Why Sanctions Failed to Roll Back Putin: Incongruity among Sanctioning Parties

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 8, August 2015.

By Olena Lennon and Alexander V. Laskin

A woman walks past a shop window with a T-shirt on display reading, 'I Believe in the Ruble', in downtown Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. The ruble has been the worst performing currency this year along with the Ukrainian hryvnia, having lost half of its value. Its collapse in the past weeks sparked a consumer boom as worried Russians flocked to the shops to buy cars and durable goods before prices rose further. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

A woman walks past a shop window with a T-shirt on display reading, ‘I Believe in the Ruble’, in downtown Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. The ruble has been the worst performing currency this year along with the Ukrainian hryvnia, having lost half of its value. Its collapse in the past weeks sparked a consumer boom as worried Russians flocked to the shops to buy cars and durable goods before prices rose further. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Recent sanctions against Russia following its military incursion in Ukraine have not been effective in their short-term goal (Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine) and long-term goal (change of Russia’s regime). By applying Lektzian and Patterson’s theory of winners and losers of sanctions to the Russian case, we argue that the sanctions have not been effective for three reasons: the cost of sanctions is lower than the cost of conceding, the economic costs associated with sanctions are felt disproportionately across groups, and increased restrictions to international commerce have fueled nationalism and empowered Russia’s authoritarian regime. Our analysis of anti-Russian sanctions also points to a gap in Lektzian and Patterson’s theory, which differentiates between the varying types of countries subjected to sanctions, but overlooks the multiplicity of political agendas among sanctioning parties. The case of sanctions against Russia demonstrates a lack of unity and prevalence of conflicting agendas among the sanctioning parties, such as the E.U. countries, the United States, and Canada. Therefore, to better understand the mechanism of sanctions and predict their success or failure, we recommend further categorizing sanctioning countries based on their involvement with the target country in terms of trade, joint research projects, and political alliances. This differentiation will allow us to examine the interaction between the varying types of sanctioning countries and target countries to determine which combinations are likely to bring the desired outcome.

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The Challenge of Militant Islam

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 8, August 2015.

By Ambassador Curtin Winsor, Jr. Ph.D.

We have a vital stake in a civilizational war,
(that is) inside someone else’s civilization.” -James Taub[i]

Kurdish people, living in Manchester (UK), protesting against the Turkish government for their lack of action against ISIS (also known as IS or ISIL) in the Syrian border town of Kobane. (Photo by Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Kurdish people, living in Manchester (UK), protesting against the Turkish government for their lack of action against ISIS (also known as IS or ISIL) in the Syrian border town of Kobane. (Photo by Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Islam, as a religious culture, is used to sanction war and terrorism by the Prophet Muhammad as he united the tribes of Arabia.  Islamic civilization evolved to support the world’s most advanced centers of learning and science during the eight centuries following the end of the Roman Empire and through the medieval period in Europe.[i]  Islam became a great culture and then it devolved, most recently, into the confusion and chaos of today’s Middle East. It is being manipulated by militant Islamists to sanctify the uses of violence and terrorism by an Islamic state. The outcome of this conflict will play an important role in the future of the United States and its relationship with the Middle East.

Militant Islamists and their new Islamic State are presently using tactics of terror against Sunni Muslim peoples in the Middle East to force them to abandon secular aspects of their cultures and return to a totalitarian religious culture. Although this pivotal struggle is now taking place within someone else’s civilization, if the militant Islamists prevail in the Middle East, the struggle will become part of the United States’ struggle.  The United States and the West will constantly be challenged by a ceaselessly aggressive and totalitarian religious culture. Such a threat to Western civilization would at least rival the West’s 20th century struggles with the Nazis and Communists.

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What the Chinese Education Minister is Really Trying to Say

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 7, July 2015.

By Grace Zhang

Cartoon by Kiko Hernandez  kartoonista.com http://thekartoonista.blogspot.com/?m=1

Illustration by Kiko Hernandez
kartoonista.com

China’s education minister Yuan Guiren gave a speech in Beijing in January 2015 about banning the use of Western textbooks in classrooms that has stirred up a lot of controversy.[i] Guiren believes there should be minimal use of Western textbooks in higher education in China. His intention in doing this is to block Western values from entering the classroom, which will reduce criticism of Communist Party leadership among students.

To someone from the West, this may seem extreme and difficult to understand because it’s so far from the ideals that Western countries hold, but there are cultural differences to be taken into consideration. I believe that Guiren isn’t saying these things to stir up controversy or hinder the education of his people, but instead he is advocating for Chinese national interest.

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Clash of Titans: India’s ‘Act East’ Policy Meets China’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’ in the South China Sea

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 6, June 2015.

By Gordon G. Chang

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) - 11 May 2015 Littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, to resupply May 13 after a weeklong routine patrol in international waters and airspace of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands. While Fort Worth has transited the South China Sea many times, this patrol marks the first time an LCS has operated in international waters near the Spratlys.  (Rex Features via AP Images)

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3)
Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) – 11 May 2015
Littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, to resupply May 13 after a weeklong routine patrol in international waters and airspace of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands.
While Fort Worth has transited the South China Sea many times, this patrol marks the first time an LCS has operated in international waters near the Spratlys.
(Rex Features via AP Images)

As Beijing seeks to exert influence westward, into the Indian Ocean, New Delhi is looking east, into the South China Sea.

The two powers, acting on each other’s periphery, can reach compromises and cooperate in many areas, but on some points resolution of differences will be difficult.  China, from all appearances, is trying to exclude the vessels and aircraft of other nations from most of the South China Sea, and India insists on freedom of navigation.

Their clashing maritime initiatives suggest ties between the two giants will remain troubled.  Chinese President Xi Jinping likes to use the phrase “win-win,” but the South China Sea looks for China and India to now be a zero-sum contest.

For decades, the two nations had almost no interaction in international water.  India had announced a “Look East” policy in 1991, but its outreach was limited, more aspiration than core policy.[i]  Moreover, there was no element of competition with China for control of sea lanes.  The phrase “South China Sea” rarely passed the lips of Indian diplomats or security analysts, and the Indian navy did not venture far from its ports.  China’s fleet, for its part, stayed in coastal waters, the Indian Ocean being well beyond its capabilities.

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What It Takes to Resolve the South China Sea Dispute

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 6, June 2015.

By Priscilla A. Tacujan, Ph.D

Supplied photo taken April 12, 2015 shows Subi Reef in the South China Sea, where China has continued reclamation work to build an airstrip. China is asserting sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in whole or in part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. (Photo by the Philippine military)(Kyodo)

This photo taken April 12, 2015 shows Subi Reef in the South China Sea, where China has continued reclamation work to build an airstrip. China is asserting sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in whole or in part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. (Photo by the Philippine military)(Kyodo)

By now, it should be clear to everyone that China is not giving up its maritime claims in the South China Sea.  Despite pending international court decisions and worldwide condemnations, China has aggressively reclaimed about 2,000 acres of land in the South China Sea — proof of its intent to stay, defend, and protect 90% of the sea that it claims it owns.  Indeed, when State Secretary John Kerry asked China to halt its reclamation activities during his visit to Beijing last week, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s response was as revealing as it was firm: China’s determination “to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the South China Sea is as firm as a rock, and it is unshakable.”[i]

According to the Pentagon’s Annual Report to Congress (2015) on China’s growing military presence on the high seas, China has started infrastructure projects on four reclamation sites that “could include harbors, communications and surveillance systems, logistics support, and at least one airfield,” prompting most analysts to believe that Beijing is attempting “to change facts on the ground.”  In his remarks during a US-Japan relations conference held in Washington DC last month, Admiral Dennis Blair, Chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (USA), described China’s current “gray zone strategy” as “an administrative, civilian and sub-military strategy” that is intended to create a new territorial jurisdiction, hence, de facto control, over the South China Sea.[ii]  With this strategy, China would be able to create “a defensive sea barrier extending hundreds of miles from China’s coast to what it calls ‘the first island chain.”[iii]

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Turkey’s June 7 General Election and the Risk of an Increase in Violence in Turkey’s Kurdish Regions

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2015.

By George Dyson

Supporters of Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) wait for him to arrive to deliver a speech during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Turkey will hold general election on June 7, 2015. Although it is a relatively small party, all eyes will be on HDP. If it reaches the minimum 10 percent threshold required for entering parliament as a party, it could effectively thwart Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambition to lead a presidential system following a constitutional change. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Supporters of Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) wait for him to arrive to deliver a speech during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Turkey will hold general election on June 7, 2015. Although it is a relatively small party, all eyes will be on HDP. If it reaches the minimum 10 percent threshold required for entering parliament as a party, it could effectively thwart Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambition to lead a presidential system following a constitutional change. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Single digit differences in the percentage of votes attained by parties in Turkey’s upcoming general election could lead to radically different outcomes, all of which hold consequences for the health of the ongoing peace process (the “resolution process”) between the Turkish state and Kurdish armed groups in the country’s restive south east. If political groups close to the Kurdish movements find themselves frustrated at the ballot box, unable to cross Turkey’s high threshold that keeps smaller parties out of the mainstream, there is a chance of an increase in violence, even moves towards secession. Similarly, the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party), if it does not do sufficiently well at the next elections, may find it hard to push through with the resolution process. However, there are other potential outcomes that would not degrade the resolution process. Turkey’s south east regions with large Kurdish populations hold great economic potential, with hydrocarbon reserves, a mobile population and proximity to an opening Iran and a flourishing Northern Iraq. A collapse of the resolution process and an increase in the conflict could seriously prejudice this potential and lead to greater instability across Turkey. Continued cooperation could help bring greater stability to the wider region.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, is seeking to change the constitution to endow the presidential position with more powers, despite apparent divisions within his party over the issue. While, as president, Erdoğan is technically no longer a member of his party and is not running in the coming election, he is campaigning feverishly against the opposition. His party, the incumbent AKP, has been in power now for three terms and has seen its share of the vote rise and fall. But, while always maintaining enough seats to form a government, it has seen its number of seats consistently fall. Current polls suggest AKP will not have the backing it needs to change the constitution. Many polls suggest that the AKP share of the vote may fall by at least 5-6% (compared to its 2011 election result, where AKP took 49.8% of the vote) at the coming elections, but that they will still be the largest party. However, if they lose much more than this, they may even be unable to form a government.

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The West and its Arab Allies Must Militarily Engage ISIL

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2015.

By Mark Nader

FILE - In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The IS declaration of a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria inspired a stream of thousands of foreign fighters to join it and earned it pledges of allegiance by individual militants around the region. (AP Photo, File)

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group’s flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The IS declaration of a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria inspired a stream of thousands of foreign fighters to join it and earned it pledges of allegiance by individual militants around the region. (AP Photo, File)

Since proclaiming itself a caliphate on 29 June 2014, militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have killed over 5,000 civilians in Iraq, while displacing hundreds of thousands more.[1] In Syria, ISIL has embedded itself in the country’s ongoing civil war, where the actions of the Islamic State have led to the deaths of more than 200,000 people[2] and the displacement of more than three million civilians.[3] Although ISIL began as a splinter group of al Qaeda, known as al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), it has since grown into a hybrid organization that is “part terrorist network, part guerilla army, and part proto-state,” within which terrorists with transnational ambitions have taken refuge.[4]

Militants of the Islamic State seek to eliminate the state system altogether and replace it with a global Islamic caliphate that is governed in accordance with Islamic law. The next few pages are devoted to answering the question: what are ISIL’s short, intermediate, and long-term objectives? Many leading foreign policy experts believe that the Islamic State represents an international security threat, however, the degree of this threat, and the strategy that is best to combat it is the subject of disagreement.[5] Next, I will discuss the consequences of failing to destroy ISIL, the contributing factors that led to the rise of this terrorist network, and policy recommendations by experts to combat this phenomenon. It is my position that in order to defeat ISIL we must destroy the organization altogether. This requires a strategy to strengthen the periphery states[6] surrounding ISIL in order to contain their militants and to prevent them from further expanding; a sustained air campaign designed to destroy key infrastructure targets and to disrupt ISIL’s logistical capabilities; and a comprehensive ground operation consisting of combat troops to root out all existing traces of the Islamic State.[7]

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Nine Scholars Offer Views on South China Sea Dispute

Recent satellite imagery from the  Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES) show that China is building an island on Fiery Cross Reef near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Recent satellite imagery from the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) show that China is building an island on Fiery Cross Reef near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2015.

By Anders Corr, Ph.D., and Matthew Michaelides

Today, 100 participants gathered at the Harvard Club of New York City for the Journal of Political Risk’s Conference on the South China Sea to discuss all aspects of the ongoing territorial dispute between China and the Southeast Asian states of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Papers given at the presentation will be among those compiled and released in a forthcoming book on the South China Sea dispute.

The event opened with a discussion of some of the recent actions taken by China in the South China Sea. Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia (Yale University Press, 2014), spoke on China’s recent island-building operations on several disputed reefs and islands in the South China Sea, including Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross Reef. Mr. Hayton noted that China acts as it does because it genuinely, albeit wrongly, thinks of itself as the rightful owner of maritime territory within the 9-dash line. He noted that China did not claim new features in the recent island-building, rather it built on features occupied for 20 years or more. Lastly, Mr. Hayton predicted that China would continue to expand, provoking further conflict.

Speakers at the event proposed several constructive proposals for resolving the dispute presently facing the Southeast Asian region.

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Effect of South China Sea Air Strips on the Range of Chinese Surface-to-Air Missiles and the J-10 Fighter

The authors publish, for the first time, a new map showing the effect of South China Sea Air Strips being built by the People’s Liberation Army, on the Effective Range of Chinese S-400 surface-to-air missiles and the J-10 multi-purpose fighter.

The authors publish, for the first time, a new map showing the effect of South China Sea Air Strips being built by the People’s Liberation Army, on the Effective Range of Chinese S-400 surface-to-air missiles and the J-10 multi-purpose fighter.

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 2015.

By Anders Corr, Ph.D. and Matthew Michaelides

In mid-April, China started building a military air strip in the South China Sea,[1] and to the extent that air strips are replicated on China’s other occupied South China Sea atolls and shoals, it will dramatically increase the effective range of its military aircraft and rocketry, including surveillance, search and rescue, helicopter, transport, bomber, and fighter aircraft, as well as its surface-to-air missile (SAM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.

Chinese air assets advantaged by the South China Sea air strips include the Chengdu J-10[2] and J-11 fourth-generation multi-purpose fighter jets[3], the Soviet-made S-400 SAMs[4], the twin-propeller Y-12 Turbo Panda maritime patrol[5] and surveillance aircraft, ASW aircraft and helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Pterodactyl Wing Loong[6], and cruise missiles such as the Chang Zian (Also spelled Chang Jian, or Long Sword)[7], with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers.[8]

With its weaponry closer than ever to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, not to mention potential refueling of bombers and tankers, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)[9] will have improved air power projection capabilities towards Australia and India.  SAMs based on the new islands will significantly augment already-existing naval SAMs such as the HQ-9 (with an operating range of up to 100km).[10]

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Cuba’s Roller-Coaster Investment Climate — Not for the Faint-Hearted

(AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

The Cuban government has taken increasingly large steps in recent years toward economic liberalization. In this photo taken April 23, 2010, golfers use a practice area during the Montecristo Cup Golf Tournament in Varadero, Cuba. Cuba issued a pair of surprising free-market decrees on Thursday Aug. 27, 2010, allowing foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years, potentially touching off a golf-course building boom, and loosening state controls on commerce to let islanders grow and sell their own fruit and vegetables. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 4, April 2015.

By Vito Echevarria 

Attendees of the “Cuba Opportunity Summit” – held on April 1, 2015 by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York City – consisted mainly of American companies and entrepreneurs, who are caught up with the gold rush-like fervor over the prospect of finally doing business with Cuba. That island, which has endured a harsh trade embargo imposed by Washington since its takeover by Fidel Castro and his Communist revolution, is perhaps the ultimate frontier market on the planet, since American companies have been forbidden from conducting any trade with that regime for decades.  The one glaring exception has been the opening of food trade, which Bill Clinton allowed before leaving office in 2000. Cuba has since become a multi-million-dollar market for various U.S. agricultural and food products.

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