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Article Alert April 2011

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Article Alert is a monthly service featuring some of the most interesting journal literature on relations concerning the U.S. and Europe. It is published every month except for August.

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Transatlantic Relations

SECURITY GOVERNANCE IN THE MARITIME COMMONS: THE CASE FOR A TRANSATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP. Jean-Loup Samaan, Orbis, Spring 2011, pp. 314-324. Power distribution in the maritime commons is changing. The inevitable relative decline of U.S. sea power provides an opening not only for China as a rising challenger but also for the European Union as a cooperative security provider. Although such a claim may have seemed farfetched a few years ago, the performance of the European Union in the counter-piracy Operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, illustrates the possibility that the European Union will prove to be an unexpected player in the maritime commons in the twenty-first century. This possibility suggests a renewed transatlantic dialog over the governance of the maritime commons. READ MORE

RIVAL UNIVERSALISMS IN TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS: OBAMA'S EXCEPTIONALISM MEETS EUROPE'S LOW PROFILE. Cristina Barrios, European Political Science, 2011, PP.  11–19. "This article offers the central argument that universalisms – defined as narratives of identity and role-playing in International Relations (IR) – depict different roles and identities for the United States and the European Union (EU). On the one hand, America's universalism depicts the democratic city upon a hill that leads in the world by example and with power, hard and soft. On the other, Europe's universalism is a utopia (an ideal plan) and a fragile balance between supranationalism and intergovernmentalism, putting forward consensual but ambiguous notions of ‘civilian’ and ‘normative’ power. Despite ample evidence of its international primacy and potential, the EU insists on keeping a low profile in IR. As a result of these trends, the rhetoric of the West and common values on the basis of transatlantic relations are clearly undermined." READ MORE

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON: APPRAISING THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP FROM IRAQ TO OBAMA. John Robert Kelley, European Political Science, published online 14 January 2011, pp. 20–26. It is believed in some quarters that the transatlantic relationship has never endured a more trying decade than the last, and yet the ‘Obama effect’ seems to have resurrected it from beyond the ‘tipping point’. Can we conclude then that the crisis was not as damaging as feared? Or are we erroneously subscribing to inflated expectations of America's ability to change in the age of Obama? Without a reliable measure of what constitutes an exceedingly good or bad period in the relationship, any narrative that tells us we have ventured into the extreme seems inconclusive. America and Europe need each other, and contrary to far-reaching theories of demise or rebirth, this vital relationship will evolve not on the fringes but instead in moderation and into something more complete. READ MORE

EU Issues

EUROPE'S TROUBLE POWER POLITICS AND THE STATE OF THE EUROPEAN PROJECT. Sebastian Rosato, International Security, Spring 2011, pp. 45–86. For a decade after the end of the Cold War, observers were profoundly optimistic about the state of the European Community (EC).1 Most endorsed Andrew Moravcsik’s claim that the establishment of the single market and currency marked the EC as “the most ambitious and most successful example of peaceful international cooperation in world history.” Both arrangements, which went into effect in the 1990s, were widely regarded as the “ªnishing touches on the construction of a European economic zone.”2 Indeed, many people thought that economic integration would soon lead to political and military integration. Germany’s minister for Europe, Günter Verheugen, declared, “[N]ormally a single currency is the ªnal step in a process of political integration. This time the single currency isn’t the ªnal step but the beginning.”3 Meanwhile, U.S. defense planners feared that the Europeans might create “a separate ‘EU’ army.”4 In short, the common view was that the EC had been a great success and had a bright future.  READ MORE

EUROPE IS A STATE OF MIND: IDENTITY AND EUROPEANIZATION IN THE BALKANS. Jelena Subotic, International Studies Quarterly, March 2011, var. pp. 1–22. Why does Europeanization—the process of adopting European rules—advance in some countries, while it stalls in others? What explains different European trajectories of otherwise similar candidate states? This article explains foreign policy choices of EU candidate states with an identity-based theoretical framework. In states where European identity is a widely shared social value, the inevitable short-term costs of Europeanization—economic, social, and political—will still be worth the price of admission because becoming “European” trumps other domestic political concerns. In contrast, in countries where the European idea is not broadly shared, pro-European groups will find it hard to forge crosscutting coalitions needed to successfully promote Europeanization with all its associated costs. To illustrate these theoretical insights, I compare Europeanization in Croatia and Serbia, the two Balkan states with similar regional status, shared legacies of communism, and ethnic war, yet quite different European trajectories. I argue that the process of identity convergence explains Croatia’s rapid compliance with controversial EU requirements, while in neighboring Serbia, identity divergence has derailed Serbia’s EU candidacy. READ MORE


TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION ON TRAVELERS' DATA PROCESSING" FROM SORTING COUNTRIES TO SORTING INDIVIDUALS. Paul De Hert and Rocco Bellanova, Migration Policy Institute, March 2011, var. pp. This report, the second in a joint project of MPI and the European University Institute examining US and European immigration systems, details the post-9/11 programs and agreements implemented by US and European governments to identify terrorists and serious transnational criminals through the collection and processing of increasing quantities of traveler data. The report analyzes how governments, which once focused their screening primarily on a traveler’s nationality (“sorting countries”), increasingly are examining personal characteristics (“sorting individuals”). READ MORE

EFFECTS OF THE GLOBAL RECESSION ON IMMIGRANTS ACROSS THE TRANSATLANTIC AND ON EUROPEAN IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION PROGRAMS. Elizabeth Collett, Migration Policy Institute, March 2011, var. pp. MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration is releasing companion efforts that examine the global financial downturn’s effects on immigrant integration funding in the European Union and on immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic. In her paper, Immigrant Integration in a Time of Austerity, MPI European Policy Fellow Elizabeth Collett offers fresh analysis of how immigrant integration programs are faring in EU countries with rising debt levels and a new focus on austerity. And in its fourth edited volume, Prioritizing Integration, the Council takes stock of the slowdown’s fallout on migration flows, labor force participation, and immigrant well-being in Europe and the United States. READ MORE (PDF 1.7 MB)

IMMIGRATION: THE NEW AMERICAN DILEMMA. Roger Waldinger, Daedalus, Spring 2011, pp. 215-225.  "The American dilemma was once distinctively American, rooted in the particular history of the United States and in the conflict between liberal principles and exclusionary practice. The contemporary American dilemma takes a different form, arising from the challenges that emerge when international migration confronts the liberal nation-state. Solving the earlier dilemma called for extending and deepening citizenship so that it would be fully shared by all Americans. However, that more robust citizenship is only for Americans, who alone can cross U.S. borders as they please. Consequently, rights stop at the national boundary, where the admission of foreigners is controlled and restricted. Because entries are rationed, migration policies select a favored few, creating new forms of de jure inequality that separate citizens from resident aliens and distinguish among resident foreigners by virtue of their right to territorial presence. Thus, the encounter between citizens wanting to preserve their national community and newly arrived foreigners seeking to get ahead yields an inescapable social dilemma, one that America shares with other rich democracies."  READ MORE

Middle East

STABILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: THE OTHER SIDE OF SECURITY. Find their worst grievances and deal with them. Anthony H. Cordesman, CSIS, Apr 11, 2011, var. pages. "National security is normally seen in terms of military strength and internal security operations against extremists and insurgents. The upheavals that began in Tunis, and now play out from Pakistan to Morocco,. have highlighted the fact that national security is measured in terms of the politics, economics, and social tensions that shape national stability as well. It is all too clear that the wrong kind of internal security efforts, and national security spending that limits the ability to meet popular needs and expectations can do as much to undermine national security over time as outside and extremist threats." READ MORE (PDF 4.0 MB)

AMERICA'S FADING MIDDLE EAST INFLUENCE. Shmuel Bar, Policy Review, April 2011, var. pages. "The middle east has gone through eras of projection of power by external powers, and it has adapted to the balance of power between them. For over two decades, the United States has been the predominant superpower in the region and the main force in maintaining the status quo. However, today, the Middle East is undergoing a sea change. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya were the result of developments within the countries themselves: deep economic and social malaise and the perception of the loss of domestic deterrence by ossified regimes led by aging leaders. However, the popular perception that the United States had abandoned its erstwhile allies to support those revolutions facilitated their spread to other theaters. This turnabout in American policy is not seen in the region as reflecting American power though intervention, but rather the decline of American power, manifested in a policy of “bandwagoning” after years of proactive American policy. Clearly, the decline of American projection of power in the region will have as profound an effect as the projection of American power had at its height." READ MORE

AMERICA AND EGYPT AFTER THE UPRISINGS. Marc Lynch, Survival, April/May 2011, pp. 31-42. "The United States had been calling for reform in Egypt for over a decade, to little avail. The regime, however unpopular, sclerotic, closed and isolated, seemed firmly in control and well-prepared to meet the challenges of new protests. After a decade of failed efforts to spark mass protest, few expected the demonstrations to catch fire as they did or for Egyptian stability to be seriously challenged. As protests mounted, however, the Obama administration quickly concluded privately that Mubarak could not survive and that American policy must be designed to broker a post-Mubarak outcome amenable to core American interests. The Obama administration’s reaction demonstrated a far different sensibility than that manifested by the George W. Bush administration. To the frustration of American pundits, Obama did not attempt to lead a protest movement which neither needed nor wanted his guidance. Instead, he focused American efforts on restraining the Egyptian military from using violence against protesters, demanding respect for universal rights, insisting that only Egyptians could choose Egypt’s leaders, and attempting to push for long-term, meaningful reform. The administration’s attempt to straddle its competing commitments inevitably enraged all sides: the Egyptian regime and Arab allies railed against American abandonment, Egyptian protesters and Arab public opinion complained of American indifference, and American critics demanded more vocal leadership." READ MORE

NUCLEAR ARMS RACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: MYTH OR REALITY? Gawdat Bahgat, Mediterranean Quarterly, Winter 2011, pp. 27-40. "Since the early 2000s Iran's nuclear program has been a major focus of international and regional policy. Many policy makers and scholars have expressed their concern that if Iran "goes nuclear" other Middle Eastern countries, particularly Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, will follow suit. This author argues against this conventional wisdom. As a NATO member, Turkey is a special case. The analysis suggests that security is the main reason why countries pursue nuclear weapons. Egypt and Saudi Arabia (along with other Arab countries) have learned how to live with a perceived nuclear Israel. Iran with a nuclear capability, if it happens, would not pose a security threat to either Cairo or Riyadh. In short, the author argues that an Iran with nuclear capability will further destabilize the Middle East and will be a negative development, but it is not likely to make Egypt and Saudi Arabia 'go nuclear.'" READ MORE


TOWARDS TWO SUDANS. Peter Woodward, Survival, April–May 2011, pp. 5–10. On 9 July 2011 the world will welcome its newest independent state, South Sudan, following the overwhelming vote for separation in the referendum in January. It will mark the division of Africa’s largest country, a division that has produced both inquests on the past and questions about the future. The inquests on why it is happening often include elements that go right back to the mid-nineteenth century, when the southward march of Egyptian imperialism laid claim to the Nile almost as far south as the Great Lakes. It led to an era of exploitation of southern Sudan, first for animal products (especially ivory) and then for slaves; the latter was to become part of the region’s historic self-perception. In the first half of the twentieth century, Britain dominated the new Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and, as the northerners saw it, came to regard the non-Muslim ‘African’ south as distinct from the Muslim and ‘Arab’ north. Some believed this was with the intention of separating the two parts and attaching the south to East Africa. READ MORE

AFRICAN LAND, UP FOR GRABS. Ashwin Parulkar, World Policy Journal, Spring 2011, var. pages. The author "reports on a 21st-century land grab in Africa. Prior to 2008, foreign investors acquired an average of 10 million acres of farmland each year. In 2009, they acquired 111 million acres, nearly 75 percent of it in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a transfer of control unprecedented in the postcolonial era. Many claim it is leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of poor, rural villagers." READ MORE

Climate & Environment

WIND POWER: IS WIND ENERGY GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?  David Hosansky, April 1, 2011 The CQ Researcher, April 1, 2011, var.pages. "Wind has emerged as the nation's fastest-growing energy source, with thousands of towering turbines dotting the countryside from California to New England. Generating capacity has risen as much as 50 percent annually, encouraged by tax incentives and state laws mandating growth in renewable energy. Already, wind provides about 2 percent of electricity nationwide, and the Department of Energy says a 20 percent share by 2030 is possible with improvements in turbine technology, large-scale investment and better planning of the electrical grid. But opponents argue that wind turbines kill tens of thousands of birds and bats each year, mar pristine scenery and require far more land than traditional methods of power generation. The battle over wind is playing out in states such as Wisconsin, where the proximity of turbines to homes is an issue, and Vermont, where environmentalists are divided over two goals: protecting scenic vistas and reducing fossil fuel use." READ MORE

A CLIMATE POLICY FOR THE REAL WORLD. Paul J Saunders, Vaughan Turekian. Policy Review. Feb/Mar 2011. var. pp. Equally troubling to both of these camps is the Kyoto Protocol's looming expiration in 2012, with its results limited and no follow-on arrangements in place. Since Kyoto's modest emissions targets were secondary to its goal of establishing a global system for deeper future reductions, supporters of binding international targets and timetables for emissions are alarmed by the relentless ticking of the clock. READ MORE  

THE EU AND CLIMATE SECURITY: A CASE OF SUCCESSFUL NORM ENTREPRENEURSHIP? Kamil Zwolski and Christian Kaunert,  European Security, 2011, pp. 21 - 43. This article analyses the development of the European Union (EU) as a global actor in the area of climate security. Building on this, it explicitly draws on constructivist concepts such as norm entrepreneurship and epistemic communities. To this end, it adopts the framework of epistemic communities, as developed by Peter Haas, in order to suggest that there is a group of EU officials, EU member states and think-tank activists, who drive the climate security agenda of the EU. Thus, it examines the precise actors involved in this EU epistemic community for climate security. This group promotes a reason for action at the global level, resulting in the attempt to diffuse this norm: climate change has consequences for international security; thus, it requires the development of appropriate policies and capabilities within the EU and globally. This article suggests that the epistemic community on climate security has been effective at diffusing this norm at both levels, albeit with differences. READ MORE

GLOBAL WARMING AND THE ARAB SPRING. Sarah Johnstone and Jeffrey Mazo, Survival, April–May 2011, pp. 11–17. Was climate change one of the causes of the wave of popular protests and uprisings that has swept the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East since January? At first blush, the question looks absurd. Surely myriad long- and short-term social, economic, political and religious drivers of anger and dissent are the obvious causes. But in fact the recent events offer a textbook example of what analysts mean when they talk of complex causality and the role of climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’.1 The wave of protests, feeding on one another, might have broken at any time over the last few decades.2 Why did it happen now? Many different sets of events and circumstances might have been sufficient to set it off. Any particular set would have been unnecessary, since another could have sufficed. But in the chain of events that did lead to today’s revolutions, climate change played a necessary role, even if it was obviously an insufficient trigger on its own. A proximate factor behind the unrest was a spike in global food crises, which in turn was due in part to the extreme weather throughout the globe over the past year. This was not enough to trigger regime change – we have seen food price spikes and food riots before – but it was a necessary part of this particular mix. READ MORE

HOW TO FEED THE WORKD BY 2050: BIOTECH ISN'T THE ANSWER. Samuel Fromartz, The Atlantic, March 2011, var. pp. With food prices hitting record highs, people are rioting and political regimes are crumbling. We can only imagine what it will be like when the global population rises to 9 billion in 2050 from just under 7 billion now. More riots, more deforestation, more hunger, more revolutions? How are these people going to be fed? The unequivocal answer we so often hear: biotechnology. Let's ignore for the moment the cause of rising food prices, which have been attributed to everything from bad weather and poor harvests to higher oil prices that push up the cost of fertilizers, the rise of biofuels, even commodity index funds (which are bidding up futures, though I'm skeptical they are leading the parade). The thing I get hung up on is the "9 billion." It makes a great sound bite but what's behind the figure? READ MORE

Economic Issues

THE GRAYING PLANET: WILL AGING POPULATIONS CAUSE ECONOMIC UPHEAVAL? Alan Greenblatt, Global Researcher, March 15, 2011, var. pages. "The world's populations are aging rapidly, triggering demographic changes that will have a profound impact on economies, government expenditures and international migration patterns. In the past century, life expectancy has doubled, while the average family size has shrunk. By 2050, the number of children under 5 is expected to drop by 49 million, while the number of adults over 60 will skyrocket — by 1.2 billion. An unprecedented number of senior citizens will be depending on diminishing numbers of younger workers to contribute to pension and health care programs for the elderly. And it's not just a problem for wealthy countries: Developing countries' elderly populations are growing faster than in the developed world. For example, in 20 years, China will have 167 million senior citizens — more than half the current U.S. population. On the positive side, some demographers believe aging societies will be more peaceful, since seniors suffer fewer crime and drug-abuse problems. And with fewer children, there could be more money per capita for their education." READ MORE

GLOBAL AGING AND THE CRISIS OF THE 2020s. Neil Howe and Richard Jackson, Current History, January 2011, pp. 20-25. "From the fall of the Roman and the Mayan empires to the Black Death to the colonization of the New World and the youth-driven revolutions of the twentieth century, demographic trends have played a decisive role in many of the great invasions, political upheavals, migrations, and environmental catastrophes of history. By the 2020s, an ominous new conjuncture of demographic trends may once again threaten widespread disruption. We are talking about global aging, which is likely to have a profound effect on economic growth, living standards, and the shape of the world order." READ MORE

THE RESURRECTION. Michael Hirsh, The National Journal, March 28, 2011, var. pp. The concentration of elites on Wall Street is increasing, as well. The largest surviving banks—mainly Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo—are growing bigger and more global relative to the rest of the industry. They have already snapped up weak sisters at fire-sale prices (Bank of America swallowed Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan gulped down Bear Stearns). They are pushing out smaller banks in key areas, having increased their overall market shares in deposits, mortgages, credit cards, home-equity loans, and small-business loans. And as these giants broaden their global reach, international regulators agree even less on a common approach than their Washington counterparts do. Wall Street traders have themselves begun to identify certain institutions as too big to fail, giving them an additional commercial advantage. The upshot is that, in the wake of the worldwide financial meltdown and in direct opposition to the intentions of Washington reformers, the U.S. government may have become the guarantor of last resort for even-larger global banks over which it has even less control and oversight than before. READ MORE

LESSONS FROM A COLLAPSE OF A FINANCIAL SYSTEM. Sigridur Benediktsdottir, Jon Danielsson and Gylfi Zoega, Economic Policy, April 2011, pp.183-231. The paper draws lessons from the collapse of Iceland’s banking system in October 2008. The rapid expansion of the banking system following its privatization in the early 2000s is explained, as well as the inherent fragility due to the size of the banking system relative to the domestic economy and the central bank’s reserves, market manipulation enabling bank capital to expand rapidly and the weak and understaffed public institutions. Most of Iceland’s banking system was traditionally in state hands but was privatized and sold to politically favoured entities at the turn of the century, with laws and regulations subsequently changed to facilitate the expansion of the banking system. Political connections and the tacit support of the authorities enabled senior bank managers and key shareholders to extract significant private benefits while shifting risk to domestic and foreign taxpayers and foreign creditors. These problems were exacerbated by symptoms of what the paper terms the small country syndrome. The size of the banking sector made the central bank incapable of serving as the lender of last resort.  READ MORE


WHY AMERICA NO LONGER GETS ASIA. Evan A. Feigenbaum, The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2011, pp. 25-43. "In short, Asia is being reborn, and remade. Yet, the United States is badly prepared for this momentous rebirth, which is at once stitching Asia back together and making the United States less relevant in each of Asia’s constituent parts. Asians are, in various ways, passing the United States by, restoring ancient ties, and repairing long-broken strategic and economic links. The United States will not cease to be a power in Asia, particularly in East Asia where Washington remains an essential strategic balancer, vital to stability. That security-related role has been reinforced in recent months, as China’s behavior has scared its neighbors silly, from Japan to Vietnam to India. But unless U.S. policymakers adapt to the contours of a more integrated Asia, and soon, they will miss opportunities in every part of the region over time—and find the United States less relevant to Asia’s future." READ MORE (PDF 311 KB)

A RISING, EMBOLDENED CHINA. Richard S. Williamson, Mediterranean Quarterly, Winter 2011, pp. 15-26. "The essay offers an in-depth account of China's assertiveness in world affairs, an analysis of its own emerging contradictions, and how it must reconcile economic development and the inevitable growth of the middle class that will, sooner or later, demand political freedoms. China's influence in the global financial system constitutes the core of the author's analysis. The author also describes the challenges faced by the US from China as a rising competitor for superpower status. READ MORE

CHINA'S “NETWORKED AUTHORITARIANISM.” Rebecca MacKinnon, Journal of Democracy, April 2011, pp. 32-46. "Chinese authoritarianism has deftly adapted to the Internet Age, employing various forms of technological controls. China’s brand of networked authoritarianism serves as a model for other regimes, such as those of Iran and Russia." READ MORE

American Decline?

GRACEFUL DECLINE? THE SURPRISING SUCCESS OF GREAT POWER RETRENCHMENT. Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent, International Security, Spring 2011, pp. 7-44.  "There is broad scholarly consensus that the relative power of the United States is declining and that this decline will have negative consequences for international politics. This pessimism is justified by the belief that great powers have few options to deal with acute relative decline. Retrenchment is seen as a hazardous policy that demoralizes allies and encourages external predation. Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, however, retrenchment is not a relatively rare and ineffective policy instrument. A comparison of eighteen cases of acute relative decline since 1870 demonstrates that great powers frequently engage in retrenchment and that retrenchment is often effective. In addition, we find that prevailing explanations overstate the importance of democracies, bureaucracies, and interest groups in inhibiting retrenchment. In fact, the rate of decline can account for both the extent and form of retrenchment, even over short periods. These arguments have important implications for power transition theories and the rise of China." READ MORE

MOVING INTO A POST-WESTERN WORLD, Simon Serfaty, The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2011, pp. 7-23. "The 'unipolar moment' that followed the Cold War was expected to start an era. Not only was the preponderance of U.S. power beyond question, the facts of that preponderance appeared to exceed the reach of any competitor. America’s superior capabilities (military, but also economic and institutional) that no other country could match or approximate in toto, its global interests which no other power could share in full, and its universal saliency confirmed that the United States was the only country with all the assets needed to act decisively wherever it chose to be involved. What was missing, however, was a purpose a national will to enforce a strategy of preponderance that would satisfy U.S. interests and values without offending those of its allies and friends. That purpose was unleashed after the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Now, however, the moment is over, long before any era had the time to get started." READ MORE (PDF 288 KB)

THE OBAMA DOCTRINE – Détente or Decline? Nicholas Kitchen, European Political Science published online 24 December 2010, pp. 27–35. The Obama administration's first year in office has been characterised by the rhetorical rollback of the Bush administration's excesses and an emphasis on inclusiveness and restraint. This article considers the grand strategic response to the end of the Cold War of Obama's Democratic predecessor as President to highlight that the strategic challenges faced by the new President are more fundamental than simply reversing the policies of George W. Bush. So far, Obama has used rhetoric and engagement to buy time; it remains to be seen whether his policy of détente will be better understood in terms of the decline of American power. READ MORE

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