Paul Hidalgo, Editor-in-Chief
Republican presidential candidate John McCain calls it a “League of Democracies;” the authors of the Princeton Project on National Security, distinguished scholars and influential politicians, as well as Ivo Daalder and Robert Kagan, refer to it as a “Concert of Democracies.” Although the details of each proposal differ in some important aspects, they represent the same concept: a new international organization composed of the world’s democracies. When the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant envisaged such a federation of free states—a foedus pacificum—and a republican government as foundations for “perpetual peace” more than 200 years ago, the idea was illusionary.
Narco-Terrorism in Afghanistan: Counternarcotics and Counterinsurgency
Since the 2001 invasion and the lifting of the Taliban opium ban, opium production in Afghanistan has increased from 70 percent of the overall global illicit opium production to 92 percent today. This increase has occurred in tandem with the declining security situation precipitated by the 2001 coalition invasion of the country. The loose relationship between terrorist organizations, violence, decentralized governance, and poverty that existed prior to the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) in Afghanistan, has coalesced into a truly narco-terrorism-driven system. The implications of this are severe to both Afghanistan’s and America’s long-term goals. Corruption, lawlessness, instability, violence, and human suffering all contribute to, and result from, the precipitous increase in opium cultivation and narcotics production and trafficking. Thus, in attempting to subdue the Taliban- and al-Qaeda-led insurgencies, and to forge a stable and effective government in Afghanistan, there must also be effective and socially conscious measures undertaken to eliminate the pervasive narco-economy. As President Karzai has stated, “The question of drugs . . . is one that will determine Afghanistan’s future. . . . [I]f we fail, we will fail as a state eventually, and we will fall back in the hands of terrorism.”
Air Power, Coercion, and Dual-Use Infrastructure: A Legal and Ethical Analysis
Kristen M. Thomasen
Since its emergence in the early twentieth century, air power has played a major role in military campaigns. Its greatest advantage stems from the fact that it allows armed forces to covertly attack an enemy from a distance while minimizing the risk of taking casualties. Air power has traditionally been used to destroy an enemy’s war-making capacity through attacks on military objects. It is, however, equally suited to a more coercive application. Coercive bombing focuses on affecting the enemy’s will by expanding the scope of targets to include objects that are necessary to the survival of the targeted state’s political regime, forcing the state to rebalance its cost-benefit analysis of remaining party to a conflict.
Latin American countries in general and Brazil in particular are well known for the high levels of inequality that divide their societies. Although Brazil’s relative poverty levels are not high compared to those of its neighbors, in 2005 over 36 percent of Brazil’s population lived below the poverty line, the level of income required by a household to meet the basic needs of all its members, including food, clothing, and shelter. Over 10 percent of this proportion comprised the indigent, or those with a level of household income that is inadequate for covering the nutritional needs of its members. In 2004, the poorest 10 percent of the population captured only 0.9 percent of the country’s wealth, while the richest 10 percent controlled 44.6 percent.