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Annual Editions: Global Issues 12/13, Twenty-Eighth Edition
1. Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World: Executive Summary, U.S. National Intelligence Council, November 2008
This widely quoted report examines important change factors transforming the international political system from the structure established following WWII. The executive summary of the report is presented here.
2. The New Geopolitics of Food, Lester R. Brown, Foreign Policy, May/June 2011
Lester Brown argues that both farmers and foreign ministers need to get ready for a new era of world food scarcity. He describes the reasons why the era of abundant food supplies has ended.
3. Navigating the Energy Transition, Michael T. Klare, Current History, January 2009
The transition from the current fossil fuel energy system to one based largely on renewables will be technically difficult and filled with political dangers. The reasons for these difficulties are described.
4. Asia's Rise: Rise and Fall, Paul Kennedy, The World Today, August 2010
The shift of international power toward Asia is analyzed in the context of the broader historical question of why nations gain and lose power. Kennedy argues that economic growth is the primary factor that provides the means to extend and defend power.
5. China's Search for a Grand Strategy, Wang Jisi, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011
The author, who is dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, discusses China's growing influence in global affairs. Devising an effective foreign policy will not be easy for China as it simultaneously protects its core interests while pursuing rapid economic development.
6. The New Population Bomb: The Four Megatrends That Will Change the World, Jack A. Goldstone, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2010
Over the next forty years, the relative demographic weight of the world's developed countries will significantly drop as their workforce ages and numerically declines. Most of the world's population growth will be concentrated in the poorest countries. At the same time most of the world's population will become urbanized. These four trends have significant political and economic consequences.
7. Population and Sustainability, Robert Engelman, Scientific American, Summer 2009
Reversing the increase in human population is the most overlooked and essential strategy for achieving long-term balance with the environment. Contrary to widespread opinion, it does not require population control.
8. Why Migration Matters, Khalid Koser, Current History, April 2009
The increasing importance of migration derives from its growing scale and its widening global reach.
9. The Blue Food Revolution, Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, February 2011
Offshore fish farming and cleaner near-shore operations could provide the world with an adequate supply of protein-rich food according to the author. Global meat consumption is rising as wild fisheries decline. Meat production, however, has significant pollution problems. A comparison of the sustainability and cost effectiveness of offshore aquaculture with meat production is provided.
10. Climate Change, Bill McKibben, Foreign Policy, January/February 2009
McKibben responds to the arguments that the underlying dynamics of climate change remain unclear and public policy options as a result are uncertain. He asserts that the science is settled, and the only real issue is whether we will stop playing political games and commit to the limited options remaining if we are to avert a climate catastrophe.
11. The Other Climate Changers, Jessica Seddon Wallack and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2009
The most frequently discussed proposals to slow global warming focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Little attention is given to reducing ''black carbon,'' even though doing so would be easier and cheaper and have an immediate effect.
12. The Big Melt, Brook Larmer, National Geographic, April 2010
Much of Asia relies on melting glaciers for agricultural and household water. Larmer reports that glaciers are shrinking at an accelerating rate, which places the entire region at risk. As rivers dwindle, conflict could spread. India, China, and Pakistan all face pressure to increase food production to meet the needs of growing populations. Preventing conflicts over water from spreading across borders is a growing challenge.
13. Troubled Waters, The Economist, January 3, 2009
A broad overview of the health of the world's oceans is provided, including the impacts of human activities.
14. Asian Carp, Other Invasive Species Make a Splash, David Harrison, stateline.org, July 30, 2010
Invasive species are a major environmental problem. This case study explores the threat to the Great Lakes that the feared Asian carp poses as it migrates to within six miles of Lake Michigan. The problems of developing public policy to deal with the threat are also described.
Part A. Globalization Debate
15. Globalization and Its Contents, Peter Marber, World Policy Journal, Winter 2004/2005
The term globalization has different meanings for different people, often depending on their political perspective. The debate about the positive and negative impacts of this situation is reviewed from a broad historical perspective. The author concludes that the evidence strongly suggests that human prosperity is improving as boundaries between people are lowered.
16. It's a Flat World, After All, Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, April 3, 2005
Thomas Friedman is a well-known commentator who has contributed significantly to the debate about globalization. This article summarizes his latest book, The World Is Flat. He discusses a number of technological trends that are not only involving new participants in the global economy but also fundamentally changing the way people do business.
17. Why the World Isn't Flat, Pankaj Ghemawat, Foreign Policy, March/April 2007
The concept of globalization has defined much of the debate about international economic activity for the past twenty years. The author critically examines the basic assumptions of those that argue that this trend is dominant and concludes that ''the champions of globalization are describing a world that doesn't exist.''
18. Can Extreme Poverty Be Eliminated?, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Scientific American, September 2005
One of the United Nations Millennium Project's goals was reducing by half the level of poverty by 2015. The director of the project describes how business as usual has to be replaced with programs that address the underlying causes of poverty by improving health, education, water, sanitation, food production, and roads.
19. Gazing across the Divides, Lucien Crowder, Current History, January 2011
The author describes two broad economic trends and predicts diverging prospects for rich nations (not promising) and developing countries (considerably better).
Part B. General Case Studies
20. Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair, May 2011
The causes of the growing inequality of income in the United States are described, including how they distort markets. In addition, the implications of this trend to the American middle class are discussed.
21. The Case against the West: America and Europe in the Asian Century, Kishore Mahbubani, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008
The changing international, economic roles of both Asian and Western countries is described along with an evaluation of how the West is resisting the rise of the Asian countries. There is specific focus on the issues of nuclear nonproliferation, the Middle East, and trade.
22. Bolivia and Its Lithium, Rebecca Hollender and Jim Shultz, A Democracy Center Special Report, May 2010
Lithium is the battery material underlying the increased use of cell phones, laptops, and electric automobiles. The raw material is found in large quantities in Bolivia, which has earned the title of the ''Saudi Arabia of lithium.'' This report focuses on the development paradox: countries with abundant natural resources often have less economic development than those with fewer resources. What are the challenges facing Bolivia as it attempts to avoid the development paradox?
23. Supply and Demand: Human Trafficking in the Global Economy, Siddharth Kara, Harvard International Review, Summer 2011
Human trafficking is a growing and profitable enterprise in our highly globalized economy. The author proposes policies to discourage the practice.
24. More Aid Is Not the Answer, Jonathan Glennie, Current History, May 2010
The author argues that more international aid to Africa will not make a big difference in the lives of the poor. In fact, aid often increases poverty and diminishes government accountability.
Part C. Global Energy Case Studies
25. It's Still the One, Daniel Yergin, Foreign Policy, September/October 2009
The Pulitzer Prize–Dwinning author and chairman of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates describes the contemporary political economy of oil and the major trends likely to shape its supply and cost in the foreseeable future.
26. Seven Myths about Alternative Energy, Michael Grunwald, Foreign Policy, September/October 2009
As the search for alternatives to oil intensifies, energy sources such as biofuels, solar, and nuclear seem to be the answer, but the author argues they are not. Changes in consumer behavior in the developed world ultimately will be necessary.
27. The End of Easy Oil, Monica Heger, Discover, September 2010
Canada's tar sands are one of the major sources for U.S. oil. Heger discusses whether the energy produced is worth the economic and environmental costs involved in its extract ion. In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, the reliance on extreme extraction and its environmental impacts is a major issue in the global energy supply-and-demand equation.
28. Coming Soon to a Terminal Near You, The Economist, August 6, 2011
The article is a case study of the rapidly changing political economy of shale gas. Included is a discussion of the environmental impacts of this cleaner-burning fuel.
29. Nuclear Power after Fukushima, Rod Adams, National Review, June 20, 2011
The author reviews the scope of the nuclear disaster following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. He outlines the reasons why he believes society will not turn its back on nuclear power as an energy source. The former naval officer argues that the lessons of the Fukushima disaster will be incorporated into new nuclear power plant designs.
30. The Revenge of Geography, Robert D. Kaplan, Foreign Policy, May/June 2009
The author revisits an old idea: People and ideas influence events, but geography largely determines them. To understand twenty-first century conflicts, Kaplan argues it is time to dust off the Victorian thinkers who knew the physical world best.
31. A Himalayan Rivalry, The Economist, August 21, 2010
China and India are home to 40 percent of the world's population. Both countries are experiencing rapid economic growth. Their two-way trade is growing, but a history of border disputes combined with the rivalry of both being aspiring global powers reveals underlying tensions. This article examines these sources of tension and bilateral efforts to manage these issues.
32. Living with a Nuclear Iran, Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic, September 2010
The prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is a central issue in the long-term stability of the Middle East. A course of action laid out in the 1950s by Henry Kissinger proposes that the U.S. check revolutionary powers with a credible willingness to engage them in limited war. Kaplan reviews this containment policy as developed in the context of the Cold War and its implications for the world's major military powers as they deal with Iran.
33. Drug Violence Isn't Mexico's Only Problem, Francisco González, Current History, February 2011
Considerable attention has been focused on Mexico's drug war. The author argues that beyond this threat to democracy, fundamental structural problems negatively affect Mexico's economy and political process. The country faces three challenges: restoring social peace, reforming political institutions, and attracting investment to allow Mexican companies to add more value to production chains.
34. Demystifying the Arab Spring: Parsing the Differences between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, Lisa Anderson, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011
The article describes the political uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. The author argues that critical distinctions between the three countries will shape the outcome of these distinct movements.
35. Deliver Us from Evil, David Patrikarakos, New Statesman, November 2010
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by war for almost twenty years as different interests vie for control of its minerals and other natural resources. The largest United Nations peacekeeping mission in history is based in the country. The author assesses the prospects for peace and the future of the UN mission.
36. War in the Fifth Domain, The Economist, July 3, 2010
In addition to land, sea, air and space, warfare has entered the fifth domain: cyberspace. Growing connectivity over the insecure Internet multiplies the avenues of e-attacks by criminals, terrorists, and hostile governments. The scope of the problem and efforts to combat it are described.
37. Climate Change after Copenhagen: Beyond Doom and Gloom, Bernice Lee, The World Today, August 2010
The failure of the Copenhagen climate conference to reach a meaningful international agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases does not mean there are no prospects for collective action addressing climate change. The author points out that investment in both clean energy and improved energy efficiency continue to rise in both developed and emerging economies.
38. Geneva Conventions, Steven R. Ratner, Foreign Policy, March/April 2008
The author discusses the international law governing the treatment of soldiers and civilians during war with a focus on twenty-first-century issues, including the War on Terror.
39. America's Nuclear Meltdown towards ''Global Zero,'' Lavina Lee, USA Today, May 2011
Russia and the United States recently agreed to further reductions of deployed nuclear warheads. It is not likely that India, Pakistan, and China will join in arms reductions talks any time soon. The strategic issues between these three nuclear powers are described within the context of both existing international agreements and the growing momentum for eliminating all nuclear weapons.
40. The 30 Years War, The Economist, June 4, 2011
Extensive international cooperation has lead to successes in the fight against AIDS. This effort is described along with ongoing research to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease.
41. Is Bigger Better?, David Armstrong, Forbes, June 2, 2008
Using market incentives, the world's largest antipoverty group helped pull Bangladesh out of the ashes. Now it wants to take on Africa.
42. Humanitarian Workers: Comprehensive Response, Marc DuBois and Vickie Hawkins, The World Today, March 2011
The authors, officials in Médecins Sans Frontiéres (Doctors Without Borders), respond to criticisms that the neutrality of humanitarian aid organizations has been co-opted by the political agendas of military combatants. They describe the strategy of MSF to maintain its neutrality and contrast their approach with the so-called comprehensive approach of governments.
43. Humanity's Common Values: Seeking a Positive Future, Wendell Bell, The Futurist, September/October 2004
The author argues that ''there is an emerging global ethic, a set of shared values.'' These have evolved and now shape and constrain behavior. Specific principles along with behavior that supports the development of legal and ethical norms necessary for a positive global future are described here.
44. Visible Man: Ethics in a World without Secrets, Peter Singer, Harper's Magazine, August 2011
The assertion is often made that modern surveillance technology makes it easier for governments to control behavior. The author offers the counterargument that the same technology allows people to keep tabs on the government and corporate abuses and in fact protects individual freedom.
45. UN Women's Head Michelle Bachelet: A New Superhero?, Jane Martinson, The Guardian, April 22, 2011
Michelle Bachelet was Chile's first woman president. This article provides a profile of her career, including her new leadership role in the UN, which focuses on the empowerment of women.
46. The End of Men, Hanna Rosin, Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2010
Rosin argues that patriarchy has always been civilization's basic organizing principle with only a few exceptions. For the first time in human history, this is now rapidly changing, for the modern economy is becoming the place where women have a distinct advantage over men.