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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: We face a critical juncture in Ukraine. There is no real ceasefire; indeed, there was a significant increase in fighting along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine in mid-January, with Russian/separatist forces launching attacks on the Donetsk airport and other areas. Instead of a political settlement, Moscow currently seeks to create a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine as a means to pressure and destabilize the Ukrainian government. Russians continue to be present in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in substantial numbers and have introduced significant amounts of heavy weapons. This could be preparation for another major Russian/ separatist offensive.
  • Topic: NATO, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the proposed transfer of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversight away from the US government. The background section explores how the technical architecture of critical Internet resources has certain governance implications, introduces the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its relationship with the US government through the IANA function and the Affirmation of Commitments. After discussing why the relationship has caused controversy, the paper describes the work underway within ICANN to find a successor oversight mechanism and provides a short critique of the proposals so far. The majority of the paper is taken up with more general issues relating to ICANN's accountability. It explains how the IANA transition was recognized to be dependent on ICANN's wider accountability, and the trust issues between community and leadership that this exposed. There follows an analysis of ICANN's strengths and weaknesses in relation to accountability and transparency, followed by conclusions and recommendations.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ming Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Due to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the Chinese government began to promote renminbi (RMB) internationalization in order to raise its international status, decrease reliance on the US dollar (USD) and advance domestic structural reform. RMB internationalization has achieved progress not only in cross-border trade settlement, but also in the offshore RMB markets. However, the rampant cross-border arbitrage and the relatively slow development of RMB invoicing compared to RMB settlement are becoming increasingly problematic. RMB internationalization has exerted significant influence on not only the Chinese economy but also other emerging market economies. RMB internationalization complicates domestic monetary policy, exacerbates the currency mismatch on China's international balance sheet and increases both the scale and volatility of short-term capital flows. It offers emerging economies another alternative for pricing domestic currency and investing foreign exchange reserves. Its overall impact on the international monetary system's stability will depend on how the capital account is liberalized and the consistency and transparency of Chinese monetary policy. This paper concludes with five recommendations for Chinese policy makers to promote RMB internationalization in a sustainable way that is conducive to international stability.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Frank J. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In a well-written and insightful volume, Shanna Rose has joined a growing number of scholars in assessing the remarkable rise of Medicaid in the Ameri­can health care system. Thought to be subject to erosion because of the forces of interstate economic competition and because a “program for the poor is a poor program,” Medicaid has instead expanded. The program now insures more than 70 million people and costs federal and state governments well over $400 billion annually. Viewed by many in 1965 as a down-at-the-heels second cousin to Medicare that would fade away with the coming of national health insurance, Medicaid instead became a key plank in Obamacare in 2010. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19321#sthash.ALrrwILZ.dpuf
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark Zachary Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: This dense, powerful volume offers profound insights into the U.S. innovation system and its driving forces. The driving forces are Americans' twin desires for technology-based military supremacy (which demands government action) and small government (which militates against it). These twin forces have produced a highly successful, ever-evolving, and unique set of federal institutions and policies, which Linda Weiss calls the “national security state” (NSS). The NSS is the secret to American innovation. Since World War II, it has dominated high-risk innovation, revolutionary technological change, and the formation of new S industries. Weiss's book also reveals that the NSS is not static, but changes in response to changes in perceived geopolitical threats and to shifts in popular anti-statist sentiments. The book explains why the NSS came about, how it works, and glimpses its future. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19346#sthash.kIPIPtW6.dpuf
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Khalid Homayun Nadiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has pursued seemingly incongruous courses of action in Afghanistan. It has participated in the U.S. and international intervention in Afghanistan at the same time as it has permitted much of the Afghan Taliban's political leadership and many of its military commanders to visit or reside in Pakistani urban centers. This incongruence is all the more puzzling in light of the expansion of indiscriminate and costly violence directed against Islamabad by Pakistani groups affiliated with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan's policy is the result not only of its enduring rivalry with India but also of historically rooted domestic imbalances and antagonistic relations with successive governments in Afghanistan. Three critical features of the Pakistani political system—the militarized nature of foreign policy making, ties between military institutions and Islamist networks, and the more recent rise of grassroots violence—have contributed to Pakistan's accommodation of the Afghan Taliban. Additionally, mutual suspicion surrounding the contentious Afghanistan-Pakistan border and Islamabad's long record of interference in Afghan politics have continued to divide Kabul and Islamabad, diminishing the prospect of cooperation between the two capitals. These determinants of Pakistan's foreign policy behavior reveal the prospects of and obstacles to resolving the numerous issues of contention that characterize the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship today.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a tour de force—a compelling and accessible read that presents an eloquent and convincing warning about the future of capitalism.* Capitalism, Piketty argues, suffers from an inherent tendency to generate an explosive spiral of increasing inequality of wealth and income. This inegalitarian dynamic of capitalism is not due to textbook failures of capitalist markets (for example, natural monopolies) or failures of economic institutions (such as the failure to regulate these monopolies), but to the way capitalism fundamentally works. Unless the spiral is controlled by far more progressive taxation than is now the norm, the political fallout could undermine the viability of the successful “social state” (p. 471) in the advanced economies, putting the democratic state itself at risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, France
  • Author: James L. Buckley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: “The United States faces two major problems today,” writes James L. Buckley: “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence.” Contributing significantly to both, he argues, are the more than 1,100 federal grants-in-aid programs Congress has enacted—federal grants to state and local governments, constituting 17 percent of the federal budget, the third-largest spending category after entitlements and defense, with costs that have risen from $24.1 billion in 1970 to $640.8 billion in fiscal 2015. His “modest proposal”? Do away with them entirely, thereby saving Congress from itself while emancipating the states and empowering their people. If that sounds like a program for revising constitutional federalism, it is.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iran and the P5+1 countries are expected to issue a joint statement today that outlines most aspects of a comprehensive nuclear deal, but defers some still thorny issues to further talks A key remaining sticking point is Iran's demand for immediate and comprehensive lifting of sanctions, which the P5+1 cannot accept The United States is attempting to reassure nervous regional partners, such as Israel and Arab Gulf states, that the U.S. is not making too many concessions for the sake of a deal U.S. allies in the region are concerned that lifting sanctions, even if done gradually, will enable Iran to provide even more military and financial aid to the Assad regime in Syria, Shi'a militias in Iraq, and the Houthi movement in Yemen.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Yemen, Syria
  • 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