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UN Ideas and Global Challenges
Ideas and concepts are arguably the most important legacy of the United Nations. Ahead of the Curve? analyzes the evolution of key ideas and concepts about international economic and social development born or nurtured, refined or applied under UN auspices since 1945. The authors evaluate the policy ideas coming from UN organizations and scholars in relation to such critical issues as decolonization, sustainable development, structural adjustment, basic needs, human rights, women, world employment, the transition of the Eastern bloc, the role of nongovernmental organizations, and global governance.
The authors find that, in many instances, UN ideas about how to tackle problems of global import were sound and far-sighted, although they often fell on the deaf ears of powerful member states until it was apparent that a different approach was needed. The authors also identify important areas where the UN has not stood constructively at the fore.
A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance
Aid and Ebb Tide: A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance examines Canada’s mixed record since 1950 in transferring over $50 billion in capital and expertise to developing countries through ODA. It focuses in particular on the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the organization chiefly responsible for delivering Canada’s development assistance. Aid and Ebb Tide calls for a renewed and reformed Canadian commitment to development co-operation at a time when the gap between the world’s richest and poorest has been widening alarmingly and millions are still being born into poverty and human insecurity.
The Learning Curve
Aid to promote democracy abroad has emerged as a major growth industry in recent years. Not only the United States but many other Western countries, international institutions, and private foundations today use aid to support democratic transitions in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Though extensive in scope, these activities remain little understood outside the realm of specialists. Debates among policymakers over democracy promotion oscillate between unhelpful poles of extreme skepticism and unrealistic boosterism, while the vast majority of citizens in aid-providing countries have little awareness of the democracy-building efforts their governments sponsor. Aiding Democracy Abroad is the first independent, comprehensive assessment of this important new field. Drawing on extensive field research and years of hands-on experience, Thomas Carothers examines democracy-aid programs relating to elections, political parties, governmental reform, rule of law, civil society, independent media, labor unions, decentralization, and other elements of what he describes as "the democracy template" that policymakers and aid officials apply around the world. Steering a careful path between the inflated claims of aid advocates and the exaggerated criticisms of their opponents, Carothers takes a hard look at what such programs achieve and how they can be improved.
The Diffusion of Conflict, Integration, and Democratization
How does regional interdependence influence the prospects for conflict, integration, and democratization? Some researchers look at the international system at large and disregard the enormous regional variations. Others take the concept of sovereignty literally and treat each nation-state as fully independent. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch looks at disparate zones in the international system to see how conflict, integration, and democracy have clustered over time and space. He argues that the most interesting aspects of international politics are regional rather than fully global or exclusively national. Differences in the local context of interaction influence states' international behavior as well as their domestic attributes. In All International Politics Is Local, Gleditsch clarifies that isolating the domestic processes within countries cannot account for the observed variation in distribution of political democracy over time and space, and that the likelihood of transitions is strongly related to changes in neighboring countries and the prior history of the regional context. Finally, he demonstrates how spatial and statistical techniques can be used to address regional interdependence among actors and its implications. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
How America Lost the Third World
In Alliance Curse, Hilton Root illustrates that recent U.S. foreign policy is too often misguided, resulting in misdirected foreign aid and alliances that stunt political and economic development among partner regimes, leaving America on the wrong side of change. Many alliances with third world dictators, ostensibly of mutual benefit, reduce incentives to govern for prosperity and produce instead political and social instability and economic failure. Yet again, in the war on terror and in the name of preserving global stability, America is backing authoritarian regimes that practice repression and plunder. It is as if the cold war never ended. While espousing freedom and democracy, the U.S. contradicts itself by aiding governments that do not share those values. In addition to undercutting its own stated goal of promoting freedom, America makes the developing world even more wary of its intentions. Yes, the democracy we preach arouses aspirations and attracts immigrants, but those same individuals become our sternest critics; having learned to admire American values, they end up deploring U.S. policies toward their own countries. Long-term U.S. security is jeopardized by a legacy of resentment and distrust. A lliance Curse proposes an analytical foundation for national security that challenges long-held assumptions about foreign affairs. It questions the wisdom of diplomacy that depends on questionable linkages or outdated suppositions. The end of the Soviet Union did not portend the demise of communism, for example. Democracy and socialism are not incompatible systems. Promoting democracy by linking it with free trade risks overemphasizing the latter goal at the expense of the former. The growing tendency to play China against India in an effort to retain American global supremacy will hamper relations with both an intolerable situation in today's interdependent world. Root buttresses his analysis with case studies of American foreign policy toward developing countries (e.g., Vietnam), efforts at state building, and nations growing in importance, such as China. He concludes with a series of recommendations designed to close the gap between security and economic development.
Lessons from a Life of Service
Ambassador Ortiz's memoir is as fascinating as has been his career over four decades in the United States Foreign Service. An Air Force veteran of World War II, Ambassador Ortiz's first assignments were in the Middle East and Ethiopia. His most significant diplomatic work was done in Latin America. There, he took on missions in Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, the Caribbean, Panama, Guatemala, and Argentina. He held posts in Washington, D. C. at the very center of U.S. power.
The United States in the Western Hemisphere
Threats to Liberal Self-Government in an Age of Uncertainty
America at Risk gathers original essays by a distinguished and bipartisan group of writers and intellectuals to address a question that matters to Americans of every political persuasion: what are some of the greatest dangers facing America today? The answers, which range from dwindling political participation to rising poverty, and religion to empire, add up to a valuable and timely portrait of a particular moment in the history of American ideas. While the opinions are many, there is a central theme in the book: the corrosion of the liberal constitutional order that has long guided the country at home and abroad. The authors write about the demonstrably important dangers the United States faces while also breaking the usual academic boundaries: there are chapters on the family, religious polarization, immigration, and the economy, as well as on governmental and partisan issues. America at Risk is required reading for all Americans alarmed about the future of their country. Contributors • Traci Burch • James W. Ceaser • Robert Faulkner • Niall Ferguson • William A. Galston • Hugh Heclo • Pierre Manent • Harvey C. Mansfield • Peter Rodriguez • Kay Lehman Schlozman • Susan Shell • Peter Skerry • James Q. Wilson • Alan Wolfe Robert Faulkner is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Susan Shell is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. "America at Risk goes well beyond the usual diagnoses of issues debated in public life like immigration, war, and debt, to consider the Republic’s founding principles, and the ways in which they have been displaced by newer thoughts and habits in contemporary America. A critical book for understanding our present condition." —Francis Fukuyama, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies "In this penetrating book, the nation’s finest social and political thinkers from across the spectrum take a careful and no-holds-barred look at the dangers facing the American political system. The conclusions are more unsettling than reassuring---but that is because they are honest and real." —Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute "In the midst of overwrought pundits, irate soccer moms, and outraged bloggers, it is difficult to distinguish genuine dangers from false alarms and special pleading. This book enables us to do so, in a way that helps us to actually think about, not just feel anxious about, threats to those features of American society that are worth cherishing. The authors range in ideology and expertise, but they are uniformly judicious, incisive, and informative. This is a fascinating book about issues that the political system usually ignores or exaggerates." —Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Building the Outposts of Empire
American servicemen and -women are currently stationed in more than 140 countries from Central America to Western Europe to the Middle East, often living and working on military bases that not only dominate foreign territories but also re-create familiar space that “feels like home”—gated communities filled with rambling subdivisions, franchised restaurants, and lush golf courses.
In America Town, Mark Gillem reveals modern military outposts as key symbols of not just American power but also consumer consumption. Through case studies of several U.S. military facilities—including Aviano Air Base in Italy, Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea, and Kadena Air Base in Japan—Gillem exposes these military installations as exports of the American Dream, as suburban culture replicated in the form of vast green lawns, three-car garages, and big-box stores. With passion and eloquence he questions the impact of this practice on the rest of the world, exposing the arrogance of U.S. consumption of foreign land.
Gillem contends that current U.S. military policy for its overseas troops practices avoidance—relocating military bases to isolated but well-appointed compounds designed to prevent contact with the residents. He probes the policy directives behind base building that reproduce widely spaced, abundantly paved, and extensively manicured American suburbs, regardless of the host nation’s terrain and culture or the impact on local communities living under empire’s wings.
Throughout America Town, Gillem demonstrates how the excesses of American culture are strikingly evident in the way that the U.S. military builds its outposts. The defense of the United States, he concludes, has led to the massive imposition of tract homes and strip malls on the world—creating mini-Americas that inhibit cultural understanding between U.S. troops and our allies abroad.
Mark L. Gillem is assistant professor of architecture and landscape architecture at the University of Oregon. He is also a licensed architect, a certified planner, and a former active-duty U.S. Air Force officer.