Fri May 29 2015 9:53:32 +0200 CEST

Article Alert of November 1, 2011

What is an Article Alert?

Article Alert is a bi-weekly service that helps you select and read the best of America's journal literature on a variety of international relations topics, as well as U.S. domestics issues. It is published every 2 weeks except for August. When no full text is available online Article Alert subscribers can request a copy via email. Copyright legislation prevents us from making articles available to users outside of our area of jurisdiction: Belgium. Also, because of the Smith-Mundt Act, we cannot send articles to users in the United States. The materials on this site, especially those from sources outside the U.S. Government, should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein or as official U.S. policy. If this is the first time you've seen the Article Alert, please let us know if you would like to continue to receive it. Also, feel free to pass it on to any of your colleagues who might be interested in getting it.

Economic Issues

Can Europe’s Divided House Stand? Separating Fiscal and Monetary Union. Hugo Dixon, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. However, a fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren. There are more than just two ways forward: fiscal union or a breakup of the euro. There is a third and preferable option: a kind of market discipline combined with tough love. Under this approach, individual states would take as much responsibility as possible for their own finances, but they would also embrace the free market more vigorously. Governments that borrowed too much money would have to be free to default." READ MORE

The World Trade Revolution. Martin Walker, The Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 23-27. "[...] the emerging markets of Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East are gearing up for a massive expansion of trade among themselves as the developed economies of the G-7 countries falter. [...] world trade in the future is likely to look much more like the Atlantic trade of today than like the Pacific trade." READ MORE

Illicit Globalization: Myths, Misconceptions, and Historical Lessons. Peter Andreas, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 406-425. The author "challenges common myths and misconceptions about the illicit side of globalization and emphasizes the ways in which states shape and even exploit the illicit global economy. He argues that illicit globalization is not new, and its relationship to the state is not only antagonistic but also in some respects mutually profitable." READ MORE

Environment, Energy and Climate Change Issues

Why We Still Need Nuclear Power: Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable. Ernest Moniz, Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 83-94. "Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. It would be a mistake, however, to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits. Electricity generation emits more carbon dioxide in the US than does transportation or industry, and nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country. Nuclear power generation is also relatively cheap, costing less than two cents per kilowatt-hour for operations, maintenance, and fuel. Still, nuclear power faces a number of challenges in terms of safety, construction costs, waste management, and weapons proliferation. If the benefits of nuclear power are to be realized in the US, each of these hurdles must be overcome." READ MORE

Dj vu all over again: climate change and the prospects for a nuclear power renaissance. Robert Duffy, Environmental Politics, September 2011, pp. 668-686. "Drawing upon data from congressional statutes, federal agencies, the nuclear industry, and a range of secondary sources, the prospects for a nuclear resurgence in the United States in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster are evaluated. Before the accident, several factors seemed to favor a nuclear revival: the rise of climate change as an issue; dramatic swings in the price of oil and natural gas; streamlined licensing procedures established in the Energy Policy Act of 1992; a variety of new economic incentives in the Energy Policy Act of 2005; and the shift to new, standardized reactor designs. Despite these changes, the chances of a nuclear revival in the United Stated were slim even before Fukushima; lingering public concerns over nuclear waste disposal, reactor safety and, most importantly, economic viability were serious obstacles." READ MORE

Regional integration to support full renewable power deployment for Europe by 2050. Anthony Patt, Nadejda Komendantova et al. Environmental Politics, September 2011, pp. 727-742. "The European Union is currently working on a achieving a target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and has a policy framework in place that relies primarily on individual Member States implementing their own policy instruments for renewable energy support, within a larger context of a tradable quota system. For 2050 the target is likely to be more stringent, given the goal of reducing European carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by then. Preliminary analysis has suggested that achieving the 2020 target through renewable power deployment will be far less expensive and far more reliable if a regional approach is taken, in order to balance intermittent supply, and to take advantage of high renewable potentials off the European mainland. Analysis based on modeling is combined with the results of stakeholder interviews to highlight the key options and governance challenges associated with developing such a regional approach.  READ MORE

Rising Food Prices. Are high food prices here to stay? Sarah Glazer, CQ Global Researcher, October 18, 2011, var. pp. Global food prices reached record highs early this year, sending millions around the world into poverty and contributing to starvation in East Africa. Many blame the government-subsidized growth in the market for biofuels, such as ethanol. Biofuels are expected to consume 40 percent of this year's corn crop from the world's largest producer — the United States. Others say commodities speculators caused food prices to ricochet wildly. Europe is considering adopting restrictions on speculation similar to a new U.S. law, but Wall Street is lobbying hard to weaken the American regulations. Perennially high food prices may be the first sign that changing climate is handicapping agriculture. To feed the world's growing population, experts say farmers must double their food output by mid-century — a tall order to fill without destroying more rain forests and further boosting planetwarming carbon emissions. The solution may be a combination of two warring philosophies: high-tech agriculture and traditional farming methods that are kinder to the environment. READ MORE

Middle East Issues

'Is Peace Possible?' Zvika Krieger, The Atlantic, Oct 25 2011, var. pages. "The text for the first installment in our four-part series on the key barriers to peace in the Middle East. Ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require drawing borders between Israel and a new state of Palestine. The challenge is to find a solution that addresses the needs of each side. So what are the principles, values, and considerations that drive Israeli and Palestinian thinking on the borders issues when they come to the negotiating table?" READ MORE

Israel's Bunker Mentality: How the Occupation Is Destroying the Nation. Ronald R. Krebs, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "The greatest danger to Israel comes not from without -- in the form of Palestinian intransigence -- but from within. The ongoing occupation of the territories is destroying Israel's values and viability. It breeds an aggressive, intolerant ethnic nationalism and causes political gridlock, empowering an ultrareligious underclass that refuses to contribute and lives off the state." READ MORE

Dysfunctional Doctrines? Eisenhower, Carter and U.S. Military Intervention in the Middle East. Jeffrey H. Michaels, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 465-492. The author "examines several of the analytical and practical problems of U.S. presidential foreign policy doctrines by looking specifically at the Eisenhower and Carter doctrines. He concludes that presidential doctrines are usually overrated as new statements of principle, and that the elevation of a presidential statement into doctrine can have unintended consequences." READ MORE

Is Saudi Arabia Immune? Stéphane Lacroix, Journal of Democracy, October 2011, pp. 48-59. "Saudi Arabia looked for a time in early 2011 as if it too would become swept up in the Arab uprising. Yet it never quite happened—why?" READ MORE

Women's Rights

Gendercide Crisis: Can the lethal prejudice against girls be changed? By Robert Kiener, CQ Global Researcher, October 4, 2011, pp. 473-498. "An estimated 160 million babies in China, India and other Asian countries have been aborted or killed over the last 30 years — just because they were girls — in a phenomenon some are calling “gendercide.” A strong cultural preference for sons has existed for centuries in Asia. But in recent decades anti-female bias has combined with falling fertility rates, China's coercive one-child policy, new, high-tech prenatal gender-detection tools and widespread access to abortion to produce unprecedented gender imbalances in the region. An alarming shortage of females is changing the fabric of societies, with many villages so devoid of women the men cannot find wives. Governments are struggling to reverse societal attitudes toward daughters, but the changes will be too late for the 30-50 million Chinese men who over the next 20 years won't be able to marry. The gender imbalance already has led to increased kidnapping and trafficking in women and higher prostitution rates in the area. And experts worry that having so many unmarried men could threaten stability and security, because studies show that having large numbers of unattached young males leads to 'the criminalization of society.'" READ MORE

The adultery and headscarf debates in Turkey: Fusing “EU-niversal” and “alternative” modernities? Nora Fisher Onar, Meltem Müftüler-Baç., Women's Studies International Forum, Sep/Oct 2011, pp. 378-389. "The principle of gender equality is part and parcel of the 'EU-niversal' canon which aspirants for membership to the European Union must adopt. This would appear in sync with a Turkish national project that long aspired to convergence with European modernity and which flagged women's emancipation as a symbol of such convergence. Yet, in recent years pro-religious groups have sought to reconfigure Turkey's engagement of modernity, including extant readings of women's rights. This paper draws on the literature on 'multiple modernities' to examine the views on gender equality articulated in Turkey and their alignment with those set forth by mainstream figures and institutions in the EU/“Europe.” READ MORE

Is It Ideology or Desperation: Why Do Organizations Deploy Women in Violent Terrorist Attacks? Angela Dalton, Victor Asal. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, October 2011, pp.  802-819. "Why do some terrorist organizations deploy women on the front lines and in violent attacks? This study explores the social conditions, economic factors, and organizational characteristics that might explain women's participation in violent terrorist activity. With a new data set of 395 terrorist organizations, women's participation in terrorist attacks was quantified and coded. The logistic regression analysis results suggest that women's educational attainment, social rights, terrorist organization's age and size, and the level of a country's economic development are important predictors of the deployment of women in terrorist violence while a terrorist group's ideological or religious orientation and the level of democracy do not significantly influence the likelihood of women's participation." READ MORE

Humanitarian Intervention & Democracy

Humanitarian Intervention Comes of Age. Jon Western and Joshua S. Goldstein, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "Despite the fall of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, humanitarian intervention still has plenty of critics. But their targets are usually the early, ugly missions of the 1990s. Since then -- as Libya has shown -- the international community has learned its lessons and grown much more adept at using military force to save lives."  READ MORE

The True Costs of Humanitarian Intervention. Benjamin A. Valentino, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "Intervening militarily to save lives abroad often sounds good on paper, but the record has not been promising. The ethical calculus involved is almost always complicated by messy realities on the ground, and the opportunity costs of such missions are massive. Well-meaning countries could save far more lives by helping refugees and victims of natural disasters and funding public health."  READ MORE

Is There a Proper Sequence in Democratic Transitions? Francis Fukuyama, Current History, November 2011, var. pp. “Stable democracy does not depend on a rigid set of preconditions, and has emerged in many surprising circumstances.” Development is a complex process that takes place across multiple dimensions of human life. One dimension is economic growth, which involves increasing output per person, based on steadily growing productivity. Political development, meanwhile, involves changes in three types of institutions: the state itself, which concentrates and deploys power to enforce rules across a territory; the rule of law, which limits governments’ ability to make arbitrary decisions; and mechanisms of democratic accountability, which ensure that governments reflect the will and interests of the people. While it would be nice if positive change occurred across all four dimensions simultaneously (that is, economic growth, state capacity, rule of law, and democracy), it rarely does. One reason for this is that causal connections exist among the dimensions of development. For example, establishing a rule of law that protects entrepreneurs from arbitrary expropriation by the government facilitates economic growth; economic development that fosters a middle class promotes democracy.  READ MORE

Democracy’s Third Wave Today. Larry Diamond, Current History, November 2011, var. pp. “While restlessness with democracy has grown in many places, authoritarian rule generally elicits greater unease if not disgust.” With the unprecedented explosion of movements for democratic change across the Arab world at the beginning of this year, many scholars and advocates of democracy began to speak excitedly of a “fourth wave” of democratic expansion. But within a few months, it became apparent that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt would not be repeated so easily elsewhere in the Arab world; that democracy remained a highly uncertain prospect in the near term for each of these countries, particularly Egypt; and that Arab autocracies were falling back on proven mixes of repression, co-optation, and limited or illusory “reform” in order to hang on. The fall of three seemingly unassailable Arab autocrats—Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi—and the serious challenges to authoritarian rule in Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, as well as the lesser but gathering opposition pressure in other countries such as Morocco and Jordan, are undeniable signs of the continued salience and attraction of the democratic ideal. Over time, popular movements are likely to lead to at least some new democracies in the Arab world. But this prospect of a burst of democratic change in the region raises a more global question: What has become of the third wave of democracy?  READ MORE

U.S. Foreign Policy

The Wisdom of Retrenchment. Joseph M. Parent and Paul K. MacDonald, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power’s international legitimacy." READ MORE

The Elephants in the room. James Traub, Foreign Policy, November 2011, var. pages. "Barack Obama’s Republican challengers haven't thought very deeply about foreign policy. It shows.  In June, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty delivered a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Speaking before the council or writing an essay in its house organ, Foreign Affairs, had for decades offered candidates a means of proving their foreign-policy gravitas. And the former Minnesota governor was running his campaign by a traditional script. But in a GOP field where contempt for the foreign-policy establishment has become the norm, Pawlenty's aspiration for its imprimatur seemed almost touching. Pawlenty presented himself as a champion of the Arab Spring and a voice for "moral clarity." 'What is wrong,' he bluntly warned, 'is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world.' Pawlenty quickly became the darling of conservative foreign-policy experts. And then his candidacy sank like a stone. By August, after a dismal showing in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, he withdrew. "He probably spent too much time on foreign policy," one rueful conservative activist told me." READ MORE

What Happened to Obama? An Opinion Piece. Drew Westen, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 493-499. The author "analyses the leadership style of President Barack Obama. He argues that the President’s aversion to conflict and his failure to understand 'bully' dynamics led him to miss a historic opportunity to change the dynamics of a political and economic system dominated by corruption and inequality not seen since the eve of the Great Depression. This is an article of opinion and the Editors welcome submissions from those with a different point of view." READ MORE

The End of the American Era. Stephen M. Walt, The National Interest, Nov-Dec 2011, var. pp. The United States has been the dominant world power since 1945, and U.S. leaders have long sought to preserve that privileged position. They understood, as did most Americans, that primacy brought important benefits. It made other states less likely to threaten America or its vital interests directly. By dampening great-power competition and giving Washington the capacity to shape regional balances of power, primacy contributed to a more tranquil international environment. That tranquility fostered global prosperity; investors and traders operate with greater confidence when there is less danger of war. Primacy also gave the United States the ability to work for positive ends: promoting human rights and slowing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It may be lonely at the top, but Americans have found the view compelling. READ MORE

US Issues

Family Change and Time Allocation in American Families. Suzanne M. Bianchi, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 2011, pp. 21-44. "Delayed marriage and childbearing, more births outside marriage, the increase in women’s labor force participation, and the aging of the population have altered family life and created new challenges for those with caregiving demands. U.S. mothers have shed hours of housework but not the hours they devote to childrearing. Fathers have increased the time they spend on childcare. Intensive childrearing practices combine with more dual-earning and single parenting to increase the time demands on parents. Mothers continue to scale back paid work to meet childrearing demands. They also give up leisure time and report that they 'are always rushed' and are 'multitasking most of the time.' Time-stretched working couples reduce the time they spend with each other. A large percentage of both husbands and wives also report they have 'too little time' for themselves. Delayed childbearing and the aging population also increase the likelihood that both (adult) children and elderly parents need support and care from workers later in life."  READ MORE

America's Schools: 4 Big Questions.  Richard P. Phelps, Thomas Toch, Kevin Carey, Peter W. Cookson Jr., Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2011, var. pages. "Much ink has been spilled in the last several decades over the issue of what to do about America's struggling schools. The nation has made only halting progress in public education, but a handful of key questions have come into focus. Teach to the Test? by Richard P. Phelps; Who Rules? by Thomas Toch; College for All? by Kevin Carey; Is $600 Billion Enough? by Peter W. Cookson Jr."  READ MORE

Legal-Aid Crisis: Do the poor have adequate access to legal services? Barbara Mantel, The CQ Researcher, October 7, 2011, pp. 829-852. "More than one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line, the highest proportion in nearly two decades, and many cannot afford a lawyer to resolve non-criminal legal problems involving such issues as spousal abuse, eviction, child custody and consumer fraud. Government-financed legal-aid programs have long helped fill the gap, but the weak economy and enormous pressure on state and federal budgets are putting those programs at risk. The Legal Services Corp., a nonprofit that distributes federal funding to civil legal-aid programs nationwide, faces potentially steep budget cuts in Congress, and some conservatives want to end the program altogether. As money for legal-aid programs shrinks, a growing number of poor people are representing themselves in court — often to their own detriment. Meanwhile, debate continues about whether the nation's 1 million private lawyers should be required to provide free legal help to the poor."  READ MORE

The Age Of Volatility. Ronald Brownstein, The National Journal, Updated: October 27, 2011, var. pp. "Over the past decade, neither political party has been able to sustain any more than a momentary advantage. Will 2012 be any different? As the 2012 election approaches, Washington is bracing for an earthquake. Again. As opinion polls show near-record dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction, towering disillusionment with both parties and all major political institutions, and pervasive gloom over the economy’s prospects, conditions are gathering for a fourth consecutive election that could rattle Washington to its foundation. That volatility is a defining characteristic of our political era. Viewed from one angle, the political instability stretches back to 1968, when voters, breaking the typical pattern of the previous seven decades, started to routinely deny either party unified control of Congress and the White House. More immediately, another tumultuous election in 2012 would continue an even bumpier recent cycle in which an anxious and agitated electorate has careened from the GOP in 2002 and 2004 toward the Democrats in 2006 and 2008 before snapping back toward Republicans in 2010."  READ MORE

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