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  • Author: Donald T. Bliss
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: As the United Nations welcomes a new Secretary-General, and the United States elects a new Administration and Congress, we have a unique opportunity to reset relationships, building on the United Nations’ successes and addressing its failings as we adapt to the changing demographics and global challenges of this century.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, United Nations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles A. Ford
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s leading exporter, the world’s leading importer, and the world’s primary source and destination of funds for foreign investment. Our position as the best place in the world to do business—the most reliable in which to buy, the most lucrative in which to sell, and the safest and surest in which to invest or to raise capital—is the cause, not an effect of American global leadership. Protecting and expanding the US role as the world’s supplier and customer of choice for goods, services, ideas, capital, and entrepreneurial energy should be a foreign policy objective second only to securing the homeland.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Jr. James D. Melville
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In August, Estonia marked 25 years since the end of Soviet occupation and the restoration of its national institutions. Estonia’s rapid reintegration with the West as a sovereign, stable, and prosperous democracy is nothing short of remarkable, and it serves as an inspiration to other nations. Theirs is a journey made possible through disciplined leadership, solid regulatory frameworks, strategic decisions, and a steadfast commitment to being a contributing member of European, transatlantic, and international alliances. Our partnership is one of allies with synchronized goals and values, a rare combination that gives both countries leverage to do even more.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Estonia
  • Author: Rufus Gifford
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Denmark is one of America’s closest partners. Near the pinnacle of global indices of wealth, well-being, and democracy, Denmark is uniquely positioned to work alongside the United States in support of our shared approaches to addressing 21st century global challenges. It is the only Nordic country that is a member of all three vital multinational organizations: NATO, EU, and Arctic Council. Denmark very much reinforces President Obama’s now-famous foreign policy quote in the April 2016 edition of The Atlantic: “If only everyone could be like the Scandinavians, this would all be easy.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Denmark
  • Author: Bruce A. Heyman
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Canada is arguably our most important bilateral relationship. Our exceptional and unique ties are rooted in a common border that stretches for 5,525 miles, over 200 years of closely interwoven history and culture, our largest economic relationship worldwide, our similar values. We have amazingly intertwined supply chains; we work closely as NATO allies; and partner extensively to address global challenges. As President Obama put it during Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to Washington in March 2016, “Of course, no two nations agree on everything...But in terms of our interests, our values, how we approach the world, few countries match up the way the United States and Canada do.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: John Berry
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Over 200 years ago, one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin urged us to innovate, with the warning: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was not only a talented statesman, he was an inventor and tinkerer extraordinaire. Innovation lies at the very heart of what it means to be an American. From the beginning, our country was a grand experiment. We believed then—and now—that freedom plus hard work equals progress. Innovation, invention, and creativity help turn progress into success.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: William J. vanden Heuvel
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: On January 6, 1941, President Roosevelt came before the Congress and gave us a vision of the world that would be worthy of our civilization. He spoke—simply, eloquently—of a nation dedicated to the Four Freedom everywhere in the world
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Moldova’s presidential elections offer no hope for change in a country run by a destructive and shortsighted elite. Igor Dodon won the elections, but the main victor in 2016 is the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, who has monopolized power in Moldova.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Political Power Sharing, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The evolving Asia-Pacific region is marked by increased balancing strategies, the forging of flexible partnerships between countries, and economic interconnectedness. In order to retain a central role and achieve a new equilibrium, the US will need to adapt to these changes.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: As US President Barack Obama’s term in office is nearing its end, he may choose to present parameters for an Israeli-Palestinian final-status agreement before departing from the White House, similar to what President Bill Clinton did in 2000. The window of opportunity for this is between the US presidential elections (November 8, 2016) to the inauguration of the next president (January 20, 2017).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Fragile States
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Cyprus conflict has been a protracted, unresolved conflict for roughly five decades. The two conflicts share ethno-nationalist and territorial dimensions; tension between a sovereign state and a sub-state entity, and a hostile military presence; decades of failed negotiations, with both sides showing ambiguous commitment to the intended political framework for resolution (two states, or a federated state, respectively); and high involvement of the international community. This paper maps points of comparison related to conflict resolution efforts in both cases, including references to the civil society, public, political leadership, and negotiation processes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ido Zelkovitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The Fatah movement and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Movement) leadership are experiencing a deep internal crisis. In 1969, Fatah leader Yassir Arafat took control of PLO institutions and imposed a political containment policy, combined with a heavy hand, against his opponents. Since then, the Palestinian national liberation movement has been characterized by a highly centralized authority structure. Mahmoud Abbas, an absolute ruler, inherited three ‘hats’ from his predecessor Arafat: In addition to serving as Chairman of the PLO’s Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas also serves as Chairman of the Fatah movement. Fatah is the ruling party in PLO institutions, and constitutes the political backbone of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian justification for the establishment of such centralized rule was the complexity of the negotiations that were held with Israel in the 1990s.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, International Affairs, Fragile States, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: It is rare to hear any good news about conflicts de-escalating. This week, the world rallied around the implementation of a ceasefire between the notorious and shadowy FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombia government. The conflict has dragged on for over fifty years. The most obvious and optimistic point is that a long and bloody past need not be the future forever. But other useful points are emerging, for comparison and maybe inspiration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Colombia, Palestine
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: If it cannot offer more than building up resilience, the EU risks locking itself out of its own neighbourhood. While external and regional powers are engaged in fierce geopolitical competition in Europe’s neighbourhood, the EU itself wants to focus on building up the resilience of its neighbours. Not only is it far from clear who is to be made resilient against what where there is no more or less benign government but, where countries are only just coming out of war, their first priority is national survival and their demand is for security guarantees. Would sovereignty and equality not be a better Leitmotiv for EU strategy in the neighbourhood?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Alfred Tovias
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: At the two Western and Eastern geographic extremes of the Mediterranean basin, Spain and Israel –both OECD member countries– have been developing over the past three decades in totally different directions. Spain is increasingly looking North towards the EU but also towards Latin America, while Israel is actively developing its relations with emerging economies such as India and China and strengthening ever more its relations with the US. Could it be that the two countries are ignoring each other and missing out on potential complementarities? Before Spain’s accession to the European Community (EC), the latter considered Israel and Spain in tandem in the context of a Global Mediterranean Policy, as they both represented semi-industrialised economies in the same league. The demographic and economic structures of the two countries have diverged since then, offering clear prospects of fruitful cooperation, especially in the fields of energy and technology.
  • Topic: International Security, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Israel, Spain
  • Author: Maria Solanas Cardín
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: The II National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, currently being prepared by the Spanish Government, should build on lessons learnt and include specific measures and best practices if it aims to achieve any advancement in the women, peace and security agenda. Nine years after the approval of the I National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 –and mainly driven by its participation, as a non-permanent member, in the United Nations Security Council during the 2015-16 biennium–, the Spanish Government has marked the women, peace and security agenda as a priority, undertaking to draft a II National Action Plan. The number of challenges outstanding, almost 16 years after the approval of Resolution 1325, calls for a global commitment that is sustained over time and for actions and measures in field operations supported by sufficient funding (the most serious and persistent impediment for implementation of Resolution 1325). The alliance with local organisations and agents, mainly women’s organisations, has proved to be the most efficient way to promote and ensure a significant participation by women in the prevention of conflicts and in peace-building. Only a Plan based on such premises will effectively contribute towards the implementation of Resolution 1325.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lauren Baker
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Late in the evening of July 15, a faction of the Turkish army blocked key bridges into Istanbul and occupied several locations throughout the country. The attempted coup failed before morning, but its consequences will reverberate far into the future. The government’s response was immediate and harsh: mass arrests and a purge of not only the military, but also civil servants, judges, academics, and political opponents. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned cleric Fethullah Gulen as the chief conspirator and demanded his extradition from self-imposed exile in the United States. Meanwhile, some opponents of Erdogan suggest that the government orchestrated the attempt as a “false flag” operation to consolidate power and crackdown on dissidents. Turkey is not new to coups, but looking at previous conflicts and the political science literature on coups can tell us why this failed attempt is unique and what its repercussions will be in Turkey and the broader Middle East. The pieces in POMEPS Briefing 30 offer insightful and timely analysis from top scholars of the region published in the Monkey Cage blog on the Washington Post.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Lauren Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: On February 26, 2016, Iran held elections for its Assembly of Experts, the body tasked with choosing the next supreme leader, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly (its parliament or majlis). As the first major round of voting since 2015’s historic Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action nuclear agreement, the world watched the results closely — and Iran’s leaders leveraged this international focus. While many reformist candidates were barred from running, and those who did were censored on state media, new forms of communication and social media aided existing organizing networks for a strong showing for the reformist candidates, most notably in Tehran. Coalitions between moderates and reformists potentially herald a new era of politics in the Islamic Republic, though it has yet to be seen if these changes will translate mean greater democracy. POMEPS Briefing 29 collects a series of reflections from top regional scholars that provide political context and important analysis of these watershed elections
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Lauren Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed 47 men, including prominent cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr. This sparked immediate backlash, especially among domestic and global Shiite communities. Unfortunately, such rising sectarian tensions are nothing new in the region. Although the media is quick to highlight the Sunni-Shiite divide, it generally points to this split as the root cause of conflicts. How are we to get beyond this primordialist rhetoric and study the real impacts and causes of sectarianism in the region? POMEPS Briefing 28, “The Gulf’s Escalating Sectarianism,” collects 16 pieces previously published by the Project on Middle East Political Science and the Monkey Cage to provide a more nuanced look of this divisive trend. There is a growing body of scholarship that places sectarianism within the study of comparative politics and international relations, rather than treating sectarian identity as an unchanging, essentialist trait. Authors in this collection demonstrate how political elites use sectarian language to legitimize authoritarian rule, consolidate power, and rally against internal and external foes. What appear on the surface as entrenched confessional divides are often more about political and economic power than religion. Interested readers should also look at the 2013 POMEPS Studies 4 “The Politics of Sectarianism,” much of which remains relevant today. Analysis of individual Gulf states’ domestic and geopolitical maneuvering supports this theoretical framework. In Saudi Arabia, the new leadership is able to refocus attention away from its international and domestic failures by increasing pressure on Shiite dissidents and provoking its main regional rival, Iran. And, in the wake of the nuclear agreement, the increasing Iranian influence gives Saudi Arabia another reason to amp up the sectarian vehemence. Meanwhile in Yemen, the labels of sectarianism fail to tell the whole story, while in Iraq and Syria violence in the name of sectarian identity continues to polarize and entrench both sides. The Arab uprisings challenged the traditional regional powers, and Sunni leaders continue to vie for prominence in this new order. Meanwhile, the increasing use of information technology and social media reinforces existing communities, while further polarizing users and citizens.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Gulf Nations
  • Author: John Ryan
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: On 4 February 2015, the European Central Bank (ECB) unexpectedly and suddenly cancelled acceptance of Greek bonds as collateral for liquidity funding unless Greece obeyed the Troika agreement. The ECB’s irresponsible and incompetent actions call into question their respect for the Greek government’s attempts to resolve its debt crisis in a sustainable way. The ECB may or may not have good reasons to cut off Greece, depending on your point of view, but it is clear that such a move would be political. A central bank that is supposed to be the lender of last resort and guardian of financial stability would be taking a deliberate and calculated decision to undermine the Greek banking system. The ECB is now seen in some quarters as arrogant, unaccountable and authoritarian.1 This Strategic Update discusses the most recent problems for the Eurozone, namely the Greek crisis and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) lack of democratic accountability which has contributed to considerable difficulties for the stability of the Eurozone.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Tan Sri Munir Majid
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: While the close British decision to get out of the European Union was made in a referendum a while ago on 23 June, there is still the feeling in the UK: What have we done? Where do we go? How do we get there? Questions that should have been asked at the referendum, rather than after it. But there you are. When raw emotion and shallow argument reign, profound decisions are made without proper reflection or preparation. Since then the question has also been raised whether or not such a thing could occur in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It won’t but then again it may. First of all, let’s be clear. It is not likely there will ever be such a surplus of democracy in ASEAN, whether among individual member states or as a group, that there could be an ‘In or Out’ referendum like the one which resulted in Brexit.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Global Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tim Oliver
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: A British withdrawal from the EU would be a process not an event. This Strategic Update sets out the nine overlapping series of negotiations that would be triggered and the positions the 27 remaining EU countries and the EU’s institutions would take, gathered from a network of researchers across the continent.
  • Topic: Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, European Union
  • Author: Tim Oliver
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: A vote by the British people to withdraw from the EU – also known as a ‘Brexit’ – will have significant implications for the EU, the ideas and structures of European integration, and European geopolitics. Opinion polls show that a vote to withdraw is a distinct possibility. The EU, the rest of Europe, allies around the world and the UK itself need to prepare for the wider international implications of such a move. This Strategic Update examines how likely a Brexit is and explores what it could mean for the EU, European integration, and Europe’s economics and security.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, European Union
  • Author: Josh Reubner
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: his retrospective assessment argues that despite the arrival in office in 2009 of a president who articulated the case for Palestinian rights more strongly and eloquently than any of his predecessors, U.S. official policy in the Obama years skewed heavily in favor of Israel. While a negotiated two-state resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continued to be the formal goal of the United States, Israel’s defiant refusal to stop settlement expansion, the administration’s determined actions to perpetuate Israeli impunity in international fora, as well as the U.S. taxpayer’s hefty subsidy of the Israeli military machine all ensured that no progress could be made on that score. The author predicts that with all hopes of a negotiated two-state solution now shattered, Obama’s successor will have to contend with an entirely new paradigm, thanks in no small part to the gathering momentum of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Phyllis Bennis
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay examines the discourse on Palestine/Israel in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, charting the impact of the Palestine rights movement on the domestic U.S. policy debate. Policy analyst, author, and long-time activist Phyllis Bennis notes the sea change within the Democratic Party evident in the unprecedented debate on the issue outside traditionally liberal Zionist boundaries. The final Democratic platform was as pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian as any in history, but the process of getting there was revolutionary in no small part, Bennis argues, due to the grassroots campaign of veteran U.S. senator Bernie Sanders. Bennis also discusses the Republican platform on Israel/Palestine, outlining the positions of the final three Republican contenders. Although she is clear about the current weakness of the broad antiwar movement in the United States, Bennis celebrates its Palestinian rights component and its focus on education and BDS to challenge the general public’s “ignorance” on Israel/ Palestine.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dr. Jan (eds) Woischnik, Dr Jans Woischnik
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: In the last decade of the 20th century, when the Cold War came to an end, there was a growing understanding that International Law was consolidated as legitimation body for state actions. It was the begin- ning of a new peaceful world order, the world hoped that an old problem of geopolitics could finally be fully addressed by the International Law, a problem which the Athenian General Thucydides observed already more than 2000 years ago, according to which in the realm of the international, “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”. In this new world order right was supposed to finally come before might.
  • Topic: International Law, Political Theory, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrey Korobkov
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The 2016 electoral campaign outcome came like a complete bolt out of the blue for the American establishment, including the ruling elites, as well as academics, journalists, and other groups safeguarding the elites’ interests. Ironically, the showy campaign and the scandalous behavior of US billionaire and TV star Donald Trump, now 45th President-elect, overshadowed the fact that such a candidate per se exposed a deep systemic crisis in American society. Both the general public and professionals had overlooked the phenomenon. The crisis is caused by the exhausted potential of the US political and socio-economic system, which took shape in the 1960s and is over 50 years old. That is why the problems that the campaign laid bare will not merely fade away after the elections.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs, Elections
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Edward Luttwak
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: In the recent months the US-Russian relations have been in this weird place where Russia suddenly emerged again as a topic of a heated and very controversial electoral campaign and again in a form of an Evil Empire. The relations have been strained since 2014 following the events in Crimea, Ukraine and the sanctions rounds even though the same two countries managed to cooperate around Iran, and were rubbing shoulders in Syria. The recent storm has been caused by the leakage of the Democratic party emails, allegedly done by Moscow with the end goal to undermine Hillary Clinton (who is holding firm anti-Russian position) and support Donald Trump (who has praised Vladimir Putin in the past). With the elections taking place this week, Rethinking Russia spoke to an influential Republican geostrategist, CSIS senior associate Edward Luttwak about the current state of the Russian-American elections.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Thomas Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Beware of rapid improvement in US-Russian relations. It cannot be sustained, and it always ends in sorrow for both countries. That at least is the history of relations since the end of the Cold War, to which each American president – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – can attest.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Christopher Phillips
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Military conflict in Syria is in its 5th year. What was initially seen as another strike of the wave of democratization known as the “Arab Spring” has now become an extremely complicated multi-level regional conflict, where authorities in Damascus, estranged from the Western countries, are fighting against several groups, including ISIS1. The international dimension of the Syrian conflict is usually seen as the reluctance of the USA to get engaged, and Russia’s readiness to do just the opposite – while many other regional players get lost in the background. In order to establish different patterns and to articulate the plurality of motives that guided international actors, Rethinking Russia spoke to Christopher Phillips – senior lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University and associate fellow at the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, who just published a meticulously researched book “The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East” that documents the international dimension of the conflict.
  • Topic: Civil War, International Security, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Andrey Korobkov
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential elections were held on November 8, 2016. Republican Donald Trump won the White House. Following the elections, «Rethinking Russia» think-tank has collected a set of comments by Russian and foreign experts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Danielle Ryan
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: As the world comes to terms with the knowledge that Donald Trump will soon be handed the keys to the White House, Moldovans are preparing to vote in a runoff presidential election which will set their country either on a firmly pro-Western course or on the path toward better relations with Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Moldavia
  • Author: Yan Vaslavskiy
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The 13th Valdai Discussion Club session was held in Sochi October 24-27. Ever since its establishment in 2004, the Club has gained the reputation, first of all, as a forum for Russian and foreign experts to compare notes on a wide range of international issues. Secondly, the President of Russia drops into the exclusive club on quite a regular basis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tatyana Alekseeva
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The International Primakov Readings Forum took place November 29-30, 2016, in commemoration of Yevgeny Primakov. The meeting was organized by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO led by Alexander Dynkin) and was backed by the World Trade Center, the Russian Science Foundation, the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and the University of Pennsylvania. In his address to the Forum, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin argued that Primakov had succeeded in predicting the events unfolding in today’s world, especially in the Middle East. As the Head of State put it, “Actually, I was always taking heed of Primakov’s assessments, as he was a wise and astute diplomat. I trusted him and asked to accomplish responsible and sensitive missions rather than ordered him”. Besides, the Primakov Readings Conference brought together Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chair of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, and President’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov who delivered an opening speech. The Forum was also attended by most leading experts on international relations. The Rethinking Russia Think Tank presents the comment of Tatyana Alekseeva, a participant of the Primakov Readings Forum.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Bryan MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: At the start of 1917, rumours reached London that something was stirring in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). As a result, the concerned Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, urgently dispatched Lord Milner, a diplomat of some repute, to the Russian capital. His Lordship visited the Tsar and spoke to ministers and members of the Duma, who informed him that enemies of the state were spreading groundless yarns. Sadly, being a creature of his class, Milner believed that only the elites mattered so he neglected to consult any of the general public. Thus, cocooned in his bubble, the peer reported to London that there was nothing the government could not handle and no need to expect no major changes. However, the same British travelling party also included Lloyd George’s private secretary Philip Kerr. A little more clued in, Kerr walked the streets and interviewed the plain folk. Armed with their predictions, he sent a telegram to Downing Street which asserted that Russia was on the verge of an unstoppable revolution. As it happens, the man who stepped out of the comfort zone was right because Nikolai II was shorn of his crown before the British delegation made it home. We know this story because many years later the ‘Welsh Wizard,’ Lloyd George, revealed the details to Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London. And almost a hundred years later, it is a salutary lesson in the dangers of the establishment refusing to acknowledge ordinary people’s concerns when evaluating the causes of political upheaval.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Dejan Skoric
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Applying the "PRO-CURE" methodology, Dejan Skoric from the Association Resource Centre Majdanpek, conducted an analysis of the expediency of the spending of public funds from the budgets of local governments for the purchase of fire-fighting vehicles and equipment.
  • Topic: Corruption, National Security
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Ana Aćimov
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The case study applies "PRO-CURE" methodology to analyse performance of expenditures for equipping the traffic police at the local level. The author particularly questions the difference between the proclaimed strategic priorities of the Ministry of Interior and its annual procurement plans, as well as the the distribution of the burden of financing the traffic police between Ministry of Interior and local governments.
  • Topic: Finance
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Miroslav Mijatović
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Applying the "PRO-CURE" methodology for assessing the procurement expediency, Miroslav Mijatovic of Podrinjski Anti-Corruption Tim Loznica, conducted a study on the procurement of anti-hail rockets in Loznica in 2014 and 2015. In this study the author has also provided an overview of the overall state of hail protection in Serbia, as well as recommendations for improvement of this system.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The transatlantic relationship is likely to face difficult challenges whatever the result of the US election. If Trump wins he will launch a revolutionary presidency — pulling back from NATO and other security guarantees, undermining key parts of the global free trade regime and building closer relations with strong-man leaders than allies. Even if Hillary is elected the transatlantic relationship could still face difficult albeit more everyday challenges. Her poor relations with Moscow, exacerbated by gender issues, could threaten transatlantic unity on Russia. Europe would be foolish not to learn lessons from the experience of Trump’s candidacy. Trump represents only an extreme version of a growing feeling in the United States that, in a time of relative decline, the country is getting a raw deal from its allies. The EU should not be complacent in assuming that the transatlantic relationship will continue as it is and should begin to take more responsibility for its own defence and build resilience against a potentially more self-interested US.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dinshaw Mistry
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the early and mid-2000s, US policymakers anticipated India becoming one of America's top global partners. Have New Delhi's policies on key strategic issues actually aligned strongly with US objectives, as would be typical of close partners? An analysis of twelve prominent issues in US-India relations indicates that New Delhi's policies mostly converged moderately, rather than to a high extent, with US objectives. Specifically, the alignment between New Delhi's policies and US objectives was high or moderate-to-high on three issues--UN peacekeeping, nonproliferation export controls, and arms sales. It was moderate or low-to-moderate on six issues--China, Iran, Afghanistan, Indian Ocean security, Pakistan, and bilateral defense cooperation. And it was low or negligible on three issues--nuclear reactor contracts for US firms, nuclear arms control, and the war in Iraq. To be sure, despite the low or negligible convergence, New Delhi did not take an anti-US position on these issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: To better understand impacts of climate change across diverse sectors in Hawaii, resource managers and scientists collaborate with climate modelers who create projections of future climate conditions, such as changes in patterns of rainfall and temperature at the end of the 21st century. To make global climate projections applicable for Hawaii, the models must be downscaled (see Figure 1) to provide increased spatial detail for resource managers and cultural stewards. Different methods and models are used, and because these are projections for many decades from now, the results often span a range of possibilities. A Workshop held in September 2015 brought climate modelers and resource managers together to discuss areas of agreement about different aspects of climate projection. The purpose of this document is to summarize levels of expert consensus across different climate projections, and to offer guidance for resource managers, cultural stewards, and community leaders to better understand applications and limitations of available projections for the State.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Hawaii
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) faces a double challenge. The transformation of post-Soviet countries it was designed to support has largely failed to emerge. In its place, a conflict with Russia has arisen for which the EaP was unprepared. This spells a dilemma. Rather than support EaP governments on the basis of their reform records, the EU is tempted to back them for the geopoli- tical choices they have made (namely, for their professed pro-European positions). In the long run, however, the EaP cannot succeed without delivering on its “trans- formational agenda.” Even in countries that have already signed Association Ag- reements with the EU, the ultimate success of the EaP is in question. This analysis describes the EaP’s “transformational challenge.” It argues that geopolitical com- petition with Russia was neither avoidable nor will it be easy to overcome. The key obstacle to change, however, is not geopolitical competition but the veto power of vested interests within EaP countries themselves. Since this veto power marks a crucial difference from conditions that prevailed in EU enlargements in Central Europe, the EaP’s response must apply a different transformational logic. The EU must go beyond merely supporting reforms in the EaP and effectively take co- responsibility for them. This involves upgrading the principle of conditionality and getting involved more directly in implementation. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of human resources in state institutions and proposes concrete measures for appointing and retaining qualified personnel and, particularly, inde- pendent leaders for key law enforcement and regulatory bodies.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Maria Ramos, Carlos Victoria
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Youth unemployment rates in Spain are considerably higher than the European average. Moreover, those young people who do have jobs generally work under extremely unstable conditions on temporary contracts. Most of these temporary contracts are “involuntary” – workers would prefer to nd permanent jobs but are unable to do so. The consequences of this job insecurity in Spain are dramatic. Across the educational spectrum, young workers are at greater risk of remaining unemployed, getting stuck in temporary contracts for long periods of time, experiencing wage penalties, or being over-quali ed for their jobs. The crisis has increased the overall risk of long-term poverty and social exclusion, particularly for youth with migrant backgrounds and those who are not in education, employ- ment, or training. The paper concludes by outlining the three most urgent objec- tives for the Spanish labor market today: bridging the gap between education and work; developing active labor market policies; and reducing labor market segmen- tation between workers with temporary and permanent contracts and between “insiders” and “outsiders.”
  • Topic: Youth Culture, Employment
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Iryna Solonenko
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In the two years since its “Revolution of Dignity” – also known as Euromaidan – Ukraine has launched important reform initiatives. Most of them are still in the inception phase, however, and much remains to be done to ensure their sustainability. The past two years have made clear the enormity of the challenge Ukraine faces in its transformation. At the same time, it has also shown unprece- dentedly strong determination on the part of new reform-minded actors to overhaul the old system. Ukraine today can best understood as a battlefield: the old system and its structures are fighting for their survival, as new actors – from both within the system and outside it – push for a new social contract. This struggle is taking place on an everyday basis at different levels, national and local, in a number of different reform areas. External actors can best contribute by giving stronger sup- port to reformers while promoting development of institutions that limit the space for vested interests to persist. Special attention should be paid to enforcing and implementing already adopted decisions and new laws that change the rules of the game.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Germany-Poland-Russia Trialogue Workshop held at the DGAP in December 2015 focused on security. It brought together a group of Russian, Pol- ish, and German experts to discuss their respective national security discourses and the security situation in Europe more generally. The three short papers includ- ed here provide brief analyses of how the security situation is currently perceived in each of the three countries. From the German side, the answer was the refugee crisis. Polish experts pointed to the threat posed by Russia, while the Russian speakers described their worries about color revolutions and regime change in the post-Soviet sphere. Certainly, perceptions of security threats differ greatly among EU member states, to say nothing of the difference between Russia and the EU as a whole. Only real understanding of our counterparts can help in forging a new modus vivendi and overcoming the dangerous situation in which Europe currently nds itself. The Germany-Poland-Russia Trialogues aim to forge better understand- ing of “the other side” through presentations and opportunities for discussion, offering crucial rst steps toward overcoming misperceptions and stereotypes. The Trialogue meets regularly under the aegis of the DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), IMEMO (Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations Russian Academy of Sciences), and PISM (Polish Institute of International Affairs) and in cooperation with and nancial support from SDPZ (Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Warsaw office
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christopher Davidson
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: David W Murray
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
  • Topic: War on Drugs, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Scott Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, United States House of Representatives
  • Topic: International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Seth Cropsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Robert M McDowell
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Berfin Nur Osso
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Berfin Nur Osso, former intern at the Institute of International Relations Prague and a senior undergraduate student at the Koç University in Istanbul majoring in Law and minoring in International Relations, focuses on the assessment of the readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Y. Emre Gurbuz
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Emir Abbas Gürbüz, former intern at the position of the Independent Researcher and currently a lawyer based in Istanbul, discusses the status of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine in the customary international law and the applicability of the doctrine in the case of Syria.
  • Topic: Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria