Research Library

Bawn, Kathleen, and Frances Rosenbluth. 2002. “Coalition Parties Versus Coalitions of Parties: How Electoral Agency Shapes the Political Logic of Costs and Benefits.” In Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Boston.Abstract
This paper argues that governments formed from post–election coalitions (majority coalition governments in PR systems) and pre–election coalitions (majority parties in SMD systems) aggregate the interests of voters in systematically different ways. We show that the multiple policy dimensional policy space that emerges from PR motivates parties in the government coalition to logroll projects among themselves without internalizing the costs in the way that a majoritarian party would. We further show that, although centrifugal electoral incentives dominate in PR systems, some incentives towards coalescence across groups and across parties exist through the greater likelihood that large parties have in becoming a member of a minimal winning coalition of parties. The model predicts that the size of the public sector should should be larger in PR systems. This prediction is tested using data from the 1970's–90's in 17 European countries.
Levitsky, Steven. 2002. “Autocracy by Democratic Rules: The Dynamics of Competitive Authoritarianism in the Post-Cold War Era.” In .Abstract
This paper examines one type of hybrid regime, which we call competitive authoritarianism. Such regimes are authoritarian in that they do not meet standard procedural minimum criteria for democracy. Elections are often unfair and civil liberties are frequently violated. However, they are competitive in that democratic institutions are more facades. Rather, they permit opposition groups to contest seriously for–and sometimes even win–power. The combination of autocratic rule and democratic rules creates an inherent source of tension. Consequently, competitive authoritarian regimes are characterized by periodic crises in which opposition challenges force incumbents to choose between cracking down and losing power. These crises have resulted in a variety of outcomes, ranging from authoritarian entrenchment (Malaysia, Zimbabwe) to incumbent turnover without regime change (Ukraine, Zambia) to democratization (Peru, Serbia).Paper prepared for Mapping the Great Zone: Clientelism and the Boundary between Democratic and Democratizing conference, Columbia University, April 4–5, 2003. [This is a revised version of a paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA, August 28-31, 2002.]
Paarlberg, Robert L. 2002. “African Famine, Made in Europe”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Southern Africa is suffering its worst drought in a decade. The U.N. World Food Program estimates some 13 million people in six countries will need 1.2 million tons of food aid till March 2003 to avoid famine. Yet two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia, have spent most of the summer rejecting food aid shipments of corn from the U.S. because some varieties of U.S. corn are "genetically modified" (GM). Incredibly, African leaders facing famine are rejecting perfectly safe food. What is going on here?Regulatory Authorities Farmers in the U.S. have been planting (and Americans have been consuming) genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton since 1995. Regulatory authorities in the EU and Japan have also approved such GM crops, but in Europe food safety regulators have been mistrusted by consumers ever since the unrelated but traumatizing mad cow disease crisis of 1996. EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs David Byrne repeatedly states there is no scientific evidence of added risk to human health or the environment from any of the GM products approved for the market so far, and he can point to 81 separate scientific studies, all EU-funded, that bolster this conclusion.But greens and GM critics in Europe say this absence of expected or known risks is no longer a sufficient regulatory standard. Touting the "precautionary principle," they argue that powerful new technologies should be kept under wraps until tested for unexpected or unknown risks as well. Never mind that testing for something unknown is logically impossible (the only way to avoid a completely unknown risk is never to do anything for the first time).Europeans can perhaps afford hyper-caution regarding new crop technologies. Even without planting any GM seeds, European farmers will continue to prosper—thanks to lavish subsidies—and consumers will remain well fed. The same is not true in the developing world, especially in Africa, where hunger is worsening in part because farmers are not yet productive. Two-thirds of all Africans are farmers, most are women, and they are poor and hungry in part because they lack improved crop technologies to battle against drought, poor soil fertility, crop disease, weeds and endemic insect problems. The productivity of African agriculture, per farm worker, has actually declined by 9% over the past two decades, which helps explain why one-third of all Africans are malnourished.This ought to change the calculus of precaution. If GM-improved crops are kept out of the hands of African farmers, pending tests for the "nth" hypothetical risk, or the "nth" year of exposure to that risk, the misery of millions will be needlessly prolonged.But now we are seeing an even less justified application of regulatory caution toward GM foods. Governments in Africa that are facing an actual famine have been rejecting some food aid shipments because they contain GM seeds. In May 2002, the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe rejected 10,000 tons of corn shipped from the U.S. because it was not certified as GM-free. This at a time when four to six million Zimbabweans approached a risk of starvation.Next, the government of Zambia banned all imports of GM corn, including food-aid imports, even though some 2.3 million people in the country were at risk. On Aug. 16, Zambian Information Minister Newstead Zimba announced on state TV that the government had decided, in light of the uncertainties surrounding GM foods, that it would be best to "take the precautionary principle on this matter" and not accept or distribute GM food aid. Silumelume Mubukwanu, Zambia`s High Commissioner to London, explained that food aid was being rejected because "too much is unknown about GM foods yet."Precautionary European policies toward the environment are also keeping Africans from growing their own food. The EU has been insisting that governments in Africa treat GM crops as a potentially serious threat to rural "biological safety." This helps explain why there are no GM crops yet being planted commercially anywhere on the continent, except in the nation of South Africa. Instead of helping Africa`s hungry to grow more food, European donors are helping them grow more regulations.African governments also must worry that accepting GM food aid will cost them commercial export sales to Europe. The EU has not been importing any U.S. corn since 1998, because U.S. shipments can contain some GM varieties not yet approved in Europe. African governments now worry that any illicit planting of U.S. corn by farmers could jeopardize their own exports to Europe. Trying to remain GM-free for commercial export reasons is a policy that does not help poor subsistence farmers, but it may soon become the norm in Africa, once the EU moves next year toward much tighter labeling and traceability regulations on all imported GM foods and animal feeds.Documentary RecordsEven while professing that GM foods are safe, EU officials will soon require that they be traced individually through the marketing chain, with legal documentary records to be saved by all producers and handlers for five years. African countries won't have the institutional capacity to implement this traceability regulation, so they will have to remain GM-free to retain their access to the EU market. Meat products raised with GM feed are not yet covered by this new EU regulation, but Zambia's initial rejection of GM corn in food aid shipments was partly based on a fear that if the country lost its GM-free animal feed status, poultry and dairy exports to the UK would slump.By inducing African governments to embrace excessively cautious biosafety regulations and by requiring stigmatizing labels and costly traceability certificates for all imported GM foods and feeds, wealthy and comfortable officials in Europe have made it harder for drought-stricken societies in Africa to accept food aid from the U.S. European critics of GM foods did not foresee this potentially deadly misapplication of their precautionary principle. Yet here it is.
Milner, Helen V, and Benjamin Judkins. 2002. “Partisanship and Trade Policy: Is There a Left-Right Divide on Trade Policy?.” In .Abstract
Is there a noticeable difference among political parties in a country in their trade policy positions? Do left parties advocate different trade policies than right parties? In the advanced industrial countries where labor tends to be scarce, are left parties more protectionist than right ones, which represent capital owners? Political institutions within these democratic countries may affect the role of partisanship. We also investigate whether increasing globalization has led to more or less partisan polarization over trade policy. We examine 25 developed countries from 1945–98 to see how their parties have competed over trade policy. Controlling for various factors, partisanship matters. In terms of position taking, right parties consistently take more free trade stances than do left ones. Globalization and other international forces have also shaped both the nature and the extent of the debate domestically over exposure to international trade.
Robinson, James A. 2002. “Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth”.Abstract
Countries that have pursued distortionary macroeconomic policies, including high inflation, large budget deficits and misaligned exchange rates, appear to have suffered more macroeconomic volatility and also grown more slowly during the postwar period. Does this reflect the casual effect of these macroeconomic policies on economic outcomes? One reason to suspect that the answer may be no is that countries pursuing poor macroeconomic policies also have weak "institution," including political institutions that do not constrain politicians and political elites, ineffective enforcement of property rights for investors, widespread corruption, and a high degree of political instability. This paper documents that countries that inherited more "extractive" institutions from their colonial past were more likely to experience high volatility and economic crises during the postwar period. More specifically, societies where European colonists faced high mortality rates more than 100 years ago are much more volatile and prone to crises. Based on our previous work, we interpret this relationship as due to the casual effect of institutions on economic outcomes: Europeans did not settle and were more likely to set up extractive institutions in areas where they faced high mortality. Once we control for the effect of institutions, macroeconomic policies appear to have only a minor impact on volatility and crises. This suggests that distortionary macroeconomic policies are more likely to be symptoms of underlying institutional problems rather than the main causes of economic volatility, and also that the effects of institutional differences on volatility do not appear to be primarily mediated by any of the standard macroeconomic variables. Instead, it appears that weak institutions cause volatility through a number of microeconomic, as well as microeconomic, channels.
Desai, Mihir A. 2002. “Chains of Ownership, Tax Competition, and Foreign Direct Investment.” Cesifo Seminar: Measuring the Tax Burden on Capital and Labour. Venice.Abstract
This paper considers the effect of taxation on the location of foreign direct investment (FDI) and taxable income reported by multinational firms. Confidential affiliate–level data are used to compare the investment and income–reporting behavior of American–owned foreign affiliates. Ten percent higher tax rates are associated with 5.0 percent lower FDI, controlling for parent company and observable aspects of local economies, and 0.66 percent lower returns on assets, controlling for parent company and level of FDI. Tax effects are particularly strong within Europe, where ten percent higher tax rates are associated with 7.7 percent lower FDI and 1.4 percent lower returns on assets. Indirectly owned foreign affiliates exhibit even stronger tax effects, ten percent higher tax rates being associated with 15.3 percent lower FDI and 1.6 percent lower returns on assets. American firms finance a growing fraction of their foreign operations indirectly through chains of ownership, which now account for more than 30 percent of aggregate foreign assets and sales. Ownership chains are particularly concentrated among European affiliates. Since multinational firms from countries other than the United States face tax environments similar to those faced by indirectly owned affiliates of American companies, these results suggest a greater sensitivity of FDI to taxes for non–American firms. The results also suggest that European economic integration may have the effect of intensifying tax competition between European jurisdictions.
Rodrik, Dani. 2002. “In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation, and Economic Performance”.Abstract
We consider a model of policy choice in which appropriate policies depend on a country's own circumstances, but the presence of a successful leader generates an informational externality and results in too little "policy experimentation." Corrupt governments are reined in while honest governments are disciplined inefficiently. Our model yields distinct predictions about the patterns of policy imitation, corruption, and economic performance as a function of a country's location vis–á–vis successful leaders. In particular, it predicts a U–shaped pattern in economic performance as we move away from the leader in the relevant space of characteristics: close neighbors should do very well, distant countries moderately well on average with considerable variance, and intermediate countries worst of all. An empirical test with the experience of post–socialist countries provides supportive results.
Culpepper, Pepper. 2002. “The Political Perils of Collaborative Governance in France and Italy.” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Boston.Abstract
When social scientists talk about the adoption of new governance arrangements in a given policy area, their questions are most often functional: What will those new arrangements do better than the previous way of making policy? Yet politicians do not always, or even usually, pick policy solutions because they offer the best functional answer to a policy problem. Instead, they adopt solutions at a given time that advance their electoral or partisan interests as well as responding to a perceived policy problem (cf. Kingdon 1984). Thus, they not only want to do things (provide child care, increase economic development), but to do things that are politically useful (fortify their local political machine, distribute benefits to political supporters). It in this light that I evaluate in this paper two of the most significant innovations in collaborative governance arrangements in Europe in the 1990s. The first is the 1993 French reform that created regional–level multi–partite institutions to develop proposals for regional education and training initiatives that aimed to spur private investment in human capital. The second is the institution of territorial pacts as the cornerstone of Italian development policy in the 1990s. The development pacts were to sponsor the participation of local secondary associations and politicians in proposing territorial development plans, with the goal of promoting ongoing cooperation among these actors at the territorial level. These reforms are especially significant because they took place in two unitary states with weak regional governments and weak traditions of corporatist policy–making. They were innovative, at least in form, because they attempted to build institutions of public/private collaboration to provide collective goods at a local level. As such, they simultaneously marked an attempt to break radically with the nature of past policy and with the institutions through which those policies had been designed. These were not equivalent to sectoral neocorporatist policies practiced especially widely in northern Europe (Lehmbruch 1984) both by virtue of the scope of private actors involved and of the delegation of policy autonomy to these actors. In terms of scope, they attempted to involve a wide range of local stakeholders, rather than monopolistic employers and unions. And in terms of policy autonomy, these new instances were empowered not merely to implement policies decided at the center, but to develop their own analyses of local problems and proposed responses to them. They were not merely bodies of decentralized implementation, but of decentralized policy design, with the institutions for designing policy moved away from national politicians and to local actors (among which politicians were just one, if still the primus inter pares). The actual institutions have, so far, shown themselves to be quite heterogeneous. In this paper, I first summarize their experiences?both their political origins and their successes and failures in fulfilling the institutional mandate delegated to them. After reviewing the major developments in each institutional experiment, I draw parallels between the two ongoing experiments, focusing in particular on the organizational prerequisites for their success and the dilemmas they pose for public actors who would attempt to expand collaborative governance arrangements.
Rodrik, Dani. 2002. “When Economic Reform Goes Wrong: Cashews in Mozambique”.Abstract
Mozambique liberalized its cashew sector in the early 1990s in response to pressure from the World Bank. Opponents of the reform have argued that the policy did little to benefit poor cashew farmers while bankrupting factories in urban areas. Using a welfare–theoretic framework, we analyze the available evidence and provide an accounting of the distributional and efficiency consequences of the reform. We estimate that the direct benefits from reducing restrictions on raw cashew exports were of the order $6.6 million annually, or about 0.14% of Mozambique GDP. However, these benefits were largely offset by the costs of unemployment in the urban areas. The net gain to farmers was probably no greater than $5.3 million, or $5.30 per year for the average cashew-growing household. Inadequate attention to economic structure and to political economy seems to account for these disappointing outcomes.
McTernan, Oliver. 2002. “Pious Words Won't Heal the Hurt”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A former priest, Oliver McTernan, explains why American Catholics feel betrayed by the ChurchThe fact that Pope John Paul II has chosen to meet only cardinals today, many of whom are themselves subject to public criticism for their mishandling of the sex abuse scandals traumatising the American Roman Catholic Church, highlights one of the real issues at the centre of this crisis.The absence of victims, laity and priests, all of whom have been affected by the unfolding scandal, suggests that, for the Vatican, this meeting is no more than a crisis-management session aimed at damage limitation and deflecting further criticism at its moral ineptness to deal with a serious problem that has beleaguered the Catholic Church globally for decades.If Vatican officials believe that a few pious exhortations and a new set of policy guidelines on how to handle future child-abusing clerics will allow the Church to continue with its existing style of governance, they have clearly failed to understand the depth of hurt and anger that is felt not only by the victims of abuse who have come forward, but also by conservative and progressive Catholics in America who feel equally betrayed by a church leadership that has gone to such extraordinary lengths to cover up the crimes of paedophile priests. The relentless media coverage over the past four months has exposed a culture of denial among bishops and priests that has caused as much scandal as the sex abuse itself. Many Americans are questioning not only the credibility of those responsible for the cover-ups, the buying of silence and the moving of offenders, but also the very church structures that allow bishops to act as if they are outside the law and accountable to no one for their moral decisions and their use of church funds. People and priests are openly calling for a place at the table and a voice that is heard if the broken trust between them and their bishops is to be restored. In the Boston Archdiocese, what began a few weeks ago as a small, ad hoc gathering of concerned priests now has more than 100 members who are committed to working together to promote a new style of church leadership. Six months ago, such an initiative would have been unthinkable because Cardinal Bernard Law, who is at the centre of the current crisis, would immediately have prohibited it.The Pope's first public response to this scandal was to scapegoat the victimisers, the paedophile priests whom he accused of casting a shadow over the whole Church. The fact that he did not acknowledge, let alone condemn, the culture of denial lying at the heart of the problem makes one wonder whether those around him, including his American visitors, are capable of grasping the potential seriousness of this crisis for the Church as a whole.The problem of paedophile priests and bishops covering their tracks for the "good of the Church" is not exclusive to the US, nor is the unfolding drama that we are witnessing now on the Vatican stage of a clash between Roman and American cultures. The cardinals sitting in conference with the Pope and his advisers are one-minded on matters of church doctrine and discipline; otherwise they would not have been appointed to the positions they now occupy.The real clash that this present crisis exposes is one of theology. It is part of the unfinished business of the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s, which left us with two equally valid, but competing, models or images of what the Church should be. One is a hierarchical structure governed by the Pope and his appointees, the bishops;the other the pilgrim people of God, each of equal standing as they gather around the Eucharistic table. In the immediate aftermath of the council people were encouraged to explore the wonder and mystery of being part of a Church that was not locked within the cultural and legal structures of previous centuries.John Paul II's papacy began with a sense of renewed excitement, but it soon evaporated as the Vatican's efforts to micromanage the life of the local churches became more obvious. The Pope replaced the bishops who had spearheaded the reforms of Vatican II with men who felt more comfortable operating in an exclusively hierarchical model of Church. What we are seeing now is the unravelling of this counter-reform movement, as it is clear that some of these trusted appointees have feet of clay.
Norris, Pippa. 2002. “Islam & the West: Testing the Clash of Civilizations Thesis”.Abstract
In seeking to understand the root causes of the events of 9/11 many accounts have turned to Samuel P. Huntington's provocative and controversial thesis of a "clash of civilizations", arousing strong debate. Evidence from the 1995–2001 waves of the World Values Study provide survey evidence allowing us, for the first time, to sift the truth in this debate by comparing attitudes and values in 75 societies around the globe, including many Islamic and Western states.The results confirm the first claim in Huntington's thesis: culture does matter, and indeed matters a lot, so that religious legacies leave their distinct imprint on contemporary values. But Huntington is essentially mistaken in assuming that the core clash between the West and Islamic worlds concerns democracy, as the evidence suggests striking similarities in the political values held in these societies. It remains true that Islamic nations differ from the West on issues of religious leadership, but this is not a simple dichotomous clash, as many countries around the globe display similar attitudes to Islam. Moreover the original thesis fails to identify the primary cultural fault line between the West and Islam, concerning the social issues of gender equality and sexual liberalization. The values separating Islam and the West revolve far more centrally around Eros than Demos.Kennedy School of Government Working Paper Series, Working Paper Number:RWP02-015 Submitted: 04/22/2002 The full text of this paper can be downloaded through HOLLIS if you have a valid Harvard ID
Kremer, Michael. 2002. “Odious Debt”.Abstract
Some argue that sovereign debt incurred without the consent of the people and not for their benefit, such as that of apartheid South Africa, should be considered odious and not transferable to successor governments. We argue that an institution that truthfully announced whether regimes are odious could create an equilibrium in which successor governments suffer no reputational loss from failure to repay odious debt and hence creditors curtail odious lending. Equilibria with odious lending could be eliminated by amending creditor country laws to prevent seizure of assets for failure to repay odious debt and restricting foreign assistance to countries not repaying odious debt. Shutting down the borrowing capacity of illegitimate regimes can be viewed as a form of economic sanction and has two advantages over most sanctions: it helps rather than hurts the population, and it does not create incentives for evasion by third parties. However, an institution empowered to assess regimes might falsely term debt odious if it favored debtors, and if creditors anticipate this, they would not make loans to legitimate governments. An institution empowered only to declare future lending to a particular government odious would have greater incentives to judge truthfully. A similar approach could be used to reduce moral hazard associated with World Bank and IMF loans.
Pill, Huw. 2002. “Argentine Banks and Macroeconomic Risk: Overborrowing and Credit Dynamics.” Program for Honoring Professor Ronald Mckinnon. Stanford Center for International Development.Abstract
Explanations of the boom/bust economic cycle characteristic of emerging markets have emphasized the role of institutional weaknesses in the financial sector in creating macroeconomic instability. Testing this proposition using aggregate data is complicated by the difficulty of identifying banks' credit supply decisions independently of credit demand by the domestic non–financial private sector. In this paper, a panel of Argentine bank balance sheet data is used to investigate the cross–sectional variation in bank lending decisions in response to macroeconomic shocks. The emergence of systematic cross–sectional patterns suggests bank characteristics – and thus bank behavior – play an important role in transmitting macroeconomic shocks to emerging market economies.
Hoff, Karla, and Joseph Stiglitz. 2002. “After the Big Bang? Obstacles to the Emergence of Rule of Law in Post-Communist Societies”.Abstract
When Russia launched mass privatization, it was widely believed that it would create a powerful constituency for the rule of law. That didn?t happen. We present a dynamic equilibrium model of the political demand for the rule of law and show that beneficiaries of mass privatization may fail to demand the rule of law even if it is the Pareto efficient "rule of the game." The reason is that uncertainty about the legal regime can lead to asset stripping, and stripping can give agents an interest in prolonging the absence of the rule of law.
NBER Working Paper 9282, October 2002.
Desai, Mihir A. 2002. “International Joint Ventures and the Boundaries of the Firm”.Abstract
This paper analyzes the determinants of partial ownership of the foreign affiliates of U.S. multinational firms and, in particular, why partial ownership has declined markedly over the last 20 years. The evidence indicates that whole ownership is most common when firms coordinate integrated production activities across different locations, transfer technology, and benefit from worldwide tax planning. Since operations and ownership levels are jointly determined, it is necessary to use the liberalization of ownership restrictions by host countries and the imposition of joint venture tax penalties in the U.S. Tax Reform Act of 1986 as instruments for ownership levels in order to identify these effects. Firms responded to these regulatory and tax changes by expanding the volume of their intrafirm trade as well as the extent of whole ownership; four percent greater subsequent sole ownership of affiliates is associated with three percent higher intrafirm trade volumes. The implied complementarity of whole ownership and intrafirm trade suggests that reduced costs of coordinating global operations, together with regulatory and tax changes, gave rise to the sharply declining propensity of American firms to organize their foreign operations as joint ventures over the last two decades. The forces of globalization appear to have increased the desire of multinationals to structure many transactions inside firms rather than through exchanges involving other parties.
Harvard Business School Working Paper 03-017, July 2002.
Cooper, Richard N. 2002. “Reforming the International Financial System”.Abstract
Late in 2001 the new Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Anne Krueger, boldly suggested that under certain conditions international debt repayments by a sovereign borrower (= government) should be temporarily suspended while negotiations take place on restructuring its debt. Thus the IMF officially endorsed one of the more radical suggestions for improvements in the international financial architecture that have been made since the Mexican financial crisis of 1995 and the several Asian crises of 1997. This article provides analytical and historical background to evaluate this and other proposals for reform.
Eland, Ivan. 2002. “Religion and Terrorism Conference Paper: Excessive U.s. Military Action Overseas Breeds Anti-U.s. Terrorism.” In .Abstract
As the cataclysmic events of September 11 have receded farther into the past, U.S. policymakers and the public should have been able to think more clearly about the causes of those events. But that has not happened. Just after the attacks, the initial wave of nationalistic feeling was understandable (similar sentiments held the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941). And the Bush administration's military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan was equally understandable and justified, if not completely successful. After civilians were slaughtered so heinously on U.S. soil, the American people — recognizing the right to self–defense — would have been willing to incur a significant number of military casualties in Afghanistan to round up and kill or capture al Qaeda fighters. Yet on two separate occasions, despite its bellicose rhetoric, the Bush administration — fearing casualties, much as the Clinton administration had — allowed al Qaeda fighters to get away by timidly relying on Northern Alliance and Pakistani allies to pursue them rather than putting enough U.S. boots on the ground. What was needed then and what will be needed in the future is a robust, narrowly focused military response against terrorist groups that focus their attacks on U.S. targets. Unfortunately, a wider, less effective U.S. policy of military and covert action is being pursued by the Bush administration and supported by the American people. In fact, that indiscriminate U.S. military interventionism is a major cause of terrorism against the United States in the first place. For example, unnecessary U.S. military interventions in Georgia, the Philippines and Iraq will most likely cause more additional terrorist attacks on U.S. targets than they will prevent.
Mearsheimer, John J. 2002. “Religion and Terrorism Conference Paper: Hearts and Minds.” In .Abstract
The central purpose of American power is to provide security for the United States in a dangerous world. Before September 11, other states, especially other great powers, were perceived to be the main threat to the United States. To maximize its security, American policymakers worked assiduously to ensure that the United States held a favorable position in the global balance of power. This template for thinking about American security policy has been altered somewhat by September 11. The United States still has to be deeply concerned with great power politics, particularly with the rise of China. But now it also has to confront Al–Qaeda, which has the United States in its gunsight and is determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction. President Bush has not yet devised a clear strategy for combating terrorism. Nevertheless, he has been under intense pressure to view September 11 as a transformative moment that calls for the United States to become much more actively involved around the world. Indeed, some conservatives argue that it is time to create an American empire, where the United States dominates the entire globe and shapes it according to its own interests. Presumably, this ambitious strategy would keep great power rivals at bay as well as eliminate the terrorist threat.
Juergensmeyer, Mark. 2002. “Religion and Terrorism Conference Paper: Religion in the New Global War.” In .Abstract
When Mohammed Atta boarded the airline on September 11, 2001 that soon thereafter slammed into the World Trade Center towers, he left behind a manual of instruction. Apparently prepared by his colleagues in the al Qaeda network, it instructed him and his fellow activists how to behave and what to do in preparation for their fateful act. What is interesting about this document is not only the text, but the subtext. Lying beneath the pious rhetoric of the manual and its eerie ties to the World Trade Center tragedy are hints about the perplexing issue of the role of religion in the contemporary world, and answers to the persistent question, how could religion be related to such vicious acts of political violence? The common sense way of putting this question about the September 11 attack and all of the other recent acts of religious terrorism is "what's religion got to do with it?" The common sense answers to this question are varied, and they are contradictory. On the one hand some political leaders–along with many scholars of comparative religion–have assured us that religion has had nothing to do with these vicious acts, and that religion's innocent images have been used in perverse ways by evil and essentially irreligious political actors. On the other hand there are the radio talk show hosts and even a few social scientists who affirm that religion, especially Islam, has had everything to do with it–and not just ordinary religion, but a perverse strain of fundamentalism that has infected normal religion and caused it to go bad. A reading of the Atta manuscript shows both answers to be incorrect. In an analysis of this manual undertaken by a scholar of comparative religion, Bruce Lincoln, he leaves us with no doubt that Mohammed Atta and his eighteen accomplices on that dark morning of September 11 were filled with a religious zeal and undertook their hideous assignment in a ritualistic act of self–sacrifice following traditional tenets. Moreover, although the ideology of their mentors was influenced by a certain strain of Islamic political thought characterized by the writings of Mawdudi, al Banna and Faraj, to which only a minority of Muslims subscribe, the religious practices and rituals were themselves not deviant. The actions prescribed for the nineteen on the morning of September 11 were well within the norm not only for Islamic belief and practice, but also for many other religious traditions. Skewed though their political views may have been, one could say on the basis of this text that Atta and his colleagues died as good Muslims. Had they been Christians or Hindus they would have died as good adherents of those faiths as well.
Serra, Narcis. 2002. “Religion and Terrorism Conference Paper: Terrorism and the Future of Global Politics.” In .Abstract
The general topic of this conference points to the link between the concepts of religion and terrorism. The September 11th attacks – and the previous and subsequent terrorist attacks in Bali and other parts of Asia – highlight the importance of gathering as much information as possible on Islam–related terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism has added new dimensions to the phenomenon of terrorism. Here I would like to mention two. First, the widespread potential or actual support for this terrorism: Muslims make up a large proportion of the world's population and this, along with the current level of technological advance, combine to make Islamic terrorism a truly global problem. Second, Islamic fundamentalism has brought a new lethality to terrorist actions through the suicide attack.