The EU After Lisbon
Despite enthusiasm in Brussels, the complexities of national sovereignty continue to complicate European Union efforts to speak with one voice and act with a common purpose. After a flurry of U.S.-EU meetings, and one year after the Lisbon Treaty took effect, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, head of the European Delegation in Washington, discuss their views on the EU’s future, the nascent European External Action Service, and the Union’s relationship with the United States.
Moving Beyond Mirages
As tensions continue to erupt from Georgia to Chechnya, the Caucasus is a global hot spot that demands closer scrutiny. Caucasus scholar Thomas de Waal explores structural insecurity in the region and discusses “three mirages” that feed misinformed foreign intervention and perpetuate conflict. De Waal argues that viewing the Caucasus as a geopolitical chessboard is a mistake; he highlights instead the critical subtleties of the region’s tortured geography and the double-edged sword of its history.
You Too Can Be Awlaki!
Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric now hiding in Yemen, has combined religious doctrine with colloquial Western references to become the most popular terrorist among Western supporters. By using the Internet to brand himself as a user-friendly personality, al-Awlaki has repackaged al-Qaeda’s convoluted and inaccessible message into something that his followers are able to understand and replicate on their own. Terrorism expert Jarret Brachman and the Anti-Defamation League’s Alix Levine develop a model for understanding the process of online al-Qaeda mobilization and offer valuable insight on why—and when—this phenomenon becomes an actual security concern.
Strengthening U.S. Statecraft Through Public Diplomacy
President Barack Obama is acutely conscious of the importance of global public opinion; upon entering office in January 2009, he vowed to reestablish the United States as a beacon of liberal ideals. Recent opinion polls, however, display a worrisome gulf between lofty intentions and ground-based realities. The State Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) posits that public diplomacy should be a core part of twentyfirst-century statecraft. In seeking to effectively reach an amorphous global public, Katherine Brown and Tom Glaisyer, of Columbia University, argue that public diplomacy programs must capitalize on modern technology and be adaptable to rapidly evolving global landscapes.
India’s Approach to Great-Power Status
In the last decade, India has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest economy and a legitimate member of the “nuclear club.” John Ciorciari of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy tracks how India has framed its foreign policy to effectuate its rise to global and regional power. He traces the path from a nation grappling with post-colonial legacies to a country asserting itself on the international stage as a great power, and outlines the future of the U.S.-Indian relationship.
The Millennium Development Goals and Fragile States: Focusing on What Really Matters
Fragile states account for roughly 15 percent of the world population and are far from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). David Carment and Yiagadeesen Samy, of Carleton University, believe that the recent United Nations Summit, intended to evaluate progress toward achieving the MDGs, was a missed opportunity to focus attention on fragile and conflictaffected states. The authors argue that unless—and until—the international community realizes that fragile and conflict-affected states require the most effort, attaining the MDGs by the 2015 target date will be difficult.
The Education of Poverty: Rebuilding Haiti’s School System After Its “Total Collapse”
The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti devastated its already weak primary and secondary education system. Brendan McNulty, a fellow at the Inter-American Development Bank, discusses the imperative to establish a functioning education system and explores how the earthquake exacerbated perennial challenges to the Haitian education system, while also perhaps offering some hope. He analyzes reconstruction efforts involving the Government of Haiti and such organizations as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, arguing that an education system premised on local ownership and focused on sustainability is Haiti’s best hope.
The Global Financial System and the Challenges Ahead
While aftershocks from the 2008 financial crisis continue to reverberate,
calls to reform the global financial system have escalated. Some changes have
been made, but most agree that there is more work to do. Josef Ackermann,
chairman of the management board and the group executive committee of
Deutsche Bank, examines the difficulties that must be addressed and considers
how to enhance the system’s resilience while maintaining its integrated nature.
Venezuela’s Legislative Elections: Arm Wrestling with Hugo Chávez
While President Hugo Chávez and his incumbent party won 60 percent of
the seats in Venezuela’s recent legislative election, journalist Alejandro Tarre
says this nonetheless constitutes a victory for the opposition. Tarre details
how the opposition was able to gain seats despite unfair electoral laws and the
government’s abuse of power. He discusses developments since the election and
strikes an optimistic note about the opposition’s future prospects.
Profiling Resilience: Capturing Complex Realities in One Word
Resilience is an increasingly popular—and misunderstood—topic. Whether
recovering from a natural disaster, disease outbreak, or violent conflict, people
and societies exhibit resilience. Based on post-disaster research and fieldwork in
Eritrea, Astier Almedom, of The Fletcher School, presents her definition of human resilience and asks if the international humanitarian imperative enables or actually impairs communities’ ability to recover from disaster and reduce vulnerability.
The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs aims to provide a broad, interdisciplinary platform for analysis of legal, political, economic, environmental, and diplomatic issues in international affairs. The editorial board of the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs believes that the publication’s audience values and expects the inclusion of conflicting viewpoints; the board does not expect readers to concur with all of the views expressed by Forum authors. This inherent diversity supports the very definition of a “forum,” i.e., a public meeting place for open discussion.
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