Policy White Papers

2014-2015

The Impact of Bangladeshi Climate Refugees on India: Improving Foreign Aid to Bangladesh to Stabilize South Asia
by Rebecca Brown

Sectarian and economic tensions, exacerbated by immigration, contribute to instability throughout India, particularly the northern state of Assam. Immigration from Bangladesh has led to conflict, which will worsen as climate change produces more natural disasters and a larger flow of refugees. The influx of Bangladeshi refugees will likely lead to unrest that may undermine India’s economy, weaken its democracy, and erode its potential as a counterweight to China. To address this issue, the United States should reform its current aid practices in Bangladesh by reallocating funds unrelated to disaster preparedness, transition underutilized aid funds into a Sovereign Wealth Fund, and work with Bangladeshi companies to build disaster mitigation infrastructure.

Reform from a Distance: Strengthening Fragile State Bureaucracies with E-Learning
by Robert Deshazor

The underdeveloped institutional capacity of fragile states limits their long-term ability to exert effective administrative authority throughout their territory. If fragile states fail to strengthen this capacity, they will be unable to prevent extremist and criminal organizations from filling power vacuums, facilitate sustainable economic development, or meet the basic needs of citizens. To enhance their institutional capacity and reduce the risk of state failure, Washington should incentivize U.S. universities to create a comprehensive e-learning curriculum for civil servants in financial management, project management, and strategic planning.

The Politics of Fast-Paced Epidemic: Bolstering Disease-Burdened States with Community Resilience
by Isabel Docampo

Developing governments lack the capacity to mitigate the effects of fast-paced epidemics. The rapid spread of highly pathogenic infectious diseases can precipitate state failure, which enables terrorism, illicit commercial activity, and further spread of disease. Typically, international responses to epidemics are health-based. But, medical intervention alone is insufficient to combat the political ramifications of disease. The United States should invest in community intervention and peer policing to improve local security and cooperation with disease protocol. These measures engage citizens and state officials on a community level to bolster trust and government legitimacy in fragile states plagued by epidemic.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles: The Next Insurgent Threat
by Daniel Duane

The U.S. Navy is investing in Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) technology as a tool for intelligence, warfare, and maintenance and has recognized the emerging counterforce threat posed by peer-competitors fielding UUVs. Insufficient attention, however, has been paid to the possible uses of UUVs for countervalue attacks by non-state actors. Declining costs and growing capability will lead to a wider proliferation of UUV technology. This likely trend will provide insurgent and terrorist organizations with access to technology that is difficult to counter and will further increase their ability to disrupt sea and communications-based trade—for example, through the mining of harbors and cutting of undersea communications cables or pipelines.

Women of Mass Destruction: Combatting Radicalization on the Web
by Duenya Hassan

Terrorist groups, such as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have invested significant resources in radicalizing Western women from Europe and North America. Women enhance terrorist capabilities by being able to generate greater media attention because their assumed gender roles do not fit the typical profile of a terrorist. Using Western women further enhances terrorist capabilities. These women are more familiar with Western culture and less likely to generate suspicion because of their gender, increasing the likelihood that they can perpetrate attacks against well-defended targets.

To combat the threat of radicalized Western women, this white paper proposes a two-pronged approach to discredit extremist narratives. First, government public relations campaigns should highlight terrorist atrocities toward women and publicize defector stories of women.  Such publicity will undermine popular support for radical groups and emphasize the gap between the negative reality and the positive perception some may have of such groups.  Second, governments should encourage private groups to establish an international grant-making foundation dedicated to empowering moderate Muslim voices in communities and online.

The Schoolhouse Model: Rethinking UNHCR's Approach to Refugee Camps
by Susan Nelson

For decades, the international community has treated refugee camps as “holding tanks” that provide basic security, shelter, medical care, and sustenance to refugees until repatriation is possible. Refugees live in difficult conditions with few economic opportunities, making them susceptible to radicalization—especially under conditions of extended habitation. Recognizing this challenge, the UNHCR recently announced plans to facilitate refugee bypassing of camps in favor of alternatives.

This brief proposes that neither the holding tank model nor the practice of bypassing camps address the problems that refugees face. The holding tank approach squanders the capabilities of refugees, while bypassing denies refugees social services. Camps should, instead, be restructured to resemble schoolhouses for post-conflict reconstruction where residents can teach and learn valuable governance and economic skills.