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  • Author: Phillip McLean
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Once again events elsewhere have driven news of Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America off the front pages— even from newspapers in the region. Lack of attention may be the least of those countries' concerns about the war. The more serious consequence is likely to be that the war will accentuate the hemisphere's already evident problems. To the degree that the war slows the growth of world trade, the region's near-term economic prospects will suffer, and global uncertainties will dim the promise of more open and dynamic markets.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Canada, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When looking at the ramifications of the war in Iraq on the Western Hemisphere, it is clear that the conflict will have the greatest impact on the two nations with which the United States shares borders—Mexico and Canada. From a national security standpoint, these nations' immediate proximity to the United States automatically heightens the threat to their own national security, particularly because we seem to have entered an era in which the use of weapons of mass destruction—be they nuclear, chemical, or biological—poses a viable threat. From a U.S. homeland security standpoint, the shared border transforms both of our friendly neighbors into possible platforms from which rogue elements could stage attacks or enter the United States to threaten our homeland.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Canada, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The race for the Argentine presidency is now in the next to last lap. The first ballot will be cast April 27, but for the first time in history it looks as if a second ballot will be required. If it is, it will take place on May 18. At this juncture, public opinion and pundits' predictions are poles apart. But before analyzing them, it might be useful to remember the electoral system now in effect.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Luis Rubio
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Mexico's President Vicente Fox chose a rather awkward time to take a stand supporting a multilateralist approach in foreign policy. Even though a multilateral approach matches neatly—almost naturally—with the country's history, taking such a visible stand after the events of September 11 entailed huge risks that nobody in Fox's cabinet could ignore, even if, in retrospect, few truly understood what the actual risks were. Yet, oblivious to that fact, the government pushed ahead. Even after President George W. Bush had decided not to pursue a vote in the UN Security Council on a follow-up resolution that would have de facto authorized the use of force in Iraq, the Mexican government found it necessary to state that it would have voted “no.” The critical question is less whether this constitutes an approach to foreign policy that is new for Mexico than whether the administration truly understands the implications of its newfound ways.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Sergio Sarmiento
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For a long time, it seemed impossible for any issue to forge an alliance between the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000—and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). This issue, however, has clearly emerged now with the attempt to force President Vicente Fox, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to offer special protection to Mexico's agriculture.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, George W. Grayson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On March 9, 2003, the citizens of Mexico state (Edomex) will elect 124 municipal government officials and 75 members of the state legislature. Although local contests, these elections have attracted national attention for several reasons. First, with 13 million inhabitants Edomex is the most populous of Mexico 31 states–with approximately 4.5 million more citizens than Mexico City. Second, Mexico state also boasts more than 8 million voters, the most of any state and 12.55 percent of the nationwide total. Third, Mexico state is a microcosm of the country–with (1) a vibrant manufacturing sector, (2) one-third of its income arising from agriculture, (3) a small indigenous population, (4) a plethora of middle-class residents who work for the government, own small businesses, or practice professions such as medicine, dentistry, accounting, and teaching, and (5) poor people who eke out a living in Chalco, Texcoco, and other sprawling slums contiguous to Mexico City. Fourth, Edomex is an arena of intense political activism, involving the country's three major parties: the once-hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the center-right National Action Party (PAN), and the nationalist-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). In addition, the Mexican Green Ecological Party (PVEM) boasts its largest support base in the state, while several new or small parties will also compete in the upcoming election. These include the centrist Convergencia, the leftist Workers' Party (PT), the right-wing Social Alliance (PAS), the conservative Party of the Nationalist Society (PSN), the reform-oriented México Posible (MP), the Mexican Liberal Party (PLM), Citizens' Force (FC), and the Citizens' Parliament (PC). Fifth, the importance of the state means that any major Edomex politician who distinguishes himself will wind up on the short list of contenders for the presidency in 2006. Finally, the outcome of the Mexico state balloting will provide an insight into the relative strength of contending parties as they prepare for the July 6 election of 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and six governors (Campeche, Colima, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, and Sonora).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the Chinese language, the character "wen" means moderation and modesty. This happens to capture the personality and policies of China's new premier, Wen Jiabao. In his first trip to the United States as premier, Wen will try to present the image of a rising China that is liberalizing at home, is confident abroad, and willing and able to work with the world's sole superpower. The U.S. side will also have a closeup look at the man who may well administer China for the next 10 years.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: TAIPEI – Is President Chen Shui-bian trying to provoke a crisis with the PRC in the run up to the March 2004 presidential elections in Taiwan? Taiwan government spokesmen say no, but there is a growing perception among cross-Strait watchers that Taipei is purposefully baiting Beijing in hopes of provoking a hostile response (a la the 1996 missile “tests”) that will cause the island's public to rally around the flag (and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party) in the name of Taiwanese nationalism.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Bush's recent offer to provide Pyongyang with written assurances that the U.S. does not intend to attack North Korea and the North's willingness “to consider” this offer provide the basis, however tentative and contentious, for a negotiated solution to the current nuclear stand-off on the Korean Peninsula. But even if the North really does return to the bargaining table – and this is by no means assured – a long and difficult road lies ahead in the search for common ground between the two primary antagonists in this six-party drama. The key to a successful outcome remains the willingness of the other four actors – China, Japan, Russia, and especially South Korea – to stand firmly behind Washington's central demand: that Pyongyang “fully, verifiably, and irreversibly” abandon its nuclear weapons programs.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tokyo – In the end, the weather just wasn't bad enough. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has dominated politics since 1955, claimed victory in Sunday's national election as it and its coalition partners took a comfortable majority in the Diet. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's celebrations have been muted, however: The LDP's failure to win an outright majority in the lower house will embolden obstructionists within his own party who oppose his reform agenda.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia