UNIT: The Multipolar International System
Think Again: The BRICS, Antoine Van Agtmael, Foreign Policy, 2012
The author argues that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) will be a dominant force in the global economy in the 21st century, but will not function as a cohesive power bloc and will grow more slowly economically.
Japan's Cautious Hawks: Why Tokyo Is Unlikely to Pursue an Aggressive Foreign Policy, Gerald L. Curtis, Foreign Affairs, 2013
The author deals with the question of whether Japan is pursuing a more autonomous and assertive foreign policy in the light of the economic decline of the U.S., the rise of China, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by North Korea. Curtis concludes that the Japanese public is risk averse and that there will be no dramatic change in Tokyo's foreign policy as long as the U.S. provides for Japan's security. Japanese advocates of a more autonomous foreign policy argue for the need to provide for their own defense "in a newly multipolar Asia."
Beware Collusion of China, Russia, Leslie H. Gelb and Dimitri K. Simes, The National Interest, 2013
The authors argue that the U.S. policy of "dual containment" may be inadvertently promoting an alliance between Russia and China, which could have "a huge and lasting impact on global policy. "China and Russia are concerned about such factors as U.S. intervention in their internal affairs, the enlargement of NATO, and the pivot to Asia. The U.S. needs to pursue a more realistic policy toward Russia and China.
The Global Power Shift from West to East, Christopher Layne, The National Interest, 2012
Layne argues that the era of U.S. dominance is ending as ". . . America's power and influence over the international political system will diminish markedly from what it was at the apogee of Pax Americana." A new order is replacing the old order, which lasted for 70 years, with a rising China, and a need for a strategically overextended United States to retrench.
France in Africa: A New Chapter? Stephen W. Smith, Current History, 2013
The author observes that the French intervention in Mali indicates that La Francafrique is still alive and that France is willing to continue its role as Africa's gendarme given that Africa is now viewed by Paris as "an awakening giant."
Shifting Fortunes: Brazil and Mexico in a Transformed Region, Michael Shifter and Cameron Combs, Current History, 2013
The authors focus on the economic and political changes that have occurred in Brazil and Mexico, the two most important countries in the Latin American region. Mexico's economic and political situation has improved over the last three years, while Brazil's economic situation has declined. However; the authors take a nuanced view of the competition between the two countries, as both are influenced by their geography and political legacies.
The Showdown: Winners and Losers in Egypt's Ongoing Revolution, Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 2013
Hessler stresses that president Morsi of Egypt was removed by the military because of continued economic problems, an autocratic governing style, and the concentration of too much power in the hands of the Moslem Brotherhood. Most important of all was the revolutionary movement known as the Tamarrod, which represented the loss of a significant amount of popular support for Morsi.
Pakistan on the Brink of a Democratic Transition? C. Christian Fair, Current History, 2013
The author observes that the May 2013 elections in Pakistan will bring about little change for the voter in terms of democratic accountability. Fair contends that the Pakistanis are deeply divided over the kinds of policies their government should pursue as the country is characterized by friction between the Pakistan People's Party, the judiciary, and the military.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Joshua Kurlantzick, Foreign Policy, 2013
The author argues that credible empirical studies indicate that democracy has been steadily declining throughout the world. The reversal of democratization has taken place despite the growth of a global middle class which chooses stability "against popular democracy."
UNIT: Foreign Policy
The Future of United States–Chinese Relations: Conflict Is a Choice, Not a Necessity, Henry A. Kissinger, Foreign Affairs, 2012
Kissinger argues that the United States should not pursue a policy of confrontation with China, but rather a policy of cooperation because both countries form essential components of the world order. The Chinese fear encirclement and intervention in their domestic affairs, whereas the United States fears being pushed out of the Pacific.
Do Presidents Matter? Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Atlantic, 2013
The author draws a distinction between transformational and transactional presidents and argues that good leadership requires "a careful understanding of the context of change." Nye concludes that leaders will need contextual intelligence to understand that it is necessary for the U.S. to work with other states. The author concludes that President Obama should follow the model of a transactional rather than transformational president.
The Irony of America's Strategy, Richard N. Haass, Foreign Affairs, 2013
Haas sees a U.S. military distancing itself from the "Greater Middle East" as U.S. policy is marked by a "pivot" or "rebalancing" toward Asia. There is no great power competition involved in the "new new" Middle East, but the U.S. should avoid a war of choice with Iran and promote peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The author concludes that Asia is an arena of great power competition.
The Currency of Power: Want to Understand America’s Place in the World? Write Economics Back into the Plan, Robert Zoellick, Foreign Policy, 2012
Zoellick stresses the importance of the primacy of the connection between economics and security as the key to the leadership role of the United States in the world. After tracing the history of the relationship between economics and security in U.S. foreign policy, the author concludes that the global economy has entered a fourth phase characterized by "a new crisis" of "global financial capitalism."
Beyond the Pivot: A New Road Map for U.S.–Chinese Relations, Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs, 2013
Rudd, a former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Australia, argues that the Obama administration's pivot or rebalancing to Asia is the correct response to China's rise, which is based on a realist foreign policy. The author concludes that the best option for the U.S. is to engage in a strategic competition with China, based on summitry diplomacy, which defines the key areas of common interest.
The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy, Graham Allison, Foreign Affairs, 2012
Allison observes that the Cuban missile crisis provides U.S. policy makers with lessons that can be applied to Iran and North Korea, where the U.S. may need to risk going to war. The author notes that the U.S. could reach a Cuban-like deal with Iran, which the author sees as the Cuban missile crisis "in slow motion."
Israel's New Politics and the Fate of Palestine, Akiva Eldar, The National Interest, 2012
The author discusses the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conundrum, with emphasis on the Israeli position. Eldar observes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to maintain the status quo, as the Israeli position is influenced by demographics and geography.
UNIT: War, Arms Control, and Disarmament
Why Iran Should Get the Bomb: Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability, Kenneth N. Waltz, Foreign Affairs, 2012
Waltz argues that a nuclear-armed Iran would provide more military balance ". . . and produce more regional and international stability, not less." The author concludes that the logic of deterrence applies to Iran and that ". . . the United States and its Allies need not take such pains to prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon."
Talking Tough to Pakistan: How to End Islamabad's Defiance, Stephen D. Krasner, Foreign Affairs, 2012
Krasner, argues that Pakistan cooperates just enough with the United States to continue to receive aid, but continues to support the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and Hezb-i-Islami, which attack coalition troops, as Pakistani support for the insurgents is designed to contain Indian influence in Afghanistan.
Syria's Long Civil War, Glenn E. Robinson, Current History, 2012
The author points out that neither side in the conflict is willing to compromise, therefore making a resolution of the civil war very difficult. While Iran and Russia have intervened in the conflict, the U.S policy of avoiding direct military intervention has been wise, and Washington support unconventional warfare until all of the parties involved in the conflict are ready to negotiate.
State of Terror: What Happened When an Al Queda Affiliate Ruled in Mali, Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker, 2013
The author observes that Mali demonstrated in 2012 how easy it is for a terrorist group to seize part of a country. Radical Islamists gained control of northern Mali and moved south. France intervened, as the U.S. stressed the need for Mali to undergo a successful transition to democracy. The author concludes that this will be difficult in a country that lacks a sense of national identity, as characterized by an undisciplined rogue military, and which lacks leadership and a civic culture.
No Chemical Weapons Use by Anyone: An Interview with OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü, Daniel Horner, Arms Control Today, 2013
The author discusses the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The article especially focuses on what the OPCW has been doing to prevent the spread of chemical weapons in Syria, stressing that the OPCW can put its technical expertise at the disposal of the UN to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons by a state that is not a party to the Chemical Convention.
Reducing the Global Nuclear Risk, Sidney D. Drell, George P. Schultz, and Steven P. Andreason, Policy Review, 2012
The authors focus on the need for increased safety and security for nuclear weapons and civilian reactors, as evidenced by the near catastrophe that occurred when some nuclear bombs fell from a disabled B-52 over North Carolina in 1961 as well as the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan where both an unanticipated earthquake and tsunami occurred together. The authors recommend that "the global nuclear enterprise" follow a set of principles designed to enhance the security of nuclear weapons and civilian reactors.
UNIT: International Organization, International Law, and Human Security
Law and Ethics for Robot Soldiers, Kenneth Anderson and Matthew Waxman, Policy Review, 2013
The authors argue that it is better for the U.S. to gradually develop a set of internal ethical and legal norms governing the use of robot soldiers or autonomous weapons systems, as opposed to their regulation by multilateral treaties. U.S. internal norms and constraints on the use of such weapons should be based on the customary laws of war dealing with distinction and proportionality that is reducing harm to civilians.
General Mladic in the Hague: A Report on Evil in Europe—and Justice Delayed, Michael Dobbs, Foreign Policy, 2012
Dobbs observes in connection with the trial of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic for genocide that "two decades after the start of the Bosnian war, it is hard to escape the feeling that the war criminals and ethnic cleansers won."
Why UNESCO Is a Critical Tool for Twenty-First Century Diplomacy, Ambassador David T. Killion, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 2013
The author stresses that UNESCO engages in a wide range of activities to build peace, eradicate poverty, and achieve sustainable development." However, Killion concludes that the U.S., after its cut in its financial contribution to UNESCO in protest against the admission of Palestine as a full member in 2011, needs to reengage with the organization before it is too late.
UNIT: International Political Economy
Own the Goals: What the Millennium Development Goals Have Accomplished, John W. McCarthur, Foreign Affairs, 2013
The Millennium Development Goals focused on the reduction of global poverty by 50% by 2015. Eight Millennium development goals were set in 2001 and progress has been made in realizing such goals as the reduction of extreme poverty in South Asia and sub-Sahara Africa. The author concludes that the U.S. should make a long-term commitment to the realization of post-2015 goals and low- and middle-income countries should also have a greater input into the development of a new set of goals.
Africa's Economic Boom: Why the Pessimists and the Optimists Are Both Right, Devarajan Shantayanan and Wolfgang Fengler, Foreign Affairs
Optimists stress that the GDP of the region has been growing at 5% per year, while pessimists are skeptical about the durability of Africa's economic growth. The pessimists point out that African states are too dependent on the export of commodities, there is widespread political instability, and the infrastructure of African states is underdeveloped.
The Crisis of Europe: How the Union Came Together and Why It's Falling Apart, Timothy Garton Ash, Foreign Affairs
Ash looks at the genesis of the current monetary crisis in the Eurozone, which was in his view rooted in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, resulting in what he calls "a malformed union." The crisis, according to the author, stems from German reunification as a quid pro quo for the French plan of a currency union. The result since then has been the emergence of an economic dysfunctional union, whose future lies in Germany's hands.
Mutual Assured Destruction: Why Trade Will Limit Conflict Between China and Japan, Richard Katz, Foreign Affairs, 2013
The author contends that economic interdependence or a Pax Economica will maintain an uneasy status quo between the two countries despite their dispute over the sovereignty of the Senkaku islands. China's export promoted growth is highly dependent upon the importation of machinery from Japan. Washington's commitment to Japan's defense will help to maintain an uneasy peace.
UNIT: Global Environmental Issues
Too Much to Fight Over, James Astill, The Economist, 2012
As the Arctic sea ice melts and opens up resources for exploitation, Astill stresses that the "risks of Arctic conflict have been exaggerated" and that ". . . the development of the Arctic is to be uncommonly harmonious." The author concludes that the Arctic Council is playing a greater role in providing a framework for the cooperation of the Arctic sea states.
A Light in the Forest: Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate-Change Diplomacy, Jeff Tollefson, Foreign Affairs, 2013
The author stresses that Brazil has dramatically slowed the deforestation of its rainforest in the Amazon Basin as part of a global effort known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The REDD model is based on offset payments by wealthy nations to tropical developing nations to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Brazil has made significant progress in deforestation and can serve as a model for other tropical countries.
Climate Change and Food Security, Bruce A. McCarl, Mario A. Fernandez, Jason P. H. Jones, and Marta Wlodarz, Current History, 2013
The authors argue that the effects of population growth and climate change will be variable, harming some crops and benefitting others, but will generally have negative effects on developing societies that do not have the resources and policy capability to adjust to the changes.