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  • Author: Manuel Lafont Rapnouil
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2003, trying to convince member states to reform the United Nations, former secretary-general Kofi Annan contended at the General Assembly that the international community was at ''a fork in the road'': in his mind, member states had to decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed in 1945, when the UN was founded, or whether radical changes are needed. With current calls for a ''new BrettonWoods'' to respond to the ongoing economic crisis, Annan's judgment can be applied to the whole multilateral system today. Never has reform seemed so necessary. The coming challenges and threats call not only for collective action, but also for effective institutions, legitimate rules, and global mobilization, which is precisely what multilateralism is about.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jörg Asmussen
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The world economy has experienced a downturn of historical dimensions since the onset of 2009. Almost everywhere, production has declined rapidly, world trade has virtually collapsed, and the recession has spread to all major economic regions. The global financial crisis is the culmination of an exceptional boom in credit growth and leverage in the financial system. Low interest rates, abundant liquidity, and low volatility prompted investors to search for higher yields without an adequate appreciation of related risks. Financial institutions developed new structures and innovative risky instruments to meet investors' demand for higher yields. Investors in turn, overly optimistic about continued rises in asset prices, did not look closely enough into the nature of the assets they bought. They mostly relied on the analysis of credit rating agencies which were, in some cases, also selling advice on how to develop the rated products. This failure of market discipline played a considerable role in the crisis.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Lewis Dunn, Dallas Boyd, James Scouras
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Asked shortly before leaving office to identify his ''greatest accomplishment'' as president, George W. Bush expressed his pride in ''keeping America safe.'' Political commentator Peggy Noonan observed that the judgment ''newly re-emerging as the final argument'' for Bush's presidency is that he succeeded in preventing another attack on the scale of September 11, 2001. Noonan suggested, however, that ''It is unknown, and perhaps can't be known, whether this was fully due to the government's efforts, or the luck of the draw, or a combination of luck and effort.''
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant effects of the Iraq war is Iran's seemingly unprecedented influence and freedom of action in regional affairs, presenting new strategic challenges for the United States and its regional allies. Although Middle Eastern governments and the United States are in general agreement about diagnosing Tehran's activism as the war's most alarming consequence, they disagree on how to respond. The conventional U.S. view suggests that a new Arab consensus has been prompted to neutralize and counter Tehran's rising influence across the region in Gaza, the Gulf, Iraq, and Lebanon. Parallels to Cold War containment are clear. Indeed, whether consciously or unwittingly, U.S. policy has been replicating features of the Cold War model by trying to build a ''moderate'' Sunni Arab front to bolster U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence. Despite signals that the Obama administration intends to expand U.S. engagement with Iran, the foundations of containment are deeply rooted and engender bipartisan backing from Congress. Even if the Obama administration desires to shift U.S. policy toward Iran, containment policies will be difficult to overturn quickly; if engagement with Iran fails, reliance on containment will only increase.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Two snapshots convey the flavor of India's pursuit of a larger role in global governing councils. The first dates from India's most recent accession for a two-year term to the United Nations Security Council in January 1991, just as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was coming apart and the end of the Cold War was in sight. The first major issue to come before the council was the package of resolutions that would end the first Iraq war. Harried Indian diplomats, faced with draft resolutions being pressed on them with great insistence by their U.S. counterparts, spoke of their need to ''find the non-aligned consensus.'' Whatever decision India made was bound to alienate an international constituency it cared about. For Indian officials, this moment captured both the advantages and drawbacks of participating in the world's decisionmaking. The then—Indian ambassador to the United States, Abid Hussein, expressed considerable frustration in a private conversation with me at the time: ''Do you realize that we will have to do this for two years?''
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Soviet Union
  • Author: Jonathan Holslag
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Three warships sailed through the Straits of Malacca in December last year, en route to a milestone in recent Chinese military history. Joining the United Nations-backed international naval force in the Gulf of Aden, China sought to protect its global economic interests with military power for the first time. It is not, however, Beijing's only step toward a more proactive security policy beyond the Strait of Taiwan. China is gradually paving the way for a more prominent presence as a global military player by strategizing, training, and modernizing its military hardware.
  • Topic: Economics, History
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Christopher F. Chyba, J. D. Crouch
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 requires the U.S. secretary of defense to conduct a nuclear posture review (NPR) in consultation with the secretaries of energy and state, and to report the results to Congress before the end of 2009.The NPR, therefore, will be the Obama administration's forum for reviewing U.S. nuclear weapons policy, posture, and related programmatic and technical issues. Navigating and choosing among sharp disagreements in each of these areas, in order to map the wisest path forward for national and international security, is a difficult task. President Barack Obama has already made decisions on a number of important nuclear issues, but the NPR will need to relate these to the overall nuclear weapons posture. How will his desire to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) relate to the size and capabilities of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex? Should the United States arm some Trident submarines with conventionally/-tipped ballistic missiles? Should it pursue new arms control agreements with Russia beyond negotiating a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)? What should medium/-term U.S. objectives for strategic and non/-strategic warhead numbers and types be? What about ballistic missile defense? The list of important questions is long and, unless integrated into a broader strategic vision, presents a disparate jumble of choices.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Jonathan Marcus
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Israeli voters went to the polls in February 2009 for the fifth time in a decade. The campaign was overshadowed by the December 2008 Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip: air operations beginning just two days after Christmas and Israeli ground operations following during the early days of the New Year. Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip some three weeks later but sporadic Palestinian rocket fire continued even after the election during the ensuing weeks of coalition formation. Inevitably an election which might have focused on the future path toward peace, or perhaps the onset of the economic crisis, was dominated by traditional concerns about security. The outcome enabled both the centrist Kadima party leader and outgoing foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and the standard bearer of the right, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, to claim victory. Kadima won the most seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, while the political right as a whole emerged with the best chance of forming the next governing coalition.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Thomas J. Christensen
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama ran a successful campaign on the theme of change. Yet, for addressing what is perhaps the greatest long-term strategic challenge facing the United States—managing U.S. relations with a rising China—change is not what is needed. President George W. Bush's strategy toward China is an underappreciated success story and the Obama administration would be wise to build on that success rather than attempt to radically transform U.S. policy toward China.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Abraham F. Lowenthal
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Because the new administration of President Barack Obama inherited the most demanding agenda, both at home and abroad, that any U.S. government has faced in many decades, few observers expected that it would devote much attention to U.S. relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. None of the countries of the Americas presents an imminent threat to U.S. national security. None is likely to be the source or target of significant international terrorism. With so much else to attend to, the Obama administration might well have relegated Latin America to the distant backburner.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America