fifteen years earlier, in the summer of 1999, the Economist magazine's title story depicted Germany as the “Sick Man of the Euro”. Analysis after analysis piled onto the pessimism: supposedly sclerotic, its machines were of high quality but too expensive to sell in a world of multiplying competitors and low-wage manufacturing. Germany seemed a hopeless case, a country stuck in the 20th century with a blocked society that had not adapted to the new world of the 21st century, or worse, a society that was not even adaptable.
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The latest war in Gaza—from the beginning of July to the end of August 2014—is over, but both Israelis and Palestinians believe it will not be the last one. Israelis believe they must deter Hamas from conducting additional attacks and keep it weak should a conflict occur. This is an approach that more pro-Western Palestinian leaders and Arab states like Saudi Arabia, fearing the political threat Hamas poses, often quietly applaud. For their part, Hamas leaders remain hostile to Israel and feel politically trapped by the extensive blockade of Gaza—and all the while, Gaza lies in ruins. The combination is explosive. Israeli security analyst Yossi Alpher put it succinctly: “It is increasingly clear that the Gaza war that ended in August will soon produce…another Gaza war.” The Economist also gloomily predicted that “war will probably begin all over again, sooner or later.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Andrew Radin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In developing U.S. intervention policy in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria, the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has repeatedly been used as an analogy. For example, John Shattuck, a member of the negotiating team at the Dayton peace talks that ended the war, wrote in September 2013 that for Syria “the best analogy is Bosnia…Dayton was a major achievement of diplomacy backed by force…A negotiated solution to the Syria crisis is possible, but only if diplomacy is backed by force.” Many other analysts and policymakers with experience in the Bosnian conflict—such as Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman at the time; Christopher Hill, a member of Richard Holbrooke's negotiating team; and Samantha Power, who began her career as a journalist in Bosnia—also invoked the Bosnian war to urge greater U.S. involvement in Syria. Although the rise of ISIS has significantly altered the conflict over the last year, echoes of the Bosnian conflict remain in Syria: the conflict is a multiparty ethnic civil war, fueled by outside powers, in a region of critical interest to the United States.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Erica Frantz, Andrea Kendall-Taylor
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Democracy has suffered eight straight years of global decline. This was the finding Freedom House issued in its 2014 report examining the state of global political rights and civil liberties. This downward slide in political freedom has been the longest continuous decline in political rights and civil liberties since the watch-dog organization began measuring these trends over 40 years ago.
  • Author: Scott W. Harold
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy is beset by numerous simultaneous crises. In Syria, the Assad regime continues to commit massive human rights abuses, while Islamic State jihadis are seizing territory in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Russia has annexed Crimea and is threatening its neighbors from Ukraine to the Baltics. In Nigeria, Boko Haram is killing students while they sleep and abducting hundreds of young girls to sell into slavery, while the Ebola virus is killing thousands in neighboring West African states. And as if this wasn't enough, in Asia, China is on the march in the South China Sea, North Korea may test another nuclear device, and U.S. allies Japan and South Korea continue to feud over history issues. In light of these challenges, U.S. foreign policy analysts may understandably question the fate of President Obama's signature foreign policy initiative, the `pivot' or `rebalance' to the Asia–Pacific.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, America, Asia, South Korea, Syria, Nigeria
  • Author: Frédéric Grare
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the new Indian government has settled in, what will happen to its relations with Pakistan? While some take comfort in the idea that the strong nationalist credentials of the new Prime Minister could facilitate a peace agreement with Pakistan, others argue that the risk of communal violence created by the Hindutva ideology of the new government could be a potential impediment to better India–Pakistan relations. But the evolution of the bilateral relationship is unlikely to depend on either of these considerations; it is also unlikely to depend primarily on New Delhi.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, New Delhi
  • Author: Yong Deng
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Something profound seems to have occurred in Chinese foreign policy since the global financial crisis starting in 2007–08. Many have noted an assertive and nationalist Chinese shift, as most dramatically demonstrated in its high-profile global diplomacy to promote its agenda and maritime disputes with its neighbors to defend its “core” interest. But how to characterize the change remains unclear. Even the “assertive” label, an innocuous term in international relations, is contested. More common is the pessimism regarding China and East Asia, as expressed by strategist Robert Kaplan when he said, “The 21st century map of the Pacific Basin, clogged as it is with warships, is like a map of conflict-prone Europe from previous centuries.” Does this signal the start of a wholesale Chinese reversal of a formerly placid, cooperative strategy? What does the recent turn of events mean for the Sino–U.S. relationship, the East Asian order, and global governance?
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Aaron L. Friedberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Starting in 2009, an increasing number of foreign observers (and many Chinese as well) began to note a shift towards more forceful or “assertive” behavior on the part of Beijing. Among the most frequently cited indications of this trend were: An internal debate among Chinese elites in which some participants advocated edging away from Deng Xiaoping's “hiding and biding” strategy and replacing it with something bolder and more self-confident; A “newly forceful, `triumphalist,' or brash tone in foreign policy pronouncements,” including the more open acknowledgement—and even celebration—of China's increasing power and influence; Stronger reactions, including the threatened use of sanctions and financial leverage, to recurrent irritations in U.S.–China relations such as arms sales to Taiwan and presidential visits with the Dalai Lama; More open and frequent displays of China's growing military capabilities including larger, long-range air and naval exercises, and demonstrating or deploying new weapons systems; A markedly increased willingness to use threats and displays of force on issues relating to the control of the waters, air space, surface features, and resources off China's coasts. These include ongoing disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam (among others) in the South China Sea, with Japan in the East China Sea, and with the United States regarding its conduct of surveillance and military exercises in areas from the Yellow Sea to the vicinity of Hainan Island.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Oriana Skylar Mastro
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Chinese political, economic, and military power continues to grow at impressive rates, the impact of Chinese external behavior on the region has correspondingly increased. Since 2010, it has become commonplace for observers to refer to Chinese foreign policy behavior as abrasive, muscular, or assertive. However, China's heightened willingness to rely on coercive diplomacy—or the simultaneous use of diplomacy and limited use of force to accomplish one's objectives—began much earlier with the Impeccable incident in March 2009. In this case, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to the U.S. Naval Ship Impeccable. In the following months, commentators predicted that China would moderate its behavior in the face of regional backlash. Instead, instances of Chinese platforms maneuvering in a dangerous and unprofessional manner only became more frequent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China