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  • Author: Bernadette Atuahene
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Under colonialism and apartheid, the ruling white minority stole vast amounts of land from black Africans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Reclaiming this land became an important rallying cry for liberation movements in both countries; but in the years after white minority rule ended, it was extremely difficult for the new regimes to redistribute the land fairly and efficiently. In recent years, as the unaddressed land inequality in Zimbabwe became a pretext for President Robert Mugabe's demagoguery and led to Zimbabwe's demise, many observers have asked: Could South Africa be next? When Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa in 1994, 87 percent of the country's land was owned by whites, even though they represented less than ten percent of the population. Advised by the World Bank, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) aimed to redistribute 30 percent of the land from whites to blacks in the first five years of the new democracy. By 2010 -- 16 years later -- only eight percent had been reallocated. In failing to redistribute this land, the ANC has undermined a crucial aspect of the negotiated settlement to end apartheid, otherwise known as the liberation bargain. According to Section 25 of the new South African constitution, promulgated in 1994, existing property owners (who were primarily white) would receive valid legal title to property acquired under prior regimes, despite the potentially dubious circumstances of its acquisition. In exchange, blacks (in South Africa, considered to include people of mixed racial descent and Indians) were promised land reform. But the new government upheld only one side of the liberation bargain: South African whites kept their property, but blacks still have not received theirs. Political apartheid may have ended, but economic apartheid lives on.
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Thomas J. Bassett, Scott Straus
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In early April, in the final days of Côte d'Ivoire's torturous four-month-long political crisis, French and UN helicopters bombarded the presidential residence in Abidjan. This military operation sealed the fate of the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, paving the way for Alassane Ouattara, the widely recognized winner of the November 2010 presidential elections, to claim office. But the French and UN action had another effect: it triggered commentary and outrage about international interference -- in particular on the part of France -- in African affairs. Ivoirian newspapers backing Gbagbo fulminated about France's desire to retake its former colonies. The French press, meanwhile, obsessed about whether France's military intervention spelled a new era of Françafrique, the term, first introduced in the 1950s, for French interference in the internal affairs of its former African colonies. The New York Times ran a story about France's "long shadow" over its former colonies, and pundits around the world worried that these international actions could doom Ouattara's legitimacy. Such a Eurocentric focus, however, both mischaracterizes the internal dynamics of the conflict and misses the more significant diplomatic development -- namely, the role of African regional organizations. In the end, France and the UN did not win the war for Ouattara and his self-styled "Republican Forces." By the time France and the UN intervened, Ouattara's forces controlled 90 percent of the country and were on the verge of taking the commercial capital, Abidjan. International forces did manage to hasten Gbagbo's demise: in effect, accomplishing the inevitable and preventing a final attack on Abidjan, which would have resulted in a terrible humanitarian crisis.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, New York
  • Author: Elliott Abrams
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Two recent books on the Israeli settlements explore their corrosive effect on Zionism and Israeli society. But despite the problems settlements cause, Washington should not overstate their importance for the peace process, argues a former U.S. deputy national security adviser.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Israel
  • Author: Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Henry Kissinger's new book argues that the United States should yield gracefully to China's rise; Aaron Friedberg's gives the opposite advice. By focusing on intentions instead of capabilities, both books overstate China's actual power.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Karen Barkey
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Olivier Roy's new book argues that religion and culture are disengaging from each other thanks to globalization. But he underestimates the close interactions of religious movements and national politics on the ground in the Islamic world and elsewhere.
  • Author: Sandy Hornick
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: New books by Witold Rybczynski and Edward Glaeser celebrate the ever-changing American urban experience. In proposing how to revitalize modern cities, however, both books underplay the critical role of the government.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey, Michael Scott Doran
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: READING THE NEW MIDDLE EAST MAP Dalia Dassa Kaye and Frederic Wehrey With long-standing U.S. allies toppled or under pressure from unprecedented dissent across the Arab world, Michael Doran, in "The Heirs of Nasser" (May/June 2011), warns that Iran is poised to walk away from the Arab Spring a winner. In his view, the chaotic Arab political scene will allow Iran and its radical allies -- Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria -- to stoke public frustration over unmet expectations or engage in subversive provocations, thereby embroiling new regimes in the region's old conflicts. In previous periods of regional upheaval, revolutionaries such as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser employed this strategy at the expense of U.S. and Western interests. Nasser played the Israel card to goad his Western-backed rivals into war, while exhorting their publics to rebel. Why, Doran argues, should one expect any less from Iran and its allies today? Certainly, the regional shakeup will give Iran and its allies much to prey on. The Arab world's secular, liberal youth movements, often hobbled by a lack of organization and leadership, will compete with long-established parties with starkly different views of the future, be they remnants of the old regimes or Islamist forces. The region's new governments will confront economic challenges that will limit their ability to meet the expectations of a youthful and increasingly impatient public. Meanwhile, the continued Israeli-Palestinian stalemate offers further ammunition for rejectionist forces to reinvigorate the region's tired scapegoats, redirecting the conversation away from talk about the failure of domestic governance. The United States' inconsistent policies toward the Arab revolts (for example, the varying U.S. responses to Bahrain and Libya) offer more fodder for Iran's resistance narrative. Still, although Iran and its allies will attempt to seize on these vulnerabilities to widen the gap between ruler and ruled, they are unlikely to achieve the success of Nasser. In fact, the political upheaval in the Arab world has led to at least three fundamental shifts in the regional order that have only sharpened the preexisting limitations of Iranian influence.
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Bruce Blair, Josef Joffe, James W. Davis, Matt Brown, Richard Burt
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: IN SUPPORT OF ZERO Bruce Blair, Matt Brown, and Richard Burt In their ringing defense of classical nuclear deterrence ("Less Than Zero," January/February 2011), Josef Joffe and James Davis see nuclear weapons not as a problem but as a solution. We profoundly disagree. Nuclear weapons represent a global threat that is orders of magnitude greater than any other. The danger has increased as these weapons have spread to weak and fragile states, and they could eventually fall into the hands of terrorists. The Global Zero movement, which we coordinate, calls for the phased and verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide and is spearheaded by more than 300 international leaders, including current and former heads of state, national security officials, and military commanders. It does not discount the real or perceived benefits of nuclear weapons that existed during the Cold War, but it argues that the growing dangers of nuclear proliferation and terrorism have come to greatly outweigh those dissipating benefits. That is why Global Zero calls for eliminating all existing nuclear arsenals and building stronger barriers against the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the materials to build them. Global Zero does not underestimate the difficulty of reversing proliferation. Our critics, Joffe and Davis included, imply that the movement subscribes to the simplistic "good example" theory of deproliferation, which holds that states will cut their arsenals when inspired by the example of others' doing so. But that characterization of our view is a straw man. We do not suggest that North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons if it sees reductions by other countries. Rather, we argue that it will take a great-power-led coalition of nuclear and nonnuclear countries, fully committed to the elimination of all nuclear weapons, to marshal the political, economic, and military might to halt proliferation worldwide. To date, the international community has paid lip service to erecting strong new barriers to nuclear acquisition while mustering only a lukewarm and inconsistent effort to do so. By contrast, a truly unified coalition could overcome that inertia by enforcing the Global Zero program worldwide. It would engineer universal verification and enforcement regimes, wielding hard incentives and punishments, not moral example, to convert the wayward.
  • Author: Douglas Paal, Charles Glaser, Shyu-tu Lee
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: MISREADING CHINA'S INTENTIONS Shyu-tu Lee According to Charles Glaser, the prospects for avoiding war between the United States and China are good ("Will China's Rise Lead to War?" March/April 2011). But by ignoring China's history and economic policy and other relevant factors, Glaser arrives at policy prescriptions that would increase the chance of a Chinese nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland. Glaser misjudges Chinese motives. China's military modernization is not primarily motivated by insecurity, as he asserts. China is not threatened by the United States or any of its neighbors. It is advocating its model of governance -- managed capitalism combined with one-party authoritarianism -- as a more efficient alternative to a free-market economy and democracy. China's mission is to regain its place as the dominant superpower so that the country can cleanse itself of the humiliation it has experienced at the hands of the West. The rise of China poses grave challenges to U.S. security. Beijing implements a mercantilist trade policy and artificially sets a low value on its currency to promote exports, thus creating a large U.S. trade deficit with China year after year. Its army has been modernizing at a rapid pace, developing anti-access, area-denial weapons and cyber- and space-warfare capabilities. Meanwhile, China wants to integrate Taiwan because its democracy threatens Beijing's autocratic and repressive rule. In addition, Beijing needs Taiwan as a military base from which to project power into the Indian and Pacific oceans. To keep the peace, the United States must discard the culture of excessive deference to Beijing and implement policies to maintain U.S. military superiority, stanch the flow of U.S. wealth to China, steer China toward democratization, strengthen its alliances with Japan and South Korea, and engage China in an economic and strategic dialogue to promote fair trade and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Michael L. Ross
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Summary: No state with serious oil wealth has ever transformed into a democracy. Oil lets dictators buy off citizens, keep their finances secret, and spend wildly on arms. To prevent the “resource curse” from dashing the hopes of the Arab Spring, Washington should push for more transparent oil markets -- and curb its own oil addiction. MICHAEL L. ROSS is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of the forthcoming book The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations. Even before this year's Arab uprisings, the Middle East was not an undifferentiated block of authoritarianism. The citizens of countries with little or no oil, such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, generally had more freedom than those of countries with lots of it, such as Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. And once the tumult started, the oil-rich regimes were more effective at fending off attempts to unseat them. Indeed, the Arab Spring has seriously threatened just one oil-funded ruler -- Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi -- and only because NATO's intervention prevented the rebels' certain defeat. Worldwide, democracy has made impressive strides over the last three decades: just 30 percent of the world's governments were democratic in 1980; about 60 percent are today. Yet almost all the democratic governments that emerged during that period were in countries with little or no oil; in fact, countries that produced less than $100 per capita of oil per year (about what Ukraine and Vietnam produce) were three times as likely to democratize as countries that produced more than that. No country with more than a fraction of the per capita oil wealth of Bahrain, Iraq, or Libya has ever successfully gone from dictatorship to democracy. Scholars have called this the oil curse, arguing that oil wealth leads to authoritarianism, economic instability, corruption, and violent conflict. Skeptics claim that the correlation between oil and repression is a coincidence. As Dick Cheney, then the CEO of Haliburton, remarked at a 1996 energy conference, "The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas reserves where there are democratic governments." But divine intervention did not cause repression in the Middle East: hydrocarbons did. There is no getting around the fact that countries in the region are less free because they produce and sell oil.
  • Topic: NATO, Government, Oil
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Middle East, Kuwait, Libya, Vietnam, California, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Rory Miller
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the middle of a stalled peace process, one of the few things Israeli and Palestinian officials agree on is that U.S. President Barack Obama deserves much of the blame for the impasse. Israeli policymakers are furious with the demand that Obama made early in his term that Israel freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and with his declaration in May that Israel's 1967 borders should serve as the starting point for peace discussions. Palestinian leaders, for their part, believe that Obama has failed to fulfill the promise he made in his June 2009 Cairo speech to back their legitimate aspirations for statehood, and they are irritated that he has not forced the Israelis to continue the settlement freeze. The recent decisions by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to strike a unity deal with Hamas and press for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood is a sign of how frustrated with Washington he has become. In the face of this impasse, a variety of international figures are now asking Europe to step in. Arab leaders such as former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa have called on Europe to take charge of the peace process. In a May meeting with EU officials, for example, King Abdullah of Jordan urged Europe "to intensify efforts with a view to removing the obstacles that impede the resumption of the peace process." The EU's current political and diplomatic leaders need no encouragement. They already seem to feel that they have both a right and a duty to help solve the conflict. Last year, then French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Ángel Moratinos, his Spanish counterpart, said in a joint statement that the EU "must play a role because it is a friend of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority [PA] and above all because its own long-term security is at stake."
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Palestine
  • Author: Park Geun-hye
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 15, 1974, South Korea's Independence Day, I lost my mother, then the country's first lady, to an assassin acting under orders from North Korea. That day was a tragedy not only for me but also for all Koreans. Despite the unbearable pain of that event, I have wished and worked for enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula ever since. But 37 years later, the conflict on the peninsula persists. The long-simmering tensions between North and South Korea resulted in an acute crisis in November 2010. For the first time since the Korean War, North Korea shelled South Korean territory, killing soldiers and civilians on the island of Yeonpyeong. Only two weeks earlier, South Korea had become the first country outside the G-8 to chair and host a G-20 summit, welcoming world leaders to its capital, Seoul. These events starkly illustrated the dual reality of the Korean Peninsula and of East Asia more broadly. On the one hand, the Korean Peninsula remains volatile. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea, the modernization of conventional forces across the region, and nascent great-power rivalries highlight the endemic security dilemmas that plague this part of Asia. On the other hand, South Korea's extraordinary development, sometimes called the Miracle on the Han River, has, alongside China's rise, become a major driver of the global economy over the past decade. These two contrasting trends exist side by side in Asia, the information revolution, globalization, and democratization clashing with the competitive instincts of the region's major powers. To ensure that the first set of forces triumphs, policymakers in Asia and in the international community must not only take advantage of existing initiatives but also adopt a bolder and more creative approach to achieving security. Without such an effort, military brinkmanship may only increase -- with repercussions well beyond Asia. For this reason, forging trust and sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula represents one of the most urgent and crucial tasks on Asia's list of outstanding security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: William McCants
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On 9/11, the global jihadist movement burst into the world's consciousness, but a decade later, thanks in part to the Arab Spring and the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is in crisis. With Western-backed dictators falling, al Qaeda might seem closer than ever to its goal of building Islamic states. But the revolutions have empowered the group's chief rivals instead: Islamist parliamentarians, who are willing to use ballots, not bombs.
  • Topic: Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, Arabia, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: It's tempting to see the 9/11 attacks as having fundamentally changed U.S. foreign policy. It's also wrong. The Bush administration may have gone over the top in responding, but its course was less novel than generally believed. A quest for primacy and military supremacy, a readiness to act proactively and unilaterally, and a focus on democracy and free markets -- all are long-standing features of U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: David M. Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the summer of 2011, I visited the Afghan army's Regional Military Training Center in Helmand Province. The recruits had been there for two weeks, and they looked as strong as any group of U.S. soldiers in basic training. The Afghan drill instructors were as competent, and had the same cocky swagger, as American ones. "Sir, look at all of our volunteers," one drill sergeant proudly said to me. "They're great. We have already won. . . . We just don't know it yet." To comprehend the United States' progress in Afghanistan, it is important to understand how and where we have focused our resources and what work lies ahead. To be sure, the United States and its coalition partners still have plenty of challenges left to tackle in Afghanistan. However, there are indisputable gains everywhere we have focused our efforts. In 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, with the help of David Petraeus, then the commander of the U.S. Central Command, worked hard to design a comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign for Afghanistan that would "get the inputs right," as Petraues often said. The upshot was more resources, troops, and civilian support and better command coherence. There are now more Afghan and coalition soldiers in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces alone than there were in all of Regional Command East, the formation responsible for security in Afghanistan's 14 eastern provinces, when I commanded the latter from 2007 to 2008. As 33,000 U.S. troops begin the drawdown, returning to the United States by next summer, 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police will be in place to continue their work. There are clear signs of progress in Afghanistan, and coalition forces have regained the initiative. The strategy has worked because it sought to match the coalition's goals with available resources. It involved four major concepts. First, use a bottom-up approach founded on good governance, capable security forces, and engagement with local communities. If towns had good leaders and security providers, populations would find local solutions to their local problems, with just a little help from Kabul. Insurgents could no longer exploit popular grievances about security, justice, and a lack of basic services.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Thomas Barfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In late 2001,when U.S. forces expelled the Taliban from Afghanistan, the country appeared headed for a breakup. The United States and the rest of the international community feared that Afghanistan's rival ethnic groups would use their regional power bases to pull apart any unitary state, forming in its place independent ministates or aligning with their ethnic brethren across Afghanistan's borders. At the time, such fears seemed credible: NATO troops were still dealing with the fallout from the violent disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The Afghans themselves, however, were less concerned about their country dividing. After all, Afghanistan has been a single state for more than 250 years. If the country were going to split, it would have done so in the 1990s, during its protracted civil war. Yet it did not. No Afghan leader of any political stripe or ethnicity endorsed secession at any time during the last century. Nor did any at the start of this one. Although Afghanistan's various ethnic factions disagreed about how the country's new government should be organized and who would wield power within it, they all proclaimed their support for a unitary state. A decade later, the anxiety of Washington and its allies has reversed itself. If in 2001 the West was afraid that the absence of a strong centralized government in Kabul would prompt Afghanistan's dissolution, by 2011 the West has come to fear that a dysfunctional centralized government could cause this same outcome. Such a turn of events was caused by several factors, perhaps most of all by many Afghans' dissatisfaction with a centralized national administrative structure that cannot cope with the country's regional diversity or with expectations for local self-rule. The government in Kabul has been further undermined by the country's fraudulent 2009 presidential election, the absence of political parties, poor security, and general corruption.
  • Topic: NATO, Corruption
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Is China poised to take over from the United States as the world's leading economy? Yes, judging by its GDP, trade flows, and ability to act as a creditor to the rest of the world. In fact, China's economic dominance will be far greater and come about far sooner than most observers realize.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Salvatore Babones
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: By any measure, China's economic growth has been unprecedented, even miraculous. According to the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese economy grew by an average of 9.6 percent per year between 1990 and 2010. At the beginning of the recent global financial crisis, many feared that the Chinese growth engine would grind to a halt. In late 2008, Chinese exports collapsed, triggering fears of political instability and popular revolt in the country. In the end, however, the global economic crisis turned out to be little more than a pothole on the road of China's economic growth. Inflationary pressures may now be building up in China, and China's property bubble may be threatening to burst, but most economists continue to predict rapid growth for the country well into the future. Although their forecasts vary widely, they seem to share the view that China's growth will be fast -- if not as fast as it has been -- and that this rate of growth will continue for decades. These predictions are at once cautious about the near future (China's performance will not be as extraordinary as it has been) and optimistic about the distant future (they see no end to China's upward trajectory). By coincidence or design, they are moderated extrapolations of current trends. For example, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Fogel believes that China will grow at an average annual rate of eight percent until 2040, by which time it will be twice as rich as Europe (in per capita terms) and its share of global GDP will be 40 percent (compared with 14 percent for the United States and five percent for the European Union). Other economists are slightly more cautious: Uri Dadush and Bennett Stancil of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace predict that China will grow by 5.6 percent per year through 2050.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Mark A.R Kleiman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Neither intensifying the drug war nor legalizing all drugs offers much hope of reducing drug abuse in the United States or lessening violence in Mexico. The key to changing outcomes on both sides of the border is changing the incentives facing dealers and users.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Khaled Elgindy
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), plans to call on the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state and admit it as a full member of the organization. This strategy marks a dramatic shift in the Palestinians' approach to the conflict with Israel: they are not seeking to revive the moribund peace process; they are seeking to bypass it altogether. Following the collapse of direct negotiations last fall, Abbas and his Fatah-dominated leadership launched an aggressive diplomatic campaign to secure broad international recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders as a prelude to applying for formal UN membership this fall. If the Palestinian bid to get full UN membership in September is defeated in the UN Security Council -- a U.S. veto is all but assured -- the PA says it is prepared to take the matter to the General Assembly. Initially, the plan was to seek a two-thirds majority vote there to obtain a nonbinding resolution under the "Uniting for Peace" procedure, which allows the General Assembly to act when a lack of unanimity on the Security Council prevents it from fulfilling its "primary responsibility" of maintaining "international peace and security." The PA has since backed away from this option and is now planning to seek a simple majority in the General Assembly, which would allow Palestine to be recognized as a "nonmember state" of the UN, alongside Kosovo, Taiwan, and Vatican City.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Taiwan, Palestine, Kosovo, Vatican city
  • Author: Eric Trager
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The protesters who led Egypt's revolt last January were young, liberal, and linked-in. They were the bloggers who first proposed the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak on Twitter; the Facebook-based activists who invited their "friends" to protest; and Wael Ghonim, the 30-year-old Google executive who, after Egypt's state security agency detained him for 12 days, rallied the crowds to hold Tahrir Square. Far from emulating Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, they channeled Thomas Paine, calling for civil liberties, religious equality, and an end to Mubarak's dictatorship. Their determination, punctuated by the speed of their triumph, fueled optimism that the long-awaited Arab Spring had finally sprung -- that the Middle East would no longer be an autocratic exception in an increasingly democratic world. The political transition following their revolt, however, has dulled this optimism. The iconic youths of Tahrir Square are now deeply divided among nearly a dozen, often indistinguishable political parties, almost all of which are either too new to be known or too discredited by their cooperation with the previous regime. Concentrated within the small percentage of Internet-using, politically literate Egyptians, their numbers are surprisingly small. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, which largely avoided the limelight during the revolt, is seizing the political momentum. The Brotherhood is Egypt's most cohesive political movement, with an unparalleled ability to mobilize its followers, who will serve it extremely well in a country still unaccustomed to voting. To understand the sources of the Brotherhood's political strength, and the reasons why it is unlikely to temper its ideology, it helps to take a close look at its organizational structure and the nature of its membership. From January through March of this year, I interviewed nearly 30 current and former Muslim Brothers in an attempt to do just that. Whereas Egypt's liberal and leftist political parties are nearly as easy to join as parties in the West, becoming a full-fledged Muslim Brother is a five- to eight-year process, during which aspiring members are closely watched for their loyalty to the cause and are indoctrinated in the Brotherhood's curriculum. This intricate system for recruitment and internal promotion produces members who are strongly committed to the organization's purpose, enabling its leaders it to mobilize its followers as they see fit.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Jeff Martini, Julie Taylor
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Many of the iconic images from Egypt's revolution depict the Egyptian military supporting the uprising in Tahrir Square. As soldiers joined demonstrators and allowed them to scrawl "Mubarak Leave" on the sides of their tanks, the protesters became convinced that the military would protect the revolution and move Egypt toward democracy. The Egyptian army's top commanders pledged to do just that. The day after Hosni Mubarak fell, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military body now governing the country, vowed to "ensure a peaceful transition of authority within a free and democratic system that allows an elected civilian authority to take charge of governing the country." Yet the SCAF's attempts to curtail dissent and the democratic process have fueled doubts about its true intentions. Will the military fulfill its promise to support democracy? Or will it seek to replace Mubarak's rule with its own or that of a friendly autocrat? Thus far, the evidence suggests that the SCAF does not want to continue ruling the country after Egypt's parliamentary elections this fall, nor does it want to return the country to a single-party system. But that should provide little comfort to those hoping to see Egypt become a full democracy, in which the military is subordinate to civilian rule. Above all, the generals are determined to preserve stability and protect their privileged position. They recognize that ruling the country directly threatens their position by potentially provoking instability, exposing them to public criticism, and dividing their ranks. And they want to avoid being blamed for Egypt's growing economic and social problems, such as double-digit inflation and unemployment, continued labor unrest, and a rise in crime. As a result, the SCAF is eager to hand power over to an elected government -- but only to preserve its power and perks, not out of some deep-seated belief in democracy.
  • Topic: Crime
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Richard J. Samuels, Ely Ratner, Eric Heginbotham
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, caused almost unimaginable damage and misery. In a surge of floodwater that lasted just two minutes, Japan lost nearly as many people as a proportion of its population as the United States did during the entire Vietnam War. The subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors deepened the crisis. But some see a silver lining to these dark tragedies. After 20 years of economic stagnation, the crisis could bring the Japanese together, catalyze much-needed reforms, and reverse decades of malaise. Many in the United States predict that the disaster will give a welcome boost to the U.S.-Japanese alliance. In an interview with Japan's national public television network on March 22, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed, "Our alliance, which was already strong and enduring, has become even more so." Indeed, the U.S. response to the disaster showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide. In what was dubbed Operation Tomodachi (Operation Friendship), the United States mobilized some 20,000 service members to assist with relief activities. It was the largest joint operation in the history of the alliance, and it generated widespread public support in both countries. Despite the warmth of that the moment, however, deeper trends portend a far less certain future for the U.S.-Japanese relationship. Japan is undergoing profound changes aimed at empowering the political leadership at the expense of its historically preeminent bureaucracy. But rather than bringing about a clean transfer of institutional authority, the reforms have triggered battles among politicians and between politicians and bureaucrats, creating a power vacuum and undermining the government's ability to make policy. Complicating matters further are Japan's piecemeal policymaking institutions, a hypercompetitive media environment, and an increasingly dire fiscal outlook. The result has been uncertainty and gridlock, which are affecting alliance policymaking and are unlikely to disappear in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Tokyo
  • Author: Paul Collier
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, outside organizations flocked to the country to help it recover. Paul Farmer's passionate account of the effort criticizes some of these groups for bypassing the Haitian government. But given how corrupt the government has proved to be, outsiders are right to be wary.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Haiti
  • Author: Jonah Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Every invasion of Afghanistan has eventually come to naught, either because the invaders paid insufficient attention to local culture or because they sought to impose centralized control. If the United States is interested in leaving behind a better Afghanistan than the one it found, it needs to take those experiences to heart.
  • Topic: Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Bing West
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Two documentaries on the Afghan war, Restrepo and Armadillo, show how a combination of overwhelming military resources and aggressive counterinsurgency ultimately leads to frustration on the battlefield.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Yosef Kuperwasser, Shalom Lipner
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have failed miserably. The reason, write two senior Israeli government officials, is not disagreement over specific issues, such as settlements or Jerusalem, but something much more fundamental: the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ronald R. Krebs
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The greatest danger to Israel comes not from without -- in the form of Palestinian intransigence -- but from within. The ongoing occupation of the territories is destroying Israel's values and viability. It breeds an aggressive, intolerant ethnic nationalism and causes political gridlock, empowering an ultrareligious underclass that refuses to contribute and lives off the state.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: George Packer
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like an odorless gas, economic inequality pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of its democracy. Over the past three decades, Washington has consistently favored the rich -- and the more wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, the more influence and favor the rich acquire, making it easier for them and their political allies to cast off restraint without paying a social price.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Baghdad
  • Author: Paul K. MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Hugo Nixon
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. Euro-enthusiasts see the single currency as the first steppingstone toward a broader economic union, which is their dream. Euroskeptics do, too, but they see that endgame as hell -- and would prefer the single currency to be dismantled. The euro crisis has, for many observers, validated these notions. Both camps argue that the eurozone countries' lopsided efforts to construct a monetary union without a fiscal counterpart explain why the union has become such a mess. Many of the enthusiasts say that the way forward is for the 17 eurozone countries to issue euro bonds, which they would all guarantee (one of several variations on the fiscal-union theme). Even the German government, which is reluctant to bail out economies weaker than its own, thinks that some sort of pooling of budgets may be needed once the current debt problems have been solved. A fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies (led by Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands) to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). Moreover, once the crisis is solved, the enthusiasm for a fiscal union may wane. Even if Germany is still prepared to pool some budgetary functions, it will insist on imposing strict discipline on what other countries can spend and borrow. The weaker countries, meanwhile, may not wish to submit to a Teutonic straitjacket once the immediate fear of going bust has passed.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Jon Western, Joshua S. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No sooner had NATO launched its first air strike in Libya than the mission was thrown into controversy -- and with it, the more general notion of humanitarian intervention. Days after the UN Security Council authorized international forces to protect civilians and establish a no-fly zone, NATO seemed to go beyond its mandate as several of its members explicitly demanded that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi step down. It soon became clear that the fighting would last longer than expected. Foreign policy realists and other critics likened the Libyan operation to the disastrous engagements of the early 1990s in Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, arguing that humanitarian intervention is the wrong way to respond to intrastate violence and civil war, especially following the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. To some extent, widespread skepticism is understandable: past failures have been more newsworthy than successes, and foreign interventions inevitably face steep challenges. Yet such skepticism is unwarranted. Despite the early setbacks in Libya, NATO's success in protecting civilians and helping rebel forces remove a corrupt leader there has become more the rule of humanitarian intervention than the exception. As Libya and the international community prepare for the post-Qaddafi transition, it is important to examine the big picture of humanitarian intervention -- and the big picture is decidedly positive. Over the last 20 years, the international community has grown increasingly adept at using military force to stop or prevent mass atrocities. Humanitarian intervention has also benefited from the evolution of international norms about violence, especially the emergence of “the responsibility to protect,” which holds that the international community has a special set of responsibilities to protect civilians -- by force, if necessary -- from war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide when national governments fail to do so. The doctrine has become integrated into a growing tool kit of conflict management strategies that includes today's more robust peacekeeping operations and increasingly effective international criminal justice mechanisms. Collectively, these strategies have helped foster an era of declining armed conflict, with wars occurring less frequently and producing far fewer civilian casualties than in previous periods.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia
  • Author: Benjamin A. Valentino
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As forces fighting Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi consolidated control of Tripoli in the last days of August 2011, many pundits began speaking of a victory not just for the rebels but also for the idea of humanitarian intervention. In Libya, advocates of intervention argued, U.S. President Barack Obama had found the formula for success: broad regional and international support, genuine burden sharing with allies, and a capable local fighting force to wage the war on the ground. Some even heralded the intervention as a sign of an emerging Obama doctrine. It is clearly too soon for this kind of triumphalism, since the final balance of the Libyan intervention has yet to be tallied. The country could still fall into civil war, and the new Libyan government could turn out to be little better than the last. As of this writing, troubling signs of infighting among the rebel ranks had begun to emerge, along with credible reports of serious human rights abuses by rebel forces. Yet even if the intervention does ultimately give birth to a stable and prosperous democracy, this outcome will not prove that intervention was the right choice in Libya or that similar interventions should be attempted elsewhere. To establish that requires comparing the full costs of intervention with its benefits and asking whether those benefits could be achieved at a lower cost. The evidence from the last two decades is not promising on this score. Although humanitarian intervention has undoubtedly saved lives, Americans have seriously underappreciated the moral, political, and economic price involved. This does not mean that the United States should stop trying to promote its values abroad, even when its national security is not at risk. It just needs a different strategy. Washington should replace its focus on military intervention with a humanitarian foreign policy centered on saving lives by funding public health programs in the developing world, aiding victims of natural disasters, and assisting refugees fleeing violent conflict. Abandoning humanitarian intervention in most cases would not mean leaving victims of genocide and repression to their fate. Indeed, such a strategy could actually save far more people, at a far lower price.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Libya
  • Author: Ernest Moniz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the years following the major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, nuclear power fell out of favor, and some countries applied the brakes to their nuclear programs. In the last decade, however, it began experiencing something of a renaissance. Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity -- equivalent to a sixth of the world's current nuclear power capacity. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. Three reactors were severely damaged, suffering at least partial fuel meltdowns and releasing radiation at a level only a few times less than Chernobyl. The event caused widespread public doubts about the safety of nuclear power to resurface. Germany announced an accelerated shutdown of its nuclear reactors, with broad public support, and Japan made a similar declaration, perhaps with less conviction. Their decisions were made easier thanks to the fact that electricity demand has flagged during the worldwide economic slowdown and the fact that global regulation to limit climate change seems less imminent now than it did a decade ago. In the United States, an already slow approach to new nuclear plants slowed even further in the face of an unanticipated abundance of natural gas.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Germany
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: December marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the Soviet dictatorship and the beginning of Russia's postcommunist transition. For Russians, the intervening years have been full of elation and promise but also unexpected trouble and disappointment. Perhaps of all the painful developments in Russian society since the Soviet collapse, the most surprising -- and dismaying -- is the country's demographic decline. Over the past two decades, Russia has been caught in the grip of a devastating and highly anomalous peacetime population crisis. The country's population has been shrinking, its mortality levels are nothing short of catastrophic, and its human resources appear to be dangerously eroding. Indeed, the troubles caused by Russia's population trends -- in health, education, family formation, and other spheres -- represent a previously unprecedented phenomenon for an urbanized, literate society not at war. Such demographic problems are far outside the norm for both developed and less developed countries today; what is more, their causes are not entirely understood. There is also little evidence that Russia's political leadership has been able to enact policies that have any long-term hope of correcting this slide. This peacetime population crisis threatens Russia's economic outlook, its ambitions to modernize and develop, and quite possibly its security. In other words, Russia's demographic travails have terrible and outsized implications, both for those inside the country's borders and for those beyond. The humanitarian toll has already been immense, and the continuing economic cost threatens to be huge; no less important, Russia's demographic decline portends ominously for the external behavior of the Kremlin, which will have to confront a far less favorable power balance than it had been banking on.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Viktor Yanukovych has led Ukraine, no stranger to crisis, into another round of turmoil. He has rolled back democracy while failing to take on corruption or take the country closer to Europe. Now, much of the public has turned against him -- and the country could be headed for more unrest.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Michael Bernhard
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China is hardly the first great power to make authoritarian development look attractive. As Jonathan Steinberg's new biography of Bismarck shows, Wilhelmine Germany did it with ease. But can even successful nondemocratic political systems thrive and evolve peacefully over the long run? The answer depends on whether authoritarian elites can tolerate sharing power.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Germany, Peru
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia
  • Author: Elliott Abrams, Oded Naaman, Mikhael Manekin
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A HEALTHY OBSESSION Oded Naaman and Mikhael Manekin In "The Settlement Obsession" (July/ August 2011), Elliott Abrams argues:  In the end, Israel will withdraw from most of the West Bank and remain only in the major blocs where hundreds of thousands of Israelis now live. Israelis will live in a democratic state where Jews are the majority, and Palestinians will live in a state -- democratic, one hopes -- with an Arab Muslim majority. The remaining questions are how quickly or slowly that end will be reached and how to get there with minimal violence. For Abrams, there can be no other end; all that politics can do is postpone this end or bring it about. Although it would be preferable to end the conflict as soon as possible, there is no immediate need to do so. Any sense of immediacy, Abrams writes, is overblown: he claims that nongovernmental organizations and some in the international community unjustly point to a humanitarian crisis to create unwarranted urgency. In reviewing our book, Occupation of the Territories, Abrams attempts to assuage worries about the need for urgent action, going so far as to compare Israel's military behavior during its 45-year occupation of the West Bank -- in which Israel has expropriated land, seized natural resources, and settled its own population there -- to the United States' behavior during in its ten-year occupation and massive reconstruction of Germany after World War II. Abrams then implies that Breaking the Silence does not provide reliable or sufficient evidence for the claim that, in his words, "the presence of Israeli settlers and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers in the West Bank is laying waste to the area, reducing it to misery."
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Richard Katz, Michael Spence
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT Richard Katz A decade ago, the great American jobs train fell off its tracks. Traditionally, boosts in private-sector employment have accompanied recoveries from economic downturns. In the first seven years after the beginning of the 1980 and 1990 recessions, for example, the number of private-sector jobs increased by 14 percent. Yet in January 2008, seven years after the previous pre-recession peak and before the most recent recession began, private-sector jobs were up only four percent. Today, for the first time in the postwar era, there are fewer of these jobs than there were ten years before. Ignoring the overall dearth of jobs, Michael Spence (“The Impact of Globalization on Income and Unemployment,” July/August 2011) singles out the fraction of employment in sectors related to trade. He claims that China and other developing countries have taken U.S. jobs and blames globalization for the substantial increase in income inequality across the country. It is misleading, he says, to argue that “the most important forces operating on the structure of the U.S. economy are internal, not external.” He is wrong: the fault lies not in China or South Korea but at home.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: China, America, South Korea
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Amitai Etzioni
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: CHANGING THE RULES Amitai Etzioni G. John Ikenberry asks whether China will buy into the prevailing liberal, rule-based international order, which has been promoted and underwritten by the United States ("The Future of the Liberal World Order," May/June 2011). With regard to one key element of this order, however -- the Westphalian norm of sovereignty and nonintervention -- he might have inverted the premise. For here, the West has been seeking major modifications that weaken the norm, whereas China has championed the established rule and the international order based on it. Several leading Western progressives have sought to legitimize armed humanitarian intervention, under the rubric of "the responsibility to protect." Others have gone even further, seeking to legitimize interference in the internal affairs of other countries if they develop nuclear arms, invoking "the duty to prevent." Both concepts explicitly make sovereignty conditional on states' conducting themselves in line with new norms that directly conflict with the Westphalian one. The issue, in other words, is not simply whether China will buy into the existing rule-based order but whether it can be persuaded to support the major changes in the rules that the West is seeking.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Philippe Douste-Blazy, Daniel Altman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Starting in this quarter, hundreds of millions of people will have an unprecedented opportunity to help the world's most unfortunate inhabitants. When purchasing airline tickets through most major reservation Web sites or through a travel agent, consumers will be asked if they want to make a direct contribution to the fight against the world's three deadliest epidemics: HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Part of a movement called innovative financing, the project is a new kind of aid that could fundamentally change the relationship between the rich and the poor throughout the world, a few dollars at a time. Awareness about the epidemics that rage throughout the developing world occasionally crests in the international media when there is an outbreak, as there was of the Ebola virus in the 1990s and of dengue fever in the first years of this century. These periodic outbreaks usually subside within a year or two, or at least are contained before they become pandemics. The HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis epidemics have shown more staying power, however, and even now, after years of attention and treatment, each of these diseases still causes more deaths in developing countries than any other single disease, according to the World Health Organization. In 2004, the last year for which statistics were available at the time of this writing, together these three diseases caused one in eight deaths in low-income countries.
  • Author: Carlisle Ford Runge, Carlisle Piehl Runge
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the late eighteenth century, the English political economist Thomas Malthus took a look at two sets of numbers and had an unnerving vision: with food supplies increasing arithmetically while the number of people grew geometrically, the world population would eventually run out of food. "By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man," he wrote in 1798, "the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall some where and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." He was right, at least at the time: in Malthus' day, food production was essentially limited by the availability of land, whereas procreation faced few restraints. Malthus did not foresee, however, that new technologies in the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century would dramatically raise agricultural productivity. Farmers worldwide learned to use new fertilizers, petrochemical-based herbicides and insecticides, genetically improved plants (especially wheat, corn, and rice), and massive diversions of water for irrigation, notably in China and South Asia. Crop yields soared, and in the United States so much so that by the 1950s chronic surpluses and low prices were becoming problems. The economist Willard Cochrane wrote in 1965 that thanks to the recent technological revolution in U.S. agriculture, the previous decade had witnessed "the greatest gain in productive efficiency of any ten-year period in the history of American farming." Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, crop yields continued to rise, not only in rich countries but also in many parts of the developing world. In India, Mexico, and elsewhere the "green revolution" was launched by plant breeders, such as the legendary Norman Borlaug. New varieties of wheat, maize, and rice raised yields by amounts that seemed miraculous at the time. The effort provided a new model for traditional farmers and improved their food security. And it encouraged a sense of purpose for agricultural research: to end world hunger. But it also exacerbated the disadvantages of poor, landless farmers relative to land-rich ones, who could afford the innovations. Landed farmers could find the credit to invest in irrigation and purchase high-yielding seeds, but those without access to credit, and thus the new inputs, were left behind.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, South Asia, India, Mexico
  • Author: Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs. Three urgent issues -- the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the Afghan-Pakistani challenge -- will test his ability to significantly change U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Jack A. Goldstone
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A series of looming demographic trends will greatly affect international security in the twenty-first century. How policymakers adjust to these changes now will determine the course of global political and economic stability for years to come.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Taiwan and China have been moving into a closer economic and political embrace -- a process that accelerated with the election of the pro-détente politician Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan's president in 2008. This strengthening of relations presents the United States with its greatest challenge in the Taiwan Strait since 1979, when Washington severed ties with Taipei and established diplomatic relations with Beijing. In many ways, the current thaw serves Taipei's interests, but it also allows Beijing to assert increasing influence over Taiwan. As a consensus emerges in Taiwan on establishing closer relations with China, the thaw is calling into question the United States' deeply ambiguous policy, which is supposed to serve both Taiwan's interests (by allowing it to retain its autonomy) and the United States' own (by guarding against an expansionist China). Washington now faces a stark choice: continue pursuing a militarized realist approach -- using Taiwan to balance the power of a rising China -- or follow an alternative liberal logic that seeks to promote long-term peace through closer economic, social, and political ties between Taiwan and China.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: David G. Victor, Linda Yueh
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Growing demand for energy in developing countries and calls for greener energy worldwide are putting unprecedented pressure on the global energy system. Existing energy institutions are struggling to remain relevant. A new mechanism for cooperation is needed.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Graham T. Allison
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global nuclear order today could be as fragile as the global financial order was two years ago, when conventional wisdom declared it to be sound, stable, and resilient. In the aftermath of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a confrontation that he thought had one chance in three of ending in nuclear war, U.S. President John F. Kennedy concluded that the nuclear order of the time posed unacceptable risks to mankind. "I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have these weapons," he forecast. "I regard that as the greatest possible danger." Kennedy's estimate reflected the general expectation that as nations acquired the advanced technological capability to build nuclear weapons, they would do so. Although history did not proceed along that trajectory, Kennedy's warning helped awaken the world to the intolerable dangers of unconstrained nuclear proliferation. His conviction spurred a surge of diplomatic initiatives: a hot line between Washington and Moscow, a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, a ban on nuclear weapons in outer space. Refusing to accept the future Kennedy had spotlighted, the international community instead negotiated various international constraints, the centerpiece of which was the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Thanks to the nonproliferation regime, 184 nations, including more than 40 that have the technical ability to build nuclear arsenals, have renounced nuclear weapons. Four decades since the NPT was signed, there are only nine nuclear states. Moreover, for more than 60 years, no nuclear weapon has been used in an attack. In 2004, the secretary-general of the UN created a panel to review future threats to international peace and security. It identified nuclear Armageddon as the prime threat, warning, "We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation." Developments since 2004 have only magnified the risks of an irreversible cascade.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Moscow