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Article Alert January 2012

What is Article Alert?

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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EU Issues

THE FAILURE OF THE EURO. The Little Currency That Couldn’t. Martin Feldstein, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012, var. pp. "The euro should now be recognized as an experiment that failed. This failure, which has come after just over a dozen years since the euro was introduced, in 1999, was not an accident or the result of bureaucratic mismanagement but rather the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries. The adverse economic consequences of the euro include the sovereign debt crises in several European countries, the fragile condition of major European banks, high levels of unemployment across the eurozone, and the large trade deficits that now plague most eurozone countries." READ MORE

THE MYTH OF EUROPE. Gareth Harding, Foreign Policy, January/February 2012, var. pp. "When the euro officially entered circulation at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2002, fireworks lit up the night sky across Europe to celebrate the scrapping of the French franc, German deutsche mark, Greek drachma, and a clutch of other ancient currencies. Brussels hosted an extravagant sound-and-light show, while Frankfurt unveiled a five-story statue of the freshly minted euro as a pop band belted out 'With Open Arms (Euro World Song).' 'I am convinced,' European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg declared, that the launch of euro coins and banknotes 'will appear in the history books in all our countries and beyond as the start of a new era in Europe.'" READ MORE

SHARIA CONTROVERSY: IS THERE A PLACE FOR ISLAMIC LAW IN WESTERN COUNTRIES? Sarah Glazer, The CQ Global Researcher, January 3, 2012, pp. 1-28. "To Westerners, the Arabic word Sharia often conjures up images of amputations for Muslim thieves and stonings of adulterous women. But the term actually encompasses all Islamic religious precepts — including how to pray — and its interpretation differs from region to region. Only a few Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, carry out such harsh Sharia penalties today. And, some Muslim countries, such as Tunisia and Morocco, have passed progressive laws giving women equality with men — in the name of Sharia. In recent years, imams at English mosques have been adjudicating hundreds of requests from Muslim women seeking religious divorces. Critics say these Sharia tribunals constitute a parallel legal system that discriminates against women. But researchers say they mainly free women to remarry in keeping with their faith. After recent electoral gains by Islamist parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, human-rights advocates worry that new governments may reject progressive interpretations of Sharia for the harsher, Saudi- or Iranian-style versions." READ MORE

International Relations

THE DEMOCRATIC MALAISE. Charles A. Kupchan, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012, var. pages. "The advanced industrial democracies are facing a crisis of governability. Globalization is widening the gap between what voters demand and what their governments can deliver. Unless the leading democracies can restore their political and economic solvency, the very model they represent may lose its allure." READ MORE

THE END OF THE AMERICAN INTERLUDE. Michael Hirsh, The National Journal, December 19, 2011, var. pp.  "The Cold War ended 20 years ago on Christmas, beginning an era dominated by the United States. Now that period is over. But it’s not clear that the international system can survive in a leaderless world. [...] Welcome to the future. What we are witnessing, at G-20 meetings and elsewhere, is the emergence of a leaderless world that is dangerously adrift. Often foretold in books such as Niall Ferguson’s Civilization: The West and the Rest, the phenomenon is now occurring on the ground. And not just in the economic realm: NATO’s recent intervention in Libya was the alliance’s first major military effort conceived and led by Europeans. Meanwhile, troops are leaving Iraq, the last large-scale unilateral exercise of American hard power that the world is likely to see for a long time, if ever again. A campaign that began wishfully as “shock and awe,” a demonstration of America’s righteous might, had little impact abroad. (The Arab Spring took inspiration from a self-immolating fruit seller, not a democratically elected Iraqi parliament.) The United States remains, technically, the world’s only superpower. But in the past decade, we have spent trillions of dollars deploying this vast military superiority—and to what end? Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan offers a clear victory."  READ MORE

TRIUMPH OF NEW WILSONISM. Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Ray Takeyh, The National Interest, January 2012, var. pp. "When operation Odyssey Dawn commenced in the skies over Libya on March 19, 2011, it represented a major turnaround in U.S. policy. Only nine months earlier, U.S. ambassador Gene Cretz had characterized the regime as a “strategic ally” of the United States due to Libyan cooperation on counterterrorism and nonproliferation issues (and its halting, tentative steps toward greater openness). Now Libya found itself on the receiving end of conventional U.S. military power for repressing a civilian population agitating for governmental change. Considerations that over the past sixty years might have stayed the hand of an earlier president—fears about regime change leading to a hostile government taking power in an oil-rich and geostrategic Middle Eastern state, or concerns about the potential debilitating costs of intervention—were set aside. And while Muammar el-Qaddafi’s distant past as an international renegade and sponsor of terrorism was invoked by Barack Obama, there was little effort to portray twenty-first-century Libya as a looming security threat to the United States. Indeed, given the more recent history of Libyan-American rapprochement, including Qaddafi’s active cooperation with the West in the struggle against al-Qaeda, such an attempt would have rung hollow. Instead, the Obama team embraced Qaddafi’s treatment of his population as the central rationale for the operation. This marks a fundamental break with past American emphasis on serious threats to U.S. national security as the prime motivation for action, especially armed intervention." READ MORE

AMERICA’S OUTMODED SECURITY STRATEGY. David B. Kanin and Steven E. Meyer, Current History, January 2012, pp. 19-23. "The United States will have to get used to others saying ‘no’ when Americans attempt to ‘lead’ them.” More than two decades have passed since the end of the cold war, yet the United States still has not fashioned national security structures and policies appropriate to the changes that the world has seen in its patterns of power, trade, technology, and belief systems. Observers frequently engage in discussions about America’s decline as a world power, but US political leaders have been unwilling to accept reality, instead persisting with useless rhetoric about America as the indispensable leader, the city on the hill, or the world’s democratic champion." READ MORE

THE RESTORATION DOCTRINE. Richard N. Haass, The American Interest, January/February 2012, var. pages. "More broadly, 21st-century international relations will be characterized by nonpolarity: a world dominated not by one, two or even several states but rather by dozens of states and other actors possessing and exercising military, economic, diplomatic and cultural power. This is not your father’s world dominated by the United States, Western Europe and Japan. Nor is it a world dominated by two superpowers, as it was during the Cold War, or by one, as it was for a brief moment in the aftermath of the Cold War. Power will increasingly be found in many hands in many places. The result will be a world where power diffuses, not concentrates." READ MORE

INSIDE OBAMA'S WORLD: The President talks to TIME About the Changing Nature of American Power. Fareed Zakaria, Time Magazine, January 19.2012, var. pp. In an exclusive interview with TIME's Fareed Zakaria, President Obama opens up on Iran, Afghanistan, China and the challenges the U.S. faces in navigating a rapidly changing world. READ MORE


THE SOUTH CHINA SEA IS THE FUTURE OF CONFLICT. The 21st century's defining battleground is going to be on water. Robert D. Kaplan, Foreign Policy, Sept/Oct 2011, var. pp. "Europe is a landscape; East Asia a seascape. Therein lies a crucial difference between the 20th and 21st centuries. The most contested areas of the globe in the last century lay on dry land in Europe, particularly in the flat expanse that rendered the eastern and western borders of Germany artificial and exposed to the inexorable march of armies. But over the span of the decades, the demographic and economic axis of the Earth has shifted measurably to the opposite end of Eurasia, where the spaces between major population centers are overwhelmingly maritime. Because of the way geography illuminates and sets priorities, these physical contours of East Asia augur a naval century -- naval being defined here in the broad sense to include both sea and air battle formations now that they have become increasingly inextricable. Why? China, which, especially now that its land borders are more secure than at any time since the height of the Qing dynasty at the end of the 18th century, is engaged in an undeniable naval expansion. It is through sea power that China will psychologically erase two centuries of foreign transgressions on its territory -- forcing every country around it to react." READ MORE

CHINA'S CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES AND FOREIGN POLICY. Gao Fei, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Fall 2011, pp. 185-190. "For the People’s Republic of China’s first thirty years of history (1949-1978), Chinese foreign security policy focused mainly on protecting its sovereignty and preventing invasion. Since then, China has shifted its focus to economic development. While the rise of the information age and the modern technological revolution facilitated the country’s transition, these shifts have also engendered new challenges. Cybersecurity is one such challenge, and has emerged as a major Chinese national security issue. China is Increasingly Dependent on the Internet Internet penetration and use are growing rapidly in China. As of December 2010, China had 457 million Internet users, an increase of 73.3 million from the previous year. Overall Internet penetration has climbed to 34.3 percent of the population, an increase of 5.4 percent compared to the end of 2009. Broadband use is also growing quickly. By December 2010, China had 450 million broadband users (including DSL, cable, optical access, power line communication, Ethernet, and mobile broadband users), and 98.3 percent of the Chinese population used a broadband connection to access the Internet in the first half of 2010." READ MORE

WHY JOHN J.  MEARSHEIMER IS RIGHT (ABOUT SOME THINGS). Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic, January/February 2012, var. pages. "'A disgrace' and 'anti-Semite' were two of the (more printable) barbs launched last fall at John Mearsheimer, a renowned political scientist at the University of Chicago. But Mearsheimer’s infamous views on Israel—in the latest case, his endorsement of a book on Jewish identity that many denounced as anti-Semitic—should not distract us from the importance of his life’s work: a bracing argument in favor of the doctrine of 'offensive realism,' which can enable the United States to avert decline and prepare for the unprecedented challenge posed by a rising China." READ MORE

BALANCING THE EAST, UPGRADING THE WEST. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012, var. pages.
  "As the United States looks ahead, it faces two central challenges in foreign policy, writes a former national security adviser: enlarging the zone of prosperity and democracy in the West while balancing the rise of China and allaying the fears of the United States’ Asian allies. Neither challenge can be addressed in isolation -- for today, the fates of the West and the East are intertwined." READ MORE

Climate & Energy

FRACKING CONTROVERSY. ARE NEW NATURAL GAS DRILLING METHODS SAFE? Daniel McGlynn, CQ Researcher, December 2011, var. pp. "Environmental groups and the Obama administration have long promoted natural gas as a domestic energy source that is cleaner and cheaper than oil and offers a way for the United States to break its dependence on foreign energy suppliers. But a drilling method being used to unlock gas deposits deep inside the Earth has led to widespread protests. Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' involves injecting massive amounts of water, chemicals, sand and other material under high pressure into shale formations to break the rock and release the gas trapped inside. Critics say fracking fouls drinking water, pollutes the atmosphere with toxic methane gas and turns rural communities into ugly industrial zones. Energy executives say, however, that the technique is safe and efficient and is creating thousands of jobs. In Congress, lawmakers have introduced bills to tighten environmental regulation of fracking, and some states have banned the procedure while they study its impact." READ MORE

ThHE RESOURCE CURSE. DOES ENERGY AND MINERAL WEALTH HINDER DEVELOPMENT? Jennifer Weeks , CQ Global Researcher, December 20, 2011, var. pp. "Ever since dozens of countries gained independence after World War II, scholars have been trying to understand why some new countries were able to grow and prosper while others stagnated. One prominent theory, known as the 'resource curse' or the 'paradox of plenty,' holds that developing nations with valuable oil, gas or mineral reserves are less likely to thrive than their resource-poor neighbors. Proponents say revenues from extractable resources can distort economies, promote corruption and shore up autocratic leaders who waste or steal public money. The resource curse concept is hotly debated, and many analysts see no direct link between mineral wealth and economic growth. But anti-poverty advocates and citizens' groups widely support it and say extractive industries and governments should disclose the amount of money a government receives for its nation's natural resources. That's the best way for citizens to ensure their leaders are sharing the wealth and spending it wisely, they say." READ MORE

HEADS IN THE SAND. Coral Davenport, The National Journal, December 2011, var. pp. "As climate-change science moves in one direction, Republicans in Congress are moving in another. Why? [...] Democrats in the same position, such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, have long been open about this conundrum—the need to address the crisis that climate science says is coming while somehow saving the jobs that could be lost in the fossil-fuel industry. Coal-state Democrats don’t necessarily have a solution; plenty of them clam up when asked about controversial proposals such as cap-and-trade and pollution regulations. But it’s rare to find a Democrat who denies outright the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon emissions from oil, coal, and gas—also known as greenhouse gases—are causing the world’s climate to warm."  READ MORE


NATO, BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE AND THE FUTURE OF US TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN EUROPE. Andrew Futter, European Security, pp. 547-562. "Within the next few years, NATO will need to make a collective decision about the future of US tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) in Europe. While opinion about the value of these weapons is not as split as conventional wisdom might suggest, and while NATO will remain a nuclear alliance irrespective of this decision, balancing politics and strategy looks likely to be a difficult task. This decision is made far more complex by the determination of NATO officials to link the withdrawal of these weapons to reciprocal reductions in Russian TNW in Europe, and by the possibility of substituting the key strategic and political link they provide with a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. This article shows how we have arrived at this position, highlights the potential benefits to NATO Europe of BMD, and considers the key questions that the Alliance will face in achieving this. Ultimately, this article shows how the future of TNW in Europe is likely to be linked to whether NATO values arms cuts with Russia, or the deployment of missile defenses, as its central priority." READ MORE

THE EU'S SECURITY AND THE SEA: DEFINING A MARITIME SECURITY STRATEGY. Basil Germonda, European Security, December 2011, pp. 563-584. "This article comprehensively discusses the maritime dimension of the European Union's (EU's) security, which encompasses military and civilian aspects, intergovernmental and community components as well as institutional and geopolitical elements. First, the article provides a narrative of the development of the maritime element in the EU's security policy since the adoption of the European Security Strategy in 2003. By depicting the interrelations between the sea and the EU's security, the article shows that the maritime dimension of EU security is generally well established, but often obscured by the complicated institutional structure of the Union. Thereafter, the article emphasises the need to define an effective EU Maritime Security Strategy, which would provide a strategic framework for the Union's security-related activities regarding the sea that encompass maritime power projection, as well as maritime security and safety. Accordingly the article provides some recommendations concerning the definition of such a strategy and for appropriate constituting elements: the maritime-related risks and threats, the maritime strategic objectives, the means to implement the strategy, and the theatres of EU maritime operations." READ MORE

TIME TO ATTACK IRAN. Matthew Kroenig, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012, var. pages. "Opponents of military action against Iran assume a U.S. strike would be far more dangerous than simply letting Tehran build a bomb. Not so, argues this former Pentagon defense planner. With a carefully designed attack, Washington could mitigate the costs and spare the region and the world from an unacceptable threat." READ MORE


FOLLOW THE MONEY. LEVERAGING FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE TO COMBAT TRANSNATIONAL THREATS. Matthew Levitt, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter/Spring 2011, pp. 34-43.  "In July 2006 al-Qaeda nearly executed what would have been its most devastating terrorist attack since 9/11. A group of British citizens had planned to detonate liquid explosives aboard at least ten airliners en route from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada. British authorities were able to foil the plot, in large part because of critical financial intelligence. As a result they quickly announced plans to increase the use of financial intelligence tools to disrupt future terrorist operations. 'Our aim is simple,' then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown asserted. 'Just as there be no safe haven for terrorists, so there be no hiding place for those who finance terrorism.' Mr. Brown described this effort as a 'modern Bletchley Park.' Much as intercepted communications foiled Axis military planning during World War II, tracking the financial footprints left by today’s terrorists, proliferators, drug kingpins, and other adversaries can thwart attacks, disrupt logistical and financial support networks, and identify unknown operatives. Despite the fact that well-publicized uses of financial intelligence may be few and far between, it remains an integral component of international efforts to confront transnational threats. Tracking funds as they travel through the global financial system demands both interagency and international cooperation to develop intelligence collection, storage, and dissemination policies. Since 9/11, both U.S. and international intelligence agencies have restructured to reflect this current threat environment. Tremendous strides have been made to stop the flow of funds to illicit actors, but the international community must continue to emphasize the importance of financial intelligence in order to constrain terrorists’ operating environment and pursue individual threats." READ MORE