Tag Archive for globalization

Can Samuel P. Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ model explain trends in foreign affairs after the 9-11 attack?

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. Feb 2011. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins.

The conduct of international relations post 9-11 has certainly been dramatically shaped by the US. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, in the former as a pre-emptive attack to remove WMD and the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein, and in the latter to hunt down al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and eliminate the training bases that harbored these non-state actors. In both cases, massive reconstruction projects have been undertaken to prevent Iraq and Afghanistan from becoming failed states and help them adopt political and economic reforms of a Western orientation.

But these U.S. interventions are not the only factor explaining the conduct of IR after 9-11. Paul Diehl notes that the demand for peace operations and subsequent escalation in third party interventions rose dramatically following the Cold War due to “superpower retrenchment in providing aid to other states,” an explosion of failed states and civil wars that spawned out of the power vacuum, an increased advocacy for democracy and free markets, greater international concern for human rights, and globalization (52-55). Read more

The Interconnectedness of Military, Political and Economic Tools in Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. Jan. 2011. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins. 12.5 pages, double-spaced, 3,310 words. 30 references.

Introduction                                       FREE CONTENT

Post-conflict reconstructionFor the last twenty years following the end of the Cold War, the nature of conflict has transitioned from mostly interstate conflicts to predominantly intrastate conflicts characterized by a “complex web of social, economic, cultural, political and religious factors” (Bercovitch & Jackson 3). As the context underlying conflict has changed, the approaches to conflict resolution (CR) and post-conflict reconstruction (PCR) have adapted as well. Policy-makers have a variety of military, political and economic tools at their disposal to contend with the security, welfare and political representation issues resulting from fragile and failed states.

This essay will analyze the policy tools available for CR and PCR, and, in doing so, answer the following questions:

(1)   To what extent are the political, economic and military tools available to policymakers for use in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction interconnected?

(2)  Has the application of such tools become considerably more challenging since the end of the Cold War? If so, how and why? If not, why not?

Section One of the essay will provide a brief summary of how the environment of conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War. Section Two will analyze the military tools. Section Three will cover the political tools, and Section Four will address the economic tools. Section Five will include a brief summary of how these tools are interconnected, but the assertion that they are interconnected will be made in each section of the essay.

Likewise, the question of whether the application of these tools has become considerably more challenging since the end of the Cold War may be answered in the affirmative with the how and why addressed throughout each section of the paper. Section Six will conclude the paper with a brief summary of the essay.

The views and opinions expressed in this paper are completely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON) or any of the Armed Forces.

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Using Economic and Military Tools in Conflict Prevention

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. 2010. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins. FREE CONTENT

There’s a number of economic tools that may be effective in preventing conflict. Most seem to fall under good governance. The first one that comes to my mind is export diversity. If you depend on one item for 44% of your exports and that one item is a commodity as it is with Sierra Leone’s diamonds, your economy is extremely vulnerable to global price fluctuations in that commodity. A downward dip in prices can have a devastating effect when all your eggs are in one basket. If people have to be laid off or you have to cut their wages, then social dissent can escalate as a result.

The second item that comes to mind is avoiding growth without development. If a nation choose to ignore its infrastructure and social services at the expense of corruption and out-of-control government spending, or spending on things that do not have a long-term impact like million dollar conferences, then that nation will suffer the consequences in decreased foreign direct investment and increased social dissent.

The third economic tool I can think of is well-developed economic and market institutions that are capable of opening up the economy to increased trade.  Peter Sutherland adds that increased trade may “challenge domestic corruption, encourage competition, release entrepreneurialism, ensure affordable services, “provide cover for reformers”, increase foreign investment (examples: Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, China), and increase personal civil rights and freedoms by virtue of access to greater levels of information via the internet, cell phones, etc.” (2008).

The posts, views and opinions expressed on this site are completely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON) or any of the Armed Forces. Read more

Civil War and Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire – An Analysis of the Sources and Causes

“Civil War and Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire – An Analysis of the Sources and Causes ” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

Preview – Civil War and Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire – Table of Contents and Section One

For over twenty years following its independence from France in 1960, Côte d’Ivoire was a rare example of remarkable economic growth and political and social stability in contrast to its poor and often violent and divisive neighbors in the region of West Africa. A complex mix of political, economic and social factors led to a successful military coup d’état in December 1999
and a civil war in November-December 2002 that brought the “Ivorian Miracle” crashing down.

This was followed by several years of “neither peace nor war” where corruption and discrimination were rampant, several peace accords failed, and numerous political groups jockeyed for power. A breakthrough occurred in March 2007 with the signing of the Ouagadougou Peace Accord (OPA) which is still not fully implemented to this day. This analysis
will attempt to primarily answer why the coup and civil war happened, and secondarily, why it took so long to achieve the OPA.

My paper will examine the underlying sources and causes of the coup d’état, the civil war and the protracted stalemate which followed. To understand not only how the conflict emerged but how it was perpetuated for so long, I will explore several political, economic and social and
regional factors that do not appear to be mutually exclusive. Côte d’Ivoire is a genuine multi layered conflict weaving together diverse issues like ethnicity, citizenship, land, immigration policy, natural resource governance and economic and political discrimination.

Dominant Issues in Free Trade and the International Economic System

Jeff Dwiggins:    Kapok Tree Diplomacy. All rights reserved. March 2010.

Dominant Issues in Free Trade and the International Economic System –  FREE CONTENTDoha Round

This study will analyze some of the most important themes of global trade beginning with the effects of globalization and interdependence on developed and developing countries and the benefits of trade liberalization.  Institutional leadership and governance are discussed, and the argument is made for free trade over protectionism with the caveat that protectionism may have a place in the strategies of developing countries.  The paper reviews the advantages of bilateral over multilateral agreements, the impact of technology on the diversification of trade, and how the elimination of barriers to trade and agreement on certain agricultural issues and subsidies would open up free trade to more players. The paper concludes by offering differing opinions on how best to help developing nations.

The views and opinions expressed in this paper are completely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON) or any of the Armed Forces.

Section One – Globalization and Interdependence

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) describes globalization as a “growing interconnectedness reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services and people throughout the world” (“2020 Project”). One way this growing interconnectedness has manifests itself is in the sheer size of the world economy and the number of new economic powerhouses rising to prominent places on the global stage. The NIC states, “The world economy is projected to be about 80 percent larger in 2020 than it was in 2000, and average per capita income to be about 50 percent higher” (“2020 Project”).   Read more

Global Integration as Seen Through the Ideological Lenses of the International Political Economy

“Global Integration as Seen Through the Lenses of the Ideologies of the International Political Economy” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

Preview                                              Written April 2010

Section One – Conceptions of IPE

Main Actors and Their Goals. Dunne and Schmidt state that “Realism identifies the group as the fundamental unit of political analysis” and “the state as the legitimate representative of the people” (93), while other actors such as international organizations (IGOs) or multinational corporations (MNCs) have lesser prominence (103). Realists view the international system as competitive and inherently anarchic, thus driving states to “simultaneously pursue wealth and national power” under the principle of self-help (Gilpin 425). Some realists argue that states are power maximizers, while others argue they are security maximizers (Dunne & Schmidt 101). The end goal in either case is survival, and economic success is central to each strategy.

Liberals position the “individual consumer, firm, or household” as the main actor within IPE. Gilpin asserts that the “primary objective of economic activity (for liberals) is to benefit consumers” by using free market principles for “organizing and managing a market economy in order to achieve maximum efficiency, economic growth and individual welfare” (421). Goal attainment is furthered by these actors peacefully cooperating in a way that allows supply and demand to settle into a natural, stable equilibrium (Gilpin 422). Other groups like IGOs and MNCs compete for centrality with states “through multiple channels of interaction”(Dunne 115).

The main actors within Marxism are social classes, principally the bourgeoisie upper class who owns the economic means of production and the proletariat lower class who works for the bourgeoisie (Lynch 537-539). The goal of the bourgeoisie is wealth accumulation for themselves and increasing power and profits for their class while subjugating the proletariat in the process. Gilpin notes that Lenin reformulated Marxism to the extent that “the principal actors in effect became competing mercantilistic nation-states driven by economic necessity” (430). Whether the main actors be classes or states, the goal is the same in Marxism – maximization of elitist interests.

Policies and Views on International Relations.  Gilpin asserts that the “foremost objective of nationalists is industrialization” as it is the “basis of military power and central to national security” (“Three” 425). Realists, or economic nationalists or mercantilists (as referred to in IPE terminology), also emphasize national self-sufficiency which may result in protectionist measures to insulate infant or declining industries (Gilpin,”Three”, 426).  James Fallows points out how politics drives economics in nationalism by comparing it to liberalism and illustrating the importance of “deliberate development,” production over consumption, results over process, “business as war” over “business as peace,” and national interests over individual interests (61-87). In realism, states seek to maximize their sovereign independence through wealth and power.