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  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: It is projected that, at current rates, more than 100 million people worldwide will have been infected with HIV by 2005. Where the epidemic has hit hardest, Sub-Saharan Africa, experts believe AIDS will eventually kill one in four adults. Seven countries already have adult prevalence rates above 20 per cent of the population.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Russia's Foreign Policy Russian foreign policy in the coming years will be characterized by weakness; frustration--primarily with the United States as the world's preeminent power--over Russia's diminished status; generally cautious international behavior; and a drive to resubjugate, though not reintegrate, the other former Soviet states. The international situation affords Russia time to concentrate on domestic reforms because, for the first time in its history, it does not face significant external threats. But rather than use the breathing space for domestic reforms, Putin is as much--if not more--focused on restoring Russia's self-defined rightful role abroad and seeking to mold the CIS into a counterweight to NATO and the European Union. The Outside World's Views of Russia Russia does not have any genuine allies. Some countries are interested in good relations with Russia, but only as a means to another end. For example, China sees Russia as a counterweight to the United States but values more highly its ties with the United States. Some countries see Russia as a vital arms supplier but resent Russia also selling arms to their rivals (China-India, Iran-Iraq). Pro-Russia business lobbies exist in Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Israel (one-fifth of whose population now consists of Soviet émigres), but they do not single-handedly determine national policies. Europe is the only region that would like to integrate Russia into a security system, but it is divided over national priorities and institutional arrangements as well as put off by some Russian behavior. Most CIS governments do not trust their colossal neighbor, which continues to show an unsettling readiness to intervene in their internal affairs, though they know Russia well and are to a considerable degree comfortable in dealing with it. Turkey has developed an improved dialogue and an unprecedented number of economic ties with Russia during the post-Cold War period, but this more positive pattern of relations has not fully taken root, and Ankara remains suspicious of Moscow's intentions. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow's role in the Middle East has been reduced, but Israel, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq all favor good relations with Russia. Mutual interests also override disagreements in Russian-Iranian relations, but Tehran is wary of Russian behavior, particularly toward Saddam Hussein. India still trusts Russia--a sentiment that is perhaps a residue of the genuine friendship of Cold War days--but clearly not in the same way it once did, and New Delhi fears that weakness will propel Russia into doing things that could drive India further away. In East Asia, the most substantial breakthrough has been the resurrected relationship between Russia and China, one that entails significant longer-term risk for Russia. Other countries in the region value their links with Moscow as a means to balance a more powerful China, or as a useful component of their larger political and economic strategies, but Russia's role in East Asia--as elsewhere--remains constrained by the decline in its political, military, and economic power over the last decade. Russia's Weakness Russia's weakness stems from long-term secular trends and from its domestic structure. In essence, the old nomenklatura and a few newcomers have transformed power into property on the basis of personal networks and created an equilibrium resting on insider dealings. These insiders may jockey for position but have a vested interest in preserving the system. The public does not like the system but is resigned to it and gives priority to the preservation of order. As for the economy, it is divided into a profitable, internationally integrated sector run by oligarchs and a much larger, insulated, low-productivity, old-style paternalistic sector that locks Russia into low growth. No solace will be forthcoming from the international business and energy worlds. They do not expect the poor commercial climate to improve greatly and will not increase investments much beyond current levels until it does. Militarily, Russia will also remain weak. Its nuclear arsenal is of little utility, and Moscow has neither the will nor the means to reform and strengthen its conventional forces. Hope for the Future? The best hope for change in Russia lies with the younger generation. Several participants reported that under-25 Russians have much more in common with their US counterparts, including use of the Internet, than with older Soviet generations. But there was some question over whether the new generation would change the system or adapt to it. Others placed some hope in international institutions, for instance the World Trade Organization, eventually forcing Russia to adapt to the modern world. Dissenting Views Some participants dissented from the overall forecast of depressing continuity. The keynote speaker, James Billington, stated that Russia would not be forever weak and that the current confusion would end in a few years either through the adoption of authoritarian nationalism or federated democracy. One scholar felt the Chechen war was feeding ethnic discord in other areas of the Federation to which Moscow would respond with increased authoritarianism, not necessarily successfully. Finally, a historian observed that the patience of Russians is legendary but not infinite, meaning that we should not be overly deterministic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Brent Scowcroft, C. Richard Nelson, Lee H. Hamilton, James Shlesinger
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current stalemate between the United States and Iran, while emotionally satisfying to many Americans, does not serve overall U.S. interests well. It hinders the achievement of several key U.S. geopolitical interests, especially over the longer term. These interests include, but are not limited to, regional stability, energy security, and the broader and evolving geopolitical relationships between the United States and China and Russia in the Persian Gulf and Caspian basin. Furthermore, the leading industrial countries are moving to improve relations with Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: China said yesterday it would release the crew of the US EP-3 surveillance aircraft that was forced to land in Hainan Island on April 8, following a mid-air collision with a Chinese fighter. The Bush administration will welcome resolution of the dispute, especially as opinion polls released yesterday showed that a majority of US citizens regarded the crew as 'hostages'. Had the 24 crew members not been released before the Easter holiday, the crisis would have become far more significant for the White House, and inflamed anti-China sentiment in Congress. In the short term, resolution of the crisis will result in a scaling down of the criticism of some conservatives that the White House has been unduly accommodating towards China. However, in the longer-term, the episode will strengthen the conservative 'anti-China' lobby in Washington, which could hamper Bush's future attempts to improve relations with Beijing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing
  • Author: Neil E. Silver
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The political dynamics of China-Japan relations have changed in reaction to three events: the demise of bipolar world politics, China's ''rise,'' and Japan's unexpected economic stall. These changed political dynamics have brought important challenges and consequences for the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In what has been described as its most important vote this year, the U.S. Congress will soon decide whether to provide permanent normal trade relations to China. A vote is required because, after 14 years of negotiations, China is poised to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO). Assuming China concludes its bilateral negotiations with the European Union by June or July, entry is likely before the end of the year. The cornerstone principle of the World Trade Organization is that members provide each other unconditional Most Favored Nation trade status, now called Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) in U.S. trade law. Current U.S. law precludes granting PNTR to China; as a result President Clinton has asked Congress to amend the law. A negative vote would have no bearing on China's entry into the World Trade Organization, but it would mean that U.S. companies would not benefit from the most important commitments China has made to become a member. Gaining the full range of benefits is particularly important in light of the large and growing deficit the United States faces in its trade with China (Figure 1). A positive vote would give U.S. companies the same advantages that would accrue to companies from Europe, Japan, and all other WTO member states when China enters the World Trade Organization. It would also provide an important boost to China's leadership, that is taking significant economic and political risks in order to meet the demands of the international community for substantial additional economic reforms as a condition for its WTO membership. A positive vote would strengthen bilateral economic relations more generally. That may help place a floor on the broader bilateral relationship, which continues to face critical challenges on security issues, stemming largely from tensions between China and Taiwan, and on human rights issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The foreign policy record of the Clinton-Gore administration deserves a less than stellar grade. At the end of the Cold War, there was an extraordinary opportunity to build a new relationship with a democratic Russia; restructure U.S. security policy in both Europe and East Asia to reduce America's burdens and risk exposure; and revisit intractable Cold War–era problems, such as the frosty relations with Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. The administration's performance must be judged within the context of such an unprecedented opportunity for constructive change.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Israel, East Asia, Asia, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Mark A. Groombridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. Congress is in the historic position of being able to help pro-reform leaders in China move their country in a market-oriented direction. A vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status will bolster the position of those leaders in Beijing who are attempting to deepen and broaden the scope of China's two-decade experiment with economic reform. Granting PNTR and China's subsequent accession to the World Trade Organization will benefit, not only the United States and the world trading community, but most directly the citizens of China, millions of whom are still mired in abject poverty.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and China's Prime Minister Zhu Rongji this month held talks in Beijing to discuss China's accession to the WTO. Beyond opening up commercial opportunities to US firms, the award of permanent normal trade relations status to China, and its prospective accession to the WTO, should in theory add predictability to the bilateral trade relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Christopher Layne
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Clinton administration has made one miscalculation after another in dealing with the Kosovo crisis. U.S. officials and their NATO colleagues never understood the historical and emotional importance of Kosovo to the Serbia n people, believing instead that Belgrade's harsh repression of the ethnic Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo merely reflected the will of President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. The administration's foreign policy team mistakenly concluded that, under a threat of air strikes, the Yugoslav government would sign a dictate d peace accord (the Rambouillet agreement) to be implemented by a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Even if Milosevic initially refused to sign the Rambouillet agreement, administration leaders believed that Belgrade would relent after a brief “demonstration” bombing campaign. Those calculations proved to be disastrously wrong.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Albania