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  • Author: Oliver Borszik
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to explain how Iran's regime persisted in the face of international sanctions during Mahmud Ahmadinejad's presidency, from 2005 to 2013. It reconstructs the interplay between the intensifying UNSC, US and EU sanctions and the targeted regime's strategies to advance the nuclear program and maintain intra-elite cohesion. Initially, the nuclear program was expanded due to high oil income in combination with explicit resistance to the presumed regime‐change ambitions of the Western sanction senders. At the end of Ahmadinejad's presidency, the decline of foreign exchange earnings from oil exports and the continued regime-change scenario contributed to the neglect of this regimelegitimizing strategy in favor of the maintenance of intra-elite cohesion. My main argument is that once the US and EU oil and financial sanctions curtailed the cost‐intensive further development of the nuclear program, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei used these sanctions as an external stimulus to contain burgeoning factional disputes.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Mariana Llanos, Magna Inácio
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the evolution of the institutional presidency – meaning the cluster of agencies that directly support the chief of the executive – in Argentina and Brazil since their redemocratization in the 1980s. It investigates what explains the changes that have come about regarding the size of the institutional presidency and the types of agency that form it. Following the specialized literature, we argue that the growth of the institutional presidency is connected to developments occurring in the larger political system – that is, to the political challenges that the various presidents of the two countries have faced. Presidents adjust the format and mandate of the different agencies under their authority so as to better manage their relations with the political environment. In particular, we argue that the type of government (coalition or single-party) has had consequences for the structure of the presidency or, in other words, that different cabinet structures pose different challenges to presidents. This factor has not played a significant role in presidency-related studies until now, which have hitherto mostly been based on the case of the United States. Our empirical references, the presidencies of Argentina and Brazil, and typical cases of coalitional as well as single-party presidentialism respectively all allow us to show the impact of the type of government on the number and type of presidential agencies.
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Argentina
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: <p>Chinas leadership currently seems to be extremely worried about unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, even though the countrys official unemployment rate is rather low. Possible reasons for this are that (1) the youth unemployment rate is actually higher than stated; (2) the inadequate employment situation faced by many young people is actually worse than the incomplete measurements of unemployment indicate; (3) particularly graduates of tertiary education institutions face a job reality below their expectations; (4) the Chinese population is highly concerned about the labor markets development; and, (5) the state fears that frustration and discontent might trigger protests, as was recently the case in the Arab world and other countries. This paper analyzes the different dimensions of the inadequate employment situation of Chinese youth and provides evidence to support all five of these assumptions, although indications of direct actions being undertaken by unemployed young people in China in response are rather scarce. But aside from that, there are other forms of youth resistance as well. Many young people in the country vent their frustration over the internet, and opting out and cynicism can also threaten social harmony. Tertiary‐sector graduates make up approximately half of all young people entering the Chinese labor market every year and are the ones most affected by the currently unsatisfying job prospects. Though the unemployment of graduates is only short term in nature, a lack of job opportunities combined with declining opportunities for upward mobility carry strong potential to generate further uneasiness and disorder in China./p
  • Author: Sam Handlin
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What are the causes and implications of polarization in new democracies? During Latin America’s “Left Turn” period, highly polarized party systems emerged in some countries–Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and El Salvador–but not the rest of the region. This paper proposes a theory to explain variation, centered on the presence of electorally relevant parties of the left in the pre-Left Turn period and, most critically, the quality of governance in that period. Poor governance created opportunities for partisan actors on the left to politicize a second dimension of political contestation, anti-systemic versus systemic positions on the design and operation of the state, and thus chart alternative paths to electoral viability that required little left-right programmatic moderation. This dynamic empowered radical party factions and drove polarizing dynamics in party systems. High quality governance, in contrast, gave left parties little choice but to moderate their programs in search of electoral viability. This dynamic empowered moderate party factions and drove centripetal dynamics in party systems. Empirically, the paper tests these arguments through a broad overview of the case universe and in-depth case studies of Venezuela and Brazil.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jan Schablitzki
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The Sixth BRICS Summit, held in July 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil, resulted in agreements to establish a New Development Bank (NDB) as well as a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). This Policy Brief discusses the impact of the NDB on the existing architecture of development finance, focusing on the bank’s potential contribution to the BRICS’ South-South cooperation. The first section outlines the BRICS countries’ rational for establishing the NDB. In the following section potential development paradigms that are likely to be adopted by the NDB are addressed. Since no decision has been taken on the bank’s future governance, this section will be based on the experiences from the BRICS’ national development banks. Once the NDB’s governance is agreed upon, it will impact whether and to what extent the new bank will cooperate with the existing international system of development finance. A third section discusses the NDB’s potential appeal for the Global South. The Global South shares with the BRICS a disappointment with the existing system, and connects specific hopes and expectations with the foundation of the NDB. Examining the Banks effect on South-South cooperation, the section includes prospects on the Bank’s capital potential and by that its potential contribution to the prevalent demand for infrastructure financing in developing countries. A final section summarises the points made and aims to put the present perceptions of the NDB in rather cautious perspectives.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Antonio Missiroli, Gerald Stang et al
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The last 20 years have brought huge reductions in global poverty, opening economic, political and personal opportunities for hundreds of millions of people and the countries where they live and work. This is changing old power balances, altering how humanity uses the earth’s scarce resources, and democratising – for good and for ill – access to many advanced technologies. Governance institutions are struggling to react to all these changes. And while economic, demographic and technological trends will greatly influence the changing international balance of power, concerns of security and geopolitics will likely retain their own unique rationale. The first section of this Chaillot Paper explores these issues through thematic, and the second through geographic, lenses.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Poverty, European Union
  • Author: Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The recent history of attempts to reintegrate the post-Soviet space is littered with failed political and economic initiatives. Such initiatives have included the creation of the Union State of Russia and Belarus in the 1990s, the Eurasian Economic Community launched in 2000, and the GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) grouping launched in 1997. So far the only project which seems likely to come to fruition is the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan which is scheduled to become the Eurasian Economic Union as of 1 January 2015. The Eurasian Union exists already. Its physical headquarters – the Eurasian Economic Commission – is a bureaucratic structure with a staff of 1,000 housed in an eleven-storey glass and steel building on Vivaldi Plaza in a business complex near Paveletsky railway station in Moscow. Its legal basis is the Eurasian Union treaty signed in May 2014
  • Topic: European Union, Russia
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Arab Spring, this Chaillot Paper examines the role played by the different national armies in the Arab world, and their long history of involvement in matters beyond the military realm. As this study shows, the Arab Spring has marked a watershed in how Arab military forces are perceived: one way or the other, they have once again become the political actors they were prior to the 1970s.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Politics, Military Affairs, Arab Countries
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the Annual Summit of the Strategic Studies Network (Bangkok, 23-25 February 2014), several EuroMeSCo researchers participated in the kick off meeting of the Working Group “The Arab Spring in Comparative Perspective”. This group, lead by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) will involve over 20 EuroMeSCo researchers, who will work throughout the year with the aim of publishing a joint volume on comparative perspectives of the transitions in the Arab world. The Working Group is structured around two main blocks: “Internal changes in transition processes: What priorities?” and “External actors and regional integration”. It consists of a total of 6 working packages, each of them lead by two EuroMeSCo researchers. The topics to be explored are: State building processes and reforms, security sector reform, the role of religion in transitional processes, socio-economic reforms, the role of the European Union in supporting democratic transitions in the Southern Mediterranean and regional integration.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Economies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The workshop "Democracies in the Making: Egypt at the Center of Arab Transitions" focused on the analysis of the current phase of the democractic transition in Egypt, dominated by a high level of polarisation. It was organised by EuroMeSco, the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and the Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). This was the last of a series of four workshops organised in the framework of a programme to strengthen the capacities of think tanks and research institutes in Mediterranean countries, mainly in light of the current democratisation processes and regional transformations.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt