Volume XI, No. 1: 2002

Sea of Flames: North Korea's Motives for Acquiring Nuclear Weapons
Michael S. Flores

For the last decade, the international community (specifically the United States, Japan, and South Korea) has attempted to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons production. These attempts have not been successful because the nations and international organizations have failed to address North Korea's motives for pursuing nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly, the world knows and understands very little about North Korean motives for pursing nuclear capabilities; however, the key to success (defined as North Korea not pursuing nuclear weapons) is embedded in understanding P'yongyang's motives and its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability. If nuclear nonproliferation is going to survive the 21st century, then states and regimes must better understand factors and variables pressuring nations to create nuclear weapons because North Korea will not be the last country to build nuclear weapons to seek security, leverage, or prestige in international affairs. [Full Text]

Transitioning Democracies: International Organizations and Reform in Slovakia
Alexandra Shuey

The fall of communism in 1989 and the regime changes that occurred throughout the former Soviet bloc in the subsequent years marked the beginning of what has been, and continues to be, a difficult and challenging journey towards democracy in the region. The consolidation of market economic systems and democratic governance in Central and Eastern Europe is a challenge not only to the countries in transition, but to the international community as well. International organizations, such as the European Union, NATO, and the OECD, have provided much-needed structure for these governments and support for reforms leading to further democratization. Slovakia's turbulent transition is one such example of the overwhelming influence that these organizations have in setting foreign policy priorities and the domestic political agenda for these countries. [Full Text]

The Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Strategic Defense
Christi Siver

In light of the events of 11 September 2001, few international events outside of the United States's war on terrorism have surfaced on the international community's radar screen. It is perhaps this lack of scrutiny that has allowed President George W. Bush's withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to avoid worldwide criticism. Despite this lack of attention, the Bush withdrawal threatens to start a new arms race, which, in contrast to the Cold War, could include not only Russia, but also China and other nuclear powers. Examining the history of national missile defense and its numerous technological failures proves that strategic defense, although noble in trying to protect the United States from attack, falls into the trap of the security dilemma. In a nuclear world, attempts to increase security through building more arms or putting up defenses only spurs opponents to do the same, creating more insecurity in the long run. The only way to stop this cycle is to accept the stabilizing effect of mutually assured destruction and pursue peace through cooperation and disarmament instead of building more shields. [Full Text]

The Role of Conflict Diamonds in Fueling Wars in Africa: The Case of Sierra Leone
Ana M. Perez-Katz

The international diamond trade in Sierra Leone has had a profound influence on the country's civil war. Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front has exploited diamonds, using international channels to exchange so-called "conflict diamonds" for arms and drugs, in order to sustain and advance its military, political, and economic ambitions. Estimates of the revenue generated by the trade of RUF diamonds vary widely, from as little as US$25 million per year to as much as US$125 million. While the international community, international organizations, and the diamond industry have taken some steps to control the trade of "conflict diamonds" that has fueled the war in Sierra Leone, a sustainable peace in Sierra Leone will not be possible until the illicit diamond trade is brought fully under control. [Full Text]

Japan-Russia Contemporary Relations: Will the Impasse Ever End?
Svetlana Vassiliouk

Relations between Japan and Russia represent a long history of rivalry, political tension, and misapprehension. The most critical issue that precludes Japan and Russia from normalizing their diplomatic, economic, and socio-cultural relations is the ongoing territorial dispute over the four Kuril Islands. The two countries are still struggling to establish fully normalized relations with one another as this dispute continues. Furthermore, because of the Kuril hurdle, Russia and Japan are still technically at war; a peace treaty following World War II was never signed. The Kuril Islands issue is undoubtedly very complex, controversial, and emotionally charged in both Japan and Russia. However, it is now time for the two nations to move their relations forward, and focus on building a constructive dialogue of economic, strategic, and political cooperation. This new century should be the time for the two countries to overcome their historic differences and, instead of looking backward, redirect their policies toward each other into a more harmonious future open to cooperation and rapprochement. [Full Text]

Road Development in Northwestern Brazil: Economic Integration against Ethnic and Ecological Degradation
Eric Raymond

Given increased drive for a hemispheric free trade agreement, Brazil's inclusion is important for success. The country leads MERCOSUR, the Americas' second largest economic alliance, and remains the region's largest developing economy. Global environmental consciousness, however, is at a peak as well. The South American nation faces grave decisions on how to pursue economic development and ecological preservation in the rainforest. Road development is a pivotal concern. [Full Text]

GW Faculty on the Implications of 9/11
Harry Harding, Barbara D. Miller, Henry R. Nau, and Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia

In the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and the subsequent "War on Terrorism," IAR asked Elliott School deans, program directors, and advisory board members to contribute short articles on the implications of this new day that will live in infamy. They were given free rein to address any of a number of issues: What did 9/11 mean for international relations? U.S. foreign policy? The study and practice of international affairs? The Elliott School community? Their responses follow. [Full Text]

Interview with Charles Ries and Ulf Hjertonsson: The New Transatlantic Agenda

Bilateral relations between the United States and the European Union occur through the framework of the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA). The Swedish Presidency of January-June 2001 was the first to work on the NTA with the new Bush Administration. Last summer, IAR's Briana Olsen separately spoke with the two men then charged with overseeing the NTA: Charles P. Ries of the U.S. Department of State and Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson of the Swedish Foreign Ministry. [Full Text]

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