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  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: This report outlines constitutional and legislative options for a political transition in Syria under the umbrella of the Final Geneva Communiqué, issued by the Action Group on Syria on 30 June 2012, and revived in early May 2013 at a meeting in Moscow between the U.S. and Russia. The Communiqué embodies the greatest degree of consensus that the international community has been able to achieve regarding the Syrian conflict, detailing a potentially viable path to a negotiated end to the civil war. Since May 2013, efforts by UN and Arab League Joint Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and others to host a peace conference on Syria (dubbed "Geneva II"), have reinforced the importance of developing possible constitutional and legislative modalities for a transition.
  • Topic: Civil War, Government, International Cooperation, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Peter Haynes
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In a world of near-infinite computing power, ubiquitous connectivity, cloud-based services, and big data, the fact that the vast majority of countries holds elections using paper ballots appears an anomaly.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Garrett Riba
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, the rising amount of economic losses, and the mounting costs of providing relief indicate the growing importance of disaster resilience. Disasters have far- reaching consequences, ranging from the most basic physical injuries and property losses to long- term psychological, economic, and cultural damage. Merely supplementing resources to address the aftermath of disasters— rather than mitigating risks and putting in place key elements in advance of a disaster— is not a sustainable model for community resilience. Additionally, failure to utilize the resources of all public- and private- sector stakeholders to develop long- term planning mechanisms leaves communities vulnerable to repeated, high levels of damage and destruction.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Government, Terrorism, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephen M. Walt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power, Mlada Bukovansky, Ian Clark, Robyn Eckersley, Richard Price, Christian Reus-Smit, and Nicholas Wheeler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 290 pp., $29.99 paper. Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright famously described the United States as the “indispensable nation,” entitled to lead because it “sees further than others do.” She was one of the many government officials who believed their country had “special responsibilities,” and was therefore different in some way from other states. Such claims are sometimes made to rally domestic support for some costly international action; at other times they are used to exempt a great power from norms or constraints that weaker states are expected to follow.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Before the ink on the Treaty of Versailles was dry, the idea of creating an organization dedicated to educating, informing and advising future leaders about the causes and consequences of war was already gaining traction. At 'a series of unofficial meetings held in Paris in 1919',1 Lionel Curtis, an Oxford professor and visionary with a reputation for possessing an impressive array of entrepreneurial skills, was spearheading efforts to establish an Anglo-American research institution where scholars could explore international problems and advocate policy solutions.2 This kind of organization appealed to Curtis and to those with whom he discussed it for several reasons, not the least of which was that it could provide a valuable forum for both policy-makers and prominent policy experts in the leading western powers to talk to one another about international affairs. It was also a concept with which several of the delegates attending the Paris peace talks had some familiarity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of institutions had already taken root in Great Britain and in the United States with the aim of helping policy-makers navigate their way through complex policy problems. They included the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (1831), founded by the first Duke of Wellington; London's Fabian Society (1884), home to a number of prominent scholars, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the London School of Economics; the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), established by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie; and the Institute for Government Research (1916), which merged with two other institutions to form the Brookings Institution in 1927.3 Curtis and his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States were also aware of the ground-breaking research that had been conducted at hundreds of settlement houses in their respective countries. It was at places such as London's Toynbee Hall (1884) and Chicago's Hull House, co-founded by Jane Addams in 1889, that sociologists and other university faculty with expertise in social welfare policy could study the working conditions of the poor.4 In short, proponents of establishing a foreign affairs research institution recognized the importance of encouraging a dialogue between leading social scientists and high-level policy-makers.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Washington, Paris, London, Wellington
  • Author: Bruce Bennett
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States have maintained a strong security alliance for 60 years. Throughout that period, North Korea has posed continuing threats that have evolved significantly in recent years. Because North Korea is a failing state, the ROK and the United States must seek to deter, and, if necessary, defeat a range of North Korean challenges, from provocations to major war. They must also be prepared to deal with a North Korean government collapse. All of these challenges potentially involve a ROK/US offensive into North Korea to unify Korea, with significantly different force requirements than the historical defense of Seoul.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The new national security leaders in Japan, the United States, China and the two Koreas have assumed office at a precarious time. Despite the recent relaxation of tensions, conditions are ripe for further conflict in Northeast Asia. The new DPRK leadership is as determined as its predecessor to possess nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while resisting unification or reconciliation with South Korea and its allies. The new government in Tokyo is also augmenting its military capabilities. Meanwhile, despite Chinese efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, the Obama administration has refused to engage with the DPRK until it demonstrates a willingness to end its nuclear weapons program and improving intra-Korean ties. But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies may be too passive in the face of North Korea' s growing military capabilities, leading the new South Korean government, striving to maneuver between Beijing and Washington, to consider new initiatives to restart a dialogue with the North even while reinforcing its own military capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Laura R. Olson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE UNITED STATES supposedly is premised on “separation of church and state,” which means the American government should be neutral regarding religion. But is that really true? The author, a law professor and committed secularist, has strong opinions on this matter. Particularly since the 2004 presidential election that returned George W. Bush to the U.S. presidency for a second term, Ledewitz has been concerned that American secularism—both as an individual choice and a stance on the part of government—is under threat. Although the proportion of secular Americans has been growing rapidly in the twenty-first century, the successful marriage of religion and conservative politics in the U.S. might be inhibiting secularism from full acceptance as a valid alternative to religious commitment. After completing two earlier books on secularism in the U.S., Ledewitz reached the rather specific conclusion “that American constitutional law stood in the way of any serious engagement of secularism with religion” (p. xiii, emphasis mine). Thus, he sets forth in Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism to accomplish two tasks. First, he aims to detail how and why he feels current interpretation of “church-state separation” by the U.S. Supreme Court is problematic. Second, he endeavors to construct an alternative legal approach that would put religious people on common ground with secularists before the eyes of American law.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Having reached an interim accord in Geneva, two governments with a tortured political history must now work to sell it and the diplomatic strategy they have laid out to their own constituencies back home. In this paper, the role of the United States Congress in the process of developing American foreign policy in general and, in the current matter of Iran's nuclear file in particular will be examined. To do so, it describes the history of the relationship between the White House and Congress and then examines the difficult task of the Obama administration to garner support for its strategy in Congress. It reviews the reservations voiced by many in Congress regarding the Geneva nuclear interim accord as well as their misgivings regarding a final agreement. As the matter at hand involves high stake politics in the Middle East, it may carry grave consequences for the status quo in the region. The possible ramifications and the way this effects the position of those in Congress will also be explored. Lastly, since lobby groups have historically had a major role in American foreign policy towards the Middle East, their extensively-discussed role in this case as well as challenges they face will also be touched upon. In general, this paper proposes to describe specifically the way the US policy towards Iran is being formulated and what role Congress plays in the process. Effort will be made to find out to what extent the domestic politics has an impact on the approach of Congress towards Iran and how Congress may be influenced by Middle East regional powers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Iran, Middle East