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Article Alert Service

February/March 2010

Vol. 14, No. 2

Foreign Policy - Economic Issues - Democracy and Global Issues - U.S. Society and Values - U.S. Government and Think Tank Reports, Policy Papers - Electronic Journal


Asymmetric Interdependence. Do America and Europe Need Each Other?
By Beate Neuss
(Strategic Studies Quarterly, Winter 2009)

America’s position with regard to the symmetry or asymmetry of the transatlantic relationship can be found, diplomatically formulated, between the lines of the vice president’s speech. In short: “We’re going to attempt to recapture the totality of America’s strength.” In other words, the United States retains its claim to the role of world’s leading power—as first among equals. Consequently, the sort of dialogue between equals that Europeans so eagerly desire with the United States will not be based solely on interdependence—that is to say, on mutual dependence—and instead presupposes to a degree a symmetric distribution of power.
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Cracks in the Jihad
By Thomas Rid
(Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2010)

The author, a visiting scholar at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, believes that the global jihad is fragmenting and that’s not good news for the West. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are at odds, and even Internet jihadis are taking fewer cues from Osama bin Laden, yet it is becoming more difficult to defeat the global jihad. The Taliban is moderating its tone and throwing an “ideological bridge” to parts of the Kabul elite while former firebrand imams have started questioning the theological justifications of holy war. Today, Al-Qaeda’s latest recruits look more like a self-appointed elite than representatives of the Muslim “masses,” Western-born but rootless, drawn to the identity-building certainties of radical Islam.
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Europe Doesn't Matter
By Doug Bandow
(National Interest, February, 2010)

"Europe thought that it had answered Henry Kissinger’s derisive question: what is the phone number for Europe? But the recently approved Lisbon Treaty has only increased confusion as to who speaks for the continent. As a result, President Obama recently announced that he will not attend the upcoming U.S.-European Union summit. If it stands united, Europe could become one of the world’s three or four great powers, along with the U.S., China, and perhaps India. The European Union’s GDP and population both exceed those of America." Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
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Europe, the Second Superpower
By Andrew Moravcsik
(Current History, March 2010)

It has become fashionable to view the global system as dominated by the United States, China, and India. How often do we hear from leading politicians that “The most important relationship in the twenty-first century is that between Washington and Beijing”? Or that the “rise of the rest” is the great phenomenon of our time? Missing from this equation is Europe. The “Old Continent’s” reputation for sluggish economic and demographic growth, political disunity, and weak militaries has convinced most foreign analysts that the future belongs to Asia and the United States.
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Foreign Policy in an Age of Austerity: A Conversation with Brent Scowcroft
By Adam Garfinkle
(American Interest, January/February 2010)

In a “clear-and-plain-talk” interview with AI editor Adam Garfinkle, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft predicts that the U.S. is at the end of a period of growing defense and national-security budgets regardless of the state of the economy, partly due to growing sentiment that other public policy areas need more attention. Scowcroft notes that austerity “might make us think harder about priorities,” forcing us to make decisions that we have put off since 9/11 “because there was enough money to do everything.” He believes that the military will need to better match what they buy with what they need, noting that the services have traditionally favored technology, where they are strongest, rather than plan for the “messy, labor-intensive wars” that are more likely.
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Iran's Foreign Policy Strategy after Saddam
By Kayhan Barzegar
(The Washington Quarterly, January 2010)

"Altough the geopolitical changes following the Iraq and Afghanistan crises have created various new opportunities for Iran, they are also a source of serious security challenges. It is essential that Washington not misinterpret Iran's actions, which are outlined here."
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The Iranian Nuclear Riddle After June 12
By Shahram Chubin
(The Washington Quarterly, January 2010)

"There is a diplomatic conuncdrum in dealing with Iran: fixing the nuclear issue is urgent. Yet, even Tehran recognizes that the real issue is the regime, particularly after the elections, and any bargain is not feasible without a change in the regime's behavior or the regime itself."
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Jihad and Piracy in Somalia
By Jonathan Stevenson
(Survival, February 2010)

With Somalia's potential as a jihadist safe haven and a source of burgeoning piracy, bringing greater order and control should be a high priority.
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The Logic of the Nuclear Arsenal
By Adam Lowther
(Strategic Studies Quarterly, Winter 2009)

The author says that the nuclear weapons of the Cold War possessed by the United States and the Soviet Union served to prevent conventional conflict between the two countries. He speculates that Japan may become the next U.S. ally to develop a nuclear weapons capability, if the U.S. nuclear arsenal declines and its nuclear deterrence credibility diminishes. Lowther, a defense analyst with Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air Force Research Institute, maintains that the nuclear-weapons deterrent effect cannot be duplicated by conventional capabilities. Among existing nuclear powers, he points to Pakistan as presenting the greatest nuclear proliferation risk. The author says diversity of thought on nuclear issues may be divided into two categories: the modernizers and the abolitionists. He maintains that collaboration between the two “is possible.”
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Negotiating with Iran: Lessons from Personal Experience
By James Dobbins
(Foreign Affairs, January 2010)

"The former special envoy for Afghanistan unveils an insider's view of his experiences and conveys his view of the benefits and limits of engaging Iran."
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New Treaty, New Influence? Europe's Chance to Punch Its Weight
By Anthony Luzatto Gardner and Stuart E. Eizenstat
(Foreign Affairs, March/April 2010)

With the Lisbon Treaty now in effect, the European Union has more power to implement foreign policy decisions -- on paper, at least. The reformed EU's effectiveness will ultimately depend on whether its member states focus on continued integration rather than on retaining their national perspectives. [...] On December 1, 2009, after nearly a decade of acrimonious debate, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force across the 27 member states of the European Union. The treaty reforms EU institutions, making the organization more accountable to voters and enhancing its ability to address European and global challenges. Over the long term, the treaty may make the EU a more coherent international actor, thereby significantly affecting non-EU countries, including the United States.
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Obama's "Eisenhower Moment." American Strategic Choices and the Transatlantic Defense Relationship
By Edwina Campbell
(Strategic Studies Quarterly, Winter 2009)

Instilling confidence among Americans in his party’s foreign policy competence and credibility requires that Obama articulate and implement diplomatic, military, and economic strategies, the ends of which attract broad-based support both at home and abroad, and the ways and means of which reflect the realities of a global economic crisis more profound than any since the 19 0s. But 20 years after the end of the Cold War, defining a framework for Euro-Atlantic cooperation and implementing tasks to accomplish common purposes will be even more difficult than for leaders of the Atlantic alliance in the 1950s. The greatest difficulties, both conceptually and practically, will arise over strategies projecting, and possibly using, military force.
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Obama's War Over Terror
By Peter Baker
(New York Times Magazine, January 17, 2010)

The author, a White House correspondent for The Times, takes an inside look at the struggle to remake anti-terrorism policy. When President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, he inherited two struggles: One with al-Qaeda and its ideological allies, and another that divided his own country over what it means to be an American. A series of events involving terrorist situations, most recently the Christmas Day incident in Detroit, has forced the president to question each decision he has had to make, especially after criticism that his advisers, led by his top counterterrorism official John Brennan, who set up the National Counterterrorism Center under former President George W. Bush, were not giving him the best advice. Still, during his first year, the president has continued to adopt the bulk of the counterterrorism strategy he inherited from his predecessor.
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Planet Pakistan
By Robert Hathaway
(Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2010)

The author, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program, writes that Pakistan’s troubles “are alarmingly plentiful and plain to see.” Pakistan is a country of many contradictions -- it is a conservative, patriarchal society, yet women have high-profile positions in politics, government and news media; it has been ruled by the army for long periods of time, yet has a lively civil society and an unfettered press. Hathaway writes that for half a century, the U.S.-Pakistani relationship has been one of repeated disappointments -– Pakistan believes America betrayed them by withdrawing from the region in the 1980s after the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, and by ending assistance in 1990. However, notes Hathaway, arms supplied by the U.S. to help Pakistan defend against potential Soviet incursion were instead used against India.
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The Sanctions on Iran Are Working
By Mark Dubowitz
(Foreign Policy Online, February 10, 2010)

The author, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and director of its Iran Energy Project, argues that Tehran is already feeling the heat of sanctions, and recent actions by the Obama administration and Congress will increase pressure on Iran’s energy sector -– “the lifeblood of the men who rule Iran.” The Treasury Department has targeted the four subsidiaries of Ghorb, a major engineering and construction firm, and the firm's commander, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Gen. Rostam Qasemi. The Treasury Department designations will discourage international firms from doing business with Ghorb and its affiliates, as has been the case with the more than 80 foreign financial firms that have terminated or reduced their dealings with Iran.
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The Sources of Russia's Insecurity
By Thomas Graham
(Survival, February 2010)

For the first time in the modern era, Russia is now totally surrounded by countries and regions that are more dynamic than it is.
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Spoils of Babylon
By Joost R. Hiltermann
(The National Interest, January/February 2010)

Until recently, not many people outside of the Middle East had heard of Kirkuk. Rife with ethno-religious tensions, it is at the heart of the battle for oil. The very fate of Iraq may well rest with the disputed province - and its Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and Kurds. So far, the war between Baghdad and Kirkuk has taken place in a drawn-out political struggle. But with the American troop pullout to be finalized over the next year, will the Iraqis be able to resist the lure of violence for long?
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Statecraft at the Crossroads: A New Diplomacy
By Donna Marie Oglesby
(SAIS Review, Summer/Fall 2009)

The author, Diplomat-in-Residence at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and former Counselor at the U.S. Information Agency, notes that the severe global economic contraction that began in 2008 has accelerated the transition to a new age of international politics, one characterized by weak but reassertive states, rising powers, waning American primacy, shifting media dynamics, and aroused and empowered societies. This new age of political ferment requires a fundamental reassessment of the way the U.S. formulates and conducts its national security strategy. This article explores the connections between our foreign policy and politics across domestic and foreign boundaries on several key national security challenges. Oglesby recommends a new diplomacy employing public diplomats deeply attuned to the cultural and political particularities of human plurality in the global public square.
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The Crash of ’08
By Laurence Whitehead
(Journal of Democracy, January 2010)

For a short while after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008 and a paralyzing panic swept global financial markets, the key assumptions of globalization and liberal internationalism that have guided Western thinking since the Berlin Wall fell seemed to be on the brink of tumbling themselves. As what had begun as a financial meltdown morphed into a global economic downturn of unknown severity and duration, a flood of drastic emergency measures created vast new fiscal liabilities amid fears that uncontrollable social protests were just around the corner. Then the fever broke. The inauguration of a new president and Congress in Washington showed how effectively electoral alternation can channel and contain chaotic tendencies in a strongly institutionalized democracy.
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The Deflationist. How Paul Krugman Found Politics
By Larissa MacFarquhar
(The New Yorker, March 1, 2010)

When it is cold at home, or he has a couple of weeks with nothing to do but write his Times column, or when something unexpectedly stressful happens, like winning the Nobel Prize, the Princeton economist Paul Krugman and his wife, Robin Wells, go to St. Croix.
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The Financial Crisis and the Scientific Mindset
By Paul J. Cella, III
(New Atlantis, Fall 2009/Winter 2010)

The author writes that what is becoming clear about the financial collapse in 2008-2009 is that the U.S. economy has been driven by a financial system that relies on a complicated structure of speculative debt, that is enabled by modern technology, is totally dependent on abstractions and mathematical formulas and, as it turned out, can only be kept alive by the intervention of the government. On the surface, the development of the shadow banking system appears as a technocratic revolution in capitalism, but on a deeper level is “a failure of the modern mind ... and of the reckless grandiosity of modern technological civilization”. Cella observes that Wall Street was infatuated with “the engineered abstraction, produced by mathematical brilliance and computing capacity”, believing that the untidy reality of the everyday world could be made predictable by their formulas. He notes that this mindset “is singularly susceptible to falsely imagining that ideas are more real than men . . . This is the simple wisdom that modern finance forgot.”
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How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
By Don Peck
(Atlantic Monthly, March 2010)

The author notes that the official unemployment figures in the U.S. understate the magnitude of the jobs crisis; the percentage of unemployed and underemployed have approached the highest figure since the 1930s. Despite official pronouncements that the recession is over, a prolonged era of high joblessness is just beginning. Peck writes that it will have a profound effect on the prospects, character and behavior patterns of a generation of young people who are just now trying to enter the workforce. For the first time in U.S. history, the majority of the jobs in the country will be held by women, as the shrinking of the traditional manufacturing industries and trades falls disproportionately on men. Peck fears that the longer the jobless period lasts, the greater the negative effect it will have on the stability of households and communities around the country.
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Poverty, Disconnected
By Ravi Kanbur
(Finance & Development, December 2009)

The author, professor of economics at Cornell University, notes that relying on official statistics such as GDP numbers often paints too rosy a picture of the incidence of poverty; economists have long sought ways to provide a more complete picture of the state of the poor. He notes that the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, established by the French government, goes a long way to address this discrepancy. Kanbur highlights the numerous ways in which the disconnect between the optimistic picture on poverty painted by official data and the more pessimistic assessment by grassroots activists manifests itself.
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Climate Change. Will the Copenhagen Accord Slow Global Warming?
(CQ Global Researcher, February 2010)

Delegates from around the globe arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in December hoping to forge a significant agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and temper climate change. But despite years of diplomatic preparation, two weeks of intense negotiations and the clamor for action from thousands of protesters outside the meeting, the conferees adopted no official treaty.
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Cyber Warriors
By James Fallows
(The Atlantic, March 2010)

When will China emerge as a military threat to the U.S.? In most respects the answer is: not anytime soon—China doesn’t even contemplate a time it might challenge America directly. But one significant threat already exists: cyberwar. Attacks—not just from China but from Russia and elsewhere—on America’s electronic networks cost millions of dollars and could in the extreme cause the collapse of financial life, the halt of most manufacturing systems, and the evaporation of all the data and knowledge stored on the Internet.
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Cybersecurity: Are U.S. Military and Civilian Computer Systems Safe?
(The CQ Researcher, February 26, 2010)

"The recent attacks on Google servers, apparently launched from China, underscore the threat cyberattacks pose to American individuals and businesses as well as to national security. In addition to billions of dollars being stolen by cybercriminals, military secrets and critical civilian infrastructure — including utilities, transportation and finance — also are at risk. Indeed, attempted attacks on Pentagon computers alone number in the tens of thousands each year. The hackers range from international gangs to the agents of other countries."
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Dangerous War Debris. Who Should Clean Up After Conflicts End?
(CQ Global Researcher, March 2010)

Long after the guns of war have gone silent, people around the world are killed or maimed every day by the “silent killers” of warfare — the tens of millions of landmines, cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance that litter abandoned battlefields, farmland and urban areas. Most of the victims are civilians, and many are children. Besides claiming more than 5,000 victims each year, dangerous war debris also prevents war refugees from returning to their homelands, stifles fragile economies and prevents farmers from planting crops or developers from investing in a nation's future.
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Greenwashing Hydropower
By Aviva Imhof and Guy Lanza
(Worldwatch, January/February 2010)

Big-dam construction is increasing worldwide, often in the name of “clean energy,” yet these projects displace millions of people and destroy precious environmental resources. The authors note that ambitious hydropower projects by countries such as China, Brazil, Thailand and India is leading the upsurge in dam construction; however these big dam projects create significant environmental damage, including loss of arable land, increased pollution in water, rivers drying up, and seismic effects in earthquake-prone areas.
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How to Feed 8 Billion People
By Lester R. Brown
(The Futurist, January/February 2010)

Record grain shortages are threatening global food security in the immediate future. A noted environmental analyst shows how nations can better manage their limited resources.
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Labor Shortage
By Katie Paul
(Newsweek, February 1, 2010)

In Haiti, children are regularly loaned to other households to work as domestic servants in exchange for food, housing and an education, but many treated like slaves. According to this article, some 225,000 Haitian children are living as indentured servants -- known as “restaveks” -- and their conditions may become worse in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake. "For families struggling in the wake of a catastrophe, restavek kids are the first to go," said Glenn Smucker, an anthropologist who specializes in development work in Haiti.
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Making Cap-and-Trade Work: Lessons from the European Union Experience
By Daniel C. Matisoff
(Environment, January/February 2010)

With members of Congress currently debating institutin a market-based carbon dioxide emission regulatory system, it behooves policy makers to learn from the lessons of those who went before them. Using interviews of individual businesses, industry trade groups, and government agencies, Matisoff makes a close examination of the successes and failures of the European Union's cap-and-trade system, providing the United States with a launching point for its own discussions.
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Press Freedom. Should Partisan Bloggers Get Free-Press Protections?
(CQ Researcher, February 5, 2010)

Wrenching changes in the news business are starting to alter the legal landscape for journalists. The federal Freedom of Information Act and “shield” laws in many states give reporters access to official documents and offer some protections against prosecutors who demand to know their confidential sources or information that reporters have gathered. But amid catastrophic revenue declines, media companies struggling to stay afloat have less money to throw into court fights to enforce their journalistic rights.
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Prosecuting Terrorists. Should Suspected Terrorists Be Given Military or Civil Trials?
(CQ Researcher, March 12, 2010)

President Obama is under fierce political attack for the administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas Day bomber, in civilian courts instead of military tribunals. Republican lawmakers argue the defendants in both cases should be treated as “enemy combatants” and tried in the military commissions established during the Bush administration. Administration officials and Democratic lawmakers say criminal prosecutions are more effective, having produced hundreds of convictions since 9/11 compared to only three in the military system.
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Roadmap to the Electric Car Economy
By Michael Horn and Rick Docksai
(The Futurist, March/April 2010)

By the middle of this century, the United States may have completely transitioned from gasoline to electric vehicles, or EVs. Its economy will then enjoy an EV-energy bonus, somewhat like the peace bonus at the end of the Cold War, but this one will result from saving half of the money that U.S. consumers previously spent on oil imports to make gasoline for all their cars. By then, the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler will be a long-forgotten anomaly in the history of the auto industry, because once the auto companies replace the 254.4 million gasoline-powered cars in the United States with electric ones by mid-century, they will create a manufacturing boom that completely wipes out the losses that they sustained during the 2008 recession. These electric cars will have come a long way from the twentieth-century electric prototypes that required drivers to stop frequently to recharge the batteries, making highway driving nearly impossible.
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The Role of the Military in Presidential Politics
By Steve Corbett and Michael J. Davidson
(Parameters, Winter 2009/2010)

The authors, both retired military officers, are concerned by the public endorsement of presidential candidates by retired general officers. They worry that it reflects “a disturbing trend toward the politicization of the American military” as well as a move away from the traditional nonpartisan professional military ethic. They believe that this practice should be discouraged because of its potential damage to the U.S. armed forces, noting that “political neutrality is essential to the military’s ability to survive in its present form.”
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Letter from Chicago. “The Daley Show"
By Evan Osnos
(The New Yorker, March 8, 2010

"A Daley has ruled Chicago for forty-two of the past fifty-five years. The dynasty endures in part because many voters remember what the city was like without them: in the thirteen years between Richard J. Daley (the Old Man) and his son Richard M. Daley, Chicago churned through five mayors. In the city that Martin Luther King, Jr., once called the Birmingham of the North, Daley has presided during two decades in which race has receded, if not into the background, then into the din of city politics."
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Everyone Eats - But that Doesn't Make You a Restaurant Critic
By Robert Sietsema
(Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2010)

Restaurant criticism, like other areas of journalism, is changing with Internet-based, “every man a critic ethos.” The author, himself a restaurant critic, traces the history of restaurant critics since the 1950s, the development of ethical standards by eminent New York Times critic Craig Claiborne faithfully adhered to by his successors, and the erosion of standards by food bloggers. Claiborne made the restaurant review a public service that may be endangered, Sietsema writes.
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How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
By Don Peck
(The Atlantic, March 2010)

The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come.
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Man of the World
By James M. Morris
(Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2010)

Today, as newspapers are shuttered and reporters panhandle for work, it is important to remember Joseph Pulitzer, whose taste for sensationalism and sense of public service propelled American journalism into the modern era. Pulitzer was a pioneering newspaper reporter, publisher, and sponsor of the high-minded Pulitzer Prizes but he is perhaps remembered best for his antics during the Spanish-American War.
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Youth Violence. Are “Get Tough” Policies the Best Approach?
(CQ Researcher, March 5, 2010)

Several recent violent crimes by youths, including the vicious beating death of a Chicago honor student by a mob of teenagers, have sparked a new look at urban youth violence. Despite a steep overall drop in youth crime in recent years, researchers say many urban areas continue to be plagued by homicide and other violence involving young offenders. Some experts say tougher sentencing laws and a greater focus on parental responsibility are the best ways to fight the violence, while others argue for more federal money for social programs and anti-violence efforts. In some cities, collaborative approaches involving police, educators, community leaders and neighborhood groups are aimed at pressing youths to forsake violence while offering them a path toward redemption. Meanwhile, two competing proposals are being considered on Capitol Hill, and major foundations are funding programs to help youths in trouble.
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2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
(U.S. Department of State, March 11, 2010)

"The idea of human rights begins with a fundamental commitment to the dignity that is the birthright of every man, woman and child. Progress in advancing human rights begins with the facts. And for the last 34 years, the United States has produced the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, providing the most comprehensive record available of the condition of human rights around the world," says the Secretary of State introducing the report.
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2009 Internet Crime Report
(Internet Crime Complaint Center, March 11, 2010)

The report covers fraudulent activity on the Internet today. Online crime complaints increased substantially once again last year, according to the report. The IC3 received a total of 336,655 complaints, a 22.3 percent increase from 2008. The total loss linked to online fraud was $559.7 million; this is up from $265 million in 2008."
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Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy
By John Rollins
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, February 5, 2010)

Al Qaeda (AQ) has evolved into a significantly different terrorist organization than the one that perpetrated the September 11, 2001, attacks. At the time, Al Qaeda was composed mostly of a core cadre of veterans of the Afghan insurgency against the Soviets, with a centralized leadership structure, made up mostly of Egyptians. The focus of the report is on the history of Al Qaeda, actions and capabilities of the organization and non-aligned entities, and an analysis of select regional Al Qaeda affiliates.
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Al-Qaeda Central and the Internet
By Daniel Kimmage
(New America Foundation, March 16, 2010)

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Al-Qaeda has not succeeded in carrying out a similarly ambitious operation, although it has been effective at spreading its message globally over the Internet. But it now faces a triple communications challenge: staying prominent in an ever more competitive online environment, explaining how its current entanglement in the Afghanistan-Pakistan nexus makes sense in the global jihadist narrative, and trying to change increasingly negative views of suicide bombing and al-Qaeda itself in the Arab-Muslim world.
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Al-Qaeda’s Financial Pressures
By Greg Bruno
(Council on Foreign Relations, February 1, 2010)

Financial pressures have weakened al-Qaeda's tactical abilities, but analysts say affiliated networks are finding new ways to raise and spend money, complicating efforts to squeeze a savvy foe.
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Arsenal's End? American Power and the Global Defense Industry
By Ethan B. Kapstein
(Center for a New American Security, February 19, 2010)

The recent firing of the F-35 Program Manager by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has heightened concerns in the policy community that the plane is failing to meet its economic and military objectives. But in the report, Ethan Kapstein suggests that the multinational F-35 exemplifies the complexity of the Pentagon's global acquisition strategy.
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Can Iran's Accelerating Nuclear Program Be Stopped?
By Leonard S. Spector
(YaleGlobal, March 10, 2010)

Iran appears to have stepped up its efforts to produce a nuclear weapon amid new information about its level of technological expertise and its dealings with North Korea, according to nonproliferation expert Leonard S. Spector. Iran has been able to enrich uranium to the 19.75 percent level, a significant step toward producing weapons-grade uranium. That Iran wants to enrich all of its uranium supply to this level, beyond what it would likely need for medical isotopes, suggests the desire and wherewithal to build a nuclear weapon.
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Cybersecurity: Progress Made but Challenges Remain in Defining the Comprehensive National Initiative
(U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 2010)

In response to the ongoing threats to federal systems and operations posed by cyber attacks, President Bush established the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) in 2008. This initiative consists of a set of projects aimed at reducing vulnerabilities, protecting against intrusions, and anticipating future threats. GAO was asked to determine (1) what actions have been taken to develop interagency mechanisms to plan and coordinate CNCI activities and (2) what challenges CNCI faces in achieving its objectives related to securing federal information systems.
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Economic Report of the President
(Council of Economic Advisers, February 11, 2010)

The Economic Report of the President is an annual report written by the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. An important vehicle for presenting the Administration’s domestic and international economic policies, it provides an overview of the nation's economic progress with text and extensive data appendices.
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Five Years of Kyoto
By Nathan Hultman
(Brookings Institution, February 9, 2010)

On February 16th, the Kyoto Protocol will reach the fifth anniversary of its entry into force, the date at which it received enough ratifications to become legally active. While technically not a “birthday,” the Protocol was negotiated in December 1997, this milestone provides an opportunity to reflect on the wider meaning and significance of this instrument into which perhaps too many expectations were invested.
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The Future of the Internet
By Janna Quitney Anderson et al.
(Pew Internet & American Life Project, February 19, 2010)

"Experts and stakeholders say the Internet will enhance our intelligence – not make us stupid. It will also change the functions of reading and writing and be built around still-unanticipated gadgetry and applications. The battle over control of the internet will rage on and debates about online anonymity will persist,” say the authors.
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Getting to the Territorial Endgame of an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Settlement
By Edward P. Djerejian
(James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, February 2010)

The author says that the guidelines will be needed for introducing a United States oversight function for Israeli settlement activities. The purpose will be to assess gradual progress, including planning the sequence of settlement evacuation/relocation and providing ways and means to assist the parties concerning agreements and disagreements.
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A Growing Terrorist Threat? Assessing “Homegrown” Extremism in the United States
By Rick “Ozzie” Nelson and Ben Bodurian
(Center for Strategic & International Studies, March 8, 2010)

The report discusses five events that occurred during the fall of 2009 which thrust concerns over “homegrown” terrorism or extremist violence perpetrated by U.S. legal residents and citizens into public view.
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Little Enthusiasm for Many Muslim Leaders: Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations
(Pew Global Attitudes Project, February 4, 2010)

Across predominantly Muslim nations, there is little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, although there are pockets of support for both groups, especially in the Middle East. Four years after its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas receives relatively positive ratings in Jordan (56% favorable) and Egypt (52%). However, Palestinians are more likely to give the group a negative (52%) than a positive (44%) rating. And reservations about Hamas are particularly common in the portion of the Palestinian territories it controls -- just 37% in Gaza express a favorable opinion, compared with 47% in the West Bank.
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Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues
By Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, February 23, 2010)

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal consists of approximately 60 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps will enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal. Whether and to what extent Pakistan's current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear.
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Tragedy at Toyota: How to Lead in Crisis
By William George
(Harvard Business School, February 22, 2010)

"Toyota can only regain its footing by transforming itself from top to bottom to deliver the highest quality automobiles," says Harvard Business School professor Bill George of the beleaguered automobile company that in recent months has recalled 8 million vehicles. He offers seven recommendations for restoring consumer confidence in the safety and quality behind the storied brand.
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U.S.-Iranian Relations: An Analytic Compendium of U.S. Policies, Laws, and Regulations
(Atlantic Council, web posted on March 9, 2010)

This Compendium contains the text of major regulations, laws, and other documents governing U.S. interactions with Iran. Also provided are the text of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, agreements between Iran and several other countries on various issues, and other documents that represent major policy decisions in U.S. relations with Iran. The publication was launched at an Atlantic Council panel discussion on U.S.-Iran relations.
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The Volcker Rule: Not the Solution to Reducing Financial Risk
By David C. John
(The Heritage Foundation, February 22, 2010)

President Obama has reached into the past to try to resurrect failed bank regulatory approaches as a way of raising the stakes on his newly emphasized financial regulatory plan. Referred to as the "Volcker rule" after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who developed the two-part proposal, it would further restrict the size of financial institutions and prevent those with insured deposits from trading in the financial markets on their own behalf, according to the author.
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A World Free of Nuclear Weapons

Since the first atomic bombs exploded in 1945, some have tried to rid the world of nuclear weapons. President Obama has embraced this goal with new vigor. This issue of eJournal USA examines the challenges to achieving nuclear disarmament. It conveys the hopes of some thinkers, and explains the doubts of others.