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  • Author: Michael Mylrea
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: al Nakhlah
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: War refugees have many faces and stories that the media tends to miss. While the news focuses on images of conflict and violence, it glosses over the fate of refugees who are forced to flee and start their lives over in completely foreign lands. Fearing the threat of violence, millions of Iraqis were forced or chose to flee from their homes to Jordan and Syria.
  • Political Geography: Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Farah Bushashia
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: al Nakhlah
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: “Oh my God, they found me, I don't know how, but they found me,” frantically sputters Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, the eccentric inventor of the time machine car in Robert Zemeckis' highly successful 1985 film Back to the Future, “[It's] the Libyans!” As Alan Silvestri's background music crescendos, the camera cuts to a Volkswagen bus slowly and sinisterly weaving down a well-manicured, deserted backroad toward the empty Twin Pines Mall parking lot where at 1:15 AM the Doctor and his young protégé Marty tinker with the plutonium-powered time machine. Suddenly the hat-covered head of an unnamed, swarthy, machine-gun-wielding Libyan emerges from the roof of the careening bus as unintelligible, crazed Arabic words vaguely including 'Allah' pass between him and the driver, presumably verifying that the white-haired man in the lab coat and yellow rubber gloves is indeed the same Doc Brown who took their plutonium and provided them with an atomic bomb consisting of little more than pinball machine parts! After an inordinate number of shots, Doc Brown is taken for dead and Marty hops into the time machine car under hot pursuit from the Libyans who cannot manage to eliminate the unarmed witness as they screechingly circle around the JC Penney department store, cursing both the “damn Soviet gun” and the “damn German car.” Finally, Marty achieves the critical speed for time travel and in the bright flash of light the Libyans lose control of the Volkswagen and dramatically crash into a Fox Photo booth promising one-hour photograph development to suburban Californian families.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Bruce Riedel
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: A country rarely fights the same war twice in one generation, especially from opposite sides. Yet that in many ways describes the U.S. role in Afghanistan today. In the 1980s, the Central Intelligence Agency, working from a safe haven in Pakistan, engineered the largest covert operation in its history to help defeat the Soviet 40th Red Army in Afghanistan. Today, the United States is fighting a Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan that operates from a safe haven in Pakistan. Many suggest that the outcome will be the same for the United States as it was for the Soviet Union—ultimate defeat at the hands of the insurgency. Pakistan's role as a safe haven is remarkably consistent in both conflicts, but focusing exclusively on that similarity misses the fundamental differences between the two wars. This article will address those differences, and will also assess how Pakistan's role is impacting the United States' possibilities for success today.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban, Soviet Union
  • Author: Ilan Berman
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: The most troubling aspect of international security for the United States is not the killing power of our immediate enemies, which remains modest in historical terms, but our increasingly effete view of warfare. The greatest advantage our opponents enjoy is an uncompromising strength of will, their readiness to “pay any price and bear any burden” to hurt and humble us. As our enemies' view of what is permissible in war expands apocalyptically, our self-limiting definitions of allowable targets and acceptable casualties—hostile, civilian and our own—continue to narrow fatefully. Our enemies cannot defeat us in direct confrontations, but we appear determined to defeat ourselves.
  • Political Geography: United States
26205. Editors' Note
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: We recently received the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports 2007 rankings of more than fifty journals of international relations by Impact Factor. The Impact Factor measures the average number of citations in a year of articles published during the preceding two years. Thus a journal's 2007 Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the total number of citations in 2007 of articles published in that journal in 2005 and 2006 by the number of articles published over those two years. We were pleased to see that International Security tied with International Organization for the highest 2007 Impact Factor. IS ranked first in 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and has been in the top five every year since 1995. Thomson Reuters also ranks journals by two other measures: Cited Half-Life, a measure of whether older articles are cited, and Immediacy Index, a measure of whether articles are often cited shortly after publication. We were particularly pleased to see that International Security's Cited Half-Life has almost tripled since 1996 and that IS consistently ranks in the top five international relations journals by this measure. IS also ranks highly for its Immediacy Index. The trend suggests that IS articles attract attention soon after publication and that they continue to be read and cited for many years. Given that the journal aspires to publish a mix of articles on policy-relevant theory, sophisticated policy analysis, and conceptual and theoretical aspects of international security, we are delighted that IS has an Immediacy Index comparable to journals of contemporary foreign policy and a Cited Half-Life similar to leading scholarly journals.
  • Topic: Security
  • Author: Alexander B. Downes
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The argument that democracies are more likely than nondemocracies to win the wars they fight— particularly the wars they start—has risen to the status of near-conventional wisdom in the last decade. First articulated by David Lake in his 1992 article “Powerful Pacifists,” this thesis has become firmly associated with the work of Dan Reiter and Allan Stam. In their seminal 2002 book, Democracies at War, which builds on several previously published articles, Reiter and Stam found that democracies win nearly all of the wars they start, and about two-thirds of the wars in which they are targeted by other states, leading to an overall success rate of 76 percent. This record of democratic success is significantly better than the performance of dictatorships and mixed regimes.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Michael Mousseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Democracy does not cause peace among nations. An analysis of conflicts from 1961 to 2001 shows that the absence of war between democratic countries depends on domestic economic factors-such as a contract-intensive economy-rather than on democracy. Because China and Russia lack this type of economy, an economic divide will define great power politics in the coming decade. Democratic leaders of nations with contract-intensive economies would do better to support global economic opportunity than to promote democracy abroad.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Phillip C. Saunders, Scott L. Kastner
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: After eight years of cross-strait tensions, the decisive 2008 Taiwan election victories by the Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist Party) and KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou provide a major opportunity to improve relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party welcomed Ma's victory as reducing the threat of Taiwan independence and creating an atmosphere for resumed dialogue and closer ties. Recognizing that final resolution of Taiwan's status is currently impossible, leaders on both sides have raised the possibility of negotiating a peace agreement that might stabilize the cross-strait situation. If successful, an agreement might greatly reduce the chance of a crisis that could draw the United States and China into a military conflict. Such an agreement could also provide a positive example that might apply to other cases of long-term political or ethnic conflict. This article examines what a China-Taiwan peace agreement might look like and whether it could be effective in managing tensions and reducing the risk of war.
  • Topic: War, Water
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Bruce E. Moon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Prospects for democracy in Iraq should be assessed in light of the historical precedents of nations with comparable political experiences. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was an unusually extreme autocracy, which lasted an unusually long time. Since the end of the nineteenth century, only thirty nations have experienced an autocracy as extreme as Iraq's for a period exceeding two decades. The subsequent political experience of those nations offers a pessimistic forecast for Iraq and similar nations. Only seven of the thirty are now democratic, and only two of them have become established democracies; the democratic experiments in the other five are still in progress. Among the seven, the average time required to transit the path from extreme autocracy to coherent, albeit precarious, democracy has been fifty years, and only two have managed this transition in fewer than twenty-five years. Even this sober assessment is probably too optimistic, because Iraq lacks the structural conditions that theory and evidence indicate have been necessary for successful democratic transitions in the past. Thus, the odds of Iraq achieving democracy in the next quarter century are close to zero, at best about two in thirty, but probably far less.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Jeremy Pressman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The administration of President George W. Bush was deeply involved in the Middle East, but its efforts did not advance U.S. national security. In the realms of counterterrorism, democracy promotion, and nonconventional proliferation, the Bush administration failed to achieve its objectives. Although the United States did not suffer a second direct attack after September 11, 2001, the terrorism situation worsened as many other countries came under attack and a new generation of terrorists trained in Iraq. Large regional powers such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia did not become more democratic, with no new leaders subject to popular mandate. The model used in Iraq of democratization by military force is risky, costly, and not replicable. Bush's policy exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation, expending tremendous resources on a nonexistent program in Iraq while bolstering Iran's geopolitical position. The administration failed because it relied too heavily on military force and too little on diplomacy, disregarded empiricism, and did not address long-standing policy contradictions. The case of the Bush administration makes clear that material power does not automatically translate into international influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt