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  • 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations gathered 19 international leaders from government, business and civil society to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and business and identify ways of overcoming today\'s gridlock in key international negotiations. Chaired by Pascal Lamy, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, the Commission\'s report, "Now for the Long Term" is the product of a year-long process and debate on the successes and failures in addressing global challenges over recent decades. Released in October 2013, it calls for a radical shake-up in politics and business to embed long-term thinking and provides practical recommendations for action in order to create a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Reform
  • Author: Lincoln Chafee
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program titled, Dilemmas of Campaigning and Governing in the United States: A Conversation with Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, will feature a discussion with Lincoln D. Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island and the following participants: Introduction:David Johnston, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University in the City of New York Interlocutor:Ester Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in the City of New York.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, New York