Thu May 28 2015 1:34:44 +0200 CEST

Article Alert of October 1, 2012

What is an Article Alert?

Article Alert is a bi-weekly service that helps you select and read the best of America's journal literature on a variety of international relations topics, as well as U.S. domestics issues. It is published every 2 weeks except for August. When no full text is available online Article Alert subscribers can request a copy via email. Copyright legislation prevents us from making articles available to users outside of our area of jurisdiction: Belgium. Also, because of the Smith-Mundt Act, we cannot send articles to users in the United States. The materials on this site, especially those from sources outside the U.S. Government, should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein or as official U.S. policy. If this is the first time you've seen the Article Alert, please let us know if you would like to continue to receive it. Also, feel free to pass it on to any of your colleagues who might be interested in getting it.

President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., Sept. 25, 2012. Sitting on the dais are: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, UNGA President Vuk Jeremić and Jean-Jacques Graisse, Acting Head for General Assembly and Conference Management. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


Five Pillars of American Grand Strategy, Paul D. Miller, Survival, Oct/Nov 2012, pp. 7-44. "For at least a century, US grand strategy has had five principle goals. It is in how they are pursued that foreign policy changes from one era to the next." READ MORE

The Battle over America’s Foreign Policy Doctrine. Amir Stepak and Rachel Whitlark, Survival, Oct/Nov 2012, pp. 45-66. "Obama’s foreign policies and rhetoric are a major departure from that which has prevailed in the United States for generations. Republicans have a different idea." READ MORE

From Cold War to Hot Peace: The Habit of American Force. Richard K. Betts, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2012, pp. 353-368. "Richard K. Betts considers the discrepancy between ambition and cost tolerance that has led the United States to use force too often but also too indecisively since the Cold War. He argues that Washington should use American primacy not to attempt dominance on the cheap but to manage a transition to a global balance of power." READ MORE


Iran, the US and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Hossein Mousavian, Survival, Oct/Nov 2012, pp. 183-202. "Serious efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East would help Iran become more forthcoming in resolving questions about its own nuclear programme." READ MORE

Turkey’s Role in Defusing the Iranian Nuclear Issue. Aylin Gürzel, The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2012, pp. 141-152. "To achieve its desired regional influence, Ankara has sought to settle disputes in its neighborhood, particularly the Iranian nuclear issue. But Turkey resists sanctions and has also realized that active diplomacy is not enough, so what might Ankara do?" READ MORE

Coercive Diplomacy Meets Diversionary Incentives: The Impact of US and Iranian Domestic Politics during the Bush and Obama Presidencies, Graeme A. M. Davies, Foreign Policy Analysis, July 2012, pp. 313–331. "This paper applies theories of strategic conflict avoidance and diversionary war to help explain US–Iranian interactions. The article argues that US attempts at coercive diplomacy have tended to strengthen hardliners in Iran by allowing them to frame opposition to government policies as support for the United States. In particular, US public uncertainty about the advisability of using force against Iran provided both the Supreme Leader and the Iranian President with an opportunity to increase tensions with the United States with little concern about provoking a military strike. The aggressive stance of the Iranian regime is about developing a threat which diverts attention from domestic problems and places it firmly in the arena of the international." READ MORE


The Complexity Trap. Michael J. Gallagher, Joshua A. Geltzer, and Sebastian L. v. Gorka, Parameters, Spring 2012, pp. 5-16. "Despite recent efforts to don George Kennan’s mantle by providing a global strategic vision, the central consequence of subscribing to today’s narrative of complexity is a failure to design and implement true grand strategy.11 Entranced by the notion of complexity, the United States responds with paralysis, 'bet-hedging,' and repeated calls for new conceptual paradigms." READ MORE

The Demise of Ares: The End of War as We Know It? Bruno Tertrais, The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2012, pp. 7-22. "Daily headlines since 1990 about conflicts in Iraq, the Balkans, Africa, or Afghanistan have masked the fact that war has been on a steady decline: interstate conflict has become an exception; civil wars are increasingly rare. Are we witnessing a temporary era of peace before the return of war? Or is this the beginning of a long-term trend? This article argues the latter. Different political and social threads are associated with, and are probably causing, the decline in warfare." READ MORE

When Duty Calls: A Pragmatic Standard of Humanitarian Intervention. Robert A. Pape, International Security, Summer 2012, pp. 41-80. "When should the United States and other members of the international community intervene to stop a government from harming its own citizens? Since World War II, the main standard for intervention has been the high bar of genocide, although the international community has rarely acted to stop it. The main alternative—the “responsibility to protect”—would set the bar so low that virtually every instance of anarchy or tyranny would create unbounded obligations beyond the capacity of states to fulfill. A new standard—the pragmatic standard of humanitarian intervention—can help guide decisionmakers on when to intervene to stop governments from targeting their own citizens. The standard has three requirements: (1) an ongoing campaign of mass homicide sponsored by the government; (2) a viable plan for intervention with reasonable estimates of low casualties for the intervening forces; and (3) a workable strategy for creating lasting local security for the threatened population. The pragmatic standard was met in the recent successful intervention in Libya as well as in other cases over the last twenty years, and it should become the basis for deciding which humanitarian crises justify international intervention in the future." READ MORE


The European Debt Crisis and American Security Policy. Zachary Selden, Parameters, Spring 2012, pp. 17-26. "The European Union (EU) is building the institutional capability to play a larger role in global security affairs and there is an acknowledged need for it to develop improved power projection capabilities if it is going to engage in the full range of crisis management tasks. European militaries, however, are for the most part still in the process of transforming themselves from static defense forces into deployable units that are useful for the sort of crisis management missions in which the EU envisages itself playing a larger (and more independent) role in the future. In doing so, Europeans will encounter distinct costs that have only been partially dealt with to date." READ MORE

What Is Sui Generis About the European Union? Costly International Cooperation in a Self-Contained Regime. William Phelan, International Studies Review, September 2012, pp. 367–385. "It is widely agreed that the EU is a sui generis international organization, but current scholarship rarely specifies why. This paper identifies the EU as a “self-contained regime”, a treaty institution that imposes costly requirements on its member states but rejects the use of inter-state countermeasure and reciprocity mechanisms. As a self-contained regime, the EU is a puzzle because international relations theory emphasizes the importance of inter-state countermeasures as incentives for states to fulfill costly obligations, as is illustrated by scholarly debates on the politics of both trade and human rights regimes." READ MORE

Swords into ploughshares: The effect of pacifist public opinion on foreign policy in Western democracies. William Davis, Cooperation and Conflict, September 2012, pp. 309-330. "This analysis focuses on the effects of domestic public pacifist opinion and international security threats on foreign policy outputs. Much work has suggested that governments’ foreign policy outputs are responsive to public opinion in advanced democratic countries. Using the cases of several Western democracies, this article offers a theory of the effect of public pacifism on foreign policy. It employs a cross-sectional time-series analysis over a period of a quarter century to test the theory and the generalizability of the hypothesis of an opinion–foreign policy nexus using new measures and broader data. Results here contradict literature on expected public opinion and policy outputs in the Cold War period, yet are supported after. The findings indicate that the predicted effect of public opinion on foreign policy outputs to be conditional on the presence of security threats. Convergence between leaders and public opinion in post-Cold War Western democracies is likely to make hawkish foreign policy less tenable in the West. The analysis includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK) and The Netherlands." READ MORE


The Environmentalist’s Dilemma. Steve Stein, Policy Review, August 1, 2012, var. pages. "Making the perfect the enemy of the good. Environmental advocates of renewable and sustainable energy can find their colleagues’ objections nettlesome and embarrassing. Preservationists see science and industry as threats; but conservationists see progress as the environment’s eventual savior." READ MORE

Soft Geoengineering: A Gentler Approach to Addressing Climate Change. Robert L. Olson, Environment, Sep/Oct 2012, pp. 29-39. "A generation ago, the idea of engineering the climate to counteract global warming was almost universally dismissed as misguided. Climate scientist David Keith recalls that when he became interested in climate geoengineering as a graduate student, the topic could hardly be discussed in polite scientific company and was verboten in environmental circles. In the past few years, however, several leading members of the scientific community have changed their minds and decided that climate geoengineering deserves a second look." READ MORE

Overcoming the Global Injustices of Energy Poverty. Benjamin K. Sovacool and Michael Dworkin, Environment, Sep/Oct 2012, pp. 14-28. "For some of us, lack of access to energy services is a mere inconvenience; for others, it is a matter of life or death." READ MORE

How is energy remaking the world? Daniel Yergin, Foreign Policy, Jul/Aug 2012, pp. 60-61,8. "The outlook for the US energy supply is very different from what it was just four years ago, the last time oil prices were going up -- and the last time Americans were electing a president. Back then, it seemed the only questions were how fast oil imports would continue to rise and whether the US was destined to import increasing amounts of natural gas. But the years since have seen an astonishing revival in US oil and gas production, and with it a change in the national conversation about energy. The FP Survey on energy, which sounded the views of 57 experts, demonstrates just how much the debate is already changing. Even without energy independence, the growth in the North American supply will have enormous geopolitical ramifications. The FP Survey demonstrates that a transition in energy thinking is certainly at hand." READ MORE

The New Price of American Politics. James Bennet, The Atlantic, October 2012, var. pages. "Not since the Gilded Age has our politics been opened so wide to corporate contributions and donations from secret sources. And the new era of big money has just begun. Jim Bopp, its intellectual architect, believes this is a good thing—the more money, the better, he says. Reformers (and most voters) disagree. Their battle is over the most-basic ideas of our democracy; at stake—according to both sides—is either the revitalization of politics, or its final capture by the powerful." READ MORE

The Future of the City : Urban America: U.S. Cities in the Global Era. Richard C. Longworth, Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2012, , pp. 97-110. "This article considers the impact of globalization on American cities and how these cities will function and compete in a global economy. It argues that almost all American cities grew from an original economic raison d’être, greatly shaped by the industrial era. The end of that era and the arrival of a new economy affect their utility, for better or worse. Secondly, most American cities are place-based, rooted in areas where they can take advantage of nearby raw materials and serve trade routes and surrounding communities. Global cities will, by necessity, need to sever these geographical ties and find new places in a global network less connected to their environs. American cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and to a lesser extent Boston, Houston and Atlanta, are moving in this direction. A second category of regional capitals will remain more local than global, like Indianapolis, Columbus, Portland and the like. A third category includes once-powerful industrial cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, which lack both global connections and prominent regional status. Their future will be problematic. The final section of the article describes what these cities must do to cope in the future. The emphasis here is on global cities that must find new ways to finance themselves as their old ties to state governments wither." READ MORE

Supreme Court Controversies: Has Chief Justice Roberts led an activist court? Kenneth Jost, CQ Researcher, September 28, 2012, pp. 813-840. "The Supreme Court opens a new term on Oct. 1 with a major affirmative action case from the University of Texas set for argument the next week. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is starting his eighth year on a court that is divided on many issues between five generally conservative Republican appointees and four liberal Democratic appointees. Court watchers are still debating the implications of Roberts' surprising vote in late June to join the liberal bloc in upholding President Obama's controversial health care law. Despite that decision, liberal critics continue to accuse the Roberts Court of political decision making, judicial activism and a pro-business orientation. The court's defenders say the justices are acting without regard to politics and following judicial restraint. Besides the affirmative action case, the justices may also tackle marriage equality and voting rights cases before the term ends next June." READ MORE

The Writing Revolution. Peg Tyre, The Atlantic, October 2012, var. pages. "For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform." READ MORE

Dossiers in the picture


Share this

Now on Twitter @usembbrussels

Join our online communities

Stay tuned with US