Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Meet us in San Francisco: American Political Science Association

If you are heading to San Francisco for the APSA annual meeting, be sure to stop by booth #500 to meet our staff, browse our latest publications, and and take advantage of special meeting discounts. On Thursday, September 3 at 3:45 p.m., we’ll host an APSA reception at the booth to toast the publication of Democracy in Decline?, edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. This title will be available at the special APSA meeting price of $15.00 for on-site sales (while copies last). Throughout the meeting and after, JHUP books will be available at a 30% discount when your use the discount code HEAG. Check out what’s new and recent on JHUP’s political science list!

Democracy in Decline?diamond15
edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, with essays by Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Larry Diamond, Thomas Carothers, Marc F. Plattner, Philippe C. Schmitter, Steven Levitsky, and Lucan Way, and a foreword by Condoleezza Rice

For almost a decade, Freedom House’s annual survey has highlighted a decline in democracy in most regions of the globe. While some analysts draw upon this evidence to argue that the world has entered a “democratic recession,” others dispute that interpretation, emphasizing instead democracy’s success in maintaining the huge gains it made during the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Discussion of this question has moved beyond disputes about how many countries should be classified as democratic to embrace a host of wider concerns about the health of democracy: the poor economic and political performance of advanced democracies, the new self-confidence and assertiveness of a number of leading authoritarian countries, and a geopolitical weakening of democracies relative to these resurgent authoritarians.

In Democracy in Decline?, eight of the world’s leading public intellectuals and scholars of democracy—Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Philippe C. Schmitter, Steven Levitsky, Lucan Way, Thomas Carothers, and editors Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner—explore these concerns and offer competing viewpoints about the state of democracy today. This short collection of essays is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the latest thinking on one of the most critical questions of our era.

Join us at booth #500 on September 3 at 3:45 p.m. to toast the publication of Democracy in Decline? at a special APSA reception.

bitarDemocratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders, edited by Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal

National leaders who played key roles in transitions to democratic governance reveal how these were accomplished in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. Commissioned by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), these interviews shed fascinating light on how repressive regimes were ended and democracy took hold.

In probing conversations with Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Patricio Aylwin, Ricardo Lagos, John Kufuor, Jerry Rawlings, B. J. Habibie, Ernesto Zedillo, Fidel V. Ramos, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, F. W. de Klerk, Thabo Mbeki, and Felipe González, editors Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal focused on each leader’s principal challenges and goals as well as their strategies to end authoritarian rule and construct democratic governance. Context-setting introductions by country experts highlight each nation’s unique experience as well as recurrent challenges all transitions faced.

The growing gap between the most affluent Americans and the rest of society is changing the country into one defined—more than almost any other developed nation—by exceptional inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity. This book reveals that an infrastructure of inequality, both open and hidden, obstructs the great majority in pursuing happiness, living healthy lives, and exercising basic rights. A government dominated by finance, corporate interests, and the wealthy has undermined democracy, stunted social mobility, and changed the character of the nation. In this tough-minded dissection of the gulf between the super-rich and the working and middle classes, Ronald P. Formisano explores how the dramatic rise of income inequality over the past four decades has transformed America from a land of democratic promise into one of diminished opportunity.

Other new and recent books from JHU Press:

Disease Diplomacy: International Norms and Global Health Security, by Sara E. Davies, Adam Kamradt-Scott, and Simon Rushton

Pain: A Political History, by Keith Wailoo

Education and Empowered Citizenship in Mali, by Jaimie Bleck
Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism, and American Public Opinion, by Jonathan Auerbach
Light It Up: The Marine Eye for Battle in the War for Iraq, by John Pettegrew

JHU Press Journals:

Journal of Democracy
Humans Rights Quarterly

The SAIS Review of International Affairs


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Filed under American Studies, Conferences, Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, Journals, Politics, Washington

“Learn from these remarkable leaders”

Guest post by Abraham F. Lowenthal and Sergio Bitar

bitarDemocratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders, to be published next month by Johns Hopkins University Press, began as an initiative by Vidar Helgesen, then Secretary-General of International IDEA—an intergovernmental organization of 28 member countries, based in Stockholm, that promotes sustainable democracy worldwide. Mr. Helgesen observed that International IDEA’s work had focused sharply on strengthening the procedures and techniques of democratic governance: the preparation, conduct, counting and monitoring of elections; the selection of candidates; the oversight of campaign finance and media access; and expanding the rights and participation of women in politics. But International IDEA had not provided insights into how authoritarian rule is brought to an end and transitions toward democracy achieved, though these are prerequisites to the democracy promotion work that IDEA carries out.

At a time when the Arab Spring was underway and other transitions to democracy were contemplated or foreseeable elsewhere, Helgesen suggested that it would be useful to learn how prior transitions from authoritarian rule were achieved. He suggested that this could be done by interviewing actors who had been at the apex of successful democratic transitions in several countries that moved from authoritarian rule of diverse types toward democracy. He invited us to undertake this project jointly, with international IDEA’s support. We are long-term friends with complementary experiences in the worlds of politics and policy, as well as academic analysis. We also share a commitment to the construction of sustainable democracy.

Political actors who are now seeking to help their countries move from autocracy toward democracy—whether in Egypt, Tunisia, Myanmar, Cuba, Venezuela or elsewhere—could learn a great deal from prior experiences, especially from “success stories.” But to suggest that they simply consult the established political science texts on democratic transitions, including some Johns Hopkins University Press classics, would not be useful. Those volumes were written by academic political scientists for other scholars, not for busy practitioners in search of practical insights. Current political actors would likely not take the time to read volumes that are often presented in academic jargon and that emphasize disciplinary techniques rather than tough political choices.

If it were somehow possible to bring experienced political leaders who have managed democratic transitions to visit those nations that are now near such transitions, current politicians would no doubt want to learn from such peers. They would enjoy talking with practitioners about what strategies and tactics they developed, what unexpected obstacles arose, how they confronted these, what dilemmas they found most difficult, and how these were resolved.

Bringing wise but aging transition leaders of the last generation to visit Cairo, Tunis, Havana, Caracas or Naypyidaw (in Myanmar) would not be practical, however. We aimed to provide a second-best approach, by undertaking well-prepared and probing interviews with important transition leaders: Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Patricio Aylwin and Ricardo Lagos of Chile, John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, B. J. Habibie of Indonesia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Fidel Ramos of the Philippines, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Tadeusz Mazowiecki of Poland, F. W. deKlerk and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, and Felipe González of Spain.

We sought the advice of leading academic authorities on each case to help us understand the history and context of each transition and identify the principal issues that arose. We did not administer a questionnaire but rather engaged the leaders in dynamic conversations about their experiences, how they worked, what their toughest choices were, how and why they made them, and how they learned. The resulting interviews do not present rigorous comparative political science, but they illuminate agency and decision-making in ways that are often obscured by other methods of analysis. Most comparative politics texts downplay the role of political leadership; this book emphasizes and illustrates it.

We know of no comparable source of practical insights and considered judgments on the challenges democratic transitions pose and how these have been successfully confronted. The seniority of most of the leaders we interviewed makes it unlikely that others will have this opportunity to learn from so many successful transition-makers.

We hope our book will be valuable for politicians and political parties; officials of governments, non-governmental organizations, social movements and international institutions; journalists; scholars and students; and all who want to understand, conduct or support successful transitions to democracy. We are grateful to International IDEA’s current Secretary-General Yves Leterme for helping to ensure that the book will be widely available, published in Arabic, French, Spanish, Dutch and possibly in Burmese and other languages. We invite readers to follow in our footsteps and learn from these remarkable leaders.

Sergio Bitar is a Chilean political leader and public intellectual. He served as minister in the governments of Salvador Allende, Ricardo Lagos, and Michelle Bachelet. He was also a senator and served as the president of the Party for Democracy. He is the president of Chile’s Foundation for Democracy and the director of the Project on Global Trends and Latin America’s Future at the Inter-American Dialogue.  Abraham F. Lowenthal, a widely-published scholar, is professor emeritus of international relations at the University of Southern California, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an adjunct professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute. He was the founding director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

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Democracy in Decline?

Guest post by Condoleezza Rice

To celebrate the recent publication of Democracy in Decline?, edited by the Journal of Democracy’s Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, we are pleased to offer this excerpt from the book’s Foreword by Condoleezza Rice. Don’t miss this collection of essays by eight of the world’s leading public intellectuals and scholars of democracy—Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Philippe C. Schmitter, Steven Levitsky, Lucan Way, Thomas Carothers, and editors Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner.

diamond15For the past quarter-century, the Journal of Democracy has helped the world to understand the controlled chaos that is democracy. Like the many scholars who have written for the Journal, I care deeply about the fate of this system of governance that protects liberty and have studied its ups and downs.

In more recent years, as secretary of state, I found myself defending the proposition that all people should live in freedom and that US policies should reflect that belief. It was not difficult to get agreement to the principle. Yes, it was best if human beings could say what they thought, worship as they pleased, be free from the arbitrary power of the state, and have a say in who would govern them. After all, who would argue that some people should be condemned to live in tyranny?

Yet if one scratched the surface, there was rampant skepticism that democracy is right everywhere, at all times, and for all peoples. One was reminded that cultural explanations once branded Africans as too tribal, Asians too Confucian, and Latin Americans too drawn to caudillos to create stable democracies. Those arguments now belong to the past, but a hint of them hangs over the discussion of the events in the Middle East. The Arab Spring has led to disappointment, and democracy seems overmatched by sectarianism, state collapse, and a palpable nostalgia for a more orderly, if authoritarian, time.

But it is undeniable that democracy retains its power to appeal to those who do not yet enjoy its benefits. People are willing to face persecution and imprisonment, exile, and even death just for a chance to live a life in liberty, even in the chaotic Middle East.

 * * * * *

So what should democracy advocates do? Since its first issue, the Journal has provided insights on this question for students, scholars, and policymakers alike. The essays in this volume will advance and challenge your thoughts about the prospects of democracy today. We are reminded that those who believe in the enterprise must find a better way to assist in building state-capacity. We are challenged to find ways to use foreign aid to support efficiency and transparency of young governments. We are cautioned not to think that the long arc of history will inevitably favor freedom.

We can certainly do better in supporting new democratic states and helping them to govern more effectively. But most likely, we will also need to find an abundance of patience. It is not easy for people who have just seized their rights to write rules of the political game that are fair and transparent. It is not easy for majorities to use their newly won freedoms to advocate for the rights of minorities. It is not easy for traditional patriarchal societies to accept the idea that the protection of individual rights must be gender neutral. And it is not easy for people to put aside painful, and often violent, societal divides and learn to trust impartial institutions and the rule of law to resolve differences.

Still, count me as optimistic about democracy’s future. Alternatives might earn some temporary legitimacy by providing efficient governance in the short run. But eventually there will be challenges and problems and popular pressure for a different course: That is the authoritarian’s nightmare, because—unlike in democracies—there is no peaceful way for the people to change the government.

We must also maintain historical perspective, recognizing the remarkable geographic reach of democracy’s march over the past decades. Chile and Colombia, Senegal and Ghana, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia have given an answer to those who thought that democracy could take root only where Europe’s Enlightenment had prepared the ground.

And Americans, of all people, should be patient. The odds were surely long that the descendants of slaves would win their rights through appeal to the US Constitution that once counted their ancestors as three-fifths of a man. That is a recent development, of course. We have just celebrated fifty years since Selma and the Voting Rights Act, marking the United States’ second democratic transition.

So, while those of us who are lucky enough to live in freedom have the right to question its promise, we should not forget that people who do not yet enjoy its benefits still seem determined to win it. That is the greatest reason for optimism that democracy is not permanently in decline. And it is a call to redouble our commitment to the proposition that no one should live in tyranny—even if the road ahead is hard and long.

Condoleezza Rice served as the 66th United States Secretary of State.

Use promo code HDPD to receive a 30% discount when you order your copy of Democracy in Decline? on our website or by calling 800-537-5487.

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Filed under American History, American Studies, Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, Journals, Politics

The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations: time to go for the gold

Guest post by William Krist

On Tuesday, July 28, trade ministers from 12 countries will begin a four- to seven-day meeting in Hawaii to try to wrap up negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If successful, the TPP would create a free trade area between the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Chile, and Peru. In addition to eliminating tariffs on trade among the 12 nations, the agreement will cover a host of issues including removing barriers to trade in services, opening up investment, and setting rules for a number of areas such as intellectual property protection and state-owned enterprises.

While the negotiations undoubtedly won’t be fully completed at this meeting, most observers expect substantial progress. After more than six years of negotiations, most issues have been resolved. Now there are only a few instances where trade ministers will have to make the final difficult decisions on trade-offs. Successfully concluding these negotiations is a top priority for President Obama, who sees this as an important part of his legacy.

The agreement will need to be approved by Congress. To lay the ground for this, President Obama signed a bill on June 29 that requires Congress to vote up or down on the trade agreement, without the possibility of amendment, promptly after the President submits it to Congress. Even with these expedited procedures, however, the agreement will be controversial. Congress will be reluctant to take this issue up close to the 2016 elections, when all Congressmen and a third of the Senators are up for election. Accordingly, the negotiators will pull out all stops to wrap up the negotiations before the end of this year.

Our trade partners will all have to make difficult decisions. Malaysia and Vietnam will have to agree to substantially improve labor standards, Japan will have to improve access to its politically sensitive rice and automobile markets, and Canada will have to open its dairy market. And our trade partners will be demanding better access to the U.S. textile and apparel, sugar, and dairy markets, among other concessions.

U.S. negotiators often tout our recent agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Peru as “the gold standard” of trade agreements. Unfortunately, this isn’t really correct. These agreements, and all our current agreements, have some important flaws and omissions. The TPP, however, presents our negotiators with the opportunity to go for the gold, to make the TPP a real gold standard for twenty-first century trade agreements. Three areas in particular need to be dealt with in the right way.

First is the provision that allows a foreign investor to take a government to binding arbitration if it believes there has been an expropriation of its investment. Multinational firms in the U.S. and around the globe have pushed for this provisions in almost all trade agreements because many countries, including some participating in the TPP, do not have a robust domestic legal system that would allow redress in the event of an expropriation. However, these provisions, known as “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” have been too loose, and some companies have used them to subvert the ability of governments to take reasonable measures to protect health, safety, and the environment. Australia is particularly upset with a suit brought by Philip Morris to gain substantial compensation for alleged expropriation because Australia passed a law requiring cigarettes to be packaged in a plain wrapper.

Negotiators can fix the ISDS provisions to prevent future abuse by providing for an appellate body to review decisions by arbitrators and by including language to make it crystal clear that governments can take measures to protect public health and safety. While the U.S. has reportedly been resisting these changes, a number of our partners in the TPP have been pushing for them. Accepting such changes would lessen opposition to the negotiations from a number of non-government organizations in the U.S.

Secondly, rules reportedly under consideration on intellectual property protection could also jeopardize any claim for the TPP agreement to be a “gold standard.” The U.S. is reportedly pushing for protection of intellectual property for pharmaceuticals that go substantially beyond World Trade Organization rules and current practice. Protecting intellectual property through patents and trademarks is important to encourage innovation. Too long a term of protection, however, doesn’t encourage additional innovation and greatly increases consumer costs.

Some House Democrats who supported the recent trade negotiation legislation are writing the President to urge him not to agree to rules that would increase the cost of medicine for our developing country TPP partners. More fundamentally, however, the President needs to ensure that the rules correctly balance the need to incentivize innovation and the development of new drugs with the cost to U.S. consumers and our health programs, including Medicare.

The third element is an omission in current trade rules. Our trade agreements and the rules in both the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund do not effectively address one of the most egregious of all trade distortions: currency manipulation. Countries such as China and Japan have sometimes deliberately undervalued their currency to gain a competitive trade advantage, since an undervalued currency acts as a subsidy for exports and a tariff on imports. TPP rules should prohibit this practice.

Making the TPP a real gold standard is critical. All of the participants in the TPP hope that in the future other countries such as China and Korea will join the agreement. Accordingly, this is the time for the negotiators to get the rules right. This is the time to go for the gold.

kristWilliam Krist is a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of Globalization and America’s Trade Agreements. During his career he was an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, a legislative assistant for both a congressman and a senator, and an advocate for the high-tech industry. 



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Broader geopolitical implications of Iranian nuclear accord

Guest post by Mark N. Katz

This post by JHU Press author Mark Katz first appeared on LobeLog, a site devoted to U.S. foreign policy issues.

Now that an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has been reached, attention is turning to how it will affect Israel and the Gulf Arabs. The accord, though, also has implications for the broader geopolitical competition between Russia and China on the one hand and America and their neighbors on the other.

Many in Asia look fearfully at what they see as not just an increasingly powerful but also an increasingly assertive China. The Obama administration’s “pivot toward Asia” is focused on just this concern as well.

Katz Iran imageRussia’s annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, numerous military aircraft intrusions over several European countries, and other aggressive actions have raised American and European fears about Putin’s intentions. Further, the fact that Moscow and Beijing are increasingly cooperating with each other is also a cause for concern in America, Europe, and Asia.

With tensions rising between America and its allies on the one hand and Russia and China on the other, it is especially remarkable that Russia and China have worked so cooperatively with America, Britain, France, and Germany to reach a nuclear accord with Iran. What explains this?

Reasons for Cooperation

Many observers have pointed out that despite their differences, the P5+1 governments (America, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia) all have a common interest in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet neither Moscow nor Beijing ever seemed as fearful as America and Europe, much less Israel and the Gulf Arab states, about the prospect of a nuclear Iran. “A pro-American Iran is more dangerous for us than a nuclear Iran” is a view that I have heard frequently expressed in Moscow. Russia and China would quickly accommodate a nuclear Iran even if (indeed, perhaps especially if) America and its allies did not.

Other factors, then, must have motivated Beijing and Moscow to cooperate with the West in achieving an Iranian nuclear accord. China’s economic calculation, for instance, seems fairly straightforward. China needs petroleum. Iran has lots of it. China thus sought an accord that would lift international restrictions on its petroleum purchases from Iran. Beijing could, of course, have simply ignored these restrictions, but this would have complicated its extensive economic ties with the West. China is better off with a Western-approved accord that allows it to buy Iranian petroleum without damaging its trade with the West.

For Russia, the economic calculation is not so straightforward. Unlike China, Russia is a petroleum exporter and so competes with Iran in this realm. Russia has benefited from international sanctions keeping Iranian petroleum off the world market. Especially after suffering both from Western sanctions and from the overall petroleum price decline recently, Moscow cannot be pleased that the announcement of an Iranian nuclear accord led to an immediate drop in the price of oil. Still, the end of economic sanctions against Iran opens other economic opportunities for Moscow, including the prospect of Russian investment in the reviving Iranian petroleum sector as well as increased exports of Russian arms and other goods to Tehran.

Whatever their economic motivations (or lack thereof), Moscow and Beijing also have important political reasons to support the accord. Since Rouhani became president of Iran in 2013, Tehran itself has sought both a nuclear accord and improved ties with the West. So long as the Iranian government wants such ties, then for Moscow (which has less to gain from the end of international sanctions on Iran than Beijing) to try to oppose the agreement would risk damaging Russia’s own relations with Tehran. In the worst case (from the Russian point of view), attempting to block an Iranian nuclear accord may have led Tehran and the West to simply ignore Moscow and work out an agreement on their own, thus hurting Putin’s efforts to build the image of Russia as a great power. For both Russia and China, it was far better to support Iran’s efforts to get a deal with an America with which they are both at odds than to risk damaging their ties to Iran by attempting to thwart Tehran on this.

The Geopolitics of the Accord

Relations between America and its European and/or Asian allies on the one hand and either Russia, China, or both on the other may further deteriorate. This possibility provides a strong incentive to improve relations with Iran. Each side would prefer Iran to ally with it against the other, and at minimum wants to prevent Iran from siding with the other against it. Although Tehran is not likely to actively ally with Washington against either Moscow or Beijing any time soon, American interests would be well served at a time of increased tensions with Russia and China if Iran does not ally with either or both of them against the U.S.

Moscow in particular is fearful that the Iranian nuclear agreement will lead to a broader Iranian-American rapprochement that it does not see as being in Russia’s interests. As noted earlier, so long as Tehran and Washington both want to improve their ties, Moscow really cannot stop them from doing so. Moscow, though, can take heart that there is plenty of opportunity for Iranian-American relations to sour without Russia doing anything. Conservative forces in both the U.S. and Iran have already announced their strident opposition to the agreement. America’s Middle East allies—Israel and the Gulf Arabs—also oppose the agreement and have considerable ability to rally opposition against it inside the U.S.

If, for whatever reason, the nuclear accord is not implemented and Iranian-American relations sour, Moscow and Beijing can both be expected to pounce on the opportunity this will present. Both will join Tehran in blaming Washington as being responsible for the breakdown of the agreement. American efforts to restore sanctions against Iran might not only drive Tehran closer to Moscow and Beijing but might also alienate some of America’s allies more concerned with improving economic ties to Tehran than with the possibility of an Iranian nuclear threat. In the worst case, growing hostility between Iran and the U.S. at a time when tensions with Russia and/or China are also growing could result in Iran becoming their informal or even formal ally. This would neither be in the interests of America nor of America’s Middle East allies, who genuinely fear Iran.

The opponents of the Iranian nuclear accord claim that it involves too many risks and not enough benefits. But at a time when increased geopolitical competition with Russia and China looms, it is the failure of the Iranian nuclear accord that would incur serious risks while providing no benefits to the U.S.

katzMark N. Katz is a professor of government and politics at George Mason University. He is the author of Leaving without Losing: The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan, published by JHU Press.

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Filed under Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East, Politics

Fall books preview: politics, behavior, & public health

Fall 2015 very largeWe’re excited about the books we’ll be publishing this fall—and pleased to share this series of “Fall Books Preview” blog posts! Be sure to check out the online edition of JHUP’s entire Fall 2015 catalog, and remember that promo code “HDPD” gets you a 30% discount on pre-pub orders. Today we continue with a selection of our forthcoming books in politics, behavior, and public health:

formisano15Plutocracy in America: How Increasing Inequality Destroys the Middle Class and Exploits the Poor
Ronald P. Formisano

Ronald P. Formisano surveys the widening circle of inequality’s effects, the exploitation of the poor and the middle class, and the new ways that predators take money out of Americans’ pockets while passive federal and state governments stand by. This data-driven book offers insight into the fallacy of widespread opportunity, the fate of the middle class, and the mechanisms that perpetuate income disparity.

“An accessible overview of recent trends in economic inequality. Formisano has a gift for presenting abstract information in compelling, even gripping, terms.”—Angus Burgin, Johns Hopkins University, author of The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression

Available in September

perryKiller Apes, Naked Apes, and Just Plain Nasty People: The Misuse and Abuse of Science in Political Discourse
Richard J. Perry

We like to think that science always illuminates. But the disturbing persistence of the concept of biological determinism—the false idea that human behavior is genetically fixed or inherently programmed and therefore is not susceptible to rapid change—shows that scientific research and concepts can be distorted to advance an inhumane and sometimes deadly political agenda. Anthropologist Richard J. Perry delivers a scathing critique of determinism. Exploring the historical context and enduring popularity of the movement over the past century and a half, he debunks the facile and the reductionist thinking of so many popularizers of biological determinism while considering why biological explanations have resonated in ways that serve to justify deeply conservative points of view.

“I read Richard Perry’s thought-provoking book in a single sitting. Written in a lively, engaging style, the book takes evolutionary psychology to task in a perceptive and penetrating fashion.”—Paul Farber, Oregon State University, author of Mixing Races: From Scientific Racism to Modern Evolutionary Ideas

Available in September

barrIntroduction to Biosocial Medicine: The Social, Psychological, and Biological Determinants of Human Behavior and Well-Being
Donald A. Barr, MD, PhD

While 40 percent of premature deaths in the United States can be attributed to such dangerous behaviors as smoking, overeating, inactivity, and drug or alcohol use, medical education has generally failed to address how these behaviors are influenced by social forces. This new textbook from Dr. Donald A. Barr was designed in response to the growing recognition that physicians need to understand the biosocial sciences behind human behavior in order to be effective practitioners. Introduction to Biosocial Medicine explains the determinants of human behavior and the overwhelming impact of behavior on health.

“A compelling, clearly written, and original review of how social factors influence well-being, this timely and accessible book will greatly benefit students who intend to pursue further study in medicine.”—Mark J. Graham, Yale School of Medicine

 Available in January 2016

diamond15Democracy in Decline?
edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. essays by Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Larry Diamond, Thomas Carothers, Marc F. Plattner, Philippe C. Schmitter, Steven Levitsky, and Lucan Way
foreword by Condoleezza Rice

For almost a decade, Freedom House’s annual survey has highlighted a decline in democracy in most regions of the globe. While some analysts draw upon this evidence to argue that the world has entered a “democratic recession,” others dispute that interpretation, emphasizing instead democracy’s success in maintaining the huge gains it made during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Discussion of this question has moved beyond disputes about how many countries should be classified as democratic to embrace a host of wider concerns about the health of democracy: the poor economic and political performance of advanced democracies, the new self-confidence and assertiveness of a number of leading authoritarian countries, and a geopolitical weakening of democracies relative to these resurgent authoritarians.

Available in October

wuForging Trust Communities: How Technology Changes Politics
Irene S. Wu

Irene S. Wu’s Forging Trust Communities argues that the Internet, and the technologies that predate it, catalyze political change by creating new opportunities for cooperation. The Internet does not simply enable faster and easier communication, but makes it possible for people around the world to interact closely, reciprocate favors, and build trust. The information and ideas exchanged by members of these cooperative communities become key sources of political power akin to military might and economic strength.

“Accessible and engaging, Wu’s book merges the practical with the scholarly to embed the current, Internet-led information revolution’s effects on collective action and governance within a historical perspective, weaving together a wealth of diverse and expansive cases.”—Catie Snow Bailard, George Washington University, author of Democracy’s Double-Edged Sword: How Internet Use Changes Citizens’ Views of Their Government

Available in July

reshRethinking the Administrative Presidency: Trust, Intellectual Capital, and Appointee-Careerist Relations in the George W. Bush Administration
William G. Resh

Why do presidents face so many seemingly avoidable bureaucratic conflicts? And why do these clashes usually intensify toward the end of presidential administrations, when a commander-in-chief’s administrative goals tend to be more explicit and better aligned with their appointed leadership’s prerogatives? In Rethinking the Administrative Presidency, William G. Resh considers these complicated questions from an empirical perspective.

“In this theoretically and empirically sophisticated book, Bill Resh makes important contributions to our understanding of the role of political appointees in advancing presidential policy agendas. His analysis demonstrates that political appointees who approach the career services with distrust will find distrust mirrored back to them.”—James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University, author of The Managerial Presidency

Available in December

bitarDemocratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders
edited by Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal

National leaders who played key roles in transitions to democratic governance reveal how these were accomplished in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. Commissioned by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), these interviews shed fascinating light on how repressive regimes were ended and democracy took hold.

The book includes probing conversations with Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Patricio Aylwin, Ricardo Lagos, John Kufuor, Jerry Rawlings, B. J. Habibie, Ernesto Zedillo, Fidel V. Ramos, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, F. W. de Klerk, Thabo Mbeki, and Felipe González.

Available in September

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Meet us in San Juan: Latin American Studies Association

Look for our new books in Latin American Studies at the Scholars’ Choice booth at the XXXIII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from May 27 to 30.

Almeida_Mobilizing DemocracyMobilizing Democracy:
Globalization and Citizen Protest
by Paul Almeida

“By comparing local-level protests in countries of Central America during the time of neoliberal reforms, Almeida identifies some of the systematic connections between state structure, civil society organization, and patterns of protest. This is an excellent example of the use of comparative analysis to understand global processes.”— Jackie Smith, University of Pittsburgh

brinksReflections on Uneven Democracies:
The Legacy of Guillermo O’Donnell
edited by Daniel Brinks, Marcelo Leiras, and Scott Mainwaring

“This volume is a must-read for all who are concerned with development and Latin American political economy. It brings together two generations of leading international scholars who probe themes such as regime dynamics and stability, party politics and institutions, and the quality of democratic governance. The pieces build to a contribution that is reminiscent of O’Donnell himself: brilliant, quirky, important.”— Susan C. Stokes, Yale University

cuetoCold War, Deadly Fevers: Malaria Eradication in Mexico, 1955–1975
by Marcos Cueto

“As one might expect from a scholar of the standing of Marcos Cueto, this book is a richly documented work, presenting a solid argument and well-constructed ideas. It explores an interesting though neglected and at times misunderstood period in Mexican history, that of the Cold War.”—Bulletin of Latin American Research

darntonRivalry and Alliance Politics in Cold War Latin America
by Christopher Darnton

“Political scientists will appreciate Darnton’s well-aimed jibes at the major schools of international relations theory, and Latin America specialists will welcome his deft applications of cutting-edge theories to a region long underrepresented in political science scholarship.”—Foreign Affairs

dominguezMexico’s Evolving Democracy: A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections
edited by Jorge I. Domínguez, Kenneth F. Greene, Chappell H. Lawson, and Alejandro Moreno

“A structured and sophisticated conversation about the main changes and continuities, as well as the challenges and opportunities, that elections present to the country of Mexico. A scholarly tapestry.”—Francisco E. González, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

hinojosaLatino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture
by Felipe Hinojosa

“Hinojosa adeptly examines how African American civil rights struggles, relations with Latin Americans, and trends in evangelical religion shaped the faith and activism of U.S. Latino Mennonites. Latino Mennonites is both a superb narrative history and a model for the scholarly analysis of religion within its wider social context.”—Timothy Matovina, University of Notre Dame

lowenthalsketch1.inddScholars, Policymakers, and International Affairs: Finding Common Cause
edited by Abraham F. Lowenthal and Mariano E. Bertucci

“With honorable exceptions, those who conduct foreign policy and those who do research on international relations rarely learn from each other. This meaty and well-crafted book offers innovative suggestions, based on the experiences of scholars with strong policy interests and officials with keen analytic skills, to strengthen both practice and theory by building more fruitful connections between academia and the policy world.”—Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Former U.S. National Security Advisor

lunaThe Resilience of the Latin American Right
edited by Juan Pablo Luna and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

“Latin America specialists love studying the left, but neglect the right—although the right often plays an important political role. By offering the most well-researched, comprehensive, and interesting analysis of rightwing forces, movements, and parties in many years, Luna and Rovira Kaltwasser’s collection takes a major step toward filling this striking gap in the literature. Highly recommended!”—Kurt Weyland, University of Texas at Austin

SchwellerMaxwell’s Demon and the Golden Apple: Global Discord in the New Millennium
by Randall L. Schweller

“This is the most original and thought-provoking forecast of future world politics to be published in recent years.”—Foreign Affairs

“Schweller is one of the brightest international relations scholars of his generation, and his insights are genuinely controversial. Maxwell’s Demon and the Golden Apple is a must-read text.”—Daniel Drezner, Tufts University



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Filed under Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, History, Latin American Studies, Politics

Taps for the Good War Myth?

Guest post by Michael C. C. Adams

On May 8, seventy years ago, the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Germany (Victory in Europe or VE Day), followed on September 2 by the surrender of our Pacific opponent (Victory over Japan or VJ Day). As we once again ring down the curtain on our commemoration of World War II, it is worth asking whether the Good War myth, spawned by the conflict, is now in eclipse?

The total victories in WWII were an enormous accomplishment, due in good measure to U.S. contributions in manpower, industrial production, and financial strength. There was much to be proud of. America was the only nation to emerge from the war more prosperous and powerful at a relatively modest cost. But, over time, this achievement was magnified into “The Good War.” From the 1960s on, America’s economic world dominance declined and military victories were harder to achieve, with stalemate in Korea and failure in Vietnam. Domestically, there were major challenges to race and gender discrimination. Many Americans, particularly adult white males, reacted by turning to the 1940s as a golden age. Back then, they said, Americans were united, without ethnic or sexual divides, and everyone knew what they fought for and put shoulders to the wheel. The boys were happy warriors.

Combat in WWII was traumatizing.  Romanticizing it misled those who engineered the conventional wars of the 21st century.

“The Anguish of Combat,” drawing by Howard Brodie. Combat in WWII was traumatizing. Romanticizing it misled those who engineered the conventional wars of the 21st century.

None of this was fully accurate. The myth crested in the 1990s when prominent military historian Stephen E. Ambrose wrote that America saved the world for democracy, and argued that D-Day was the key battle. Ambrose at times implied that the U.S. virtually alone forged victory. He wrote sentimentally of the white male rifle squad of WWII as a band of brothers. TV journalist Tom Brokaw felt inspired to conclude that WWII Americans were the greatest generation in human history, a gross simplification of history’s complex patterns. After 9/11, Brokaw predicted that the grandchildren of WWII Americans would be another greatest generation.

This did not happen, and we now hear less about the mythic picture of WWII. Is this important? Absolutely. How we understand the past profoundly molds the ways in which we approach the present and plan for the future. History impacts real world events. Take the Munich analogy. According to mythologizers, at this 1938 summit meeting, Britain and France missed a clear opportunity to stop Hitler’s aggression, leading to the conclusion that we can never “appease” opponents, but must meet all disagreement with force. This distortion of Munich reverses traditional foreign policy, putting war ahead of diplomacy. George W. Bush and Tony Blair used the Munich analogy to justify attacking Iraq before the UN weapons inspectors had finished work. Precipitate demands for strikes on Iran instead of negotiation embrace the same rationale.

In the unique economic circumstances of WWII, U.S. government spending jump-started under-utilized industrial capacity to create unprecedented prosperity. This led to a popular belief that wars invariably boost the economy. Actually, the reverse may be true: massive military spending detracts from other public needs, such as the need for new roads and bridges or better schools and libraries. We cannot simply wish upon a war to solve our economic dilemmas.

Obsession with duplicating the WWII experience led to misreading 9/11 and therefore to inappropriate conventional military responses that cost billions in treasure and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed or driven from their homes, along with thousands of our troops dead or wounded physically and mentally. Top officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, compared 9/11 to Pearl Harbor. But the events shared only one element in common: serious intelligence failures resulted in “surprise” attacks. The differences were crucial. Pearl Harbor was attacked by the official forces of Imperial Japan. Our enemy was clear and could be fought to conventional unconditional. 9/11 was perpetrated by outlaws mainly originating from our ally, Saudi Arabia. They had no national allegiance or conventional military structure. To destroy al-Qaeda, leading military historian Michael Howard urged an international police action, economical in lives and treasure, with a decent chance of succeeding.

Instead, we launched a conventional war on Afghanistan to deploy our mighty arsenal and allow a vicarious return to The Big War. This strategy appeared to work temporarily but bogged down into America’s longest war when resistance morphed into insurgency. The Taliban and al-Qaeda were not destroyed but shifted operations into western Pakistan. The Bush administration then launched a second inappropriate conventional war, on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Rebutting nervous critics, Vice President Dick Cheney insisted our forces would be welcomed as liberators, replicating France in 1944. Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein was not a foreign occupier like the Nazis. Instead, we became the hated alien occupiers and Iraq remains a failing state.

Parallels to WWII largely fail. WWII was paid for in part by super taxes on the wealthy, and salaries were capped. In the War on Terror, we cut taxes for the rich, leaving a legacy of debt. WWII was fought through the Selective Service, which inducted millions. Our current military is volunteer and represents perhaps 1% of the population. Most young people do not wish to fight, not because they are selfish or cowardly but because they have not bought the rationales for endless war in their short lifetimes. And they know that the most privileged largely shelter their children from harm’s way.

Good War analogies are diminishing because they are irrelevant. Is it time to bury the myth?

adamsMichael C. C. Adams is the author of The Best War Ever: America and World War II, appearing this month in its second edition, and Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War, both published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Filed under American History, American Studies, Foreign Policy, Military, War and Conflict

Ebola and International Health Regulations

Guest post by Sara E. Davies

daviesThe worst Ebola outbreak in history began in Guinea in December 2013 before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone in March 2014, with sporadic cases of infection in Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. At least 10,000 people have now died from the disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that earlier intervention could have prevented the disease’s spread, leaving fewer than 5,000 people dead. Understandably, there is much debate about the performance of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Critics ask why, given Ebola’s high mortality rate and the fact the outbreak occurred in chronically poor countries with weak health systems and histories of unstable governance, the WHO did not raise the alarm earlier than it did. In March 2014, when the outbreak was in Guinea and there were reports the disease had spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, the WHO Director-General chose to not convene an emergency committee to determine whether the outbreak constituted a potential public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), as allowed by the International Health Regulations (IHR).

Since 1951, the International Health Regulations (originally named the International Sanitary Convention) had been the major international framework regulating the required response of WHO and its member states to specific disease outbreaks, specifically plague, cholera, yellow fever, and, until 1981, smallpox until 1981. The IHR were substantially revised in 2005 to strengthen the WHO’s ability to respond to epidemic-prone diseases, food-borne diseases, accidental and deliberate outbreaks, toxic chemical and nuclear accidents, and environmental disasters that “pose a threat to international public health security.” The revised IHR set reporting and verification timelines for outbreak events, permitted the WHO to receive outbreak reports from non-state “unofficial” sources, and provided for the human rights of infected people. The new IHRs shifted the focus of the WHO’s approach to infectious disease in three ways: from control at borders to containment at source; from a limited number of diseases to all public health threats; from preset measures to adapted responses. A key part of the framework is the decision of the WHO Director-General to refer an outbreak event to a specially convened IHR Emergency Committee to determine whether the outbreak event constitutes a PHEIC demanding a range of exceptional measures.

As the Ebola outbreak spread in March through June 2014, WHO officials were aware of the outbreak, knew which countries were affected, and were conscious of the problems associated with them. Yet no emergency committee was convened until early August, when the first case was reported in Nigeria. A PHEIC was declared by the IHR emergency committee on 8 August. The further spread of the virus to Senegal in early September, coupled with the dramatic rise of infections and deaths in Liberia and Sierra Leone, prompted the UN Security Council to issue a landmark resolution on 18 September establishing the UN Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER). Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the resolution signaled the “gravity and scale of the situation now requires a level of international action unprecedented for an emergency.”

Why was the WHO so slow to act? Some blame tensions between WHO headquarters in Geneva and its regional offices in West Africa. The WHO’s decentralized design certainly creates inefficiencies and divisions within the organization. But there is little direct evidence to suggest that these divisions caused the WHO’s slowness. There were other practicalities that would have hampered the response irrespective, even had the organization declared a PHEIC earlier. In particular, the WHO confronted a budget and staffing emergency, having lost a third of its budget to cuts in 2012–2013. Despite the PHEIC announcement in early August, donor funding did not escalate until after the Security Council resolution in September.

How, then, should the Ebola outbreak be viewed against the standards set by the IHR in 2005?

Our book, Disease Diplomacy: International Norms and Global Health Security, explores the IHR revisions and the WHO’s efforts to promote new behavioral standards for states in dealing with disease outbreaks. There are three main “take home” messages from the book that foretold the difficulties WHO and affected member states would face with an outbreak such as Ebola:

  • Whilst states accept their responsibilities to report and verify outbreaks, they do not always have the capacity to do this in a timely fashion. The delays that occurred in the Ebola case were largely attributable to the complexity of the task. The capacity to verify outbreaks quickly is beyond the scope, sometimes, of some developed countries. More attention, and resources, should be invested in the relationship between IHR compliance and health system capacity building.
  • States agreed to establish an IHR capacity fund to assist states with this task. But this fund has still not been created and, unsurprisingly, many developing states are struggling to meet their core capacities as stipulated in the IHR.
  • Rather than focusing on WHO’s failures, attention should be paid to the failure of the states that have the capacity to implement the IHR to assist their counterparts who are struggling. Too many states were hesitant to provide or permit medical assistance and too eager to impose restrictions by limiting visas, prohibiting migration, and withdrawing field personnel (i.e. troops withdrawn from UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia) at precisely the time when these things were needed most.

The revised IHR was a technical and political achievement for WHO and member states. The lesson from Ebola is to return to the content of the instrument to evaluate how to better prepare states and the WHO for the next outbreak.

Sara E. Davies is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research. She is the program director of the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities Program at the University of Queensland’s Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. She is the coauthor with Adam Kamradt-Scott and Simon Rushton of Disease Diplomacy: International Norms and Global Health Security.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Health and Medicine, International Health, Public Health

Meet us in New Orleans: International Studies Association

If you are heading to the International Studies Association meeting in New Orleans from February 18 to 21, be sure to browse JHU Press books and journals at booth #414. Press authors will be stopping by, and we’ll offer a 30% discount throughout the meeting (and afterward using code HEZQ). We are also pleased to offer a special on-site ISA 2015 promotion for Scholars, Policymakers, and International Affairs. Read more about the conference on the ISA annual meeting website, and check out these new and forthcoming books from JHUP:

Special ISA 2015 offer for Scholars, Policymakers, and International Affairs, edited by Abraham F. Lowenthal and Mariano E. Bertucci: $20 including tax (0n site only, while supplies last)

lowenthalsketch1.indd“This meaty and well-crafted book offers innovative suggestions, based on the experiences of scholars with strong policy interests and officials with keen analytic skills, to strengthen both practice and theory by building more fruitful connections between academia and the policy world.” —Gen. Brent Scowcroft, former U.S. National Security Advisor

“Most foreign policy practitioners in the United States and elsewhere seem to avoid contact with academic theory, and scholars generally reciprocate; indeed this gap has widened in recent years. Lowenthal and Bertucci are right to argue that this gap can and should be bridged, to benefit both theory and practice. This book provides thoughtful, practical and timely suggestions for doing so.” —Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University, author of The Future of Power

“Lucid and engaging, this book seeks out voices from well-known academics and policymakers, along with experts whose work regularly bridges the gap between the worlds of international affairs and serious scholarship.”—Steve Reifenberg, Kellogg  Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame

“This timely volume is a ladder thrown across the yawning gap between academe and the policy world. It is packed with helpful, firsthand advice for those who might wish to cross over from those on both sides who have successfully made the journey.” —Jessica Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 New and recent:

The Resilience of the Latin American Right, edited by Juan Pablo Luna and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
Mobilizing Democracy: Globalization and Citizen Protest, by Paul Almeida

New and recent:

Disease Diplomacy: International Norms and Global Health Security, by Sara E. Davies, Adam Kamradt-Scott, and Simon Rushton
Defect or Defend: Military Responses to Popular Protests in Authoritarian Asia, by Terence Lee
Thinking beyond Boundaries: Transnational Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy, edited by Hugh Liebert, John Griswold, and Isaiah Wilson III





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Filed under Conferences, Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, Latin American Studies, Politics, Public Health