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In This Issue: October 2012

International Cooperation From the Perspective of Rising Powers

In early September the Chicago Council on Global Affairs published a working paper by Ambassador Richard Williamson and Jana Chapman Gates. Entitled “Rising Powers and a New Emerging Order,” it was the result of a project envisioning what posture rising powers might take toward the existing multilateral order. Convening two conferences last spring, the project asked whether newly powerful states would work within the current system, try to reform it from within, or do a complete end run.

Williamson and Chapman Gates focused particularly on a trend whereby multilateral cooperation takes place in ad hoc or informal settings, rather than squarely within formal institutional channels. They used three issue areas as case studies—nuclear nonproliferation, the global economy, and energy security—noting pointedly that, “in all three cases, activity outside of the existing system is on the rise.”

While Williamson and Chapman Gates see the shift to ad hoc mechanisms as a potentially significant threat to the status quo, they can also be regarded alternatively as an adjunct to traditional international organizations—not only complementary but perhaps helpful. Read more.

US Leadership in a Changing World

The United States has long played a significant role in global leadership. American actions, while not always perfect, have shaped the international landscape. Today, however, seismic changes in the global order are contributing to a growing sense that neither US foreign policy nor the existing international institutions of global governance are adequate to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of emerging powers including China, India, and Brazil, the terror attacks of 9/11, and more have required changes in the global architecture and in America's global involvement.

Over the last decade, both the Bush and Obama Administrations launched efforts to reshape the US State Department and US diplomacy. These evolutions in US foreign policy, while welcome and well-intentioned, are not complete. In the latest edition of the Stanley Foundation's Courier, we explore changes in US global leadership through three specific issues which drive foundation programming. Read more.

(Photo by Denis Levkovich/Feature Story News)
 


Beyond The Headlines

Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Political Thaw

In the past the likeness of Aung San Suu Kyi was a banned symbol of resistance in Burma. Today her image is plastered around the country. After being released from 15 years of house arrest in November 2010 and elected to the Burmese Parliament in April, Suu Kyi is now free to travel and has been welcomed abroad as if she were a head of state.

Over the past two years under President Thein Sein, Burma’s first civilian president in nearly 50 years, the country has seemed to move toward an era of political opening and reform. Hundreds of political prisoners have been released, there has been an easing of censorship, and workers have been awarded the right to strike. Despite these promising developments, some are still skeptical of the leadership’s intention of true reform. For decades, sanctions and international isolation left Burma highly dependent on one economic partner—China. Activists fear that the military would disproportionately benefit from the country opening up to foreign investors. Suu Kyi still has little say in the military-dominated legislature, and human rights issues and ethnic conflicts continue, including a renewed conflict between the army and the people of northeast Kachin State. Read more.
 


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Stay Active

Play & Learn: Richie’s World of Adventure

“Hi, I'm Richie Enrichment and I'm an expert on all things nuclear,” says the science mascot of UK-based nuclear technology supplier URENCO on his Web site. Now Richie has his own video game too. According to URENCO, Richie’s World of Adventure is “a free, action-packed platform game for mobile devices and PCs that will help young minds learn about nuclear power, while having fun.” Learn more or play the game.

New Resources: The UN and Atrocity Prevention

Following his participation as a panelist at the fourth United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect in September, Dr. Alex Bellamy of the Griffith Asia Institute in Australia reflects in a five-part interview on the UNGA dialogue as well as on key questions and challenges facing the operationalization of the Responsibility to Protect.  Bellamy also recently authored the article, “It’s Time to Make Prevention ‘A Living Reality,’” which outlines seven core elements for a UN strategy on mass-atrocity prevention.

Surf & Learn: American Attitudes on Foreign Affairs

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Pew Research Center have put together an interactive feature that looks to answer the question of how Americans view the world. By using survey data from the last two decades, the guide gives us a look at the evolution of American public opinion on the biggest international threats and most pressing foreign policy priorities. The data is organized around a list of countries and topics. Want to see how your views stack up with your peers? You can filter the data to suit your specific demographic group.


TSF Library

Building Capacity to Protect

Policy Analysis Briefs
September 2012

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as affirmed at the World Summit detailed a series of shared commitments to protect civilian populations from mass atrocity crimes—among them the primary responsibility of states to “build capacity” to prevent and protect at the domestic level and an international obligation to assist these efforts. The Stanley Foundation recently released the first two Policy Analysis Briefs in a series intended to consider how an atrocity lens might focus efforts to build protection capacity before crises develop.

In his brief, Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework, Dr. David J. Simon elaborates on the idea of “state protection capacity” as identified in the R2P framework and outlines what exercising state responsibility implies for both domestic actors and international assistance in key areas of governance. Dr. Pauline Baker’s brief, Getting Along: Managing Diversity for Atrocity Prevention in Socially Divided Societies, focuses on political systems and participation. Based on the experiences of Nigeria and South Africa, she examines how diversity might be effectively managed through inclusive political processes, institutional mechanisms, and governance policies, enabling states to promote a greater level of protection against the threat of mass-atrocity violence.

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