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  • Author: Risa Brooks
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The U.S. military’s prevailing norms of military professionalism are poorly suited to meet today’s civil-military challenges. These norms, based on Samuel Huntington's objective civilian control model, argue that the military should operate in a sphere separate from the civilian domain of policymaking and decisions about the use of force. Yet, these norms also undermine the military’s nonpartisan and apolitical ethos, weaken civilian leaders' control of military activity, and undercut the country’s strategic effectiveness in armed conflict.
  • Topic: Government, Military Affairs, Public Policy, Norms
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. Carrier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Big Tech is in the news. At the center of our political and economic dialogue is the effect that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have on our lives and what, if anything, governments should do about it. In this article, I explain how Big Tech has come under scrutiny, the antitrust implications of the industry’s behavior, and the potential remedy of breaking up the companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology, Regulation, Internet, Social Media, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Most Syrian refugees in Lebanon have thought many times about going home but in the end deemed the risks too great. Donors should increase aid allowing the Lebanese government to continue hosting the Syrians, so that any decision they make to leave is truly voluntary. What’s new? Pressure on Syrian refugees in Lebanon to return home is rising. Although Syria remains unsafe for most, refugees are trickling back, escaping increasingly harsh conditions in Lebanon and hoping that the situation will improve back home. Procedures that clarify refugees’ legal status are making return more plausible for some. Why does it matter? While even a small number of successful repatriations represents positive news, conditions are too dangerous for mass organised returns. Yet the Syrian government and some Lebanese political factions increasingly insist that it is time for large-scale returns to begin. What should be done? Donors should plan for many refugees to stay for many years, and provide support to help Lebanon meet Syrians’ needs, ease the burden on Lebanon’s economy, and reduce friction between refugees and their Lebanese hosts. The Lebanese government can take additional administrative steps to ease voluntary returns.
  • Topic: Government, Refugees, Syrian War, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The examples of Egypt and Saudi Arabia show the risks in betting on the stability of autocratic regimes in the region. Despite the Arab uprisings of the last decade, most countries in the Middle East remain in the grip of autocrats, with a widespread view that this is the 'default setting' for the region. However, an examination of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where authoritarianism has been revived, reveals both regimes are struggling for popular legitimacy. Increasingly reliant on repression, these regimes risk provoking civil unrest, and external powers should reconsider their assumption that autocracy guarantees stability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Authoritarianism, Political stability, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Egypt
  • Author: Roland Rajah
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Indonesia has much economic potential but the trade-off between growth and stability continues to bind its growth ambitions. Indonesian economic policy continues to prioritise stability over growth but the adequacy of economic growth has become the bigger issue. President Joko Widodo’s commendable pro-growth efforts have so far only stabilised Indonesia’s trajectory rather than boost it. Doing better will require reforms to be calibrated to make the trade-off between growth and stability less binding while enhancing productivity.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Economy, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Julia Coronado, Simon Potter
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The US monetary system faces significant challenges from advances in technology and changes in the macroeconomy that, left unaddressed, will threaten the stability of the US economy and financial system. At the same time, low interest rates mean that central banks will not have the policy ammunition they had in the past during the next recession. The Federal Reserve needs new tools to meet its mandates of price stability and maximum employment. It also needs to preserve the safety and soundness of the financial system in a rapidly digitizing world. The authors propose a Fed-backed digital currency to solve both problems. Their proposal creates a regulated system of digital currency accounts for consumers managed by digital payment providers and fully backed by reserves at the Fed. The system would be limited in size, to preserve the functions and stability of the existing banking system. Fed backing would mean low capital requirements, which would in turn facilitate competition. Low fees and no minimum balance requirements in the new system would also help financial institutions reach the roughly 25 percent of the US population that is currently either unbanked or underbanked. Digital accounts for consumers could also provide a powerful new stabilization tool for both monetary and fiscal policies. For fiscal policy, it could facilitate new automatic stabilizers while also allowing the Fed to provide quantitative easing directly to consumers. This tool could be used in a timely manner with broad reach to all Americans.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Monetary Policy, Banks, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Julia Coronado, Simon Potter
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the second part of their Policy Brief, Coronado and Potter discuss how the system of digital payment providers (DPPs) proposed in their first Policy Brief on this topic adds a new weapon to the monetary toolkit that could be implemented in a timely, effective, and inclusive manner. They describe how a digital currency backed by the Federal Reserve could augment automatic fiscal stabilizers and—more importantly—harness the power of “helicopter” money or quantitative easing directly to consumers in a disciplined manner. To implement QE directly to consumers, Coronado and Potter propose the creation of recession insurance bonds (RIBs)—zero-coupon bonds authorized by Congress and calibrated as a percentage of GDP sufficient to provide meaningful support in a downturn. Congress would create these contingent securities; Treasury would credit households’ digital accounts with them. The Fed could purchase them from households in a downturn after its policy rate hits zero. The Fed’s balance sheet would grow by the value of RIBs purchased; the initial matching liability would be deposits into the DPP system. The mechanism is easy for consumers to understand and could boost inflation expectations more than a debt-financed fiscal stimulus could.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Monetary Policy, Insurance
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: While the public was transfixed by the Trump administration’s policies alleging that imports were a threat to America’s national security during 2017–20, there was a concomitant and more quiet US policy shift on the export side. Addressing the national security threat presented by exports posed different economic and institutional challenges from those associated with import policy, including the acknowledgment that export controls for legitimate national security reasons can be the first-best policy to confront the problem at its source. Yet, export controls could also be misused as a beggar-thy-neighbor policy to redistribute economic well-being across countries, even from one ally to another. This paper describes how US export control policy evolved over 2017–20, as well as the international institutions—first the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), then the Wassenaar Arrangement—historically tasked with multilateralizing US export restrictions used to protect national security. With the potential for US export control policy to brush up more frequently against WTO rules designed to limit the use of export restrictions, the paper also highlights new challenges for the WTO’s system of resolving trade disputes. Overall, a US failure to strike the right balance for its export control policy would result in it being ineffective at addressing national security risks, costly for the economy, and problematic for trade and diplomatic relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, National Security, Exports, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The measures that most governments took in response to the sudden collapse in economic activity during the COVID-19 lockdowns nearly exclusively focused on protecting vulnerable workers and firms. These measures included unemployment benefits, grants, transfers, loans at low rates, and tax deferrals. As lockdowns are lifted, governments must shift policies toward supporting the recovery and design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment while preserving productive jobs and firms. This Policy Brief explores how such measures can be designed, with particular emphasis on Europe and the United States. The authors propose a combination of unemployment benefits to help workers, wage subsidies and partially guaranteed loans to help firms, and debt restructuring procedures for small and medium-sized companies handicapped by excessive legacy debt from the crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Labor Issues, Unemployment, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ana González, Euijin Jung
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: By refusing to fill vacancies in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body—the top body that hears appeals and rules on trade disputes—the Trump administration has paralyzed the key component of the dispute settlement system. No nation or group of nations has more at stake in salvaging this system than the world’s big emerging-market economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, among others. These countries have actively and successfully used the dispute settlement system to defend their commercial interests abroad and resolve inevitable trade conflicts. The authors suggest that even though the developing countries did not create the Appellate Body crisis, they may hold a key to unlock it. The Trump administration has also focused its ire on a longstanding WTO practice of giving these economies latitude to seek “special and differential treatment” in trade negotiations because of their developing-country status. The largest developing economies, which have a significant stake in preserving a two-step, rules-based mechanism for resolving trade disputes, could play a role in driving a potential bargain to save the appeals mechanism. They could unite to give up that special status in return for a US commitment to end its boycott of the nomination of Appellate Body members.
  • Topic: Development, Government, World Trade Organization, Developing World, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Brazil, North America, Mexico, Thailand, United States of America
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Lawrence H. Summers
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With interest rates persistently low or even negative in advanced countries, policymakers have barely any room to ease monetary policy when the next recession hits. Fiscal policy will have to play a major and likely dominant role in stimulating the economy, requiring policymakers to fundamentally reconsider fiscal policy. Blanchard and Summers argue for the introduction of what they call “semiautomatic” stabilizers. Unlike purely automatic stabilizers (mechanisms built into government budgets that automatically—without discretionary government action or explicit triggers—increase spending or decrease taxes when the economy slows or enters a recession), semiautomatic stabilizers are targeted tax or spending measures that are triggered if, say, the output growth rate declines or the unemployment rate increases beyond a specified threshold. The authors argue that the trigger should be changes in unemployment rather than changes in output, and the design of semiautomatic stabilizers, whether they focus on mechanisms that rely primarily on income or on intertemporal substitution effects (changing the timing of consumption), depends crucially on the design of discretionary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Monetary Policy, Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: David Makovksy
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although Benny Gantz’s party lost the head-to-head battle, Avigdor Liberman’s favorable influence on the coalition math has left the general in a stronger position—and taken some diplomatic weight off the Trump administration’s shoulders. Israel’s third round of elections last week seemed inconclusive at first, but the deadlock may now be broken. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did better this time than in September’s round two, but his gains were insufficient to form a new government. Potential kingmaker Avigdor Liberman jettisoned his previous idea of getting the two top parties to join forces; instead, personal antipathy and policy differences have led him to definitely state that he will not join any government Netanyahu leads. Thus, while centrist Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz may have options to shape a new government, Netanyahu has no pathway on his own. In theory, the center-left bloc has the requisite number of seats for a bare majority in the 120-member Knesset, since anti-Netanyahu forces won 62 seats. In reality, the situation is more complex.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elena DeLozier
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sultan Haitham will now be free to put his own stamp on the country's government and foreign policy, and a recent dust-up on the Yemeni border could provide the first indicator of his approach. On February 20, Oman will begin its next era in earnest. The new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, was officially sworn in on January 11, but he has remained quiet and mostly out of sight during the forty-day mourning period that followed the death of his cousin, Sultan Qaboos. Now that this period is drawing to a close, he is free to put his stamp on Omani policy. Notably, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will lead the first international delegation to see Sultan Haitham in the post-mourning period. When the meeting was first scheduled, the secretary likely saw it as a chance to get to know the new leader, and also as a symbolic visit to make up for sending such a low-level delegation to offer condolences. Yet the two may have more to talk about now. Earlier this week, a flare-up occurred between Saudi forces and Omani-backed locals in the Yemeni border province of al-Mahra. The confrontation may be Sultan Haitham’s first regional test, and identifying the actors who help him get through it could help Washington discern future power centers within Oman’s often opaque government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Oman, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Raffaello Pantucci, Abdul Basit, Kyler Ong, Nur Aziemah Azman, V. Arianti, Muh Taufiqurrohman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has redefined almost all spheres of modern life. While states around the world are redeploying their financial resources, energies and military capabilities to cope with the challenge of the coronavirus, terrorist groups across the ideological spectrum have positioned themselves to exploit the gaps created by these policy re-adjustments. Terrorist groups are milking people’s fears amid confusion and uncertainty to promote their extremist propagandas. The rearrangement of global imperatives will push counter-terrorism and extremism down the priority list of the international community. Anticipating these policy changes, existing counter-terrorism frameworks and alliances should be revisited to devise cost-effective and innovative strategies to ensure continuity of the fight against terrorist groups. With these considerations in mind, this special issue of the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) features four articles that identify and assess important security risks around COVID-19, given its far-reaching social, economic and geopolitical impact. In the first article, Raffaello Pantucci reasons that COVID-19 will have a deep-seated and prolonged impact across government activity, both in terms of the categorisation of risks, as well as the resources available to tackle other issues. Perceptions of risk around terrorist threats may shift, with states grappling with stark economic, social and political challenges. At the same time, security threats continue to evolve, and may even worsen. According to the author, some of the tools developed to deal with the pandemic can potentially be useful in tracking terrorist threats. However, resource constraints will require states, on a global scale, to think far more dynamically about how to adequately buffer much-needed security blankets both within and beyond their borders. In the second article, Abdul Basit outlines the opportunities and potential implications that COVID-19 has created for terrorist groups across the ideological divide. According to the author, terrorist groups have exploited the virus outbreak to spread racial hatred, doomsday and end-of-times narratives. Among jihadist groups, IS has taken a more totalitarian view of the coronavirus pandemic, while Al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Taliban have used it as a PR exercise to gain political legitimacy. Far-right groups in the West have spun it to promote native nationalism, border restoration and anti-immigration policies. Terrorist groups have increased their social media propaganda to radicalise and recruit vulnerable individuals. At the same time, these groups have urged their supporters to carry out lone-wolf attacks and use the coronavirus as a bioweapon. In the post-COVID-19 world, revisiting existing counter-terrorism frameworks to devise more adaptable and cost-effective strategies would be needed to continue the fight against terrorism. In the next article, V. Arianti and Muh Taufiqurrohman observe that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a varied impact on Indonesia’s security landscape. On the one hand, it has emboldened IS-affiliated Indonesian militant groups to step up calls for attacks, with the government seen as weakened amidst a worsening domestic health crisis. On the other, ongoing indoctrination and recruitment activities of militant groups have also faced disruptions. According to the authors, counter-terrorism strategies will need to be reoriented as circumstances evolve, particularly in dealing with the arrest of militants and the subsequent processes of their prosecution and incarceration. Finally, Kyler Ong and Nur Aziemah Azman examine the calls to action by far-right extremists and the Islamic State (IS), which reveals varying degrees of organisational coherence in the respective movements. According to the authors, such variations influence these two groups’ preferred techniques, tactics and procedures adopted in seeking to exploit the health crisis. For its part, IS has a more organised hierarchical structure, even if it has increasingly granted autonomy to its affiliates to plan and execute attacks. In comparison, the absence of a central authority, or command structure in the far-right, can lead to a fragmentation of interests. These factors invariably create uncertainties in how, when and where extremists of both ilk may seek to operationalise an attack.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Health, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Marek Wąsiński, Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus outbreak is spreading throughout the United States. After its initial underestimation of the threat, the Trump administration has acted to fight against the pandemic, including the introduction of a national emergency. The effectiveness of these actions will be an important factor in whether Trump is re-elected. The limits on social life despite the enormous financial support from the government and the Federal Reserve have dramatically slowed the economy, heading into a recession. Public debt will increase much more rapidly, which may force budget cuts in the coming years.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Financial Crisis, Health Care Policy, Crisis Management, Donald Trump, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sebastian Płóciennik
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The prospect of dire economic repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the German government to expand its intervention tools. The latest package puts the emphasis on helping the smallest companies and self-employed, offering more loan guarantees, as well as the possibility of temporary state purchases of shares in companies. The crisis is a challenge for fiscal policy—it will lead to a large deficit in public finances and to rising pressure on the German government to accept joint financial measures in the eurozone.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Fiscal Policy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Kinga Raś
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of January 2020, the Latvian government approved the country’s climate neutrality strategy until 2050, and in March it supported even more ambitious EU targets for reducing emissions. These declarations are connected with the need for a thorough transformation of the economy. The Latvian authorities combine these changes with the outlook for economic growth, including the development of the newest technologies in the energy sector. Latvia’s approach, subordinated to climate action, coincides with the policy of other countries in the region, but differs from the Polish vision of energy transformation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Europe Union, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Latvia
  • Author: Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iran’s official figures on cases and deaths from COVID-19 (the disease resulting from coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2) do not reflect the real scale of the pandemic in that country, which might be among the hardest hit in the world. The pandemic will deepen the economic crisis and disfunction of the state, becoming a challenge to Iran’s ruling elite. The regime might survive thanks to the security apparatus and, in parallel, continue its support of Shia militias in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, and the Syrian government. Only the succession of power after Ali Khamenei will be the real test of the coherence of the Iranian elite, and in case of disruption, it might result in the collapse of Iran’s theocracy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Government, Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Israel took early preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to low infection and mortality rates. This allowed lifting the restrictions and restarting the economy at the end of April. The cooperation undertaken with the Palestinian Authority helped limit the spread of COVID-19 across the Palestinian territories. The successful fight against the spread of the coronavirus in Israel has strengthened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the newly earned support may be halted by the impending economic slowdown.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Bartlomiej Znojek
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The spread rate of COVID-19 in Brazil is increasing and the policies of the federal government, headed by President Jair Bolsonaro, do not contribute to a slowdown in the pandemic. Bolsonaro downplays the threat and rejects restrictive measures as he priori-tises support for the economy. He has clashed with state governors who introduced restrictions and with the Federal Supreme Court, which defended their autonomy. The deteriorating situation in Brazil amid the pandemic and political situation diminish Bolsonaro’s chances of re-election in 2022 and may strain his government’s relations with EU partners.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Politics, Health Care Policy, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Jair Bolsonaro
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In February 2019, Israel Katz was named Israel’s interim foreign minister, and three months later his appointment became permanent. This ended a period of almost four-years without a fulltime foreign minister, during which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) significantly declined. A year into Katz’s term, an assessment can be made as to whether his appointment has strengthened the MFA and left a policy imprint. This, while taking into consideration the turmoil in Israeli politics since early 2019 and the understanding that deeper change requires a ministerial tenure longer than a year. This article sums up Katz’s first year on the job, based on media reports and information published by the MFA. It examines both intra-ministerial and policy aspects, and concludes that Katz is operating in Netanyahu’s heavy shadow, has failed to address the deep budgetary crisis faced by the MFA, and has focused on developing ties with Gulf States and combatting anti-Semitism.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Financial Crisis, Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Most governments have taken measures to protect vulnerable workers and firms from the worst effects of the sudden drop in activity related to COVID-19. But as lockdowns are lifted, the focus must shift, and governments in advanced economies must design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment.
  • Topic: Government, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dan Gottlieb, Mordechai Kedar
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus crisis has exposed Arab and Islamic notions of fraternity, mutual commitment, and solidarity as hollow rhetorical slogans. Each country in the region is focused entirely on its own efforts to survive economically, socially, and politically as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Canadian government allocates funds to departments through the annual federal budgetary process. With a Department of National Defence (DND) budget in the fiscal year 2019-20 of close to $22 billion,2 and expenditures spread out across a broad range of very different and distinct activities, expending the full allocation can be a significant challenge. While federal departments are permitted some carry-forward of eligible lapsing funds from one fiscal year to the next, in fiscal year 2018-19 the amount designated was up to five per cent of the operating budgets in their Main Estimates.3 With the federal government projecting significant budgetary deficits in the coming years, restricting or eliminating carry-forward of funding may be limited or eliminated to reduce deficits. Past practice within the department has been for the Investment Resource Management Committee (IRMC), chaired by the deputy minister, to decide on funding allocations of the carry-forward, based on departmental corporate priorities. While from an institutional perspective that aligns funding with optimal funding requirements, the consequence to organizations such as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is that only a limited amount of lapsed funding may be allocated the following fiscal year. Thus, the air force has a significant incentive regarding its budget: to “use it or lose it”.4 RCAF corporate over-planning (COP) is a principal in-year strategy to maximize the use of allocated financial resources. Yet, at the operational and tactical level, the concept and application of in-year over-planning is not sufficiently understood. This paper will frame over-planning within the context of the RCAF and then recommend strategies to integrate over-planning into the air force culture. Corporate over-planning is essentially a means toward an end; specifically, that of maximizing output given by defined resource allocation. The paper will first consider defence planning approaches and budget allocations, and then consider the strategic environment within which the organization operates. The third section will emphasize the need for change in how the RCAF manages financial resources, followed by a section on adapting to change. The fifth section will review the concept of over-planning. That will be followed by a discussion of RCAF institutional corporate over-planning. The seventh section will consider budgeting as communication and how this supports maintenance of a common operating picture within the RCAF on over-planning. The final section will focus on RCAF corporate over-planning by discussing the structural unexpended rate, applying an absorption rate in operations and maintenance activities, and planning investment opportunities.
  • Topic: Government, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: An internationalist and a progressive, Justin Trudeau consistently boosts diversity, social justice, environmentalism and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. A gifted retail politician, Trudeau prefers campaigning and contact with voters to the hurly-burly of the House of Commons. He possesses an empathy and emotional intelligence most people found lacking in his famous father, Pierre Trudeau. But are these attributes and causes out of sync with our turbulent times? Mr. Trudeau is learning firsthand what British prime minister Harold MacMillan warned U.S. president John F. Kennedy what was most likely to blow governments off-course: “Events, dear boy, events.” As Trudeau begins a second term as prime minister, the going is tougher. The Teflon is gone. He leads a minority government with new strains on national unity. Parliament, including his experiment in Senate reform, is going to require more of his time. Canada’s premiers will also need attention if he is to achieve progress on his domestic agenda. Does he have the patience and temperament for compromise and the art of the possible? The global operating system is increasingly malign, with both the rules-based international order and freer trade breaking down. Managing relations with Donald Trump and Xi Jinping is difficult. Canadian farmers and business are suffering - collateral damage in the Sino-U.S. disputes. In what was supposed to be a celebration of “Canada is back”, there is doubt that Canada will win a seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020. Losing would be traumatic for his government and their sense of Canada’s place in the world. It would also be a rude shock for Canadians’ self-image of themselves internationally.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Justin Trudeau
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vern Kakoschke
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Defence procurement in Canada has had some well-known challenges in recent years. Many commentators have suggested possible strategies for fixing the defence procurement system. The identified problems include overspending on defence programs, unnecessary and undue delays in re-equipping Canada’s fleet of aircraft, ships and ground transport, and defence budgets that remain unspent. The problems also include procuring authorities experiencing a shortfall in manpower and expertise, the inability to execute on defence procurements, unjustified sole-sourcing without a proper competition, political interference in selection issues, and the list goes on. The proposed solutions often address process-related matters: establish a single agency responsible for defence procurement or perhaps a cabinet secretariat to manage the involvement of three of four government departments who are often not on the same page. To date, not much has been written or discussed in public policy forums on a critical question: How should the necessary capital assets be financed? At one extreme, Canada could simply write a cheque and pay for them up front, thereby placing the assets on Canada’s balance sheet. At the other extreme, Canada could drop the financing obligation into the laps of private-sector bidders and let them worry about the most efficient way of raising the necessary capital. A middle-ground solution could involve a public-private partnership (P3) structure, a model which seeks to balance the interests of the public and private sectors in a manner that leads to a better solution for all parties. Any public policy discussion often begins with first principles. What is the government’s policy objective? It is to procure the best available equipment, with the most benefit to the Canadian economy or local interest groups and at the lowest possible cost. All three goals must be balanced in a manner that is politically acceptable, meets budget constraints and withstands public scrutiny. In major procurements, capital can be the largest single cost of a defence procurement.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Armed Forces, Finance, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Ian Mack
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s experience with the Phoenix pay system is not just a pay problem. It points to wider problems in Canada’s management of complex major projects. Learning from Phoenix is important for the Government of Canada as a whole and the Department of National Defence specifically, the latter arguably responsible for the largest portfolio of complex projects – both for weapon systems platform and information technology initiatives. Fortunately, it appears that the Liberal government has taken notice. In the most recent Mandate Letters to Ministers, the Treasury Board President has been directed to ‘improve project management capabilities so that all major projects in government are led by a certified professional with at least five years of experience’. Additionally, the new position of Minister of Digital Government was tasked to ‘lead work to create a centre of expertise that brings together the necessary skills to effectively implement major transformation projects across government, including technical, procurement and legal expertise’ (and to lead in the replacement of the replacement pay system). This paper attempts to shed some light on the matter of pursuing complex projects and the enormity of the task at hand. I say “enormity” because complex projects are difficult to deliver at all (let alone on time and budget), as in evidence by the number that continue to fail in the private and public sectors, regardless of the complex project capabilities of those responsible for delivering them.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Adam Chapnick
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Feb. 11, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefed the Ottawa press corps after a meeting with the United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. Having pledged during the 2015 election campaign to re-engage with the UN, he noted that doing so would include “looking towards a bid for the Security Council.” Perhaps this comment should not have surprised. The Conservative government’s failure to win a Security Council (UNSC) seat in 2010 had been a subject of Liberal ridicule for years. Yet, council membership was not included among the Liberals’ 167 campaign promises, nor was it mentioned specifically in then-Foreign Affairs minister Stéphane Dion’s mandate letter. One month later, Trudeau met with Ban again, this time in New York. Afterwards, with Dion looking on, Trudeau announced that Canada would be joining the 2020 Western European and Others Group (WEOG) election for one of two non-permanent seats on the Security Council in 2021-2022. The move was unprecedented. It marked the first time that a Canadian prime minister, and not the Foreign Affairs minister or a member of the foreign service, had publicly declared Canada’s initial interest in a council seat. It was also the first time that Canada had deliberately entered an already contested election: Ireland, Norway and San Marino would be its opponents for two WEOG seats. This brief history of Canadian interest in Security Council membership will suggest that attempting to return to the UNSC was the right decision, made at the wrong time, and for the wrong reasons.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Politics, History, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Canada, United Nations, North America
  • Author: Linwood DeLong
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Much has changed since A Guide to Canadian Diplomatic Relations 1925-1983 was first published in 1985. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia no longer exist. New states have emerged not only in Europe, but also in Africa. Canada quickly established diplomatic relations with the member states of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia after their respective dissolutions. In 2003, Canada recognized Eritrea as a separate state and in July 2011, Canada recognized the new state of South Sudan. Finding the date of Canadian diplomatic recognition of a given country or state, the date when diplomatic relations were established with Canada and the date when the first Canadian ambassador or high commissioner took office continues to be a challenge. The print publication, Canadian Heads of Post Abroad 1880-1989, issued by External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991, is an excellent source of information, but it is limited by its publication date. A similar online source, Canadian Heads of Posts Abroad Since 1880 (http://w03.international.gc.ca/headsofpost/searchhp-recherchecm.aspx) provides some information specifically pertaining to heads of posts for Canadian diplomatic missions abroad, but it does not always provide information about the date of diplomatic recognition of any given state. In many cases, only the recent information, rather than the historical information concerning the first diplomatic recognition or the date of establishment of diplomatic relations, is provided. Other important sources of information include Canadian Representatives Abroad, the annual reports or annual reviews of the Department of External Affairs (now known as Global Affairs Canada), the External Affairs communiqués and press releases, the publication called External Affairs (which was issued from 1949-1971) and its successor, International Perspectives (published from 1980 to 1991). In this most recent edition of A Guide to Canadian Diplomatic Relations, the following information (if it could be determined) is included for each country: the date of diplomatic recognition, the date that diplomatic relations were first established and the date when the first diplomatic mission was opened (frequently, a legation staffed by a diplomatic representative of lower rank than an ambassador or high commissioner). It also includes the date when the Canadian ambassador or high commissioner first presented his/her credentials and the diplomatic mission officially became an embassy or a high commission. In those few instances where diplomatic relations between Canada and another state were severed, this date, as well as the date when diplomatic relations were re-established, is also provided.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, History
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Conservative Fundamentalist movement in Iran, directly linked to the Republic’s Supreme Leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is apparently heading towards achieving a significant win in the parliamentary elections due to take place on February 21, 2020. This will play a pivotal role in mapping out political forces within the country before the presidential elections of next year, which the Conservatives might also seize from the moderate stream. The Conservatives are trying to take advantage of the heated political dynamics by using the current escalation with the US, after the murder of Qassem Soleimani, leader of ‘the Quds Force’, the rising possibilities of the failure of the nuclear agreement, and the referral of the Iranian case back to the Security Council, all for the sake of boosting their chances of taking control over the Regime’s center of authority.
  • Topic: Government, Reform, Elections, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The attacks on some Iraqi demonstrators on February 3, 2020, on account of which a number of so-called "blue hats" were indicted, imply the persistence of the Iraqi political crisis, despite the appointment of Muhammed Tawfiq Allawi as head of the new government. Allawi, who was the former Minister of Communications, was officially appointed by President Barham Saleh at the beginning of February 2020. The announcement comes two months after the House of Representative accepted the resignation of Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the former Prime Minister of the Caretaker Government. However, according to the Iraqi constitution, the appointment of a new prime minister should have been selected from the ‘largest bloc’ within the Parliament and should have taken place within a maximum period of 15 days, following the resignation. What is worth noticing here is that the mechanism by which Allawi was nominated for Prime Minister resembles that of Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Identifying the largest bloc within the parliament was also overlooked, because of the consensus between the various political forces, particularly between the two the coalitions, Saairun ‘Alliance Towards Reforms’and the Fatah ‘Conquest Alliance’, which are occupying the largest number of seats in Parliament. This is actually contrary to what is affirmed by the Iraqi constitution in Article 76 thereof, which states that “the President of the Republic shall charge the nominee of the largest Council of Representatives bloc with the formation of the Council of Ministers…".
  • Topic: Government, Constitution, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jack Kelly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: Our twelfth IFPA National Security Update examines the current status of the U.S. defense authorization, appropriations, and budget process with a focus on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and assesses its strengths and weaknesses in light of key programs and policies discussed in previous Updates. Topics addressed in our National Security Update series include hypersonic missiles, missile defense priorities, nuclear modernization issues, President Trump's Executive Order on Electromagnetic Pulse, the status of the Space Force, China’s actions in the South China Sea and U.S. options, and the military applications of artificial intelligence. In early 2017, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis initiated an online series entitled National Security Update. Its purpose is to examine key foreign policy/defense issues and to set forth policy options. These updates are made available to the broad policy community within and outside government, including key policy makers in Washington, D.C.; members of Congress and their staffs; academic specialists; and other members of the private-sector security community. Future National Security Updates will address a range of topics in an effort to provide timely analyses and policy options.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Budget, Weapons , Missile Defense, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: China, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well — especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a potential new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg, Sharan Grewal, Mohamed-Dhia Hammami, Sabina Henneberg, William Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Following elections in September and October, Tunisia is having difficulty forming a government, in part because of the collapse of the 2016 Carthage Pact. MEI is pleased to host a panel featuring several leading analysts of Tunisian politics, who will attempt to answer which approach can produce forward motion while at the same time prevent Tunisia from slipping backward towards authoritarianism. Some parties are defending the consensus model to preserve democratic gains, and others are pursuing to force change based on their political preferences. Presiding over all of this is a populist president without a political party who has in the past proposed a radical overhaul of the entire system, abolishing political parties, and creating a form of direct democracy. It is unclear if Tunisian democracy can survive any of these scenarios, whether it be consensus politics, majoritarian politics, or antipolitics. With any of the formulas, winners win, and losers can easily become spoilers, as nearly happened in 2013 with opposition protests led by the women's movement.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Fergus Hanson, Gai Brodtmann, Rachael Falk, Nigel Phair, Lesley Seebeck, Peter A. Dutton
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Back in 2016, Australia launched a new national cybersecurity strategy. The strategy covers a four-year period to 2020, and given the changes in the security environment, an update is now clearly warranted. To that end, the government has just released a discussion paper to kick off the public consultation. The closing date for submissions on the discussion paper is 1 November. To complement the public submission process, ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is initiating a public debate on what should be included in the next cybersecurity strategy. Contributions will be compiled into a report that we will deliver to the Department of Home Affairs to inform the strategy’s development. This Strategic Insight includes views from The Strategist published in late 2019.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Snehal Shah, Avani Kapur, Abhishek Andasu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: he National Health Mission (NHM) is Government of India’s (GoI’s) largest public health programme. It consists of two sub-missions: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). Using government data, this brief reports on: GoI allocations and releases; Incentives and penalties to states under conditionality framework; NHM approvals and expenditures as per programmatic components; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Social Policy, Public Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin or SBM-G is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural sanitation programme run by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MJS). Using government data, this brief reports on trends for SBM-G along the following parameters: Allocations and expenditures; Physical progress of toilets built; Expenditures incurred under Information, Education, and Communication (IEC); Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities; and Coverage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Infrastructure, Budget, Social Policy, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Tenzin Yangki
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief reports on two schemes: a) The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Government of India’s (GoI’s) maternity benefit scheme aimed at providing partial compensation for wage loss and improving health seeking behaviour of pregnant women and lactating mothers, and b) the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) aimed at incentivising institutional and safe delivery to reduce infant and maternal mortality. Using government data, this brief reports on: Trends in allocations, releases, and utilisation; Coverage and payments; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Women, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ritwik Shukla, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Ayushman Bharat, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) was launched by Government of India (GoI) on 23 September 2018. The programme consists of two initiatives: (1) The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY); and 2) The establishment of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs). Using government data, this brief reports on the following indicators: GoI allocations and releases; Eligibility and claims under PMJAY; and Number of operational HWCs and diseases screened.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Vastav Irava, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is an income support scheme by the Government of India (GoI) in which small and marginal farmers get up to Rs 6,000 per year to supplement their financial needs. Using government data, this brief reports on trends in PM-KISAN along the following parameters: Trends in allocations and releases; Receipt of funds by beneficiaries; Status of coverage.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Budget, Social Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Vastav Irava
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In Financial Year (FY) 2019-20, the National Rural Drinking Water Mission (NRDWM) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). It is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural drinking water programme to provide functional tap connections to every household for drinking, cooking, and other domestic needs on a sustainable basis. Using government data, this brief reports on: Overall GoI allocations; Trends in releases and expenditures; Component-wise trends; and Progress on coverage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Infrastructure, Budget, Finance, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Meghna Paul
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is a flagship scheme of the Government of India (GoI) which aims to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household that demands work. Using government reported data, this brief reports on: Trends in GoI allocations and releases and total expenditures; Trends in employment provided and wages paid; Physical assets created and status of work completion.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Rural, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Samagra Shiksha – An Integrated Scheme for School Education is Government of India’s (GoI’s) school education programme extending from pre-school to senior secondary classes. The scheme was launched in April 2018 to ensure equitable and inclusive quality education. The three erstwhile schemes brought under Samagra Shiksha are: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA); Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA); and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Topic: Education, Government, Budget, Children, Youth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Sharad Pandey, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The National Programme of Mid-Day Meals in School (MDM) scheme is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship school-based feeding programme aimed at improving the nutritional status of students and promoting the universalisation of elementary education. Using government data, this brief reports on trends for MDM performance along the following parameters: Overall trends in allocations, releases and expenditures; Expenditure performance on key MDM components such as food grains, cooking costs, honorarium to cook- cum-helper (CCH), traveling assistance and monitoring, management and evaluation; Progress on construction of kitchen-cum-stores, and; Coverage as indicated through the provision of meals to students.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Children, Food Security, Youth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) is the Government of India’s (GoI) flagship programme targeting universal sanitation coverage in urban areas. Using government data, this brief reports on: Allocations, releases, and expenditures; Progress on toilets built; Progress on Solid Waste Management (SWM); Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, and; ODF+, ODF++ and garbage free cities.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Child Protection Services is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme to provide preventive and statutory care, and rehabilitation services to children in need of care and protection and those in conflict with the law as defined under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. This brief uses government data to analyse CPS performance along the following parameters: Trends in overall GoI allocations, releases and expenditures; State wise GoI releases and expenditures; Child Care Institutes (CCIs) and beneficiaries; Registered cases of crimes against children.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Children, Legislation, Justice
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aditya Bhol, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This report aims to explore the nuances of the prevalence of on-site sanitation systems in large and dense villages of India. Villages which have a population of 1000 persons or more and a density of greater than or equal to 400 persons per square kilometre were classified as large and dense villages in earlier research – Towards a New Research and Policy Paradigm: An Analysis of the Sanitation Situation in Large Dense Villages. Stimulated by the findings revealing a preferential pattern for selection of on-site sanitation systems in these settlements, a primary household survey was conducted in large and dense villages from five Indian states - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The survey also included qualitative components – stakeholder interviews and transect walks. In this study the survey data has been canvassed to explore the preference patterns of households and the factors guiding them in their decision making for the construction and maintenance of on-site sanitation systems. We find that these large and dense villages exhibit a higher preference for septic tanks over pits in all states except West Bengal where pits are preferred. A majority of households have reported their toilets were private constructions. Broad findings and trends emerging from the survey were discussed in details in the report – Sanitation in Large and Dense Villages of India: The Last Mile and Beyond. In this report we discuss targeted questions on the preference patterns for on-site containment systems that are manifested not only by the choices of building septic tanks or pits but also through the large variations in their design and sizes which are influenced by socio-economic, technical and behavioural factors. We also find specific trends in deviations from prescribed design and demand for desludging services by households which are influenced by internal factors such as their social status and economic well-being and by external factors such as availability of mechanised operators or continued reliance on manual cleaning and their costs which cumulatively constitute the supply side of sanitation services.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Andrew Liu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 2016 alone, China saw $9 trillion in mobile payments—in contrast to a comparably small $112 billion of mobile payments in the United States (Abkowitz 2018). The use of mobile payment systems such as Alipay and WeChat Pay are widespread in China, with users ranging from beggars to lenders to criminals. Previously, the mobile payments landscape was largely untouched and unregulated by the Chinese government because of its relative insignificance in the Chinese economy. However, with the explosive growth in mobile payment transactions, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) implemented a new mobile payment regulation on June 30, 2018. Most notably, the government will require all mobile payments to be cleared through the PBOC, and hence, all mobile payment transactions will begin to touch the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Hersey 2017). The PBOC’s stated reasoning for implementing this regulation is to curb money laundering and fraud. While those are valid concerns, it is unlikely that there are not additional motivations for the new regulation. In this article, I analyze the effects this new regulation has had and will likely have on the various mobile payment system stakeholders, competitors, and users, and also uncover what underlying motives the PBOC has in implementing the regulation.
  • Topic: Government, Regulation, Economy, Banks, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With the BJP’s return to power following May 2019 general election, India appears to have ushered in a new dominant party system—one premised on a unique set of political principles, showing a clear break with what came before. In the wake of the 2019 general election results, which come on the back of significant political changes at the level of India’s states, there is empirical support for more unequivocal judgments. Indeed, the available evidence points in one direction: 2014 was not an aberration; it was instead a harbinger of a new era.10 India does appear to have ushered in a new, fourth party system—one that is premised on a unique set of political principles and that shows a clear break with what came before. In the 2019 general election, the BJP did the unthinkable: the party clinched a second consecutive majority in the Lok Sabha, a feat that was last accomplished by the Congress Party in 1980 and 1984.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ariel Levite
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In an increasingly digitized world, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and especially operational technologies (OTs), have assumed critical importance for governments, industry, and the general public worldwide. Yet trust in the integrity of these products and services is declining because of mounting concerns over inadvertent vulnerabilities in the supply chain and intentional backdoor interventions by state and corporate actors. Compounding the problem, these legitimate security concerns are sometimes exaggerated for political and commercial reasons—a counterproductive dynamic that fuels rivalries, fragments the marketplace, increases anxiety, stifles innovation, and drives up costs. Inarguably, some governments have been intervening in the ICT/OT supply chain or at least laying the groundwork for such interventions. They believe the pursuit to be justifiable and legal, citing objectives related to intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. Whether valid or not, the concern is that certain corporations are actively or passively weakening the security of the supply chain and final products either at the behest of governments or for questionable purposes. Another concern is that both state and corporate interventions could leverage or mask what are purely lax security standards or flaws in products and services. And this further reduces trust in ICT/OT.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Saskia Brechenmacher, Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, civic space has come under attack in many countries around the world. To counter this trend, transnational actors that support civil society have responded in many ways—from exerting diplomatic pressure and building international norms to providing emergency funds for activists. Despite these efforts, governments continue to impose legal and extralegal restrictions amid a worsening larger political environment for civil society. Closing civic space now appears to be just one part of a much broader pattern of democratic recession and authoritarian resurgence. The international response seems stuck: some useful efforts have been undertaken, but they appear too limited, loosely focused, and reactive.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Political Activism, International Community
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) headquarters in Brussels, one may be surprised to find that the co-chair rule governing the activities of the congress requires joint male and female leaders to share the office. As inefficient as such a dual head might seem, it sets the stage for gender equality. Overall, the duties of both men and women in the Kurdish movement leave no time for marriage or other traditional gender roles. This is particularly true of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its related organizations, such as the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party/Peoples Defense Units (PYD/YPG).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Politics, Women
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, Brussels
  • Author: John J. Chin
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Hong Kong, once renowned as an apolitical and orderly British entrepôt, is now seething with political discontent, student unrest, and pro-democracy protests. Nothing less than the future of “one country, two systems”—the framework through which China agreed to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy for fifty years in exchange for British agreement to restore Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997 after more than a century of British administration—is at stake.
  • Topic: Government, History, Social Movement, Law, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Monica Arruda De Almeida
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Brazil’s income inequality is among the world’s worst. The country’s unemployment rate is currently 13 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in 2012, and the number of Brazilians in poverty or extreme poverty is now close to 30 percent, a far cry from 2014 when that number was less than 10 percent of the population. Brazil has one of the highest tax rates in Latin America—with tax revenue equal to 33 percent of GDP, against the regional average of 20 percent—but it is also notorious for its poor performance with respect to the ease of paying taxes and opening a business: the country ranks 184 and 140, respectively, out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report. It is surprising, therefore, that Jair Bolsonaro, a conservative politician from the Social Liberal Party (PSL), was elected to the country’s highest office without meaningfully addressing his administration’s plans to solve the nation’s social injustices and other economic issues. Instead, Bolsonaro campaigned mostly on strengthening public security and fighting corruption, the two areas on which the former army captain built his reputation during his almost thirty years as a congressman. During the campaign, Bolsonaro recruited Paulo Guedes, a Chicago School-trained economist to be his Minister of the Economy. Guedes was tasked with building a “dream team” of experts that would design a plan to further liberalize the economy and turn Brazil into a much friendlier place to conduct business.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Poverty, Economy, Social Policy, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Elina Noor
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Malaysia’s foreign and security policy faces myriad challenges, but not much is likely to change under Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘New Malaysia’ framework. The return of Mahathir Mohamad to the prime ministership of the country he had previously led for 22 years has raised questions about the direction Malaysia’s foreign and security policy might take. While there may be some course-corrections in foreign and security policy under Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government, it will not stray far from the approach of previous administrations. Continuities will include its non-aligned status, its pragmatic dealings with both the United States and China, its focus on ASEAN centrality and Malaysia’s economic development through trade. Malaysia will revisit its earlier “Look East” policy; it has plans to upgrade its defence capabilities in the South China Sea; and it will take a more consultative approach to foreign policy-making.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: James Chin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Malaysia’s momentous regime change, the new government faces a number of challenges to implementing wholesale political reform. Malaysia’s new government will need to deal with several key issues in the next 12 months to establish itself as a ‘change and reform’ administration, namely the Malay/Bumiputra Agenda, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), political Islam, and a clear timetable for transition of power. Each of these issues is crucial to Malaysia’s political stability in the near term and to laying the foundation for long-term institutional reforms. If these reforms are not handled properly, the new Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) administration under Mahathir may be a one-term government and the country could easily revert to the old regime.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Regime Change, Reform, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Patricio Goldstein, Ana Grisanti, Tim O'Brien, Jorge Tapia, Miguel Ajgel Santos
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jordan faces a number of pressing economic challenges: low growth, high unemployment, rising debt levels, and continued vulnerability to regional shocks. After a decade of fast economic growth, the economy decelerated with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. From then onwards, various external shocks have thrown its economy out of balance and prolonged the slowdown for over a decade now. Conflicts in neighboring countries have led to reduced demand from key export markets and cut off important trade routes. Foreign direct investment, which averaged 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003-2009, fell to 5.1% of GDP over the 2010-2017. Regional conflicts have interrupted the supply of gas from Egypt – forcing Jordan to import oil at a time of record prices, had a negative impact on tourism, and also provoked a massive influx of migrants and refugees. Failure to cope with 50.4% population growth between led to nine consecutive years (2008-2017) of negative growth rates in GDP per capita, resulting in a cumulative loss of 14.0% over the past decade (2009-2018). Debt to GDP ratios, which were at 55% by the end of 2009, have skyrocketed to 94%. Over the previous five years Jordan has undertaken a significant process of fiscal consolidation. The resulting reduction in fiscal impulse is among the largest registered in the aftermath of the Financial Crises, third only to Greece and Jamaica, and above Portugal and Spain. Higher taxes, lower subsidies, and sharp reductions in public investment have in turn furthered the recession. Within a context of lower aggregate demand, more consolidation is needed to bring debt-to-GDP ratios back to normal. The only way to break that vicious cycle and restart inclusive growth is by leveraging on foreign markets, developing new exports and attracting investments aimed at increasing competitiveness and strengthening the external sector. The theory of economic complexity provides a solid base to identify opportunities with high potential for export diversification. It allows to identify the existing set of knowhow, skills and capacities as signaled by the products and services that Jordan is able to make, and to define existing and latent areas of comparative advantage that can be developed by redeploying them. Service sectors have been growing in importance within the Jordanian economy and will surely play an important role in export diversification. In order to account for that, we have developed an adjusted framework that allows to identify the most attractive export sectors including services. Based on that adjusted framework, this report identifies export themes with a high potential to drive growth in Jordan while supporting increasing wage levels and delivering positive spillovers to the non-tradable economy. The general goal is to provide a roadmap with key elements of a strategy for Jordan to return to a high economic growth path that is consistent with its emerging comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Abhijit Banerjee, Amy Finkelstein, Rema Hanna, Benjamin A. Olken, Arianna Ornaghi, Sudarno Sumarto
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: To assess ways to achieve widespread health insurance coverage with financial solvency in developing countries, we designed a randomized experiment involving almost 6,000 households in Indonesia who are subject to a nationally mandated government health insurance program. We assessed several interventions that simple theory and prior evidence suggest could increase coverage and reduce adverse selection: substantial temporary price subsidies (which had to be activated within a limited time window and lasted for only a year), assisted registration, and information. Both temporary subsidies and assisted registration increased initial enrollment. Temporary subsidies attracted lower-cost enrollees, in part by eliminating the practice observed in the no subsidy group of strategically timing coverage for a few months during health emergencies. As a result, while subsidies were in effect, they increased coverage more than eightfold, at no higher unit cost; even after the subsidies ended, coverage remained twice as high, again at no higher unit cost. However, the most intensive (and effective) intervention – assisted registration and a full one-year subsidy – resulted in only a 30 percent initial enrollment rate, underscoring the challenges to achieving widespread coverage.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Economy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michael Woolcock
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many development agencies and governments now seek to engage directly with local communities, whether as a means to the realization of more familiar goals (infrastructure, healthcare, education) or as an end in itself (promoting greater inclusion, participation, well-being). These same agencies and governments, however, are also under increasing pressure to formally demonstrate that their actions ‘work’ and achieve their goals within relatively short timeframes – expectations which are, for the most part, necessary and desirable. But adequately assessing ‘community-driven’ approaches to development requires the deployment of theory and methods that accommodate their distinctive characteristics: building bridges is a qualitatively different task to building the rule of law and empowering minorities. Moreover, the ‘lessons’ inferred from average treatment effects derived from even the most rigorous assessments of community-driven interventions are likely to translate poorly to different contexts and scales of operation. Some guidance for anticipating and managing these conundrums are provided.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ali Tehrani, Azadeh Pourzand
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Winter 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The anniversary celebrations occurred in the midst of a difficult era of socio-economic turmoil, the return ofَ U.S. sanctions, and deepening political infighting in the Islamic Republic. Tensions between the government and the people are especially high. The tectonic plates of social change have been shifting below the surface in Iran over the past two decades, with major discontent erupting in the past year. While the country’s political facade appears largely unchanged, tensions and fragmentations among the ruling elite have deepened. Economic conditions are fast deteriorating for the average citizen, while political repression remains a harsh reality. Iran’s citizens, who have clung to hope and the possibility for change through decades of domestic repression and isolation from the global economy, struggle to remain hopeful. Collective fatigue stemming from years of isolation from the global economy, as well as domestic economic hardship, compounds the disappointment Iranians feel from unfulfilled political promises. The Iranian government has repeatedly failed to carry out promised reforms; in recent years alone, President Hassan Rouhani has proven unable to carry out his promises to “open up Iran politically, ease rigid social restrictions and address human rights abuses.” As this situation continues, Iran risks despair and chaos.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Social Movement, Sanctions, Nuclear Power, Reform, Economy, Memory
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the second of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. As explained in Part 1 of this series, the Trump administration’s continued support for the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen has triggered a range of Congressional responses. Although Congress faces challenges in passing new legislation to denounce Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen and its killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the White House’s Saudi policy implicates at least four pieces of existing legislation: the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the War Powers Resolution, the Foreign Assistance Control Act (FAA), and the Leahy Laws. These laws were all passed during the Cold War to curtail the executive’s increasing ability to unilaterally sell arms, supply military aid, and order U.S. troops to assist allies in a theater of war. The executive must abide by these laws. If the President refuses or cuts corners, Congress can bring him to heel directly via impeachment, or indirectly through court orders that force executive branch agencies to halt the restricted activity.
  • Topic: Government, War, Law, Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the third of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Credible allegations of Saudi war crimes and human rights abuses in Yemen should trigger the FAA and Leahy Laws to prevent U.S. aid from reaching the Saudi-led coalition, as discussed in part 2 of this series. However, the U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from unilaterally issuing orders to any executive agency, including the Defense and State Departments. Accordingly, both the Foreign Assistance Control Act (FAA) and the Leahy laws place the onus on the executive to identify and respond to gross violations of human rights. Thus far, the executive has turned a blind eye to the Saudi coalition’s actions. Congress could independently find that Saudi Arabia has engaged in a “consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” by commissioning its own investigations. But if the executive remains unconvinced, Congress only has two options to enforce the FAA and the Leahy laws: impeach the President, or obtain a court order requiring the executive withhold aid and arms pursuant to these laws. The first action is unlikely to occur here, but the second is a viable option. To secure a court order, Congress must show that the executive’s refusal to follow the FAA and the Leahy laws uniquely injures the legislative branch in a way that only the courts can remedy.
  • Topic: Government, International Law, Law, War Crimes, Weapons , Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the first of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Congress is considering a range of options to express its displeasure with Riyadh after Saudi agents murdered prominent Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in September 2018, and journalists and NGOs around the world continue to highlight human rights abuses perpetrated by Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen. Of these options, the most notable is the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019. Congress has already voted to condemn President Donald Trump’s unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: the Senate voted March 13th to end US support for the war in Yemen, echoing a measure that passed the House in mid-February. But, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act would go further still, sanctioning those in the Saudi government responsible for Khashoggi’s death and curtailing U.S. arms sales and military aid critical to the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The White House vehemently opposes the bill. If it passes, President Trump is expected to veto it, just as he is expected to veto the Senate’s March and House’s February resolutions.
  • Topic: Government, Law, Military Affairs, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bertjan Verbeek, Andrej Zaslove
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Populism seems to be a well-established notion in public and academic debate alike. Nevertheless, several issues surrounding populism are still contested and thus merit closer attention. These contested issues encompass the extent to which populism is novel and ubiquitous; the scope of the phenomenon; the merits of the various definitions of populism; its political colour(s); the potential danger it poses to democracy; its appropriateness to govern; as well as populism’s impact beyond national borders.
  • Topic: Government, Democracy, Populism, Public Policy, Radical Right, Leftist Politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ferdinando Nelli Feroci
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A few months after the European Parliament elections, and a few weeks before a new European Commission is fully operational, the European Union is facing old and new challenges, both domestic and international. Internally, the EU will soon be testing these new institutions. In the recently elected European Parliament, nationalist and Eurosceptic political forces are a minority, but pro-European mainstream parties, which have the numbers to control the proceedings of the Parliament, have not been able to consolidate a stable and comfortable majority. The new European Commission has encountered setbacks in the confirmation procedure of three of its members and will therefore fully assume its responsibilities with some delay on 1 December.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism, Politics, Elections, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Kevin Lai, Tao Wang, David Xu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Capital controls—or measures that governments take to restrict the amount of money that flows into and out of countries—pose significant challenges for firms that rely heavily on foreign financing to conduct business. This paper empirically evaluates effects of capital controls on trade across industries with varying levels of dependence on foreign capital. Mobilizing data on 99 countries from 1995 to 2014 across 27 industries, the authors find that industries more reliant on foreign capital tend to export much less in response to tightening of capital controls by exporting countries. Exports decline uniformly across all industries in response to tightening of capital controls by importing countries. The negative effects of capital controls on trade are less pronounced in countries with more advanced financial systems.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Capital Flows, Capital Controls
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Euijin Jung
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: US refusal to allow the appointment of new judges (or members) to the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body—a key component of its renowned dispute settlement system—has pushed the organization into an existential crisis. The Appellate Body no longer has the requisite number of members to hear new cases on appeal. The terms of two of the three remaining members have expired, leaving the WTO without an appeal function. US officials charge that certain Appellate Body decisions on WTO dispute panel rulings have expanded WTO obligations and constrained WTO rights—what trade lawyers call “judicial overreach”—and so they have blocked the appointment of new Appellate Body members until other WTO countries address US complaints. Schott and Jung analyze the WTO cases brought against the United States and find that the problem of judicial overreach seems to surface primarily in a subset of US losses in antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) cases that target specific methods of calculating dumping margins. They warn that disabling the whole appellate system is a disproportionate response to the specific problem. It will weaken enforcement of WTO obligations and undermine prospects for negotiations to update the WTO rulebook, thus corroding the rules-based trading system, one that has been modeled on US law and practice. A better approach would be to exempt AD/CVD cases from appellate review (while still subjecting them to dispute panel rulings). This targeted change in the WTO Appellate Body process, coupled with procedural reforms already advanced in proposals that have been widely supported by WTO members, could mitigate US concerns and allow the Appellate Body to be repopulated.
  • Topic: Government, World Trade Organization, Law, Judiciary, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper is a partial exploration of mechanisms through which global factors influence the tradeoffs that US monetary policy faces. It considers three main channels. The first is the determination of domestic inflation in a context where international prices and global competition play a role, alongside domestic slack and inflation expectations. The second channel is the determination of asset returns (including the natural real safe rate of interest) and financial conditions, given integration with global financial markets. The third channel, which is particular to the United States, is the potential spillback onto the US economy from the disproportionate impact of US monetary policy on the outside world. In themselves, global factors need not undermine a central bank’s ability to control the price level over the long term—after all, it is the monopoly issuer of the numeraire in which domestic prices are measured. Over shorter horizons, however, global factors do change the tradeoff between price-level control and other goals such as low unemployment and financial stability, thereby affecting the policy cost of attaining a given price path.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates international efforts to diagnose the global financial crisis and decide on appropriate responses, the treatments that were agreed and adopted, and the successes and failures as the crisis unfolded. International coordination of economic policies eventually contributed importantly to containing the crisis, but the authorities failed to agree on a diagnosis and the consequent need for joint action until the case was obvious. The policy actions that were adopted were powerful and effective, but they may have undermined prospects for coordinated responses to future crises.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Financial Crisis, Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Takashi Tashiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For many years, the Japanese government has promised an eventual return to primary budget surpluses, but it has not delivered on these promises. Its latest goal is to return to primary balance by 2025. Blanchard and Tashiro, however, argue that, in the current economic environment in Japan, primary deficits may be needed for a long time, because they may be the best tool to sustain demand and output, alleviate the burden on monetary policy, and increase future output. What primary deficits are used for, however, is equally important, and the Japanese government should put them to better use. The authors recommend that, given Japan’s aging population, the government should spend on measures aimed at increasing fertility—and by implication population and output growth—which are likely to more than pay for themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Budget, Fiscal Policy, Deficit
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Claudia Biancotti, Paolo Ciocca
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past few years, it has become apparent that a small number of technology companies have assembled detailed datasets on the characteristics, preferences, and behavior of billions of individuals. This concentration of data is at the root of a worrying power imbalance between dominant internet firms and the rest of society, reflecting negatively on collective security, consumer rights, and competition. Introducing data sharing mandates, or requirements for market leaders to share user data with other firms and academia, would have a positive effect on competition. As data are a key input for artificial intelligence (AI), more widely available information would help spread the benefits of AI through the economy. On the other hand, data sharing could worsen existing risks to consumer privacy and collective security. Policymakers intending to implement a data sharing mandate should carefully evaluate this tradeoff.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Privacy, Internet, Monopoly, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remain heavily reliant on natural resource revenue as a source of government spending and a driver of growth. Diversification efforts now often include new ways to generate revenue through state investments in energy projects abroad (including refining and petrochemical production) and national oil companies. Since 2015, the GCC countries have become more competitive with each other in altering their policy landscapes to streamline fiscal expenditure and attract foreign investment and resident investors. There is significant variation in policy approaches to foreign labor and tax. Each of these governments faces enormous strains on public finances and challenging economic outlooks, due to depressed oil prices, demographic pressures, high unemployment rates, and a lack of economic diversification. Debt has become a tool of choice, but the capacity to repay and the capacity to grow are both beginning to differentiate the GCC states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Michael Kugelman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Michael Kugelman is Deputy Director for the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and is also the Center’s Senior Associate for South Asia. He is responsible for research, programming, and publications on South Asia. His specialty areas include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and U.S. relations with each of them. His recent projects have focused on India’s foreign policy, U.S.-Pakistan relations, India-Pakistan relations, the war in Afghanistan, transboundary water agreements in South Asia, and U.S. policy in South Asia. He is a regular contributor to publications that include Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Science and Technology, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth G. Troeder
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph provides an assessment of gray zone tactics used by the most active U.S. adversaries and builds the case for requiring U.S. Federal agencies to request that the Deputy National Security Advisor convene a National Security Council/Deputies Committee (NSC/DC) meeting whenever any Federal agency deems a gray zone approach to an international issue is appropriate. It also recommends that the United States should pursue the development of a standing National Security Council/Policy Coordination Committee (NSC/PCC) for gray zone solutions, with sub-NSC/PCCs for each component of the 4+1 (Russia, China, Iraq, North Korea, and violent extremist organizations) so that experts can be quickly assembled in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Government, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: publication cover In 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the DoD Cyber Strategy which explicitly calls for a comprehensive strategy to provide credible deterrence in cyberspace against threats from key state and nonstate actors. To be effective, such activities must be coordinated with ongoing deterrence efforts in the physical realm, especially those of near-peers impacting critical global regions such as China in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia in Europe. It is important for the U.S. Army to identify and plan for any unique roles that they may provide to these endeavors. This study explores the evolving concept of deterrence in cyberspace in three major areas: • First, the monograph addresses the question: What is the current U.S. deterrence posture for cyberspace? The discussion includes an assessment of relevant current national and DoD policies and concepts as well as an examination of key issues for cyber deterrence found in professional literature. • Second, it examines the question: What are the Army’s roles in cyberspace deterrence? This section provides background information on how Army cyber forces operate and examines the potential contributions of these forces to the deterrence efforts in cyberspace as well as in the broader context of strategic deterrence. The section also addresses how the priority of these contributions may change with escalating levels of conflict. • Third, the monograph provides recommendations for changing or adapting the DoD and Army responsibilities to better define and implement the evolving concepts and actions supporting deterrence in the dynamic domain of cyberspace.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Non State Actors, Cybersecurity, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Iraq War has been the costliest U.S. conflict since the Vietnam War. To date, few official studies have been conducted to review what happened, why it happened, and what lessons should be drawn. The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is the Army’s initial operational level analysis of this conflict, written in narrative format, with assessments and lessons embedded throughout the work. This study reviews the conflict from a Landpower perspective and includes the contributions of coalition allies, the U.S. Marine Corps, and special operations forces. Presented principally from the point of view of the commanders in Baghdad, the narrative examines the interaction of the operational and strategic levels, as well as the creation of theater level strategy and its implementation at the tactical level. Volume 1 begins in the truce tent at Safwan Airfield in southern Iraq at the end of Operation DESERT STORM and briefly examines actions by U.S. and Iraqi forces during the interwar years. The narrative continues by examining the road to war, the initially successful invasion, and the rise of Iraqi insurgent groups before exploring the country’s slide toward civil war. This volume concludes with a review of the decision by the George W. Bush administration to “surge” additional forces to Iraq, placing the conduct of the “surge” and its aftermath in the second volume. This study was constructed over a span of 4 years and relied on nearly 30,000 pages of hand-picked declassified documents, hundreds of hours of original interviews, and thousands of hours of previously unavailable interviews. Original interviews conducted by the team included President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and every theater commander for the war, among many others. With its release, this publication, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War, represents the U.S. Government’s longest and most detailed study of the Iraq conflict thus far.
  • Topic: Government, War, History, Conflict, Army, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mashail Malik, Niloufer Siddiqui
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan’s 2018 elections marked just the second time in history that power transferred peacefully from one civilian government to another after a full term in office. Although the initial months of campaigning were relatively free of violence, the two weeks before polling were dangerous for campaigners and voters alike, and the elections provided a platform for some parties to incite violence, particularly against Pakistan’s minority sects. This report provides a deep examination of how exposure to political violence in Pakistan’s largest city affects political behavior, including willingness to vote and faith in the democratic process.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Minorities, Elections, Violence, Peace, Voting
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia, Karachi
  • Author: Başak Yavçan
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. Turkey hosts the majority of the Syrian refugees, with 3, 636 617 registered Syrians. From 2015, Turkish authorities moved from a policy of temporary protection, to one of integration, while also promoting voluntary return. According to statistics from Directorate General of Migration Management of Turkey (DGMM), in 2018, 254, 000 Syrians voluntarily returned to Syria. This was thought to be the effect of new government policies promoting return, such as permits for holiday visits and family reunion. However, 194, 000 of these re-entered Turkey, casting doubt on the actual impact of these policies as well as the security and economic conditions inside Syria, which would accommodate return.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Fabrice Balanche
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. The war in Syria has not ended, yet uncoordinated bottom-up reconstruction efforts have already taken place in many areas where the bombing and violence have stopped. The government is prioritising restoring electricity, as it is inexpensive, but water, education, and health are harder to restore cheaply and quickly. The resumption of public services, and investment in regime areas depends on loyalty, reminiscent of pre-war sectarian politics. The extent of politicisation of the reconstruction efforts led by the Syrian government is reduced because of limited funds, and government disconnection from local levels. Bottom-up efforts to reconstruction are limited to individuals rebuilding their houses using remittances, or low-level housing projects. Lack of large funding for infrastructure, industry and health will slow growth, reinforce fragmentation of industry and reproduce the root causes of the conflict.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Reconstruction, Conflict, Syrian War, Services
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Jodi Sanger, Leah Mason
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Both U.S. graduate school enrollments and the demand for global competency in the workforce are on the rise, but what do we know about graduate-level study abroad? The Graduate Learning Overseas (GLO) research study, implemented by IIE and launched in 2017 with support from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of International and Foreign Language Education, aims to identify the scale and scope of U.S. graduate students’ educational activities and to better understand the institutional practices around student mobility data collection. This report shares results of the first national survey to U.S. higher education institutions on this topic. The results from this survey paint a clearer picture of the graduate-level study abroad landscape and demonstrate the need for institutions to build capacity to collect graduate student mobility data to support graduate students’ needs. In addition, it aims to help researchers better serve the international education field by both improving data collection practices and developing resources for institutions.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Higher Education, Graduate School
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: This report presents findings from a TechWomen program evaluation conducted in 2018 by IIE’s Research, Evaluation, and Learning team. The evaluation assessed change in participants’ professional skills and capacities. The evaluation team utilized Social Network Analysis methodology to measure development of the participants’ professional networks with each other and with STEM professionals in the U.S. The report also outlines how the program impacted participants’ and mentors’ cross-cultural understanding and exchange of professional best practices. Finally, the report highlights program’s impact on participants’ and mentors’ communities and specifically on women and girls. TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs implemented by IIE. Launched in 2011, the program supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential. TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Science and Technology, Culture, Women, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with realization of human rights and broader public interest objectives. This Chapter provides an overview of the interaction between human rights law and the investment treaty regime. It highlights the challenges that arise from tension between international human rights and investment norms, including the impact of the investment regime on the ability of host states to regulate and on access to justice for investment-affected rights holders. The chapter also explores whether and how human rights issues have been addressed by the investment regime to date, highlighting recent developments in treaty drafting practice and responses to human rights argumentation by investment tribunals. It notes the shortcomings of current approaches, and concludes by briefly setting out options for reform.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Treaties and Agreements, Reform, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kaylee Steck, Mohammed Alhammami
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Last fall, Congress enacted a law that indirectly led to 29 young Arab leaders losing their scholarships to U.S.-accredited universities and dealt another blow to educational and cultural exchange programming, a critical part of U.S. public diplomacy efforts.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Law, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vicki Valosik
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: A certificate program at the School of Foreign Service offers theoretical knowledge and practical training for aspiring diplomats. According to Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Director of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD), the skills needed by today’s aspiring diplomats haven’t changed significantly since the days when she was preparing for her own long and successful diplomatic career. “On one level, they will need the skills diplomats have always needed: the ability to understand and shape policy, to work comfortably globally, to be able to analyze a large amount of information, and—critically important—the ability to write,” she says. “At the same time,” adds Bodine, who served as Ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001, “twenty-first century diplomats also need to be able to manage large amounts of data and comfortably move from a known issue, a comfortzone issue, to something new. They need to be able to extrapolate from past experience to a new experience without rigid templates.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America
  • Author: Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: May’s parliamentary elections in South Africa, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), will change the directions of its foreign policy. The victory by the African National Congress (ANC) was made possible by the popularity of the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who will emphasize the international dimension of policy. In his new term, he will focus on regaining the trust of foreign investors, strengthening the country’s pro-Western course, supporting multilateralism, and reform of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, International Law, Politics, Elections, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Małgorzata Pawłowska, Melchior Szczepanik
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: ND won the election with 39.9% of the votes. The governing left-wing Syriza took 31.5% while 8.1% voted for the Movement for Change (KINAL), a coalition built around PASOK, the main left-wing party before the last economic crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The U.S. cancellation of peace talks with the Taliban means that the presidential election in Afghanistan planned for 28 September will take place in an environment of an escalating civil war. The most important challenge for the authorities is to ensure the security and credibility of the electoral process. Although the elections carry the risk of deepening the internal political crisis, they can also strengthen the position of the new president in possible government negotiations with the Taliban, which would give the country a chance to launch an intra-Afghan peace process. Western partners can support this approach by confirming their support for the new authorities and intensifying military pressure on the Taliban.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Elections, Taliban, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Nitzan Horowitz, Ronen Hoffman, Yohanan Plesner, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Ofer Shelah, Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Elie Podeh, Einat Levi, Merav Michaeli
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The Mitvim Institute’s second annual conference took place in Tel Aviv on December 30, 2018. The conference explored alternative directions for Israeli foreign policy towards the April 2019 general elections. In recent years, Mitvim has formulated a series of guiding principles for a new Israeli foreign policy paradigm – a pro-peace, multi-regional, internationalist, modern and inclusive foreign policy. The conference sought to translate these principles into concrete policy directions, which will enable Israel to improve its foreign policy, increase its regional belonging in the Middle East and Europe, and make progress towards peace with the Palestinians. The conference featured Members of Knesset (MKs) Ofer Shelah and Merav Michaeli, Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Ronen Hoffman, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Yohanan Plesner, Dr. Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Prof. Elie Podeh, and Einat Levi. It was moderated by Nitzan Horowitz and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim. The conference was held in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, and can be watched (in Hebrew) on Mitvim’s YouTube channel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, National Security, Diaspora, Democracy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, European Union
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In Israel, former diplomats do not tend to play a significant public role. However, they have the potential to make a real contribution to improving the public and political Israeli discourse on foreign policy. Israel’s former diplomats have dozens of years of experience, diplomatic skills, knowledge of various countries and organizations, intricate networks of social ties around the world, analytic capacity and deep understanding of the international arena and of Israel’s place among nations. This valuable experience often goes down the drain. A Mitvim Institute task-team recommended to increase their role in Israel’s public sphere, in order to empower Israel’s diplomacy and Foreign Service. On February 3, 2019, the Mitvim Institute hosted a policy workshop to discuss how this can be done. It was carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and with participation of senior former diplomats (including Foreign Ministry directors-general and deputy directors-general). Discussants presented examples from other countries, outlined the situation in Israel, described the challenges to optimizing the potential impact of Foreign Ministry retirees, and identified recommendations to promote change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Towards the Israeli general elections of September 2019, the Mitvim Institute conducted a public opinion poll that examined who Israelis would like to see as their foreign minister, how they perceive the status of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and how they assess the outgoing government’s performance on key foreign policy issues. The poll was carried out in August 2019 by the Rafi Smith Institute and in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, among a representative sample of Israel’s adult population (700 men and women, Jews and Arabs) and with a margin of error of 3.5%.
  • Topic: Government, International Affairs, Public Opinion, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yuval Steinitz, Ofer Shelah, Merav Michaeli, Yisrael Beiteinu, Nitzan Horowitz, Ofer Cassif
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: On 9 September 2019, the Mitvim Institute convened a pre-elections event on Israel’s foreign policy. The event focused on paths to advance peace with the Palestinians; to deepen Israel’s regional belonging in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean; and to empower Israel’s diplomacy Foreign Service. Senior politicians from six political parties spoke at the event: Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Member of Knesset (MK) Ofer Shelah (Blue and White), MK Merav Michaeli (Labor-Gesher), MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beiteinu), Nitzan Horowitz (Chair of the Democratic Union) and MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List). Each of them was interviewed by Arad Nir, foreign news editor of Channel 12 News. Dr. Nimrod Goren and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim delivered opening remarks in which they presented recent trends in Israel’s foreign policy and findings of a special pre-elections Mitvim poll. This document sums up the key points made at the event.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Matti Siemiatycki
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Infrastructure Canada is the national ministry of infrastructure rather than an independent government agency or advisory body. It designs and administers the national government's funding programs to infrastructure across a variety of sectors such as transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure. Under the Canadian constitution, the national government actually has fairly limited jurisdiction over the ownership, planning and operations of infrastructure, which is primarily controlled at the provincial level. The country’s ten provinces and three territories then delegate considerable responsibility for infrastructure provision to the municipal governments. In 2016, only 2.1% of all public infrastructure in Canada was owned by the national government, compared with 58% owned by local governments, and 38.1% by the Provinces.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The politico-governance landscape in 20th century Lhasa oversaw a system of hierarchical government–one in which, the hierarchy was composed of both, clerical and lay departments, each consisting of an equal number of men. The 165 priests belonging to the higher ranks attending to the affairs of the State bore the title “Tse Dung.” The lay officials with corresponding rank and number held the title “Dung Khor.” The most visible distinguishing mark between the priests and laymen was that while the former shaved their hair and wore priestly robes, the latter did not.1 The priestly functionaries of higher ranks were subjected to control by four Grand Secretaries, bearing the title “Tung yk chen mo”, though the real powers were vested in the seniormost priest. Similarly, four “Shabpe” (Premiers) were appointed over the higher lay officials.2 Only one among the four “Shabpe” held precedence in wielding real power, while the other three were his councilors and advisers.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Government, Religion, Governance, Finance, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The protests in Lebanon have evolved into more than a fight against a failed and corrupt government. They constitute a rare demand for political and social structures that emphasize national rather than ethnic or sectarian religious identities in a world in which civilizational leaders who advocate some form of racial, ethnic, or religious supremacy govern the world’s major as well as key regional powers.
  • Topic: Government, Sectarianism, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Randolph Mank
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted. The review option would only be useful if everything were on the table, including what to do about bilateral relations with the U.S., the future of our multilateral commitments, and domestic policies on such critical global issues as energy and the environment. The ultimate goal should be to advance Canada’s national interests through better aligned domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Two hundred and forty days. That is the average length of tenure – eight months – of the national security advisor to the U.S. president during the past two-and-a-half years. With the resignation or firing (depending on who you listen to) of John Bolton, Donald Trump is now on to his fifth assistant to the president for national security affairs, the official title of the job. It is an historic anomaly of epic proportions. Since the position was created during the Eisenhower administration in the early 1950s, on average national security advisors have served 32 months, exactly four times the average shelf life of Trump’s advisors (and Trump is only just over halfway through his first term of office).1 Revolving doors are of course a hallmark of the Trump administration, but does this one really matter?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, National Security, Politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: At a time when even large, high-tech Silicon Valley corporations that operate as market disruptors are challenged to keep up with the pace of change, national Western governments need to ensure that defence funding is responsive to persistent, dramatic and non-linear shifts in the international strategic environment. The United States is experiencing a “deepening crisis of credibility in global affairs”,2 largely resulting from an America-first posture, rather than a multilateral approach with traditional allies. Some nations now view the U.S. as “undermining the international order”,3 and reliance on the U.S. as the leading democratic nation is less certain. Indeed, periods of great economic change “driven chiefly by economic and technological developments, which then impact on social structures, political systems, military power, and the position of individual states”,4 create a dynamic that shifts power, influence and trade among nations. Further, nations that can “develop, produce, and deploy technology the most effectively”5 can gain a comparative advantage in the current security environment, where the rate of technological change is accelerating. However, with adversaries advancing their military technology in increasingly shorter cycles, market dominance by Western defence firms has only fleeting or transitory advantage. The revolution in military technology has been a constant topic for analysts, but the changing military and defence department skill sets required in the future security environment are equally important, with the cyber-realm and space being two prominent examples.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Maureen Boyd, Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In response to increasing requests by foreign diplomats to explain our election process, we have written this primer. We are not partisans, although we consulted stakeholders from the different parties as well as experts on Canadian politics, polling and our elections in putting this piece together.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Elections, Primer
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Farzana Naheed Khan, M. Tariq Majeed
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The growing importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and egovernment has attracted the attention of policy makers who are committed to increase the GDP per capita of a country. Therefore, this study investigates the growth effects of ICT and egovernment for a sample of eight South Asian economies over the period 1980-2016. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical study, which examines the relationship between economic growth and ICT with a special emphasis on the role of ICT implementation in public sector. In particular, we use diverse indicators of ICT to assess the robustness of empirical findings. Moreover, the study employs instrumental estimation techniques 2SLS and GMM to deal with the possible problem of endogeneity. The empirical findings of our study indicate that growth effects of ICT as well as e-government are positive and significant in all models. Finally, our study concludes that the South Asia region can greatly benefit from the implementation of ICT infrastructure in general and in public sector in particular.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Internet, Political Science
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Punjab