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  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The coalition strategy has reached an impasse. None of the efforts attempted since the summer of 2009 has halted the deterioration of the political and security situation. Although a few tactical successes might be possible, the coalition cannot defeat the Taliban or rally local commanders to its side. Moreover, the Karzai government enjoys very limited legitimacy and appears incapable of rebuilding a state that can assume responsibility for its own security in the foreseeable future. The coalition faces the risk of an endless engagement accompanied by an intolerable loss of life and treasure.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: William Drozdiak
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: These days, there is a great deal of talk about the dawn of an Asian century -- hastened by the rise of China and India. Meanwhile, the fractious Atlantic alliance, enfeebled by two wars and an economic crisis, is said to be fading away. But the West is not doomed to decline as a center of power and influence. A relatively simple strategic fix could reinvigorate the historic bonds between Europe and North America and reestablish the West's dominance: it is time to bring together the West's principal institutions, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When NATO's 28 leaders gather in Portugal later this year to draw up a new security strategy for the twenty-first century, they will consider a range of options, including military partnerships with distant allies such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Yet the most practical solution lies just down the road from the alliance's sprawling headquarters near the Brussels airport. Genuine cooperation between NATO and the 27-nation European Union would allow Western governments to meld hard power with soft, making both organizations better equipped to confront modern threats, such as climate change, failed states, and humanitarian disasters. A revitalized Atlantic alliance is by far the most effective way for the United States and Europe to shore up their global influence in the face of emerging Asian powers. NOT-SO-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORS Anybody who spends time in Brussels comes away mystified by the lack of dialogue between the West's two most important multinational organizations, even though they have been based in the same city for decades. Only a few years ago, it was considered a minor miracle when the EU's foreign policy czar and NATO's secretary-general decided that they should have breakfast together once a month. An EU planning cell is now ensconced at NATO military headquarters, but there is scarcely any other communication between the two institutions. With Europe and the United States facing common threats from North Africa to the Hindu Kush, it is imperative for Western nations to take advantage of these two organizations' resources in the fields of law enforcement, counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, drug interdiction, and even agricultural policy.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, Brussels
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A flurry of high-level political and diplomatic contacts marked the quarter. The engagement culminated in the December visit of DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro to China and his meeting with President Hu Jintao followed by the visit of Vice President Xi Jinping to Japan and his audience with Emperor Akihito. Both Japanese and Chinese political leaders repeatedly made clear their intentions to advance the bilateral relationship. While progress on issues related to joint development of resources in the East China Sea and resolution of the adulterated gyoza case remained noticeably lacking, public opinion polls suggested an upward trend in the way both Japanese and Chinese viewed each other and the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Last quarter we focused on remarks by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaiming that “America is back in Asia,” an obvious dig at real and perceived neglect of Asia by the previous administration. This quarter, both were forced to postpone planned trips to Asia although, in Secretary Clinton's case, not before giving a major Asia policy address in Honolulu. This quarter also ended the same as last, amid hints that Pyongyang really would, at some not too distant point (but not this past quarter), return to six-party deliberations. On a more positive note, it looks like arms control agreements are on the way back, following the announcement that the US and Russia had finally come to terms on a new strategic arms agreement, to be signed by both presidents in April. Speculation about the “changing balance of power” in Asia also continues as a result of China's economic resilience and apparent newfound confidence, although it still seems premature to announce that the Middle Kingdom is back, given the challenges highlighted at this year's National Peoples' Congress. Political normalcy also appears to be a long way from returning to Bangkok where the “red shirts” have once again taken to the street, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, America, Asia, Bangkok
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For nearly two weeks, the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain has experienced near-daily disturbances following government arrests of opposition activists from the majority Shiite community. The timing of the arrests seemed geared toward preempting trouble in advance of the scheduled October 23 parliamentary and municipal elections, which minority Sunni parties and candidates are currently projected to win. The street violence and other incidents are of particular concern to the United States because Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, whose mission is to "deter and counter disruptive countries" -- a wording likely aimed at Iran, which claimed the island as its territory prior to 1970.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Far from being a bulwark against the spread of extremism and violence from Afghanistan, Tajikistan is looking increasingly like its southern neighbour – a weak state that is suffering from a failure of leadership. Energy infrastructure is near total breakdown for the second winter running, and it is likely migrant labourer remittances, the driver of the country's economy in recent years, will fall dramatically as a result of the world economic crisis. President Emomali Rakhmon may be facing his greatest challenge since the civil war of 1992-97. At the very least the government will be confronted with serious economic problems, and the desperately poor population will be condemned to yet more deprivation. At worst the government runs the risk of social unrest. There are few indications that the Rakhmon administration is up to this challenge. To address the situation, the international community – both at the level of international organisations and governments – should ensure any assistance reaches those who truly need it, place issues of governance and corruption at the centre of all contacts with the Tajik government, and initiate an energetic dialogue with President Rakhmon on democratisation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government, Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Gerald LeMelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Policy Information Center
  • Abstract: Welcome to International Affairs Forum's fourth special publication. We are once again delighted to be able to offer our readers a diverse collection of views, and I hope everyone will find something of interest. I think this publication stands out not only because of the quality of contributors, who have been generous enough to give up their valuable time over such a busy period, but also the range of subjects and geographical reach—we have contributors based on four continents and from nine countries covering everything from defense policy through Brand America and U.S.-India relations. I don't wish to add anything to the enormous amount of ink spilled over the historic nature of the recent election, except to say that whatever one's views of the past eight years—and this publication contains a full range of them—living in Tokyo has demonstrated to me time and again that although this is the Asian century, the world's eyes have been, and still are, very much on the United States of America and what Barack Obama will do in office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India, Asia, Tokyo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The bizarre prosecution and conviction of opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for violating her house arrest has returned attention to repression in Myanmar, as preparations were underway for the first national elections in twenty years, now scheduled for 2010. This further undermined what little credibility the exercise may have had, especially when based on a constitution that institutionalises the military's political role. The UN Secretary-General's July visit, which produced no tangible results, added to the gloom. But while the elections will not be free and fair – a number of prominent regime opponents have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms over the last year – the constitution and elections together will fundamentally change the political landscape in a way the government may not be able to control. Senior Generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye may soon step down or move to ceremonial roles, making way for a younger military generation. All stakeholders should be alert to opportunities that may arise to push the new government toward reform and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Karen Eggleston, Mingshan Lu, Congdong Li, Jian Wang, Zhe Yang, Jing Zhang, Yu-Chu Shen
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Using data from 276 general acute hospitals in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province from 2002 and 2004, we construct a preliminary metric of budget constraint softness. We find that, controlling for hospital size, ownership, and other factors, a Chinese hospital's probability of receiving government financial support is inversely associated with the hospital's previous net revenue, an association consistent with soft budget constraints.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Cunrui Huang, Haocai Liang, Cordia Chu, Shannon Rutherford, Qingshan Geng
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: China continues to face great challenges in meeting the health needs of its large population. The challenges are not just lack of resources, but also how to use existing resources more efficiently, more effectively, and more equitably. Now a major unaddressed challenge facing China is how to reform an inefficient, poorly organized health care delivery system. The objective of this study is to analyze the role of private health care provision in China and discuss the implications of increasing private-sector development for improving health system performance.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: China, Asia