For the past two decades, the ‘failed state’ of Somalia has been ravaged by protracted violence and famine, armed clashes between warlords, and their unpredictably shifting alliances. As the extended mandate of the corrupt and dysfunctional Transitional Federal Government nears its expiration date in August 2012, increasing international attention has created an impetus for a renewed consolidation process leading to the recent London Conference on Somalia. This paper assesses the realistic options for a shift towards peaceful governance, and examines what lessons can be learned from the hitherto existing international approach that has fueled rather than averted violent conflict.
Climate change, while not determining power shifts on its own, often acts as a stress multiplier on existing tensions and instabilities. Using the current political struggle over the Arctic as a case study, this paper evaluates how climate change affects global power relations by altering the existing international status quo. The analysis shows how a nontraditional security phenomenon is leading to the emergence of traditional security dilemmas, such as competition over resources and interstate tensions over boundary demarcations. The status quo reflects an increasingly fragile situation, compounded by the lack of legal mechanisms for resolving and adjudicating actual and potential disputes over the Arctic region.
Integrating China into the global balance of power and the community of nations is the greatest challenge facing statecraft in the 21st century. According to power cycle theory, the “single dynamic” that has always mapped the structural trends of history is shaping China’s power cycle. This cycle will contain the same “critical points” of suddenly shifted trends that challenged every other rising power historically, all too frequently ending in major war. Viewing history’s dynamic through the lens of meanings embedded in the power cycle trajectories, this article argues for careful management of the future systems transformation that will occur.
This paper examines the extent to which power has shifted to new political actors in North Africa as a result of the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings. Focusing on Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Morocco, this paper identifies the changes taking place in these states, and elucidates the distinct ways in which power is shifting in each case. The emergence of Islamist movements as organized political actors is a common feature of all four countries and represents potentially the most significant power shift in a region yearning for democracy.
In this analysis of the evolution of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation pact, the authors argue that the bilateral treaty marked the beginning of a new era for global non-proliferation as envisioned by the Bush administration and subsequently endorsed by President Barack Obama. An exploration of the forces at work reveals powerful special interests that scored massive commercial and trade deals to supply India with parts and technology. The unintended consequences of such action included a precedent for Chinese support of Pakistan’s nuclear program and the potential detriment to American interests in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
This paper evaluates how U.S. President George W. Bush’s push for democratization in Egypt may have influenced the 2011 Egyptian uprising. It argues that Bush’s “Freedom Agenda” policy towards Egypt had a number of small but significant effects that both heightened and publicized Egyptians’ discontent with former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak – effects which were not necessarily intended or central to the Agenda when it was conceived. Specifically, the Freedom Agenda created a period of limited public dialogue, which further alienated Egyptians from their government, and altered the economic environment – all factors which made the 2011 uprising more likely.
Iran remains the one significant unsolved problem for the United States in the Persian Gulf. Over the course of the past decade, US policy has inadvertently allowed Iran to become the dominant power in the region. The best US policy might be to avoid seeking to control events in Iran, instead, leaving the various factions in Iran to fight amongst themselves. (From a lecture delivered at the Bologna Center, November 11, 2010, adapted by Shirin Mohammadi and William J. Burke)
Most United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions during the last two decades were perceived by the general public to have failed. This article draws upon lessons learned from the 1990 UN mission in Namibia and identifies necessary geopolitical and institutional conditions to ensure a sustainable and successful peacebuilding process for the conflicts of today. Domestic political capacity and support from key international stakeholders are shown to be necessary for a peaceful democratic transition. However, smart timing during the preparation and implementation phases, as well as the structural design of a mission, are crucial prerequisites for support of any political effort for peace.
the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs had an opportunity to interview Mr. Divjak in his office in Sarajevo, and subsequently over the telephone from Italy. Translation provided by Jadranka Poljak (SAIS BC, 2011).
Cuba provides an ideal lens through which to study the Obama administration’s foreign policy of engagement. For half a century, the US economic embargo, coupled with diplomatic isolation or limited engagement, has failed to force democratization on the island. As Raúl Castro has led Cuba down a path of economic reform, the Obama administration has slowly transformed its Cuba policies. This article contends that these recent shifts in US-Cuban relations will allow American policymakers to capitalize on an essential set of political, economic, and strategic gains by ending the embargo and normalizing diplomatic relations.
This paper argues that the advancement of Chinese capabilities in the areas of information warfare, anti-access measures, and strategic nuclear forces has substantially altered the balance of forces between China and the US, particularly regarding potential conflicts in China’s littoral waters, including over Taiwan. This challenge to US “command of the commons” may undermine America’s regional dominance in East Asia. More specifically, the article argues that the nature of any conflict between the two powers has been fundamentally changed by China’s development and implementation of technologies aimed at: degrading US communication and intelligence gathering capabilities; limiting the ability of the US to deploy air and sea assets in the Chinese theater of operations; and denying the US the ultimate trump card of an assured nuclear first strike capability.
In light of the political identification of Darfur as the first climate change violent conflict, this paper analyzes the Darfur case within the environmental securitization framework, discussing the underlying dynamics of the current situation. The paper argues that the environment-security nexus has to be analyzed in the domestic-international border and that the a-securitization of environmental policies with due regard to Darfur has been a fundamental, conceptual and operational obstacle to progress towards peace. Therefore, the internalization of this dialectic relation in politics and action is here understood as an essential step to address the root causes of violent conflict in Darfur.
The rise of radical Islam along both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border has its roots in three major factors. The first is the disintegration of Afghan social structures at both the state and tribal levels, beginning in 1979 with revolts against the communist government and the subsequent Soviet invasion. The second is the increased sway of political Islam, due mostly to outside influences, including Salafist thought from the Middle East, and the more local Deobandi philosophy. The third is the radicalization of the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group along the border. This paper will examine how these three converging factors have created the current instability on both sides of the border, and where it might lead.