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Islamic economics (IE) provides an alternative economic model to today’s Western system. Interest in this newfound field stems from its success in remaining relatively unaffected after the 2008 financial crisis. Proponents include financiers interested in attracting new business from a growing portion of the population and Islamic scholars hoping to utilize it as a tool in Muslim identity. Competing interests from these differing sectors of society has led the original intention of IE astray. But does it matter if IE is simply a reworked form of Western financial products and its framework guised under another name? This paper examines a brief history of IE followed by an analysis of its theory, goals, and operations. Finally, a comparison of implementation in three Islamic states highlights the challenges of IE and Islamic finance, and concludes with a short summary of IE’s potential legacy.

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Social media has traditionally been unequivocally seen as facilitating democratic transitions and challenging the power of autocratic regimes. Some most recent research, however, contradicts this established narrative, and as a result, this article first aims to show that social media does not have intrinsic political qualities of its own. Rather, they are contingent upon the offline conditions and the actors who use social media. Then, building on the contingent nature of this media, the author aims to show how social cyberspace enables a new kind of influence operations that can be carried out instantly, globally, and with the help of the victims themselves (referred to as ‘sofa warriors’). Finally, the conflict in Ukraine is presented as an example of how social media influence campaigns can be employed in hybrid warfare.

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The primary focus of this case study is to try to understand what risks and uncertainties governments and other actors confront when they deploy offensive cyber weapons as part of military and intelligence operations. Under current circumstances, the implications for national and international infrastructure seem staggering. The roadmap for this case study is threefold: 1) provide a framework for analysis, 2) introduce Stuxnet and survey the history and development of the first documented cyber weapon, and 3) apply the framework in an attempt to explore the risks and uncertainties inherent in the nascent arena of cyber warfare.

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Dr. Gary Sick is a captain (retired) in the U.S. Navy and served on the National Security Council in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. He is a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an adjunct professor of international and public affairs.

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In the mid-1970s, the transatlantic ties between the United States and West Germany stood at a peak. However, according to most scholars, German-American relations subsequently reached a nadir under the Schmidt/Carter administrations in the second half of the decade. Why was this the case? While the common narrative typically stresses severe personal dislike between the two transatlantic leaders, this paper will emphasize their conflicts of interest and specifically those related to Germany’s foreign policy objectives. It will show how these growing disruptions across various policy areas gradually undermined the German-American transatlantic alliance by 1980. In this context, the 1977-1980 crisis of relations was driven by the emancipation of West German foreign policy from American dominance – overall exemplified by (West) Germany’s growing commitment to European integration in the following decades. Consequently, the Schmidt/Carter rift constitutes an important crossroads in postwar German- American relations, which preluded Germany’s growing international role since the 1970s into present times.

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Brazil has been badly shaken, economically and politically, by the ongoing investigation into a nearly USD 1 billion corruption scheme involving state oil company Petrobras, many of Brazil’s largest construction firms, and Brazil’s leading politicians – including both former and current presidents. This article will look at the extent of the criminal organization run by political actors in Brazil to determine the country’s qualification as a captured state. With Brazil’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions since its return to civilian rule in 1985, this article will also examine how this level of criminal organization is impacted by the state’s democratic norms, and how the state has come to exploit these norms over time. This distinction is critical to the development of a new terminology to describe Brazil’s unique circumstances – those of a captured democracy.

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On November 14, 2015, the Council of Ministers announced the establishment of the state of emergency upon a country in mourning after the deadliest attacks on French territory since World War II. A few months later, France seems to be sinking into risk management as a paradigm of government, to the detriment of civil liberties. This trend, however, exposed outright by the recent attacks, finds its roots in a culture of counterterrorism - pre-existent to 9/11 - gravitating around the French legal apparatus.

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Prior to the 1986 Maxi Trials, relatively little was known about the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Its omertà, or code of honor, had held strong. But the success of the trials was only possible through the testimony of pentiti, or turncoats, at the expense of the code of honor. What caused this breakdown? As the organization became increasingly globalized, the older bonds of trust and honor that originally defined the omertà became weaker, facilitating the conditions for defection. The effects of globalization are visible in five areas: profit-making opportunities, organizational structure, the code of honor, political ties, and the anti-mafia movement. The Cosa Nostra’s continued existence today has implications for perceptions of the Italian government's legitimacy.

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This article explores the rising tensions between China and Japan centered on their competing claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The uninhabited islands have been under Japanese control since 1972, and the two nations had agreed to set the controversy aside for several decades in the interest of diplomatic harmony. However, China has begun to press its claim to the islands more forcefully in recent years as Chinese national power has grown. The dispute has emerged as the focal point in the broader Sino-Japanese strategic rivalry. China’s meteoric rise has fueled rising nationalism within China and led to more assertive Chinese behavior throughout East Asia. Tensions over the islands are likely to continue to grow, and the risk of an armed confrontation in the East China Sea is real. A conflict would be highly damaging to both nations’ economies, and both sides have an interest in avoiding such an outcome, but it remains unclear whether a peaceful resolution of the dispute can be achieved.

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This research sheds light on the U.S. government’s efforts to petition media professionals not to report on U.S. data surveillance and military engagements. After 9/11, warrant court based U.S. surveillance practices morphed into warrantless U.S. surveillance activities, and poor journalistic working standards led to a chilling effect in government-media relations during the Obama administration. This analysis illustrates the influence of media reports on the U.S. government in times of unclear U.S. policies. The findings of this paper underline the fact that journalistic non-compliance with governmental secrecy requests prevents our societies from becoming distopic democracies.

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This paper examines why productivity, as measured by output per work hour, has not increased significantly during the current Digital Revolution, despite rapid and intense technological progress and the influx of new inventions. The failure of technological progress to bring immediate increases in productivity and standards of living is paradoxical from an economic view. This paper presents statistical data on productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) growth across a number of economies for the past 40 years. Following that, it reviews several economic and history of science and technology theories about the current lower than expected productivity, including its possible relations to the initial delay in productivity growth during the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth century and the Technological Revolution of the early twentieth century. It then presents several explanations for the delay in productivity growth that are specific to the Digital Revolution.

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According to the UNHCR, 75,000 people attempted to cross the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2014 with 800 dying before reaching land. Yet people still insist on making the journey. On the other side of the Mediterranean is the European Union, which persecutes some who have survived the journey while providing sanctuary to others. It is high time for European Union member states to work together to find a durable and sustainable solution to the situation in the Mediterranean. This paper briefly discusses the main reasons migrants embark on such a perilous journey and suggests elements of a strategy to address this issue.

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There is no definitive answer as to the impact on a country’s macroeconomic indicators of joining the Eurozone. There is little impact on a country’s trade dependence. Peripheral countries suffered in terms of unemployment, but weakly gained in terms of incomes. However, no doomsday image emerges. While this appears to limit the short-term economic upside of the currency union project, it brings into the forefront the Eurozone’s aforementioned political considerations: eliminating competitive devaluations, having a common European monetary voice and tightening economic and political bonds within Europe. If this appeals to a prospective Eurozone member, they should not hold back for economic fears.

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This paper portrays the Spanish transition to democracy in the context of selected systems and negotiation theoretical arguments. Transition leaders’ ability to think in systems and to conceive a framework for negotiations centered on shared interests and common goals was crucial for the success and durability of the process. However, the common view of the Spanish transition as a sheer “success story” falls short of recognizing the sacrifices that were made to achieve peaceful transformation of the political system. In fact, the transition compromise engendered severe problems that strain the Spanish State and the political process until the present day.

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