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Archive for the 'International Relations' Category

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Will Putin Look to Annex More Territory? Why the Crimea Crisis Is Not about a Greater Russia Project

Stephen Sadieman and R. William Ayres

In a recent post for The Washington Post‘s blog The Monkey Cage, Stephen M. Saideman and R. William Ayres draw on arguments and themes in their book For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism, and War to examine the situation in Crimea and the Ukraine.

More specifically, Sadieman and Ayres return to their book’s focus on irredentism or “the effort to reunify a ‘lost’ territory inhabited by ethnic kin with either a mother country or with other territories also inhabited by ethnic kin (think of Kurds in multiple countries creating a Greater Kurdistan).” While the case of Crimea represents, to a certain extent, a case of Russian irredentism, the authors argue that Russia might not necessarily annex Crimea and is unlikely to engage in similar actions in other areas where ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers reside.

Sadieman and Ayres cite four reasons:

1.) The plight of ethnic Russians in Crimea is not that great.
2.) Russian identity is not clearly defined. As the authors write, “Not all those living in Russia agree that Russian nationalism includes Russophones as members of the Russian nation. Indeed, the existing survey evidence suggests that this crisis is not very popular back in Russia. Those in Russia, especially those who vote in the next elections, may not want yet another basket-case to drain the country’s coffers (Crimean supporters of annexation are unlikely to be future net contributors).”
3.) Putin’s actions do not necessarily seem to be motivated by domestic concerns. His power is secure and he does not have to prove his nationalist credentials.
4.) Even if Crimea is annexed it is a region different from others where ethic Russians live. Sadieman and Ayres explain, “Crimea [does] stand out, as it combined both national interests (the Black Sea fleet) with a group of kin that was more interested than others in the Greater Russia project.”

The authors conclude by writing:

So, this crisis is not about a Greater Russia project, even if Crimea ends up in either a semi-status a la Nagorno-Karabakh or annexed in reality, as the policies focused here are unlikely to play out in other places where ethnic Russians reside, such as the Baltic Republics or even other parts of eastern Ukraine. As other writers at the Monkey Cage have argued, this is really a second-best (if that) effort by Putin to have influence in Ukraine after his preferred non-irredentist one, keeping President Yanukovych in power, failed. While countries containing some of the 25 million lost Russians are concerned, they should not panic as Putin is not Hitler (almost the original irredentist), and he is not even Milosevic of Greater Serbia fame.

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Rashid Khalidi on Ariel Sharon

Rashidi Khalidi, author of Under Siege: PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War (now available in a revised edition with a new introduction), has recently been interviewed and asked to comment on Ariel Sharon’s legacy and his impact on the Middle East.

In a recent piece in Foreign Policy, Call Off the Sainthood of Ariel Sharon, Khalidi discusses the Israeli leader’s role in the 1982 Israeli war in Lebanon, a conflict that led to more than 50,000 casualties, including many Lebanese civilians.

Khalidi writes:

The Lebanon war that Sharon, then the defense minister, did more than anyone else to launch was an unmitigated catastrophe for the Palestinians, the Lebanese, and in the view of most Israelis at the time, Israel itself. Israel’s subsequent occupation of South Lebanon until 2000, the consequent intensification of the Lebanese civil war, the slaughter of untold numbers of innocents, and the deaths of hundreds of Israeli soldiers and thousands of other combatants should all be laid in large part at Sharon’s feet.

Sharon’s profound impact on the Middle East stretched far beyond Lebanon. If the creation of a truly sovereign, independent, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state is not possible today — as most sober observers believe — this is largely his achievement. From his appointment as agriculture minister in 1977 until his passing from the Israeli political scene after his stroke in 2006, he probably did more than any other Israeli leader to make Israel’s colonization of the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem an astonishing success.

Khalidi also recently discussed Sharon on Huffington Post Live as well as on Democracy Now, where he was joined by Noam Chomsky and Avi Shlaim

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Joseph Cirinicone Discusses the Iran Nuclear Deal on Rachel Maddow

Joseph Cirinicione, author of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, was recently on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the recent nuclear deal with Iran. Cirincione considers how Obama’s strategy of sanctions led to the deal, discusses Israel’s reaction and the widespread approval of the plan.

For more on Cirincione’s view on and support of the deal with Iran, you read his essay The Deal is for Real. Cirincione writes:

The deal Secretary John Kerry masterfully crafted in Geneva eliminates the threat Mr. Netanyahu said was his most serious concern. It completely stops the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent. It gets rid of all the uranium Iran had already enriched to this level. As a result, it doubles the time it would take Iran to dash to a bomb, plus it adds tough new daily inspections of the nuclear facilities that could spot any such dash, giving nations ample time to take appropriate actions.

But wait, there’s more. The deal basically freezes the Iranian program in place. It is not a complete suspension, but it makes sure that Iran cannot move ahead with its program while negotiations continue.

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Joseph Cirincione talks Iran with Fareed Zakaria

Nuclear Nightmares

This week our featured book is Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late by Joseph Cirincione. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have a video from Joseph Cirincione’s recent interview with Fareed Zakaria

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Nuclear Nightmares!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The Nuclear Nightmares Still Lurking in Our World

Nuclear Nightmares

This week our featured book is Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late by Joseph Cirincione. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have a guest post from Joseph Cirincione in which he discusses the ongoing and worldwide danger from nuclear weapons.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Nuclear Nightmares!

The Nuclear Nightmares Still Lurking in Our World

Joe Cirincione

Most people think that the threat of nuclear weapons ended with the Cold War. They are dead wrong. Nuclear weapons still pose a clear and present danger, in the Middle East, in South Asia, on the Korean Peninsula and here in the United States.

My new book, Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It’s Too Late, takes us on a journey through today’s nuclear challenges, and lays out a clear path for how we can make the world safer, one step at a time.
(more…)

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Joseph Cirincione on Nuclear Policy in the Obama Administration

Nuclear Nightmares

This week our featured book is Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late by Joseph Cirincione. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt from the introduction to Joseph Cirincione’s introduction to Nuclear Nightmares, in which Cirincione discusses the gripping and important story of nuclear policy under the Obama administration.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Nuclear Nightmares!

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Book Giveaway! Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, by Joseph Cirincione

Nuclear Nightmares

This week our featured book is Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late by Joseph Cirincione. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Nuclear Nightmares. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on November 15th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Laura Sjoberg — What’s Wrong with FETs? Thoughts from Gendering Global Conflict

The following is a post by Laura Sjoberg, author of Gendering Global Conflict: Toward a Feminist Theory of War.

“The deployment of Female Engagement Teams seems ridiculous to me as a feminist scholar—women are not to be essentialized or instrumentalized; the idea that men are masculine and women are feminine is oversimple; this is a move to reify the gendered nature of war rather than to relieve it.”—Laura Sjoberg

Laura Sjoberg, Gendering Global ConflictOver the last couple of years, the US military has begun to employ FETs (Female Engagement Teams) in Afghanistan, characterizing their purpose as “to engage the female populace” of the country. The mission of these groups of female soldiers seems to be divided between victim services, trust building, influence seeking, and intelligence gathering. Many feminist scholars (e.g., Keally McBride and Annick T. R. Wibben) have expressed their deep concerns about both the effectiveness of FETs and the ideas about sex, gender, and warfare that their deployments suggest the US military holds.

My recent book, Gendering Global Conflict: Toward a Feminist Theory of War, is not about FETs specifically, but it does provide insight into this (and hopefully a number of other) problems of sex, gender, and war. It argues that, in order to understand fully how something like an FET became possible, we have to be able to see gender subordination and war-fighting as mutually constituted. Understanding that, it argues, provides insight into a number of other policy choices and theoretical assumptions in the security sector that might initially appear paradoxical when approached from a feminist perspective. The rest of this post discusses that with regard to FETs.

(more…)

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

New Series in American-East Asian Relations

Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Books on American–East Asian Relations
Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the creation of the Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Books on American–East Asian Relations series. The series is named after noted diplomatic historians and Columbia University Press authors Nancy Bernkopf Tucker (1948–2012) and Warren I. Cohen.

The goals of the series are to publish high-quality, rigorously researched works in the academic fields in which Tucker was involved. Selection of books written by new and established scholars will begin in late 2013 and will concentrate in the areas of political science, international affairs, diplomatic history, Asian history, and Asian studies. The press will be able to draw at least $15,000 from the fund to help support the cost of publishing and promoting each new title. The series aims to publish one or two new titles every year.

The series is made possible from a generous donation by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and Warren I. Cohen. Before her death Dr. Tucker set in motion plans for the series, which was completed after her death by her husband, Professor Cohen.

Professor Cohen remarks, “This series is intended as a monument to Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, a great scholar, a superb teacher, and my beloved wife. Publication of works in her chosen fields will help keep her goals alive and ensure that she is never forgotten.”

Scholarly integrity for the series will be maintained by the internationally distinguished academics serving as series editors: Thomas Christensen (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University), Mark Bradley (University of Chicago) and Rosemary Foot (St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford).

Those interested in publishing in the series should contact Anne Routon, senior editor at Columbia University Press with a proposal containing a brief description of the content and focus of the book, a table of contents or chapter outline, literature review and market analysis, and professional information about the author, including previous publications.

(more…)

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Book Giveaway! The Ethical Economy: Rebuilding Value After the Crisis, by Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen

The Ethical Economy

This week our featured book is The Ethical Economy: Rebuilding Value After the Crisis, by Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content from and about the book and its authors here on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Ethical Economy. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on August 30th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word! The book giveaway is closed. Thanks for your participation!

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Denny Roy — The US and China Should Stop Striving for Trust

“Strategic trust will not be attainable for the foreseeable future. The U.S. and China have many areas of fruitful cooperation, which can and should go forward without waiting for trust to break out…. For these inherent rivals and potential adversaries, the emphasis belongs on ‘verify,’ not ‘trust.’”—Denny Roy

Denny Roy, Return of the DragonAs recent talks between Barack Obama Chinese President Xi Jingping demonstrated, the United States and China are still searching for a way to trust one another. But is trust really necessary or possible?

In a recent, much-discussed article for The Diplomat, Denny Roy, author of Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security, argues that more and deeper dialogue between the United States and China might not necessarily lead to an ease of tension or greater trust. Ultimately, Roy argues, suspicions between the US and China are warranted and the two nations have “irreconcilable differences over several fundamental strategic questions.” These include some of China’s sovereignty claims; the future strategic roles of Japan and South Korea; and the extent of China’s sphere of influence.

The misunderstandings surrounding the positions of each nation cannot be easily solved. Roy explains:

The problem is not that each country erroneously perceives the other as warlike. Both want peace, but on their own terms. Some of what China calls “defensive” looks to others like aggression. What America terms “stability” is “containment” to China.

Indeed, more “bluntness and honesty” might bring out additional attitudes that are not often discussed publicly and that would drive Americans and Chinese further apart, such as the Americans hoping for the demise of the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese suggesting that all U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific should relocate to areas no further west than the Hawaiian Islands. More transparency would not dispel mutual suspicions, it would confirm them.

(more…)

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Interview with Stephanie Hepburn, author of Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight

Stephanie Hepburn, author of Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain SightThe following is an interview with Stephanie Hepburn, coauthor (with Rita Simon) of Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight (For more on the book, you can also watch a video of Stephanie Hepburn discussing the book.):

Question: What made you interested in writing about the topic of human trafficking?

Stephanie Hepburn: I moved to New Orleans in February 2006, not long after Hurricane Katrina. Just like any place in any country that experiences a natural disaster, the infrastructure was disrupted, the population was in flux and law enforcement personnel were overextended. In order to rebuild the city there was a sudden demand for low-wage labor, which created an ideal scenario for labor exploitation and human trafficking. Further compounding the scenario is that the United States government temporarily suspended numerous protections for workers that affected wages, safety and health. Also, the government temporarily suspended immigration-enforcement requirements. These temporary suspensions compounded the situation and allowed illicit contractors to move in, and bring in and exploit workers unnoticed.

This is actually where the latter part of the book title (Hidden in Plain Sight) came from: the workers were exploited out in the open, but they were hidden in plain sight because no one was paying attention to the exploitation. I first began to research the human trafficking cases in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region and after seeing the common patterns I added the entire U.S. and 23 other nations.

Q: What do you want to accomplish with this book?

SH: I wrote the book to attract a broad audience and be accessible to anyone – whether an academic, expert in the field or a layperson who happens to be curious about the topic. I wanted to bring about improved awareness and understanding of all forms of human trafficking. When most people think of human trafficking they think of sex trafficking. They aren’t incorrect but that certainly isn’t the entire picture. In fact, the International Labour Organization estimates that 68 percent of the 20.9 million victims of human trafficking are forced labor victim, while 22 percent are victims of forced sexual exploitation. The remaining victims are in state-imposed forms of forced labor. To me, all of these victims are forced labor victims and it doesn’t serve any positive purpose to differentiate — it simply results in disparate laws and treatment.

I also wanted to tell the stories of victims and strike a balance between humanizing the experience and giving essential statistical data. Many of the books that I have read on human trafficking tend to go in one direction or the other. I aimed to achieve both. To me, the statistics are necessary for giving as close to an accurate image as possible of the extent of human trafficking, while the stories are the glue and heart of the book. They prohibit reader detachment and give a clear image of what victims experience from beginning to end.

(more…)

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Kenneth Waltz, 1924-2013

Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and WarWe were sad to learn of the death of Kenneth Waltz, who passed away last week at the age of 88. Waltz was a longtime professor at Columbia University, among other places, and was the author of Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis , which was his published dissertation but went on to reshape the field of International Relations. The book first published in 1959 continues to be one of our best-selling titles and is widely used in courses.

In an article in Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt, a former student of Waltz’s, wrote about how Waltz made IR theory vital for illuminating crucial policy decisions rather than it being relegated to academic irrelevancy. Walt provided an addendum focusing on the continuing importance of Waltz and his work:

I would add … the reminder of Waltz’s deep aversion to foolish military excesses. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was a realist rather than a pacifist. But like Hans Morgenthau, he was an early opponent of the Vietnam War and deeply skeptical of the paranoid threat-inflation that has informed so much of U.S. foreign and defense policy. Like many other realists, he also opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The field of international relations would be better off with more people like Ken, and the world would be better off if more great powers — especially the United States — paid more attention to his insights.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Stephanie Hepburn Discusses Her New Book Human Trafficking Around the World

The following video is from Stephanie Hepburn’s recent talk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Ethics to discuss her book, co-authored with Rita Simon, Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight :

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Marc Lynch: What’s Missing from the Iraq Debate

Mark Kukis, Voices from Iraq

“On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, we should be hearing a lot more from them — and a lot less from the former American officials and pundits who got it wrong the first time.”—Marc Lynch

Amid the many discussion about the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Marc Lynch author of Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today, argues that:

one surprising detail about the flood of retrospectives: They have almost exclusively been written by Americans, talking about Americans, for Americans. Indeed, many Iraqis fail to see the point of commemorating the disastrous war for the benefit of the American media.

In What’s Missing from the Iraq Debate, written for his blog on Foreign Policy, Lynch cites some exceptions, including Mark Kukis’s Voices from Iraq: A People’s History, 2003-2009 but argues that books and commentary on the invasion have been very American-centric. American discussions about Iraq have focused on U.S. strategy, often ignoring Iraqi politics and public opinion. Lynch discusses the implications of this:

Myopia has consequences. Failing to listen to those Iraqi voices meant getting important things badly wrong. Most profoundly, the American filter tends to minimize the human costs and existential realities of military occupation and a brutal, nasty war. The savage civil war caused mass displacement and sectarian slaughter that will be remembered for generations. The U.S. occupation also involved massive abuses and shameful episodes, from torture at Abu Ghraib Prison to a massacre of unarmed Iraqis in the city of Haditha. The moral and ethical imperative to incorporate Iraqi perspectives should be obvious.

(more…)

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Interview with James Pettifer, author of The Kosova Liberation Army

The following is an interview with James Pettifer, author of The Kosova Liberation Army: Underground War to Balkan Insurgency, 1948-2001 :
The Kosova Liberation Army

Question: Some years have passed now since the main conflicts in the Balkans, and interest in them has been overtaken by the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. What motivated you to write a book about the ethnic Albanian Kosova Liberation Army and its role in the conflict there in the late 1990’s?

James Pettifer: I had been very involved in the region for many years, as a foreign correspondent and as an academic. The war in Kosova was a success for NATO, in my opinion, and it was in danger of being forgotten as the later and much larger conflicts in the Middle East and with their much more problematic outcomes occupied public attention. And I felt the Kosova Liberation Army was a very interesting organisation, a rare example of a successful insurgency in the Balkans that had attracted outside support. I wanted to try to explore why this was, and above all why a tiny group of people with what many people would regard as an antiquated nationalist ideology were able to be so successful in modern Europe.

Q: You write a good deal about the support the Kosova Liberation Army received from different outside émigré groups, particularly in the United States, Germany and Switzerland. Why was this so important?

JP: The ethnic Albanians in Kosova were (and are still) in a poor landlocked country that few people have visited. Many of them had family members who had been forced to emigrate in order to find work, often after they were thrown out of their normal occupations in the Milosevic martial law period in Kosova after 1989. These people took away with them a strong resentment of Serbian rule, and a determination to help rescue their homeland from it. Switzerland was particularly important. Over 400,000 people of Albanian descent(mostly from Kosova) live there, and Swiss traditions of respect of the rights of political refugees are very important if you are conducting underground political activity that seeks to change the state you have come from in the first place. The United States Albanian Diaspora was also essential to the KLA. These émigrés had long nationalist traditions, and were very active in the wartime period.

(more…)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Siddharth Kara Interviewed in The Economist

Siddharth Kara

The Economist blog Feast and Famine: Demography and Development recently interviewed Siddharth Kara about his new book Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia .

In the interview Kara explains how people become trapped and exploited in the system of bonded labor in a desperate attempt to get credit:

Bonded labour, or what’s often called debt-bondage, is a form of feudal servitude, where credit is exchanged for pledged labour. The class in power will often coercively extract and extort far more labour out of the debtor than the fair value of the credit they received. Sometimes an entire family can endlessly work off a meagre loan taken years before. More than half of the world’s slaves are bonded labourers and the products made by them permeate the global economy.

Bonded labor is a particular problem in South Asia where there are high rates of poverty and a caste system which allows the unfair system to persist. In addition to the caste system and poverty, bonded labor also continues to exist and grow because of corruption, social apathy, and the fact that it has become part of the global economy. In the following excerpt from the interview, Kara explains how bonded labor has become part of the global economy, though it is often hidden within its complex processes:

Q: Are there any sectors that seem particularly prone to use the products of bonded labour?

A: Well, yeah. Often times the supply chains for these products can be very complex, so sometimes a company that’s importing goods may not realise exactly what’s going on on the far side of their supply chain. The industries that have the highest prevalence included products like rice, tea, coffee, but also things like frozen shrimp and fish, granite for your counter tops, cubic zirconia, hand woven carpets, sporting goods, apparel, the list goes on and on. Construction is another one, including office buildings for international companies, or major road construction and infrastructure projects.

Q: To what extent does bonded labour a problem of globalisation?

A: The global economy is a powerful force [that creates] demand. A company can scour the globe for under-regulated labour markets in order to benefit from cheap wages. Labour is almost always the highest cost component in a business, so if you can minimise or virtually eliminate labour costs you are saving a lot of money. The global economy does look for and demand and feed on these systems, which stimulates their persistence.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

VIDEO: Interview with Andrew Nathan, author of China’s Search for Security

The following video is an interview with Andrew Nathan coauthor (with Andrew Scobell) of China’s Search for Security. The interview was done with China File, a project of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society. (Apologies for the glitch with the formatting; it should be corrected soon):

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Why Civil Resistance Works wins 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

LoveKnowledgeCongratulations to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, who have been awarded the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order for their work on Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. From the official award announcement:

“The implications of their work are enormous,” said award director Charles Ziegler. “Not only do their findings validate the work done by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., but they shed new light on the political change we’re seeing today, such as the Arab Spring process in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations.”

The book by Chenoweth and Stephan also won the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for best book published in the United States on government, politics or international affairs.

UofL presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each.

Again, congratulations to Professors Chenoweth and Stephan on this latest honor, and thanks to the University of Louisville and the Grawemeyer Awards judges for recognizing the hard work that went into Why Civil Resistance Works!

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Andrew Nathan Discusses Trends in China’s Foreign Policy

In the following video, Andrew Nathan, most recently the author of China’s Search for Security discusses trends in China’s foreign policy: