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Policy White Papers


Development Strategies for North Korea
By Michelle Burgess

White Paper (pdf)


Recent rumors of Kim Jong-il’s health problems have focused attention on the probability of imminent regime change or collapse in North Korea. Given the dire economic situation in the country, the United States is confronted with the question of what is the most effective way to economically stabilize and reintegrate a post-Kim Jong-il North Korea into the international system. This paper examines the cases of German reunification and Vietnamese economic reforms in 1990s. The paper then offers suggestions on the most effective way to develop the North Korean economy and reintegrate it into the international community.

The Geneva Conventions & Contemporary Asymmetric Security Threats
By Matt Dinan

White Paper (pdf)

dinan_photo The Geneva Conventions are a product of late 19th and early 20th century foreign policy experiences and are fundamentally concerned with interstate relations. As a result of their state-centric focus, many have argued that the Conventions have little applicability to asymmetric conflicts with non-state actors and should be amended. This paper argues that, from their inception, the Conventions were primarily a tool of soft power designed to enhance the political legitimacy of signatures. The Conventions, therefore, have significant applicability to the "counter-insurgency" against terrorism. Adherence to the Conventions increases the legitimacy of U.S. actions in the eyes of the international community and undermines the rhetoric of terrorist organizations. Concerns that adherence to the conventions will undermine intelligence collection and prosecution of terrorist detainees are unfounded and ignore the United States' extensive experience and success in prosecuting cases against members of organized crime.

Algae for Energy, Security, and Development
By Jeremy Meisinger

White Paper (pdf)


Algae-based biofuels offer the most promise as a future alternative source of energy. Algae are fast growing, do not require fresh water for cultivation, and have the potential of yielding more energy per acre than other biofuel crops. Given that the most favorable conditions for growing algae can be found in wet coastal areas with abundant sunshine, this paper looks at what states or regions will enjoy a comparative advantage in the production of algae. The paper then suggests how the United States should adjust its development policies to secure access to algae producing states or regions.

The Iranian Threat and a Reinvigorated Gulf Cooperation Council
By Andrew Noll

White Paper (pdf)

noll_photo Iran's effort to acquire nuclear weapons has sparked fear that the regime will use its future arsenal to pursue a radical agenda in the Persian Gulf, thereby contributing to a regional arms race. Given the likely need to contain and lessen fears of a nuclear-armed Iran, this paper argues that the United States should reinvigorate the Gulf Cooperation Council. This "new" organization would formalize and facilitate cooperation among Arab air forces, navies, and intelligence services, allowing Arab states to coordinate their response to possible Iranian aggression. The United States also should encourage this organization to have an economic component to facilitate regional economic development, which would contribute to better economic conditions and lower popular discontent. Should Iranian intentions prove less radical, the organization could evolve into a comprehensive regional collective security organization that incorporates Iran.

Education Systems and Islamic Radicalism in the Arabian Gulf
By Rachel Walsh

White Paper (pdf)

 Scholars and policy-makers have linked the rise of radical Islamic terrorism to a variety of factors including: repressive Arab regimes, the lack of democratic institutions in the region, stagnant Middle Eastern economies, and the presence of large numbers of foreign troops on Islamic land. Very little attention has been paid to the role of states' educational systems as a factor in radical indoctrination. This paper examines the educations systems in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. It argues that radicalism is the product of either weak public education systems or radicalized education systems.

In Yemen, the state education system is practically non-existent, forcing those who desire an education to attend radical religious schools. In Saudi Arabia, the state's primary education system has a radical leaning and the technical secondary system is exclusive, forcing recently urbanized men into religious schools. In Kuwait, the state education system is highly developed and emphasizes moderate Islam. The result of these arrangements is that Yemen and Saudi Arabia have significant problems with radical Islamic militants, while Kuwait has only minor problems. These findings have significant implications for U.S. counter-terrorism strategy. This paper argues that reforming and bolstering state education systems in the region should also be a key goal of U.S. policy.

Japan's Aging Population and the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance
By Alanna Whytock

White Paper (pdf)

whytock_photo The U.S. alliance with Japan is a linchpin of its security architecture in Asia. Japan's rapidly aging population, however, threatens the importance of this relationship. As Japan grays, it will increasingly find it difficult to maintain its current economic and military status in the region. This paper looks at the security implications of an aging Japan for the U.S. alliance system. It then argues that the best means of helping Japan compensate for this demographic shift is to sell advanced weapons systems, such as the F-22 fighter, to Japan. By selling these systems to Japan, the United States can help Japan compensate for the declining size of its armed forces by increasing the effectiveness of each service member.