• Photo: Kul Bhatia/Getty Images.Research paper

    Reviewing Interventions for Healthy and Sustainable Diets

    Human obesity has reached pandemic proportions, the environmental impacts of food production are unsustainable and the costs are increasingly being borne by low- and middle-income countries where poor nutrition and overconsumption is rising. A new paper considers the global policy options for encouraging healthy and sustainable diets.

    Rob BaileyProfessor David R Harper CBE CBiol FSB FFPH Hon FRSPH
  • Photo: Andrey Smirnov/AFP/GettyImages. Research paper

    Two Years of the Dream: Georgian Foreign Policy During the Transition

    Georgia has been an accidental beneficiary of events outside its control - notably Russia's preoccupation with Ukraine. But this may not last, writes S. Neil MacFarlane.

    Professor S. Neil MacFarlane
  • Photo: Stock photo © KlubovyResearch paper

    A 'New Cold War'? Abusing History, Misunderstanding Russia

    An increasingly prevalent ‘new Cold War’ narrative is impairing Western understanding of today’s Russia and its role in European security. 

    Dr Andrew Monaghan
  • The signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty at Lancaster House in London, 5 March 1970. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images.Research paper

    Disarmament as Politics: Lessons From the Negotiation of NPT Article VI

    The NPT review process was partly designed to encourage states to debate progress on nuclear disarmament, but review conferences, such as the one currently taking place in New York, have so far shown an inability to resolve those debates.

    Matthew Harries, Managing Editor, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy; Research Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Review article: 'The tyranny of experts' and the denial of inconvenient truths

    Diamond as a ‘democracy recession’, is it helpful to argue by taking no prisoners and not letting inconvenient truths get in the way? In The tyranny of experts, Bill Easterly uses his trademark blend of insight and relentlessness to detail two big and important ideas: that underlying the prescriptions of all too many development practitioners is the hidden presumption of governance by well-intentioned autocrats; and that, by contrast, free societies offer the opportunity for people, societies and economies to thrive. But the book’s mode of argumentation and its substance are at odds with much recent scholarship on how institutions evolve in the course of development. As this literature underscores, countries diverge from one another in the patterns of leads and lags through which public sector capability and the rule of law strengthen. In some settings statebuilding leads; in others, a strengthened rule of law comes first. Both sequences are fraught with risk and the potential for unintended consequences. Rather than engage with the challenges posed by this scholarship, The tyranny of experts dismissively brushes aside any and all complications, counterexamples and other inconvenient truths. In this era of evident challenge and complexity, overheated, argumentative enthusiasm can no longer substitute for the hard practical work that needs to be done. We need to move on.

    Brian Levy

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Index of books reviewed

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Ending sexual violence in conflict: the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and its critics

    During the past year, the UK Government has become the lead advocate for a perhaps surprising foreign policy goal: ending sexual violence in conflict. The participation of government representatives from more than 120 countries in a London Summit in June 2014 was the clearest manifestation of this project. This article offers an early assessment of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and situates it within the history of global action against sexual and gender-based violence from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 onwards, with a particular focus on three key developments. First, the PSVI has embraced the already common understanding of rape as a ‘weapon of war’, and has stressed the importance of military training and accountability. This has exposed the tensions within global policy between a focus on all forms of sexual violence (including intimate partner violence in and out of conflict situations) on the one hand, and war zone activities on the other. Second, the Initiative has placed great emphasis on ending impunity, which implicates it in ongoing debates about the role of international and local justice as an effective response to atrocity. Third, men and boys have been foregrounded as ignored victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The PSVI has been crucial to that recognition, but faces significant challenges in operationalizing its commitment and in avoiding damage to existing programmes to end violence against women and girls. The success of the Initiative will depend on its ability to navigate these challenges in multiple arenas of global politics.

    Paul Kirby

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Normalizing US–Cuba relations: escaping the shackles of the past

    President Barack Obama explained his historic reversal of half a century of US antagonism towards Cuba as necessary because of the failure of the policy of hostility pursued by his ten predecessors. But the old policy’s failure was not new, and thus was not, in itself, an adequate explanation for the dramatic shift. This article uses theories of agenda-setting, policy failure and policy change to explain the persistence of the US policy of hostility from 1959 to 2014 and the policy change announced by President Barack Obama in December 2014. Four structural factors account for the continuity in policy and, as a result of gradual changes in those factors, the eventual policy shift. They are: the security threat Cuba posed to the United States during the Cold War; the political influence of the Cuban American community; the diplomatic cost to Washington, especially in Latin America, of maintaining the status quo; and domestic changes under way in Cuba.

    William M. LeoGrande

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    When a gamekeeper turns poacher: torture, diplomatic assurances and the politics of trust

    Diplomatic assurances are promises which purport to manage the tension between the need for national security and the human rights obligations not to send individuals to countries where they would be at risk of torture. This article looks at how and why diplomatic assurances have become a part of policy efforts to make counterterrorism human rights compliant and as part of a wider strategy for drawing a line under the damaging legacy of the ‘war on terror’. This positive gloss on the use of diplomatic assurances is, however, in contrast to the worries motivating human rights advocates which centre on the implications for the global anti-torture regime. Behind the doubts surrounding diplomatic assurances is a wider concern, centred on whether the past architects of the war on terror can be trusted to progressively develop the rules and norms governing this domain.

    Andrew Jillions