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  • Author: Nicolas Levi
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ever since previous North Korean leader Kim Jong-il passed away in December 2011, concerns about the new North Korean regime have been growing. Although the international community has worried mainly about the country's foreign policy, especially nuclear and missile threats, recent news about a purge in the North Korean leadership has brought to the fore the question of the regime's internal stability. Kim Jong-un has been steadily building a new system of governance, giving more power to the Korean Workers' Party apparatus at the expense of the armed forces. He has also shown interest in boosting North Korea's economy. In foreign and security policy, however, in the short term, North Korea is likely to continue on its previous uncompromising course.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Communism, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China is challenging the regional balance of power in East Asia through a military buildup and an increasingly assertive foreign policy. The US is forced to find the right balance between cooperating with China while benefiting from its economic rise, and countering China's regional reach by carrying out its self-declared "pivot" to Asia in spite of domestic and budgetary constraints. With just over one year in office, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has received wide domestic support for his ambitious plans to revive Japan's economy through his threefold policy of Abenomics. At the same time, however, he has implemented a number of significant policies in the defence and security sphere. In response to China's military rise, the Abe administration increased and recalibrated the defence budget. Furthermore, in order to reinforce the alliance with the US, the government approved the creation of a US-style National Security Council, passed a Secrecy Bill, and aims to reverse Japan's self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defence. Under the banner of "proactive pacifism", the Abe cabinet is seizing the momentum caused by the changing regional power dynamics in order to edge closer towards "breaking away from the postwar regime". A proposed revision of Japan's constitution, unchanged since 1947, symbolizes the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) objective to bring about a more autonomous role for Japan both in the security alliance with the US and as an international actor.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Charles Kenny, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why don't foreign aid programs simply pay recipients for attaining agreed upon results? The idea has been around for decades, but it continues to meet resistance. Some donors worry that programs that pay for outputs or outcomes would not be able to control how funds are used and would thus be vulnerable to corruption. This brief explains why results-based payment systems are actually likely to be less vulnerable to corruption than traditional input-tracking approaches by making the effects of corruption-the failure of programs to deliver results-more visible.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is often seen as a land of extremes – and the narratives for this month's Winter Olympics in Sochi reflect that view. From the record-length 65,000 km Olympic torch run (which included trips to outer space, the north pole and the bottom of the world's deepest lake) to the incredible $51 billion price tag and the Ian Flemingesque threat of attacks from black widow terrorists, the Sochi games have a distinctly Russian flavour. The Kremlin appears to have envisioned the games as a national triumph, not unlike the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with organisational, architectural and sporting successes that could unite the country. However, with global headlines dominated by stories of corruption, human rights abuses, anti-gay laws and the very real threat of terrorist attacks, one might be forgiven for wondering whether the Russian government regrets its decision to bid for the games.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Political Violence, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: For the best part of the last two decades, EU-Russia summits have alternated between being upbeat events where new grand integration initiatives were launched – the creation of four common spaces in 2005, the partnership for modernisation in 2010 – and rather unfriendly encounters where success was seemingly measured on how impolite the partners could be to one another.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Elena Atanassova-Cornelis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: December 2013 marked an important turning point in Japan's evolving security and defence policies. While the debate about Japan's so-called security 'normalisation' has been going on now for more than a decade, by releasing three national security-related documents the conservative government led by Shinzo Abe since 2012 has dissipated any doubts that may still linger regarding the 'why, what and how' of Japan's national security.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia
  • Author: Costanza Caputi
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: India's impressive economic growth and rapidly expanding population are fuelling the country's demand for energy, and increasingly, shaping India's external relations and foreign policy. In addition to altering regional dynamics in South Asia, this shift will have significant implications for global energy governance, as well as for climate change discussions.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Emerging Markets, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Stephen McCarthy
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: While signs of democratization in a country may raise hopes of better natural resource governance, especially of forests, evidence from the Asia Pacific region in countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia demonstrates no significant relationship between a country's transition toward democracy and better forestry governance. Myanmar's transition to democracy is unlikely to counter this trend. Deeply vested interests operate within democratizing countries that outweigh the support inside governments or civil society for improving forestry conservation. Incumbents also stand to benefit directly from initiatives that promote free trade and further investment in the forestry sector at the expense of the environment and the most vulnerable in society. International organizations returning to Myanmar must fine-tune their policies to accommodate the local political economy of deforestation and should engage with elements on the periphery, dissenting voices inside the government, and a broad range of local civil society organizations. Failure to do so may exacerbate current trends and lead to future conflicts in the already volatile cease-fire areas.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India faces a fundamental puzzle. The country is a leading exporter of information-technology services, including knowledge-intensive chip design. Yet electronics manufacturing in India is struggling despite a huge and growing domestic market and pockets of world-class capabilities. To examine this puzzle the World Bank commissioned this study in May 2013 on behalf of the Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India, Raghuram Rajan (now the governor of the Reserve Bank of India). Drawing on extensive survey questionnaires and interviews with key industry players (both domestic and foreign) and relevant government agencies, this study identifies major challenges India-based companies face in engaging in electronics manufacturing. The analysis culminates in detailed policy suggestions for regulatory reform and support policies needed to unblock barriers to investment in this industry and to fast-track its upgrading through innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: El Salvador will choose a new president in a runoff election on March 9. The nation's decision may prove critical to Salvadoran democracy and regional security, in light of substantial evidence linking the ruling party candidate to narcotraffickers, terrorist groups, and violent street gangs. Moreover, foreign interference in the form of billions of dollars in Venezuelan oil revenues has given the ruling party an advantage, despite the fact that its economic policies have increased poverty and stunted economic growth.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America