On July 1, 2012, Senegal held legislative elections to select
all 150 members of the twelfth National Assembly, the lower
chamber—and the only fully elected one—in this West African
country of approximately twelve million people. The
legislative elections followed a hotly contested presidential
election in which Abdoulaye Wade, president over the last
twelve years, sought a controversial third term and lost by a
historic margin. Wade and other leaders of his Senegalese
Democratic Party (PDS) sought a legislative majority that
would force the new president, Macky Sall, into cohabitation.Full PDF
“Ten years into its existence, the Euro is a resounding success. The single currency has become a symbol of Europe, considered by Euro-area citizens to be among the most positive results of European integration….” Barely five years after the European Commission issued this 2008 celebration of its new currency, the statement seems highly ironic. Europe is locked in a struggle for the survival of the euro—and indeed, for the prosperity of the continent and its people. German chancellor Angela Merkel does not exaggerate when she says that “the euro crisis is the greatest test Europe has faced since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957”—the foundation of the European Economic Community (EEC).Across southern Europe, millions of families are living in misery, as rates of unemployment exceed 25 percent in Greece and Spain and approach 15 percent in Portugal (and, on the western periphery, in Ireland), while the salaries of teachers, nurses, and other public employees are slashed, and firms go bankrupt in unprecedented numbers. The suicide rate in Greece has doubled during the past three years. This economic stagnation is now depressing performance even in Germany, normally the engine of the European economy; gross domestic product (GDP) in the 17 Eurozone countries is forecast to contract this year.How did the Europeans get into this mess—and how are they going to get out of it? There are no obvious answers—indeed, the regional variation in the answers usually given across Europe is telling. But deeper analysis can be illuminating, not only about the euro crisis itself, but about that unique political construction that is the European Union (EU).“Rules Rule”: Putting a Theory into PracticeReading about the euro in the financial press is like watching Rashomon, that marvelous Japanese film about memory and forgetting. Many who once applauded the monetary union now condemn it. Today, everyone agrees that the institutional structure of economic and monetary union (EMU) is inadequate. Why then did the Europeans agree to it in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992?Monetary union was adopted as much for political reasons as for economic ones. The EU members were dissatisfied with the previous system that fixed their exchange rates within narrow bands—a system that provided monetary stability but required painful negotiations when current-account imbalances arose between the member states; moreover, some governments resented the dominant role played by the German Bundesbank in this process. Ironically (in retrospect), the move to EMU was in some respects an effort to escape this need for transnational negotiations about economic policy.There were also economic payoffs. Germany was to gain secure markets in neighboring countries that would no longer be able to devalue their currencies to increase the competitiveness of their goods vis-à-vis German ones, while the French imagined that the new European central bank would be more sensitive to their interests than the Bundesbank. But EMU was also conceived against the backdrop of German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. There was never a strict quid pro quo, but the single currency was sold in France and Germany on the understanding that it would bind a newly powerful Germany to Europe. It matters for events today that EMU was ultimately a political construction, seen then as the crowning achievement of European integration.But the institutional design of EMU was highly technocratic. Authority over monetary policy was vested in a new European central bank (ECB) entirely independent of political control. Fiscal policy was to be guided by the minimalist rules of a Stability and Growth Pact that limited national deficits to 3 percent and national debt to 60 percent of GDP. There was no institutional provision for medium-term coordination of fiscal policy among countries, and the ECB was forbidden to issue debt to subsidize national governments—a capacity most national central banks have.Behind this design we can see the influence of the economic doctrines of the early 1990s. By then, the Keynesian view that growth depends on active governmental macroeconomic management had been discredited by the stagflation of the 1970s. A new “rational-expectations” economic orthodoxy specified that monetary policy has few effects on the real economy and fiscal policy is generally ineffective. Thus, monetary policy should be rule-based and targeted only on inflation, while growth was said to depend, not on the management of demand, but on structural reforms to the supply side of the economy—based on changes to regulations and tax rates designed to increase competition in markets for goods and labor. “Rules rule” ran the graffiti in the City of London at the time, and that is what EMU provided.The Theory DerailedWhat went wrong? The conventional answer, popular in northern Europe, is that the southern Europeans and Irish broke the fiscal rules of EMU. There is some truth to this. The crisis was sparked in December 2009 by a new Greek government’s revelation that its budget deficit was more than twice as large as previously reported. Because Greek national debt was already at 113 percent of GDP, these new figures sparked a crisis of confidence in the international bond markets that soon spread beyond Greece, raising the cost of borrowing for the Irish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian governments (the other Eurozone members perceived to have weak economies or national balance sheets). After torturous negotiations, the member states of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered long-term loans to bail out the Greek, Irish, and Portuguese governments, while the ECB pumped funds into their banking systems to assure their liquidity.If only these states had not violated the terms of the Stability and Growth Pact, so this narrative goes, there would have been no crisis. But that is only half of the story. Clinging to the illusion that monetary union had freed them from the need for serious negotiations about differing national budgets, the European governments were reluctant to enforce the terms of the pact—especially because the first countries to violate it were Germany and France. (Even on the brink of the crisis, Spain remained well within its terms.)Moreover, much of the lending that fueled the crisis had gone not to spendthrift governments, but rather to the private sector. The euro crisis is really Europe’s version of the global debt crisis (as the collapse of the housing market was in the United States). There was plenty of “irrational exuberance” to go around. During the past decade, for instance, Spain built more houses than Germany, France, and the United Kingdom combined, and the Irish banks so inflated their balance sheets that rescuing them in 2010 briefly swelled the Irish budget deficit to 32 percent of GDP. In such instances, the lenders as well as the borrowers are to blame. With the advent of the single currency, international financiers treated all the member states as safe markets and flooded them with cheap money. Was it entirely unwise for firms and governments to take advantage of those funds to fuel their growth? Perhaps—but as we know in this country, they were not alone.Among those most eager to lend to the periphery were the financial institutions of northern Europe, which by the end of 2009 held more than €2 trillion in Irish and southern European debt. Thus, the crisis of confidence that occurred in 2010 was really a crisis for the European financial system as a whole. When they bailed out Greece, Portugal, and Ireland, the northern Europeans were also bailing out their own banks—although it was more politically expedient to blame the problems on southern governments.Those seeking deeper causes for the crisis often fasten on the rising imbalances in payments across Europe, as Germany built up large current account surpluses and the peripheral member states deficits. The southern Europeans were buying more from northern Europe than they sold there, and financing those purchases with loans from the north. Behind these imbalances was a growing gap in unit labor costs, a conventional measure of national competitiveness, as wages in southern Europe rose faster than those in much of the north. On this basis, many claim that southern Europeans used the first decade of the euro to live beyond their means without taking enough steps to keep their economies competitive.Asymmetrical EconomiesTaken literally, this is incontrovertible, but the reality is more complicated. What governments and firms can do is conditioned by the organization of the political economy. That is based on institutions that develop over long periods of time and cannot be changed overnight. The EMU joined together several different varieties of capitalism, each of which pursues economic growth in a different way. To simplify slightly, we can distinguish between northern and southern European economic models.Germany’s coordinated market economy exemplifies the northern model. That nation can hold down labor costs because its industrial-relations institutions encourage firms and unions to coordinate on modest wage increases. Its highly collaborative vocational training system, operated by strong employer associations and trade unions, provides firms with skilled labor that gives them comparative advantages in producing high-value-added goods and capacities for continuous innovation—enabling German enterprises to compete globally on quality as well as price. An economy organized in this way is ideally suited to mount the kind of export-led growth strategies that lead to success inside a monetary union.By contrast, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy entered EMU with political economies not well-suited to this type of growth strategy. They have fractious labor movements divided into competing confederations, and weak employer associations. As a result, they lack the capacities for collaborative skill formation and wage coordination central to northern European economic strategies. Instead, their governments have tended to rely on demand-led growth, in which governments increase spending to encourage domestic consumption and then use periodic depreciations of the exchange rate to offset the inflationary effects of this strategy on the competitiveness of their products. Depreciation lowers the price of a country’s exports in foreign markets and raises the price of imports that compete with domestically produced goods.For these countries, entry into monetary union offered as many handicaps as advantages. By expanding education and initiating structural reforms to make labor and product markets more flexible, they could improve the competitiveness of their firms—and to varying degrees, all southern European governments undertook some such reforms. But in the face of strong producer groups defending vested interests, these reform processes are bound to be protracted. In the meantime, unable to operate export-led growth strategies, these countries continued to pursue growth led by domestic demand—but in a context where they could no longer offset its inflationary effects on the competitiveness of their products: they could no longer devalue their national currencies. The result was ballooning current-account deficits.At the root of the euro crisis, therefore, is an institutional asymmetry built into EMU from its inception. The northern Europeans entered monetary union with institutional frameworks well-suited to the export-led growth strategies that yield success in such contexts, whereas the southern Europeans entered with ill-suited frameworks—and lost the capacity to devalue on which some had relied. These issues escaped notice when EMU was designed (because it was widely assumed that the member economies would converge on a single set of best practices), and they are still ignored by those who think that the solution to the current crisis is for the southern European economies simply to become just like those in the north.Is There a Euro Future?So where does this leave the euro today? Can it survive continuing pressure in the international bond markets? What does the response to the crisis tell us about the European Union itself?The problems are certainly daunting, because the euro crisis is actually three crises in one: a crisis of confidence in the bond markets, a debt crisis in the European financial system, and a growth crisis for the continent as a whole.The crisis of confidence is reflected in the reluctance of international investors to purchase sovereign debt in parts of Europe, raising the cost of borrowing for some countries and firms to unsustainable levels. Although confidence could fall again at any moment, this crisis is abating. The ECB’s announcement last September that it was prepared to purchase unlimited amounts of sovereign debt from countries that met conditions imposed by the European Stability Mechanism (the Euro-area bailout fund) had a calming effect on the markets. With this step, Mario Draghi, the Italian president of the bank, was deftly skirting the rules of EMU to offer something close to a guarantee for these countries’ bonds.The underlying debt crisis, however, remains unresolved. A debt crisis arises when existing levels of debt are too high to be fully repaid. The key to resolving it is determining who will pay what—and who will not get paid. Economists often argue that such steps will be less painful if taken quickly. Aside from some restructuring of sovereign debt in Greece, and of bank debt in Spain and Ireland, however, the member states of the European Union have largely put off such decisions. At the outset of the crisis, this posture may have saved their financial system from even bigger problems, but the day of reckoning cannot be postponed forever.The ground has been laid for a resolution of this problem through a series of steps that put much of the questionable debt into the hands of national governments, the ECB, and European rescue funds. This suggests that some of the debt may be forgiven, with the public sector footing the bill. But negotiations about which governments will pay, and whether the ECB will pay as well, are bound to be painful. Not much will likely get done until after the German elections this fall, but governments will then be seeking solutions that obscure the precise distribution of costs and benefits, as they did in February when Ireland’s promissory notes were replaced by long-term bonds.From an electoral perspective, obscuring those costs is important because the initial response to the crisis by the northern European governments has made their long-term task more difficult. Instead of presenting the crisis as an existential dilemma for Europe, northern politicians reacted as if it were entirely attributable to the fiscal fecklessness of southern European governments. The media soon translated that into crude stereotypes about “lazy Greeks” that have evoked similar images in the south of “jackbooted Germans,” thereby eroding the pan-European solidarity the EU worked for so long to cultivate. The resulting ill will has made the problem of mobilizing political consent for any adjustment strategy more difficult.Unfortunately, there is no solution in sight for the growth crisis afflicting Europe. Its effects have been worst on the periphery. During the past five years, GDP has fallen by more than 20 percent in Greece and nearly 7 percent in Spain, Ireland, and Italy. Because 40 percent of German exports, and 60 percent of French ones, go to the Eurozone, continental growth is now depressed as well, and the ECB forecasts that GDP will grow by only 1 percent in the Eurozone next year. In response, the European Union claims it has a growth strategy based on two pillars: a fiscal compact that will commit most of the member states to balanced budgets, and a program of structural reform that will intensify competition in markets for products and labor. But neither step is of any real value in the short term. As the IMF recently confirmed, fiscal austerity is making the problems of the south worse: in some countries, budgetary cutbacks designed to reduce the share of the public deficit in GDP are depressing output so much that the debt share is in fact increasing. And even though structural reform can make some economies more efficient in the long term, the hope that it will regenerate growth in the near to medium term is a mirage. Sophisticated European policymakers know this, but because they have to have a growth strategy, in the absence of any agreement on an alternative, they keep repeating this mantra.Is there an alternative? In the immediate future, coordinated fiscal reflation, which would see austerity relaxed in the south and government spending increase in the north, would help. But because that could entail fiscal transfers from north to south, it is hard to sell to electorates, and northern governments fear that if they loosen their fiscal demands on the south, the reform process there will stop. Only when electorates across Europe realize that they are all in the same boat will they take turns rowing together. But the question is whether they will realize that before experiencing the kind of prolonged stagnation seen in Japan during the 1990s.The longer-term issues in the south are even more intractable. Most of the northern European countries have viable growth models, and Ireland can likely grow again as a low-tax site for multinationals in Europe. But it is unclear whether Spain, Portugal, and Greece can continue to prosper inside the single currency. They do not yet have a strong institutional base for high-value-added production, and their low-wage sectors face stiff competition from the world’s emerging economies. Monetary union is making it hard for them to pursue demand-led growth.The Political, European Union SolutionBut it would be premature to predict the monetary union will break up. For Europeans, the single currency is not simply a convenient economic arrangement. It is the symbol of an integrated Europe to which many are committed—and the EU has a history of making novel political arrangements work. This is a fundamental point often missed in dry economic analyses of the institutional requisites for monetary union. Where there is a will, the political elites of Europe have often found a way, even when it entails protracted negotiations and unwieldy compromises.The big question, therefore, is whether that will can be sustained and given effective political expression in the face of a debilitating austerity that has left southern electorates disillusioned and confused. Only with difficulty did Italy cobble together a coalition government after an election in which the third-most-popular party was led by a comedian incensed at political corruption, and the third-most-popular party in Greece is an anti-immigrant movement given to fascist tactics. It is not surprising that southern Europeans are fed up with their leaders. Many want monetary union without austerity. But that is not currently on offer from their northern neighbors or the bond markets. Even with more help from the north, it is not clear that the political systems of the south will continue to yield governments willing to take the measures that would make monetary union sustainable.Since monetary union has always been a political construction, perhaps it is fitting that its fate now turns on the political capacities of Europeans to reconstruct it. Unless national governments can mobilize electoral majorities in favor of burden-sharing, the prospects for EMU do not look auspicious. Watching them try has been a sobering and at times ugly spectacle. But, even on this side of the Atlantic, we know that democratic politics is an inefficient process, and Europe has a postwar record of reinventing itself that suggests the task is not impossible.
Think Big Brother is tapping your phone and reading your e-mail? Want to go to court and make the government prove its surveillance program is constitutional? Well, you can’t, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling, because you can’t say for sure that your privacy has been breached.In case this Catch-22 doesn’t bother you enough, there’s more. The court on Feb. 26 decided not to hear complaints involving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended in 2008. That law says the government can intercept any communication between the U.S. and any non-U.S. citizen abroad provided its purpose is to obtain foreign intelligence (duh) and it uses generic procedures to minimize privacy intrusion - procedures that we are (surprise) not allowed to know.
It used to be that the government had to get case-specific permission from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for each wiretap. Since 2008, however, that court seems to lack specific supervision authority: It just signs a blank check for the system.While the exact procedures remain behind a government veil, what the law means in practice is modestly clear: officials almost certainly start by accessing every phone call abroad and every e-mail to a non-U.S. recipient, then use data mining to “narrow” the search before drilling down. If this isn’t quite what the Pentagon embarrassingly but accurately called “Total Information Awareness” in 2002, it is certainly close.
The reason to think this is the system is that the technology exists, and there is no other way to keep an eye on such a large volume of communication. So every time you pick up the phone to call London or e-mail someone abroad, a government computer, and possibly a live intelligence officer, is in the know. Think of it as Google Inc.’s Gmail on an even grander scale.
Tracking TerroristsOK, let’s say you have no secrets that you don’t want the government to know and are happy to sacrifice some privacy to help track terrorists. Even then, don’t you still want to know how the Supreme Court reached its conclusion?
The court acknowledged the structure of surveillance, but denied U.S. plaintiffs their day in court because they lacked standing, which requires that an injury be “concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent.” The catalog of reasons that Justice Samuel Alito provided in his majority decision makes for shocking reading.
For one thing, Alito wrote, the plaintiffs don’t know how the government targets people - so how can they think that they’re targeted? The government might be using some other method to spy on them, so how can they know it will use this one? The security court might deny such authority, and because its decisions are secret, they can’t know they haven’t been targeted. The government might fail to capture their communications with the target.
These arguments would be funny if they weren’t being used to deny a hearing on constitutional rights that everyone knows are real. Oh, and where did the arguments originate? From the Barack Obama administration’s Department of Justice, which won this grand victory by persuading the court’s five Republican appointees and none of the Democratic ones, including Justice Elena Kagan, Obama’s former solicitor general.
The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, had a perfect rejoinder to these absurdist arguments: If we don’t have standing to sue, no one ever will, and the government’s post-2008 surveillance program will never be subject to constitutional scrutiny.
No StandingThe Supreme Court rejected this argument, too. First, it quoted a 1982 opinion by then-Justice William Rehnquist to the effect that “the assumption that if respondents have no standing to sue, no one would have standing, isn’t a reason to find standing.” It then asserted, laughably, that the system might still be reviewed if the government publicly used secretly obtained information in prosecuting a defendant.
Finally, Alito explained that the government’s program was subject to review by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Unfortunately, that court captures everything that has gone wrong in the encroachment of secrecy into the constitutional protections of the rule of law.
It was created in 1978 as secret body to review government surveillance requests back in the dark ages, when specific directives were still required for each wiretap. The government always appeared in the court unopposed by any advocate for the surveillance target; existing data suggest its requests were almost never turned down. Perhaps the secrecy and non- adversarial nature of the court was justified insofar as its job was to grant warrants. But it should be obvious that such a court cannot engage in serious constitutional review, because no one other than the government appears before it.Alito also said that the court has its own review panel, an appellate “court” of three judges whose job is to review denials in the unlikely event that the government should lose its initial request. Like the regular court, the review panel has no one before it but the government advocates. It was this body that reviewed and affirmed the constitutionality of the entire government surveillance program in 2008. The opinion, one of only two ever issued by the panel, was released in a heavily redacted form.
Still, we know that the review panel didn’t hear arguments from anyone whose rights would actually have been infringed. Instead, the argument against the constitutionality of the surveillance program was mounted by the (anonymous) telecommunications-industry service providers who were the targets of the warrants issued by the surveillance courts. Two main interests of those companies are to keep costs low and the government happy - hardly the basis for a rigorous adversarial challenge to a government program based on national security.
By claiming that the review panel’s judgment is an adequate avenue for constitutional review, the Supreme Court embraced the creeping norm of secret and quasi-secret legal proceedings. The Obama administration’s claim that the court satisfied due process for U.S. citizens targeted abroad via secret internal review is another version of the same tendency.
It’s always sad when a court won’t allow citizens to assert their constitutional rights. When the Supreme Court says secret, nonadversarial proceedings are good enough, it’s even sadder.
How could terror breed in the heart of a city so inclusive?Just as Delhi and Bangalore are my Indian homes, Boston is my American home. I have lived here for 16-17 years. Norfolk Street, where the Boston bombers lived, is only a couple of miles away from my apartment. MIT, where the Tsarnaev brothers killed a policeman, is my alma mater. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where the younger Tsarnaev brother studied, is across the street from Harvard University's Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, where I started my American career as a junior professor. Boylston Street, where the bombs went off at the marathon finish line, and the nearby Copley Square are the commercial heart of Boston. I have friends in Watertown, where the younger Tsarnaev hid in a boat before being captured by the police. Such intimate associations generate sadness about the events last week, but they also allow me to formulate some puzzles and provide proximate, if not conclusive, answers.If Washington is the political capital of the US, New York the financial capital and Los Angeles the entertainment capital, Boston is America's intellectual capital. Universities, colleges and labs liberally dot the landscape. Also, Boston's history is special. The American revolution against the British commenced here; the Boston marathon, so violently disrupted on April 15, is on Patriot's Day.Cambridge, part of Boston, perhaps has more foreigners per capita than any other town in the English-speaking world. Only New York and greater San Francisco, comprising Berkeley and Stanford, could compete in the US, and London abroad. The Tsarnaev brothers, especially the older sibling, felt lost and discovered destructive anger, in what is one of the most international and inclusive towns of the US. Here is what Cambridge superintendent of schools Jeffrey Young says: "We [Cambridge] are an inclusive community, guided by our shared values... That may be one reason it is so hard to understand how this could happen in a place like Cambridge."Boston is also known for its legendary sports teams. The Boston Marathon is part of a great sporting tradition that iconises Patriot's Day and Boston's rebellion against the British in 1775. Going back to 1897, it is the world's oldest annual marathon, and currently one of the six annual marathon majors across the world. An estimated half a million people watch the race. It is a day of celebration.This year, the celebration morphed into a nightmare. President Obama's words evocatively—and brilliantly—summoned the meaning of the event and tragedy: "On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened off the State House Dome. In the commons, in the public garden, spring was in bloom... In Hopkinton, runners laced up their shoes and set out on a 26.2-mile test of dedication and grit and the human spirit... It was a beautiful day to be in Boston, a day that explains why a poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place. Boston, he said, is the perfect state of grace... And then, in an instant, the day's beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy.Even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn't even know we had, and we finish the race. On that toughest mile, just when we think that we've hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall... And that's what the perpetrators of such senseless violence, these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build... and think somehow that makes them important—that's what they don't understand."The Boston bombings raise two big questions. The first is this: If nearly all big acts of terrorism, especially jihadi terrorism, have been thwarted in the US since 2001, how could this one escape the net of intelligence?Ray Kelly, New York City's highly respected police chief, says that since 9/11, 16 terrorist attempts in New York have been foiled, including one aimed at the Times Square and another at the subway, the city's transport lifeline. In Virginia, Colorado and Connecticut, some attempts at mass murder have succeeded, but they were not jihad-inspired. Indeed, only one major act of jihadi terror has been successfully executed since 2001. At the Fort Hood army station in Texas, Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 soldiers, apparently under the influence of a radical cleric.Kelly has no doubt that luck has played a role, but he also says that the New York Police Department regularly consults with the local leaders of Muslim neighbourhoods. The police-citizen interaction has been very helpful. In Boston, too, the younger Tsarnaev was apprehended only after the lockdown was lifted. One of the homeowners noticed a pool of blood on his boat, lodged in the backyard, and informed the police. The almost day-long police search did not yield the younger Tsarnaev.It also appears that bigger acts are easier to foil, while smaller plots can remain under the radar. The technology used in making smaller bombs is so well known and bomb-making manuals are so easily available, online and otherwise, that low-grade bombs can be easily produced by one or two people. This is the most chilling larger implication of the events last week. Unless proven otherwise, the Tsarnaev brothers were spiders without a spider web. They did not even have an exit plan after executing terror. A networked terrorist would have left the US, or been closer to an airport.The second big question that the Boston bombs raise is deeper. What explains that some of those who grew up in the US, went through American institutions, lived in inclusive multi-ethnic towns, even took the oath of citizenship as the younger Tsarnaev did, would resort to terrorist violence on US soil?The fundamental premise of America as a nation of immigrants is that, regardless of ethnicity, race or religion, everyone can be American. There may be teething troubles in adjustment, experienced by new immigrants and/ or caused by older settlers, but in the end, freedom and equality as the core principles of nationhood, education in public schools and the lure of opportunities can build a strong and cohesive nation out of America's many diversities. Do the Boston bombs, by any chance, show that being a religious Muslim and being an American might not go together?It would be analytically premature to rush to this conclusion. And the fact that, unlike the reaction to 9/11, America is not even debating this issue shows how far the US has come.The Tsarnaev brothers appear to be part of a dysfunctional family and horribly complicated national homeland politics. According to scholars of Chechnya, every fifth Chechen is in exile; so deep are the national wounds of wars and forced migration. The Tsarnaev parents kept going back and forth between the US and their homeland, finding home nowhere. The older Tsarnaev brother came to the US when he was already a teenager, the age normally viewed as the hardest for adjustment to a new and unfamiliar land. If, as is widely reported, he could not make a single American friend even after living a decade in one of the most inclusive towns of the US, it says something about his own psychological difficulties. The plunge into jihadi ideology might be a consequence of such difficulties.If so, the fundamental cause of the embrace of terror would not be a turn towards jihadi Islam, but a psychological crisis caused by the inability to adjust to a new land and the virtual impossibility of return to the homeland. Acts of terror must indeed be punished, but we need more evidence before we arrive at grand conclusions about Islam's incompatibility with the US.
The contemporary standoff over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands threatens to exacerbate Japan-China relations in the long
run. Despite their disagreement over the islands’ sovereignty, the two governments had successfully depoliticized the issue for nearly four decades
since their diplomatic normalization in 1972. The islands issue became politicized after the collision between a Chinese trawler and the Japan Coast
Guard in 2010, and has become increasingly militarized after the Japanese
government’s purchase of three of the five islands from their private owner
in 2012. China has boosted its civilian and military presence in maritime
and airspace around the islands, confronting their Japanese counterparts
regularly and raising the risk of an armed conflict which potentially involves the United States. What caused the intense politicization and increasing militarization of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute? What are
the pragmatic steps which the two governments can take to depoliticize,
demilitarize, and deescalate the current situation?
Last Monday, a brave Guatemalan judge made history. In greenlighting a public trial for the former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide, the judge, Miguel Ángel Gálvez, made his country the first in the Americas to prosecute a former head of state, in its own domestic courts, for the ultimate crime.Mr. Ríos Montt, a former cold war general whom Ronald Reagan defended as having gotten a “bum rap,” will finally face his accusers—three decades after his alleged crimes, and a year after he was indicted.Mr. Ríos Montt seized power by a coup in March 1982, taking charge of a counterinsurgency that was then two decades old. To deny the guerrillas local support, he sent soldiers to wipe out hundreds of Mayan villages. In 1999, after the war’s end, the United Nations-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission tallied thousands of rapes, tortures, disappearances, violations of cultural rights and extrajudicial executions his forces committed while he held power, and concluded that he presided over acts of genocide.The dictator was ousted (in another coup) in August 1983, but this being Guatemala, he was not sent to prison but became a right-wing congressman and a presidential candidate. (He lost.) No other high-ranking Guatemalan Army or police official was brought to justice. Military rule formally ended in 1985, and a peace accord was signed in 1996. But activists seeking to shed light on the past were still threatened and killed.In 2011, Guatemalans elected as president Otto Pérez Molina, a former general who commanded troops in the Ixil region—the focus of the genocide trial—during Mr. Ríos Montt’s rule. “There was no genocide,” Mr. Pérez Molina insists.How, then, to account for Guatemala’s move to prosecute its most notorious public figure? Most of the credit goes to survivors and victims’ families for 30 years of tenacious research and advocacy. International human rights groups, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the United Nations and foreign governments helped. And Guatemala’s attorney general since 2010, Claudia Paz y Paz, has revolutionized the prosecutor’s office, pushing cases involving war crimes, corruption and narcotrafficking.Still, even if found guilty, the general will never suffer a punishment commensurate with his alleged crimes. He is 86 and more likely to remain under house arrest than to be sent to prison. As the Guatemalan journalist Juan Carlos Llorca points out, maybe he has already won.Or has he? The overarching goal of the Guatemalan counterinsurgency was to destroy all oppositional thinking. But as Hannah Arendt wrote, any state’s efforts to make its opponents “disappear in silent anonymity” are doomed to failure. That Mr. Ríos Montt now faces trial is proof of that. When the judge’s decision was announced Monday, the packed courtroom erupted in cheers. The dictator had lost.Human rights trials of former leaders are imperfect means for reckoning with the past. A war that systematically kills civilians, silences generations of ideas, displaces millions and pits neighbors against one another quite exceeds the boundaries of the juridical imagination.So what is also needed is historical imagination. Mr. Ríos Montt’s trial will not redress the socioeconomic roots of the long conflict. It will not redistribute the power and wealth so jealously held by a tiny few. It will not even mean that the rule of law now exists in Guatemala. The trial is the beginning of a process, not its conclusion.Historical imagination, and the record, suggest that Guatemala cannot stop here. Mr. Pérez Molina has been pushing Washington to resume giving Guatemala’s army aid, which was suspended over human rights concerns in 1990. The Obama administration has, wisely, conditioned that possibility on reform of the justice system and an end to impunity for heinous crimes. This trial alone is not enough to justify resuming aid to one of Latin America’s most notorious armies.In 1999, President Bill Clinton expressed regret that Washington had backed Guatemala’s repression, and his administration declassified thousands of documents for the Historical Clarification Commission’s use. Today, the Obama administration has another opportunity to partly right the United States’ historical wrongs in Central America — by supporting Guatemala’s legal initiatives and being firm with a military that hasn’t moved far beyond its dark past.Mr. Pérez Molina and the military may be content to let one aging patriarch of state terror be thrown under the bus, diverting attention from their own roles in atrocities. But once one thread is pulled, even the most tightly woven fabric can unravel. Even in Guatemala, the arc of history can be bent toward justice.
China's new president, Xi Jinping, arrives in Durban, South Africa today for a summit of the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. A geo-economic acronym invented in 2001 by a Goldman Sachs analyst to forecast a convergence among fast-growing emerging economies has spawned a geopolitical association. The leaders who gather, and commentators on this event, will search for what these nations have in common. The larger question, however, is whether this acronym has become an anachronism. Assessing the performance of the BRICS over the past five years and prospects for the next, does lumping these nations under a single label confuse more than it clarifies? When Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs coined the term 12 years ago, many expected that economic growth rates in India and Brazil would soon rival China's. That remains O'Neill's bet, his most recent blast foreseeing that “India definitely has the biggest potential for growth among BRIC countries this decade.” But the brute fact is that China has continued growing more than twice as fast as other members of this club. Indeed, in every year since 2001, the gap between China's GDP and that of each of the others has widened. In the decade ahead, the gap is likely to become even more pronounced. Given this divergence, it is more appropriate to consider China separately from Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa, which, if an acronym is called for, can be called: “RIBS.”In 2001, China's GDP was equal to the GDP of all the RIBS combined. In the five years since the global financial crisis, just the increment of growth in China's economy is larger than the entire economies of Russia and India combined. Indeed, in the half decade since the financial crisis, 40 percent of all growth in the global economy has occurred in China.Last year, the economy of China expanded by $1 trillion; Russia and India grew by $100 billion; Brazil and South Africa shrank. In 2001, China ranked sixth among the world's economies. Today it stands at number two, on track to overtake the U.S. and become the world's largest economy in the next decade.In trade, China accounts for 11 percent of global merchandise exports, roughly double that of the RIBS combined. Moreover, the markets to whom China and the RIBS export and from whom they buy are the U.S., the EU, and Japan. Merchandise trade among China and the RIBS barely registers in world trade statistics.In foreign reserves, China held twice as much as the RIBS combined in 2001 (with $220 billion), and now holds three times as much as the others (with $3.3 trillion). In greenhouse gas emissions, China accounts for 30 percent of the global total, more than twice the amount of the RIBS combined.Goldman Sachs continues trumpeting the rise of the BRICS (though it refuses to include South Africa, which was pulled into group by China in 2010). Its latest “BRIC Fund” prospectus forecasts that by 2030, the BRIC nations will have a combined economy larger than that of the G7. If this happens, the most important part of the story will be that China added $17 trillion to the global economy, effectively creating another United States in less than 20 years.
Concepts that jumble together elements with more differences than similarities sow confusion. While it may have played a useful purpose at the beginning of the century to highlight faster-growing emerging economies, BRICS has become an analytic liability. Like generalizations about per-capita growth in countries where wealth disparities are widening (as the rich get richer while the income of the poor declines), submerging China in this acronym misses more than it captures. If a banner is required for a meeting of these five nations, or for a forecast about their economic and political weight in the world ahead, RIBS is much closer to the reality. Even if governments, investment banks, and newspapers keep using BRICS, thoughtful readers will think China and the rest.
Katy Perry may have been banned from China’s music websites, but her “Teenage Dream” now has its Asian counterpart. Newly confirmed in office, President Xi Jinping, has chosen “Chinese Dream” as his signature phrase to describe the direction of his administration.Although it is early, and the phrase could be altered or abandoned, Xi invoked it both on becoming leader of the Communist Party of China and in his final rhetorical salvo as he assumed the presidency. Certainly, as I saw in my recent travels there, no other phrase has been given comparable attention in the state media, a relatively reliable sign that the dream is here to stay.So what, exactly, is the Chinese dream of which Xi speaks? In a country where policies are expressed obliquely and elaborated cautiously by party elites, this is the $64,000 question. Its answer should tell us much about the future of China—and thus about the future of global geopolitics.
The easy part of interpreting the dream is the individual component. As Xi (who was previously vice president) and other party leaders have repeatedly explained in the past few years, an individual Chinese citizen who works hard should be able to succeed. This resonates closely with the American dream of a car in every garage. (After the recent Huangpu River porcine infestation, wags commented that the Communist Party was a great success: The fields were full of wheat and the river was full of pigs.)Individual FulfillmentThe aspect of the Chinese dream that targets individual self-fulfillment should be viewed in the West with aplomb rather than fear. It may be difficult for China to keep up a pace of even 7.5 percent growth, but to the extent it does so, it doesn’t make the West any poorer, and it alleviates local poverty.
Allowing every hard-working Chinese to succeed also implies a reduction in corruption. This will be hard to accomplish, but is highly desirable for the party, which correctly sees graft as the major threat to its legitimacy. Again, there is every reason for outsiders to hope that China can curb corruption that would threaten stability and take food out of the mouths of ordinary Chinese.But the Chinese dream isn’t merely individual—and that is where things get much more complicated for the West in general and the US in particular. The adjective “Chinese” doesn’t reflect solely on the citizen, but on the nation as a whole. In his closing address to the National People’s Congress last month, Xi said expressly that the dream included the “rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation and its restoration to its historical place in the world.
There can be little doubt that this language points toward Chinese nationalism. In a post-Marxist world, the party needs drivers for its legitimacy. Economic growth is one, but as growth slows, Chinese nationalism is increasingly appealing. All mainland Chinese are raised on the narrative of a century of collective humiliation that only began to end with the Communist takeover in 1949. In a sense, the party’s raison d’etre is to end that humiliation by reversing the course of history and putting China where it would have been, absent internal breakdown and Western imperial domination in the last years of the Qing dynasty.
Asian HegemonSo what would a rejuvenated Chinese nation look like to the rest of the world? It need not take on the US in the West; China even at its peak wasn’t a superpower that went in search of faraway wars or noncontiguous colonies. Yet within Asia, China’s historic place (at least as perceived by Chinese) required supremacy within a sphere of influence extending across the strait to Taiwan, to the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Japan was a thorn in the emperors’ sides, by turns recalcitrant to Chinese influence and actively hostile as an occasional invader. Its long-term ideal status, though, was always as a cowed subordinate, capable of keeping its independence but not much else.A China restored to its historic place, then, would be an Asian hegemon. In that character, it would join the US as one of two global superpowers, each with its own sphere of influence. No doubt Xi would like to see this process occur gradually and without confrontation. But almost by definition, it entails US retrenchment from its current position as an Asian hegemon protecting Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. With such a change, the US might remain a “Pacific power,” as President Barack Obama has described it—but it wouldn't be the Pacific power par excellence. That mantle would pass to a rejuvenated China.
Perhaps the US will accept this process as inevitable. Stranger things have happened, and a country weakened by its failures in Afghanistan and Iraq may want to turn inward and welcome the entrance of China onto the regional security stage in the guise of “responsible stakeholder”—an important phrase coined not by China but by Robert Zoellick when he was deputy secretary of state for President George W. Bush.
Don’t count on it, though. Sole global superpowers don’t usually cede power without a fight. Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are vibrant, rich democracies whose continued vitality depends on US protection. In the case of Taiwan, an independence-minded politician elected by young voters could precipitate a crisis, and the US would have to decide whether to send aircraft carriers into the strait. Japan is increasingly toying with the possibility of amending its US-imposed pacifist constitution, and there are signs the US favors a more militarized Japan that could aid in its own defense. As for South Korea, it needs continued US-backing to face down the erratic, nuclear North Korean regime that remains largely a Chinese proxy state.
All these potential conflicts mean that Xi’s Chinese dream demands scrutiny in the US as well as in Asia. Dreams are by their nature protean and flexible. Here’s hoping the Chinese dream can be shaped away from nationalism and toward the more innocent pleasures of being young, rich and in possession of a nice car and a hot boyfriend.
Which competences enable problem solvers to successfully deal with complex real-world
challenges such as the current economic and financial crises and in so doing, inspire
innovation and sustainable development of society? Despite the importance of these
questions, and although competences have become more center stage in management
strategy, human resource development, and public policy/public administration
research, a general theory of problem solving competence has remained elusive, largely
because of insular single-disciplinary approaches. Embedded in a comprehensive review
of management strategy, human resource development, and public policy/public
administration theories, and by contrasting American and Central-European schools of
thought, I discuss the theoretical formulations of previous competence frameworks, the
empirical support for these frameworks, and their limitations in solving complex realworld
problems. I outline how constituents of competence such as abilities, knowledge,
and skills are entrenched within a multifaceted environment and influenced by the
individual’s mental model(s). Finally, I develop a five-dimensional framework of
competences needed to solve complex real-world problems, which considers both
individual and collaborative aspects. The five core dimensions of this new competence
framework are (1) personal competence; (2) professional domain competence; (3)
systemic competence; (4) creativity competence; and (5) sociocultural (collaborative)
competence. This paper is aimed at fostering further theory development and stimulating
future research in the field of competence development.
After more than a century of assorted dictatorships and innumerable fiscal crises, the majority of Latin America's states are governed today by constitutional democratic regimes. Some analysts and scholars argue that Latin America weathered the 2008 fiscal crisis much better than the United States. How did this happen? Jorge I. Domínguez and Michael Shifter asked area specialists to examine the electoral and governance factors that shed light on this transformation and the region's prospects. They gather their findings in the fourth edition of Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America. This new edition is completely updated. Part I is thematic, covering issues of media, constitutionalism, the commodities boom, and fiscal management vis-à-vis governance. Part II focuses on eight important countries in the region - Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.Already widely used in courses, Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America will continue to interest students of Latin American politics, democratization studies, and comparative politics as well as policymakers.
The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (US-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond.Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the US account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds 8 percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides.To understand the looming competition with China, we must understand the incentives that drive Chinese policy. Feldman offers an arresting take on that country’s secretive hierarchy, proposing that the hereditary “princelings” who reap the benefits of the complicated Chinese political system are actually in partnership with the meritocrats who keep the system full of fresh talent and the reformers who are trying to root out corruption and foster government accountability. He provides a clear-eyed analysis of the years ahead, showing how China’s rise presents opportunities as well as risks. Robust competition could make the US leaner, smarter, and more pragmatic, and could drive China to greater respect for human rights. Alternatively, disputes over trade, territory, or human rights could jeopardize the global economic equilibrium—or provoke a catastrophic “hot war” that neither country wants.The US and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.
The leaders of the Group of Seven and Group of 20 largest economies have recently tried to talk down the risk of a currency war. This will not necessarily be sufficient to avoid one. The reason is that there is no longer a shared view across leading industrial countries about the role monetary policy should play in the current environment.The traditional view is that monetary policy should be aimed at stimulating growth and employment as long as price stability is ensured. On the proviso that inflation expectations are well anchored and the central bank’s inflation projections are within target, interest rates can be kept as low as possible to foster consumption and investment. The exchange rate is determined by financial markets as a result of the different monetary policy stances across countries, which are in turn determined by different cyclical positions.
In such an environment, currency wars do not exist because the weakness of some countries’ exchange rates reflects the weakness of their fundamentals. There would be no point in complaining about the low level of the exchange rates of countries with a relatively depressed economy. It is the task of monetary policy to try redress the situation; the exchange depreciation is only the consequence.
The real world has become a bit more complicated.First, exchange rates do overshoot compared with the levels that are consistent with underlying fundamentals. This is not only because financial markets adjust faster than goods markets, as the German-born economist Rüdiger Dornbusch explained more than 35 years ago, but also because of the self-fulfilling nature of investors’ expectations, and the herd behaviour that influences aggregate market developments. Overshooting is the rule rather than the exception, and is very difficult to mitigate. Indeed, exchange rate interventions are ineffective unless they are co-ordinated between the monetary authorities of both the appreciating and depreciating countries. Such a co-ordination is very hard to achieve, however, because of the asymmetric benefits that exchange rate movements produce.
Second, and more important, is the fact that monetary policy has become less effective in the current crisis at supporting growth. Despite interest rates at record lows in all advanced countries, economic activity has been disappointing. The reason is that economic agents are burdened by an accumulation of too much debt. Even with low interest rates, they have no incentive, or no possibility, to borrow more. They first need to deleverage and return to more sustainable levels of debt.In order to restart rapid growth, the amount of debt in the economy should be reduced. This requires a redistribution of wealth from lenders to borrowers. This is not easy to achieve, especially in a democracy. A restructuring of all debts would hurt savers and institutional investors, with potentially destabilising effects on financial stability. It would also fuel moral hazard. An increase in public debt to compensate for the losses of savers and investors, and to avoid market instability, would be as unpopular, even if it were feasible for countries that struggle to issue new debt in the markets. It would be hard for any government to find a parliamentary majority in favour of bailing out those who borrowed excessively at the expense of creditors or of future generations.A smart idea, which does not require parliamentary approval, is for the central bank to do the job. By intervening directly in the markets, the central bank can reduce the amount of risky assets in the system in exchange for cash, and decrease interest rates with a view to encouraging economic agents to start borrowing again.If such an intervention is temporary, to counter portfolio shifts generated by liquidity shortages or fears of major market disruptions, it has no lasting impact on the supply of money nor on the distribution of wealth between borrowers and lenders. If instead the intervention is permanent, accompanied by a commitment to maintain low interest rates for a prolonged period, the policy is very close to what Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have called “financial repression”. By holding risky assets and keeping interest rates very low, even lower than the rate of inflation, potential losses are absorbed by the central bank and spread out to future generations, in the expectation that they will be in better shape to absorb the losses. This decision is not the result of an explicit democratic choice but of the central bank being given the task, and accepting, of doing whatever it takes to stimulate growth, even if it entails wealth redistribution. By implementing financial repression, the central bank conducts covert fiscal policy.The reaction of investors is to try to escape from being financially repressed, including by purchasing foreign assets, especially in countries where such repression is opposed by the political system or prohibited by the central bank statutes. The outflow of capital leads to an excessive depreciation of the currency in the former countries and an appreciation in the latter, compared with underlying fundamentals.At that point, a currency war can only be avoided if the latter start acting like the former, and also repress holders of financial assets. The most likely outcome of the currency peace which would result from a global attempt by central banks to repress holders of financial assets would be a new bout of risk taking all over the world. And, sooner or later, a new financial crisis.
Donna Hicks is an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She has been involved in numerous unofficial diplomatic conflict resolution efforts.In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.Link to Video
After invading Tunisia in 1881, the French installed a protectorate in which they shared power with the Tunisian ruling dynasty and, due to the dynasty’s treaties with other European powers, with some of their imperial rivals. This “indirect” form of colonization was intended to prevent the violent clashes marking France’s outright annexation of neighboring Algeria. But as Mary Dewhurst Lewis shows in Divided Rule, France’s method of governance in Tunisia actually created a whole new set of conflicts. In one of the most dynamic crossroads of the Mediterranean world, residents of Tunisia -- whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian -- navigated through the competing power structures to further their civil rights and individual interests and often thwarted the aims of the French state in the process.
Over time, these everyday challenges to colonial authority led France to institute reforms that slowly undermined Tunisian sovereignty and replaced it with a more heavy-handed form of rule -- a move also intended to ward off France's European rivals, who still sought influence in Tunisia. In so doing, the French inadvertently encouraged a powerful backlash with major historical consequences, as Tunisians developed one of the earliest and most successful nationalist movements in the French empire. Based on archival research in four countries, Lewis uncovers important links between international power politics and everyday matters of rights, identity, and resistance to colonial authority, while re-interpreting the whole arc of French rule in Tunisia from the 1880s to the mid-20th century. Scholars, students, and anyone interested in the history of politics and rights in North Africa, or in the nature of imperialism more generally, will gain a deeper understanding of these issues from this sophisticated study of colonial Tunisia.
They can—but mainly by doing things other than what we want and expect from them.
The 21st century began with an extraordinary imbalance in world power. The United States was the only country able to project military force globally; it represented more than a quarter of the world economy, and had the world’s leading soft-power resources in its universities and entertainment industry. America’s primacy appeared well established.Americans seemed to like this situation. In the 2012 presidential campaign, both major-party candidates insisted that American power was not in decline, and vowed that they would maintain American primacy. But how much are such promises within the ability of presidents to keep? Was presidential leadership ever essential to the establishment of American primacy, or was that primacy an accident of history that would have occurred regardless of who occupied the Oval Office?Leadership experts and the public alike extol the virtues of transformational leaders—those who set out bold objectives and take risks to change the world. We tend to downplay “transactional” leaders, whose goals are more modest, as mere managers. But in looking closely at the leaders who presided over key periods of expanding American primacy in the past century, I found that while transformational presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan changed how Americans viewed their nation’s role in the world, some transactional presidents, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and George H. W. Bush, were more effective in executing their policies.Transformation involves large gambles, the outcomes of which are not always immediately evident. One of history’s great strategists, Otto von Bismarck, successfully bet in 1870 that a manufactured war with France would lead to Prussian unification of Germany. But he also bet that he could annex Alsace-Lorraine, a move with enormous costs that became clear only in 1914.Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman made transformational bets on, respectively, the nation’s entry into World War II and the subsequent containment of the Soviet Union, but each did so only after cautious initial approaches (and in Roosevelt’s case, only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor). John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson mistakenly bet that Vietnam would prove to be a game of dominoes, whereas Eisenhower—who, ironically, had coined the domino metaphor—wisely avoided combat intervention. And Richard Nixon, who successfully bet on an opening to China in 1971, lost a nearly simultaneous bet in severing the dollar’s tie to gold, thus contributing to rampant inflation over the subsequent decade.George W. Bush most resembled not Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman, but Woodrow Wilson.
Compare Woodrow Wilson, a failed transformational president, with the first George Bush, a successful transactional one. Wilson made a costly and mistaken bet on the Treaty of Versailles at the conclusion of the First World War. His noble vision of an American-led League of Nations was partially vindicated in the long term. But he lacked the leadership skills to implement this vision in his own time, and this shortcoming contributed to America’s retreat into isolationism in the 1930s. In the case of Bush 41, the president’s lack of what he called “the vision thing” limited his ability to sway Americans’ perceptions of the nation and its role in the world. But his execution and management of policy was first-rate.Consider, too, the contrast between the elder Bush’s presidency and that of his son, George W. Bush, who has been described as having been obsessed with being a transformational president. Members of the younger Bush’s administration often compared him to Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman, but the 20th-century president he most resembled was Wilson. Both were highly religious and moralistic men who initially focused on domestic issues without an eye toward foreign policy. Both projected self-confidence, and both responded to a crisis boldly and resolutely. As Secretary of State Robert Lansing described Wilson’s mind-set in 1917: “Even established facts were ignored if they did not fit in with his intuitive sense, this semi-divine power to select the right.” Similarly, Tony Blair observed in 2010 that Bush “had great intuition. But his intuition was less … about politics and more about what he thought was right and wrong.” Like Wilson, Bush placed a large, transformative bet on foreign policy—the invasion of Iraq—and, like Wilson, he lacked the skill to implement his plan successfully.This is not an argument against transformational leaders in general. In turbulent situations, leaders such as Gandhi, Mandela, and King can play crucial roles in redefining a people’s identity and aspirations. Nor is it an argument against transformational leaders in American foreign policy in particular. FDR and Truman made indelible contributions to the creation of the American era; others, such as Nixon, with his opening to China, or Carter, with his emphasis on human rights and nuclear nonproliferation, reoriented important aspects of foreign policy. But in judging leaders, we need to pay attention both to acts of commission and to acts of omission—dogs that barked and those that did not. For example, Ike refused to follow numerous recommendations by the military to use nuclear weapons during the Korean, Dien Bien Phu, and Quemoy-Matsu crises, at one point telling an adviser, “You boys must be crazy. We can’t use those awful things against Asians for the second time in less than 10 years.” In 1954, he explained his broader thinking to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suppose it would be possible to destroy Russia, he said. “Here would be a great area from the Elbe to Vladivostok…torn up and destroyed, without government, without its communications, just an area of starvation and disaster. I ask you, what would the civilized world do about it?” George H. W. Bush likewise largely eschewed transformational objectives, with one important exception: the reunification of Germany. But even here, he acted with caution. When the Berlin Wall was opened in November 1989, partly because of a mistake by East Germany, Bush was criticized for his low-key response. But his deliberate choice not to gloat or to humiliate the Soviets helped set the stage for the successful Malta summit with Mikhail Gorbachev a month later.Transformational leaders are important because they make choices that most other leaders would not. But a key question is how much risk a democratic public wants its leaders to take in foreign policy. The answer very much depends on the context, and that context is enormously complex, involving not only potential international effects, but the intricacies of domestic politics in multiple societies. This complexity gives special relevance to the Aristotelian virtue of prudence. We live in a world of diverse cultures, and we know very little about social engineering and how to “build nations.” And when we cannot be sure how to improve the world, hubristic visions pose a grave danger. For these reasons, the virtues of transactional leaders with good contextual intelligence are also very important. Good leadership in this century may or may not be transformational, but it will almost certainly require a careful understanding of the context of change.Decline, for example, is a misleading description of the current state of American power—one that President Obama has thankfully rejected. American influence is not in absolute decline, and in relative terms, there is a reasonable probability that the country will remain more powerful than any other single state in the coming decades. We do not live in a “post-American world,” but neither do we live any longer in the American era of the late 20th century. No one has a crystal ball, but the National Intelligence Council may be correct in its 2012 projection that although the unipolar moment is over, the U.S. most likely will remain primus inter pares at least until 2030 because of the multifaceted nature of its power and the legacies of its leadership.The U.S. will certainly face a rise in the power of many others—both states and nonstate actors. Presidents will increasingly need to exert power with others as much as over others; our leaders’ capacity to maintain alliances and create networks will be an important dimension of our hard and soft power. The problem of America’s role in the 21st century is not the country’s supposed decline, but its need to develop the contextual intelligence to understand that even the most powerful nation cannot achieve the outcomes it wants without the help of others. Educating the public to both understand the global information age and operate successfully in it will be the real task for presidential leadership.All of which suggests that President Obama and his successors should beware of thinking that transformational proclamations are the key to successful adaptation amid these rapidly changing times. American power and leadership will remain crucial to stability and prosperity at home and abroad. But presidents will be better served by remembering their transactional predecessors’ observance of the credo “Above all, do no harm” than by issuing stirring calls for transformational change.
In spite of Hans L.’s tenure as a guard at Auschwitz, the former SS man still enjoys a life of freedom. Despite prosecutors' decades-long efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice, they have been unable to link concentration camp guards like Hans L. to specific acts of criminal behavior, due to the obvious fact that many of the witnesses to Nazi crimes were exterminated.As the world learned last week, this may finally change. Amid much excitement, the initiation of legal proceedings in Germany against up to 50 former Auschwitz guards has been announced. But few people seem to realize that the actions taken by German prosecutors constitute a massive gamble. New Auschwitz trials may well end in a tragic fiasco.German prosecutors appear to believe that the 2011 ruling of a Munich court against Sobibor death camp guard John Demjanjuk set a new legal precedent, opening the door for a new wave of Holocaust trials. They maintain that, as a result of the Demjanjuk case, prosecutors no longer have to link guards to individual acts of criminal behavior. Supposedly, proving that guards served in a death camp and were thus part of the extermination machinery would be enough to convict them of accessory to first degree murder.But because Demjanjuk died before the appeal against his conviction was heard, no such binding legal precedent does in fact exist. All prosecutors can do is hope that judges in new court cases will follow the same reasoning of Demjanjuk’s judges. Even if their gamble initially paid off, there are good reasons to believe that German and European appeal courts may disagree with the way Demjanjuk’s judges broke with the legal principle that defendants can only be convicted for specific first-degree murders, and would thus throw out future court cases based on the reasoning of Demjanjuk’s judges. It is not hard to imagine what a fiasco it would be if the world’s last major Holocaust trials would end up in a German federal court overturning the verdicts, thus setting Auschwitz guards free as “not guilty.”
Furthermore, any media coverage of future Holocaust trials would likely focus on the health of the aging defendants, rather than on their crimes, since the best defense strategy would be to present the accused as unfit to stand trial. Moreover, rather than boost Holocaust education and remembrance, new Auschwitz trials would be more likely to undermine the integrity of commemoration by at best showing defendants being carried into courtrooms on stretchers and at worst—seeing the cases thrown out.
Even more importantly, if the lowering of the legal threshold required to convict people —as proposed by Demjanjuk’s judges—stood, any surviving people complicit in, or with knowledge of, Holocaust-era crimes would clearly choose to remain silent and take what they know to their graves. This is the gravest of the possible unintended consequences of new Holocaust trials, since, as many Shoah survivors stress, many Holocaust crimes remain unresolved and we still have an insufficient understanding of what drove low-level perpetrators.
Yet, if we forego conventional legal tools, there is even today a way to bring about justice, to encourage at least some of the low-level perpetrators to talk and to boost Holocaust education and remembrance. It is to institute truth commissions for Nazi-era war crimes inspired by those used in Africa and Latin America.If granted immunity from prosecution for appearing in front of such commissions, people around the world could access the combined knowledge of the still-considerable number of men and women between the ages of 85 and 100 who were engaged in criminal and immoral acts during the Holocaust about which we still know little. Those involved in Nazi war crimes would get an opportunity to speak honestly and openly about the murkiest chapters of their lives. There would be no motivation for the many convenient and tactical forms of ‘memory loss’ in court by people involved in Nazi crimes. Truth commissions would be a relative success even if only some of the people involved in Nazi-era war crimes fully cooperated.
The institution of truth commissions would mean that the public would not focus on the question of whether courts should try old and frail men who were at the bottom of the Nazi chain of command. Rather, public discourse would refocus on Holocaust remembrance, Nazi crimes and the question of how ordinary people – not all of whom were genocidal anti-Semites—could turn into killers.
Holocaust-era truth commissions come with many risks, to be sure. But the risks are arguably much lower than those of holding conventional court cases. Furthermore, there is nothing to stop the commissions from passing judgments on the guilt of perpetrators and thus bringing about a form of justice. And they are likely to be able to bring this justice faster than traditional court cases.The need to establish truth commissions for the crimes of Nazi Germany is more pressing than for any other set of crimes because of the very advanced age of the remaining perpetrators. But unfortunately Europe and its neighboring regions have many other dark chapters in their recent past. It is thus high time that Europe and the states of the Mediterranean Basin consider how they can learn from the example of truth commissions in the rest of the world for past, present and future crimes against humanityIn the case of Holocaust-era crimes, the South African example, with its post-apartheid focus on avoiding civil war, may only provide limited lessons from which to draw. Holocaust-era truth commissions would have much more to learn from some of the Latin American commissions, set up in the aftermath of the continent’s ‘dirty wars’, which provided for many families of victims the only chance to learn about the fate of their loved ones. Moreover, the Gacaca courts of Rwanda provide inspiration both for how ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ can be combined in commissions and for how truth commissions can function in post-genocide situations.
All past truth commissions provide lessons of how to create a climate in which it becomes possible for perpetrators to open up and talk. The testimony and confession of individuals involved in the crimes of the Holocaust are a basic condition for filling in the historical record and for refocusing on the individual motivations and acts that together constitute genocide, before the generation of both victims and perpetrators are lost to history—and public consciousness—forever.
In the early 1960s, fewer than five percent of Japanese owned automobiles, China’s per capita income was among the lowest in Asia, and living standards in South Korea’s rural areas were on par with some of the world’s poorest countries. Today, these are three of the most powerful economies on earth. Dwight Perkins grapples with both the contemporary and historical causes and consequences of the turnaround, drawing on firsthand experience in the region to explain how Asian countries sustained such rapid economic growth in the second half of the twentieth century.
East Asian Development offers a comprehensive view of the region, from Japan and the “Asian Tigers” (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea) to Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and China - a behemoth larger than all the other economies combined. While the overall picture of Asian growth is positive, no single economic policy has been effective regionwide. Interventionist policies that worked well in some countries failed elsewhere. Perkins analyzes income distribution, to uncover why initially egalitarian societies have ended up in very different places, with Japan, for example, maintaining a modest gap between rich and poor while China has become one of Asia’s most unequal economies.
Today, the once-dynamic Japanese and Korean economies are sluggish, and even China shows signs of losing steam. Perkins investigates whether this is a regional phenomenon or typical of all economies at this stage of development. His inquiry reminds us that the uncharted waters of China’s vast economy make predictions of its future performance speculative at best.
Last month, China's new president, Xi Jinping, chose Moscow for his first foreign visit. He and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a number of agreements and then traveled to Durban, South Africa, for the fifth “BRICS” summit, where they joined with the leaders of India, Brazil, and South Africa to announce the creation of a new development bank that could challenge the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The five leaders' speeches referred to a shifting world order, and Xi said “the potential of BRICS development is infinite.”It looked as if the BRICS had finally come of age.Three years ago, I was skeptical about the BRICS. And, despite the recent summit's apparent success, I still am.Nearly 12 years ago, Jim O'Neill, then the chief economist for Goldman Sachs, coined the term “BRIC” to describe the "emerging markets" of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. From 2000 to 2008, these four countries' share of global output rose rapidly, from 16pc to 22pc (in purchasing power parity terms), and their economies performed better than average in the subsequent global recession.For investors, that outcome justified the creation of the catchy acronym. But then a strange thing happened: the investors' creature came to life.In 2009, the four countries met for the first time in Russia in an effort to forge an international political organisation. South Africa joined the bloc in late 2010 primarily for political reasons. As O'Neill recently told China Daily, “South Africa is quite fortunate enough to be in the group, as, economically, it is rather small compared to the others.” Moreover, its economic performance has been relatively sluggish, with a growth rate of just 2.3pc last year.
Indeed, while the BRICS may be helpful in coordinating certain diplomatic tactics, the term lumps together highly disparate countries. Not only is South Africa miniscule compared to the others, but China's economy is larger than those of all of the other members combined.Likewise, India, Brazil, and South Africa are democracies, and occasionally meet in an alternative forum that they call “IBSA.” And, while the large autocracies, Russia and China, find it diplomatically advantageous to tweak the Americans, both have different but crucial relationships with the United States. And both have worked to thwart efforts by India, Brazil, and South Africa to become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
As I wrote three years ago, in analytical terms, it makes little sense to include Russia, a former superpower, with the developing economies. Russia lacks diversified exports, faces severe demographic and health problems, and, in former President Dmitri Medvedev's words, “greatly needs modernisation.”Little has changed since Putin returned to the presidency last year. Whilst economic growth benefited from the dramatic growth in oil and gas prices during the last decade, other competitive industries have yet to emerge, and the country now faces the prospect of declining energy prices. Whilst it aims to maintain five percent annual growth, its economy was relatively flat last year.If Russia's power resources seem to be declining, Brazil's appear to be more impressive, given it has a territory nearly three times the size of India's, a 90pc literacy rate, and triple the per capita income of India (and nearly twice that of China). But, in the three years since my earlier assessment, Brazil's performance has slipped: annual economic growth has slowed from 7.5pc in 2010 to one percent last year, with a 3.5pc rate expected in 2013.Like Brazil, India experienced a spurt of output growth after liberalising its economy in the 1990's; indeed, until a few years ago, GDP growth was approaching Chinese-style rates. This year, however, output is expected to rise by a relatively sluggish 5.9pc. Unless it improves its infrastructure and literacy rate (particularly for women), India is unlikely to catch up with China.So, should we take today's BRICS more seriously than the BRICs of three years ago?Tellingly, the meeting in Durban failed to produce any details of the structure of the proposed new development bank, suggesting that little progress had been made in the year since the BRICS' last meeting in New Delhi, India, where the plan was announced. In fact, despite a commitment to launch “formal negotiations” to establish the bank, disagreements about the size and shares of the bank's capital have not been resolved.
That lack of unity is symptomatic of the BRICS members' underlying incompatibilities. In political terms, China, India, and Russia are vying with each other for power in Asia. And, in economic terms, Brazil, India, and South Africa are concerned about the effects of China's undervalued currency on their economies.Three years ago, I wrote that, “BRIC is not likely to become a serious political organization of like-minded states.” The BRICS' most recent meeting has given me no reason to revise that assessment.
Democratic states guarantee free movement within their territory to all citizens, as a core right of citizenship. Similarly, the European Union guarantees EU citizens and members of their families the right to live and the right to work anywhere within EU territory. Such rights reflect the project of equality and undifferentiated individual rights for all who have the status of citizen, but they are not uncontested. Despite citizenship's promise of equality, barriers, incentives, and disincentives to free movement make some citizens more equal than others. This book challenges the normal way of thinking about freedom of movement by identifying the tensions between the formal ideals that governments, laws, and constitutions expound and actual practices, which fall short.
This book is a comparative study which aims to answer the question: under what circumstances does the EU undertake military operations?
Since 2003, the EU has carried out six military operations. What accounts for this historic development? The EU and Military Operations examines the dynamics behind the EU´s collective use of force and situates the EU in the context of a global division of labour with regard to military crisis management. It centres on the study of two main cases of EU military operations: the non-case when an operation was planned in the Lebanon war 2006 but did not occur, and the positive case of EUFOR RD Congo that same year.
Drawing upon these findings, the author creates an innovative analytical framework based upon the techniques of defence planning, and applies this to the cases studies with the purpose of identifying the main driving and inhibiting factors behind the operations. Key findings derived from this analysis include the growing importance of local actors in facilitating or impeding the EU´s deployment of military force and the enhanced role of regional organisations as security providers.
The book will be of much interest to students of European security, EU politics, strategic studies, humanitarian intervention, security studies and IR in general.
Why do some armed groups commit massive wartime rape, whereas others never do? Using an original dataset, I describe the substantial variation in rape by armed actors during recent civil wars and test a series of competing causal explanations. I find evidence that the recruitment mechanism is associated with the occurrence of wartime rape. Specifically, the findings support an argument about wartime rape as a method of socialization, in which armed groups that recruit by force—through abduction or pressganging—use rape to create unit cohesion. State weakness and insurgent contraband funding are also associated with increased wartime rape by rebel groups. I examine observable implications of the argument in a brief case study of the Sierra Leone civil war. The results challenge common explanations for wartime rape, with important implications for scholars and policy makers.