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Lessons from Vietnam and Iraq
Political scientist James H. Lebovic establishes that the size, strength, flexibility, and adaptability of the U.S. military cannot ensure victory in asymmetrical conflicts. In The Limits of U.S. Military Capability, Lebovic shows how political and psychological factors trumped U.S. military superiority in Vietnam and Iraq, where inappropriate strategies, low stakes, and unrealistic goals mired the United States military in protracted, no-win conflicts. Lebovic contends that the United States is at a particular disadvantage when fighting a counterinsurgency without the full support of the host government; when leveraging various third parties (the adversary's foreign allies, societal leaders, and indigenous populations); when attempting to build coalitions and nations while involved in combat; and when sustaining government and public support at home when costs rise and benefits decline. Lebovic cautions against involving the U.S. military in operations without first considering U.S. stakes and suggests that the military take a less-is-more approach when choosing to employ force. Ambitious goals bring higher costs, unexpected results, diminished options, and a greater risk of failure. Rejecting the heavy-handed approach that is typical of most comparisons between the Vietnam and Iraq wars, The Limits of U.S. Military Capability carefully assesses evidence to develop lessons applicable to other conflicts—especially the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Political Parties and Parliamentary Democracy in Nordic Europe
This book is unique in its comparative scope and the wealth of information on the state of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic countries. It is particularly useful for the comparativists who do not come from these countries, because the original literature which it covers in detail is often not accessible for the English-speaking audience. ---Hanspeter Kriesi, University of Zurich Parliamentary democracy is the most common regime type in the contemporary political world, but the quality of governance depends on effective parliamentary oversight and strong political parties. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have traditionally been strongholds of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, however, critics have suggested that new challenges such as weakened popular attachment, the advent of cartel parties, the judicialization of politics, and European integration have threatened the institutions of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic region. This volume examines these claims and their implications. The authors find that the Nordic states have moved away from their previous resemblance to a Westminster model toward a form of parliamentary democracy with more separation-of-powers features---a Madisonian model. These features are evident both in vertical power relations (e.g., relations with the European Union) and horizontal ones (e.g., increasingly independent courts and central banks). Yet these developments are far from uniform and demonstrate that there may be different responses to the political challenges faced by contemporary Western democracies. Torbjörn Bergman is Professor of Political Science at Umeå University, Sweden. Kaare Strøm is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
A Bridge between Scholarship and Politics
Although democracy is a widely held value, concrete measurement of it is elusive. Gerardo L. Munck’s constructive assessment of the methods used to measure democracies promises to bring order to the debate in academia and in practice. Drawing on his years of academic research on democracy and measurement and his practical experience evaluating democratic practices for the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Munck's discussion bridges the theories of academia with practical applications. In proposing a more open and collaborative relationship between theory and action, he makes the case for reassessing how democracy is measured and encourages fundamental changes in methodology. Munck’s field-tested framework for quantifying and qualifying democracy is built around two instruments he developed: the UN Development Programme’s Electoral Democracy Index and a case-by-case election monitoring tool used by the OAS. Measuring Democracy offers specific, real-world lessons that scholars and practitioners can use to improve the quality and utility of data about democracy.
Strategies for Equitable and Integrated Development
Despite rapid metropolitanization throughout the Americas and widespread interest in “megacities,” few studies have examined the new governance structures needed to address issues of citizen representation and participation and the public service challenges of population expansion and increasing urban inequalities. To fill that void, Peter K. Spink, Peter M. Ward, Robert H. Wilson, and the other contributors to this volume provide original research and analysis of the principal metropolitan areas in six federalist countries of the Americas—Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. They find that a common feature of metropolitan expansion is the lack of a unified governmental structure. Using a comparative research framework, they examine the forms, functions, legitimacy, and performance of emerging governmental structures. Their cross-national study shows that existing institutional structures and political systems impede collaboration among governments in metropolitan areas. Given both the relatively few successful models at the local level and the disinterest on the part of federal governments, regional governments—states and provinces—seem to provide the most pragmatic bases for constructing metropolitan governments that are capable of efficiently delivering services. Because there is no direct path to achieve such new structures, the authors urge reform at the state and local levels to address the need to work out the politics and management structures that will function best within their own politics.
A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections
In 2012, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—which had governed Mexico with an iron grip for 71 years before being ousted in 2000—was surprisingly returned to power. In Mexico's Evolving Democracy, a team of distinguished political scientists delivers an exceptional analysis of the remarkable 2012 Mexican elections. Extending the scholarship that the editors generated in their panel studies of the 2000 and 2006 elections, the book assesses all three elections from both traditional and nontraditional vantage points, seeking fuller answers to the lingering question of why this maturing democracy returned the party associated with Mexico’s old regime to office. To evaluate the PRI’s rehabilitation and eventual electoral success, the authors explore Mexico’s electoral institutions, parties, candidates, campaign strategies, public opinion surveys, and media coverage. They also delve into issues of clientelism, corruption, drugs, violence, and the rise of new protest movements in the run-up to and aftermath of the elections. Not only does the book provide rich detail for Latin American electoral and democratization scholars, but its coherent narrative will also appeal to those unfamiliar with Mexican politics. Parts one and two offer an excellent recap of the “state of play” in 2012; part three analyzes why Mexicans voted as they did; and part four considers the election’s implications for Mexico’s political system more broadly.
Military Politics and Democracy in the Andes challenges conventional theories regarding military behavior in post-transition democracies. Through a deeply researched comparative analysis of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian armies, Maiah Jaskoski argues that militaries are concerned more with the predictability of their missions than with sovereignty objectives set by democratically elected leaders. Jaskoski gathers data from interviews with public officials, private sector representatives, journalists, and more than 160 Peruvian and Ecuadorian officers from all branches of the military. The results are surprising. Ecuador’s army, for example, fearing the uncertainty of border defense against insurgent encroachment in the north, neglected this duty, thereby sacrificing the state’s security goals, acting against government orders, and challenging democratic consolidation. Instead of defending the border, the army has opted to carry out policing functions within Ecuador, such as combating the drug trade. Additionally, by ignoring its duty to defend sovereignty, the army is available to contract out its policing services to paying, private companies that, relative to the public, benefit disproportionately from army security. Jaskoski also looks briefly at this theory's implications for military responsiveness to government orders in democratic Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela, and in newly formed democracies more broadly.
Islam and the Theory of Statecraft
In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 it seems as if “Islamic fundamentalists” has emerged as the bête noire of the post-Cold War world. A whole cottage industry has emerged that depicts Islam as nothing more than a sign system (clerics, veils, guns, flag burnings, fist-waving) and subject of traumatic news (terrorists, assassins, hostage takers, etc). The monolithic characterization of Muslims assumes that there is a unitary “Islamic” position on important issues of statecraft and governance. The aim of “Mirror for the Muslim Prince” is to move beyond the fashionable yet cursory understanding of Muslims’ beliefs regarding power and statecraft. By assembling a group of world class scholars, this book challenges a host of exalted assumptions and theories concerning political power in the Muslim world. Contributors to the volume include Charles Butterworth, Serif Mardin, Muzaffar Alam, and Roxanne L. Euben.
Civil-Military Relations and the United Nations
The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper reevaluates how United Nations peacekeeping missions reform (or fail to reform) their participating members. It investigates how such missions affect military organizations and civil-military relations as countries transition to a more democratic system. Two-thirds of the UN’s peacekeepers come from developing nations, many of which are transitioning to democracy as well. The assumption is that these “blue helmet” peacekeepers learn not only to appreciate democratic principles through their mission work but also to develop an international outlook and new ideas about conflict prevention. Arturo C. Sotomayor debunks this myth, arguing that democratic practices don’t just “rub off” on UN peacekeepers. So what, if any, benefit accrues to these troops from emerging democracies? In this richly detailed study of a decade’s worth of research (2001–2010) on Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan peacekeeping participation, Sotomayor draws upon international socialization theory and civil-military relations to understand how peacekeeping efforts impact participating armed forces. He asks three questions: Does peacekeeping reform military organizations? Can peacekeeping socialize soldiers to become more liberalized and civilianized? Does peacekeeping improve defense and foreign policy integration? His evaluation of the three countries’ involvement in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti reinforces his final analysis—that successful democratic transitions must include a military organization open to change and a civilian leadership that exercises its oversight responsibilities. The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper contributes to international relations theory and to substantive issues in civil-military relations and comparative politics. It provides a novel argument about how peacekeeping works and further insight into how international factors affect domestic politics as well as how international institutions affect democratizing efforts.
Stephen J. King considers the reasons that international and domestic efforts toward democratization have failed to take hold in the Arab world. Focusing on Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Algeria, he suggests that a complex set of variables characterizes authoritarian rule and helps to explain both its dynamism and its persistence. King addresses, but moves beyond, how religion and the strongly patriarchal culture influence state structure, policy configuration, ruling coalitions, and legitimization and privatization strategies. He shows how the transformation of authoritarianism has taken place amid shifting social relations and political institutions and how these changes have affected the lives of millions. Ultimately, King's forward-thinking analysis offers a way to enhance the prospects for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.
Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era
Detailed examination of the territorial and governance dimensions of contemporary welfare reforms in the United States and Europe.