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  • Author: Matthew W. Barzun
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features an address by The Honorable Matthew W. Barzun, Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. All guests are invited to a reception at the conclusion of the program. A former Internet pioneer himself, Ambassador Barzun will discuss the potential and the constraints of digital technologies and media for today's diplomats. Matthew Barzun has been the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom since 2013, after serving as Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011. Before his ambassadorships, he had an extensive career in business and politics, including leadership positions in both of President Obama's electoral campaigns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, International Affairs, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Nadica Pavlovska
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The internet penetration and the consequent creation of hyper-connected reality has exposed the Singaporean population to much more diversity of thoughts and influences. In this environment, efforts to maintain social cohesion and multicultural tolerance among the population is now even more challenging. In light of this, this paper attempts to explore the means available to maintain pro-social behaviour and build a culture of respect online. By assessing the current measures undertaken in Singapore, this paper argues that the majority of the strategies are “mind changing” such as education and awareness raising campaigns. However, by taking into account the specificity of the internet interaction, it is suggested that these strategies could be further enhanced by adopting a “context changing” approach in the online interaction by using specific behaviour influencers such as social norms, priming and messenger approach.
  • Topic: Internet, digital culture, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Asia, Singapore
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Nowhere in the world has sports in general and soccer in particular played such a key role in the development of a region than in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, the nexus of sports, politics and society is one area that Middle East studies with few exceptions have ignored. Similarly, sports studies have focused on all parts of the world with one exception: the Middle East and North Africa. Nonetheless, sports and particularly soccer has been in various parts of the Middle East key to nation formation, nation building, regime formation, regime survival and the struggles for human, gender and labour rights. This working paper is an attempt to fill a gap in the literature and contribute to the development of theory on the role of sports in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Nationalism, Labor Issues, Sports, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Loro Horta
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Chinese leaders consider relations with Brazil to be of utmost importance. Brazil‘s vast reserves of natural resources, its massive agricultural sector and market potential for Chinese exports make Brazil one of China‘s top foreign policy priorities. Within the past decade, Sino-Brazilian ties have soared with trade reaching US$22 billion in 2007 and Brazil becoming China‘s main South American trading partner. In early 2009, China even surpassed the United States as Brazil's largest trading partner with two-way trade reaching a staggering US$43 billion. Both countries have cooperated in various sensitive technology sectors such as satellite and military technologies, and are expanding these exchanges. Today, Brazil accounts for 40 per cent of China‘s total agricultural exports and is therefore extremely important for food security of the Asian giant as well. Many observers have argued that China‘s growing relations with Brazil is likely to lead to an alliance between the so-called "third world giants" to balance American and Western hegemony. While there are indeed several complementarities between the two emerging economies and while both countries share some common political beliefs regarding the international system, many issues of contention will remain and perhaps be aggravated as Sino-Brazilian ties develop. Alliances have very different meanings in the post-Cold War context, and they no longer imply rigid military and economic blocks confronting one another. The concept of ―strategic partnership‖ is a better framework to look into new power relations in the 21st century. Despite some tensions in Sino-Brazilian relations, both nations can be expected to grow closer to one another. The positive aspects of their relationship far outweigh the problems and tensions inherent in most relations among major powers. The Sino-Brazilian strategic partnership is likely to produce significant changes in the balance of power in the Americas. China's growing ties to Brazil, however, will not necessarily lead to a dramatic loss of influence for the United States. While China has gained an impressive economic presence in Brazil — and in the region — economic influence does not always translate into political and strategic dominance. The economic power of the United States remains the dominant force and its century old relationship with Brazil continues to have a strong appeal among the Brazilians. Arguably, China's growing influence in the Americas, to an extent, is a result of previous U.S. administrations' neglect of the region's needs and it remains to be seen what effect would a more attentive U.S. administration will have in facing China's growing influence in Latin America.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Chenyang Li, James Char
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: In discussions on Myanmar's political reforms since the installation of a civilianised military regime in 2011, most analysts have focused on the bedevilment of bilateral ties between Beijing and Naypyidaw. To be sure, China has since become more attuned to the concerns of non-state actors with the opening up of Myanmar's political space as well as recalibrated its strategies in the face of renewed diplomatic competition from other countries in vying for the affections of the Burmese leadership. In acknowledging the corrections China‘s Myanmar policy has undergone, this article argues that Beijing‘s factoring in of Burmese national interests and development needs can help enhance its prospects. While a return to the previous robust bilateral relationship may appear inconceivable in the near future, this article concludes that there is still hope for Beijing in overcoming the challenges posed by Naypyidaw's political transition should it be able to keep up with the latter's evolution over the longer term.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Diplomacy, Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Pradumna B. Rana, Wai-Mun Chia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: In the past few years, the pace of economic growth in South Asia has slowed considerably for two reasons: unfavourable global economic environment and the slowing pace of economic reforms that once were the key drivers of the region’s dynamic economic performance and resilience. This paper focuses on the latter and following Rana (2011) and Rana and Hamid (1995), it argues that South Asian countries have not sequenced their reforms properly. The first round of reforms in South Asia that began in the 1980s and the early 1990s focused on macroeconomic reforms — monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate management, as well as reducing rigid government controls — which led to private sector driven economic growth. These should have been followed by the more microeconomic reforms — sectoral and the so-called “second generation” reforms to strengthen governance and institutions — to sustain the higher growth levels. But they were not and reforms ran out of steam because of, among others, lack of law and order, and corruption in the public sector. This paper finds a significant “governance gap” in South Asia that refers to how South Asia lags behind East Asia in terms of various governance indicators and how within South Asia some countries are ahead of others. The paper argues that in order to revive economic growth, South Asian countries must implement microeconomic reforms: it identifies the remaining policy agenda for each South Asian country. However, implementation of microeconomic reforms poses a difficult challenge as they require a wider consensus and political support and have a longer term focus. The recent election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India with a strong mandate for economic reform provides an environment of “cautious optimism” for all of South Asia.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform, Global Political Economy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Sumona Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper explores how the contentious issue of Kashmir has been framed in the India- Pakistan composite dialogue which aims at building a peace process between the two nuclear armed countries locked in an adversarial relationship for over six decades. Through an item by item analysis of the eight heads of the composite dialogue, it demonstrates that barring one item, the script of Kashmir — its land, resources, livelihoods and security — runs through all of them in some form or another. Yet this top- down composite dialogue conducted by the political leadership of India and Pakistan has yielded no tangible results in resolving any of the issues around Kashmir. It is time for a new imaginative peace-building paradigm to be given a chance where the people of Kashmir, in all their diversity, are recognised as legitimate stakeholders in an inclusive dialogic process. The paper suggests that intra-Kashmir people-to-people dialogues, both within Indian-administered Kashmir and between Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir, be allowed to acquire a meaning and momentum of their own and advocates consultative mechanisms to allow community voices and narratives to percolate into and inform the official Indo-Pakistan composite dialogue. A more people centric peace process in Kashmir is an idea whose time has come.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Asia, Kashmir
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: There is much that militant Islamists and jihadists agree on, but when it comes to sports in general and soccer in particular sharp divisions emerge. Men like the late Osama bin Laden, Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah stand on one side of the ideological and theological divide opposite groups like the Taliban, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, Boko Haram, and the jihadists who took control of northern Mali in 2012. The Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls swaths of Syria and Iraq, belongs ideologically and theologically to the camp that views soccer as an infidel invention designed to distract the faithful from their religious obligations but opportunistically employs football in its sophisticated public relations and public diplomacy endeavour. Bin Laden, Haniyeh and Nasrallah employ soccer as a recruitment and bonding tool based on the belief of Salafi and mainstream Islamic scholars who argue that Prophet Muhammad advocated physical exercise to maintain a healthy body. However, the more militant students of Islam seek to re- write the rules of the game to Islamicise it, if not outright ban the sport. The practicality and usefulness of soccer is evident in the fact that perpetrators of attacks, like those by Hamas on civilian targets in Israel in 2003 and the 2004 Madrid train bombings, bonded by playing soccer together.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Sports, Islamic State, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Iis Gindarsah
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Indonesia has been increasingly susceptible to recent geopolitical developments. Along with the rapid pace of regional arms modernisation and unresolved territorial disputes, it begins to ponder the impact of emerging great power rivalry to the country’s strategic interests. However, rather than pursuing a robust military build-up, Indonesian policymakers asserts that diplomacy is the country’s first line of defence. This paper argues that Indonesia’s defence diplomacy serves two agenda of hedging strategy — strategic engagement and military modernisation. This way, Indonesian defence and security officials seek to moderate the impact of geopolitical changes whilst maintaining the country’s defensive ability against regional uncertainties.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Paul Hedges
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper explores the concept of freedom of speech, as it relates to religion, focusing on recent European examples of tensions that surface secular mores and Islamic sensibilities, primarily the Charlie Hebdo incident. This paper argues that while offence to others does not breech free speech, when considering cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, we cannot ignore the geopolitical context. Such images may perpetuate stereotypes and be perceived as part of a neo-colonial project to denigrate minorities and the Muslim world. In particular, Islamophobia and the post-colonial context provide a context wherein the Islamic “Other” within Western societies is marginalised and often experiences oppression. Therefore, what appears to be legitimate freedom of speech may actually be a discourse of suppression. The paper also considers possible objections around individual autonomy and the power of religion, and suggests principles when considering the limits of freedom of speech.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Religion, Islamophobia
  • Political Geography: Global Focus