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  • Author: June Teufel Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Palm Beach heaved a collective sigh of relief as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plane lifted off from the county airport. Gone were the noisy cheers of his supporters and the anti-Xi banners and jeers of Falongong practitioners, human rights advocates, and admirers of Tibet and Taiwan. The Palm Beach Post reverted from moment-to-moment briefings from the chief of police on street blockages and security precautions to issues of more immediate concern like rip tides and coverage of the Master’s golf tournament competition. Members of Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago private club, whose initiation fee had doubled to $200,000 after his election, could now return to accessing the privileges for which they had paid so handsomely.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: David Danelo
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: “You should have said something,” a perturbed Chilean university professor tells me in Spanish, soon after we disembarked from a bus in Córdoba, Mexico. Wearing combat boots, fatigues, and a shaved head with scrubby facial hair, the short, slender, middle-aged man had watched me get inspected three times by Mexican migration and military personnel while traveling north from the Mexico-Guatemala border. At each checkpoint, I was the only passenger who drew attention; my passport and documents permitting me to travel through Mexico were scrutinized, and each compartment in my backpack was unzipped. The Chilean, who looked like he could have been in the military himself, claimed he was an advisor to Mexican border forces. “They were profiling you. They are not supposed to do that.” I laughed. Of course, they were profiling me. I look exactly like what I am: a gringo; a güero; an American. Given the attitude the United States government has directed recently towards Mexico, why wouldn’t I be a primary target for extra security screenings? I considered myself fortunate that Mexican authorities were content with seeing my passport and searching my backpack. All things considered, it was a courteous reprieve
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Artyom Lukin
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Russia is now the only major country that is on more or less friendly terms with Pyongyang. Its current economic leverage with the North comes mostly from the importation of North Korean labor, which provides Pyongyang with a vital source of cash. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) trusts no person or country, but it probably distrusts Russia much less than China and the United States. This dynamic gives Russia a potential diplomatic role in the North Korean problem. The Kremlin does not support using high pressure tactics against Pyongyang, especially military options, as it might have unpredictable and disastrous consequences for the entire Northeast Asian region. Moscow is committed to the denuclearization of North Korea, but sees it as a long-term goal, while the most realistic objective at present should be a North Korean nuclear and missile moratorium, or “freeze.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: China’s increased engagement in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe has aroused concerns in Europe that China is pursuing a divisive strategy. Its primary goal, however, is to use the region as a gateway to Western Europe’s markets while including the EU in its own Eurasian integration project; in Beijing’s view, a robust regulatory EU is doubtless preferable to a fragmented Europe. China’s deepening involvement in the region could nevertheless increase economic divisions within the EU as whole. As a trade triangle emerges involving China, Germany, and the Visegrad states, the “German-Central European manufacturing core” potentially stands to gain at the expense of the EU’s Atlantic and southern European member states. Germany must address this risk with a triple strategy that balances national interest, EU cohesion, and engagement with China. This involves, first, working with the Visegrad Four, with other European countries, and with EU institutions to forge a deeper and more effective cooperation with China to enhance transport connectivity and economic modernization, particularly in the Western and Eastern Balkans. Second, Germany should increase pressure on China to open up the Chinese domestic market to ensure mutual access. And third, it should promote forward-looking European industrial policy centered on the digitalization of value and supply chains for Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe. This would allow Germany to prevent intra-European divisions from deepening, while taking advantage of its triangular relations with China and the countries of Central Europe and fostering mutually advantageous integration across Eurasia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sergey Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus continues to be critically important to Eurasian security. The outbreak of fighting in April 2016 between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh introduced new uncertainty and confrontation to the region. Russia’s policies here are crucial, as they are in the region’s other ethno-political conflicts, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Sergey Markedonov offers an insider’s perspective on the Kremlin’s involvement in the region, highlighting its security concerns and stressing that Russia is not taking a universal approach to all of the post-Soviet conflict zones. While the “Western” political and expert community often assumes that territorial revisionism is a kind of idée fixe within Russia, this is far from the case. Each situation demands an indi- vidual response from Moscow, as it weighs and pursues its own interests. This in turn explains the improbability of “Crimean situations” multiplying in the South Caucasus. The region undoubtedly harbors risks of confrontation – not only between Russia and the countries of the immediate region but also with such large powers as the US, the EU, Turkey, and Iran – but it also holds several opportunities for cooperation.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: A Macron presidency could be the last chance for liberal-minded politicians to reform France and the EU. Failure to do so may pave the way in ve years’ time for a far-right or far-left president who would then begin undoing the EU
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This was meant to be a Brexit election to strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand. The result was precisely the opposite. Her management of the Brexit process has become a long sequence of own goals: quit the customs union and single market; watch EU agencies relocate to the continent, including importantly for medicines and banking; banking jobs begin to relocate; science, research and academia see their interests harmed; the budget settlement prospect becomes a big new negative; the Irish border question threatens; immigration from the EU is already declining and various sectors from fruit-picking to the national health service are at risk. Moreover, the UK’s economic growth has slowed down and is now forecast to drop to 1% in 2018; the pound has lost 13% since the referendum; inflation is up; and consumer spending is down. The only solace available to Mrs May is that the Scots seem to be having second thoughts about independence. But this election was her biggest own goal yet. The credibility of her Brexit negotiation method is shattered. She thought the British people could be satisfied with slogans about “Brexit means Brexit”, or “getting the best deal for Britain”, and the now notorious “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Above all there was the failure to define and communicate a credible negotiation strategy. The Brexit White Paper of February 2017 contained serious contradictions, insisting that the UK should get ‘seamless’ market access while still leaving the customs union and the single market.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political stability, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The task of finding a solution to the legal status of non-British EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit is exercising the best minds in the European Union at the moment. As the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations rightly underline, “The United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption,…Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights”. These guidelines also place special emphasis on the priority to ensure reciprocal guarantees in safeguarding the rights derived from EU law of EU and UK citizens and their families affected by Brexit, effective from the date of withdrawal. The latest idea floating in the media is that the UK should naturalise the non-British EU nationals living there (possibly numbering 3 million) as British citizens. This solution has been commonly called “giving them all passports”, but for an individual to qualify for a passport, s/he must hold the nationality of the state of issuance. Is this a serious policy option? It is certainly original and has the benefit of shifting the burden of dealing with this question back onto the UK – enlarge your population and keep good relations with your neighbours. But there are at least four challenging questions that deserve careful consideration.
  • Topic: Citizenship, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Bruton
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper presents the testimony delivered by John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland, on 27 April 2017, before the Seanad Special Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The Special Committee was established by the Seanad on February 27th to consider the implications of Brexit for Ireland. Mr Bruton began his testimony by commending the committee for its work and also the government for ensuring, through effective diplomacy, that the particular problems of Ireland have been publicly recognised in the negotiating positions of both the EU 27 and the UK.
  • Topic: Brexit
  • Political Geography: Ireland
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A team of economists at CEPS was commissioned by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection to assess the likely economic impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession. For the EU 27, the losses were found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticeable in the aggregate. For the UK, however, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates running up to ten times greater as a share of GDP. Impacts on some member states – in particular Ireland – and some sectors in the EU27 could be more pronounced than the average for the EU27. Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow, Matthias Busse is Researcher, Mattia Di Salvo is Research Assistant, Daniel Gros is Director and Jacques Pelkmans is Senior Research Fellow – all at CEPS.
  • Topic: Economics, Brexit, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Milan Elkerbout
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement represents a setback for global climate action. But the damage will be felt more in political and diplomatic terms than in terms of climate policy or reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which depend at least in the near term on domestic climate policies. The election of Donald Trump and the strong Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress that accompanied his election immediately dispelled any hope that the US would implement or maintain ambitious climate policies. Indeed, in the first months of his Presidency, Trump signed an executive order to review (and thus likely roll back) President Obama’s landmark climate policy – the Clean Power Plan. The latter initiative aimed to reduce power-sector emissions by 32% by 2030 through federal legislation. Other US climate policies, such as vehicle standards and methane regulations, are also destined for the axe. Taken collectively, these measures will make it very difficult for the country to meet its Paris pledge of reducing GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005, even if another personality occupies the White House by 2021. 1 Improving fundamentals for renewable energy may still allow the US to reach its 2020 target of a 17% reduction in emissions compared to 2005. But the difference between this target and the formal pledge made by the US in Paris is roughly equal to the annual emissions of the entire transport sector in the EU.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For years, the eurozone has been perceived as a disaster area, with discussions of the monetary union’s future often centred on a possible breakup. When the British voted to leave the European Union last year, they were driven partly by the perception of the eurozone as a dysfunctional and possibly unsalvageable project. Yet, lately, the eurozone has become the darling of financial markets – and for good reason. The discovery of the eurozone’s latent strength was long overdue. Indeed, the eurozone has been recovering from the crisis of 2011-12 for several years. On a per capita basis, its economic growth now outpaces that of the United States. The unemployment rate is also declining – more slowly than in the US, to be sure, but that partly reflects a divergence in labour-force participation trends.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: CEPS researchers Mikkel Barslund, Mehtap Akgüç, Nadzeya Laurentsyeva and Lars Ludolph are among the contributors to the 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe, produced by the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM). The report explores ways in which responsibility for refugees can be fairly distributed – globally and within the EU – and how we can curb irregular migration while expanding legal immigration to the benefit of all concerned. CEPS is one of three research institutes working on this multi-year project, alongside the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute. For more information on the MEDAM project, which is funded by Stiftung Mercator
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Lars Ludolph
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that none of the secular trends that have driven down real interest rates over the past two decades is likely to reverse in the near future. Thus, real rates can be expected to remain low and government debt-servicing costs to decrease further over the coming years. Based on these findings, the authors calculate direct gains accruing to the Belgian government from lower net debt interest payments. The savings on interest payments are then contrasted with the projected future increases in age-related expenditures on pensions, education and long-term care. The findings indicate that, if savings on interest payments are channelled to cover the increases in age-related expenditures, they will fully offset financing needs in these areas until 2030. The calculations are robust to a moderate increase in interest rates.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Belgium
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global impact of oil’s fall from $100 plus to under $50 a barrel has not gotten as much attention as I think it deserves. For most oil exporters, it has been a profound shock—one that forced such a massive contraction in imports that it pulled down global trade (far more than the trade remedies that tend to dominate the ‘trade” news). A few countries adjusted quickly and relatively efficiently (Russia), though not painlessly. A few have struggled to adapt—notably, because of its large external debt, poor policies, and growing political crisis, Venezuela.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zvi Magen, Udi Dekel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The arrangement between the United States and Russia over southern Syria represents a test, both for the chances of jumpstarting a coordinated process between the world powers over a future settlement in Syria and for the relations between them on other contested issues. Israel was not mentioned in the context of the ceasefire arrangement, but it has scored several achievements. Nonetheless, Israel is likely to confront an attempt by President Assad to advance forces to southwest Syria and the Golan Heights. Because Assad’s forces rely on help from Iran’s proxies – Shiite militias and Hezbollah – Israel may have to fulfill a counter-threat if any of the red lines it announced are crossed.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Ephraim Kam, Zaki Shalom
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Senior officials within the Iranian regime have long been convinced that American administrations have striven to infiltrate Iran’s internal system and topple the Islamic regime, and this impression has been bolstered of late. For its part, even if the Trump administration has not presented a defined position on regime change in Iran, it undoubtedly has a clear interest in this regard. Yet the US administration has no concrete ability to bring about regime change in Iran in the desired direction – not by supporting internal opposition forces, and certainly not through military intervention. If the Iranian regime does change in the future, it will presumably result from internal processes and not external intervention.
  • Topic: War, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Raz Zimmt
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The new government proposed by President Hassan Rouhani is the first significant evidence of his intentions, priorities, and limits of power. While forming his government, the President was forced to balance the opposing forces in the Iranian political system. The composition of the government reflects his wish to avoid open conflict with the religious establishment, led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his intention to place the economic crisis at the top of his government's priorities, even at the expense of civic reforms. His decision to ignore calls for reforms and the failure to include women and minorities in the government have already sowed disappointment and drawn criticism from broad sections of the public that supported him in the last elections. However, public support depends to a large extent on actual policies and success in realizing promises, mainly in the area of the economy. Putting economic matters at the top of the agenda for his new government requires cooperation with other centers of power in Iran, above all, the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards. This means that with regard to foreign affairs and security issues no significant changes in Iranian policy are expected.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Emily Landau
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: While North Korea’s recent nuclear tests significantly raised the level of fear in the United States, they were not a surprise. North Korea, long a nuclear state, is a dangerous nuclear proliferator that has shirked international commitments. Pyongyang issues highly aggressive rhetoric toward the United States and its regional neighbors on a regular basis; it flaunts its nuclear capability and threatens to use it, and tends to share nonconventional know-how and technologies. And herein lies a link to Tehran: as Iran also remains motivated in the nuclear realm despite the JCPOA, the direct implications of North Korea's activities for Iran's nuclear program must be under constant scrutiny. The indirect implications for dealing with Iran's nuclear motivation invoke the ability to rely on negotiations to stop a determined proliferator. The North Korean case of failed negotiations must be heeded when thinking about Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Amos Yadlin, Gilead Sher
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The perspective of twelve years since Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank confirms that this significant political and security-related event was a correct strategic decision. Regarding the West Bank, it appears that unilateral disengagement as a stand-alone event will not repeat itself. However, a political and security independent process with similar attributes could enable Israel to continue striving for a reality of two states for two peoples, based on a gradual, secure, and responsible end to Israel’s control over the Palestinian people. Efforts should be made to reach agreement with the Palestinians regarding interim measures throughout transitional stages. However, if it becomes clear that an agreement cannot be reached, measures should be implemented independently (regardless of Palestinian consent) aimed at improving Israel’s situation without impairing its security. These measures will need to be carried out in close coordination with the United States and in accordance with US-Israel understandings.
  • Topic: Civil War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The crisis concerning the Temple Mount that erupted in July 2017 appears to have ebbed. Despite predictions to the contrary, the Middle East is not ablaze; peoples and leaders of the region remain preoccupied with other crises; and there is no third intifada at Israel’s doorstep. At the same time, the attack on the Temple Mount that left two Israeli policemen dead brought on serious additional consequences, including the murders in Halamish, the tension with Jordan, worsened relations between Israel’s Jewish population and its Arab sector, and further erosion of Israel’s vague sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Daniel Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Jerusalem’s holy sites have a way of asserting strategic significance far beyond what their simple physical presence would suggest. Events in the aftermath of the shooting of two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount highlight this truth. So it was with respect to the Kotel (Western Wall) a month earlier, albeit in a non- security context. Following the Israeli government’s decision to reverse course on an agreement with the liberal streams of Judaism and Diaspora representatives to establish a third section of the Kotel for egalitarian prayer, a crisis erupted that has called into question Israel’s very relationship with Diaspora communities, first and foremost the American Jewish community, which has been steadfast in its support of the US-Israel bilateral relationship. The sense of crisis was deepened further by a separate government decision to advance a law on conversion that could call into question the validity of conversions when Jews converted by Reform and Conservative rabbis overseas come to Israel.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension on the Temple Mount and the crisis between Israel and Jordan following the attack on a security guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman need more than ad hoc solutions that leave the basic situation unresolved and the strategic opportunities untapped. Israel would do well to seize the political and operational initiative before international and regional entities do, and propose, inter alia, an international meeting on steps that can prevent radical entities from violating freedom of worship and freedom of access to the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Judaism and Islam. The proposals on the Temple Mount issue relate to another key issue, namely, Israel’s response to key regional changes - the accelerated weakening of Arab political unity and the strengthening of the parties threatening the survival of the moderate Arab regimes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Carmit Padan, Jael Eshkenazi
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) estimates that in the past 20 years, approximately 1.3 million people were killed and approximately 4.5 billion were affected by natural disasters, including earthquakes. Yet the number of casualties caused by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 varied sharply from the number of casualties caused by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011. The earthquake in Haiti was of similar magnitude as the major quake in Christchurch, but the human toll was significantly higher: 185 people were killed in the Christchurch earthquake, versus an estimated number of more than 220,000 killed in Haiti. Clearly, then, it is not the magnitude of the disaster or natural hazard that determines its impact.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Haiti
  • Author: Sima Shine, Raz Zimmt, Anna Catran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards that was evident during the presidential election campaign has intensified in recent weeks and evolved into a confrontation that is unprecedented in its openly severe nature. The current confrontation surrounds two main issues: Iran’s missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria, and President Rouhani’s criticism of the Revolutionary Guards’ involvement in the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Zvi Magen, Udi Dekel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The first meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin since Trump entered the White House took place in Hamburg, during the G20 summit of July 7-8, 2017. Relations between the two powers have been marked by tension over disagreements on various areas of conflict around the world, and from the reports in the United States about alleged contacts between Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign and Russian cyber interference in the election process. Tensions rose further when US forces attacked pro-Assad coalition forces in Syria and when Russia opposed the condemnation of North Korea in the Security Council regarding Pyonyang’s long range missile program. Nonetheless, reports were that the meeting between the leaders, which lasted longer than planned, was constructive, though very few details about the conversation itself or any agreements reached were provided, other than an announcement on the agreement to impose a ceasefire in southwestern Syria and establish a de-escalation zone there.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The agenda alone of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7-8, 2017 was not sufficient to draw the world’s attention. Although the forum brings together the leaders of the world’s 19 leading economies and the European Union, representing two thirds of the global population and 80 percent of the global GDP, it generally draws little more than thousands of demonstrators protesting globalization. This summit, however, generated much interest as it provided the stage for personal meetings between leaders, some the first of their kind, such as between Presidents Trump and Putin. In addition, at the summit Trump had to confront the other 19 leaders directly on some trade issues and the Paris Agreement, and the summit itself took place while eyes were also directed eastward, starting just after North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Assaf Orion
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Recent weeks have witnessed a change in the public position on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) among high ranking IDF personnel. Senior IDF officers have addressed Hezbollah’s military activity in Lebanon, regarding both the Iranian-supported production of weapon systems in Lebanon and open, provocative intelligence gathering along the Blue Line. Prominent in this context was an exchange between IDF Deputy Chief of the General Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi and UNIFIL Commander Major General Michael Beary on June 11, 2017 during the visit to Israel by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. It was reported that after Beary praised the quiet in his Area of Responsibility, and said that there was no need for a change in UNIFIL activity in the sector, Kochavi took issue with this statement, saying that the Lebanese army was preventing UNIFIL forces from entering built-up areas, thereby abetting the continuation of Hezbollah activity in populated terrain.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Amos Yadlin, Avner Golov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: On July 4, 2017, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of flying a distance of over 6,000 kilometers. With the test, the first of its kind for Pyongyang, North Korea sought to highlight its ability to threaten United States territory, not merely American forces stationed in Northeast Asia. The missile, which was in the air for nearly 40 minutes, was launched specifically on American Independence Day, a few days after the meeting between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who favors a conciliatory approach to North Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The second decade of the twenty-first century has brought tremendous shifts in Israel's map of international relations, amounting to a new set of formal and informal alliances. The visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister the Honorable Narendra Modi (July 4-6, 2017) can be seen as one of the milestones in this process.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: India, Israel
  • Author: Kobi Michael
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Events of recent weeks in both nearby and distant arenas have reshuffled the cards vis-à- vis the state of affairs in the Gaza Strip. The result has been the emergence of possible conditions for change – that is, if Israel takes effective advantage of them and leverages them through cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states. Yahya Sinwar’s election as the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip was followed by Hamas’s issuing of a new policy document, and the decision of the pragmatic Sunni camp, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to sever ties with Qatar and impose sanctions on it. In addition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to reduce the Palestinian Authority’s payments for fuel destined for the power station in the Gaza Strip (a measure that has exacerbated the electricity crisis in Gaza), and Sinwar and a Hamas delegation went to Egypt for meetings with senior Egyptian intelligence officials and long-time Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Marco Giuli
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The United States (US) has always been a key player in the European Union’s energy security, as a supporter of its gas supply diversification plans. The Trump administration is underlining the US’ role as a gas exporter. This shift of tone from a strategic to a commercial approach risks furthering divisions and mistrust among European Union (EU) member states, with potential negative effects for the Energy Union.
  • Topic: Climate Finance, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alison Hunter
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Introduced as an ex ante conditionality in the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy, Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) require regions to develop smart priorities and direct investment efforts towards growth-oriented innovation. In the space of only four years, S3 has become widely regarded as a success story across the Cohesion Policy community, as a place-based driver of EU competitiveness. For some regions, it has offered scope to deepen existing practices. For others, S3 has introduced new approaches to achieving innovation-oriented growth. There is, however, quite some distance to cover if S3 is to accelerate its support role in delivering EU growth and investment. This would require redefining the role of S3 and re-positioning this in the post-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
  • Topic: Europe Union, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabian Zuleeg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: How best to support its industry has been a perennial issue for the European Union (EU). The Commission’s approach has been an attempt to mainstream industrial competitiveness across policy areas. But this hardly constitutes an adequate strategic industrial policy. The EU and its members must recognise that current global pressures require a common and forward-looking approach to ensure that European industry can thrive.
  • Topic: Financial Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Romain Pardo
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement will make its implementation more challenging. The United States (US) had been instrumental in brokering a successful deal in Paris and speeding the ratification process for an early entry into force of the agreement. While the US remains party to the agreement for the next four years, its involvement in upcoming international climate discussions remains uncertain. Meanwhile, policy developments in the country such as the "Energy Independence Executive Order" indicate that the current administration has currently no intention to fulfil the pledge made by the previous one to lower CO2 emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels in 2025.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Duff
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Following the start of the Brexit negotiations on 19 June, Andrew Duff reviews the state of play, namely the discussions on EU citizens’ rights, the Irish border, the financial commitments and the future role of the ECJ. He welcomes the Commission’s proposal to create a Joint Committee to manage the actual exiting process. Duff regrets the irresolution on the British side, which hampers the possibility to define the future relationship with the European Union and consequently the transitional arrangements that UK business so badly needs. Given the UK’s state of confusion after the electoral results of 2016 and 2017, he suggests that the EU must make an offer to London on the basis of a wider reflection on the future not just of the smaller European Union but of the wider Europe.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrew Duff
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: In this paper, Andrew Duff reviews the intended and unintended consequences of the results of last week’s general election. He argues that: 1. Since both Labour and Conservatives campaigned to complete Brexit, there will be no more talk of the possible revocation of Article 50. Brexit does indeed mean Brexit. 2. Now Brexit is free from the shadow of immediate electioneering. And the new composition of the House of Commons has improved the chances that if there is an Article 50 treaty it will be approved. 3. The unintended consequence of the snap election has been to make a softer Brexit more likely. Mercifully, we should not hear again that “no deal is better than a bad deal” as a bust up of the Article 50 talks would lead to the collapse of the May government and the holding of another general election, much-feared by the Conservative party.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: After four months in office, the Trump administration has not triggered a revolution in US foreign policy but is shaking up the status quo. The path-breaking decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change reflects the president's abrasive 'America first' rhetoric. On a range of other issues, long-established patterns and commitments have been challenged so far more in words than in deeds. However, the mix of nationalism and pragmatism, ideology and realism, improvisation and policy reversals that Trump's foreign policy approach displays has begun to significantly affect the profile and perceptions of the US in the world. Under Trump, the US is shifting away from its traditional role as ultimate guarantor of the international liberal order at increasing speed.
  • Topic: Political stability, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Fuad Olajuwon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In recent news, North Korea has been the hot button issue with governments and bureaucrats alike. The geopolitical nature of the country leaves many world leaders apprehensive as to what will happen next. Recent missile tests conducted by Pyongyang as well as brazen rhetoric spouted by Kim Jong Un towards neighboring countries poses a threat as to what actions North Korea will take moving forward. While it’s interesting to note the movements of the country in question, the reaction of the other nations in the region have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance of power. So the questions remain the same; is North Korea an aggressive force that has the resources and capability to fracture East Asian relations? Or can countries use these events to craft a new reality to preserve the sanctity of their respective states?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Critical reviews of hard-hitting commentaries on urgent global issues are published periodically by Project Syndicate as part of their Issue Adviser series. In the latest instalment, below, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation assesses the populist threat to globalization and international trade and considers arguments by economists such as Kaushik Basu, Jeffrey Frankel, Laura Tyson and other commentators
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gonzalo Escribano
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: This analysis addresses changes in the Euro-Mediterranean strategic context and the erosion of the economic incentives built into Euro-Mediterranean policy to deal with such transformation. It also puts the case for a reformulation of Euro-Mediterranean policies, but argues that, rather than pursuing an incremental continuity, the EU should engineer a more radical overhaul of its mechanisms of governance, its instruments and its discourse.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francisco de Borja
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Spain faces its worst constitutional crisis since the failed 1981 coup d’état, driven by Brexit­ style populism A romantic framing of foreign crises where self-determination is involved is a common trap. The imagery of “oppressors” vs “freedom fighters” is appealing and, to their credit, the leaders of Catalonia have been successful in promoting their agenda abroad in just such terms – sometimes going as far as referencing Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. Combined with the soft power appeal of cosmopolitan Barcelona, there is much confusion abroad on the nature of the current crisis in Catalonia, and myths and stereotypes abound – helped by the likes of Assange and similar figures. This article seeks to test some of these myths, in order to shed light not only on the Catalonian referendum debate but on the wider issues for pluralistic democracies and the rule of law. The dynamics in the Catalan debate are similar to those at play in other European countries in the age of populism and are therefore of fundamental importance for the future of Europe as a whole.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group (AIHSG) is a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts who convene periodically to discuss these issues and to make recommendations to policy makers. To ensure the Department of Homeland Security makes further progress toward securing the homeland against ever evolving threats the AIHSG urges the President, Secretary, and Congress enact their recommendations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Palamar
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In July 2015, the Islamic Republic of Iran, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, signed on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement in which Iran would put substantial and verifiable limits on its nuclear science and engineering activities in exchange for sanctions relief. Many observers hailed the agreement as an important — if imperfect — tool for keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Former US President Barack Obama argued that “the United States, our partners, and the world are more secure because of the JCPOA.”
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The increasing rate of emerging and reemerging zoonotic disease, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to exert more effort to eliminate vulnerabilities and reduce consequences associated with America’s agricultural sector. The Food and Agriculture (F&A) critical infrastructure sector produces, processes, and delivers the systems and commodities that feed billions of people and animals throughout the United States and globally. In 2015, the agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $992 billion (5.5%) to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), making it one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. Given its critical importance to food safety and availability in the United States and around the world, protecting this sector is a matter of national security. Federal agencies; state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments; academic institutions; and industry partners all contribute to and are responsible for this vast enterprise. Our lives, culture, economy, and livelihood depend on their efforts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina Shea
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony Before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: William Schneider
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Analysis of Catalonia's independence bid.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Spain, Catalonia
  • Author: Jeffrey Bleich
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: We grew up in a century defined by the Second Industrial Revolution. Today, that revolution is being eclipsed by a Digital Revolution. The uncertainty that we are experiencing in every aspect of our society is the same disorientation that occurred between 1870 and 1910 when the first Industrial Revolution ended and a second one began.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roger R Ream
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) was founded in 1967 with a mission focused on influencing the intellectual climate in the world by giving young people entering leadership positions a balanced perspective on political and economic systems. It was founded in the heat of the Cold War and during a period of growing unrest and even violent upheaval on college campuses. Many of the founders of the organization were actively engaged in international programs, including former Congressman Walter Judd and political organizer David R. Jones.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Monica Damberg-Ott
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, or IVLP, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of exchange programs th within the public diplomacy community. The program celebrated its 75 anniversary in 2015, and more than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 505 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government,1 since its inception in 1940. Margaret Thatcher, Hamid Karzai, and Indira Gandhi, to name just a few, are alumni. But with recent budget constraints and the need to demonstrate immediate, results-driven programming, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is placing greater emphasis on its most flexible rapid-response exchanges. Among those programs is the highly adaptable and policy-responsive option: the IVLP On Demand. So how does it differ from the original model, how does it compare, and how might it help show results more quickly?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Edward M. Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: From a strategic perspective, Morocco’s decision to join the African Union (AU) 33 years after quitting the bloc illustrates King Mohammed VI’s vision of his country’s role on the continent as a platform for regional economic, political and security cooperation. It followed almost two decades of personal diplomatic efforts by the king to further Morocco’s goal of supporting greater regional and continental stability through common economic and political interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Robert Jackson
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Ghana is one of the leading democracies on the African continent, with multiple peaceful interparty transitions since the return of multi-party democracy in 1992; a good record on human rights; an apolitical military; and a lively, free media. Ghanaians often note that whenever the Republican Party wins the White House, Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins Jubilee House—a coincidental tradition that held true again in 2016. Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections were peaceful, transparent, and credible; U.S. engagement played a critical role in that success, as well as in the resulting peaceful transition of power.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ghana
  • Author: Thomas F Daughton
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: ust 27 years old, the Republic of Namibia is among Africa’s youngest countries, but one that stands out on the continent for its functioning multiparty democracy, open market economy and history of peaceful transitions of presidential power. The reasons for Namibia’s success lie in the international process that created it and in the pragmatism of its people. That international process and the United States’ involvement in it have also complicated the U.S.-Namibia relationship in the last three decades. But the United States has long recognized that an investment in the success of a country like Namibia is a strategic long-term investment in our own security. With that in mind, the United States has invested heavily since Namibian independence in 1990 to help ensure that the young country succeeds.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ghana
  • Author: Rose Gottemoeller
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: NATO is adapting rapidly to an evolving security situation by strengthening our deterrence and defense, and by working with our partners to project stability be
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Genci Mucaj
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: A few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine the regional transformation underway in the Middle East. From the Arab Spring to the rise of ISIS, to a catastrophic Syrian war, we see a Middle East in turmoil and crisis. While the region’s geopolitical map varies, the root causes of conflict remain the same.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Juan Pinzón Carlos
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The world has changed for Colombia. For the first time in more than 50 years, we are a nation building a lasting and stable peace. What has not changed is the special relationship Colombia shares with the United States. As the oldest and strongest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the relationship between our two countries is deeply rooted in our steadfast commitment to the shared values of democracy, freedom and equality.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This discussion paper, co-authored with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, proposes a new approach to conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of business operations or projects, which brings together project-affected people, the company, and other stakeholders to jointly design and implement an assessment. The aim of this new approach is to address one of the key challenges of current HRIA practices: the limited engagement and participation of relevant stakeholders, which can undermine effectiveness and trust.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Morgan Wesley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Nicolò Fasola
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to identify the enduring principles at the basis of Russian military thought, offering an alternative to the contemporary analytical mainstream – which deems Moscow’s military behavior to be revolutionary and unprecedented. This is based on comparative analysis of Russian official military discourse and practice between 2008 and 2016. Critical inspection of the two Military Doctrines approved during this timeframe and of various military drills will reveal a series of rhetorical and operational recurrences. Notwithstanding numerous changes at the international and domestic levels that could have had an impact on Russian military behavior, no substantive shift is distinguishable. These empirical findings will constitute the basis for a reconstruction of Russian military thought. Through a deductive method, we will be able to reconstruct the ultimate assumptions granting them logical coherence and legitimization. Far from being incomprehensible, Russian military thought will be presented as the adaptation of classical strategic principles to contemporary contingencies.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tamar Lagurashvili
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Invented Traditionalism vs. Entrenched Informal Institutions: Viability of Hybrid Governance and Democratization Prospects in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland is new discussion paper by former IIR independent researcher intern, Tamar Lagurashvili.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Central Africa
  • Author: Benjamin Tallis
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Benjamin Tallis, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations, seeks to examine such competing evaluations of the current state and future prospects of the CGSD.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David J. Firestein, Euhwa Tran
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The EastWest Institute has released a new report on U.S.-China relations—"Alternative” Strategic Perceptions in U.S.-China Relations. The report lays out the differing strategic perceptions of the United States and China with respect to some of the most topical and challenging issues on the U.S.-China agenda today. These starkly differing perceptions inform and exacerbate actual policy and fuel mistrust and broad mutual strategic suspicion. By exposing the diverging perceptions of the two countries and bringing those perceptions into the fabric of bilateral discourse more explicitly and honestly, this report creates the basis for a more honest, substantive, constructive, fruitful and mutually beneficial dialogue.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: An insecure supply of clean water raises the dangers of economic disruption, social tension, and even conflict over water resources at both the domestic and international levels. These dangers are highest where water is scarce and governance (at the domestic or international levels) is poor. Asia provides the most powerful illustration of water security risks, with significant challenges that affect both the water supply and demand sides, as well as important governance shortcomings. While there are enormous disparities across Asia in terms of this issue, the continent’s overall water outlook is discouraging. Much of Asia suffers from the consequences of investments in supply-side water infrastructure projects that have emphasised gigantic scale over the efficient use of water. These investments have often been made without adequate consideration of their economic, social, diplomatic and environmental costs, nor with much concern for long-term impact. The rapid pace and massive scale of Asian urbanization are placing new stresses on water demand, because city dwellers consume more water than their rural counterparts. Water experts and practitioners across Asia are fully aware of the continent’s many problems and are diligently working to overcome them. There will be no easy fix, however, because of Asia’s massive scale plus significant financial, political and institutional obstacles. As in other domains, there is no substitute for good governance. Widespread progress on the continent will occur when local, regional, and national leaders use good data and information to make the right decisions to manage water resources smartly and cooperatively over the long run.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Water, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since Egypt, Iran, and Israel have signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), they agree to the goal of prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons. As a building block towards the establishment of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East, they could jointly or concurrently ratify the CTBT, thus creating a de facto nuclear-test-free zone in the region that Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen could join. This could act as a confidence-building measure and facilitate the participation of these states in the activities of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO), which verifies compliance with the test ban.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On October 25, 2017, US Congress passed new sanctions against Lebanon’s Hezbollah to curb its political, economic and military activities as well as foreign relations. The three bills unanimously approved by the House of Representatives impose comprehensive sanctions against the Iran-backed terrorist group’s role after it has grown over the past years across the Middle East. In Syria, Iraq and Yemen in particular, Hezbollah stoked and took advantage of armed conflicts with one set goal in mind: achieving Iran’s policies.
  • Topic: International Security, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi government prioritizes rehabilitation of the oil sector in northern provinces, especially after it regained control of oil fields in Kirkuk and Mosul and forced out the Kurdish Peshmerga in mid-Octo- ber 2017. The government also plans to sign contracts with foreign companies to double production in northern Kirkuk and seeks to rehabilitate a pipeline between Kirkuk and the Turkish port of Ceyhan, that was massively damaged by several attacks in the past two years. However government efforts are facing several challenges.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The sudden resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri on October 4, 2017, may impose implications on the country’s economy, which showed signs of recovery over recent months. The recovery came on the heels of economic reforms introduced by the government and the parliament. The reforms, which included tax reforms and restructuring the oil industry, led to a rise in tourist arrivals and increasing confidence in the economy. The implications would hinge on how much time is need- ed to form a new government that would complete the economic measures initiated by its predecessor.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently signaled that Tehran will not change its position on the 2015 landmark nuclear deal or its role in the Middle East. During an October 29, 2017 session of the Consultative Assembly (the parliament), he emphasized that Iran will not hesitate to build, produce and store any weapon of any kind it needs to defend itself. He add- ed that Iran IS building missiles, and will continue to do so because this does not contradict international law and is not in conflict with the July 2015 UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran to suspend, for eight years, all specific research and development activities related to missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Regular armies, militias, terrorist organizations, opposition factions, international powers and rights organizations, all use dead bodies of ci- vilians, soldiers and police personnel during armed conflicts in the Middle East and beyond for various reasons. Identication of dead bodies has become a dilemma for conflict-hit countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Mali, due to prevalent security chaos and the destruction of healthcare infrastructure. Moreover, involved parties tend to announce a minimized official civilian and combatant toll using only the numbers of corpses that could be carried to hospitals.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Sudanese government recently introduced economic reforms to improve performance and attract more foreign investments. The reforms were initiated when the United States on October 6, 2017, lifted sanctions imposed on Sudan twenty years ago. Undoubtedly, the move represents a major shift for Sudan because it will help improve economic growth, stabilize the exchange market and attract more foreign capital in flows.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia recently conducted military strikes on several fronts in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, especially to the south in the border town of Boukamal. These strikes were conducted to retake ISIS’ last strong- holds in Syria after the liberation of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, in mid-October by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia. The militia, backed the US-led coalition, controls the east side of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor and now is in a frantic race with al-Assad’s forces to recapture Boukamal, where Russia’s use of air and naval re- power aims to settle the battle and consolidate its presence ahead of the coming political milestones in Syria.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Sahel and Sahara region has witnessed, in recent years, the emergence of a number of terrorist groups that adopt extremist ideologies, but with- out engaging with major cross-border terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda despite developing strong ties with them. The situation prompted views that these new groups are undeclared branches of the mother organization due, on the grounds that their ideology is, to a large extent, identical to that embraced by al-Qaeda. Moreover, these new groups show support to al-Qaeda’s terror attacks, which raises questions about the reasons why there are such groups that operate under various names and are, at the same time, keen to set themselves aside from al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under pressure from his political rivals, and the conservative fundamentalists in particular. His critics accused him of corruption and mismanagement and now call for his removal from the Expediency Discernment Council that, as per the constitution, sets the state’s higher policies and advises the Supreme Leader in disputes over legislation between the parliament and the Guardian Council of the Constitution. The Expediency Discern- ment Council is also charged with supervising parliament a airs and qualifying candidates for elections. .
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The nuclear deal, reached in mid-July 2015, has contributed towards improving relations between Iran and the world powers, especially after some of them signed new economic deals with Tehran. However, this has not driven Iran to change its policy on pending issues regarding dual citizens and foreigners recently detained over charges of spying or attempting to topple the regime.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran appears to be trying to repeat its experience of establishing paramilitary militias, which started after the fall of Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime in 1979. Yet, this time it is in neighboring countries. On Novem- ber 7 in Tehran, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, urged the visiting Pakistani Chief of Army Staff , General Qamar Javed Bajwa to establish a Pakistani version of the Iranian Basij militia to back the regular army. He even said Iran was ready to o er its experience to the neighboring Pakistan, and showed o his country’s experience in Syria and Iraq. He further claimed that their previous experiences succeeded in achieving their goals. However, his assertion is not consistent with the realities on the ground, because Iranian-led militias have exacerbated regional crises and blocked efforts to reach settlements.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Partial or complete disarmament of violent sub- state actors in border areas is a prerequisite for achieving domestic and regional stability. This applies to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, the Houthi group in Yemen, Shi’ite and Kurdish militias in Syria, the al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forc- es) in Iraq, tens of area-based armed groups in militias in Libya and tribal militias such as the Rapid Support Forces and the Janjaweed militia in Sudan. All these represent roving armies crossing soft borders.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo- gan continues his years-old pressure on the Central Bank to lower interest rates in a bid to encourage lending and consumption, and support the country’s economic growth, damaged by the mid-2016 failed coup attempt. The Turkish economic community considers that the move is highly risky, especially because of the possibility that the apex bank would lose credibility and weaken its ability to achieve monetary and financial stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Patrycja Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is solidifying his position and changes to the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia. His main objective is the forceful consolidation of the Arab camp against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Key decisions of Saudi foreign policy—the military intervention in Yemen, imposition of a blockade on Qatar, and pressure on the Lebanese government—have proven counterproductive. The continuation of this ill-advised policy is neither conducive towards the stability of the Middle East, nor to the Saudi posture and ability to form alliances.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: According to the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, winter will not stop intensified operations against the Taliban. With the increased U.S. and NATO troop level, Afghan forces will switch from defensive to offensive activities. Only stronger military pressure and other forms of influence taken together might impel the Taliban to negotiate with the government in Kabul. The political effects of the new strategy should be expected only in a longer-term perspective.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the International Olympic Committee excluding the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the importance for Russia’s authorities of the FIFA World Cup is increasing. World Cup competition will be held from 14 June to 15 July 2018. The tournament will be used in Russia’s internal politics, especially in the presidential campaign, and in relations with other countries to strengthen bilateral contacts and portray Russia as a country with a strong international position.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: The next presidential election in Ukraine is set for 31 March 2019. The parliamentary election to the 9th Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will take place on 27 October 2019. According to the latest survey conducted in October 2017, the following parties would be elected to the Parliament: «Petro Poroshenko Bloc «Solidarity» (13.6%), «Batkivshchyna» (10%), «Civic Position» party (8.9%), «Opposition Bloc» party (8.6%), «For Life» party (6.8%), the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko (6.5%), «Self Help» Union (5.9%). Others would not be able to cross the 5% threshold.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Before the bill “On the peculiarities of state policy on the restoration of Ukraine’s state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” is adopted, it needs some additional work.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT: TO EXECUTE IMPOSSIBLE TO PARDON determined by the level of people’s awareness, candidates’ hidden motives. Society must ask questions: who is the candidate, what does he seek, does he represent a particular person, or is he an independent law-maker? We have to ask ourselves as well. Because after the election campaign of 2014, many new deputies emerged, but they did not turn out to be who they positioned themselves as. The issue of the quality of parliamentarism is a deep one, it cannot be associated with a certain law, – it is connected with political culture that needs to be developed. Full text Kharkiv oblast, and Svatove in Luhansk oblast in 2015. This year, attention of the entire country was drawn to the fires in Balaklia, Kharkiv oblast in late March, and now – the one not far from Kalynivka, Vinnytsia oblast. situation, where the corruption search campaign across all levels of the government triad has brought Ukraine to the top of corrupt states list, and the judiciary is consistently and deliberately deprived of the lion’s share of public trust, the creation of a specialised anti-corruption court will bring the fight against corruption into a practical stage. Full text The court system is largely disoriented and demoralised. It is hard to predict the results of its next modernisation in the sense of its ability to bring all of its segments together to properly administer fair justice. Today, the expert and political community is awaiting the «finalising» of assembly of the new Supreme Court and the determination of prospects for creating the anti-corruption court, especially, methods and ways this issue is to be solved.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: In Ukraine, every President that comes to power aspires to change the Constitution of Ukraine, however, even this Constitution has hardly ever been abided by in the 20 years. Our civil society is still underdeveloped. We still experience only occasional surges – one Maidan, then another one, where the civil society shows itself. We still have not reached the point where civil society controls the government.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: The inability of the Constitutional Court to choose the new Chairman of theCCU in a closed meeting held recently is just the outside sign of existing problems accumulated inside and around this important state institution.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Commission created in early March 2015 by President Petro Poroshenko’s Decree has hardly stopped it work, as new rumours of yet another Constitutional change have started spreading inside Ukrainian information space and political environment. Citizens cannot make up their mind about the necessity of amending the Basic Law, as they are not aware of their fundamental constitutional rights. Razumkov Centre’s survey results in 2015 show that only 10% of Ukrainians are familiar with the text of the Constitution, while 40% – have never laid eyes on the Basic Law
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: National Security and Defence Council decision to stop the movement of goods across the line of demarcation and transport connection with ORDLO is a mechanism of bringing down the intensity of tension in the society, which developed due to the blockade of railway tracks in Donbas
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michał Krotoszyński
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: As an interdisciplinary field of scholarship, transitional justice is still in its pre-theoretical stage, focusing mainly on the case and comparative studies, supported by general considerations concerning justice in the times of transition. To entrench the field as a distinct area of studies, a theory of transitional justice needs to be formulated. The article explores the possibility of making a step towards such a theoretical basis with the use of the tools of analytical philosophy, methodology and legal theory. First, drawing on Leszek Nowak’s procedure of idealisation, three basic models of responses to a painful past are formulated. Then, distinct transitional justice values are attributed to each of the models. Finally, with the use of Jerzy Kmita’s concept of humanistic interpretation, the article seeks to conceptualize the way in which these values – among other factors, such as the need to uphold the rule of law or to preserve the stability of a democratic system – influence the choice of a model of transitional justice response. Thus, the aim of the presented models – which I described in more detail elsewhere (Krotoszyński 2017) – is to provide a sound theoretical basis for some of the fundamental claims formulated in the field of transitional justice.
  • Topic: International Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olli Ruohomäki
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the complexity Afghanistan entails, it is possible to outline the main contours of the fragmented reality and geopolitical fault lines that inform the situation on the ground. It is with this in mind that this Briefing Paper examines the cur- rent state of affairs in Afghanistan with a focus on the highly contentious politics, precarious security situation and the role of the difficult neighbourhood. The paper concludes with reflections regarding the prospects for peace, which do not appear promising.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Taliban, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The 2016 US presidential election is the most consequential election for international order since the Second World War. America’s status as a liberal superpower is on the ballot. To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, we must distinguish between his three core beliefs that he has held for many decades and rarely if ever waivered from, the central themes of his campaign, and other issues. His core beliefs are opposition to America’s alliance arrangements, opposition to free trade, and support for authoritarianism, particularly in Russia. If he is elected president and governs in a manner consistent with these beliefs, the United States will be transformed from the leader of a liberal international order into a rogue superpower that withdraws from its international commitments, undermines the open global economy, and partners with Putin’s Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: IN EARLY 2017, Iraqi security forces (ISF) are likely to liberate Mosul from Islamic State control. But given the dramatic comebacks staged by the Islamic State and its predecessors in the city in 2004, 2007, and 2014, one can justifiably ask what will stop IS or a similar movement from lying low, regenerating, and wiping away the costly gains of the current war. This paper aims to fill an important gap in the literature on Mosul, the capital of Ninawa province, by looking closely at the underexplored issue of security arrangements for the city after its liberation, in particular how security forces should be structured and controlled to prevent an IS recurrence. Though “big picture” political deals over Mosul’s future may ultimately be decisive, the first priority of the Iraqi-international coalition is to secure Mosul. As John Paul Vann, a U.S. military advisor in Vietnam, noted decades ago: “Security may be ten percent of the problem, or it may be ninety percent, but whichever it is, it’s the first ten percent or the first ninety percent. Without security, nothing else we do will last.”
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, International Security, Reconstruction, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Pierre Vimont
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Painfully and hesitatingly, the EU has managed to stem its migration crisis, regaining control of its borders and ensuring a dramatic drop in the flow of migrants. Yet, the migration issue is not going away, and the political debate around it persists. Europeans need to work together in a field where in the past they have been eager to act on their own; and they must define an integrated policy based on a genuine sense of solidarity.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The July 15 attempted coup, which exposed rifts within the Turkish military, coupled with the August 9 meeting between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the Turkish incursion into Syria on August 24, appear to signal a change in trajectory for Turkey’s Syria policy. Since Erdogan’s ouster of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May 2015, Turkey has already implemented some significant foreign policy shifts, including normalization with Israel and a desire to mend ties with Russia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Peace Studies, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Robert Levy
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: It’s doubtful that new gun controls—imposed mostly on persons who are not part of the problem—will be ef- fective. Accordingly, they should expire automatically after a reasonable test period. If they work, they can be reenacted. The Second Amendment doesn’t bar sensi- bleregulations,butitdemandsrigorfromourlawmak- ers and the courts in legislating and reviewing gun control measures.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Mark W. Lippert
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) is often framed against the backdrop of our shared goals to deter and defend against the North Korean threat, something I saw first-hand in my previous positions at the White House and the Pentagon. Our shared commitment to a robust North Korea (DPRK) policy that aims, among other things, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through authentic and credible negotiations and ensure that the universal human rights of the people of North Korea are protected and promoted is a critical part of our relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: America, North Korea, North Korea
  • Author: W. Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Director General of the Foreign Service, 2003-2006 United States Ambassador to Turkey, 2000-2003 July 15, 2016 will live in the minds of Turks the way 9/11 is fixed in the minds of Americans. That evening a small group of mostly military officers attempted to forcibly overthrow the government and possibly assassinate Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Air Force planes bombed Turkey’s parliament while it was in session. A FaceTime call from President Erdogan mobilized thousands of citizens, who poured into the streets, directly confronting troops participating in the coup attempt, and within a short period of time, the coup collapsed. President Erdogan described the crushing of the coup as a “gift from God.”
  • Topic: Power Politics, Military Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: David O’Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: This may sound like a gloomy time to ponder Europe’s future, particularly in print, but as a veteran of many ups and downs in the EU’s history, I believe it’s important to go beyond the headlines and take stock of what is being done to relaunch the European Union in a way that is both sustainable and better understood by everyday people. It is this gap between the perception and reality of what the European Union is and does that poses perhaps the biggest internal challenge to European integration.
  • Topic: Political stability, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel H. Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Though I came to Tunisia as Ambassador in the Fall of 2015, my relationship with the country and its people actually began in the late 1990s. In some ways, the Tunisia I returned to in 2015 is the one I knew years before—the Arabic and French linguistic mélange, the stambeli and malouf music, the local soccer and handball rivalries, the pine nuts floating atop mint tea. Yet alongside those resilient traditions, the Tunisia I returned to is now in its fifth year of the post-Ben Ali era, and is a country in the midst of an exciting but difficult transition. That transition is replete with a challenging self-realization, as the country and its citizenry redefine themselves and learn what it means to be a democracy in the wake of the 2011 revolution. Tunisians are still deciding how they want to incorporate democratic principles into day-to-day life, and through their decisions are defining what it means to be Tunisian for future generations. As a longtime friend—our diplomatic relations with Tunisia date to 1795—and strategic partner, the United States will continue to support the new Tunisia as it looks to the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Popular Revolt, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Tunisia