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Article Alert November 2011

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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Topics in this Issue


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EU Issues

CAN EUROPE'S DIVIDED HOUSE STAND? SEPARATING FISCAL AND MONETARY UNION. Hugo Dixon, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages.  "Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. However, a fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren. There are more than just two ways forward: fiscal union or a breakup of the euro. There is a third and preferable option: a kind of market discipline combined with tough love. Under this approach, individual states would take as much responsibility as possible for their own finances, but they would also embrace the free market more vigorously. Governments that borrowed too much money would have to be free to default." READ MORE  

NIGHT THOUGHTS ON EUROPE. Walter Laqueur, The National Interest, Nov-Dec 2011, var. pp. . "Europe’s problems go far beyond deflating currency and rising debt. It suffers from a lack of will, a crisis of confidence—and a serious identity problem. The once-great superpower has already fallen. Centuries of predominance slip away." READ MORE

WHY EUROPE NEEDS A NEW DEAL. Andy Robinson, The Nation, November 16, 2011, var. pp. When the Troika holds your country up as definitive proof that austerity works, you know you’re in big trouble. First it was tiny Latvia, singled out by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde at its annual meeting in September as a shining light for the eurozone. This was after a 25 percent drop in Latvia’s GDP—more than in America during the Great Depression—which forced nearly one in four employees out of work and one in twenty to flee the country. Now it’s Ireland’s turn. “There is some good news,” insisted French technocrat Philippe Mills, chair of an EU subcommittee on government bonds, at a gathering of terrified bond investors in Brussels days before the October European summit, billed as make or break for the euro. “Ireland is now overachieving the targets we set,” Mills said, noting admiringly how the eurozone’s most swingeing wage and spending cuts had restored the Celtic Tiger’s competitive position and propelled its trade balance into positive territory. This was exactly the sort of “internal devaluation” that the Troika—the improvised council of European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF now managing the euro crisis—was prescribing for the wasteful Mediterranean rim. READ MORE  

THE NO-GROWTH TRAP. Benjamin M. Friedman, The National Interest, Nov-Dec 2011, var. pp. Well befor the summer’s horrific shootings in Norway, many citizens of the Western democracies had the sense that the social fabric was fraying in unexpected places. The Danes restricted immigration in violation of the European Union’s Schengen Agreement. The lower house of the Dutch parliament voted—by nearly four to one—to outlaw ritual Muslim butchers (and, along the way, kosher butchers too). The French banned burkas in the streets. The Swiss banned minarets. In America, we are fighting over whether to build a wall between Texas and Mexico and litigating how far individual states can go in enforcing their own laws that bar undocumented immigrants and deny public benefits to those here legally. Most recently, a swath of cities across Britain exploded in racial violence and riots. But the tensions on display across so much of the Western world are hardly limited to questions of immigration or race or religion. A dismissively antagonistic, often outright nasty, tone of public debate has become the new norm, in some countries accompanied by outright political paralysis. According to the latest opinion surveys, most Americans were appalled at the U.S. government’s inability to resolve the debt-limit crisis with at least some semblance of order, even if not civility.  READ MORE

Economic Issues

THE WORLD TRADE REVOLUTION. Martin Walker, The Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 23-27.   [...] the emerging markets of Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East are gearing up for a massive expansion of trade among themselves as the developed economies of the G-7 countries falter. [...] world trade in the future is likely to look much more like the Atlantic trade of today than like the Pacific trade." READ MORE

ILLICIT GLOBALIZATION: MYTHS, MISCONCEPTIONS, AND HISTORICAL LESSONS. Peter Andreas, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 406-425.  The author "challenges common myths and misconceptions about the illicit side of globalization and emphasizes the ways in which states shape and even exploit the illicit global economy. He argues that illicit globalization is not new, and its relationship to the state is not only antagonistic but also in some respects mutually profitable." READ MORE  

Climate & Energy

WHY WE STILL NEED NUCLEAR POWER: MAKING CLEAN ENERGY SAFE AND AFFORDABLE. Ernest Moniz, Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 83-94. "Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. It would be a mistake, however, to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits. Electricity generation emits more carbon dioxide in the US than does transportation or industry, and nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country. Nuclear power generation is also relatively cheap, costing less than two cents per kilowatt-hour for operations, maintenance, and fuel. Still, nuclear power faces a number of challenges in terms of safety, construction costs, waste management, and weapons proliferation. If the benefits of nuclear power are to be realized in the US, each of these hurdles must be overcome."  READ MORE

DJ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE PROSPECTS FOR A NUCLEAR POWER RENAISSANCE. Robert Duffy, Environmental Politics, September 2011, pp. 668-686.   "Drawing upon data from congressional statutes, federal agencies, the nuclear industry, and a range of secondary sources, the prospects for a nuclear resurgence in the United States in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster are evaluated. Before the accident, several factors seemed to favor a nuclear revival: the rise of climate change as an issue; dramatic swings in the price of oil and natural gas; streamlined licensing procedures established in the Energy Policy Act of 1992; a variety of new economic incentives in the Energy Policy Act of 2005; and the shift to new, standardized reactor designs. Despite these changes, the chances of a nuclear revival in the United Stated were slim even before Fukushima; lingering public concerns over nuclear waste disposal, reactor safety and, most importantly, economic viability were serious obstacles." READ MORE

REGIONAL INTEGRATION TO SUPPORT FULL RENEWABLE POWER DEPLOYMENT FOR EUROPE BY 2050. Anthony Patt, Nadejda Komendantova et al. Environmental Politics, September 2011, pp. 727-742. "The European Union is currently working on a achieving a target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and has a policy framework in place that relies primarily on individual Member States implementing their own policy instruments for renewable energy support, within a larger context of a tradable quota system. For 2050 the target is likely to be more stringent, given the goal of reducing European carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by then. Preliminary analysis has suggested that achieving the 2020 target through renewable power deployment will be far less expensive and far more reliable if a regional approach is taken, in order to balance intermittent supply, and to take advantage of high renewable potentials off the European mainland. Analysis based on modeling is combined with the results of stakeholder interviews to highlight the key options and governance challenges associated with developing such a regional approach.  READ MORE

RISING FOOD PRICES. ARE HIGH FOOD PRICES HERE TO STAY? Sarah Glazer, CQ Global Researcher, October 18, 2011, var. pp. Global food prices reached record highs early this year, sending millions around the world into poverty and contributing to starvation in East Africa. Many blame the government-subsidized growth in the market for biofuels, such as ethanol. Biofuels are expected to consume 40 percent of this year's corn crop from the world's largest producer — the United States. Others say commodities speculators caused food prices to ricochet wildly. Europe is considering adopting restrictions on speculation similar to a new U.S. law, but Wall Street is lobbying hard to weaken the American regulations. Perennially high food prices may be the first sign that changing climate is handicapping agriculture. To feed the world's growing population, experts say farmers must double their food output by mid-century — a tall order to fill without destroying more rain forests and further boosting planetwarming carbon emissions. The solution may be a combination of two warring philosophies: high-tech agriculture and traditional farming methods that are kinder to the environment. READ MORE

LEGISLATING CLIMATE CHANGE ON A NATIONAL LEVEL. Terry Townshend, Sam Fankhauser, Adam Matthews, Clément Feger, et al. Environment, Sep/Oct 2011, var. pages. "With hopes for a comprehensive international agreement on emissions reductions fading, the onus to enact meaningful climate change legislation is falling on national governments. A new report by Global International and the Grantham Research Institute examines the growth of climate change policies among the G20 range of large emitters and gives hope that real change could be accomplished at the national and subnational level. Here, Townshend et al identify laws, regulations, policies, and decrees of comparable status that relate to climate change, energy efficiency, low-carbon energy, sustainble transport, forestry management, or adaptation to climate change." READ MORE

NUCLEAR POWER AFTER JAPAN: THE SOCIAL DIMENSIONS. Catherine Butler, Karen A. Parkhill, and Nicholas F. Pidgeon, Environment, Nov/Dec 2011, var. pages. "The nuclear emergency at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant after the tsunami brought the issue of nuclear power to the public’s attention in a way it has not been since Chernobyl." READ MORE

Middle East

'IS PEACE POSSIBLE?' Zvika Krieger, The Atlantic, Oct 25 2011, var. pages.. "The text for the first installment in our four-part series on the key barriers to peace in the Middle East. Ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require drawing borders between Israel and a new state of Palestine. The challenge is to find a solution that addresses the needs of each side. So what are the principles, values, and considerations that drive Israeli and Palestinian thinking on the borders issues when they come to the negotiating table?"  READ MORE

DYSFUNCTIONAL DOCTRINES? Eisenhower, Carter and U.S. Military Intervention in the Middle East. Jeffrey H. Michaels, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 465-492. "The author "examines several of the analytical and practical problems of U.S. presidential foreign policy doctrines by looking specifically at the Eisenhower and Carter doctrines. He concludes that presidential doctrines are usually overrated as new statements of principle, and that the elevation of a presidential statement into doctrine can have unintended consequences." READ MORE

IS SAUDI ARABIA IMMUNE? Stéphane Lacroix, Journal of Democracy, October 2011, pp. 48-59. "Saudi Arabia looked for a time in early 2011 as if it too would become swept up in the Arab uprising. Yet it never quite happened—why?"

THE FAILURE OF DEMOCRACY IN TURKEY: A CCOMPARATIVE ANALYSIS. Government & Opposition, Lauren McLaren and Burak Cop, Government and Opposition, October 2011, pp. 485-516. "Although Turkey took its initial steps toward establishing democracy in 1950, it has thus far failed to become a fully functioning democracy. Using the comparison cases of Spain and Greece, this article discusses two related variables that are likely to have thwarted the development of full democracy in Turkey: the country's experience with authoritarian rule, and the lack of elite settlement or convergence towards acceptance of the democratic rules of the game. The article ultimately contends that despite the EU's attempt to push Turkey towards full democracy in the modern day it is unlikely that it will become a fully functioning democracy unless it manages to achieve civilian elite agreement regarding the rules of the Turkish democratic game, and that Turkey's experience with authoritarian rule may, in turn, have hindered the development of such rules."  READ MORE

FUTURE OF THE GULF STATES: CAN THE MONARCHIES SURVICE IN A CHANGING REGION? Jennifer Koons, November 1, 2011, CQ Global Researcher, pp. 525-548. "Known for their towering, ultramodern skyscrapers and jaw-dropping energy reserves, the six Arab monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are striving to improve regional stability amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring. The economic and security coalition — made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with huge fiscal surpluses that are financing, among other things, construction of state-of-the-art facilities for higher education and international sporting events. However, the six Sunni-led Muslim countries — key U.S. military allies — face ongoing unrest from a Shiite majority in Bahrain, uncertainty about the intentions of Shiite regimes in neighboring Iran and Iraq and an unstable Yemen, home to Al Qaeda-linked terrorists. The GCC countries also are struggling to balance their overdependence on foreign labor with the need for more jobs for their huge, youth populations." READ MORE

U.S. Foreign Affairs

THE WISDOM OF RETRENCHMENT. Joseph M. Parent and Paul K. MacDonald, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power’s international legitimacy.". READ MORE

THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM. James Traub, Foreign Policy, November 2011, var. pages.  "Barack Obama’s Republican challengers haven't thought very deeply about foreign policy. It shows.  In June, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty delivered a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Speaking before the council or writing an essay in its house organ, Foreign Affairs, had for decades offered candidates a means of proving their foreign-policy gravitas. And the former Minnesota governor was running his campaign by a traditional script. But in a GOP field where contempt for the foreign-policy establishment has become the norm, Pawlenty's aspiration for its imprimatur seemed almost touching. Pawlenty presented himself as a champion of the Arab Spring and a voice for "moral clarity." 'What is wrong,' he bluntly warned, 'is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world.' Pawlenty quickly became the darling of conservative foreign-policy experts. And then his candidacy sank like a stone." READ MORE

WHAT HAPPENED TO OBAMA? AN OPINION PIECE. Drew Westen, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 493-499. "The author "analyses the leadership style of President Barack Obama. He argues that the President’s aversion to conflict and his failure to understand 'bully' dynamics led him to miss a historic opportunity to change the dynamics of a political and economic system dominated by corruption and inequality not seen since the eve of the Great Depression. This is an article of opinion and the Editors welcome submissions from those with a different point of view." READ MORE

THE END OF THE AMERICAN ERA. Stephen M. Walt, The National Interest, Nov-Dec 2011, var. pp.7. "The United States has been the dominant world power since 1945, and U.S. leaders have long sought to preserve that privileged position. They understood, as did most Americans, that primacy brought important benefits. It made other states less likely to threaten America or its vital interests directly. By dampening great-power competition and giving Washington the capacity to shape regional balances of power, primacy contributed to a more tranquil international environment. That tranquility fostered global prosperity; investors and traders operate with greater confidence when there is less danger of war. Primacy also gave the United States the ability to work for positive ends: promoting human rights and slowing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It may be lonely at the top, but Americans have found the view compelling." READ MORE

POWER DOWN. James Kitfield , The National Journal, November 17, 2011, var. pp.  "In an era of diminished resources, rising powers, and increasing global instability, how can the United States project real authority?  For generations reared on the mother’s milk of “American exceptionalism,” each day brings a new affront. China, on the rise, stubbornly refuses to end its currency manipulation, distorting Beijing’s advantage in an international system of our making. Close allies in Europe and Japan slash defense budgets, further burdening Washington with the role of global police officer. In the face of repeated threats and sanctions, Iran still dares to build nuclear weapons and plot terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Syria’s despotic president lingers in power. Israelis and Palestinians blithely ignore presidential exhortations to make concessions for peace. A costly war in Afghanistan drags on toward … what, exactly? " READ MORE

APPLIED GRAND STRATEGY: MAKING TOUGH CHOICES IN AN ERA OF LIMITS AND CONSTRAINT. Clark Murdock, Kevin Kallmyer, Orbis, Fall 2011, pp. 541-557. "This article hopes to contribute to the strategic content of U.S. foreign policy by offering a definition of grand strategy and case for reorienting U.S. policy around it. Rather than advocate a specific grand strategy—a matter still open for debate—the analysis concludes with a set of attributes to assess whether a proposed grand strategy constitutes a “good” grand strategy. It concludes by introducing the concept of an applied grand strategy approach, which may help to identify and assess the strategic implications of foreign policy choices." READ MORE


PERSPECTIVE: COULD CHINA BE THE NEXT WAVE? Bruce Gilley, Current History, November 2011, pp. 331-333.. ""China’s one-party state is here to stay, many observers agree. Then again, Samuel Huntington in 1984 assessed the odds of regime change in the communist world as 'virtually nil." READ MORE

THE RETURN OF GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY. Christian Le Mière, Survival, October-November 2011, pp. 53-68. "Gunboat diplomacy, never entirely absent from Asian waters, has seen a recent resurgence. Its implications for stability in East Asia may be more positive than first appears." READ MORE

CHINA'S RURAL ECONOMY AND THE RULE OF LAW. Elizabeth Pond, Survival, October-November 2011, pp. 89-106. "The party hierarchy may soon have to make a choice between enforcing legal protections or reneging on the commitment to lift the peasantry from poverty." READ MORE

CHINA AND INDIA: AWKWARD ASCENTS. Joshi Shashank, Orbis, Fall 2011, pp. 558-576. "This article surveys the key loci of Sino-Indian tension, situating them within the context of a classical if uneven security dilemma. It then examines the sources of stability within the relationship, arguing that the scope and intensity of conflict is attenuated by a series of military, political, economic and other factors. Lastly, the essay discusses the implications of the analysis for external powers, and the possible trajectories of the relationship." READ MORE

HOW WALMART IS CHANGING CHINA. Orville Schell, The Atlantic, December 2011, var. pp. The world’s biggest corporation and the world’s most populous nation have launched a bold experiment in consumer behavior and environmental stewardship: to set green standards for 20,000 suppliers making several hundred thousand items sold to billions of shoppers worldwide. Will that effort take hold, or will it unravel in a recriminatory tangle of misguided expectations and broken promises? READ MORE

Humanitarian Intervention & Democracy

HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION COMES OF AGE. Jon Western and Joshua S. Goldstein, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages.  "Despite the fall of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, humanitarian intervention still has plenty of critics. But their targets are usually the early, ugly missions of the 1990s. Since then -- as Libya has shown -- the international community has learned its lessons and grown much more adept at using military force to save lives." READ MORE 

THE TRUE COSTS OF HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION. Benjamin A. Valentino, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011, var. pages. "Intervening militarily to save lives abroad often sounds good on paper, but the record has not been promising. The ethical calculus involved is almost always complicated by messy realities on the ground, and the opportunity costs of such missions are massive. Well-meaning countries could save far more lives by helping refugees and victims of natural disasters and funding public health."  READ MORE 

IS THERE A PROPER SEQUENCE IN DEMOCRATIC TRANSITIONS? Francis Fukuyama, Current History, November 2011, var. pp. “Stable democracy does not depend on a rigid set of preconditions, and has emerged in many surprising circumstances.” Development is a complex process that takes place across multiple dimensions of human life. One dimension is economic growth, which involves increasing output per person, based on steadily growing productivity. Political development, meanwhile, involves changes in three types of institutions: the state itself, which concentrates and deploys power to enforce rules across a territory; the rule of law, which limits governments’ ability to make arbitrary decisions; and mechanisms of democratic accountability, which ensure that governments reflect the will and interests of the people. READ MORE

DEMOCRACY'S THIRD WAVE TODAY. Larry Diamond, Current History, November 2011, var. pp. “While restlessness with democracy has grown in many places, authoritarian rule generally elicits greater unease if not disgust.” With the unprecedented explosion of movements for democratic change across the Arab world at the beginning of this year, many scholars and advocates of democracy began to speak excitedly of a “fourth wave” of democratic expansion. But within a few months, it became apparent that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt would not be repeated so easily elsewhere in the Arab world; that democracy remained a highly uncertain prospect in the near term for each of these countries, particularly Egypt; and that Arab autocracies were falling back on proven mixes of repression, co-optation, and limited or illusory “reform” in order to hang on. READ MORE