Tag Archive for IMF

Ecuador and China: BFFs and Champions of the 21st Century Socialist Agenda

© Kapok Tree Diplomacy. Feb 2013. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins.   FREE CONTENT

Ecuador and China: BFFs and Champions of the 21st Century Socialist Agenda

Ecuador ChinaEcuador is a beautiful country with a rich and diverse culture, geography and history. My wife is from Ecuador, and I can’t say enough about the friendliness and generosity of her family and many others that I’ve met from Ecuador.  My hope is to someday visit the country, God willing, and take in all the sights, sounds, smells and experiences that up until now, I have only experienced through the anecdotal, photographic and video evidence.

However, I feel that my timetable and window for visiting the country is rapidly closing. If things continue in their current economic and political direction under President Correa, there may not be any socio-political stability left, not to mention the inevitable deterioration of the economy that always accompanies centrally-managed socialist states. See Cuba and Russia for good examples.  Moreover, I may have to learn Chinese in addition to Spanish to get around the country. So what exactly is going on in Ecuador? Didn’t Rafael Correa make everything better?

President Correa’s Vision

Leftist President Rafael Correa of Ecuador easily won a second term as president of Ecuador on February 16th with 56% of the vote compared to the 23% of his closest competitor, Guillermo Lasso, a banker from Guayaquil.[1]  Now President Correa will be able to continue his radical socialist agenda for another four years in Ecuador, especially if his party strengthens their hold on the Assembly. Not everyone in Ecuador is happy about that.

“There is a lot of apprehension that if he wins the Assembly, there will be a greater concentration of power,” said José Hernández, an editor of Hoy, a Quito daily newspaper. “He will try to flatten everyone who is in his way. He will try to dominate more because that’s his personality, and that’s what he wants to do.”[2] So just who is Rafael Correa? Read more

Engaging the Dragon Through Peaceful Deterrence: Japan’s Need to Recalibrate Its Strategy of Accommodation with China

“Engaging the Dragon Through Peaceful Deterrence: Japan’s Need to Recalibrate Its Strategy of Accommodation with China” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

© Kapok Tree Diplomacy. Oct 2012. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins. 


Theoretical Framework

The grand strategies and values of Japan and China will be evaluated from a “Balance of Threat” and “Defensive Realism” theoretical framework.  This essay posits that given China’s rise and Japan’s moment of opportunity to counter, it is important to gauge the feasibility of a values-based concert of democracies within this theoretical framework. Stephen Walt argues that states tend to balance or bandwagon with a rising power depending on their assessment of the perceived threat.[1] Japan’s past, present and future behavior towards China is thus assessed within the parameters of defensive realism which point to Japanese formation of strategic alliances to deal with the anarchy and security dilemma that characterize the international system and create uncertainty of intentions and inadvertent mistrust and conflict.[2] Read more

NATO’s Role and Relevance in Post-Conflict Reconstruction And Challenges in Implementing the Comprehensive Approach

“NATO’s Role and Relevance in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Challenges in Implementing the Comprehensive Approach” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

PREVIEW  to follow. Includes a Table of Contents. Complete essay is 5,821 words, 22 pages double-spaced, 60 references

Section One – NATO – Brief History and Background

Pre Cold War.  Hoehn and Harting note that increasing tensions with the Soviet Union over its Berlin Blockade (1948), China’s “short-lived embrace of Moscow” (5), and Communist incursions in Czechoslovakia and Korea led the United States, Canada and ten other Western European states to form NATO as a defensive alliance and formulate a policy of Soviet “containment” designed to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down” in April of 1949 (8). Despite occasional disagreements over burden-sharing and a dust-up with France, alliance members “deterred the Soviets, and integrated Germany into a collective defense system for the West” over the next 40 years (Duignan 43), moving from a posture of deterrence to détente in a manner consistent with its values of “democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” (NATO “Treaty”).

Post Cold War. NATO’s success with facilitating European integration and deterring the Soviet threat was rewarded with the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union in 1991 (Medcalf 196-197), as NATO “found itself without an enemy” for the first time in its history, earning a “bloodless victory … without firing a shot” (Duignan 46, 48). The collapse of the Soviet Union encouraged NATO to enlarge its membership into Eastern Europe (1999) and launch the Partnership for Peace (PfP) for military cooperation and dialogue with non-NATO states (1994) despite lingering doubts regarding NATO’s post-Cold War purpose and identity (Duignan 58). Read more

Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Balancing Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures in Nation/State-Building and the Optimum Division of Labor to Overcome Them

“Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Balancing Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures in Nation/State-Building and the Optimum Division of Labor to Overcome Them” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy


I.    Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in Nation/State-Building

A.    Definitions

B.     Tasks of Nation/State Building (NSB)

C.     Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in NSB Processes

1.     Military Security

2.     Political

3.     Economic

4.     Justice and Reconciliation

II.    Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Nation/State Building

A.    Military/Security Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and  States

B.    Political and Governance Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

C.    Economic Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

D.    Justice and Reconciliation Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

III.    Section Three – Optimum Division of Labor to Meet NSB Challenges

A.    Proper Mix – International, Regional, Local, Multilateral & Bilateral

B.    Military/Economic/Political Division of Labor

IV.    Summary

Section One – Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in Nation/State-Building

DefinitionsNation-building and state-building are similar but not identical concepts with context often determining which term is applicable. Mary Thida Lun defines nation-building as “the indigenous and domestic creation and reinforcement of the complex social and cultural identities that relate to and define citizenship within the territory of the state” (v).   Read more

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.

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