• The World Today

    Ten Minutes with Jennifer Jacquet on public shaming

    The author of Is Shame Necessary? New uses for an old tool talks to Agnes Frimston about why public shaming can be a force for good. Listen to the full podcast below.

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  • Photo: Mustafa NajafizadaChatham House Briefing

    Afghanistan: The 2014 Vote and the Troubled Future of Elections

    A power-sharing agreement ended the impasse that followed the disputed presidential elections in 2014, but its improvisational nature highlighted shortcomings in the political system – raising concerns for the future.

    Noah Coburn, Political Anthropologist, Bennington College

  • Photo: Andrew F Kazmierski/iStockOther

    The Role of the Nation-State in Addressing Global Challenges: Japan–UK Perspectives

    As part of the UK-Japan Global Seminar Series, four experts offer different perspectives on how Japan and the UK can respond to the challenges of failing states, natural and man-made disasters and complex democratic transitions.

    Dr John Swenson-Wright

    Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Sir Adam Roberts, David Steinberg

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews

    The March book reviews section covers a wide-ranging selection of topics and regions. Jack Spence begins by reviewing a fascinating collection of essays, edited by John Ikenberry, on the legacy and influence of Robert Gilpin’s 'War and change in world politics'. Spence notes how remarkably enduring Gilpin’s influence has proven to be. We continue featuring a selection of books on gender and conflict; in this issue Mary Kaldor reviews 'The search for lasting peace', edited by Rosalind Boyd. Also in this section, Catherine Allerton reviews Jacqueline Bhabha’s most recent work on the often ignored topic of children and migration. Under Conflict, security and defence, readers can find a review of Talking to terrorists' by Jonathan Powell. Tim Wilsey concludes that the former Downing Street chief of staff’s newest book is essential reading for anyone interested in the subject. Readers wanting to learn more about improving international development might be interested in Brian Levy’s Working with the grain', reviewed by David Leonard. Later on, in the regional sections, our reviewers look at a wide range of books on topical issues, including German power, strategy and American foreign policy, security and the South China Sea, Zimbabwean politics, the role of the Pashtuns in Pakistan and Russian domestic and foreign affairs.
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    Abstracts

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    Contributors

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    Editorial

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    Andrew Dorman, Heidi Pettersson and Krisztina Csortea

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    Index of books reviewed

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Securing China’s core interests: the state of the debate in China

    As China has grown stronger, some observers have identified an assertive turn in Chinese foreign policy. Evidence to support this argument includes the increasingly frequent evocation of China’s ‘core interests’—a set of interests that represents the non-negotiable bottom lines of Chinese foreign policy. When new concepts, ideas and political agendas are introduced in China, there is seldom a shared understanding of how they should be defined; the process of populating the concept with real meaning often takes place incrementally. This, the article argues, is what has happened with the notion of core interests. While there are some agreed bottom lines, what issues deserve to be defined (and thus protected) as core interests remains somewhat blurred and open to question. By using content analysis to study 108 articles by Chinese scholars, this article analyses Chinese academic discourse of China’s core interests. The authors’ main finding is that ‘core interests’ is a vague concept in the Chinese discourse, despite its increasing use by the government to legitimize its diplomatic actions and claims. The article argues that this vagueness not only makes it difficult to predict Chinese diplomatic behaviour on key issues, but also allows external observers a rich source of opinions to select from to help support pre-existing views on the nature of China as a global power.
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    Jinghan Zeng, Yuefan Xiao and Shaun Breslin

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Engagement without recognition: the limits of diplomatic interaction with contested states

    This article examines the extent to which states are able to interact at an official level with a contested or de facto state—a state that has unilaterally declared independence but is not a member of the United Nations—without being understood to have recognized it. This is an area of increasing interest and relevance to policymakers as the number of contested states has grown in recent years. In many cases, interaction may be important for ongoing peace efforts. However, there are also instances when a state is prevented from recognizing the territory in question for specific domestic or foreign policy reasons and so has to find alternative means by which to cooperate. Drawing on several key examples, notably Kosovo and the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, but also with reference to Abkhazia, the article explores the limits of interaction across various different forms of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity. As is shown, albeit with some significant provisos, legal theory and historic practice suggest that diplomatic engagement does not constitute recognition if there is no underlying intent to recognize. This means that there is in fact a very high degree of latitude regarding the limits of diplomatic engagement with contested states. This is especially the case in bilateral contexts. Indeed, in some circumstances, the level of engagement can even amount to recognition in all but name.
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    James Ker-Lindsay

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