UNIT: Global Issues in the Twenty-First Century: An Overview
Our Global Situation and Prospects for the Future, Jerome C. Glenn, The Futurist, 2014
The Millennium State of the Future Report for 2014 emphasizes that humanity continues to improve in general. People are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated and more peaceful. However, the international community needs to reduce income inequality in order to avoid long term instability. The author concludes with a series of recommendations for improving the human condition based on a global collective intelligence system.
The Geopolitics of Cyberspace after Snowden, Ron Deibert, Current History, 2015.
The author discusses the environment in which the internet functions and the "digital exhaust “emitted by mobile devices which provide vast quantities of metadata about each individual. The effect of Snowden's revelations has raised the question of a free internet as opposed to control and censorship by state governments as they seek to restore "technological sovereignty."
The Return of Geopolitics: The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers, Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs, 2014
The post-cold war settlement is being challenged by three revisionist powers-Russia, China, and Iran. President Obama's vision of a world order based on liberal democracy has been undermined by the return of geopolitics. Russia, China, and Iran share in common the desire to curb U.S. power.
The Once and Future Hegemon, Salvatore Babones, The National Interest, 2015
The author argues that the U.S. is not a declining hegemon, because history shows that hegemony in cycles of hundreds of years rather than decades. The rise of Chinese power as a strategic threat to the U.S. has been overemphasized. The U.S. will continue as a hegemon in alliance with other English-speaking states.
The Unraveling: How to Respond to a Disordered World, Richard N. Haass, Foreign Affairs, 2014
The article focuses on the trend toward disorder in the international system, as the post-cold war international order has broken down. The disorder is the result of a combination of structural changes in the international system and poor policy choices by U.S. leaders. The growing disorder has been marked by a diffusion of power and the inability of the U.S. to resolve various crises in the Middle East and the periphery of Asia.
A Kinder, Gentler Immigration Policy: Forget Comprehensive Reform--Let the States Compete, Jagdish Bhagwati and Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Foreign Affairs, 2013
Immigration reform will not eliminate illegal immigration and strict border controls will not stop the flow. Consequently, states should take steps to ease the lives of illegal immigrants.
The Information Revolution and Power, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Current History, 2014
The author writes that there are two major power shifts in the 21st century. A "horizontal transition" from East to West and "a vertical diffusion of power from states to NGOs" which is being brought about by the information revolution.
UNIT: Population, Natural Resources, and Climate Change
The New Population Bomb: The Four Megatrends That Will Change the World, Jack A. Goldstone, Foreign Affairs, 2010
Over the next forty years, the relative demographic weight of the world's developed countries will significantly drop as their workforce ages and numerically declines. Most of the world's population growth will be concentrated in the poorest countries. At the same time most of the world's population will become urbanized. These four trends have significant political and economic consequences.
Climate Change Politics on the Road to Paris, Lorraine Elliott, Current History, 2015
A major meeting on climate change is scheduled to take place in Paris in 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.Major differences still exist between the developed and developing countries. The developed countries have the responsibility to take the lead due to their historic contribution to climate change and their financial and technical resources.
Welcome to the Revolution: Why Shale Is the Next Shale, Edward L. Morse, Foreign Affairs, 2014
The author predicts that the use of shale oil by the United States will make it the world's largest oil producer with profound geopolitical implications.
Think Again: Climate Treaties, David Schorr, Foreign Affairs, 2014
Idealized multilateralism via climate treaty does not work because countries should not be allowed to override environmental imperatives.
UNIT: The Global Political Economy
Think Again: European Decline, Mark Leonard and Hans Kundnani, Foreign Policy, 2013
It may appear that Europe is down and out, but on closer examination prospects for the economic future are far better than they look. The reasons for this optimistic assessment are provided.
Broken BRICs, Ruchir Sharma, Foreign Affairs, 2012
One of the most talked-about trends in the global economy has been the rapid economic growth of Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the so-called BRIC countries. After the financial crisis of 2008, the pace of growth in these countries has slowed Forecasts that they would overtake the developed countries' economies were premature. The author describes the significant differences among these four countries as well as problems with long-range economic forecasts.
The Roadblock: If the West Doesn't Shape Up, the Rest of the World Will Just Go around It. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Foreign Policy, 2013
Developing countries are wired into a volatile international and economic financial controlled by the West.
New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy, Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAffee, and Michael Spence, Foreign Affairs, 2014
Emphasis is on the importance of digital technology as creating innovation and entrepreneurship in the era of globalization.
As Objects Go Online: The Promise (and Pitfalls) of the Internet of Things, Neil Gershenfeld and JP Vasseur, Foreign Affairs, 2014
There will be profound implications for linking the digital and physical worlds, where the Internet will transmit actual things.
Britain and Europe: The End of the Affair? Matthias Matthijs, Current History, 2014
Britain is the closest to leaving the European Union than it has ever been since joining it in 1973.
Is Africa's Land Up for Grabs? Roy Laishley, Africa Renewal Online, 2014
Large scale land acquisitions by foreign governments and multinationals in Africa represent a new form of neocolonialism. Land grabs can have negative effects on the ability of African governments to increase food production Land acquisitions need to be subject to "win-win” agreements between the host government and foreign investors.
The Blood Cries Out, Jillian Keenan, Foreign Policy, 2015
The situation in Burundi bears careful watching as the central African land-locked country may be on the verge of a civil war. There is insufficient land for its burgeoning population which relies heavily on farming for its subsistence. Burundi is one of the most densely populated and poor countries in the world.
Can a Post-Crisis Country Survive in the Time of Ebola? Jordan Ryan, Harvard International Review, 2015
The author discusses his personal experiences in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. Liberia already was a fragile, post-conflict society emerging from a violent civil war. The author concludes with the lessons learned on how to promote development in a post-conflict society that has experienced an epidemic.
Can Africa Turn from Recovery to Development? Thandika Mkandawire, Current History, 2014
The Washington consensus was inappropriate for Africa, but in the post-Washington era, African states need to move from recovery to accelerated development.
The Early Days of the Group of 77, Karl P. Sauvant, UN Chronicle, 2014
The author writes that the G-77 became an integral part of UNCTAD and was one of the most important agents for the specialization of the developing countries on matters relating to the international political economy.
The Mobile-Finance Revolution: How Cell Phones Can Spur Development, Jake Kendall and Rodger Voorhies, Foreign Affairs, 2014
Mobile cell phones have spread to 90% of the world's poor and can help to eliminate poverty via the extension of micro-credit and banking services and the promotion of entrepreneurial activity.
ISIS Is Not a Terrorist Group: Why Counterterrorism Won't Stop the Latest Jihadist Threat, Audrey Kurth Cronin, Foreign Affairs, 2015
ISIS is not a terrorist organization but rather a pseudo-state which controls territory to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. The U.S. should pursue a policy of containment toward ISIS.
ISIS and the Third Wave of Jihadism, Fawaz A. Gerges, Current History, 2014
ISIS emerged as an offshoot of the branch of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It emerged as a result of the grievances of the Sunnis' repression by the Shia regime of former Prime Minister Maliki as well the failure of state institutions in Iraq. ISIS continues to focus on sectarian war as its priority in waging war with extreme brutality and violence.
Fixing Fragile States, Dennis Blair, Ronald Neumann, and Eric Olson, The National Interest, 2014
Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has waged major postwar reconstruction campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and smaller programs in other countries that harbor Al Qaeda affiliates Much of the threat stems from fragile states with weak institutions, higher rates of poverty, and deep ethnic, religious or tribal divisions.
What Is Hiding Behind Islamic State? Nadim Shehadi, The World Today, 2015
The Islamic State consists of disaffected Baathist military officers, members of a Sufi religious order, and Sunni tribes who felt abandoned by the Americans. U.S. overtures towards Iran will further exacerbate Sunni-Shia relations in the region.
UNIT: Conflict and Peace
China's Place in U.S. Foreign Policy, Karl W. Eikenberry, The American Interest, 2015
The author discusses the strategic goals of Chinese foreign policy from a military and economic point of view. The article concludes with a series of eight recommendations that should serve as guidelines for U.S .foreign policy toward China.
The Growing Threat of Maritime Conflict, Michael T. Klare, Current History, 2013
Prospects for conflict over disputed borders have declined, but conflict over maritime boundaries is growing. A major reason for these conflicts is energy consumers are increasingly reliant on offshore oil and gas deposits.
Time to Negotiate in Afghanistan, James Dobbins and Carter Malkasian, Foreign Affairs, 2015
The article details the history of missed opportunities for peace negotiations in Afghanistan arguing that a tiny window of opportunity has opened. A moderate faction favorable to negotiations was led by the late leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar. The authors conclude with five recommendations the U.S. should take to move negotiations forward.
Water Wars: A Surprisingly Rare Source of Conflict, Gregory Dunn, Harvard International Review, 2013
Competition for access to the increasingly scarce resource of freshwater has surprisingly been mostly resolved through peaceful means via negotiated treaties.
Taiwan's Dire Straits, John J. Mearsheimer, The National Interest, 2014
The rise of China in the international system will upset the balance of power in Beijing's favor, with profound implications for Taiwan. China will attempt to dominate Asia as a regional hegemon.
Why 1914 Still Matters, Norman Friedman, The US Naval Institute Proceedings, 2014
There is a similarity in the outbreak of war between the United Kingdom and Germany in 1914 and the possibility of war between the United States and China given that both cases involved a naval arms race that challenged the trading hegemon.
Russia's Latest Land Grab: How Putin Won Crimea and Lost Ukraine, Jeffrey Mankoff, Foreign Affairs, 2014
Russian annexation of Crimea follows a pattern used in Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan that is designed to promote its strategic interests.
The Utility of Cyberpower, Kevin L. Parker, Military Review, 2014
The focus is on the relationship between cyberpower and cyberspace as the military seeks to defend the national security of the United States against cyber-attacks.
U.N. Treaty Is First Aimed at Regulating Global Arms Sales, Neil MacFarquhar, The New York Times, 2013
The General Assembly approved a treaty aimed at regulating the global trade in conventional weapons. The opinions of both proponents and opponents of the treaty are described.
Turkey at a Tipping Point, Jenny White, Current History, 2014
Turkey is no longer the pliant U.S. ally that it was during the Cold War Then it was controlled by the military. President Erdogan has established civilian control over the military. Turkey is now a prosperous post-Ottoman state with a global presence and reactive foreign policy.
Kurdish Nationalism's Moment of Truth? Michael Eppel, Current History, 2014
The Kurdish national movement represents 25-30 million Kurds scattered in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The rise of ISIS and the civil conflict in Syria has provided the Kurds with one of the most favorable opportunities to consolidate the existence of autonomous regions and possibly the creation of an independent Kirdistan. However, the US, Turkey, and the Arab states are opposed to the creation of an independent Kurdistan.
The New Russian Chill in the Baltic, Mark Kramer, Current History, 2015
Russia's annexation of the Crimea and intervention in Eastern Ukraine has raised concerns about NATO's commitment under article 5 of its Charter to defend the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.2014 has seen an increase in the quantity and intensity of Russian military provocations against the Baltic States, which has also raised concerns in Poland. Finland and Sweden in reaction, are also considering joining NATO.
The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy Today, Graham Allison, Foreign Affairs, 2012
Lessons learned from the Cuban missile crisis can be applied to the problem of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The best way to prevent Iran from developing the bomb is to lengthen the time for the development of the bomb, focus on transparency measures to prevent cheating, and threaten regime change if an agreement is violated. The Israeli factor makes the Iranian nuclear situation more complex.
UNIT: Ethics and Values
Xi's Corruption Crackdown: How Bribery and Graft Threaten the Chinese Dream, James Leung, Foreign Affairs, 2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping has cast corruption as an existential threat .Corruption can lead to the collapse of the Chinese Communist party and the downfall of the state. Corruption is a deeply rooted cultural phenomenon.
The G-Word: The Armenian Massacre and the Politics of Genocide, Thomas de Waal, Foreign Affairs, 2015
2015 marks 100 years since the Armenian community in Ottoman Turkey faced efforts on the part of the Turkish government to destroy it. Over one million Armenians perished in the genocide. For strategic reasons, because Turkey is a major U.S. ally, Washington refuses to use the G-word to describe the great catastrophe which befell the Armenians.
Women and the Rule of Law: A View from the Americas, Roberta S. Jacobson, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 2014
The article focuses on U.S. efforts to deal with gender based violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. There are high levels of violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean with very few convictions of the perpetrators. Programs such as the Central American Regional Security Initiative aim at promoting a more gender inclusive system of justice.
Race in the Modern World: The Problem of the Color Line, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Foreign Affairs, 2015
The author discusses various efforts that have been made over the years to define race, with a great deal of emphasis placed on the work of W. E. B. Du Bois. Du Bois discussed race as a transnational phenomenon as illustrated by demonstrations in Nigeria protesting the shooting by a police officer of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Surveillance State and Its Discontents, Anonymous, Foreign Policy, 2013
There is a struggle between those who wish to use information "to harness the web in the name of national security, those working to bring it under the letter of the law, and those hoping to liberate it in the name of human freedom."