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Article Alert May 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

Europe's Zero-Sum Dilemma. Gideon Rachman, The National Interest, May-June 2012, var. pp. The debt crisis within the European Union is a lot more than a transient economic difficulty. In fact, it directly threatens the underlying logic of the European project. In good times, building Europe was all about creating a win-win dynamic based on sharing the fruits of prosperity. But in bad economic times, this positive logic has gone into reverse. Rather than sharing the gains of prosperity, Europeans are now arguing about who should bear the losses associated with recession and the debt crisis. Win-win logic has been replaced by zero-sum logic in which one country’s gain is another’s loss. READ MORE

Europe After the Crisis Andrew Moravcsik. Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, var. pp. As Europe emerges from economic crisis, a larger challenge remains: finally turning the eurozone into an optimal currency area, with economies similar enough to sustain a single monetary policy. Getting there will be difficult and expensive, but the future of European integration hangs in the balance. READ MORE

Climate & Energy

The Climate Threat We Can Beat. David G. Victor, Charles F. Kennel, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, var. pages. "For too long, climate diplomacy has focused on carbon dioxide. But at least 40 percent of global warming can be blamed on shorter-lived pollutants, which also cause disease and damage crops in developing states. Reining in pollution would thus accomplish two goals, while finally getting countries such as China and India into the climate-change business. READ MORE

Tough Love for Renewable Energy. Jeffrey Ball, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, var. pages. "Proponents of renewable energy have had a hard time lately, thanks to the recession, competition from natural gas, and embarrassments such as Solyndra. But it’s too early to give up, since recent advances have made wind and solar power more competitive than ever. Still, governments must redesign their policies and help renewables slash costs." READ MORE

National Policies to Promote Renewable Energy. Mohamed T. El-Ashry, Daedalus, Spring 2012. var. pages. "The world is entering a new energy era marked by concerns over energy security, climate change, and access by the poor to modern energy services. Yet the current energy path is not compatible with sustainable development objectives. Global demand for energy will continue to grow; so will CO2 emissions. Achieving a low-carbon energy world will require an unprecedented technological transformation in the way energy is produced and used. That transformation has begun, as renewables capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall, and shares of global energy from renewables continue to increase. Government policies are the main driver behind renewable energy’s meteoric growth. Still, the world is tapping only a small amount of the vast supply of renewable energy resources. There is broad consensus that the role of these resources should be expanded significantly in order to meaningfully address energy security, energy access, and climate change.  READ MORE

Understanding the Paradoxes of Multilevel Governing: Climate Change Policy in the European Union. Andrew Jordan, Harro van Asselt, Frans Berkhout, Dave Huitema, Tim Rayner, Global Environmental Politics, May 2012, pp. 43-66. "The European Union (EU) has a well-known aspiration to lead the rest of the world in the governance of climate change. While the precise expressions and consequences of its 'lead by example' approach have been widely discussed, not least in the period since the 2009 Copenhagen summit, few doubt its desire (as distinct from its ability) to function as an 'international agenda setter' in this policy area. In one of the most comprehensive article-length accounts of the evolution of EU climate policy, Miranda Schreurs and Yves Tiberghien drew attention to the various ways in which the EU has sought to lead by example.Writing in the pages of this journal, they documented how it has continually backed targets and goals that are more ambitious than those of other large emitters, such as its commitment to limit warming to 2°C. Internally, it has adopted innovative policy instruments to attain these targets, chiefly the world’s largest greenhouse gas emissions trading system (the EU ETS), as well as a range of other policies and measures that go signiªcantly beyond what some Member States had adopted at the domestic level.6 Prior to the Copenhagen conference [...] " READ MORE

The Climate Fixers. Is there a technological solution to global warming? Michael Specter, The New Yorker, May 14, 2012, var. pp. "The heavy industrial activity of the previous hundred years had caused the earth’s climate to warm by roughly three-quarters of a degree Celsius, helping to make the twentieth century the hottest in at least a thousand years. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, however, reduced global temperatures by nearly that much in a single year. It also disrupted patterns of precipitation throughout the planet. It is believed to have influenced events as varied as floods along the Mississippi River in 1993 and, later that year, the drought that devastated the African Sahel. Most people considered the eruption a calamity. For geophysical scientists, though, Mt. Pinatubo provided the best model in at least a century to help us understand what might happen if humans attempted to ameliorate global warming by deliberately altering the climate of the earth. For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale—geoengineering, as the practice is known—has been denounced as hubris. Predicting long-term climatic behavior by using computer models has proved difficult, and the notion of fiddling with the planet’s climate based on the results generated by those models worries even scientists who are fully engaged in the research." READ MORE

EU Climate and Energy Policy: A Hesitant Supranational Turn? Jørgen Wettestad, Per Ove Eikeland, Måns Nilsson, Global Environmental Politics, May 2012, pp. 67-86. "Since 2009, the European Union has a new and more vigorous climate and energy policy, including a specific climate and energy policy package and a revised policy package aimed at completing the realization of the internal energy market. In March 2007, the European Council prompted adoption of these packages to reduce total EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. The Council also signaled that restructuring of energy supply and demand should be an important part of the new climate policy, adopting a binding target of 20 percent renewables in total energy consumption and a non-binding target of 20 percent energy efficiency compared to business-as-usual by the year 2020. The Council cited improving the security of energy supply as an important goal and endorsed the need for speed in finalizing the internal market to ensure efficient implementation of the new policy targets." READ MORE

Climate Challenges, Ecological Modernization, and Technological Forcing: Policy Lessons from a Comparative US-EU Analysis, Joseph Szarka, Global Environmental Politics, May 2012, pp. 87-109. "The international policy regime initiated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 has yet to prove its effectiveness. During negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emission (GHG) targets of around 8 percent were discussed for regions such as the European Union and the United States of America. These goals have offered scant global climate protection, given that global CO2 emissions alone increased by 40 percent between 1990 and 2009.1 Indeed, the regime’s effectiveness was diluted by defections, notably the United States. In the late 2000s, negotiations for a successor treaty raised hopes of a stronger regime, but the 2009 Copenhagen Accord produced little progress. Nevertheless, recognition grew of the need for stronger measures, with countries such as the United Kingdom and France inserting the aim of 75–80 percent GHG cuts by 2050 into national legislation." READ MORE

Moving Forward in the Climate Negotiations: Multilateralism or Minilateralism? Robyn Eckersley, Global Environmental Politics, May 2012, pp. 24-42. "The failure of the Copenhagen, Cancún and Durban conferences to produce a new, legally binding climate treaty (as distinct from a promise to negotiate a treaty) has generated increasing concern over the capacity of the multilateral climate negotiations to respond to the challenge of climate change in a timely and effective manner. Critics of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation process have argued that it has become fatally cumbersome because it requires the impossible: consensus decisionmaking by 194 parties on every line of a complex and lengthy treaty. The negotiations have produced diminishing returns over time as a result of the development of deeply entrenched positions by increasingly defensive negotiating blocs." READ MORE

Europe's Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification. Michael Ratner, Paul Belkin, et. al. Congressional Research Service,  March 13, 2012, var. pp. "Europe as a major energy consumer faces a number of challenges when addressing future energy needs. Among these challenges are a rapidly rising global demand and competition for energy resources from emerging economies such as China and India, persistent instability in energy producing regions such as the Middle East, a fragmented internal European energy market, and a growing need to shift fuels in order to address climate change policy. As a result, energy supply security has become a key concern for European nations and the European Union (EU). A key element of the EU's energy supply strategy has been to shift to a greater use of natural gas. Europe as a whole is a major importer of natural gas. Russia is Europe's most important natural gas supplier, accounting for 34% of Europe's natural gas imports. Europe's natural gas consumption is projected to grow while its own domestic natural gas production continues to decline. If trends continue as projected, Europe's dependence on Russia as a supplier is likely to grow. And, while it could be in Europe's interest to explore alternative sources for its natural gas needs, it is uncertain whether Europe as a whole can, or is willing to, replace a significant level of imports of Russian natural gas. Some European countries that feel vulnerable to potential Russian energy supply manipulation may work harder to achieve diversification than others." READ MORE

Aviation and the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme. Jane A. Leggett, Bart Elias, et.al. Congressional Research Service, March 07, 2012, var. pp. Beginning January 1, 2012, most carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from commercial flights to, from, and within the European Union (EU) are covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Flights are covered regardless of whether the airline or operator is based in the EU region. The EU ETS caps aviation emissions of CO2 in 2012 at 97% of the average in 2004-2006 and at 95% in each year from 2013 to 2020. Each April, beginning 2013, covered aircraft operators must turn in emission "allowances" (permits) equal to the previous year's emissions from their flights arriving at or departing from EU airports. Airline operators will receive free allowances for 82%-85% of their 2010 emissions. Airlines that have more allowances than they need may sell them to others or save them for future use. Airlines that need more allowances may buy them from EU auctions, other carriers, other emission sources in the EU ETS, brokers, or international emission trading mechanisms. A small reserve of free allowances will be available for new or rapidly expanding airlines. The entry into force of an EU law covering international aviation emissions is a significant move in a two-decade process concerning whether and how aviation emissions of CO2 may be abated." READ MORE

Is Shale Gas Good for Climate Change? Daniel P. Schrag, Daedalus, Spring 2012, pp. 72-80. "Shale gas is a new energy resource that has shifted the dominant paradigm on U.S. hydrocarbon resources. Some have argued that shale gas will play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by displacing coal used for electricity, serving as a moderate-carbon “bridge fuel.” Others have questioned whether methane emissions from shale gas extraction lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions overall. I argue that the main impact of shale gas on climate change is neither the reduced emissions from fuel substitution nor the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas itself, but rather the competition between abundant, low-cost gas and low-carbon technologies, including renewables and carbon capture and storage. This might be remedied if the gas industry joins forces with environmental groups, providing a counterbalance to the coal lobby, and ultimately eliminating the conventional use of coal in the United States." READ MORE

Policies for Financing the Energy Transition. Kassia Yanosek, Daedalus, Spring 2012, pp. 94-104. "Historically, energy transitions have occurred gradually over the span of several decades, marked by incremental improvements in technologies. In recent years, public interest in accelerating the next energy transition has fueled a clean-energy policy agenda intended to underpin the development of a decarbonized energy economy. However, policies to date have encouraged investors to fund renewable energy projects utilizing proven technologies that are not competitive without the help of government subsidies. A true transition of the energy mix requires innovations that can compete with conventional energy over the long term. Investments in innovative technology projects are scarce because of the “commercialization gap,” which affects projects that are too capital-intensive for venture capital yet too risky for private equity, project, or corporate debt financing. Accelerating innovation through the commercialization gap will require governments to allocate public dollars to, and encourage private investment in, these riskier projects. Policy-makers will face a trade-off between prioritizing policies for accelerating the energy transition and accounting for the risks associated with innovation funding in a tight budgetary environment." READ MORE

Russia

Quo Vadis, Russia? Michael Rywkin, American Foreign Policy Interests, April 2012, pp. 74-79. "The setbacks of Putin's United Russia in the parliamentary elections and the demonstrations that followed show the maturing of Russia's growing middle class. This, in turn, can affect some aspects of the country's domestic policy, but it should not easily change the directions of the country's foreign policy, which is based on Russia's long-term geopolitical interests. As far as Russian–American relations are concerned, they range from close cooperation in some areas to confrontational posturing in others. A decisive shift for the better can occur if third-party actions threaten the existing geopolitical interests of either country, pushing both Moscow and Washington to closer cooperation." READ MORE
 

Russia's European policy under Medvedev: how sustainable is a new compromise? Arkady Moshes, International Affairs, January 2012, pp. 17-30. "This article argues that Dmitry Medvedev's term in office, despite the continuity in Russia's foreign policy objectives, brought about a certain change in Russia's relations with the European Union and the countries of the Common Neighbourhood. The western perceptions of Russia as a resurgent power able to use energy as leverage vis-à-vis the EU were challenged by the global economic crisis, the emergence of a buyer's market in Europe's gas trade, Russia's inability to start internal reforms, and the growing gap in the development of Russia on the one hand and China on the other. As a result, the balance of self-confidence shifted in the still essentially stagnant EU–Russian relationship. As before, Moscow is ready to use all available opportunities to tighten its grip on the post-Soviet space, but it is less keen to go into an open conflict when important interests of EU member states may be affected. The realization is slowly emerging also inside Russia that it is less able either to intimidate or attract European actors, even though it can still appeal to their so-called ‘pragmatic interests’, both transparent and non-transparent." READ MORE

The End of Russian Power in Asia? Stephen Blank, Orbis, Spring 2012, pp. 249-266. "A U.S. initiative treating Russia as a serious East Asian partner, engaging in a real dialogue on security threats there, and a strong public expression of U.S. willingness to invest in the Russian Far East (RFE) in return for real guarantees of that investment, could well elicit a favorable Russian response. Such an initiative should also encourage concurrent Japanese and South Korean investment there, the author argues." READ MORE

Economic Issues

U.S. Debt Culture and the Dollar's Fate. Christopher Whalen, The National Interest, May-June 2012, var. pages. "In our common narrative, the modern era of global finance—what we call the Old Order—begins with the Great Depression and New Deal of the 1930s. The economic model put in place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and others at the end of World War II is seen as a political as well as economic break point. But arbitrarily selected demarcation points in any human timeline can be misleading. The purpose of narrative, after all, is to simplify the complex and, over time, to remake the past in today’s terms. As we approach any discussion of the Old Order, we must acknowledge that the image of intelligent design in public policy is largely an illusion. There is no question that the world after 1950 was a reflection of the wants and needs of the United States, the victor in war and thus the designer of the peacetime system of commerce and finance that followed. Just as the Roman, Mongol and British empires did centuries earlier, America made the post–World War II peace in its own image. The U.S.-centric model enjoyed enormous success due to factors such as relatively low inflation, financial transactions that respect anonymity, an open court system and a relatively enlightened foreign policy—all unique attributes of the American system. But the framework of the global financial system in the twentieth century and its U.S.-centric design were the end results of a series of terrible wars—starting, in the case of America, with the Civil War. The roots of the U.S.-centric financial order that arose at the end of World War II extend back into the nineteenth century and reflect the political response of a very young nation to acute problems of employment and economic growth—problems that remain unresolved today."  READ MORE

The President, Congress, and the Financial Crisis: Ideology and Moral Hazard in Economic Governance. Jack H. Knott, Presidential Studies Quarterly, March 2012, pp. 81–100. "This article examines how the democratic political institutions of the president and the Congress interacted with private firms and regulatory agencies to contribute to the financial meltdown in 2008-09. This economic governance system failed to counteract the excessive optimism in the financial markets but rather contributed to and reinforced this development. Political moral hazard weakened institutional checks and balances in economic regulation and contributed to a convergence of political ideology and policy preferences of the president, Congress, political parties, and professional experts. These developments occurred during significant financial innovation, making it difficult to foresee the risk building in the system." READ MORE

The eurozone crisis: how banks and sovereigns came to be joined at the hip. Ashoka Mody, Damiano Sandri, Economic Policy, April 2012, pp. 199-230. "The eurozone sovereign and banking crisis evolved in three phases. Following the onset of the subprime tremors in July 2007, the risk premia (spreads) on bonds issued by eurozone sovereigns rose from historically low levels; but they rose largely in tandem across the eurozone membership along with global banking stresses. The rescue of the US investment bank, Bear Stearns, in March 2008, oddly enough, marked the start of a distinctively European banking crisis accompanied by increased differentiation of countries within the eurozone. With the greater expectation of public support for distressed banks, the spreads that a sovereign paid tended to rise following evidence of stress in its domestic financial sector. This was especially so in countries with lower growth prospects and higher debt burdens. But there was as yet no feedback from banks to sovereigns." READ MORE 


Middle East

Unfinished Mideast Revolts. Jonathan Broder, National Interest, May-June 2012, var. pages. "The era of U.S.-approved, iron-fisted Arab dictators is over. Washington must get used to a Middle East in which public opinion matters to a much greater extent, anti-Western sentiment abounds and political Islam emerges as a major force." READ MORE 
 

The Languages of the Arab Revolutions. Abdou Filali-Ansary, Journal of Democracy, April 2012, pp. 5-18. "The upheavals that have been shaking the Arab-Muslim world are revolutions in discourse as well as in the streets. Arabs are using not only traditional and religious vocabularies, but also a new set of expressions that are modern and represent popular aspirations." READ MORE



Tunisia’s Transition and the Twin Tolerations. Alfred Stepan, Journal of Democracy, April 2012, pp. 89-103. "Of all the 'Arab Spring' countries, so far only Tunisia has managed to make a transition to democracy. Tunisians now have a chance to show the world a new example of how religion, society, and the state can relate to one another under democratic conditions." READ MORE

Tunisia's Identity Crisis, Victoria Taylor, May 2012, Foreign Service Journal, var. pages. "Although Tunisia was the first Arab Spring country to overthrow its longtime dictator, its revolution was overshadowed by the uprising in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the conflict in Libya and the crackdown in Syria. By comparison, the Tunisian Revolution, while dramatic, has led to relative stability. Despite an increasingly polarized debate between Islamist and secular elements, Tunisia's transition thus far has been smooth. The Islamist Ennahda ("Renaissance") Party won an impressive 40 percent of the seats in the October voting, ushering in a profound and positive change for those who had not felt free to practice their religion under the Ben Ali government. But many secular Tunisians continue to view Ennahda with suspicion, fearing that the party has a hidden Islamist agenda. The emergence of a small, but vocal, Salafist movement has further inflamed fears that increasing religiosity poses a threat to life as they know it. Victoria Taylor discusses Tunisians' attempts to reconcile the role of religion in what had been a staunchly secular society." READ MORE


NATO & Defense

Comparing Caveats: Understanding the Sources of National Restrictions upon NATO's Mission in Afghanistan. Stephen M. Saideman, David P. Auerswald, International Studies Quarterly, March 2012, pp. 67-84. "The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the most robust and deeply institutionalized alliance in the modern world, yet it has faced significant problems in running the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Specifically, the coalition effort has been plagued by caveats: restrictions on what coalition militaries can and cannot do. Caveats have diminished the alliance’s overall effectiveness and created resentment within the coalition. In this article, we explain why ISAF countries have employed a variety of caveats in Afghanistan, focusing on the period from 2003 to 2009. Caveats vary predictably according to the political institutions in each contributor to ISAF. Troops from coalition governments are likely to have caveats. Troops from presidential or majoritarian parliamentary governments tend, on average, to have fewer caveats, but specific caveats depend on the background of key decision makers in those countries. To demonstrate these points, we first review key limitations facing military contingents in Afghanistan." READ MORE
 

Towards a 'post-American' alliance? NATO burden-sharing after Libya. Ellen Hallams, Benjamin Schreer, International Affairs, March 2012, pp. 313-327. "NATO's recent operation in Libya has been described by some commentators as reflecting a new burden-sharing model, with the US playing a more supportive role and European allies stepping up to provide the bulk of the air strikes. The US administration of President Barack Obama seemed to share this view and has made clear that post-Libya it continues to expect its allies to assume greater responsibility within the alliance. Moreover, unlike previously, changes within the US and the international system are likely to make America less willing and able to provide for the same degree of leadership in NATO that the alliance has been used to. However, this article finds that Operation Unified Protector in Libya has only limited utility as a benchmark for a sustainable burden-sharing model for the alliance. As a result, an ever more fragmented NATO is still in search for a new transatlantic consensus on how to distribute the burdens more equally among its members." READ MORE

The politics of US missile defence cooperation with Europe and Russia. Jeffrey Mankoff, International Affairs, March 2012, pp. 329-347. "Pushed by the realities of domestic politics to proceed with plans to deploy a US missile defense (MD) capability in Europe, the Obama administration has made cooperation on MD a key element in its strategy for engaging both NATO and Russia. While addressing many of the shortcomings of the Bush administration’s approach, the current US vision underestimates both the technical and political obstacles ahead. European states and NATO see MD as a lower priority, particularly in the aftermath of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya, and are unlikely to commit the resources necessary to making a shared NATO MD architecture a reality. Russia’s cautious support for MD cooperation is based on a desire to create a more inclusive model of European security, an idea that has limited support in Washington and the European capitals. By trying to do too much with MD cooperation, the Obama administration risks the whole effort collapsing." READ MORE

Keeping NATO Relevant. Jamie Shea, Carnegie Endowment, April 30, 2012, var. pages. "In this Policy Outlook piece for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Jamie Shea discusses the role of NATO in times of austerity and how it can meet the challenges that lie ahead." READ MORE