Cornell International Affairs Review - Volume 02, Number 1 (Fall 2008)

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    Crisis in Burma: A Lack of “International Voluntarism”
    Joo, Edward Bong Geul (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    On September 24, 2007, the conflict in Burma, also known as Myanmar, between the public and the military junta, officially known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), reached a serious point. The military junta, which represented the Burmese government, had raised the price of oil through its monopoly, which subsequently elevated food prices. In response, the public, including 1000 monks, protested against the tyrannical rule of the junta. The junta reacted by killing thousands of people and arresting democratic leaders such as U Gambira, the leader of the protesting monks. Amidst this turmoil, many foreign countries intervened to try to find a solution. Keck and Sikkink suggest that these are voluntary and angel states coming to the aid of others. On the other hand, Kaufmann and Pape argue that these are states masking their acts as aid while looking for gains for themselves. They add that these political gains are made at the costly price of economic loss. By examining how the United States has been involved in the crisis in Burma, Kaufmann and Pape’s view on these states appears to be more correct than that of Keck and Sikkink, who believe in the existence of voluntary states.
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    The Hippie and the Snake-Eater: The Role of Interagency Cooperation in Twenty-First Century Security Affairs
    Lin, David (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    An early-2008 Foreign Policy index found that 88% of active and retired American servicemen and women agree that the war in Iraq has stretched the United States military dangerously thin. Another 60% think that the US military today is weaker than it was five years ago. 74% of those surveyed hold low regards for the civilian leadership expressing that civilian policymakers set unreasonable goals for the US military to accomplish. With current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan serving as backdrops, these inflections serve as the basis of a much-needed conversation on the evolving roles and responsibilities of civilian and military agencies in the post-conflict environment. The immediate solutions to the military’s frustrations have been logical if not only reactionary or temporary stopgaps. If the military is stretched too thin, then expand it. Over the next five years there will be substantial increases in the Army and Marine Corps by as much as over 90,000 troops. If the military is weakening, then strengthen it. The President’s 2008 defense budget pushes defense spending to levels not seen since the Reagan Administration, bringing with it a slew of new military hardware meant to keep the US military on the cutting edge of technology and flexible in the face of emerging threats. If the military is lacking comprehensive training and doctrine to combat insurgencies, then revise doctrine. In December 2007, the US Army and Marine Corps revamped their Counterinsurgency Field Manual, the first time in over two decades either service had published a field manual devoted to counterinsurgency. The next President of the United States will face a dynamic range of transnational threats that will likely make us rethink the way modern wars are fought. From terrorism and counterinsurgency to combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction, from illicit trafficking of drugs, people, and guns back to traditional conventional warfare with rising superpowers such as China and Russia, the United States must maintain a variety of diplomatic and military responses at its disposal. As emerging threats in the twenty-first century appear to be rooted at the nexus of security and development, a single-sided military solution cannot fully resolve a multi-dimensional problem. There is a need to develop a more comprehensive civil-military approach to combating terrorism, insurgency, and asymmetric warfare, something that has not fully materialized on the strategic or on the operational level. In order to do this, there is a need to tear down the stereotypes and reintroduce the hippie (statesmen) to the snake-eater (soldier).
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    Israel and Palestine: The Twilight of the Two State Solution
    Chammah, Maurice (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    At a time when large scale political visions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian impasse have become subsumed by day to day concerns and a peace process losing in credibility, many Israelis and Palestinians nevertheless discuss a range of possible final statuses for their respective populations and nations. This article shows how the idea of two states living side by side has been increasingly challenged in the recent past, both by ideologies on the left and right and by “facts on the ground,” leading many to consider a range of possibilities involving a single state.
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    Can America Find a Grand Strategy?
    Krasner, Stephen (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    Professor Krasner, B.A. History, Cornell University 1963, spoke at Cornell on September 17, 2008, at the invitation of the Einaudi Center for International Studies. The Board of the Cornell International Affairs Review had the privilege of meeting with him during his visit. The following article, produced here with his permission, is an edited transcript of this talk. The board of the Cornell International Affairs Review thanks Professor Krasner for his support to our mission.
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    The Myth of 9/11 in Latin America
    Lopez Garcia, Ana Isabel (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    It is often argued that the first and most visible impact of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 has been the reordering of Washington’s priorities in its relations with Latin America. The United States (U.S.) has focused its attention outside the hemisphere and placed Latin America at the “bottom of U.S. terrorist agenda” (Youngers 2003). Various scholars argue that the U.S has returned to its Cold-War stance, in which it only notices those developments in Latin America that directly challenge U.S. interests (Hakim 2006). Accordingly, after 9/11 U.S. security demands have overshadowed other issues that Latin American countries consider priorities (Youngers 2003, 2). Susan Kauffman (2002), for instance, posits that: “once again the United States is looking at Latin America through a security lens, while Latin America wants the emphasis to remain on economic development.” The effects of U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America after 9/11 have not repeated the pattern of the Cold War. Although Latin America no longer is the overriding priority of American foreign policy, the U.S. has not neglected the region, nor, as many analysts have argued (Shifter 2004; Youngers 2003; Hakim 2006; Roett 2006), has it become disengaged from the hemisphere. The terrorist attacks did not introduce a different agenda for U.S.-Latin American relations from that of the post-Cold-War period. Free trade, illegal migration and the fight against drugs have continued to be the main issues of U.S.-Latin American relations. Even the trend towards militarization of U.S. foreign policy began in Latin America long before the terrorist attacks. U.S.-Latin America relations have been affected significantly not by the consequences of 9/11, but rather by the negative effects of the U.S-promoted economic model in the region. The failures of the so-called Washington Consensus are not linked to the terrorist attacks.
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    The Lebanese Blogosphere: Speaking For and Against Sectarianism
    Yun, Elisheva (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    Over a decade after the close of the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War, the cultural and political landscape of sectarianism has shifted significantly in Lebanon. Circumstances of uncertainty and upheaval in the past couple of years—Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri’s assassination in 2005, the subsequent Cedar Revolution that spurred Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanese territory, a string of assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians, the Israel-Hizbullah War of 2006, anti-government protests and Hizbullah’s seizure of sections of Beirut in May 2008—have both fed into and arose from tensions between religious groups. Recent events suggest the centrality of sectarianism to questions about Lebanon’s stability. The momentous political changes that Lebanon has witnessed have raised questions as to the changing nature of sectarianism as well. In particular, given that sectarianism has fed into significant conflict, is it appropriate or productive to maintain sectarianism as the guiding principle for the political system? How have new avenues of discussion influenced Lebanon’s experience of sectarianism? Blogs, collectively referred to as the blogosphere, have provided an increasingly popular means of expression in Lebanon. Blogging has become more prominent through moments of conflict, namely the Cedar Revolution in 2005 and the Israel-Hizbullah conflict in the summer of 2006. As the Lebanese blogosphere virulently debates the unfolding events and the role of sectarianism in Lebanon, blogs offer an illuminating lens as to whether the Lebanese population deems sectarianism to be an appropriate organizing principle for its government.
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    The Re-Emergence of Russian Super-Power?
    Fishkin, Jennifer (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    Russian-American relations have become increasingly adversarial with Russian efforts to regain its power and standing in the world. While Russian-American relations are not at Cold War levels of antipathy, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has described them as “alarming,”5 and with senior Bush officials commenting that “Russia has provided overwhelming evidence that it seeks to weaken America. Thus wherever possible internationally, Moscow will work to stop America from achieving success”.5 Russian foreign policy has currently been steering away from the relative accord and partnership of the two countries under the Yeltsin era. It has become what some call the Red-Brown coalition of rule, which has led to changes in foreign policy with the goal of building coalitions to hedge against the United States. To understand this Russian foreign policy, it is necessary to address the Russian domestic political factions, as well as their policy vis-à-vis Iran.
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    US Foreign Policy After the Bush Administration
    Fukuyama, Francis (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    Professor Fukuyama, B.A. Classics, Cornell University 1974, spoke at Cornell on April 21, 2008, at the invitation of the Einaudi Center for International Studies. The Board of the Cornell International Affairs Review had the privilege of meeting with him during his visit. The following article, produced here with his permission, is an edited transcript of this talk. The board of the Cornell International Affairs Review thanks Professor Fukuyama for his support to our mission.
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    A Violent Peace: The Ongoing Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    Taylor, Alexandra (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)
    Since 2003, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has enjoyed only a tenuous peace. For the past decade, a period spanning two official wars and years of continued violence, the only constant division has been between those who have guns and those who do not. The transitional government, established in 2003, brought the main rebel groups from the Second Congo War into the government, a move to stabilize the intertwined political and military conflict. However, a constantly shifting web of armed groups continues to operate in the DRC, particularly in the northeast. The alliances sometimes cross borders. In this very fluid conflict, identifying the aggressor, the allegiance of certain fighters, or the location of a group of refugees or internally displaced persons fleeing conflict can change almost monthly. Despite five years since “peace,” national elections, and the presence of the most expensive current United Nations peacekeeping operation, the DRC remains destabilized and has seen no drastic improvement.
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    Cornell International Affairs Review: Fall 2008
    Cornell International Affairs Review, Editorial Board (Cornell University Library, 2008-11-01)