Fair Share: The Challenge of Reducing Inequality

Rising levels of income inequality despite growth in developed and developing economies alike have put the question of how to equitably divide the economic pie in the spotlight. After years of assuming that trade-driven growth would be a panacea, policymakers are now re-examining the range of policy approaches to reducing inequality. Nathan Kelly explains that, under certain conditions, human capital investment can be an effective alternative to redistributive policies. Marzia Fontana examines trade’s complex impact on women and the limits of conventional models of development and gender equality. And Klaus Deininger surveys the successes and failures of land reform as a redistribution policy, and its continued relevance today.

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First Response: Health Work in Conflict Zones

The nature of health care work in conflict has evolved in recent years alongside the changing character of war. Some change is intentional, as when militaries and humanitarians struggle to better care for the wounded, while other aspects are murkier, as in the apparently growing risks to women and girls in conflict. Robert Beckhusen examines how combat medicine has changed for the U.S. military during more than a decade of war. Hannah Vaughan-Lee dissects claims that humanitarian health workers are under increasing attack globally. And Janie Leatherman and Nadezda Griffin explain that new patterns in conflict are driving changes in gender-based violence, but our understandings—and responses—have yet to catch up.

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Disputing Sovereignty: Internet Governance, Trade Regimes and the ECJ

Supranational governance mechanisms that emerged over the past 20 years have raised many hopes—and fears—about the future of state sovereignty. But while the way in which sovereignty is conceived and operates has certainly been impacted, the results have defied expectations. Jovan Kurbalija examines the current challenges and possible futures of Internet governance. Philip Nichols looks at the complicated and unpredictable interplay between international trade regimes and sovereignty. And Gareth Davies explains how the European Court of Justice, despite its initial unassuming mandate, played a central role in transferring state sovereignty in the European Union.

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Methods of Control: Authoritarianism in North Korea, Iran and Ethiopia

The common goal of all authoritarian regimes is to preserve their grip on power, but how they do so varies across a spectrum of repression and control, with major implications for their ability to maintain stability in times of transition. Charles Armstrong examines how the Kim family consolidated a hereditary brand of authoritarianism in North Korea, and what the current transition under Kim Jong Un portends for the regime’s future prospects. Manochehr Dorraj explains how the tensions between the republican and Islamic components of Iran’s regime leave it vulnerable to moments of spontaneous popular participation. And Terrence Lyons looks at the nature of Ethiopia’s party-based authoritarianism and the balancing act required to maintain it.

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From Bigger to Better: Data Quality in Aid and Development

The recent emphasis on the use of big data for everything from commercial practices to national security has obscured the fact that, in many areas, accurate data is often lacking. This is particularly the case in less-developed parts of the world, with significant implications for the design and implementation of effective aid and development policy. Claire Melamed argues that, in crafting new global development goals, the development community must make improving data a central component. Jack Goldstone examines the mixed bag of global demographic data, and its implications. And Morten Jerven explains why African GDP statistics are often poor reflections of economic realities, and why that matters.

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Courtroom Politics: Rule of Law in China, Russia and Turkey

Recent events in China, Russia and Turkey have put the spotlight on each country’s rule of law, and particularly their judicial systems. Whether due to historical factors, political expediency or corruption, the consolidation of an independent and impartial judiciary has faced significant obstacles, with domestic and international implications. Jerome Cohen examines the new Chinese leadership’s efforts to increase the independence and legitimacy of the judicial process, and the obstacles they face. Matthew Rojansky and William Pomerantz assess Russia’s emerging “judicial vertical” and the threat it represents for rule of law there. And Michael Koplow explains why the current fight for Turkey’s judiciary is a feature of the country’s judicial system, not a bug.

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Getting to Peace: New Approaches to Ending Conflict

The number of wars and the deaths they cause have been steadily decreasing since the post-World War II period. But changes in both the nature of conflict and the degree to which it is broadcast to a global public have underscored the need for effective peacemaking, while also changing our approaches to achieving a stable peace. Richard Gowan looks at the U.N.’s shift toward aggressive and riskier peacemaking missions. Emma Leslie explains why involving more actors in the peace process is essential—and how it works. And Stefan Wolff examines the methods for preventing the lack of trust that makes a peace agreement necessary from undermining the deal once it has been negotiated.

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Long Journey Home: Refugees and the Challenge of Return

The plight of refugees fleeing persecution, conflicts or humanitarian disasters often captures the attention of global audiences and policymakers. Often less noticed, however, are the obstacles refugees encounter in embarking on—or trying to avoid—the journey back home. Michael Kagan explains why the norm of nonrefoulement protecting refugees from being returned to persecution is the most effective, but also the most incomplete human rights protection. Megan Bradley examines the challenges of repatriation, which to be successful must be seen as a process more than an outcome. And Laura Hammond looks at the particular obstacles faced by long-term Somali refugees in Kenya, for whom repatriation is a return in name only.

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Civilian Power: State, USAID and Congress in U.S. Foreign Policy

Over the past decade, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as concerns over global terrorism made the U.S. military at times seem like the first option in U.S. foreign policy. Now, with Americans increasingly wary of military approaches to global challenges, America’s civilian power is once again in the spotlight. Heather Hurlburt explains why modernizing American diplomacy to keep up with 21st-century developments might leave the State Department behind. John Norris looks at how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq returned USAID to relevance, with important implications for the agency’s future. And James Lindsay examines the role of the U.S. Congress in advancing, or hamstringing, presidential diplomacy.

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The Bitter End: Winding Down the War on Terror

Whether about hunger strikes at Gitmo, revelations of NSA surveillance or blowback from drone strikes, recent news headlines have testified to the persistent fallout and legacy of the initial U.S. reaction to the attacks of 9/11. Despite the Obama administration’s expressed desire to disengage the battlefield, winding down the war on terror has proved more difficult than expected. Jonathan Hafetz explains why the ultimate danger of the failure to close Gitmo is that we might just get used to it. Loch Johnson examines the security versus surveillance dilemma and what to do about the current imbalance. And Charli Carpenter argues that a new paradigm for the fight against terror is essential not only for U.S. credibility, but also for the legitimate use of military force moving forward.

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