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Agency and Ethics

The Politics of Military Intervention

Why does political conflict seem to consistently interfere with attempts to provide aid, end ethnic discord, or restore democracy? To answer this question, Agency and Ethics examines how the norms that originally motivate an intervention often create conflict between the intervening powers, outside powers, and the political agents who are the victims of the intervention. Three case studies are drawn upon to illustrate this phenomena: the British and American intervention in Bolshevik Russia in 1918; the British and French intervention in Egypt in 1956; and the American and United Nations intervention in Somalia in 1993. Although rarely categorized together, these three interventions shared at least one strong commonality: all failed to achieve their professed goals, with the troops being ignominiously recalled in each example. Lang concludes by addressing the dilemma of how to resolve complex humanitarian emergencies in the twenty-first century without the necessity of resorting to military intervention.

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Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs

Gender Violence and Reproductive Rights

In the mid-1990s, when the United Nations adopted positions affirming a woman's right to be free from bodily harm and to control her own reproductive health, it was both a coup for the international women's rights movement and an instructive moment for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to influence UN decision making. Prior to the UN General Assembly's 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and the 1994 decision by the UN's Conference on Population and Development to vault women's reproductive rights and health to the forefront of its global population growth management program, there was little consensus among governments as to what constituted violence against women and how much control a woman should have over reproduction. Jutta Joachim tells the story of how, in the years leading up to these decisions, women's organizations got savvy—framing the issues strategically, seizing political opportunities in the international environment, and taking advantage of mobilizing structures—and overcame the cultural opposition of many UN-member states to broadly define the two issues and ultimately cement women's rights as an international cause. Joachim's deft examination of the documents, proceedings, and actions of the UN and women's advocacy NGOs—supplemented by interviews with key players from concerned parties, and her own participant-observation—reveals flaws in state-centered international relations theories as applied to UN policy, details the tactics and methods that NGOs can employ in order to push rights issues onto the UN agenda, and offers insights into the factors that affect NGO influence. In so doing, Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs departs from conventional international relations theory by drawing on social movement literature to illustrate how rights groups can motivate change at the international level.

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Ahead of the Curve?

UN Ideas and Global Challenges

Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas G. Weiss. Foreword by Kofi A. Annan

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.

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Aid and Ebb Tide

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.

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Aid Under Fire

Nation Building and the Vietnam War

Jessica Elkind

In the aftermath of World War II, as longstanding empires collapsed and former colonies struggled for independence, the United States employed new diplomatic tools to counter unprecedented challenges to its interests across the globe. Among the most important new foreign policy strategies was development assistance -- the attempt to strengthen alliances by providing technology, financial aid, and administrators to fledgling states in order to disseminate and inculcate American values and practices in local populations. While the US implemented development programs in several nations, nowhere were these policies more significant than in Vietnam.

In Aid Under Fire, Jessica Elkind examines US nation-building efforts in the fledgling South Vietnamese state during the decade preceding the full-scale ground war. Based on American and Vietnamese archival sources as well as on interviews with numerous aid workers, this study vividly demonstrates how civilians from the official US aid agency as well as several nongovernmental organizations implemented nearly every component of nonmilitary assistance given to South Vietnam during this period, including public and police administration, agricultural development, education, and public health. However, despite the sincerity of American efforts, most Vietnamese citizens understood US-sponsored programs to be little more than a continuation of previous attempts by foreign powers to dominate their homeland.

Elkind convincingly argues that, instead of reexamining their core assumptions or altering their approach as the violence in the region escalated, US policymakers and aid workers only strengthened their commitment to nation building, increasingly modifying their development goals to support counterinsurgency efforts. Aid Under Fire highlights the important role played by nonstate actors in advancing US policies and reveals in stark terms the limits of American power and influence during the period widely considered to be the apex of US supremacy in the world.

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Aiding Democracy Abroad

The Learning Curve

Thomas Carothers

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.

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The Alchemy of Empire

Abject Materials and the Technologies of Colonialism

Rajani Sudan

The Alchemy of Empire unravels the non-European origins of Enlightenment science. Focusing on the abject materials of empire-building, this study traces the genealogies of substances like mud, mortar, ice, and paper, as well as forms of knowledge like inoculation. Showing how East India Company employees deployed the paradigm of alchemy in order to make sense of the new worlds they confronted, Rajani Sudan argues that the Enlightenment was born largely out of Europe's (and Britain's) sense of insecurity and inferiority in the early modern world. Plumbing the depths of the imperial archive, Sudan uncovers the history of the British Enlightenment in the literary artifacts of the long eighteenth century, from the correspondence of the East India Company and the papers of the Royal Society to the poetry of Alexander Pope and the novels of Jane Austen.

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Alexander Gumberg and Soviet-American Relations

1917--1933

James K. Libbey

Born in Russia in 1887, Alexander Gumberg immigrated to the United States in 1903. He returned to Russia in 1917 as an American businessman sympathetic to the progress of Russia's Revolution. After the Bolshevik seizure of power on November 7, Gumberg became a secretary, translator, and adviser to the American Red Cross Commission and the Committee on Public Information. Through him a Soviet-American dialogue formed despite the lack of official relations. Gumberg advised congressmen who hoped to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries. He helped American publicists, publications, and institutions which sought to present a favorable, or at least balanced, picture of Soviet Russia. Gumberg did not seek to start a revolution to change the world, or to alter the morality of man. He did contribute quietly to a better understanding between the future superpowers when their normal ties had been broken.

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All International Politics is Local

The Diffusion of Conflict, Integration, and Democratization

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

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.

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All Necessary Measures

The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention

Carrie Booth Walling

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