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Article Alert Service

April/May 2011

Vol. 15, No. 3

Foreign Policy - Economic Issues - Democracy and Global Issues - U.S. Society and Values

I. FOREIGN POLICY

39 Terror Plots Foiled Since 9/11: Examining Counterterrorism's Success Stories
By Jean Baker McNeil et al.
(The Heritage Foundation, May 20, 2011)

The Heritage Foundation began tracking foiled terror plots against the U.S. in 2007, counting at least 19 foiled plots since 9/11. Today, that count stands at 39 plots against the U.S. foiled. Three Heritage national security experts summarize the data.
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Air Operations in Israel's War Against Hezbollah: Learning from Lebanon and Getting It Right in Gaza
By Benjamin S. Lambeth
(RAND Corporation, May 23, 2011)

The report examines the inconclusive results of the Israeli Defense Forces' operation in Lebanon after Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers in 2006, which many believe represents a "failure of air power." The author contends that this is an oversimplification of a more complex reality and contrasts the operation with Israel's counteroffensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.
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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Framing Narratives and Prescriptions
By Michael Page, Lara Challita and Alistair Harris
(Terrorism and Political Violence, April 2011)

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has positioned itself at the vanguard of a media revolution in which terrorist groups both create and frame news events to an unprecedented extent. Through the publication of its e-magazine Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Epic Battles), the organization has sought to mobilize both Yemeni and non-Yemeni Muslim, Arabic-speaking audiences to carry out violent jihad.
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America and Egypt After the Uprisings
By Marc Lynch
(Survival, April/May 2011)

"The United States had been calling for reform in Egypt for over a decade, to little avail. The regime, however unpopular, sclerotic, closed and isolated, seemed firmly in control and well-prepared to meet the challenges of new protests. After a decade of failed efforts to spark mass protest, few expected the demonstrations to catch fire as they did or for Egyptian stability to be seriously challenged."
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The Arab Revolutions for Dignity
By Anouar Boukhars
(American Foreign Policy Interests, March 2011)

"Before the historic revolts transforming the Arab world today, it was an article of faith that radical Islamist revolutionaries would spearhead any challenge to the dictatorships that rule the Arab world. The millions of prodemocracy protesters braving riot squads and regime thugs have demolished such preconceptions. The temptation to contain the revolutionary fervor spreading through the region still exists within the administration, but there is also a growing realization that the time has come for redefining America's role in the Middle East."
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Bin Laden and Arab Spring
By Marwan Muasher
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 5, 2011)

While the ideology of violence and terrorism has peaked and is visibly on the way down in the Middle East and North Africa, the war on al-Qaeda and terror is far from over, says the author.
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Bin Laden Peace Dividend for Middle East?
By Martin Indyk
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 3, 2011)

Osama bin Laden's death has given the U.S. greater credibility in the Middle East, which President Obama can use to broadly frame an approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace within the context of the Arab Spring uprisings, says Martin Indyk.
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The Black Swan of Cairo
By Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Mark Blyth
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

"The upheavals in the Middle East have much in common with the recent global financial crisis: both were plausible worst-case scenarios whose probability was dramatically underestimated. When policymakers try to suppress economic or political volatility, they only increase the risk of blowups."
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A Blow to al-Qaeda
By Deborah Jerome
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 2, 2011)

The death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. operation in Pakistan marks a triumph for the United States, although the lasting impact on the U.S.-led "war on terror" is uncertain, says the author.
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The Consequentialist: How the Arab Spring Remade Obama’s Foreign Policy
By Ryan Lizza
(The New Yorker, May 2, 2011)

"Despite the realist tilt, Obama has argued from the start that he was anti-ideological, that he defied traditional categories and ideologies. In Oslo, in December of 2009, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama said, 'Within America, there has long been a tension between those who describe themselves as realists or idealists—a tension that suggests a stark choice between the narrow pursuit of interests or an endless campaign to impose our values around the world.' In Oslo, he surprised a largely left-leaning audience by talking about the martial imperatives of a Commander-in-Chief overseeing two wars. Obama’s aides often insist that he is an anti-ideological politician interested only in what actually works. He is, one says, a 'consequentialist.'"
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The Crossroads. Can We Win in Afghanistan?
By Peter Bergen
(The New Republic, May 2011)

The article discusses progress in the Afghan war. U.S. President Barack Obama has reversed an earlier policy and committed to keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan until at least 2014.
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Could Suicide Terrorists Actually Be Suicidal?
By Adam Lankford
(Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2011)

For years, it has been widely agreed on that suicide terrorists are not suicidal individuals, and that behaviorally, they are more similar to noble soldiers who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause. However, upon closer examination, it appears that the foundation of this conventional wisdom is extraordinarily shaky. There are many reasons to think that both event-based and psychological risk factors for suicide may drive the behavior of suicide terrorists.
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The Double Game
By Lawrence Wright
(The New Yorker, May 16, 2011)

"It's the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country's economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America's enemies. The country not chosen was India, which “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War."
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EU Counterterrorism and the European Neighbourhood Policy: An Appraisal of the Southern Dimension
By Christian Kaunert and Sarah Lonard
(Terrorism and Political Violence, April 2011)

"Terrorists trained on European soil, but originating from the Middle East, attacked the world's only superpower on September 11, 2001. Countering this terrorist threat has become an increasingly significant part of European Foreign Policy. At the same time, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has become an increasingly important dimension of European Foreign Policy. This article examines the extent to which counterterrorism has occupied a prominent place in the ENP, with a particular focus on the Southern Mediterranean ENP partners."
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The European Union Goes East
By Bruce Pitcairn Jackson
(Policy Review, April/May 2011)

What is the eu up to in Europe's east? TO ANSWER this question, we must look at how Europe's east and relations between Europe and Russia have been changing in the past twenty years and how incremental change has now produced a different political structure which, in turn, necessitates new policy in Brussels. Since 1989, the relatively stable geopolitical competition in and for Eastern Europe which lasted for most of the 20th century has given way to a more ambiguous geoeconomic problem.
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Foreign Fighters—Recent Trends
By Barak Mendelsohn
(Orbis, Spring, 2011)

"Beginning with a historical perspective on foreign fighters, this article then seeks to clarify ambiguities and biases that shape how we often analyze the foreign fighter phenomenon. The central focus is then on the evolving trends and activities of the movement. A new generation of fighters has emerged who are comfortable as terrorists, recruiters, trainers and media propagandist, among other specialties. The author concludes by assessing the significance of the problem today."
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The Future of Al Qa'ida
By Seth G. Jones
(RAND Corporation, May 24, 2011)

This is the testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on May 24, 2011.
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Ghosts of Fascists Past
By Ian Kershaw
(The National Interest, March/April 2011)

"A prominent British government minister, Baroness Warsi, herself a Muslim, claimed just recently that Islamophobia has “passed the dinner-table test” in Britain and is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial. She warned of growing intolerance, prejudice and bigotry toward the Muslim faith and its adherents. In reply, some religious and social commentators have suggested that growing numbers of Muslims in Britain give rise to legitimate concerns."
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How al Qaeda Works
By Leah Farrall (Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011)

"Al Qaeda is stronger today than when it carried out the 9/11 attacks. Accounts that contend that it is on the decline treat the central al Qaeda organization separately from its subsidiaries and overlook its success in expanding its power and influence through them."
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Ideologies of Jihad in Europe
By Petter Nesser
(Terrorism and Political Violence, April 2011)

"The article explores ideological fault lines among Sunni Muslim militants (jihadists) in Europe since the mid-1990s. It argues there have been disputes among the militants about whether to prioritize local struggles or Al Qaeda's global war, and about the legitimacy of launching terrorist attacks in European states offering political asylum to Muslims."
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Iraq and the Kurds: Confronting Withdrawal Fears
(International Crisis Group, March 28, 2011)

Iraq's government was long in the making, but its inclusive nature and the way in which it was formed offer hope that it can make progress in the struggle between Arabs and Kurds. Coalition partners have a unique opportunity to make headway. Both sides should build on the apparent goodwill generated by efforts to establish a government to lay the foundations for a negotiated and peaceful settlement. In particular, they should immediately resume talks over the status of Kirkuk and other disputed territories, according to the report.
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Iraq, From Surge to Sovereignty
By Emma Sky
(Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011)

"The surge of U.S. troops into Iraq helped decrease violence and set the stage for the eventual U.S. withdrawal. But the country still has a long way to go before it becomes sovereign and self-reliant. To stabilize itself and realize its democratic aspirations, Iraq needs Washington's continued support."
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Iraq's Disputed Territories: A View of the Political Horizon and Implications for U.S. Policy
By Sean Kane
(U.S. Institute of Peace, April 2011)

According to U.S. government officials, the greatest potential threat to Iraq's stability is not extremist groups but the prospect of Arab-Kurdish conflict over oil-rich Kirkuk and other disputed territories. The report attempts to demystify and disaggregate the often poorly defined disputed territories by drawing upon two data sets: the political preferences expressed in these territories during Iraq's three postconstitution elections and archival records detailing these areas' respective administrative histories.
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Muslim Reaction to bin Laden's Death
By Toni Johnson
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 5, 2011)

Muslims around the world have had a mixed reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces on May 1, from elation and anger to concerns over Pakistan. While overall response has been "surprisingly muted" across the Muslim world say Associated Press analysts, some Muslims--ranging from the United States to Somalia --have rejoiced, blaming Bin Laden for a host of troubles including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the deterioration in Pakistan's security, and the war on terror. "For the Muslim world, it is like a lifting of a curse," says a Saudi-based Arab News editorial.
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Negotiating Hostage Crises with the New Terrorists By Adam Dolnika; Keith M. Fitzgerald
(Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2011)

Jihadi hostage-taking manuals as well as recent attacks such as the Moscow theater and the Beslan school are an alarming indication of the likely characteristics of future barricade hostage sieges. While there are many trained crisis negotiators around the world, the vast majority lacks any experience whatsoever in dealing with issues such as ideology, religion, or the differing set of objectives and mindsets of terrorist hostage-takers. This article presents the findings of a detailed evaluation of recent case studies to highlight the adjustments that need to be made to the contemporary crisis negotiation protocols, in order to improve the capacity of negotiators to deal with such incidents more effectively.
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OBL is Dead, Al Qaeda Isn't
By Daniel L. Byman
(Brookings Institution, May 2, 2011)

The U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan is a devastating blow to al Qaeda. The terrorist organization and the movement it leads now face a potential leadership void and internal divisions. But the battle is far from over: aggressive U.S. and allied action, including military, and particularly, intelligence measures, are necessary to make a bad situation worse for al Qaeda, says the author.
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The Osama Bin Laden File
(National Security Archives, May 2, 2011)

The Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, killed in Pakistan by U.S. special operations forces, ranked as "one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic terrorist activities in the world" as early as 1996, according to declassified U.S. documents posted on the web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
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Pakistan's New Generation of Terrorists
By Jayshree Bajoria
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 13, 2011)

Pakistan has emerged as a terrorist sanctuary for some of the world's most violent groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and homegrown militants, that threaten the stability of Pakistan as well as the region.
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Radical Islam in Gaza
(International Crisis Group, March 29, 2011)

The recent Israel-Hamas escalation returns a spotlight to Gaza and the Islamist movement's relationship with more militant organisations. Gaza arouses multiple concerns: does Hamas seeks to impose religious law; has its purported Islamisation stimulated growth of Salafi-Jihadi groups; and will al-Qaeda offshoots find a foothold there? Hamas faces competition from more radical Islamist groups, though their numbers are few, organisation poor, achievements against Israel so far minor and chances of threatening Gaza's government slight, according to the study.
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Social Media and National Security: A Wake-Up Call
By James Jay Carafano
(Joint Force Quarterly, March 2011)

"It is not only the Egyptian military that regards the social forces unleashed by the internet as something sinister: All too often US military commanders also view social networks in cyberspace as a kind of threat. It would, however, be a great pity if strategic communications would not take advantage of the new social media as a result of these apprehensions. It is hence imperative to gain a better understanding of the complex relationship between the new social networks and national security by studying them in greater detail."
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The Strength of Weak Terrorist Ties
By Jonathan Kennedy and Gabriel Weimann
(Terrorism and Political Violence, April 2011)

The current age of technology, mass communication, and globalization makes networks analysis an especially useful tool for understanding cell-based terrorism. Some concepts from traditional networks analysis may be especially relevant. The Strength of Weak Ties hypothesis (SWT) is particularly promising and will be used here to demonstrate the usability of traditional networks analysis for studying modern terrorism. The findings suggest that the strength of weak terrorist ties may improve Al Qaeda's operational capabilities despite the group's decentralization following the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan beginning in 2001.
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Success, Lethality, and Cell Structure Across the Dimensions of Al Qaeda
By Scott Helfstein and Dominick Wright
(Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 34, Issue 5, 2011)

While experts understand that Al Qaeda's attack patterns and operational qualities are changing, they struggle to identify and generate consensus on Al Qaeda's strategic center of gravity. By defining different levels of Al Qaeda, core, periphery, and movement, this article engages current debates about the threat by focusing on the operational differences across these three levels.
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Turmoil in the Arab World. Will Democracy Emerge from the “Arab Spring”?
(CQ Researcher, May 3, 2011)

Massive, largely peaceful demonstrations in January and February forced longtime autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt from power, including Hosni Mubarak, who had dominated Egypt for more than 30 years. Subsequently, protests erupted in at least a dozen other countries across the Arab world, several of which continue. Using social media to organize, young demonstrators have called for the removal of long-entrenched corrupt regimes, greater freedom and more jobs.
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The Ultimate Ally: The "realists" are wrong: America needs Israel now more than ever
By Michael Oren
(Foreign Policy, May/June 2011)

"The surveys prove that most Americans do not accept the argument that U.S. support for Israel provokes Islamic radicals or do not especially care even if it does. (...) That kind of popular foundation for the Israeli-American alliance is all the more important at a time of great upheaval in the Middle East. As Iran's malign influence spreads and Turkey turns away from the West, Israel's strategic value in the region, both to the United States and to pro-Western Arab governments, will surely increase. Following Hezbollah's recent takeover of Lebanon and the political turmoil in Egypt, Jordan, and the Persian Gulf, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is certain to remain stable and unequivocally pro-American. In Israel alone, the United States will not have to choose between upholding its democratic principles and pursuing its vital interests."
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Understanding the Revolutions of 2011: Weakness and Resiliance in Middle Eastern Autocracies
By Jack Goldstone
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

The author, professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, writes that, for a revolution to succeed, several factors must converge. It is not often that the interests of elites, the middle class, students, different ethnic and groups, and different socioeconomic groups coincide, and these are the necessary ingredients of a viable revolution. “Sultanist” autocratic regimes, such as those in Egypt and Tunisia, can generate successful revolutions because their power strategies and ways of concentrating wealth ultimately make them vulnerable. But post-revolution transitions are difficult, and implementing reforms will be challenging.
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Using Frozen Assets to Aid Libyans
By Stuart Levy
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 11, 2011)

The Obama administration's plan to seize frozen Libyan assets and use them for Libyan aid is a dramatic, and probably unilateral, exercise of U.S. power that is likely to yield a relatively modest sum of money, says Stuart Levey.
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What Do Iranians Think?: A Survey of Attitudes on the United States, the Nuclear Program, and the Economy
By Sara Beth Elson and Alireza Nader
(RAND Corporation, May 2, 2011)

A phone survey of Iranian public opinion revealed considerable opposition to the reestablishment of U.S.-Iranian ties and significant support for development of nuclear weapons. Negative attitudes toward the Iranian economy were less prevalent than expected, and many respondents did not consider sanctions to have had a significant negative impact on the economy.
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Will China's Rise Lead to War? Why Realism Does Not Mean Pessimism
By Charles Glaser
(Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011)

"The rise of China will likely be the most important international relations story of the twenty-first century, but it remains unclear whether that story will have a happy ending. But China's unique qualities, past behavior, and economic trajectory may well turn out to be less important in driving future events than many assume -- because how a country acts as a superpower and whether its actions and those of others will end in battle are shaped as much by general patterns of international politics as by idiosyncratic factors. "
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II. ECONOMIC ISSUES

After Doha
By Susan Schwab
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

It is time for the international community to recognize that the Doha Round is doomed. Started in November 2001 as the ninth multilateral trade negotiation under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the talks have sought to promote economic growth and improve living standards across the globe -- especially in developing countries -- through trade liberalization and reforms. Yet after countless attempts to achieve a resolution, the talks have dragged on into their tenth year, with no end in sight.
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Future of the Euro. Will the Eurozone Survive Intact?
(CQ Global Researcher, May 17, 2011

Portugal has become the third eurozone government to seek a bailout loan from the European Union, which is struggling to prevent a debt crisis from crippling its poorest members and spreading to richer euro countries. Historically impoverished nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece experienced a surge of wealth in the 1990s after adopting the euro. But in the wake of the worldwide economic crash and recession, that wealth proved to be an illusion based on cheap credit from Germany and other stronger economies.
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How to Save the Euro -- and the EU
By Henry Farrell and John Quiggin
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

European politicians are worried about managing fiscal stabilization, but strict spending limits could destroy what little is left of the EU’s political legitimacy.
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Investing in Growth
By Serkan Arslanalp, Fabian Bornhorst and Sanjeev Gupta
(Finance & Development, March 2011)

The authors, all with the International Monetary Fund, write that policymakers in developing countries point to the lack of infrastructure as an impediment to growth and the difficulty in obtaining financing. The authors note that the important question is whether a country should expand its public investment; to explore the issue of the productivity of public infrastructure, they conducted a study of 48 advanced and developing nations during the period 1960-2001.
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The Resurrection
By Michael Hirsch
(National Journal, March 26, 2011)

In this profile of Citigroup and its CEO Vikram Pandit, the author notes that the resurgent “too big to fail” Wall Street banks are growing bigger and more global than before, earning more of their profits overseas and pushing out or buying up smaller competitors. Hirsch notes that many of the regulatory reforms enacted after the 2008-2009 financial crash have yet to take effect; regulators abroad agree even less on a common strategy than do those in Washington.
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U.S. Debt Ceiling: Costs and Consequences
By Jonathan Masters
(Council on Foreign Relations, April 22, 2011)

As the U.S. approaches the deadline to raise its debt limit, economists warn of a fiscal crisis and steeply higher borrowing costs for U.S. businesses and homeowners.
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III. DEMOCRACY AND GLOBAL ISSUES

2010 Human Rights Report
(U.S. Department of State, April 8, 2011)

"This report provides encyclopedic detail on human rights conditions in over 190 countries for 2010. Because we are publishing this report three months into the new year, however, our perspectives on many issues are now framed by the dramatic changes sweeping across countries in the Middle East in 2011. At this moment we cannot predict the outcome of these changes, and we will not know the lasting impacts for years to come. "
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Asylum and "Credible Fear" Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy
By Ruth Ellen Wasem
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, April 6, 2011)

Foreign nationals seeking asylum must demonstrate a well-founded fear that if returned home, they will be persecuted based upon one of five characteristics: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Foreign nationals arriving or present in the U.S. may apply for asylum affirmatively with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security after arrival into the country, or they may seek asylum defensively before a Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) immigration judge during removal proceedings.
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Confronting the Cyber Threat
By Jonathan Masters
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 23, 2011)

Foreign governments, non-state actors, and criminal networks are targeting the digital networks of the United States with increasing frequency and sophistication. U.S. cybersecurity has made progress, but relies heavily on the private sector to secure infrastructure critical to national security.
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Cyber Infrastructure Protection
(Strategic Studies Institute, May 9, 2011)

The book answers several essential questions: What is cyberpower; how do we deal with emerging threats in cyber space; what are the lessons that have already been learned; and where are the current cyberspace vulnerabilities?
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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Update on Federal Financial Risks and Claims Processing
(U.S. Government Accountability Office, April 18, 2011)

With reported Fund costs of about $629.5 million as of March 31, 2011, NPFC had obligated or incurred costs that could result in over 60 percent of the amount available under the Fund's statutory $1-billion-per-incident-expenditure-cap. If, regardless of any reimbursements from responsible parties, total Fund expenditures exceed the $1-billion cap, agencies may be required to rely on reallocating their appropriated funding to cover costs they incur or obtain supplemental funding.
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Energy Policy. Should the U.S. Use More Clean-Energy Sources?
(CQ Researcher, May 20, 2011)

Gasoline prices are rising above $4 per gallon in many parts of the United States, causing stress for consumers and political finger-pointing. Conservatives say that government overregulates energy companies and limits domestic production, while liberals want to repeal tax breaks for oil companies. But the larger problem is that the United States has an energy-intensive economy and depends heavily on imported oil.
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Global Warming and the Arab Spring
By Sarah Johnstone and Jeffrey Mazo
(Survival, April/May 2011)

Was climate change one of the causes of the wave of popular protests and uprisings that has swept the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East since January? At first blush, the question looks absurd. Surely myriad long- and short-term social, economic, political and religious drivers of anger and dissent are the obvious causes. But in fact the recent events offer a textbook example of what analysts mean when they talk of complex causality and the role of climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’.
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Hillary Clinton: Chinese System Is Doomed, Leaders on a 'Fool's Errand'
By Jeffrey Goldberg
(The Atlantic, May 10, 2011)

In an exclusive interview, the secretary of state says Beijing's human rights record is "deplorable" and it is "trying to stop history" by opposing the advance of democracy.
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Honor Killings. Can Murders of Women and Girls Be Stopped?
(CQ Global Researcher, April 19, 2011)

Each week brings horrific new headlines stating that, somewhere around the world, a woman or girl has been killed by a male relative for allegedly bringing dishonor upon her family. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, “In the name of preserving family ‘honor,’ women and girls are shot, stoned, burned, buried alive, strangled, smothered and knifed to death with horrifying regularity.”
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How to Feed the World by 2050: Biotech Isn't the Answer
By Samuel Fromartz
(The Atlantic, March 2011)

With food prices hitting record highs, people are rioting and political regimes are crumbling. We can only imagine what it will be like when the global population rises to 9 billion in 2050 from just under 7 billion now. More riots, more deforestation, more hunger, more revolutions? How are these people going to be fed? The unequivocal answer we so often hear: biotechnology.
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Internet Freedom: A Foreign Policy Imperative in Digital Age
By Richard Fontaine and Will Rogers
(Center for a New American Security, June 2011)

From Egypt to Tunisia to Iran, the world has borne witness to the power of the Internet and new digital tools used to communicate across borders, organize protests, topple some dictators and possibly strengthen others, actions that all affect U.S. foreign policy. The report examines Internet freedom through the lens of American foreign policy and explores two central questions: What does access to an open Internet mean for U.S. foreign policy, and what should the United States do about it?
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Low Numbers: A Practical Path to Deep Nuclear Reductions
By James M. Acton
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 28, 2011)

U.S. policy seeks to create the conditions that would allow for deep reductions in nuclear arsenals. The report offers a practical approach to reducing the U.S. and Russian stockpiles to 500 nuclear warheads each and those of other nuclear-armed states to no more than about half that number. This target would require Washington and Moscow to reduce their arsenals by a factor of ten, says the author.
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The Morning After Fukushima - Part I
By Nina Netzer
(YaleGlobal, May 24, 2011)

Repercussions of nuclear accidents are not easily contained within borders, as demonstrated after an earthquake-tsunami damaged reactors at the Fukushima power plant. Explosions spewed radioactivity into the air, and Japan soon dumped more than 11,000 metric tons of radioactive-tainted water into the sea. The series analyzes the pressing need for international energy planning, policy and regulation to avert future disasters. Nuclear energy is not a reasonable alternative to be pursued or subsidized in earnest, contends Nina Netze.
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National Strategy for Trusted Indentities in Cyberspace: Enhancing Online Choice, Efficiency, Security and Privacy
(The White House, April 2011)

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC or Strategy) charts a course for the public and private sectors to collaborate to raise the level of trust associated with the identities of individuals, organizations, networks, services, and devices involved in online transactions.
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Privacy Protections for Personal Information Online
By Gina Stevens
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, April 6, 2011)

There is no comprehensive federal privacy statute that protects personal information. Instead, a patchwork of federal laws and regulations govern the collection and disclosure of personal information and has been addressed by Congress on a sector by-sector basis. Federal laws and regulations extend protection to consumer credit reports, electronic communications, federal agency records, education records, bank records, cable subscriber information, video rental records, motor vehicle records, health information, telecommunications subscriber information, children's online information, and customer financial information. 
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Refugees and IDPs after Conflict: Why They Do Not Go Home
By Patricia Weiss Fagan
(U.S. Institute of Peace, April 2011)

The report reviews the challenges facing returning refugees and internally displaced persons after protracted conflict, questioning the common wisdom that the solution to displacement is, in almost all cases, to bring those uprooted to their places of origin, regardless of changes in the political, economic, psychological, and physical landscapes.
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The Road to Anatolia
By James Kitfield
(National Journal, April 2011)

Democracy movements across the Arab world are looking to Turkey for guidance and inspiration, but Ankara is still working through its own democratic transformation.
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The West Likes Democracy for Some Arabs, But Not Others: Syrians and Bahrainis Chafe Under Minority Rule, but Their Ties to Iran Matter Most
(YaleGlobal, April 22, 2011)

The U.S. has reasons for hurrying some Arab authoritarian leaders to the exit and not others. Syria and Bahrain are cases in point, explains author Dilip Hiro. Citizens of both nations resist leaders from minority sects and ongoing discrimination. Syria is 68 percent Sunni, run by a president, an Alawi, which is a Shia sub-sect; Bahrain is 70 percent Shia with a Sunni king. Syria has long defied the U.S., serving as a conduit between Iran and radical groups in Palestine and Lebanon. Bahrain serves as headquarters for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, and the U.S. along with Saudi Arabia share the Bahraini king's deep distrust for Iran.
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Who's Afraid of the International Criminal Court?
By David Kaye
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

A decade on, the ICC is still trying to find its footing, thanks partly from the chief prosecutor’s poor management and excessive ambition. The election to replace him is a chance to reboot.
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IV. U.S. SOCIETY AND VALUES

Class Action Lawsuits. Will the Supreme Court Approve the Wal-Mart Case?
(CQ Researcher, May 13, 2011)

Class actions are a controversial legal procedure allowing large numbers of plaintiffs with similar claims to join in a single lawsuit against one or more defendants. Civil rights and consumer groups say class actions provide a practical remedy for widespread injuries and help hold businesses accountable for wrongdoing. Business interests insist they lump together claims that may or may not be valid and can force companies to settle instead of incurring the expense and risk of defending a massive lawsuit.
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The Deciders: Facebook, Google, and the Future of Privacy and Free Speech
By Jeffrey Rosen
(Brookings Institution, May 2, 2011)

The author stresses the complexity of protecting constitutional values like privacy and free speech in the age of Google and Facebook, which are not formally constrained by the Constitution. In each of his examples, 24/7 Facebook surveillance, blob machines, escaping your Facebook past, and promoting free speech on YouTube and Google, it's possible to imagine a rule or technology that would protect free speech and privacy, while also preserving security, a blob-machine like solution.
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Decision Making in the Obama White House
By James P. Pfiffner
(Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2011)

"Presidents attract extremely smart, ambitious people to serve in the White House, but the quality of the advice the president receives depends upon how he or she uses the available talent. Chief executives face daunting challenges in evaluating the onslaught of information, judging the perspectives of their subordinates, and ensuring that they receive advice based on presidential perspectives rather than the priorities of their subordinates. "
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The Facts About American 'Decline.'
By Charles Wolf
(RAND Corporation, April 13, 2011)

"It's fashionable among academics and pundits to proclaim that the U.S. is in decline and no longer No. 1 in the world. The declinists say they are realists. In fact, their alarm is unrealistic, writes Charles Wolf."
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Health Insurance in America after the Reform
By Jay Herson and David Pearce Snyder
(The Futurist, March/April 2011)

If for-profit health insurers find business is too unprofitable under the new law, where will Americans find affordable coverage? One solution may rise from the nonprofit sector led by credit unions, which have already demonstrated an ability to keep up with for-profit banks.
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Immigrants in the United States: How Well Are They Integrating into Society?
By Tomas R. Jimenez
(Migration Policy Institute, May 2011)

Even though immigration is intertwined with the history of the U.S., fears about immigrants' ability to integrate remain an area of concern. Yet an examination of immigrants' integration across five major indicators, language proficiency, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, residential locale, and social interaction with host communities, shows they are integrating reasonably well. Remarkably, the process has unfolded almost entirely without policy intervention.
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Moving into a Post-Western World
By Simon Serfaty
(The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2011)

"The 'unipolar moment' that followed the Cold War was expected to start an era. Not only was the preponderance of U.S. power beyond question, the facts of that preponderance appeared to exceed the reach of any competitor. America’s superior capabilities (military, but also economic and institutional) that no other country could match or approximate in toto, its global interests which no other power could share in full, and its universal saliency confirmed that the United States was the only country with all the assets needed to act decisively wherever it chose to be involved. "
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Woman of the World
By Jonathan Alter
(Vanity Fair, June 2011)

"In her ninth year as America’s most admired woman, Hillary Clinton is dealing with radical change across the globe, as well as trying to transform U.S. diplomacy on the nuts-and-coffee level. But despite the secretary of state’s punishing pace—half a million miles in her Boeing 757—and the complex relationship between her and President Obama, Clinton seems clear about what she can (and can’t) accomplish, and, as Jonathan Alter reports, her friends are clear about something else: Madam Secretary is in her element."
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