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Article Alert October 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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EU Issues

CHALLENGES OF TRIANGULAR RELATIONS: THE US, THE EU, AND TURKISH ACCESSION. Sabri Sayar, South European Society and Politics, June 2011, pp. 251–263. The US government became deeply involved in European Union (EU)–Turkey relations from the mid-1990s and has provided extensive diplomatic support for full Turkish membership in the EU since then. Washington’s strategic considerations have been paramount in the US government’s approach to Turkey’s full integration into the EU. The US policy on this issue has played a constructive role in Turkish–US relations. However, it has also created strains in transatlantic ties, since the pressure the US has put on the EU has angered many European officials, who resent what they view as interference in the EU’s internal affairs. The US has become more sensitive to the complaints voiced by European leaders and EU officials, and it has adopted a more subtle approach to the issue of Turkish membership. While Washington continues to support Turkey’s European integration, it has also recognised that the accession process is likely to be lengthy. READ MORE  

THE TIES THAT DO NOT BIND: THE UNION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE FUTURE OF EURO-ARAB RELATIONS. Oliver Schlumberger, Mediterranean Politics, March 2011, pp. 135-153. What impact does the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have on the future evolution of Euro-Arab relations? This contribution first reflects on Arab reactions to the UfM, and subsequently analyses what alterations the UfM brings to existing Euro-Arab relations in terms of actors, institutional arrangements, and policy contents. In sum, the UfM caters well to Arab regimes’ priorities, namely the maintenance of authoritarian rule: The UfM tends to exclude societal voices and leads to a re-governmentalization of relations; the institutional set-up elevates Arab regimes to become formal veto-players, and the prioritized policy areas have – from an Arab regime perspective – the advantage of being de-politicized and stripped of any ambitious macro-political goals such as democratization. The UfM can thus be considered a triple victory for authoritarian Arab rulers in re-shaping their relations with Europe, and casts serious doubts on the hypothesis of the EU acting as a norm entrepreneur. READ MORE

THE EUROPEAN UNION'S COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICY TOWARDS THE MAGHREB: TRAPPED BETWEEN DEMOCRATISATION, ECONOMIC INTERESTS AND THE FEAR OF DESTABILISATION. Franz Edera, European Security, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2011, pp. 431-451. This article sheds light on the European Union's counter-terrorism policy in the Maghreb taking into account the diverse influences and interests shaping its strategic thinking. To explain the complex web of opportunities and constraints, the article refers to Terry Deibel's framework for the analysis of foreign and security affairs. The author concludes that the Union's counter-terrorism policy in the Maghreb has been shaped more by the desire for regional stability and greater trade relations and energy security than by the goal of promoting democratic values and human rights. Moreover, the promotion of democracy is perceived by EU policy-makers as a destabilising factor that could endanger counter-terrorism efforts. READ MORE

POLICING MARS OR VENUS? COMPARING EUROPEAN AND US APPROACHES TO POLICE ASSISTANCE. Felix Heiduka, European Security, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2011, pp. 363-383.  This article examines European and US approaches to police assistance in Afghanistan through the lens of strategic culture analysis. It is widely assumed that the Europeans are engaged in establishing a democratic, civilian police force in Afghanistan, while the US aim to transform the Afghan National Police (ANP) into a militarized auxiliary force of the Afghan army. Drawing on Kagan's famous dichotomy of Mars and Venus, the article first outlines the concept of strategic culture analysis with regard to US and European foreign policy strategies. It then describes the historical experiences of Western powers with police assistance in the so-called Third World in order to explore historical patterns of police assistance that have shaped specific strategic cultures of police assistance. Against this background European and US approaches to police assistance are contrasted with the practices of reforming the ANP on the ground. The article concludes that, contrary to the ‘Mars-Venus divide’, the US and the EU both pursue police assistance policies on the ground that produces a highly militarized ANP. READ MORE

TRANSATLANTIC DIPLOMACY IN THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE - HELPING TO BUILD TRUST? Tytti Erästöa, European Security, Issue 3, 2011, pp. 405-430. "Three European Union (EU) member states – the UK, France and Germany – have played a central role in the Iranian nuclear issue since 2003. However, their contribution cannot be understood without consideration of America's hard-line approach regarding its recent non-proliferation policies in the Middle East and its past policies toward the Islamic Republic. I argue that these policies have highlighted Iran's military and energy insecurity, and that they cast doubt on the limited nature of the demands made to Iran by the Security Council. The fact that European positions have in recent years moved closer to the US also with respect to the key issues that contribute to Iran's lack of trust can actually be seen to undermine the goals of non-proliferation diplomacy." READ MORE

Economic Issues

IMMIGRATION, GLOBALIZATION, AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN DEVELOPED EU STATES. Christine S. Lipsmeyer and Ling Zhu, American Journal of Political Science, July 2011, pp. 647-664.  "At a time of mounting concern about how traditional welfare states will react to globalization, there has been increasing interest in specifying how global economic forces affect welfare policies in industrialized states. Building on theories from the political economy and comparative institutional literatures, we analyze the influence of an important aspect of globalization—the flow of immigration. Focusing on states in the European Union, we present a theoretical model that illustrates the interactive relationships between immigration, EU labor market integration, and domestic institutions. Our findings highlight how immigration in conjunction with domestic political institutions affects unemployment provisions, while labor market integrative forces remain in the background. The story of immigration and unemployment compensation in the EU is less about the opening of borders and the market forces of integration and more about the domestic political pressures." READ MORE

APOCALYPSE NEVER. Michael Hirsh, National Journal, October 2011, var. pp. The markets are pushing the euro zone to the brink of breakup, but they are betting against a thousand years of history. The likelier outcome is a “United States of Europe.” READ MORE  

INNOVATION STARVATION. Neal Stephenson. World Policy Journal, Fall 2011, var. pp. It’s been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to send a man to the moon. Now, with the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction author Neal Stephenson laments that the world has lost that ability to get “Big Stuff Done.” Any strategy that involves short-term losses would be stopped in today’s system, he argues. We now celebrate immediate gains and tolerate long-term stagnation. A truly innovative approach, he says, needs to accept failure. READ MORE

Climate & Energy

US CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY EFFORTS. Dallas Burtraw, CEPS, September 2011, var. pp.  Until recently, most of the attention in US climate policy was focused on legislative efforts to introduce a price on carbon through cap and trade. Since that policy has stalled, at least at the national level, the Clean Air Act has assumed the central role in the development of regulations that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US. The modern Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed in 1970 and conveys broad authority to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to mitigate harm from air pollution. In 2007 the Supreme Court confirmed that this authority applied to the regulation of GHGs (Massachusetts v. EPA).1 Subsequently, the agency made a formal, science-based determination that GHGs were dangerous to human health and the environment, which compels the agency to mitigate the harm and forms the basis for the agency’s regulation of GHG emissions.  READ MORE  

THE WORLD IN MICROCOSM. Coral Davenport, The National Journal, September 24, 2011, var. pp.  The all-out war between power companies and EPA has become the symbol—and the center—of the national debate over the role of government. Spring and summer 2009 was a great stretch for President Obama’s energy and environment team. That May, the president struck a historic deal with the nation’s auto industry; after decades of fighting, companies like GM and Ford agreed to dramatically ramp up their mileage standards, slashing tailpipe pollution and paving the way for a new generation of hybrid and fuel-efficient cars. In June, the House passed a historic cap-and-trade bill to slow climate change, cutting a slew of deals to get the grudging buy-in of coal-state lawmakers and of power companies. Its eventual passage in the Senate seemed all but assured. Meanwhile, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, was preparing to roll out an unprecedented number of major new pollution-control regulations for the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants—many of which had for decades been spewing unregulated toxins linked to lung disease, birth defects, cancer, asthma, and other major illnesses. The new rules weren’t Jackson’s or Obama’s idea. Most had been piling up at EPA for nearly 20 years, and they would soon hit court-ordered deadlines. READ MORE

Middle East

SANCTIONS ON IRAN: DEFINING AND ENABLING SUCCESS. Dina Esfandiary and Mark Fitzpatrick, Survival, Oct-Nov 2011, pp. 143-156. "As Iran’s nuclear programme edges closer to weapons capability, the nations concerned about this prospect have centred on sanctions as their favoured policy tool. Critics find this foolhardy because they see no obvious signs that sanctions are working, other than to impose hardships on ordinary Iranians. It is indisputably true that sanctions have not achieved their strategic goal of changing Iran’s nuclear policy. Nor have they met tactical success in inducing Iran to enter into negotiations on its nuclear programme. But sanctions are helping to limit Iran’s ability to quickly assemble a nuclear arsenal. They are also creating conditions for an eventual negotiated solution, if the muddled politics of Tehran ever allow it. Meanwhile, various measures can be taken at the level of individual companies and countries to strengthen sanctions implementation." READ MORE

INVADING IRAN: LESSONS FROM IRAQ. Leif Eckholm, Policy Review, Aug/Sep 2011, pp. 35-49. "The initial military successes in Iraq and Afghanistan were overcome by protracted insurgencies and political instability, resulting in tenuous gains in democratic development that came at an enormous cost. The United States is fast approaching a decade at war. In these current conditions of political and military fatigue, a U.S. invasion of Iran seems unlikely; however, the Iranian regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its fierce anti-Americanism create the imperative to consider a future where diplomatic and economic coercion is exhausted, and no options remain other than military action. Should a war become necessary, lessons learned during the Coalition occupation of Iraq can be instructional for conjecture on a post-invasion Iran." READ MORE

COMPARING THE ARAB REVOLTS: THE LESSONS OF 1989. Lucan Way, Journal of Democracy, October 2011, pp. 17-27. "The Arab events of 2011 may have some similarities to the wave of popular upheavals against authoritarianism that swept the Soviet bloc starting in 1989, but the differences are much more fundamental." READ MORE

COMPARING THE ARAB REVOLTS: THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY. Zoltan Barany, Journal of Democracy, October 2011, pp. 28-39. "Across the Arab world, militaries have played a key role in determining whether revolts against dictatorship succeed or fail. What factors determine how and why “the guys with guns” line up the way they do?"

LIBERTY, DEMOCRACY, AND DISCORD IN EGYPT. Tarek Masoud, The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2011, pp. 117-129. "Shortly after Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt’s political landscape is already bitterly divided between liberals who fear democracy, democrats who fear liberty, and a military content to play these forces off against each other in a bid to retain its preeminence. Now what?"  READ MORE

U.S. Foreign Affairs

INSIDE OBAMA'S WAR ROOM. HOW HE DECIDED TO INTERVENE IN LIBYA -AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT HIS EVOLUTION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF. Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone, October 2011, var. pp. On the afternoon of monday, March 14th, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy stood nervously in the lounge of Le Bourget Airport on the outskirts of Paris, waiting for a private jet carrying a lone Libyan rebel to land. At 62, Lévy is one of France's most famous writers and provocateurs, a regular fixture in the tabloids, where he's known simply as BHL. He rarely goes a month without controversy – whether defending the reputations of accused sex offenders like Roman Polanski and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or waging one-man foreign-policy campaigns that usually end in failure. In 1993, he tried unsuccessfully to persuade President François Mitterrand to intervene in the Balkans. In 2001, he personally arranged for Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud to meet with President Jacques Chirac, only to have the French Foreign Ministry scuttle the trip for fear of angering the Taliban. Now, as he anxiously paced the airport lounge, he was embarking on what would turn out to be one of the most audacious and improbable feats of amateur diplomacy in modern history. READ MORE

 AMERICA'S PACIFIC CENTURY. Hillary Clinton, Foreign Policy, November 2011, var. pages. "The future of geopolitics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States should be right at the center of the action." READ MORE

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM IS A MYTH. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, November 2011, var. pages. "Over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the United States as an "empire of liberty," a "shining city on a hill," the "last best hope of Earth," the "leader of the free world," and the "indispensable nation." These enduring tropes explain why all presidential candidates feel compelled to offer ritualistic paeans to America's greatness and why President Barack Obama landed in hot water -- most recently, from Mitt Romney -- for saying that while he believed in "American exceptionalism," it was no different from "British exceptionalism," "Greek exceptionalism," or any other country's brand of patriotic chest-thumping. Most statements of "American exceptionalism" presume that America's values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration. They also imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage. The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth." READ MORE

THE PROMISES OF PRAGUE VERSUS NUCLEAR REALITIES: FROM BUSH TO OBAMA. Aiden Warren, Contemporary Security Policy, August 2011, pp. 432-457. "Contrasting the nuclear guidance documents and public statements of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations reveals significant differences in American nuclear policy, but also surprising continuities. Bush's aim was never disarmament, but rather extending the life and potential role of American nuclear weaponry. An evaluation of the guidance documents that developed this approach, and major development programmes like the Reliable Replacement Warhead, shows that the Bush strategy was an attempted quiet revolution that foreshadowed a new nuclear era in which the former ‘weapon of last resort’ became a usable and necessary war-fighting device. In contrast, Barack Obama promised significant changes in American nuclear policy." READ MORE

BARACK OBAMA'S DEMOCRACY PROMOTION AT MIDTERM. Nicolas Bouchet, International Journal of Human Rights, May 2011, pp. 572-588. "This article analyses the Obama administration's approach to the promotion of democracy and human rights at three levels: of ideas, of strategy and of policy. It argues that it has displayed a conventional understanding of the place of democracy in US foreign policy. Democracy promotion has been given a place in Obama's strategy of engagement, which aims to build up and increase the number of democratic states able to partner with the United States in solving global problems. The aim is to achieve this by a dual-track engagement with countries under autocratic regimes and through a 'new-old' emphasis on the democracy-development nexus. Obama's first two budget requests show that there is no intention to reduce spending on democracy promotion, but his diplomacy has been inconsistent in reacting to various democratization developments around the world. The administration still has to convince that engagement can accommodate consistently democracy promotion in foreign policy on a case-by-case, daily basis." READ MORE

THE ACCOMMODATOR: OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY. Colin Dueck, Policy Review, October 2011, var. pp. Almost three years into his administration, observers continue to debate the nature of President Obama’s overall foreign policy approach. What is the “Obama doctrine”? Some say it is a policy of international engagement. Some point to Libya, and suggest that the Obama doctrine is one of humanitarian intervention multilaterally and at minimal cost. Some look to today’s fiscal constraints and say that it is all about insolvency. Some describe the Obama doctrine as a version of traditional great power realism, coming after the crusading idealism of the Bush years. Others respond that Obama has no foreign policy strategy at all — that he is simply making it up as he goes along. Each interpretation has a certain kernel of truth, but each is also seriously flawed and incomplete. Barack Obama does in fact have an overarching foreign policy strategy, going back several years in spite of recent upheavals, but its basic organizing principle is neither engagement, nor intervention, nor insolvency, nor realism per se. The centerpiece of Obama’s overall foreign policy strategy is the concept of accommodation. Specifically, the president believes that international rivalries can be accommodated by American example and by his own integrative personal leadership. The problem is not that Obama has no grand strategy. The problem is that it is not working. READ MORE

Defense and Security Issues

EMBEDDED POLITICS, GROWING INFORMALIZATION? HOW NATO AND THE EU TRANSFORM PROVISION OF EXTERNAL SECURITY. Sebastian Mayer, Contemporary Security Policy, August 2011, pp. 308-333. "This article investigates changes in the ways NATO and EU states have pursued security since the end of the Cold War, and the repercussions for the state monopoly of external force. Both organizations have autonomous roles, security identities and norm-shaping abilities, making them more consequential than is often acknowledged. Using the analytical concept of internationalization the increasing importance of political or administrative authorities beyond the nation-state this article scrutinizes the institutionalization of new functions, mechanisms and operational roles within NATO and the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy." READ MORE

NATO AND THE ARCTIC: IS THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE A COLD WAR RELIC IN A PEACEFUL REGION NOW FACED WITH NON-MILITARY CHALLENGES? Helga Haftendorna, European Security, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2011, pp. 337-361. This article analyzes which role the Atlantic Alliance plays in the Arctic and whether it can contribute to the security and territorial integrity of its members in the region. In a dramatic change from the cold war era, the Arctic is no longer at the center of a conflict between two hostile superpowers. But what can a basically military organization such as NATO – though with proven political functions – contribute to stabilizing the Arctic region if its major challenges are non-military? With regional challenges resulting mostly from globalization and climate change, it is open to question whether a military alliance such as NATO has the will and the capability to cope with them. We might thus need to look also at individual members’ interests and abilities besides searching for joint alliance action. If we find NATO not up to the challenges, which alternative institutions offer themselves for coping with the political conflicts and controversies in the Polar region? READ MORE 

Russia and Eurasia

RUSSIA, THE 360-DEGREE REGIONAL POWER. Andrew C. Kuchins, Current History, October 2011, pp. 266-271. "For the first time in its history . . . Russia finds itself surrounded by states and political groupings that are economically, demographically, and politically more dynamic than itself." READ MORE

THE CAUCASUS IN LIMBO. Svante E. Cornell, Current History, October 2011, pp. 283-289. The Caucasus has been on a roller coaster for the past few years. Strategic because of its location at the intersection of Europe and Asia, and of Russia and the Middle East, and connecting the West with Central Asia across the Caspian Sea, the region has been the subject of growing great-power interest since the Soviet Union’s breakup. After being roiled in the 1990s by wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in Georgia, and in Chechnya, the region began to experience some stability and development. Azerbaijan’s oil boom brought it economic growth, while a reform-minded government that came to power in Georgia following the 2003 Rose Revolution showed that stagnant post-Soviet institutions could be changed for the better. In 2006, all three countries of the South Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) were among the top ten growth economies in the world.  READ MORE

U.S.-Muslim Relations

THE FUTURE OF ISLAM AND U.S.–MUSLIM RELATIONS. John L. Esposito, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 365-401. "John L. Esposito analyzes the future of Islam and Muslim–West relations. He argues that the mindset among policymakers and the narrative in U.S.–Muslim world relations is shifting away from a policy of “democratic exceptionalism” and support for authoritarian regimes. Now the United States is committed to democratic institution-building and civil society and is responsive to the aspirations and expectations of their peoples, political parties (Islamist and secular), and civil society organizations." READ MORE  

MUSLIM “HOMEGROWN” TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES: HOW SERIOUS IS THE THREAT? Risa A. Brooks, International Security, Fall 2011, pp. 7-47. "Since the September 11 attacks, analysts and public officials have expressed growing concern about the potential of Muslim citizens and residents of the United States to plot attacks within the country's borders—a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “homegrown” terrorism. To assess this apparent threat, it is necessary to examine what is known about the willingness and capacity of Muslim Americans to execute deadly attacks in the United States. Three conditions, either alone or together, could contribute to an increasing threat of homegrown terrorism. The first concerns what is known about the radicalization of Muslim Americans and whether a surge in arrests in 2009 indicates a growing trend in Muslim American terrorism. The second relates to the capacity of aspiring militants to avoid detection as they prepare attacks. The third depends on the skills of aspiring terrorists and therefore their capacities to execute increasingly sophisticated attacks. The analysis should be generally reassuring to those concerned about Muslim homegrown terrorism. On both analytical and empirical grounds, there is not a significant basis for anticipating that Muslim Americans are increasingly motivated or capable of successfully engaging in lethal terrorist attacks in the United States." READ MORE  

A CRITICAL BUT MISSING PIECE: EDUCATING OUR PROFESSIONAL MILITARY ON THE HISTORY OF ISLAM. Adam Oler, Parameters, Spring 2011, pp 71-85. "To someone familiar with the history of Ancient Greece, the story will seem at first quite recognizable. In a bipolar world, the two great superpowers of the day wage a decades-long struggle to establish complete hegemony over the other. The conflict ebbs and flows for years, with one side occasionally gaining the upper hand, only to relinquish it later. The belligerents include allies beholden to one superpower or the other, and a great amphibious expedition helps determine the war’s outcome. When the fighting finally ends, both superpowers are so depleted by battlefield losses, plague, and spent treasure that neither is prepared to confront a burgeoning superpower emerging on their periphery. This new force quickly expands across thousands of miles, creating a colossal empire and bringing with it sweeping cultural changes that still profoundly shape the world today. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not the tale of the Peloponnesian War and the ensuing rise of Macedon. Rather, it is the story of the last great war of antiquity, the late sixth and early seventh century struggle between the Byzantine and Sassanid Empires.2 More notably, it is the story of the great Arab conquests that followed in that war’s aftermath, and the remarkable creation of an Islamic empire that soon stretched from the Atlantic coast to the Chinese frontier." READ MORE