University of Washington

2011 Task Force Course Descriptions and Posters

Melting Boundaries: Rethinking Arctic Governance (Transnational Task Force)

(click image to enlarge)

The Task Force team traveled to Ottawa for a one-week research trip to participate in meetings with stakeholders in the Arctic.

In September 2010 an international summit was held in Moscow to address increased interest in the Arctic and, according to BBC, to “try to prevent the Arctic becoming the next battleground over mineral wealth.” The potential conflict is due to the fact that the world’s largest undiscovered oil and gas reserves lie north of the Arctic Circle. Climate change is melting the polar ice cap and causing a “cold rush” for Arctic resources. The Northwest and Northeast passages are opening to shipping, cutting thousands of miles off the traditional routes through the Panama and Suez canals. Governing the Arctic effectively is becoming increasingly critical to global peace and environmental stewardship. However, international relations in the region are complicated. There are the eight Arctic nations; the Arctic Council established to foster cooperation in the region; eight Aboriginal groups that sit on the Council; and a host of non-Arctic nations with interest in the region.



Rethinking U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

(click image to enlarge)

In this Task Force students explored U.S. policy towards North Korea over the past 15 years, focusing on questions of security for South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.; North Korea’s nuclear program; human rights in North Korea; humanitarian assistance to North Korea; Radio Free Asia; North Korean refugees; and so forth. Students were asked to pay attention to the interaction and coordination of US policy towards North Korea with South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, and to whether a proactive policy has the capacity to move North Korea and China in positive directions in relation to U.S. policy goals. This Task Force utilized the global classroom in 317 Thomson for four evening interactive lectures from Korea and elsewhere.



The Future of U.S. Democracy Promotion: Strategies for a Sustainable Fourth Wave of Democratization

(click image to enlarge)

Since the end of the Cold War, promoting the spread of democracy around the world has been a major element of U.S. foreign policy. Based on the premise that a world with more democracies will be more peaceful and prosperous—and hence beneficial to US interests—the U.S. has invested billions of dollars in a multitude of programs to create and strengthen democratic institutions abroad. In recent years, however, many countries from the “third wave” of transitions have disappointed, either stalling in a “gray zone” or sliding back into authoritarianism. This task force reexamined U.S. policy toward democracy assistance and recommended a new strategy. Issues included whether democracy promotion is still in U.S. interests, and if so, what regions/countries should be targeted, what aspects of democracy should be emphasized (e.g. civil society, governance, rule of law), and what approaches would be most effective in maximizing the return on aid.



U.S. Relations with Russia: Bilateral Relations and Global Impact

(click image to enlarge)

This course was designed to allow students to simulate membership in a Presidential Advisory Commission on U.S. relations with Russia. After a brief review of academic and policy research literature, students examined four aspects of U.S.-Russian relations and their global impacts: 1) security/arms control, which reviews the status of bilateral cooperative efforts and disagreements in the area of international terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and bilateral and multilateral arms control; 2) trade prospects and constraints, particularly approval of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization and the need for revision of the Jackson-Vanik amendment; 3) regional conflicts in the "Near Abroad," and the Middle East, and the possibilities of harmonizing U.S. and Russian policies; and 4) human rights practices in Russia, and the impact of the war in Chechnya on U.S.-Russian relations.



Redefining Security: The Future of NATO in the 21st Century

(click image to enlarge)

In November of 2010 NATO concluded a multi-year public process of formulating a “new strategic concept.” The question before this Task Force is whether or not the Obama Administration should seek an endorsement of this concept from the US Congress and include the NATO concept in the next iteration of the U.S. National Security Strategy. Some of the questions that may be addressed include: the role of NATO in Afghanistan and the greater Central Asia/South Asian region; how to deal with the threat of international terrorism; NATO’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute; the possible development of nuclear weapons by Iran; whether to deploy a NATO missile defense system for Europe; whether to add as NATO members countries such as Georgia and Ukraine; how to manage NATO-Russia relations; where and by whom NATO’s armory should be produced; differences in attitudes between U.S. and European NATO members on issues such as inclusion of GLBT personnel in military forces and the alleged growing gap between civilian and military culture in the U.S.; and the pressure on financially-strapped European governments to maintain current budgets and force levels.



Show Me the Money: Achieving Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights through Government Budgets

(click image to enlarge)

Most governments around the world have committed to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which requires that member states devote “the maximum” of their resources to “achieving progressively the full realization” of the Covenant’s goals, and also guarantee that the rights enunciated in the Covenant will be exercised “without discrimination of any kind.” But the notions of maximum available resources (MAR), progressive realization (PR), and non-discrimination (ND) remain difficult to operationalize in practice. The broad policy area this TF will focus on is “how can MAR, PR, and ND be more explicitly operationalized in terms of government budgets?” The ultimate goal of the TF is to assist a major global civil society network – International Budget Partners – to get the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to adopt a general comment on MAR, PR and ND in terms of government budgets.



Asia's Emerging Nuclear Era: Climate Strategies & Implications for U.S. Policy

(click image to enlarge)

Lowering carbon emissions has proved far more politically challenging than anticipated, even as scientific evidence for serious climate impacts has grown. Renewable energy, despite favorable press, is unlikely to provide electricity on a major scale for decades. As a result, nuclear power emerges as a primary option for addressing climate change. Contested in the West, this energy source is expanding rapidly in the rest of the world. At least 30 nations now have plans to begin nuclear power programs soon, a number likely to grow. Meanwhile, new types of reactor designs with greatly reduced proliferation risk are being explored. Leaders of major nations therefore face a profound dilemma: are the risks associated with climate change worth trading for those—physical, technological, and political—related to a global expansion in nuclear power, and, if so, what measures must be taken to contain, indeed eliminate, any further opportunities for weapons proliferation? This Task Force will take up the question by examining its principle elements in order to forge a set of recommendations that would give the U.S. an active leadership role in resolving this issue for the long-term.



Countering Al-Qaeda and its Ideology: Re-Assessing U.S. Policy Ten Years After 9/11

(click image to enlarge)

Al-Qaeda declared war against the U.S. in 1996. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 made clear the true extent of the threat, the U.S. enacted a series of new policies to protect the country against attacks and to pursue Al-Qaeda and all affiliated violent extremist groups around the globe. From military action abroad, to the creation of several new government agencies at home, to new security measures to protect against attack, to the use of aggressive legal strategies to capture, detain and interrogate suspected terrorists, to the use of our special operations forces and intelligence agencies to disrupt terrorist networks and capture or kill their most dangerous operatives, the United States government dramatically changed its policies and operations to meet this threat from Al Qaeda and those affiliated with or sympathetic to them. This Task Force will put together a series of policy proposals for how best the United States should move forward in confronting the threat posed by Al Qaeda and their ideology.

UWTV | UW Today | The Daily | Columns Magazine | JS Journal

Center for Global Studies
International Studies Program
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 685-2707
(206) 685-0668 fax

Sara R. Curran
(206) 543-6479

Tamara Leonard
Associate Director
(206) 685-2354

Lauren Dobrovolny
Program Coordinator
(206) 685-2707

Robyn Davis
Fellowships Coordinator
(206) 616-8679