Wed May 27 2015 23:34:59 +0200 CEST

Article Alert of October 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.

Democracy & Humanitarian intervention

Should America Liberate Afghanistan's Women? Malou Innocent, Survival, October–November 2011, pp. 31-52. "Many policymakers and political activists believe the United States, with its commitment to individual liberty, political and religious freedom, and the rule of law, has a unique role to play in the advancement of Afghan women’s rights. Though well-meaning, this belief and the prescriptions that follow from it fail to draw a meaningful causal link between desires and outcomes. In fact, the perceived universality of Western values tells us little about the most effective means for advancing them. Current foreign-led efforts to motivate Afghans to adopt new habits also raise a host of practical and ethical considerations, given the unforeseen consequences that arise in the course of military occupation, as well as the situational constraints of operating in the context of a foreign culture." READ MORE

Women's rights in the Muslim world and the age of Obama. Peter P. Nadimi and Adrien K. Wing, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Summer 2011, pp. 431-463. "Women around the world continue to face human rights abuses, condoned in part by deeply held patriarchal customs and religious practices, as well as insufficient resources and lack of political will. (1) The Muslim World is no exception. Muslim women face a variety of issues, including but not limited to poor access to education; (2) lack of career opportunities; (3) "domestic" and external violence; (4) forced marriages; (5) restricted participation in public life; (6) and unequal inheritance rights. (7) While most of the solutions to these problems must come from within each society, there can be a role for carefully constructed, culturally respectful foreign assistance. Through the Obama Administration's new approach towards international law and engagement with the Muslim World, the United States may be in a critical position to make a lasting impact on women's human rights issues." READ MORE

Barack Obama's democracy promotion at midterm. Nicolas Bouchet, International Journal of Human Rights, May 2011, pp. 572-588. "This article analyses the Obama administration's approach to the promotion of democracy and human rights at three levels: of ideas, of strategy and of policy. It argues that it has displayed a conventional understanding of the place of democracy in US foreign policy. Democracy promotion has been given a place in Obama's strategy of engagement, which aims to build up and increase the number of democratic states able to partner with the United States in solving global problems. The aim is to achieve this by a dual-track engagement with countries under autocratic regimes and through a 'new-old' emphasis on the democracy-development nexus. Obama's first two budget requests show that there is no intention to reduce spending on democracy promotion, but his diplomacy has been inconsistent in reacting to various democratization developments around the world. The administration still has to convince that engagement can accommodate consistently democracy promotion in foreign policy on a case-by-case, daily basis." READ MORE

Ratifying Women’s Rights: Why the U.S. should endorse cedaw. Kavita N. Ramdas and Kathleen Kelly Janus, Policy Review, October 2011, var. pages. "The convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw) has been one of the most broadly supported international treaties since its adoption by the United Nations 30 years ago. Since its inception, 186 un member states have ratified the convention, showing their commitment to achieving gender equality worldwide. It remains a mystery to many, therefore, that, to date, the United States remains one of a small minority of countries that have not ratified this treaty designed to ensure equality between women and men and advance women’s rights across the world." READ MORE

Once Upon a Time in Westphalia. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The National Interest, Sep/Oct 2011, var. pages. "It took Tony Blair one speech in 1999 to trap the Western world in an unending series of interventionist wars. We may care about the people of Tibet, Baghdad and Libya, but are we the knight-errant of the human race?" READ MORE

Human rights and building peace: the case of Pakistani madrasas. Mohammed Abu-Nimerab & Ayse Kadayifcicd, The International Journal of Human Rights, May 2011, pp. 1136-1159. "An increasing number of local, national and international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are diligently working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Muslim societies, and not without success. However, at times, some of these NGOs are perceived to be agents of ‘Western colonisation’ who attempt to undermine traditional structures and customs. Such attitudes are particularly prevalent in many Muslim countries such as Pakistan, which has suffered under colonial regimes for long periods of time. Thus it becomes important to frame human rights and peace-building efforts within the religio-cultural contexts of the community itself and to identify who can be effective agents of peace building and human rights. This article argues that human rights and peace building are inextricably linked and that any peace-building effort must incorporate mechanisms to enhance human rights." READ MORE

Iraq, Iran & Non proliferation

Managing the Consequences of Nuclear Terrorism. Jasper Pandza, Survival, October-November 2011, pp. 129-142. "Notwithstanding all the progress made in securing fissile materials, a major shortcoming of international nuclear and radiological counter-terrorism efforts is their almost exclusive focus on prevention. The GICNT June 2011 Plenary Meeting decided to add response and mitigation as a new priority functional area to the initiative, but this is an exception. Barely any consideration has so far been given to improving measures that can be taken after a terrorist attack in order to minimise the consequences." READ MORE

Sanctions on Iran: Defining and Enabling Success. Dina Esfandiary and Mark Fitzpatrick, Survival, Oct-Nov 2011, pp. 143-156. "As Iran’s nuclear programme edges closer to weapons capability, the nations concerned about this prospect have centred on sanctions as their favoured policy tool. Critics find this foolhardy because they see no obvious signs that sanctions are working, other than to impose hardships on ordinary Iranians. It is indisputably true that sanctions have not achieved their strategic goal of changing Iran’s nuclear policy. Nor have they met tactical success in inducing Iran to enter into negotiations on its nuclear programme. But sanctions are helping to limit Iran’s ability to quickly assemble a nuclear arsenal. They are also creating conditions for an eventual negotiated solution, if the muddled politics of Tehran ever allow it. Meanwhile, various measures can be taken at the level of individual companies and countries to strengthen sanctions implementation." READ MORE

Something Is Rotten in the State of Iraq, Kenneth M. Pollack, The National Interest, Sep/Oct 2011, var. pages. "Sunni vs. Shia. Kurd vs. Arab. Nationalist vs. Islamist. Iraq circa 2011 is looking an awful lot like Iraq circa 2004. The country is headed back to the anarchic depths from which it ever-so-briefly emerged." READ MORE

Invading Iran: Lessons from Iraq. Leif Eckholm, Policy Review, Aug/Sep 2011, pp. 35-49. "The initial military successes in Iraq and Afghanistan were overcome by protracted insurgencies and political instability, resulting in tenuous gains in democratic development that came at an enormous cost. The United States is fast approaching a decade at war. In these current conditions of political and military fatigue, a U.S. invasion of Iran seems unlikely; however, the Iranian regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its fierce anti-Americanism create the imperative to consider a future where diplomatic and economic coercion is exhausted, and no options remain other than military action. Should a war become necessary, lessons learned during the Coalition occupation of Iraq can be instructional for conjecture on a post-invasion Iran." READ MORE

The “Omnibalancing” Proposition and Baghdad’s Foreign Policy: Reinterpreting Contemporary Iraq-Iran-US Relations. Jason E. Strakes, Mediterranean Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 95-108. "Iranian influence and interference in the internal affairs of Iraq have become central US policy concerns since the election of a Shiite-majority political elite in 2005. Yet observers have rarely addressed the strategic pursuit of support from both the US and Iranian governments by the Iraqi leadership to defend against threats to its incumbency. In recent years, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has increasingly pursued engagement with Iranian representatives in an effort to counter domestic challenges and consolidate state resources. However, while the present Iraqi elite has attracted significant trade and foreign investment as well as reconstruction assistance from Tehran, it has been less successful in consolidating an Iranian-sponsored coalition to ensure victory in national elections." READ MORE

Climate & Energy

US Climate Change Policy Efforts. Dallas Burtraw, CEPS, September 2011, var. pp. Until recently, most of the attention in US climate policy was focused on legislative efforts to introduce a price on carbon through cap and trade. Since that policy has stalled, at least at the national level, the Clean Air Act has assumed the central role in the development of regulations that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US. The modern Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed in 1970 and conveys broad authority to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to mitigate harm from air pollution. In 2007 the Supreme Court confirmed that this authority applied to the regulation of GHGs (Massachusetts v. EPA).1 Subsequently, the agency made a formal, science-based determination that GHGs were dangerous to human health and the environment, which compels the agency to mitigate the harm and forms the basis for the agency’s regulation of GHG emissions. READ MORE

The World In Microcosm. Coral Davenport, The National Journal, September 24, 2011, var. pp. The all-out war between power companies and EPA has become the symbol—and the center—of the national debate over the role of government. Spring and summer 2009 was a great stretch for President Obama’s energy and environment team. That May, the president struck a historic deal with the nation’s auto industry; after decades of fighting, companies like GM and Ford agreed to dramatically ramp up their mileage standards, slashing tailpipe pollution and paving the way for a new generation of hybrid and fuel-efficient cars. In June, the House passed a historic cap-and-trade bill to slow climate change, cutting a slew of deals to get the grudging buy-in of coal-state lawmakers and of power companies. Its eventual passage in the Senate seemed all but assured. Meanwhile, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, was preparing to roll out an unprecedented number of major new pollution-control regulations for the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants—many of which had for decades been spewing unregulated toxins linked to lung disease, birth defects, cancer, asthma, and other major illnesses. The new rules weren’t Jackson’s or Obama’s idea. Most had been piling up at EPA for nearly 20 years, and they would soon hit court-ordered deadlines.  READ MORE

EU Issues

Challenges of Triangular Relations: The US, the EU, and Turkish Accession. Sabri Sayar, South European Society and Politics, June 2011, pp. 251–263. The US government became deeply involved in European Union (EU)–Turkey relations from the mid-1990s and has provided extensive diplomatic support for full Turkish membership in the EU since then. Washington’s strategic considerations have been paramount in the US government’s approach to Turkey’s full integration into the EU. The US policy on this issue has played a constructive role in Turkish–US relations. However, it has also created strains in transatlantic ties, since the pressure the US has put on the EU has angered many European officials, who resent what they view as interference in the EU’s internal affairs. The US has become more sensitive to the complaints voiced by European leaders and EU officials, and it has adopted a more subtle approach to the issue of Turkish membership. While Washington continues to support Turkey’s European integration, it has also recognised that the accession process is likely to be lengthy.  READ MORE

The Ties that do not Bind: The Union for the Mediterranean and the Future of Euro-Arab Relations. Oliver Schlumberger, Mediterranean Politics, March 2011, pp. 135-153. What impact does the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have on the future evolution of Euro-Arab relations? This contribution first reflects on Arab reactions to the UfM, and subsequently analyses what alterations the UfM brings to existing Euro-Arab relations in terms of actors, institutional arrangements, and policy contents. In sum, the UfM caters well to Arab regimes’ priorities, namely the maintenance of authoritarian rule: The UfM tends to exclude societal voices and leads to a re-governmentalization of relations; the institutional set-up elevates Arab regimes to become formal veto-players, and the prioritized policy areas have – from an Arab regime perspective – the advantage of being de-politicized and stripped of any ambitious macro-political goals such as democratization. The UfM can thus be considered a triple victory for authoritarian Arab rulers in re-shaping their relations with Europe, and casts serious doubts on the hypothesis of the EU acting as a norm entrepreneur.  READ MORE

Russia and Eurasia

The Caucasus in Limbo. Svante E. Cornell, Current History, October 2011, pp. 283-289. The Caucasus has been on a roller coaster for the past few years. Strategic because of its location at the intersection of Europe and Asia, and of Russia and the Middle East, and connecting the West with Central Asia across the Caspian Sea, the region has been the subject of growing great-power interest since the Soviet Union’s breakup. After being roiled in the 1990s by wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in Georgia, and in Chechnya, the region began to experience some stability and development. Azerbaijan’s oil boom brought it economic growth, while a reform-minded government that came to power in Georgia following the 2003 Rose Revolution showed that stagnant post-Soviet institutions could be changed for the better. In 2006, all three countries of the South Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) were among the top ten growth economies in the world.  READ MORE

Russia, the 360-Degree Regional Power. Andrew C. Kuchins, Current History, October 2011, pp. 266-271. Russia is the quintessential Eurasian great power. Its vast territory spans from Europe to East Asia, as well as reaching south geographically and culturally to parts of the Islamic world from the Middle East to the Caspian to Central Asia. Simply from a geographical standpoint, Russia borders and has long historical interaction with all of the remarkably diverse regions that constitute Eurasia. Indeed, Russia’s national identity is bundled up with its unique role as a cultural, political, economic, and strategic link in the heart of Eurasia. Perhaps Turkey comes closest to perceiving itself in this manner, while also struggling to manage disparate influences from east, west, and south. As with Turkey, Russia’s foreign policy has long been multi-vectored, attempting to radiate influence and power 360 degrees.  READ MORE

Economic Issues

Apocalypse Never. Michael Hirsh, National Journal, October 2011, var. pp. The markets are pushing the euro zone to the brink of breakup, but they are betting against a thousand years of history. The likelier outcome is a “United States of Europe.”  READ MORE

Innovation Starvation. Neal Stephenson. World Policy Journal, Fall 2011, var. pp. It’s been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to send a man to the moon. Now, with the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction author Neal Stephenson laments that the world has lost that ability to get “Big Stuff Done.” Any strategy that involves short-term losses would be stopped in today’s system, he argues. We now celebrate immediate gains and tolerate long-term stagnation. A truly innovative approach, he says, needs to accept failure. READ MORE


Immigration, Globalization, and Unemployment Benefits in Developed EU States. Christine S. Lipsmeyer and Ling Zhu, American Journal of Political Science, July 2011, pp. 647-664. "At a time of mounting concern about how traditional welfare states will react to globalization, there has been increasing interest in specifying how global economic forces affect welfare policies in industrialized states. Building on theories from the political economy and comparative institutional literatures, we analyze the influence of an important aspect of globalization—the flow of immigration. Focusing on states in the European Union, we present a theoretical model that illustrates the interactive relationships between immigration, EU labor market integration, and domestic institutions. Our findings highlight how immigration in conjunction with domestic political institutions affects unemployment provisions, while labor market integrative forces remain in the background. The story of immigration and unemployment compensation in the EU is less about the opening of borders and the market forces of integration and more about the domestic political pressures." READ MORE

Reconsidering US Immigration Reform: The Temporal Principle of Citizenship Elizabeth F Cohen, Perspectives on Politics, Sep 2011, pp. 575-583. "The uncertain political status of America's millions of undocumented immigrants and their children has exposed deep and ongoing disagreement about how US citizenship should be accorded to foreign-born persons. I identify the principle of jus temporis, a law of measured calendrical time, that has worked in concert with jus soli and consent to construct citizenship law since the nation's founding. Jus temporis translates measured durations of time such as "time in residence" or "time worked" into entitlement to rights and status. It creates temporal algorithms in which measured calendrical time plus additional variables (e.g., physical presence, education, or behavior) equals consent to citizenship. I explore recent scholarly references to temporal principles and trace the history of how jus temporis was invoked by the nation's first Supreme Court jurisprudence on citizenship and the first Congressional debates about immigration and naturalization. Scholarly convergence on the principle of jus temporis as well as its originalist pedigree imbue this principle with the potential to resolve contemporary disagreements about the rights and status of foreign-born persons in the US." READ MORE

The Wrong and the Right: A Comparative Analysis of 'Anti-Immigration' and 'Far Right' Parties, Joost van Spanje, Government and Opposition, July 2011, pp. 293–320. "Across Western Europe, parties have emerged that are both right wing and in favour of restrictions on immigration. These parties are commonly referred to in terms of either ideology (e.g. 'far right') or policy ('anti-immigration'). This article compares far right parties, selected on the basis of their ideologies, and anti-immigration parties, selected based on their immigration policies. I argue and empirically demonstrate that, contrary to what the extant literature suggests, these sets of parties are not identical. I point out similarities and differences, showing why it is useful to distinguish between these two types of party. The article concludes by discussing the relevance of these differences to the relevant literature." READ MORE

U.S. Politics & Society

The Costs of Empty Threats: A Penny, not a Pound. Jack Snyder and Erica Borghard, American Political Science Review, August 2011, pp. 437-456. "A large literature in political science takes for granted that democratic leaders would pay substantial domestic political costs for failing to carry out the public threats they make in international crises, and consequently that making threats substantially enhances their leverage in crisis bargaining. And yet proponents of this audience costs theory have presented very little evidence that this causal mechanism actually operates in real—as opposed to simulated—crises. We look for such evidence in post-1945 crises and find hardly any. Audience cost mechanisms are rare because (1) leaders see unambiguously committing threats as imprudent, (2) domestic audiences care more about policy substance than about consistency between the leader’s words and deeds, (3) domestic audiences care about their country’s reputation for resolve and national honor independent of whether the leader has issued an explicit threat, and (4) authoritarian targets of democratic threats do not perceive audience costs dynamics in the same way that audience costs theorists do. We found domestic audience costs as secondary mechanisms in a few cases where the public already had hawkish preferences before any threats were made." READ MORE

The Accommodator: Obama’s Foreign Policy. Colin Dueck, Policy Review, October 2011, var. pp. Almost three years into his administration, observers continue to debate the nature of President Obama’s overall foreign policy approach. What is the “Obama doctrine”? Some say it is a policy of international engagement. Some point to Libya, and suggest that the Obama doctrine is one of humanitarian intervention multilaterally and at minimal cost. Some look to today’s fiscal constraints and say that it is all about insolvency. Some describe the Obama doctrine as a version of traditional great power realism, coming after the crusading idealism of the Bush years. Others respond that Obama has no foreign policy strategy at all — that he is simply making it up as he goes along. Each interpretation has a certain kernel of truth, but each is also seriously flawed and incomplete. Barack Obama does in fact have an overarching foreign policy strategy, going back several years in spite of recent upheavals, but its basic organizing principle is neither engagement, nor intervention, nor insolvency, nor realism per se. The centerpiece of Obama’s overall foreign policy strategy is the concept of accommodation. Specifically, the president believes that international rivalries can be accommodated by American example and by his own integrative personal leadership. The problem is not that Obama has no grand strategy. The problem is that it is not working. READ MORE

An Inevitable Moment for America. Joe Sestak, Mediterranean Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 1-9. "The rebellions across the Middle East and North Africa provide a perspective for America about its own leaders, who have made the 'politics of survival' the determining factor of what they do. The loss of faith in our traditional political institutions caused by their focus on self-aggrandizing power instead of needed change for our people gives impetus to outside forces — such as the Tea Party — much as in Tunisia and Egypt. Leaders must restore Americans’ trust by a commitment to accountability and results if they are to be the ones to lead the restoration of the American Dream." READ MORE

Elite Influence on Public Opinion in an Informed Electorate. John G. Bullock, American Political Science Review, August 2011, pp. 496-515. "An enduring concern about democracies is that citizens conform too readily to the policy views of elites in their own parties, even to the point of ignoring other information about the policies in question. This article presents two experiments that undermine this concern, at least under one important condition. People rarely possess even a modicum of information about policies; but when they do, their attitudes seem to be affected at least as much by that information as by cues from party elites. The experiments also measure the extent to which people think about policy. Contrary to many accounts, they suggest that party cues do not inhibit such thinking. This is not cause for unbridled optimism about citizens' ability to make good decisions, but it is reason to be more sanguine about their ability to use information about policy when they have it." READ MORE

The Law: Barack Obama and Budget Deficits: Signs of a Neo-Whig Presidency? Jasmine Farrier, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Sep 2011, PP. 618-634. "In his muted leadership on deficit reduction, Barack Obama has highlighted the continuing tensions between the Constitution and the modern presidency. The framers did not structure nor envision vigorous day-to-day executive leadership on any subject and largely granted the power of the purse to Congress. Yet in response to new fiscal realities, the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 required presidents to think holistically about agency estimates and budget aggregates. But neither this act nor its belated 1974 congressional sibling was designed to rein in majority will to balance the budget. Deficits result from a complex stew of old and new policy decisions made by both branches. From a constitutional view, then, deficit reduction should be an equal burden on both branches. From a modern view, the president must lead the way. By that measure, President Obama has failed. With his deliberative style and open political sensitivity to a volatile economic and electoral landscape, he has not yet offered a clear and bold fiscal vision. He has also ignored the fiscal commission he created. This neo-Whig strategy keeps pressure on Congress but also excuses the president from the spirit and purpose of the 1921 law." READ MORE

Looking the Part: Television Leads Less Informed Citizens to Vote Based on Candidates’ Appearance. Gabriel S. Lenz, Chappell Lawson, American Journal of Political Science, July 2011, pp. 574–589. "As long as there has been democratic government, skeptics have worried that citizens would base their choices and their votes on superficial considerations. A series of recent studies seems to validate these fears, suggesting that candidates who merely look more capable or attractive perform better in elections. In this article, we examine the underlying process behind the appearance effect. Specifically, we test whether the effect of appearance is more pronounced among those who know little about politics but are exposed to visual images of candidates. To do so, we combine appearance based assessments of U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates with individual level survey data measuring vote intent, political knowledge, and television exposure. Confirming long standing concerns about image and television, we find that appealing looking politicians benefit disproportionately from television exposure, primarily among less knowledgeable individuals." READ MORE

The Real Language Crisis. Russell A Berman, Academe, Sep/Oct 2011, pp. 30-34. "According to the National Foreign Language Center, "Eightytwo percent of US residents are monolingual, and the United States is the only industrialized country where language study is, for the most part, optional rather than mandatory and where second-language study begins, in most cases, at age fourteen." Even though the United States needs more secondlanguage acquisition opportunities, powerful forces in politics and higher education seem dead set on denying students the chance to learn. Since we know that enrollments are generally growing, the attack on language cannot be explained simply as a matter of declining demand (which is not to say that particular programs may not be performing as well as they could)." READ MORE

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