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  • Author: Michael D. Swaine, Jessica J. Lee, Rachel Esplin Odell
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: The world faces twin crises — a global pandemic and rising climate chaos — even as an epochal change in the balance of power unfolds in East Asia. In response to these trends, the United States has doubled down on efforts to contain a rising China and maintain its eroding military dominance in the region. Simultaneously, it has neglected economic engagement and diplomatic cooperation with East Asian nations, thereby undermining its ability to manage the Covid–19 pandemic and the climate change challenge. This failed approach is directly harming the interests of the American people.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, International Order
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia
  • Author: Trita Parsi
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: • Abandon dominance. For many of the United States’ security partners, even a dysfunctional Pax Americana is preferable to the compromises that a security architecture would inevitably entail. The preconditions for creating a successful security architecture can emerge only if the United States begins a military withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and credibly signals it no longer seeks to sustain hegemony. • Encourage regional dialogue, but let the region lead. The incoming Biden administration’s hint that it will seek an inclusive security dialogue in the Persian Gulf is a welcome first step toward shifting the burden of security to the regional states themselves. For such an effort to be successful, the United States should play a supporting role while urging regional states to take the lead. • Include other major powers. The regional dialogue should include the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major Asian powers with a strong interest in stability in the Persian Gulf. Including them can help dilute Washington’s and Beijing’s roles while protecting the region from inter–Asian rivalries in the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, United Nations, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: Despite the Biden administration’s push to revitalize U.S. alliances, U.S. relations with NATO are due for a reset. The United States should incentivize European members of NATO to take on additional responsibilities for their defense. Encouraging the European allies to take initiative will help the United States focus on its other domestic and international priorities and may facilitate improving relations with Russia. This approach will also prove attractive to European states concerned about the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. Recalibrating the U.S. role in Europe would conform with the United States’ post–World War II efforts to stabilize European security — and stand as the fruit of Washington’s success in this regard.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Gordon Adams
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: To meet today’s foreign policy challenges, the United States needs to end its overreliance on military superiority and intervention and instead put creative and persistent diplomacy in the lead to promote locally owned solutions to national, bilateral, and regional security issues and to address global challenges not amenable to military force. This rebalancing will not succeed if civilian statecraft is dysfunctional and unprepared. More funding and more diplomats will not solve this problem. What is needed is fundamental reform of structures, processes, and personnel practices, particularly at the State Department. These include strategic planning, resource planning, institutional integration, clear authority over security assistance programs, and moving away from nation-building and toward conflict prevention. Far-reaching changes in the way diplomats are recruited, trained, and promoted are also required. Without such changes, there is substantial risk that our diplomatic tools will be ineffective, resulting in even greater militarization of U.S. foreign policy when diplomacy fails.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy, Alliance, Statecraft
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sarang Shidore
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: In the wake of a sharp deterioration in U.S.–China and India–China relations, there is an increasing emphasis in U.S. relations with India on military-to-military ties and bloc formation over other forms of relationship-building. Washington is steadily militarizing the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” a four-member security group that is intended to counter Beijing, of which New Delhi is a member. This, combined with India’s stalled economy and the outlook for longer-term post-pandemic weakness, is accentuating a risk-prone asymmetry in U.S.–India relations. There also remain key divergences in the specifics of U.S. and Indian interests, even on the question of countering China. Over-militarized U.S.–India relations could help push Asia closer to a paradigm of military blocs, frontline states, and zero-sum games, while also planting seeds for a nationalist backlash against the United States in South Asia as a whole. The United States should therefore reorient its vital partnership with India according to these four recommendations: Limit the relationship’s increasing militarization and instead emphasize nontraditional areas of security cooperation such as climate change and peacekeeping, which lend themselves to inclusion rather than exclusion. The Quad should be returned to its original political-normative focus; Create conditions favorable to India’s comprehensive development, particularly in the energy, environmental, and supply-chain spaces, as a lower-risk path toward catalyzing a multipolar Asia; Drop demands on India to scale back ties with U.S. adversaries such as Russia and Iran; Resist the temptation to use India as a force-multiplier to pressure smaller South Asian states as to their global alignments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, India
  • Author: Anatol Lieven
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: The unresolved conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbas region represents by far the greatest danger of a new war in Europe — and by far the greatest risk of a new crisis in relations between the United States and Russia. The Biden administration does not wish to escalate tensions with Russia, and no doubt appreciates that admitting Ukraine into NATO is impossible for the foreseeable future, if only because Germany and France would veto it. Nonetheless, so long as the dispute remains unresolved, the United States will be hostage to developments on the ground that could drag it into a new and perilous crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, War, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Eugene Gholz
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: U.S. interests in the Middle East are often defined expansively, contributing to an overinflation of the perceived need for a large U.S. military footprint. While justifications like countering terrorism, defending Israel, preventing nuclear proliferation, preserving stability, and protecting human rights deserve consideration, none merit the current level of U.S. troops in the region; in some cases, the presence of the U.S. military actually undermines these concerns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, War on Terror, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: KC Harris, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Rock ‘n’ roll owes its origins to a one-room converted auto repair shop in Memphis, Tennessee and a man named Sam Phillips. As a talent scout, producer, and record-label operator, Sam Phillips defined the genre of rock ‘n’ roll and, consequently, the evolution of popular music in the 20th century through his label Sun Records.1 From his tiny recording studio in Memphis, Phillips discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, and many more famous performers. Situated at a geographic and cultural crossroads in Memphis, between Nashville, the home of country music, and Chicago, the capital of the Blues, Sun Records codified the new sound of rock ‘n’ roll, which bridged racial, economic, and generational divides in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Topic: History, Capitalism, Music
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan Tiemann, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Two momentous events early in 1848 completely and abruptly transformed California. On 24 January, James Marshall found gold in a millrace he was building for John Sutter at Coloma, on the South Fork of the American River. Nine days later, on 2 February, the United States and Mexico concluded the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending nearly two years of hostilities. Under the Treaty, Mexico ceded much of the present south-western United States to the US for monetary consideration. An American occupation government had ruled most of California since mid-1846, but neither the American military governor nor the earlier Mexican governors had held firm political control over the remote, sparsely populated territory. 1 Now, the problem was fully in the hands of the Americans.
  • Topic: Economics, History, Monetary Policy, Capitalism, Currency, Banking
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Shaver, Leonardo Dantas, Amarpreet Kaur, Robert Kraemer, Tristan Jahn, Grady Thomson, Hank Cheng, Katherine Gan, Jazmin Santos-Perez
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: We consider how the U.S. news media reports on international affairs. Analyzing ≈40 million news articles published between 2010 and 2020, we explore whether the American news media report differently on various international affairs topics based on partisan leanings. We then analyze ≈25 million articles published by top online news sites to determine whether collective reporting shows disparities between the level of attention afforded major global issues and objective measures of their human costs (e.g. numbers of individuals killed). We find that left- and right-leaning news outlets tend to report on international affairs at similar rates but differ significantly in their likelihood of referencing particular issues. We find further strong evidence that the frequency of reporting on the international issues we study tracks only modestly with their associated human costs. Given evidence U.S. public and policymakers dependence on news reports for foreign affairs information, our findings raise fundamental questions about the influence of these reporting biases.
  • Topic: International Relations, Communications, Media, Internet
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus