2011-10-10-04.17.56-pmEditors' Note:

The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs emerged from an era obsessed with globalization. With this issue, we shift our attention to the local impact of powerful global forces.

Nowhere do the global and the local come together more prominently than in the world’s megacities. A century and a half after Marx first decried the consequences of urban industrialization, which threatened to flatten a round world, the authors in this Forum show what happens when global forces descend upon the complex urban terrain. Governing the megacity requires specific, local solutions to broad, universal problems—from economic displacement and environmental upheaval to criminal networks and cultural malaise.

Other articles explore the local impact of international trends. Andrej Kapiszewski shows how migrant workers are redefining culture in the Persian Gulf, Edward Walker exposes the culture of violence in Putin’s Russia, and David Cuthell addresses Turkey's potential irredentist interests in northern Iraq. This “glocal” approach also comes through in the perspectives of our authors themselves, who come from places as varied as Norway and Nigeria.

This issue also presents opportunities to learn from the past. In our books section, you will find a review of recent publications on Iran coupled with a timely review of the Mao-Nixon summit—a landmark event in U.S. diplomatic history that offers insights into how the United States could better conduct its foreign policy today. In Law & Ethics and View from the Ground, you will find two pieces that question national approaches to facing historical trauma, using Rwanda and Cambodia as examples. In Look Back, former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs David Lipton reflects on his long career in the rapidly changing world of global finance.

As always, the Journal has reached beyond the headlines, exploring today’s challenges and offering solutions to persistent global issues. We are proud to end our tenure as editors-in-chief with an issue that reflects the scope and depth of policy problems that we confront at the School of Foreign Service. We thank the authors, our dedicated staff, our supporters, and you our readers for helping us in this endeavor.

– Candace L. Faber & Samantha J. Yale


Cities will be home to over half the world's population by 2030, giving them an unprecedented political, economic, and cultural power. The speed and magnitude of urban growth also forebode the presence of massive, intractable slums; demographic floods of migrants; environmental decay; and unforeseen challenges in governance and planning. The uncertain boundaries, faltering structures, and ultimate sustainability of today's megacities are global concerns. From Rio to Lagos, Beijing to Moscow, this Forum explores how megacities are poised to influence and transform the new century.

  • Poverty and the Periphery: Cities in Latin America and the Former Soviet Union by Allison Garland, Mejgan Massoumi, Blair A. Ruble & Joseph S. Tulchin | Read  
  • Criminal Networks in Urban Brazil by Bryan McCann | Read  
  • Greening the Red Cities: Sustainable Development in China by Jingjing Qian, Barbara Finamore & Connie Chan | Read  
  • A Lagos Thing: Rules and Realities in the Nigerian Megacity by Oka Obono | Read  
  • The Urbanization of Everything: Governance Challenges in Southeast Asia by Giok Ling Ooi | Read  

Business & Economics

  • Through a Continental Lens: Making More Out of the North American Trade Platform by David Emerson | Read  
The United States and Canada can build on past bilateral trade success and overcome new security challenges to ensure future global competitiveness.
  • Maximizing Microfinance by Holly Lard and Isabelle Barres | Read  

In order for microfinance to continue to serve the poor, the current attitudes and expectations need to be realigned with empirical realities.

Conflict & Security

Witnessing the suffering of its ethnic compatriots in a region to which it has historical claims, Turkey may be prompted to intervene in Iraq’s Kurdish north.

  • Balancing Act: Australia’s Strategic Relations with China and the United States by Adam C. Cobb | Read  

Australia can avoid being squeezed by the great powers in the Asia Pacific region by leveraging its natural resource endowments and becoming an indispensable energy partner.

Culture & Society

  • De-Arabization in the Gulf: Foreign Labor and the Struggle for Local Culture by Andrzej Kapiszewski | Read  

As Asians now outnumber Arabs in foreign labor, governments in the Persian Gulf are takings steps to protect and promote Arab culture.

  • Abu Reuter and the E-Jihad: Virtual Battlefronts from Iraq to the Horn of Africa by Hanna Rogan | Read  

Since 9/11 the Internet has become the new frontier in the fight for hearts and minds in the Muslim world.

Law & Ethics

  • Crime Without Punishment: The Litvinenko Affair and Putin’s Culture of Violence by Edward W. Walker | Read  

The Litvinenko affair offers deeper insights into the political culture of contemporary Russia.

  • Accountability for Atrocity: Lessons from Rwanda by Gerald Gahima | Read  

The Rwanda case holds many lessons for post-conflict societies in search of lasting peace.

  • Between Global Governance and Human Rights: International Migration and the United Nations by Antoine Pecoud and Paul De Guchteneire | Read  

Recent international dialogue on migration suggests its ascendance on the global agenda, but major barriers to multilateral action will be difficult to overcome.

Politics & Diplomacy

  • Beyond Hollywood and the Boardroom: Celebrity Diplomacy by Andrew F. Cooper | Read  

Celebrity diplomacy is shaking up traditional notions of diplomacy, with Hollywood types bringing the buzz and business executives supplying the bite.

Science & Technology

  • Quenching our Global Thirst by James F. Klausner, Nate Mitten & Brad Ingram | Read  

Meeting increasing water needs across the globe requires creative solutions on both sides of the supply and demand equation.


A review of two recently released works on Iranian society and its nuclear ambitions: Conversations in Tehran and Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions.

  • Dinner and Détente: Nixon’s Cold War Diplomacy by Victor Fic | Read  

A review of Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World.

View from the Ground

  • Trauma and the Trials of Reconciliation in Cambodia by J. Eli Margolis | Read  

The UN Special Tribunal for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia is finally underway, but whose interests do the trials really serve?

A Look Back

  • Financial Firefighting: The Future of the IMF Interview with David Lipton | Read  

The former Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs reflects on the evolution of the global financial system.

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