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Katy Frank was employed as a lead instructor for the Refugee Affairs Division at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She is a subject matter expert in U.S. refugee law, policy, and processing having designed and delivered curricula on topics such as refugee law, U.S. immigration law, interviewing skills and cross-cultural communication. The following is the text of a written interview with her conducted by the SAIS Europe Journal Staff.

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We are proud to introduce our readers to SAIS Europe’s new director with this interview. Michael Plummer, himself a 1982 SAIS graduate, has been the Eni Chair of International Economics at SAIS since 2008 and has taken on the role of SAIS Europe director as the Bologna campus marks its 60th anniversary this year. He is a distinguished economist, who has served as the head of the development division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Economics. Prior to SAIS, Plummer was an associate professor at Brandeis University, also serving as the Director of M.A. programs at the university’s Graduate School of International Economics and Finance, now known as the International Business School. (Interview transcript has been condensed and edited for publication)

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As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, comparatively little is written about the stalemate the crisis has caused in neighboring Lebanon, where the ramifications of the Syrian Civil War go beyond the refugee crisis and spillover violence. The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in March 2013 initiated a ten-month government collapse, paralyzing Lebanon’s political system as the country became further entrenched in Syria’s conflict. Although the Cabinet crisis was resolved in mid-February, Lebanon still faces electoral gridlock and political divisions. Despite formalizing a policy of “disassociation” from the Syrian crisis, the conflict has left Lebanon unable to tackle pressing concerns and fully end the resulting stalemate. This paper will analyze the impact of Syria on Lebanon’s political stalemate, the reasons behind the Cabinet “breakthrough,” and the prospects for ending this prolonged political gridlock.

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In the wake of a World War and under the control of an occupying army, the Japanese people accepted a constitution in 1947 that was unique in composition. The world’s first “Peace Constitution,” Article 9 of Japan’s founding document explicitly prohibits war and the maintenance of a standing army. Despite its imposed nature and numerous attempts by Japan’s conservative elite to alter this stricture, Article 9 has remained untouched due primarily to the efforts of the Japanese peace movement. However, with China’s rise and the popularity of Japan’s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calls for a return to military normalcy now seem to dominate those for restraint. This paper traces the rise and fall of the Japanese peace movement, as well as the incremental process of remilitarization, which has accelerated sharply over the last decade. Finally, it investigates the nature of Japanese remilitarization under Shinzo Abe and analyzes its effect on East Asian security and US foreign policy.

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The World Trade Organization is hindering the ability of member countries to pursue green growth policies. As the nature of international trade evolves, the creation of global supply chains has forced us to measure trade in value added rather than goods produced. These same trends demand a more nuanced and accurate assessment of costs, both economic and environmental. By modernizing its rules governing fossil-fuel subsidies and unincorporated production processes, the WTO can usher in a new era of freer, "greener" trade.

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A vast and beautiful country rich in natural resources, Colombia suffers from a chronic social, political, and agrarian imbalance. Though many praise it for having eluded the path of military dictatorship taken by practically all of its continental neighbors in the mid-to-late 20th century, this acclaim masks an underlying truth behind Colombia’s democratic façade. While other South American republics fell to military dictatorship, Colombia’s elites were often too divided or jealous of their power to hand the reigns of the State over to a cast of battle-hardened Cold and Korean War veterans – as many of the country’s top generals between the 1950s-1980s were. Or almost just as bad, the elites were too geographically removed from the majority of the population to be concerned. While Colombia is democratic today, it remains mired by guerrilla and drug-related violence, especially in its interior regions, far from the urban haunches of the country’s upper classes.

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Is the legal maxim of “justice delayed is justice denied,” frequently leveled against the International Criminal Court for its poor track record, an accurate description of the current situation in Darfur? Or, on the contrary, could the imperative of immediate justice, so often heralded as the sine qua non of a durable reconciliation, be temporarily suspended in the interest of peace? With these questions in mind, will explore what impact a temporary deferral of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir might have, and whether this “surrender of justice” could expedite the peace process. In short, could deferring the ICC arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir lead to peace in Sudan?

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In Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced and thousands more killed since June 2011, when the government of Sudan began a campaign to crush an insurgency led by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of groups aiming to overthrow the government of President Omar al-Bashir. Clashes between the rebels and the government have intensified since late 2013, but the conflict remains stuck in a stalemate. This paper analyzes the trajectory of this conflict, focusing primarily on South Kordofan state, and the relationship between current and past conflicts in Sudan, in particular the Second Civil War (1983-2005) and the Darfur conflict (2003-present). The aim of this paper is to conclude whether this armed struggle is a repeat of past conflicts – the same issues manifesting themselves in a different form – or whether it represents something new and different.

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Filippo Taddei is an Assistant Professor of Economics at SAIS’ Bologna Center, where he teaches macroeconomics and monetary theory. He also serves as a chief economic advisor to the Partito Democratico (PD), which heads Italy’s current coalition government under Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Prof. Taddei holds degrees in economics from the University of Bologna and Columbia University, where he earned a PhD in 2005. We asked him about Renzi’s plans for Italy and his transition from academic to political advisor.

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China’s rise is causing a major upheaval in international relations. The South China Sea is one of the major theatres where a rising China is confronting the existing status quo, threatening not just the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries’ maritime claims but also the influence of the US and Japan in the region. What is at stake is not just the territorial claims but also potential hydrocarbon resources, security of international maritime trade and local fishing economies. But despite rising tensions, common interests remains in ensuring that the sea trade remains unaffected. China is still ASEAN’s largest trading partner. The involvement of third parties, while complicating the situation, will help keep conflicting interests in check.

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