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Article Alert of September 16, 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.


Military Exceptionalism in Pakistan. Anatol Lieven, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 53-68. "The same features of the Pakistani military that work to save it from disintegration mar its ability to unify the country and transform it into a successful modern state." READ MORE

The Terrorist Threat from Pakistan. Seth G. Jones, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 69-94. "Despite an air of Western triumphalism over bin Laden’s killing, Pakistan remains a major hub of international terrorism, especially for groups plotting attacks against Western countries." READ MORE

The Missing Endgame for Afghanistan: A Sustainable Post-Bin Laden Strategy David M. Abshire and Ryan Browne, The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 59-72. "As U.S. and NATO troops draw down in Afghanistan, our current strategy is insufficient. Two helpful models exist for a complementary, long-term regional economic and entrepreneurial development program to help foster sustainable Afghan and regional stability." READ MORE

Conspiracy Fever: the US, Pakistan and its Media. Huma Yusuf, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 95-118. "Anti-American sentiments and conspiracy theories perpetuated by Pakistan's independent media pose a great challenge to US diplomacy. Here, Yusuf talks about the rise of violent extremism following Pakistan's decision to collaborate with the US after 9/11. The growth of Pakistan's public sphere during a period of deteriorating security has posed new challenges for the US-Pakistan relationship, and enabled public opinion, as reflected in media discourse, to impact foreign policymaking." READ MORE

Afghanistan: Guidelines for a Peace Process. James Dobbins and James Shinn, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 5–12. "The overarching Western objective in Afghanistan should be to prevent that country from becoming not just a haven for transnational terrorists, but a terrorist ally as well. That was the situation prior to 9/11 and it would be so again if the Taliban returned to power with al-Qaeda backing. NATO can prevent this indefinitely as long as it is willing to commit significant military and economic resources to a counter-insurgency effort. It cannot eliminate the threat, however, as long as the Afghan insurgents enjoy sanctuary in and support from Pakistan. Alternatively, this objective could be achieved if the Taliban could be persuaded to cut its ties to al-Qaeda and end its insurgency in exchange for some role in Afghan governance short of total control." READ MORE

Pakistan’s Nuclear Calculus. Andrew Bast, The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 73-86. "What is driving Pakistan’s rapid nuclear buildup? To devise any long-term strategy to reverse its momentum, one should understand exactly where Islamabad’s nuclear program is heading, and why it is on a trajectory at odds with nearly every other nuclear-capable country in the world." READ MORE


Iraq since 2003: Perspectives on a Divided Society. Safa Rasul al-Sheikh & Emma Sky, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 119-142. "The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 had a traumatic effect on Iraqi society, causing it to break down into different armed groups that at times fought the US-led Coalition, the new government, members of other sects and even members of the same sect in a nation-wide conflict that claimed the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqis. While this violence has since decreased, Iraq’s stability gains remain fragile, and the country’s future is uncertain. To understand why there was so much violence in Iraq after 2003, and why the violence eventually decreased, it is important to examine the contending perspectives of the different groups, in particular Sunni insurgents, the central government in Baghdad and the followers of Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr (known as Sadrists)." READ MORE

Chronic Misperception and International Conflict: The U.S.-Iraq Experience. Charles A. Duelfer, Stephen Benedict Dyson, International Security, Summer 2011, pp. 73–100. "Why did the United States and Iraq find themselves in full-scale conflict with each other in 1990–91 and 2003, and in almost constant low-level hostilities during the years in-between? The situation was neither inevitable nor one that either side, in full possession of all the relevant information about the other, would have purposely engineered: in short, a classic instance of chronic misperception. A combination of the psychological literature on perception and its pathologies with the almost unique firsthand access of one of the authors to the decisionmakers on both sides—the former deputy head of the United Nations weapons of mass destruction inspection mission in the 1990s, the author of the definitive postwar account of Iraqi WMD programs for which he and his team debriefed the top regime leadership, and a Washington insider in regular contact with all major foreign policy agencies of the U.S. government—reveals the perceptions the United States and Iraq held of each other, as well as the biases, mistakes, and intelligence failures of which these images were, at different points in time, both cause and effect." READ MORE


Revisiting Osirak: Preventive Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation Risks. Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, International Security, Summer 2011, pp. 101-132. "Thirty years after the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor in June 1981 the consequences for Iraq's nuclear weapons program remain hotly debated. A new history of this program, based on several new Iraqi sources, yields a net assessment of the impact of the Israeli attack that differs from prevailing accounts. The attack had mixed effects: it triggered a covert nuclear weapons program that did not previously exist, while necessitating a more difficult and time-consuming technical route to developing nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding gross inefficiencies in the ensuing program, a decade later Iraq stood on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. This case suggests that preventive attacks can increase the long-term proliferation risk posed by the targeted state." READ MORE

Drawing the Line on Iranian Enrichment. Michael A. Levi, Survival, August/September 2011, pp. 169-196. "How much Iranian nuclear capability is too much? Distinctions between zero, limited and robust enrichment, and between all of these and a nuclear-armed Iran, really matter." READ MORE

Arab Spring

Beyond the democratic wave: a Turko-Persian future? Mohammed Ayoob, Middle East Policy, Summer 2011, pp. 110-119. "The recent events in Egypt that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by a 'people's revolution' have given rise to the impression that Egypt is once again emerging as the focal point of politics in the Middle East. It is argued that this is likely to be the case both because of the 'demonstration effect' of the Egyptian revolution on the rest of the Arab world and because of the revolution's anticipated impact on Egypt's relations with both Israel and the United States. It is assumed, and in some quarters feared, that a civilian government responsive to popular opinion will dramatically alter Egypt's relations with Israel (and by extension with the United States), thus undermining a status quo that favors the Jewish state." READ MORE

Stuck in the Roundabout: The Perils of American Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Dylan Williams, The Fletcher forum of world affairs, Summer 2011, pp. 47-52. "While the revolutions and protests in the Middle East have produced a new sense of optimism, the Israel-Palestine dispute remains locked in the same patterns of trouble. Dylan Williams argues that the United States takes significant blame for this, as its policy toward the conflict is not only counterproductive to a peaceful resolution, but also contrary to the dominant hopes of the American Jewish community." READ MORE

American and European Responses to the Arab Spring: What’s the Big Idea? Uri Dadush and Michele Dunne, The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 131-145. "How can Arab democratic transitions be supported by Europe and the United States when both continents are confronting fiscal crises? A new and compelling vision is needed for closer and more equitable economic relations, both among Arab countries and between them and the trans-Atlantic community." READ MORE

Think Again: The Two-State Solution. Michael A. Cohen, Foreign Policy, Sep. 14, 2011. var. pages. "Everyone knows an independent Palestine, side by side with Israel, is unworkable right now. But it's even more hopeless than they think." READ MORE

Foreign Affairs

World Peace could be closer than you think. Joshua S Goldstein, Foreign Policy, Sep/Oct 2011, pp. 53-57. "The early 21st century seems awash in wars: the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, street battles in Somalia, Islamist insurgencies in Pakistan, massacres in the Congo, genocidal campaigns in Sudan. All in all, regular fighting is taking place in 18 wars around the globe today. Public opinion reflects this sense of an ever more dangerous world: One survey a few years ago found that 60% of Americans considered a third world war likely. If the world feels like a more violent place than it actually is, that's because there's more information about wars -- not more wars themselves. But though the conflicts of the post-9/11 era may be longer than those of past generations, they are also far smaller and less lethal. Overall, the presence of peacekeepers has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of a war's reigniting after a cease-fire agreement. In the 1990s, about half of all cease-fires broke down, but in the past decade the figure has dropped to 12%." READ MORE

Hope or Hype? Legitimacy and US Leadership in a Global Age. M. Patrick Cottrell, Foreign Policy Analysis, July 2011, pp. 337–358. "Many foreign affairs cognoscenti agree that the United States needs to restore its standing as a legitimate world leader and recommit to international institutions in order to address the world’s most pressing problems. However, these prescriptions mean relatively little without first examining what legitimate leadership entails and whether such leadership is, in fact, possible. This article proceeds in three steps. First, it discusses the meaning of legitimate leadership in the context of international institutions and underscores the enduring challenges the United States faces in this regard. Second, it highlights the domestic political impediments that ineluctably constrain the implementation of a consistent and cohesive US foreign policy. Finally, the article suggests that if the US legitimacy deficit is to some degree a fact of life, we should rethink which governance arrangements are most capable of harnessing US power for a greater good and devote increased attention to what legal scholars call “new governance.” READ MORE

Economic Sanctions and Human Security: The Public Health Effect of Economic Sanctions. Dursun Peksen, Foreign Policy Analysis, July 2011, pp. 237–251. "Despite the abundance of country-specific evidence and policy debate on the humanitarian effects of sanctions, there has not been any cross-national empirical research that examines the human cost of sanctions. In this study, I offer a quantitative analysis of the effect that economic sanctions have on public health conditions in target countries. I use the child mortality rate among under five-year olds as a proxy for health status and utilize time-series cross-nation data for the 1970–2000 period. According to the results, the public health effect of sanctions is largely conditional on the extent to which economic coercion is costly on the target economy. The United States as a sender is also likely to increase the negative impact of sanctions on public health conditions. The economic wealth of target countries is unlikely to play any significant interactive role in mitigating the effect of economic coercion on public health. Similarly, the involvement of an intergovernmental organization (IGO) in sanction imposition has no discernable impact on child mortality." READ MORE

Climate & Environment Issues

The Challenges of Decreasing Oil Consumption. Steve A. Yetiv and Eric S. Fowler, Political Science Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 287-313. The authors "quantify the benefits for the United States of achieving hybrid-like efficiency in its vehicle fleet. They show not only how important such a move can be, but also that if Chinese consumers continue to buy inefficient vehicles at a fast pace, they will sap America's efficiency gains rather quickly. They argue that oil dependence is not only an American, but also a global problem that cannot be addressed seriously without multilateral cooperation." READ MORE

Extreme Weather: Is global warming causing severe storms? Chanan Tigay, CQ Global Researcher, September 9, 2011, pp. 733-756. "The United States has suffered record-breaking floods along the Mississippi River this year, plus giant snowstorms from the Midwest to the Northeast, massive wildfires in the West and South, deadly tornadoes in the South and Midwest and an extended drought in a quarter of the contiguous United States. A similar pattern of extreme weather occurred in 2010. And the U.S. is far from alone. Worldwide, weather- and climate-related disasters last year left nearly 70,000 people dead and inflicted nearly $100 billion in damages. The reasons behind the surge in extreme weather are open to debate, but a scientific consensus is emerging that global warming is the culprit. In some locales scientists are fighting back. In bone-dry Abu Dhabi, for example, they are trying to create summer rainstorms through a new version of cloud seeding. But experts say that as the planet warms, extreme weather — with its immense human and financial toll — is likely to continue." READ MORE

Gulf Coast Restoration: Can the damaged region rebound? Jennifer Weeks, CQ Global Researcher, August 26, 2011, pp. 677-700. "A year after BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing almost 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, researchers are still assessing the damage. Much visible oil has been cleaned up, but dozens of dead dolphins and sea turtles have washed ashore, and some residents say exposure to toxic chemicals during the cleanup made them sick. While fish have been given a clean bill of health, demand for local seafood is lagging, and thousands of claims for lost income are pending. BP is likely to owe billions of dollars in penalties, money that could help restore the region's oil-damaged environment. But experts say eroding wetlands and pollution in the Mississippi Delta — caused by industrial activity and misguided flood-prevention efforts — also demand attention. Restoring the Gulf's unique ecological resources, many advocates say, will also strengthen communities — crucial in a region that has long suffered from poverty and economic inequality." READ MORE

EU Issues

Does the Euro have a Future? George Soros, NY Review of Books, October 13, 2011, var. pp. The euro crisis is a direct consequence of the crash of 2008. When Lehman Brothers failed, the entire financial system started to collapse and had to be put on artificial life support. This took the form of substituting the sovereign credit of governments for the bank and other credit that had collapsed. At a memorable meeting of European finance ministers in November 2008, they guaranteed that no other financial institutions that are important to the workings of the financial system would be allowed to fail, and their example was followed by the United States. Angela Merkel then declared that the guarantee should be exercised by each European state individually, not by the European Union or the eurozone acting as a whole. This sowed the seeds of the euro crisis because it revealed and activated a hidden weakness in the construction of the euro: the lack of a common treasury. The crisis itself erupted more than a year later, in 2010. There is some similarity between the euro crisis and the subprime crisis that caused the crash of 2008. In each case a supposedly riskless asset—collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), based largely on mortgages, in 2008, and European government bonds now—lost some or all of their value. READ MORE

Energy Co-operation in the Wider Europe: Institutionalizing Interdependence. Stephen Padgett, Journal of Common Market Studies, September 2011, pp. 1065–1087. The EU’s response to concerns about energy security is to diversify sources of supply and delivery routes. To this end it seeks to engage potential energy partners across the wider Europe in an institutionalized regime based on the norms of the internal market. This article uses regime theory to evaluate the viability of the strategy. From this perspective, the willingness of the EU’s partners to make commitments to institutionalized co-operation will depend on two sets of variables: their interests in resolving the co-operation problems that arise across the energy supply chain; and the ‘pull’ of the EU in relation to countervailing hegemonic powers in the region. The research tests this argument by examining the co-operation interests of energy consumers, transit countries and producers, and the architecture of emerging institutions in the respective regional contexts. It finds that while energy consumers and transit countries in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood are prepared to commit to binding multilateral institutions, co-operation with energy producers is constrained by asymmetries of interest and regional geopolitics, and is likely to take the form of more flexible bilateral agreements.  READ MORE


Taming and Reining in Cyberspace. Josh Smith, National Journal, September 17, 2011, var. pp. From blocking online poker to tracking suspected terrorists' cyberfootprints, governments are exercising more power over—and through—the Internet than ever before. One bill in Congress would require service providers to keep customers’ browsing histories for a full year. Opponents say the government could mine the information for almost any purpose. READ MORE

The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. Jon B. Alterman, The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 103-116. "Twitter and Facebook certainly played a part in the Arab revolts of 2011—making at least three important contributions—but it was actually old-fashioned, 20th century television that was absolutely fundamental to the events that unfolded." READ MORE

It’s a Small World, After All. Reid Wilson, The National Journal, September 8, 2011, var. pp. The partisan gap in America is growing. Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill inherently distrust each other, and the ever-expanding ranks of independent voters outside the Beltway don’t trust anyone who clings to a party orthodoxy. From our education level to our income to our social standing, we are becoming a more stratified society—and, philosophically, the layers are increasingly growing apart. And yet, the world is somehow getting smaller. We can communicate just as easily with people who live across the globe as with those who live down the block. The definition of “neighbor” seems to be changing. We can call, text, e-mail, post on a Facebook wall, direct-message on Twitter—and now we can link up on Google+. We can even, heaven forbid, write a letter. This paradox of a divided and yet interconnected world is changing the way candidates win elections. Campaign tacticians are, in essence, returning to the basics, to a system where the political machines control their wards. Today, however, the wards are defined less by geography than by social boundaries and networks. The pace of technology and the advent of new tools to organize, survey, and mine populations enable a single campaign organization—whether based in Chicago or Austin or Boston—to keep more accurate tabs than ever before on the population that will render an electoral judgment in 2012. And these tools grow in sophistication every year.  READ MORE

Computer Hacking: Can “good” hackers help fight cybercrime? Marcia Clemmitt, The CQ Researcher, Sep. 16, 2011, pp. 757-780. "Hackers made headlines this year when the international protest group Anonymous shut down government and corporate websites, and U.S. and European police moved in. But likely more significant than the antics of so-called “hacktivists” is rising interest by corporations, government security officials and Internet companies in hiring “good” hackers, who can counter attacks by “bad” hackers — cybercriminals. Thefts of money and information via hacked computers are on the rise worldwide, with hundreds of billions in losses annually. The challenge lies in overhauling legal and economic structures to encourage innovative, positive hacks and strengthen defenses against destructive ones, experts say. The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping cybersecurity plan that would require utilities, banks and other economic linchpins to strengthen their systems against computer sabotage. Opponents of the plan argue, however, that new cyberthreats arise too quickly for top-down government regulation to stop them." READ MORE

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