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With the end of the Cold War and the unfolding of unprecedented acts of transnational terror on September 11, representing perhaps new civilizational cleavages, Islam has attained renewed prominence in Western political reflections. Too often viewed from ethnocentric or sensationalist perspectives, how is Islam, as a strategic entity, to be understood in contemporary world politics?
For the last two decades the loss of, in particular, tropical rainforest has alarmed the public in the developed parts of the world. The debate has been characterised by a lack of understandÂ ing of the causes and effects of the process, leading to the prevailing reaction being unqualiÂ fied condemnation. Such attitude has even been observed among scientists, claiming supremÂ acy to biodiversity conservation. Many scientific analyses are available, but the basis for soÂ ber debates and appropriate actions is still highly insufficient. Two recent international initiaÂ tives! will hopefully lead to improved knowledge of deforestation and forest degradation as they recognise the need for studies to critically investigate those issues. This book will proÂ vide useful input to the initiatives. In my opinion, the scientific analyses have not sufficiently promoted the understanding that the fate of tropical forests is first and foremost a concern of the governments of the countries in which the forests are situated. Tropical forests may be important to the global environment and their rich biodiversity may be a human heritage. But their main importance is their potenÂ tial contribution to improving livelihood in the countries in question.
Every day, coalition cabinets make policy decisions critical to international politics. Juliet Kaarbo examines the dynamics of these multiparty cabinets in parliamentary democracies in order to assess both the quality of coalition decision making and the degree to which coalitions tend to favor peaceful or military solutions. Are coalition cabinets so riddled by conflict that they cannot make foreign policy effectively, or do the multiple voices represented in the cabinet create more legitimate and imaginative responses to the international system? Do political and institutional constraints inherent to coalition cabinets lead to nonaggressive policies? Or do institutional and political forces precipitate more belligerent behavior? Employing theory from security studies and political psychology as well as a combination of quantitative cross-national analyses and twelve qualitative comparative case studies of foreign policy made by coalition cabinets in Japan, the Netherlands, and Turkey, Kaarbo identifies the factors that generate highly aggressive policies, inconsistency, and other policy outcomes. Her findings have implications not merely for foreign policy but for all types of decision making and policy-making by coalition governments. "
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