by LaiYee Leong, Ph.D.
Associate Research Fellow
John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, SMU
Gadhafi’s death is undoubtedly good news to most Libyans and to the international community. Under his brutal 42-year dictatorship, Libya saw a complete collapse of governmental institutions. Gadhafi ruled with terrifying capriciousness, wreaked havoc in the daily lives of the people, and all but decimated the economy. Externally, Gadhafi pursued policies that added to instability in the Middle East and North Africa. He actively supported terrorist groups against the US and Israel, and aggressively exerted Libyan influence over Arab neighbors. Only prolonged international isolation and severe economic problems forced Gadhafi in the last decade to seek rehabilitation in the eyes of Western leaders.
The National Transitional Council has now inherited a failed state. In many ways, the challenges that come next will be much harder than the act of overthrowing Gadhafi’s regime. Gadhafi’s corrupt rule has hollowed out political institutions, leaving no functional framework of representation or governance upon which to build a new republic. Gadhafi built his power upon an edifice of patronage to the clans related to his tribe. In response, groups that opposed the regime now run along the fractured lines of tribal and regional loyalties. These are not civil society organizations that can easily draw together the diverse elements in Libya. The uprising that overthrew Gadhafi itself was less motivated by democratic ideals as such than by hatred of the dictator and his allies. Even the military in Libya is largely made up of one tribe. Unlike the protestors in Egypt or Tunisia, Gadhafi’s opponents quickly launched a civil war. This all-or-nothing attitude reveals the profound divisions in society and the weakness of the state. Continue reading Gadhafi’s Death is Only A Passing Triumph for the New Libya
Tower Center staff member and student, Afsana Qurishi, spent this summer in the prestigious White House Internship Program. She is majoring in international studies in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
“Interning at the White House this summer was truly an amazing experience,” Afsana wrote in her blog. “I was there for about three months working in the Management and Administration Office. My main job was to update security access lists, file documents and schedule White House tours. I was also involved in other various activities within the White House Internship Program as a whole. . .”
Robert Jordan, Tower Center Diplomat in Residence and Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was interviewed on Bloomberg this morning and will be on CNBC tomorrow (2/24) at 6:45am. He will be talking about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Tower Center Director, Jim Hollifield was interviewed last month by the BBC’s World News Service about Britain’s first coalition government in 65 years. Click Here to listen.
Tower Center Faculty Fellow, Hiroki Takeuchi, was interviewed on the KERA Think Radio Show on Wednesday, July 21. Dr. Takeuchi discussed the current state of politics and economics in Japan and its implications for international relations.
Here’s the link: KERA Think Podcast
Read Tower Center Director Jim Hollifield’s comments in the June 25, 2010 New York Times article on global migration:
Global Migration – A World Ever More On The Move
GORDON BROWN’S rant about a “bigoted” voter sped his exit from the British prime minister’s post. What punctured his cool? Her complaint about immigrants. When an earthquake shattered Haiti, Dominicans sent soldiers and Americans sent ships — to discourage potential immigrants. The congressman who shouted “You lie!” at President Obama was upset about immigrants. “Birthers” think Mr. Obama is an immigrant.
There was also the Hamas rocket that landed in Israel this spring, killing a farmworker. Not so unusual, except that the worker was Thai.
Perhaps no force in modern life is as omnipresent yet overlooked as global migration, that vehicle of creative destruction that is reordering ever more of the world. Overlooked? A skeptic may well question the statement, given how often the topic makes news and how divisive the news can be. After all, Arizona’s campaign against illegal immigrants, codified in an April law, set off high-decibel debates from Melbourne to Madrid. But migration also shapes the landscape beneath the seemingly unrelated events of the headlines. It is a story-behind-the-story, a complicating tide, in issues as diverse as school bond fights and efforts to isolate Iran. (Seeking allies in Latin America this month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had to emphasize the dangers of a nuclear-armed Tehran while fending off complaints about the Arizona law.)
Even people who study migration for a living struggle to fully grasp its effects. “Politically, socially, economically, culturally — migration bubbles up everywhere,” James F. Hollifield, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said. “We often don’t recognize it.”… Read the rest of the article here.
Professor Hiroki Takeuchi was quoted in USA Today about the resignation of Hatoyama.
The eight-month process of trying, but failing, to move the U.S. base, against strong Washington opposition, “gave the public the impression that Hatoyama couldn’t make a decision by himself,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, a Japanese politics expert at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
His Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) “promised many things, and tried to do everything, and gave the false expectations that they could do everything,” Takeuchi said.
Ahead of elections for Japan’s upper house next month, many DPJ politicians pressured him to resign, Takeuchi added. “They said with Hatoyama as prime minister they couldn’t get elected.”
On the Okinawa base, Hatoyama “complicated this issue and had a negative impact on U.S.-Japan relations,” Takeuchi said. Overall, “the Japanese public supports the U.S. presence and agrees with the idea that, due to the U.S. military presence, Japan’s national security is maintained,” but Okinawans remain opposed to any U.S. military presence on their island, he said.
As part of the Tower Center’s programmatic emphasis on national security and political economy, Jim Hollifield, Seyom Brown, Kathy Cooper, and Lynne Novack participated the “First Worldwide Cybersecurity Conference” on May 4-5, convened by the East-West Institute. The conference of some 300 delegates from governments and private industry from around the world was called to launch a comprehensive international awareness campaign by governments, businesses and the public about growing threats to economic stability and international peace and security presented by the vulnerabilities in and threats to digital information systems and networks. The Tower Center delegates contributed ideas on implications for national security policy and energy supply systems, for “rules of engagement” in international cyber-conflicts, and for international cooperation in devising means of attending to the global public good of cybersecurity.
These issues will be centrally a part of the Tower Center’s November 2010 Conference on National Security and Defense, which will be devoted to the implications for national security of technological innovations in digital communications, robotics, nanotechnology, non-lethal weapons, and space.