Egypt by Robert Springborg

The Blurb On The Back:

Egypt is one of the few great empires of antiquity that exists today as a nation state.  Despite its extraordinary record of national endurance, the pressures to which Egypt is currently subjected and which are bound to intensify are already straining the ties that hold its political community together, while rendering the task of governing it ever more difficult.

In this timely book, Robert Springborg explains how a country with such a long and impressive history has come to find itself in this parlous condition.  As Egyptians become steadily more divided by class, religion, region, ethnicity, gender, and contrasting views of how, by whom, and for what purposes they should be governed, so their rulers become ever more fearful, repressive, and unrepresentative. Caught in a downward spiral in which poor governance is both cause and consequence, Egypt is facing a future so uncertain that it could end up resembling neighbouring countries that have collapsed under similar loads.  The Egyptian “hot spot”, Springborg argues, is destined to become steadily hotter, with ominous implications for its peoples, the Middle East and North Africa, and the wider world. 

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Mass Starvation: The History And Future Of Famine by Alex de Waal

The Blurb On The Back:

The world almost conquered famine.  Until the 1980s, this scourge killed ten million people every decade, but by the early 2000s mass starvation had all but disappeared. Today, famines are resident, driven by war, blockade, hostility to humanitarian principles and a volatile global economy.

In Mass Starvation, world-renowned expert on humanitarian crisis and response Alex de Waal provides an authoritative history of modern famines: their causes, dimensions and why they ended.  He analyses starvation as a crime and breaks new ground in examining forced starvation as an instrument of genocide and war.  Refuting the enduring but erroneous view that attributes famine to overpopulation and natural disaster, he shows how political decision or political failing is an essential element in every famine, while the spread of democracy and human rights, and the ending of wars, were major factors in the near-ending of this devastating phenomenon.

Hard-hitting and deeply informed, Mass Starvation explains why man-made famine and the political decisions that could end it for good must once again become a top priority for the international community. 

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When Conflict Resolution Fails by Oliver Ramsbotham

The Blurb On The Back:

Bringing warring parties to the negotiating table is the aim of any peace process. But what happens when those negotiations falter and conflict resolution fails? Is everything lost, or are there prospects for meaningful change in even the most intractable of conflicts?

In this insightful book, leading scholar-practitioner in conflict resolution Oliver Ramsbotham explores the phenomenon of radical disagreement as the main impediment to negotiation, problem-solving and dialogue between conflict parties. Taking as his focus the long-running and seemingly irresolvable conflict between Israel and Palestine, he shows how what is needed in these circumstances is not less radical disagreement, but more. Only by understanding what is blocking the way and by promoting collective strategic engagement within, across and between the groups involved can deadlock be transformed.

Rich in detail and accessibly written, this book introduces a new and as yet relatively unexplored frontier in conflict studies. Its wider application to other phases, levels and war zones holds out rich promise for extending conflict engagement in some of the world’s deadliest and most difficult hot spots. 

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Directorate S: The CIA And America’s Secret Wars In Afghanistan And Pakistan, 2001 – 2016 by Steve Coll

The Blurb On The Back:

In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the CIA scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associated. The CIA had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden’s successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO’s mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire, which has now lasted many years.

At the heart of the problem lay ‘Directorate S’, a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state, which had been covertly arming and training the Taliban for years as part of a wider competition for global influence, and which assumed that the USA and its allies would soon be leaving.

This remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong. 

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The New Scramble For Africa by Pádraig Carmody

The Blurb On The Back:

Once marginalized in the world economy, Africa today is a major global supplier of crucial raw materials like oil, uranium and coltan.  China’s part in this story has loomed particularly large in recent years, and the American military footprint on the continent has also expanded.  But a new scramble for resources, markets and territory is now taking place in Africa, involving not just state, but non-state actors, including Islamic fundamentalist and other rebel groups.

The second edition of Pádraig Carmody’s popular book explores the duamics of the new scramble for African resources, markets and territory, and the impact of current investment and competition on people, the environment, and political and economic development on the continent.  Fully revised and updated throughout its chapters explore old and new economic power interest in Africa; oil, minerals, timber, biofuels, land, food and fisheries; and the nature and impacts of Asian and South African investment in manufacturing and other sectors.

The New Scramble For Africa will be essential reading for students of African studies, international relations and resource politics, as well as anyone interested in current affairs.

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Can We Solve The Migration Crisis? by Jacqueline Bhabha

The Blurb On The Back:

Every minute 24 people are forced to leave their homes; currently, more than 65 million are displaced worldwide.  Small wonder that tackling the refugee and migration crisis has become a global political priority.

Can this crisis be resolved and, if so, how?  In this compelling essay, Jacqueline Bhabha explains why forced migration demands compassion, generosity, and a vigorous acknowledgement of our shared dependence on human mobility as a key element of global collaboration.  Unless we develop humane “win-win” strategies for tackling the inequalities and conflicts driving migration and for addressing the fears fuelling xenophobia, innocent lives and cardinal human rights principles will be squandered in the service of futile nationalism and oppressive border control.  

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Refuge: Transforming A Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier

The Blurb On The Back:

Europe is facing its greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, yet the institutions responding to it remain virtually unchanged from those created in the post-war era.  As neighbouring countries continue to bear the brunt of the Syrian catastrophe, European governments have enacted a series of ill-considered and damaging gestures.  With a deepening crisis and a xenophobic backlash around the world, it is time for a new vision of refuge.

Going beyond the scenes of desperation that have become all too familiar in the past few years renowned development experts Alexander Betters and Paul Collier break new ground by showing how international policymakers can deliver humane, sustainable results that are better for refugees and host countries.  Drawing upon years of research in the field and original solutions that have already been successfully trialled, they outline a compelling vision that can empower refugees to help themselves, contribute to their host countries and even rebuild their countries of origin.

Refuge reveals how, despite the media focus on the minority of refugees trying to making it to Europe’s shores, 90 per cent of the world’s refugees live in developing countries, mostly in camps or in urban poverty.  In light of this, their eye-opening book situates Europe’s refugee crisis in a global framework, offering a concrete diagnosis for a system that has, for too long, been institutionally broken.

An urgent and essential work, Refuge shows how we can act for both moral and practical purposes in order to deal with the defining challenge of our time.  

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What Is Russia Up To In The Middle East? by Dmitri Trenin

The Blurb On The Back:

The eyes of the world are on the Middle East.  Today more than ever, this deeply troubled region is the center of power games between major global players vying or international influence.  Absent from this scene for the past quarter century, Russia is now back with gusto.  Yet its motivations, decision-making processes, and strategic objectives remain hard to pin down.

So just what is Russia up to in the Middle East?  In this hard-hitting essay, leading analyst of Russian affairs Dmitri Trenin cuts through the hyperbole to offer a clear and nuanced analysis of Russia’s involvement in the Middle East and its regional and global ramifications.  Russia, he argues, cannot and will not supplant the United States as the leading external power in the region, but its actions are accelerating changes that will fundamentally reshape the international system in the next two decades. 

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The Future Of Diplomacy by Philip Seib

The Blurb On The Back:

Never before has diplomacy evolved at such a rapid pace.  It is being transformed into a global participatory process by new media tools and new empowered publics.  “Public diplomacy” has taken center-stage as diplomats strive to reach and influence audiences that are better informed and more assertive than any in the past.

In this crisp and insightful analysis, Philip Seib, one of the world’s top experts on media and foreign policy, explores the future of diplomacy in our hyper-connected world.  He shows how the focus of diplomatic practice has shifted away from the closed-door, top-level negotiations of the past.  Today’s diplomats are obliged to respond instantly to the latest crisis fuelled by a YouTube video or Facebook post.  This has given rise to a more open and reactive approach to global problem-solving with consequences that are difficult to predict.  Drawing on examples from the Iran nuclear negotiations to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Seib argues persuasively for this versatile and flexible public-facing diplomacy; one that makes strategic use of both new media and traditional diplomatic processes to manage the increasingly complex relations between states and new non-state political actors in the twenty-first century.  

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Is Islam An Enemy Of The West? by Tamara Sonn

The Blurb On The Back:

New York, Washington, Madrid, London, Paris, and Brussels – the list of Western cities targeted by radical Islamic terrorists waging global jihad continues to grow.  Does this extreme violence committed in the name of Islam point to a fundamental enmity between the Muslim faith and the West?

In this compelling essay, leading authority on Islam Tamara Sonn argues that whilst the West has many enemies among Muslims, it is politics not religion that informs their grievances.  The longer these demands remain frustrated, the more violence has escalated and recruitment to groups like Islamic State has increased.  Far from fuelling the spread of Islamic extremism, Western military intervention has helped to turn nationalist movements into radical terrorist groups with international agendas.  Islam, Sonn concludes, is not the problem, just as war is not the solution.   

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