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    Geostrategy

  • Informed Comment

    Solar could make your Electricity Bill Zero: But Pols, Utilities are Conspiring Against You

    TheLipTV: “Solar panels are being denied to certain states as utilities companies and politicians are looking out for their own interests in an effort to eliminate the competition. We look why homes are being prevented from supplying stored energy, in this Lip News clip with Lissette Padilla and Mark Sovel.” TheLipTV: “Solar Panels Denied to Homes by Utility Companies” ...more

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  • Informed Comment

    History and Betrayal: UNSCOP and Palestine, 1947

    By William Polk The British Foreign Secretary told Parliament on February 18, 1947 that “there is no prospect of resolving this conflict by any settlement negotiated between the parties.” Further, he said, according to the League of Nations mandate, the legal basis for Britain’s rule over Palestine, Britain did not have the authority to partition the country as everyone thought would be necessary. Thus, the British government had decided to turn the problem over to the United Nations. The Foreign Secretary did not mention, but it was obviously a significant factor, that Britain could no longer afford to keep nearly 100,000 troops employed in an increasingly vain effort to keep the peace in what was in comparison to India a relatively unimportant ar...more

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  • Informed Comment

    Can Iraqi forces take back Saddam’s Birthplace from ISIL?

    Joint Iraqi and Kurdish forces began moving into Tikrit on Tuesday night into Wednesday after victories over the so-called Islamic State of Syria and the Levant in villages around Amerli, including Sulaiman Bek. Several previous attempts to take Tikrit this summer have failed. On Monday, allied Iraqi forces cleared the Shiite Turkmen town of Amerli of ISIL guerrillas. The some 15,000 Turkmen in that town had faced being massacred by the hyper-Sunni ISIL. They also took the nearby town of Sulaiman Bek, which ISIL had held from early June and which it had used as a base from which to menace Amerli, along with some neighoring villages. The ISIL fighters were forced to flea in the face of superior firepower, including US and Iraqi airstrikes on their positions in su...more

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    UK 'Hypocrisy': Not Punishing UK-Based Russian Oligarchs

    "Only plebs complain about Vlad, dahling!"Oh, the times they are a-changing: The gossip among Londoners in the posh parts of town is how usually flamboyant, noveau riche Russian oligarchs are lying low (for now). A few dozen less bottle blondes mixing with the Sloane Rangers and the chatter kicks into overdrive. The vulgar displays of oligarchs, their wives, mistresses, and assorted hangers-on in London has even spawned a trashy TV reality show. For those who experienced it--I did at the tail end while working there for two years--it was quite a parade.Even if Russians are lying low in London, however, there are still signs of disquiet about how they continue to travel to and fro and conduct business quite freely. All this has raised the ire of anti-Russian voices espec...more

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  • Fabius Maximus

    America plays the hegemon while ruled by fear and machismo. FAIL.

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  • The World

    FT column: Division and crisis risk sapping the west’s power

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  • Foreign Policy

    Is Vladimir Putin Covering Up the Deaths of Russian Soldiers in Ukraine?

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  • Foreign Policy

    Is Vladimir Putin Covering Up the Deaths of Russian Soldiers in Ukraine?

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  • Foreign Policy

    Is Vladimir Putin Covering Up the Deaths of Russian Soldiers in Ukraine?

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  • Foreign Policy

    Democracy is Contagious

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  • Foreign Policy

    Democracy is Contagious

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  • Foreign Policy

    Democracy is Contagious

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    Labor Day Holiday; Also September 1, 75 Years On From 1939, So I Leave You with Auden

    Today is the Labor Day holiday in the USA, so I won't be blogging. But it is also September 1, 2014, the 75th anniversary of the day in 1939 when Europe dissolved into the greatest war in history.  Ironically the anniversary comes less than a month after the 100th anniversary of the lamps going out all over Europe for the first time, and as I felt then, there are clear resonances for our own day and particularly the region my readers and I are concerned with.  (And if the Middle East seems to be descending into hell, it's worth remembering it happened twice in Europe in the past century.)I could pontificate, but it's a holiday, and I could never match what Auden said at the time for relevance and power:September 1, 1939W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973I sit in one of t...more

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  • The World

    Smart Reads 1 September, 2014

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  • The Arabist

    On the so-called Islamic State

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  • The World

    The double dilemma dealt to Hong Kong democrats

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  • The Arabist

    Syria Speaks

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  • Foreign Policy

    Testing Ground

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  • Foreign Policy

    Testing Ground

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  • Foreign Policy

    Testing Ground

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  • China Matters

    Najibullah’s Prophecy

    Decisions have consequences.  I wonder when there will be a Global Truth & Reconciliation Commission to deal with the ruinous decision of the United States to partner with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations to cultivate, employ, exploit and/or unleash jihadism and religious sectarianism to destroy unfriendly or unhelpful secular/socialist regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.Butcher’s bill so far: maybe 300,000 dead in Afpak & Iraq, another 200,000 dead in Syria.  Using a conservative wounded to killed ratio of 3:1, at least 1.5 million lives shortened or physically shattered.  Add another 8 million or so refugees for whom the social and economic fabric of their lives has been torn apart.  Judging by first impressions—that ...more

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    Strange Times: al-Qaeda & US Against ISIS

    There's an excellent article over at the WSJ on how "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is turning up odd de facto if not de jure partnerships in the Middle East as the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria makes inroads and holds territory there. Just because you don't admit working together doesn't mean you wouldn't welcome mutually desirable outcomes. The United States and Iran having a shared interest in propping up the Shia-dominated Iraqi government to prevent further incursions is novel enough. but try al-Qaeda and the United States fighting ISIS:Islamic State even has had a falling out with al Qaeda, the group that spawned it. Al Qaeda's official Syrian branch, known as the Nusra Front, is outflanked and mocked by Islamic State. So Nusra has joined the figh...more

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  • Fabius Maximus

    Before your celebrate Labor Day, look at the reality of America’s workers

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    New Sally Ride Book

    Lynn Sherr's book about Sally Ride has now been published, but I have not yet seen it. I have read a couple of reviews, including this one in the July/August The American Prospect.Sally Ride and I were both fellows at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation beginning in September 1987 and Sherr interviewed me about the experience some time ago. Google Books tells me that my interview figured into a page or two of the book (see chapter 9).I'm not sure if Sherr recounted my favorite story, but Ride really embarrassed a Reagan administration official visiting CISAC and selling a version of the Strategic Defense Initiative. He was talking about elements of a space-based system that would have required payloads larger than the U.S. boosters had...more

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  • International Political Economy Zone

    Hong Kong, PRC, Democracy & the 'Sixth Column'

    Would you like to see Britannia rule again, my friend?The worrying thing about Chinese President Xi Jinping is that unlike his modernizing predecessors, he appears not to give only lip service to Marxist-Leninist-Maoist rhetoric but may actually believe in that schtick. Once upon a time, before Xi Jinping, Hong Kong's integration was supposed to be based on "one country, two systems." These days, however, more militant residents are calling China on it while choosing who gets to stand during elections. To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can vote for anyone you like--as long as they've been vetted by the Communist Party.During the Cold War, there was a pervasive fear that Beijing would use its legion of overseas Chinese as a "fifth column" for the infiltration of Communist id...more

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  • Fabius Maximus

    Shut the Robo-whining: The Robocop Remake Has Something on its Mind

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    Saturday dog blogging

    It's been over a year since I posted pics of our dogs, Paddy and Robey. The siblings turned 9 years old in July and have spent about half of this August in the kennel thanks to family travel.According to my youngest daughter, the dogs are quite attentive and photogenic when you say the word "treat" first.Paddington on the left and Darrowby on the right.This is the dogs on their return from one of August's three separate kennel visits. They travel back-and-forth in the rear of a Honda Fit, with a bar preventing them from leaping into the backseat:Visit this blog's homepage.For 140 character IR and foreign policy talk, follow me on twitter.Or for basketball, baseball, movies or other stuff, follow this personal twitter account. ...more

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  • Moneybox

    The 10 Fastest Growing Companies in New York City

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  • The Arabist

    Links August 2014

    Clearing the holiday backlog...Fathers of ISIS | P U L S EBlamed for Rise of ISIS, Syrian Leader Is Pushed to Escalate Fight - NYTAssad's ISIS blowback.Egypt's Wasat party withdraws from pro-Morsi bloc | Middle East EyeWonder if leaders to be released...Saudi princes visit Qatar as Gulf states try to end rift | ReutersI wonder how much of this is over LibyaLibya: Is civil war likely? | The EconomistLibya's New Power Brokers?Excellent overview of power networks by M. Fitzgerald.Libya: Anarchy On the recent UAE-Egyptian raids, and how they haven't tipped the balanceArt Beyond Politics, by Robyn CreswellOn an exhibition of Arab art at the New MuseumHundreds bid farewell to iconic human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif El IslamMeanwhile two of his children are in jailArab Nati...more

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    An "Informal" Area in Cairo's Upscale Doqqi: A Surrouded Village

    To leave you for the weekend, and especially for the Cairo hands, here's an interesting piece on an "informal" area (usually meaning a slum or illegal squatter settlement, but in this case one that long precedes the urbanization of the area): one of a number of "surrounded villages" on the West Bank of the Nile. It's  useful to see these examples (there are others) of onetime villages swallowed up by urbanization but still essentially separate.David Sims and other students of Cairene urbaniztion have studied these places, but this is a rather thorough post on one I hadn't known about.....more

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  • MEI Editor's Blog

    The Underreported Role of Turkey's PKK and the Syrian PYD in the Kurdish Fight Against ISIS

    Promoting Kurdish Unity: Kurdish Leaders from Several CountriesKRG FlagBecause most Western reporting on the Kurdish fight against the Islamic State (which I still prefer to call "ISIS" rather than "IS") are reporting from Erbil or occasionally Suleimaniyya, it is easy to come away with the impression that when reports say that Kurdish Peshmerga have taken a town, it refers to the formal armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which in turn combine the militias of KRG President Mas‘oud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). (In the poster above, Barzani is third from left, Talabani second from right.) They are surely the best armed and best trained (and Iran is now sup...more

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  • Moneybox

    At Work, Every Friday Should Be a Summer Friday

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  • Foreign Policy

    Obama Hints at Legal Rationale for Airstrikes in Syria

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  • Moneybox

    So You’re Rich for an American. Does That Make You Rich for New York?

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  • Foreign Policy

    Kerry Leading Coalition Drive to Confront Islamic State

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  • Achenblog

    Kennewick Man and the Dorsets

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  • Macro and Markets

    Financing Ukraine: Time for an Honest Assessment

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (“incursion” is far too polite a term) represents a major intensification of the conflict and should cross all red lines the West has established.  The logic of the earlier, incremental approach—put modest sanctions in place, and let the threat of worse create a chilling effect on investment and trade—has reached a dead end.  Whether President Putin seeks a stalemate within Ukraine or something more menacing, full sectoral sanctions (including, importantly, Russia’s access to payments systems) should now be put in place as a firm signal of western resolve.  The real cost-benefit to be done is not the costs on the West compared to Russia. Rather it is those relative costs contrasted against doing nothing and risking a situation...more

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  • Foreign Policy

    Russian Troops in Ukraine Shape NATO's Counter to Putin

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  • China Matters

    Cauldrons, Kessels, Pockets, and Ukraine

    There is a lot of talk on the pro-Russian side of the Ukrainian question about “cauldrons” in which hapless Ukrainian troops are trapped and doomed to destruction or surrender.Perhaps the use of “cauldron” is meant to evoke memories of the mother of all cauldrons, the trap that encircled and annihilated the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and signaled the turning of the military tide against Hitler.However, as a point of interest, it might be pointed out that the “cauldron” (in German, “kessel”) was originally a clever and successful tactic employed by the Wehrmacht in its retreat from Leningrad, in order to slow down, tie up, and otherwise confound the advancing Red Army.The Ur-kessel, I believe, was at Demyansk, in the Novgorod Oblast just south of Le...more

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    What Tom Friedman's Interview Revealed About Obama's Foreign Policy

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  • Achenblog

    The Burning of Washington (and excellent spin afterward)

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  • China Matters

    China as an EEZ Outlaw in the South China Sea

    A think tank called CNA recently issued a 140 page report titled China versus Vietnam: An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea authored by Raul (Pete) Pedrozo.  It provides a further legal rationale for growing US efforts to inject itself into South China Sea EEZ disputes on behalf of Vietnam and against the PRC.A few reasons why attention should be paid.First, the institution.CNA is described as a non-profit corporation.  A fuller description would be a “US Navy analytic division dating to 1942 that works exclusively for and is funded exclusively by the US government but was corporatized in the 1990s so it could dip its beak into non-DoD government work through a division called the Institute for Public Research”.You could say that “C...more

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  • Achenblog

    Ferguson, Obama and justice [Updated]

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  • Rodger A. Payne's Blog

    Touring Scotland

    As you might have noticed in my twitter feed (in the right-hand column), I was in Scotland August 4-8 and again August 12-15. The first week, three-fourths of my family was in Edinburgh attending the annual Fringe Festival. Our youngest daughter, though a recent graduate, was performing in a production with her high school theater company. They staged "Our Town, Louisville" four times over the course of the week.You can see some photos and a playbill here for their show, cleverly "derived" from Thornton Wilder's "Our Town":YPAS performs Our Town Louisville #fringefestival pic.twitter.com/wHGS1HVwy7— Tracy Morrison (@tdmorrison1234) July 26, 2014In Edinburgh, my wife and I had a busy week. For example, it was exhausting and exhilarating walking the Royal Mile duri...more

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  • Macro and Markets

    Argentina Defaults: The Day After

    Argentina has defaulted. The long-running court drama that ran for over ten years and pitted Argentina against a small group of holdout creditors was decided decisively in favor of the holdouts in June, and Argentina subsequently refused to make payments as required by the courts. As a result, neither the holdouts nor the holders of restructured external debt will get paid, resulting in S&P placing the country in “selective default.” (Payment on the restructured bonds was due June 30, and the grace period for making those payments expired yesterday.) There is a great deal of back-and-forth on who is to blame, focusing mostly on the equity/ethical/moral implications of creditors (or vultures?) being rewarded for a litigating their contractual rights against a di...more

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  • Macro and Markets

    EU Sanctions Rules Released

    The rules for implementing new EU sanctions against Russia have been released (see also here and here).  On quick glance, they are, as advertised, an important step that will have systemic effects in financial, energy and defense markets. In this respect, they are “sectoral” or “level three” sanctions in the language of policymakers.  While narrow in scope– the financial ban (Article V) is on new transferable securities of majority state-owned Russian banks with maturities greater than 90 days–one is left with the impression that Europe, like the United States, stands ready to extend the sanctions if there is evasion or further Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine.     ...more

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  • The Moor Next Door

    New World Politics Review Piece

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    The Peace Process Ends: Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

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  • The Belgravia Dispatch

    The Horror: Iraq Class of '03 Mounts Rerun

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    Farewell

    In memoriam: Gary S. Becker, 1930-2014. The Becker-Posner blog is terminated. Richard A. Posner

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  • The Moor Next Door

    The Army and the Status Quo

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  • The Moor Next Door

    RND Sketch

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    Sabbatical Notice

    Starting this weekend, we will be taking a one-month sabbatical from blogging. We will resume at the end of that period.

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  • The Becker-Posner Blog

    The Embargo of Cuba: Time to Go- Becker

    The US embargo of Cuba began in 1960, a year after Fidel Castro turned this island toward communism. It was extended to food and medicines in 1962, the same year as the showdown with Russia over the installation of missiles there. The embargo has prevented American companies from doing business with Cuba, and discouraged tourism to Cuba. The American government also tried with quite limited success to prevent other countries from trading with Cuba. In general economic embargoes are undesirable because they interfere with free trade among countries. Yet a case could be made for an embargo against Cuba. Castro not only allowed Russian missiles to be installed in Cuba, just 90 miles from Florida, but was also actively trying to interfere in other countries by sending troop...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    Can the F-35 Replace the A-10?

    by Nickolai Sukharev  One of the big decisions the United States Air Force has considered over the last few months is whether to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet as a cost saving measure while developing and procuring the F-35A Lightening II. Given the Budget Control Act caps on Pentagon spending and the need to better allocate funds, officials have expressed their preference to prioritize multi-mission platforms in the inventory. But the problem is that the F-35A is not a replacement for the A-10’s close air support. The reason is simple: it lacks comparable capabilities despite a higher operating cost. Given the constrained budgetary environment, the comparative cost to maintain and operate the two aircraft should be a decisive consideration. The A-10 is a...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    After Geneva Talks A Consensus on Moving Forward

    By Homa Hassan The two-day round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran just concluded in Geneva and Western diplomats are carefully reviewing a detailed proposal presented by Iran. As this proposal is being reviewed ahead of the follow-on meetings in November it is important to look at what the realistic prospects of a deal will look like. Going into this week’s talks, a number of commentaries came out attempting to set negotiations up for failure. However, it is widely agreed that a negotiated solution to Iran’s controversial nuclear program is the best way to achieve a sustainable solution and a recent survey of reports and recommendations from bipartisan think tanks and high-level experts demonstrates a broad consensus on how to approach negotiations a...more

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  • democracyarsenal.org

    TPP, TTIP and Getting America's Competitiveness Back on Track

    By Marcela Heywood Last week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia marked further progress for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and set an ambitious goal to finish negotiations by the end of the year. Although the U.S. government shutdown – and President Obama’s absence in Bali – did not hinder the trade talks, it did call America’s credibility into question. Government shutdown could threaten both TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations by displaying uncertainty in U.S. economic and foreign policy priorities. Congress needs to reach an agreement and prioritize TPP and TTIP, as they are necessary policy initiatives to boost American competitiveness, stimulate the economy, and exert soft power to cr...more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Why US Financial Hegemony Will Endure

    Will and I have a piece, now ungated, over at a fantastic new online magazine called Symposium. Our article translates much of the main points of our Perspectives Piece (co-authored with Thomas and Andy Pennock) for popular consumption. We are also blogging over there this week in support of the article. Please do check out our writing this week on the magazine's website, as well as the other great content on the site....more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Foreign Direct Investment, Human Rights, INGOs

    One of the major areas of underdeveloped research within political science is the interaction between non-state actors. From an international political economy perspective, the literature has largely ignored the interaction of various non-state actors that are growing in importance, and its effects on different forms of trade. In a recently published article "Avoiding the Spotlight: Human Rights Shaming and Foreign Direct Investment" by Colin Barry, Chad Clay and Michael Flynn, they lay the foundation for examining this interaction. They examine the interaction between non-state actors (INGOs) and multinational corporations (MNCs) and the extent to which private actors' choices to invest in countries are affected by the reputational costs of doing business in those...more

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  • International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina

    Verizon, Vodafone, and Measuring FDI

    Recently back from APSA in Chicago, I've been reflecting on the state of our knowledge about FDI (or perhaps more accurately, cross-border management stakes in enterprises). That, and working on my dissertation, applying for academic jobs, and teaching. Oh, and telling everyone who'll listen about my Optimus Prime sighting on Michigan Ave.Anyway, I find a post-conference review of the discipline is generally a good way to consider potentially fruitful lines of new inquiry. In my experience, the quality of papers at conferences can be rather hit-or-miss. This generally fits into my view of conferences as important sources of external deadlines for getting drafts done as well as interacting with other scholars in more informal settings such as the hotel bar/lobby/over-cro...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Why Defining Terrorism Matters

    This is a guest post by Karolina Lula, a PhD student at Rutgers-Newark.---------------The terrorism industry has grown exponentially since 9/11.  Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, a plethora of terrorism scholars eagerly spoon out their collective wisdom.  The chance to be included in the over-caffeinated media spotlight justifies decades cooped up in small offices pouring over data. In a certain respect, terrorism scholars mirror their subject.  They both love an audience.              Despite their growing presence in the media, academics fail to persuade others about what terrorism is in the first place.  Language evolves and academia is only one source of influence.  T...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Planning to be Shocked

    One of the most repeated, and most dubious, axioms about strategy is the notion that being proactive is wiser than being reactive, and that reactivity is something we should be allergic to. In the words of Briain's foreign secretary William Hague, 'the nation that is purely reactive in foreign policy is in decline.' Likewise, written into the folklore of the US foreign policy establishment is the notion that the 'strategic shocks' that struck America - such as Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor or 9/11 - happened because Washington was passively sleeping. A quick read of Presidential speeches on the anniversary of that attack shows how powerful the creed of active vigilantism lives on, even if it doesn't power all of America's day to day behaviour.Never mind that a...more

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  • The Duck of Minerva

    Quick Note

    If you haven't been seeing any posts for a few months, that's because we moved to http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/. Some readers have informed us that the redirect may not be behaving for some subset of RSS feed readers. If that's the case, you can subscribe to the new feed at http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/?feed=rsshttp://whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/?feed=rss...more

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  • Political Animal

    Wednesday's Mini-Report

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  • Political Animal

    The need for partisan cover

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  • Political Animal

    House rebuffs Boehner, scraps F-35 Jet Engine Program

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Otaviano Canuto

Otaviano Canuto is Senior Advisor on BRICS Economies in the Development Economics Department, World Bank, a new position established by President Kim to bring a fresh research focus to this increasingly critical area. He also has an extensive academic background, serving as Professor of Economics at the University of Sao Paulo and University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil.

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