New research from Strauss Center Distinguished Scholars this spring has touched on some of the most pressing international events of the day, including the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, the deteriorating situation in Libya, the newly proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS, and the ways public health officials are using data mapping to combat the Ebola health crisis in West Africa. Highlights from the spring can be found below.

Zoltan Barany on Military Rule, Democratization, and the Case of Burma Distinguished Scholar Zoltan Barany published his most recent article, “Exits from Military Rule: Lessons for Burma,” in April’s issue of Journal of Democracy.  In this piece, he draws lessons from the democratization processes of South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia, which can be applied to the current situation in Burma.

In a recent article published in the journal Research and Politics, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and UT Professor Josh Busby discusses the relationship between persuasion, interests, and advocacy when it comes to climate change. In his article, "Hearts or minds? Identifying persuasive messages on climate change," Busby and co-author Bethany Albertson find that knowledge is an important moderator of attitudes on climate—and more knowledgeable people are more likely to be persuaded by appeals to economics or self-interest.

In a recent article published in Hedgehog Review, Clements Center Director and Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar Will Inboden examines the current crisis in Ukraine and evaluates the validity of claims that the West provoked Putin to aggression. In the article, Putin, Ukraine, and the Question of Realism, which Inboden wrote with University of Virginia scholar John M. Owen IV, the authors argue that reducing the current crisis to simple power politics ignores the role of ideas in shaping motivation and driving action.

In the context of the fourth anniversary of Libya’s February 17 revolution, Distinguished Scholar Alan Kuperman has written an article on the failures of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. Kuperman argues that this intervention did not lead to a successful democratic transition. Instead, it transformed the country into a failed state and a safe haven for radical militias with ties to al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libyan government is now split between two factions that control limited areas of the country’s territory, and the human rights situation has deteriorated to levels not experienced even during the Qaddafi regime.

New research from Strauss Center Distinguished Scholars in the fall addressed a range of pressing global issues, from the rise of ISIS and Russian aggression in Ukraine to U.S. energy independence and surveillance practices in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Strauss Center Distinguished Scholars come from departments across UT Austin's campus, comprising legal experts, historians, political scientists, business experts, and energy specialists. Below are highlights of some of their recent research, spanning a wide range of topics and touching on some of the most pressing international events of the day.

A new series published by CCAPS and UT's Innovations for Peace and Development program explores food security vulnerability in Sub-Saharan Africa. The four briefs delve into the implications of food vulnerability, analyze measures of resilience, and provide policy recommendations for increasing food security on the continent.

CCAPS researchers Ashley Moran and Clionadh Raleigh, with co-author Yacob Mulugetta, published a new paper with the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate ChangeĀ (GMACCC), exploring how local-level conflict and environmental data can assist policymakers and researchers in assessing links between environmental patterns and violence.

In CCAPS Research Brief No. 24, researcher Cullen Hendrix analyses water security in the Sahel region by examining a specific case study: Niger. Hendrix argues that Niger illustrates how strained water resources in a country can be "a source both of conflict and cooperation."

In the most recent issue of Political Geography, CCAPS researchers Joshua Busby, Todd Smith, and Nisha Krishnan explore which regions of Africa are most vulnerable to climate change. To answer this question, they map a number of indicators, including hazards, community resilience, and governance capacity to locate the areas that are most vulnerable to climate stresses. The model, which uses new methods of normalizing data to retain higher levels of detail, finds Somalia, South Sudan, the eastern coasts of Madagascar and Mozambique, northern Nigeria, southern Mali, Burundi, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to be some of the most vulnerable regions on the continent. The full article can be accessed here.

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