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Australia Faces Southeast Asia

The Emergence of a Foreign Policy

Amry Vandenbosch and Mary Belle Vandenbosch

Australia as a Western society in the Orient faces a unique and paradoxical challenge in her relations with her close but unfamiliar neighbors of Southeast Asia. Explicitly dependent upon British foreign policy until the fall of Singapore in 1942, Australia has reluctantly and painfully begun the task of developing a policy of her own.

The Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia and many of the Pacific islands during the Second World War awakened Australia to the need to secure her own defenses and later, when Britain began a gradual withdrawal from Southeast Asia, Australia was thrown upon her own resources in dealing with her politically unstable and volatile neighbors and also with the larger Asian threat posed by Communist China. In Australia Faces Southeast Asia, Amry and MaryBelle Vandenbosch trace Australia's attempts to reconcile her cultural heritage and her geography.

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Avoiding Armageddon

America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back

Bruce O. Riedel

India and Pakistan will be among the most important countries in the twenty-first century. In Avoiding Armageddon, Bruce Riedel clearly explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America's affairs with these two emerging powers and their toxic relationship.

Born from the British Raj, the two nations share a common heritage, but they are different in many important ways. India is already the world's largest democracy and will soon become the planet's most populous nation. Pakistan, soon to be the fifth most populous country, has a troubled history of military coups, dictators, and harboring terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.

The longtime rivals are nuclear powers, with tested weapons. They have fought four wars with each other and have gone to the brink of war several times. Meanwhile, U.S. presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have been increasingly involved in the region's affairs. In the past two decades alone, the White House has intervened several times to prevent nuclear confrontation on the subcontinent. South Asia clearly is critical to American national security, and the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan is the crucial factor determining whether the region can ever be safe and stable.

Based on extensive research and Riedel's role in advising four U.S. presidents on the region, Avoiding Armageddon reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis. Riedel provides an in-depth look at the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11, and he concludes with authoritative analysis on what the future is likely to hold for America and the South Asia puzzle as well as recommendations on how Washington should proceed.

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Avoiding Governors

Federalism, Democracy, and Poverty Alleviation in Brazil and Argentina

Tracy Beck Fenwick

With the goal of showing the effect of domestic factors on the performance of poverty alleviation strategies in Latin America, Tracy Beck Fenwick explores the origins and rise of conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs) in the region, and then traces the politics and evolution of specific programs in Brazil and Argentina. Utilizing extensive field research and empirical analysis, Fenwick analyzes how federalism affects the ability of a national government to deliver CCTs. One of Fenwick’s key findings is that broad institutional, structural, and political variables are more important in the success or failure of CCTs than the technical design of programs. Contrary to the mainstream interpretations of Brazilian federalism, her analysis shows that municipalities have contributed to the relative success of Bolsa Familia and its ability to be implemented territory-wide. Avoiding Governors probes the contrast with Argentina, where the structural, political, and fiscal incentives for national-local policy cooperation have not been adequate, at least this far, to sustain a CCT program that is conditional on human capital investments. She thus challenges the virtue of what is considered to be a mainly majoritarian democratic system. By laying out the key factors that condition whether mayors either promote or undermine national policy objectives, Fenwick concludes that municipalities can either facilitate or block a national government’s ability to deliver targeted social policy goods and to pursue a poverty alleviation strategy. By distinguishing municipalities as separate actors, she presents a dynamic intergovernmental relationship; indeed, she identifies a power struggle between multiple levels of government and their electorates, not just a dichotomously framed two-level game of national versus subnational.

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Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay

Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India

Pranab Bardhan

The recent economic rise of China and India has attracted a great deal of attention--and justifiably so. Together, the two countries account for one-fifth of the global economy and are projected to represent a full third of the world's income by 2025. Yet, many of the views regarding China and India's market reforms and high growth have been tendentious, exaggerated, or oversimplified. Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay scrutinizes the phenomenal rise of both nations, and demolishes the myths that have accumulated around the economic achievements of these two giants in the last quarter century. Exploring the challenges that both countries must overcome to become true leaders in the international economy, Pranab Bardhan looks beyond short-run macroeconomic issues to examine and compare China and India's major policy changes, political and economic structures, and current general performance.

Bardhan investigates the two countries' economic reforms, each nation's pattern and composition of growth, and the problems afflicting their agricultural, industrial, infrastructural, and financial sectors. He considers how these factors affect China and India's poverty, inequality, and environment, how political factors shape each country's pattern of burgeoning capitalism, and how significant poverty reduction in both countries is mainly due to domestic factors--not global integration, as most would believe. He shows how authoritarianism has distorted Chinese development while democratic governance in India has been marred by severe accountability failures.

Full of valuable insights, Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay provides a nuanced picture of China and India's complex political economy at a time of startling global reconfiguration and change.

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The Bachelet Government

Conflict and Consensus in Post-Pinochet Chile

Silvia Borzutzky and Gregory B. Weeks

Michelle Bachelet was the first elected female president of Chile, and the first women elected president of any South American country. What was just as remarkable, though less noted, was the success and stability of the political coalition that she represented, the Concertacion. Though Bachelet was the fourth consecutive Concertacion president, upon taking office her administration quickly faced a series of crises, including massive student protests, labor unrest, internal governmental divisions, and allegations of ineptitude and wrongdoing as a result of a major reorganization of Santiago's transportation system.

Candidate Bachelet promised not only different policies but also a different policymaking style--a style characterized by a kinder and gentler approach to politics in a country with a long tradition of machismo and strong male rulers. Bachelet promised to listen to the people and to return power to those who had been denied it in the past. Her attitude enhanced the influence of existing social movements and inspired the formation of new ones.

The Bachelet Government is the first book to examine the policies, political issues, and conflicts of Bachelet's administration, and the first to provide analyses of the challenges, successes, and failures experienced by the Concertacion since 1989.

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Back to the Future

Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change

Josh Freed

The Golden Age of nuclear energy in the United States has passed, and the accidents, if not disasters, at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have damaged nuclear power's rise in some parts of the world. And yet today, as Third Way's Josh Freed illuminates in the latest Brookings Essay, a flood of young engineers are exploring safer and cleaner nuclear energy technologies as the best option for powering the world and addressing the looming threat of climate change. Yet as Freed demonstrates, advanced nuclear energy is too big, complex, and expensive to take off without significant political backing and changes in how the government supports innovation. If the U.S. doesn't invest in advanced nuclear, he argues, it's inevitable that another country will lead the way in this game-changing field.

THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.

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The Banking Crisis of 1933

Susan Estabrook Kennedy

On March 6, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt, less than forty-eight hours after becoming president, ordered the suspension of all banking facilities in the United States. How the nation had reached such a desperate situation and how it responded to the banking "holiday" are examined in this book, the first full-length study of the crisis.

Although the 1920s had witnessed a wave of bank failures, the situation worsened after the 1929 stock market crash, and by the winter of 1932-1933, complete banking collapse threatened much of the nation. President Hoover's stopgap measures proved totally inadequate, the author shows, and by March 4, the day of Roosevelt's inauguration, thirty-four states had declared banking moratoriums. Of special interest in this study is Ms. Kennedy's examination of relations between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Banking on Reform

Political Parties and Central Bank Independence in the Industrial Democracies

William Bernhard

Banking on Reform examines the political determinants of recent reforms to monetary policy institutions in the industrial democracies. With these reforms, political parties have sought to draw on the political credibility of an independent central bank to cope with electoral consequences of economic internalization and deindustrialization. New Zealand and Italy made the initial efforts to grant their central banks independence. More recently, France, Spain, Britain, and Sweden have reformed their central banks' independence. Additionally, members of the European Union have implemented a single currency, with an independent European central bank to administer monetary policy. Banking on Reform stresses the politics surrounding the choice of these institutions, specifically the motivations of political parties. Where intraparty conflicts have threatened the party's ability to hold office, politicians have adopted an independent central bank. Where political parties have been secluded from the political consequences of economic change, reform has been thwarted or delayed. The drive toward a single currency also reflects these political concerns. By delegating monetary policy to the European level, politicians in the member states removed a potentially divisive issue from the domestic political agenda, allowing parties to rebuild their support constructed on the basis of other issues. William T. Bernhard provides a variety of evidence to support his argument, such as in-depth case accounts of recent central bank reforms in Italy and Britain, the role of the German Bundesbank in the policy process, and the adoption of the single currency in Europe. Additionally, he utilizes quantitative and statistical tests to enhance his argument. This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and other social scientists interested in the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization. William T. Bernhard is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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Banking on Small Business

Microfinance in Contemporary Russia

How do you prime the well of economic growth? First, put a negligible amount of money into exactly the right hands. Then, step back. A vibrant and rapidly expanding national economy needs an active small business sector, but small entrepreneurs need loans to expand their businesses. Microfinance also has potential to be an engine of economic growth, although this prospect has been overshadowed by its image as a tool for alleviating poverty.

In Banking on Small Business, Gail Buyske analyzes three themes in economic development: the global growth of microfinance, banking sector development, and Russian entrepreneurship. These three themes intersect at KMB, the Russian Small Business Bank, where Buyske chaired the board of directors for six years. This book is in part an account of KMB's role in initiating great changes through a series of apparently small actions.

In reviewing Russian entrepreneurship and banking since the advent of perestroika in the mid-1990s, Buyske stresses that Russian entrepreneurship is more dynamic than usually perceived and that the historic lack of small-business and start-up finance was largely owing to the practices of the Russian banking sector rather than to any failing on the part of Russian entrepreneurs. Buyske's conclusions have important implications for policy worldwide; she is confident that a broad understanding of microfinance as a profitable, rather than a charitable, endeavor will contribute to the commercial involvement needed to maximize global microfinance growth.

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Bargaining for Women's Rights

Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy

Alice J. Kang

Gender relations in Muslim-majority countries have been subject to intense debate in recent decades. In some cases, Muslim women have fought for and won new rights to political participation, reproductive health, and education. In others, their agendas have been stymied. Yet missing from this discussion, until now, has been a systematic examination of how civil society groups mobilize to promote women’s rights and how multiple components of the state negotiate such legislation.

In Bargaining for Women’s Rights, Alice J. Kang argues that reform is more likely to happen when the struggle arises from within. Focusing on how a law on gender quotas and a United Nations treaty on ending discrimination against women passed in Niger while family law reform and an African Union protocol on women’s rights did not, Kang shows how local women’s associations are uniquely positioned to translate global concepts of democracy and human rights into concrete policy proposals. And yet, drawing on numerous interviews with women’s rights activists as well as Islamists and politicians, she reveals that the former are not the only ones who care about the regulation of gender relations.

Providing a solid analytic framework for understanding conflict over women’s rights policies without stereotyping Muslims, Bargaining for Women’s Rights demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Islam does not have a uniformly negative effect on the prospects of such legislation.


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