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Middle-Aged Syrian Women’s Contributions to Family Livelihoods during Protracted Displacement in Jordan
Dina Sidhva, Ann-Christin Zuntz, Ruba al Akash, Ayat Nashwan, and Areej Al-Majali

This article explores the intersections of generational and gender dynamics with humanitarian governance in Jordan that cause shifts in the division of labour within displaced families. Drawing on life history interviews and focus group discussions with seventeen Syrian women in Jordan in spring 2019, we explore the monetary and non-monetary contributions of middle-aged females to the livelihoods of refugee households. Older women’s paid and unpaid labour holds together dispersed families whose fathers have been killed or incapacitated, or remain in Syria or in the Gulf. In doing so, many women draw on their pre-war experience of living with – or rather apart from – migrant husbands. Increased economic and social responsibilities coincide with a phase in our interviewees’ lifecycle in which they traditionally acquire greater authority as elders, especially as mothers-in-law. While power inequalities between older and younger Syrian women are not new, they have been exacerbated by the loss of resources in displacement. Our insights offer a counterpoint to humanitarian attempts at increasing refugees’ ‘self-reliance’ through small-scale entrepreneurship. For now, culturally appropriate and practically feasible jobs for middle-aged women are found in their living rooms. Supportive humanitarian action should allow them to upscale their businesses and address power dynamics within families.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Brendan T. Lawson

Over the past 25 years, the humanitarian sector has become increasingly dominated by numbers. This has been reflected in the growth of academic work that explores this relationship between humanitarianism and quantification. The most recent contribution to this literature is Joël Glasman’s Humanitarianism and the Quantification of Humanitarian Needs. Through his empirical and theoretical contributions, Glasman draws our attention to the different ways that academics approach this topic. These four strands structure the literature review: knowledge – the technical difficulties in quantifying phenomena; governance – how numbers help humanitarian organisations manage the sector; effects – the impact that quantification has had on the sector as a whole; meaning – the importance of rhetoric, discourse, representation and communication when it comes to understanding the quantitative. As part of the review, the essay also identifies how academics can better engage with each of the four strands.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Arjun Claire

Evidence-based advocacy is all the rage in humanitarian action. It is premised on rational thinking, which posits that factual evidence can limit subjective bias in humanitarians’ call for change. Data has come to be a cornerstone of this turn towards reason, aggregating human stories in numbers and percentages, which when reaching an elusive threshold is expected to persuade decision-makers to act. This article claims that the prominence of data and facts comes at the cost of understanding people’s concerns and aspirations, and reveals an increasingly emotions-scarce and morally depleted humanitarian enterprise. Examining Médecins Sans Frontières concept of témoignage, the article argues that the pull between reason and emotion crystallises a more profound tension between the need for a professional and technical humanitarianism as opposed to a political and morally charged one. It concludes that the prism of solidarity can help reinvigorate humanitarian advocacy helping reconcile reason with emotion, combining practices of advocacy with those of activism, in turn creating the foundations of a more solidarist humanitarianism.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
James W. Peterson

NATO’s admission of three classes of a total of twelve former communist states and republics took place in the years 1999, 2004, and 2009. Each of the admitted states had undergone a preparation process known as the Partnership for Peace. The Russian reaction was very negative, as they strengthened their own military in response and also complained that NATO had now moved to their doorstep. At the alliance’s Bucharest Summit in 2008, NATO made the strategically important decision to deny admission to both Georgia and Ukraine. This denial may have strengthened the Russian resolve to invade the first in 2008 and the second in 2014. After the Russian absorption of Crimea, NATO tactics bolstered the position of other vulnerable states but also angered Russian leaders.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Political differences yield to economic rivalry
James W. Peterson

Both America and Russia, for different reasons, decided to undertake a policy pivot towards Asia. For President Obama, such a pivot may have represented a needed change from preoccupation with tough issues in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan. President Putin may have looked East in an effort to get away from constant preoccupation with issues related to Crimea and the eastern edge of Europe. The Asian-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) offered a common forum of communication for both wth other Asian states. However, both powers had different historical reasons for pursuing the overture to Asian states. For the United States, a major defense agreement with South Korea was a result of the Korean War of the 1950s, while its long engagement in the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 70s provided it with additional historical experiences in the region. Russia concerned itself with intensified trade relations and also defined the region to include Central Asian states that had formerly been republics in the Soviet Union. U.S. troops had been a presence in the region for decades, and the multi-state controversy over Chinese actions in the South China Sea also bore in part a defensive component.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Duality of détente in the 1970s and neo-Cold War in the 1980s
James W. Peterson

During the late Cold War there was a serious effort by leaders in both capitals to defuse the tension and conflict that characterized their relationship during the 1950s and 60s. Commitments by both sides to the details of soft power approaches such as negotiating arms agreements such as SALT and the Helsinki Accords eased the climate of hostility somewhat, while the rise to power of Mikhail Gorbachev, with his emphasis on perestroika and other aspects of reform, resulted in considerable retraction of the Soviet military both in size and from various points of involvement such as Afghanistan. However, there was usually either continuing underlying neo-Cold War tension between the two or vacillation between steps forward and backward. The initial Soviet move into Afghanistan combined with emergence of Marxist forces in locations such as Nicaragua kept American leaders in a state of military readiness. Provocative moves such as the build-up of the American nuclear arsenal under President Reagan in the 1980s were combatitive in tone with regard to Soviet leaders. Thus, positive and negative features combined in an uneasy mix at the end of the Cold War.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Abstract only
Theoretical approaches and a path from the Crimea to stability
James W. Peterson

In terms of the ten theoretical approaches presented in Chapter One, the balance of power model carried the most explanatory force in tracing the evolution of the Russian-American relationship. The multipolar model also was strong in depicting the impact on Russian-American relations by other interested states, and it also is useful in studying the impact of that relationship on other nations and their leaders. Further, realism is the best theoretical tool in characterizing motives behind many policy initiatives of the two states. As a result, there were many points at which erosion in the relationship occurred. Their very different reactions to the Syrian civil war was one major example, but so also were continuing military provocations. Russians carried out numerous military exercises in very sensitive border regions, while the West was able to use NATO capabilittes to set up deterrents to Russian ambitions. However, convergence between the two did occur in some ways. Russian-American diplomatic tactics were minimal but meaningful, while President Putin also reached out in unexpected ways to nations such as Iran and Greece. American contacts were those of reassurance to Ukraine and the anxious states in the Baltic region as well as Poland.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Collapse of the Soviet Union and allied victory in the Persian Gulf War
James W. Peterson

The two unrelated events of the break-up of the Soviet Union and the allied victory in the Persian Gulf War made the year 1991 a significant turning point for both Moscow and Washington. A full fifteen nations emerged from the shell of the former Soviet Union, while revolutions in the formerly communist managed states of East Europe led to the emergence of democratic forms in all of them. The resulting Russian state was much smaller and weaker than the Soviet state that it supplanted. In contrast, American power surged forth with the coordinated victory in the Persian Gulf War over Iraq, after its invasion of Kuwait, that restored U.S. military credibility after the quagmire of the War in Southeast Asia. New doctrinal formulations emerged on both sides with the new Russian Constitution of 1993 that paralled the rise of the Yeltsin government, and with the New World Order as articulated for a time by the George H.W. Bush administration. The resulting imbalance of power was a major change from the dynamics of the Cold War but also a prod to the ambitions of Russian leaders like Vladimir Putin. However, balance remained with the mutual negotiations that characterized START diplomacy.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Abstract only
From the Cold War to the Crimea: a bumpy road
James W. Peterson

The Introduction will present key themes of each of the ten individual chapters to follow, in an effort to highlight the twists and turns of the Russian-American relationship in each. There will be particular importance placed on five analytical models as well as five theories that illuminate the key aspects of this evolving relationship. To what extent do the case studies, models, and theories explain either the convergence between the two powers or the erosion of good feeling between them? The images of their two symbolic eagles and parallel anthems will make memorable the analysis.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world
Bosnia in 1992–95 and Kosovo in 1999
James W. Peterson

The historic Russian interest in the Balkans cmpeted with the American-led, changed NATO mission to generate considerable conflict in the immediate aftermath of the 1991 break-up of Yugoslavia. During the ensurng Balkan Wars, American and Russian interests clashed continuously during the Bosnian civil war of 1992-95. Further, the distinctiveness of the Kosovo republic within the shrunken Yugoslavia intensified these American-Russian differences. NATO air strikes took place both under the sponsorship of Operation Allied Force in Bosnia and in response to Serbian military incursions its own republic of Kosovo that included a 90% Muslim population. Conversations continued sporadically after completion of the NATO-Russian Founding Act in 1997, but military initiatives by the West threw them off the tracks.

in Russian-American relations in the post-Cold War world