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A crisis for many years, and many reasons, to come - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Sep. 05, 2015

The reasons are easy to identify, the consequences extremely difficult to assess, the solutions complicated and uncertain.

Europe is politically stable and prosperous; Africa and the Middle East are not. Europe’s population is steady or declining; Africa and the Middle East have exploding numbers. Europe’s geography is not seriously affected by climate change; parts of Africa and the Middle East, already dry, are getting drier and therefore less fertile.

War is all but unimaginable in Europe; military conflict is a fact of life in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya. Human rights are respected throughout Europe (with a few exceptions); human rights are systematically abused by authoritarian and theocratic regimes in some African and many Middle Eastern countries. Women have made startling advances in almost every walk of European life; women are still discriminated against in too many parts of Africa and the Middle East.

These pressures pushing or enticing large numbers of people toward Europe will not disappear. If anything, they will intensify as the years go on, because climate change, demographic pressures, fierce intrareligious rivalries, the lack of respect for pluralism and a host of other entrenched realities will not bend to moral entreaties or military interventions from Western countries.
mass_migrations  refugees  crisis  Europe  failed_states  Jeffrey_Simpson  root_cause  Non-Integrating_Gap  Functioning_Core  emerging_countries  developed_countries  demographic_changes  decline  climate_change  religious_intolerance  migrants  human_trafficking 
september 2015 by jerryking
The Grand Strategy Obama Needs
SEPT. 10, 2014 | NYTimes.com | Vali R. Nasr.

What’s missing is a grand strategy — a road map not just for managing two crises but for ending them....But Eisenhower had a larger goal — not upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Cold War. Above all, he sought to avoid greater conflict, especially when he was trying to start arms control talks with Moscow.

In other words, he had a long-term global perspective.

By contrast, American policy today sees the world in fragments — ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Russia in Ukraine. But those crises have something important in common: Both trace to political fragmentation in weak states living within unsettled borders. That leaves those states prone to internal dissent, and America’s recent minimalist posture has given these brewing troubles room to explode into crises....American grand strategy should identify these weak countries before they turn on themselves; bolster their political mechanisms for living together in pluralism; declare our unyielding opposition to any outside forces that would seek to divide them. America’s military strength could assure the third part. The rest is work for our political and diplomatic experts.
Obama  Ukraine  strategy  geopolitics  '50s  Middle_East  Russia  strategic_thinking  nation_building  failed_states  long-term  weak_states  diplomacy  grand_strategy  roadmaps  Non-Integrating_Gap  Dwight_Eisenhower  crisis  Vali_Nasr 
september 2014 by jerryking
Chrystia Freeland | Analysis & Opinion
May 23, 2013 | | Reuters.com |By Chrystia Freeland.

Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and James Robinson of Harvard University.

In their seminal 2012 book, “Why Nations Fail,” Acemoglu and Robinson offered a powerful new framework for understanding why some societies thrive and others decline – those based on inclusive growth succeed, while those where growth is extractive wither.

Their new study, “Economics Versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice,” will be published later this year in the Journal of Economic Perspectives and is available now in draft form as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. It tackles an essential subject in the age of technocracy: the limits of technocratic thinking as a basis for policy.

Their critique is not the standard technocrat’s lament that wise policy is, alas, politically impossible to implement. Instead, their concern is that policy which is eminently sensible in theory can fail in practice because of its unintended political consequences.
Chrystia_Freeland  books  economists  unintended_consequences  failed_states  Non-Integrating_Gap  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2013 by jerryking
Good leadership is Africa’s missing ingredient
Mar. 04 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Robert Rotberg.

Because so many of sub-Saharan Africa’s 49 countries are preinstitutional, and not yet fully nations, leaders matter immensely, more than they do in the developed world. Leaders call the shots, as they have in most sub-Saharan African countries since independence in the 1960s. They set the ethical tone. If leaders are greedy, as many are, their citizens become more cynical and the quality of governmental discourse suffers enormously.

In Africa and elsewhere, governments are expected by their subjects to provide security and safety, rule of law, open political participation, sustainable economic prospects and a large measure of human development (educational and health opportunities and services).

In states where political institutions are weak, legislatures are subordinate to executives, the media are barely free and the judiciary is subordinate rather than independent, the manner in which leaders behave as presidents and prime ministers is much more decisive than it might be in a fully-formed nation where political institutions work and constrain overweening political executives.

A majority of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa are still controlled by men who are motivated not by what they can do for their people but by what their people can do for them. Such leaders exist to prey on their own citizens, to extract from the body politic corrupt rents and other privileges that benefit the ruler and ruling class, their families, and their cliques or lineages.
leadership  leaders  leadership_development  Africa  CIDA  capacity-building  weak_states  judiciary  institutions  greed  rent-seeking  institutional_integrity  failed_states  ruling_classes  sub-Saharan_Africa  Non-Integrating_Gap  autocrats  misgovernance  predatory_practices  developing_countries  independent_judiciary 
march 2013 by jerryking
Even the Prostitutes Have Degrees - WSJ.com
January 31, 2003 | WSJ | Daniel Henninger.

Accountability and responsibility may well be the two words Mr. Bush hopes most to deposit in our political vocabulary....Africa is the one big place in the world no one in politics wants to think about. Africa is "hopeless." Our leaders in Washington, however, can't escape Africa's realities entirely because they spend each day in the back seat of taxis driven by black men who have fled from Africa's non-functioning economies. It is always disconcerting when one talks with these African taxi drivers to find they are often better educated than American blacks in similar jobs. They are in America not because Africa is stupid but because Africa's politicians are often corrupt and have stupid ideas that ruin the people beneath them.
Daniel_Henninger  HIV  Africa  Kenya  Non-Integrating_Gap  hopelessness  failed_states  politicians  misgovernance  misrule  corruption  poor_governance 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Pentagon's New Map
March 1, 2003 | Esquire | By Thomas P.M. Barnett.

Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and--most important--the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap.
Pentagon  Thomas_Barnett  globalization  security_&_intelligence  failed_states  mapping  Non-Integrating_Gap  Functioning_Core 
may 2012 by jerryking
Why Nations Fail - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 31, 2012

“Why Nations Fail.” The more you read it, the more you appreciate what a fool’s errand we’re on in Afghanistan and how much we need to totally revamp our whole foreign aid strategy. But most intriguing are the warning flares the authors put up about both America and China.

Co-authored by the M.I.T. economist Daron Acemoglu and the Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson, “Why Nations Fail” argues that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.
book_reviews  Tom_Friedman  China  U.S.  Afghanistan  Non-Integrating_Gap  Egypt  foreign_policy  institutions  foreign_aid  failed_states  institutional_integrity 
april 2012 by jerryking

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