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Political History of Zimbabwe Since 1980  

Ushehwedu Kufakurinani

The political history of Zimbabwe has been one of radical shifts and turns. Winning its political independence from white minority rule in 1980, Zimbabwe emerged as a promising nation. The new prime minister, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, preached hope and reconciliation. There was euphoria at independence as the nation celebrated political freedom achieved through war and highly emotive negotiations at Lancaster House Conference. Before the first half of the decade passed, the new government was already engaged in a war against its citizens, dubbed Gukurahundi. By the end of the decade, it was also clear that its socialist rhetoric and corruption, among other things, were plunging the nation into an economic crisis, which drove the nation into the jaws of the IMF and World Bank. The economic crisis only worsened, and the so-called neoliberal era in the 1990s sent the nation into an economic quagmire. The economy has always been inextricably intertwined with the politics of the country. Political (mis)calculations triggered economic problems, while on other occasions the reverse was true. The years 2000–2009, in particular, were truly a lost decade. The century began with the controvertible Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). After a period of extreme political tensions in the country, a Government of National Unit (GNU) was established in 2009 in which the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), and the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), came to form a government. The period from 2010 to 2013 seemed to offer some relief to the nation, partly as a result of the GNU. However, this honeymoon was short-lived. As soon as ZANU PF regained power after the contested 2013 elections, there was a noticeable decline of the economy. Meanwhile, as the economy melted, power struggles intensified within ZANU PF. These reached their peak in 2017, culminating in what has come to be known as the November coup that saw the demise of Mugabe and the takeover by his deputy, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, as president. The post-coup era in Zimbabwe has been a period of political drama and deeper economic challenges.


Bahrain: The Army and the Dynamics of State-Society Relations  

Laurence Louër

In contrast with some of its Gulf neighbors, Bahrain cannot develop a more socially embedded military institution that would be the engine of an inclusive nation-building process. This is because of the peculiar nature of its state–society relations, which are plagued by mutual distrust between the ruling Al Khalifa family, who hail from the country’s Sunni minority, and a great part of the Shia majoritarian population. As a result, the security apparatus, and the army in particular, recruits almost exclusively from the ruling family, its Sunni tribal allies, and foreigners. Totally insulated from the Shia society, the militaries never participated, nor will ever participate, in mass politics, which have been mostly driven by Shia-dominated protests. The noncompromise option taken by the incumbents following the mass protest of 2011 has entailed a shift toward a hard form of authoritarianism in which the security apparatus has emerged as a key actor of political control. The regime is increasingly militarized as the Al Khalifa militaries have acquired a growing weight in the politics of dynastic factionalism, with the militaries now being in crucial positions to influence not only the kingdom’s policies but also the internal balances within the ruling dynasty.


The Fall of the Inca Empire  

R. Alan Covey

Popular accounts of the European invasion of the Inca Empire emphasize a single event—Francisco Pizarro’s capture of the Inca warlord Atahuallpa at Cajamarca on November 16, 1532—as a definitive moment of conquest. Historical and archaeological scholarship tells a more complicated story. Recent studies of the Incas have shown their empire to be less powerful than once believed, relying on the cooperation of powerful men and women whose personal and family interests did not always align with the policies of the state. When the ruler Huayna Capac died suddenly in a pandemic that swept through the central Andes, the ensuing sovereign crisis intensified factionalism and provincial resistance, culminating in a devastating civil war in which Atahuallpa and his army of frontier veterans triumphed. After unsuccessful voyages of exploration, Pizarro and his men entered Inca territory in this uncertain atmosphere, intent on plundering and colonizing the Andes. Encouraged by provincial lords, they sought out Atahuallpa, captured him, and held him for ransom. With the most powerful Inca lord a prisoner, Andean elites quickly pivoted to formulate new tactics for gaining or holding onto power. For several years, the invaders looked less like conquerors and more like Inca allies or subjects who quickly grafted themselves onto existing power structures. Although there was fierce resistance to Spanish plundering in the mid-1530s, Pizarro and his companions survived because of their alliances with Inca nobles and other Andean elites, who accepted the status of a subject nobility. As Spanish monarchs claimed Inca sovereignty, the imperial titles (Inca and Coya) became entwined with the Spanish nobility, but the legacy of the Inca continued to inspire ordinary Andean people to resist Spanish colonial rule.


Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis  

Jeffrey S. Lantis and Ryan Beasley

Comparative foreign policy analysis (CFP) is a vibrant and dynamic subfield of international relations. It examines foreign policy decision making processes related to momentous events as well as patterns in day-to-day foreign interactions of nearly 200 different states (along with thousands of international and nongovernmental organizations). Scholars explore the causes of these behaviors as well as their implications by constructing, testing, and refining theories of foreign policy decision making in comparative perspective. In turn, CFP also offers valuable lessons to government leaders. This article surveys the evolution of CFP as a subfield over time, with special attention to its contributions to academic understanding and policymaking. It begins with a review of the characteristics and contributions of CFP, followed by acknowledgment of early works that helped establish this area of study. The next section of the article reviews major thematic focuses of CFP, including theories of international pressures and factors that may drive state foreign policy as well as strong foundations in studies of domestic politics. Key internal actors and conditions that can influence state foreign policies include individual leaders, institutions and legislatures, bureaucratic organizations and government agencies, and public opinion and nongovernmental organizations. Following this survey of actors and contemporary theories of their role in foreign policy decision-making, the article develops two illustrations of new directions in CFP studies focused on political party factions and role theory in comparative perspective.