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  • Author: Andrew Glencross
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article scrutinizes the merits of holding a referendum over UK membership of the EU. It queries the assumption that direct democracy can somehow resolve the longstanding Europe question in British politics. To do this, the analysis traces the existence of an exceptionalist approach to the EU within Britain, now associated with re-negotiating UK membership in the shadow of a referendum. The article argues that the prospects for a radical reconfiguration of the UK's treaty obligations are slim, thereby increasing the risk of a vote to withdraw. Yet withdrawal would be the opposite of a simple solution to the Europe question. Political and economic interests dictate lengthy politicking over a highly complex post-Brexit settlement revisiting free movement of goods, services, capital and people. Such negotiations undermine any mooted cathartic benefits of a popular vote, while Eurosceptics will remain dissatisfied in the event of a yes, a result likely to further destabilize the Conservative Party. Consequently, the simplicity and decisiveness that a referendum—particularly one that spurns the EU—promises is merely a mirage as relations with the EU necessarily form part of an enduring British political conversation.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international system is returning to multipolarity—a situation of multiple Great Powers—drawing the post-Cold War 'unipolar moment' of comprehensive US political, economic and military dominance to an end. The rise of new Great Powers, namely the 'BRICs'—Brazil, Russia, India, and most importantly, China—and the return of multipolarity at the global level in turn carries security implications for western Europe. While peaceful political relations within the European Union have attained a remarkable level of strategic, institutional and normative embeddedness, there are five factors associated with a return of Great Power competition in the wider world that may negatively impact on the western European strategic environment: the resurgence of an increasingly belligerent Russia; the erosion of the US military commitment to Europe; the risk of international military crises with the potential to embroil European states; the elevated incentive for states to acquire nuclear weapons; and the vulnerability of economically vital European sea lines and supply chains. These five factors must, in turn, be reflected in European states' strategic behaviour. In particular, for the United Kingdom—one of western Europe's two principal military powers, and its only insular (offshore) power—the return of Great Power competition at the global level suggests that a return to offshore balancing would be a more appropriate choice than an ongoing commitment to direct military interventions of the kind that have characterized post-2001 British strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: David Stevenson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In what follows I will begin in Houghton Street and from there will broaden outwards in successive circles, from London in the 1920s to Europe in 1914, to the Caribbean Sea in 1962, and to where we find ourselves today. The reasons for so doing will, I trust, become clear. But my focus will be on the origin and applications of the discipline of international history, through an investigation of the Stevenson Chair around which the LSE International History Department grew up; the LSE becoming in turn one of the nuclei from which the subject would spread further, both elsewhere in Britain and overseas. I will underline the practical purposes of the discipline's creators, while highlighting a tension between two intellectual traditions that were present from the outset. I will emphasize the need to synthesize those traditions if the study of international history is to yield the maximum insight and value.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Harold James
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A spectre is haunting the world: 1914. The approaching centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is a reminder of how the instability produced by changes in the relative balance of power in an integrated or globalized world may produce cataclysmic events. Jean-Claude Juncker, the veteran Prime Minister of Luxem-bourg and chair of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, started 2013 by warning journalists that they should take note of the parallels with 1913, the last year of European peace. He was referring explicitly to new national animosities fanned by the European economic crisis, with a growing polarization between North and South. Historically, the aftermath and the consequences of such cataclysms have been extreme. George Kennan strikingly termed the 1914–18 conflict 'the great seminal catastrophe of this century'. Without it, fascism, communism, the Great Depression and the Second World War are all almost impossible to imagine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Communism, Economics, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Margaret MacMillan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A century ago this autumn the first battle of the Marne ended Germany's attempt to crush France and its ally Britain quickly. In that one battle alone the French lost 80,000 dead and the Germans approximately the same. By comparison, 47,000 Americans died in the whole of the Vietnam War and 4,800 coalition troops in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In August and September 1914 Europe, the most powerful and prosperous part of the world, had begun the process of destroying itself. A minor crisis in its troubled backyard of the Balkans had escalated with terrifying speed to create an all-out war between the powers. 1 'Again and ever I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean,' wrote Walter Page, the American ambassador in London; and in Washington his president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, America, Europe, Washington, France, London, Vietnam, Germany, Balkans, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Richard Reid
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article was commissioned as a contribution to the 90th anniversary issue of International Affairs , and it seems appropriate to note at the outset the prominent place that Africa has occupied in the pages of the journal since the 1920s. Indeed, a list of authors who have written for it reads as a roll-call of modern African history, in terms of both protagonists and analysts, and I doubt whether any specialist Africanist journal can boast a comparable line-up. A handful of examples may suffice. From the era of European colonial rule, Frederick, Lord Lugard, wrote in 1927 on the putative challenges confronting colonial administrators of 'equatorial' Africa, and Lord Hailey, in 1947, on the issues involved in 'native administration' more broadly; notably, the African perspective on these questions was provided in a piece in 1951 by the eminent Tswana political figure of the early and middle twentieth century, Tshekedi Khama. Former colonial governor Sir Andrew Cohen assessed the place of the new African nations within the UN in a 1960 article. A later generation of African nationalist leaders, the founders and shapers of the continent in its first flush of independence, is also represented: of particular note are pieces on the prospects for the continent by the Tunisian leader Habib Bourguiba and by the Senegalese poet and politician Leopold Senghor, in 1961 and 1962 respectively. And then there are the analysts and commentators, some of whom have become the stuff of legend for the author's own generation: Lucy Mair, Ali Mazrui and Colin Legum, to name but three.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Mark Webber, Ellen Hallams, Martin A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When NATO heads of state and government convene in Newport, Wales, in September 2014, it will be their first meeting in the UK since the London summit of July 1990. A quarter of a century ago, NATO was reborn. The London Declaration on a Transformed Alliance was NATO's keynote statement of renewed purpose, issued in 1990 as the Cold War was drawing to a close. In it we find the beginnings of the tasks which would come to define the alliance in the post- Cold War period, along with an appreciation of a fundamentally altered strategic landscape. Europe had 'entered a new, promising era', one in which it was thought the continent's tragic cycle of war and peace might well be over. The 2014 summit communiqué is unlikely to reflect such optimism, but what it surely needs to do is to recapture the spirit of enterprise that NATO has on occasion been able to articulate in demanding times.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Malcolm Chalmers
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Britain's 2010 National Security Strategy, published shortly after the coalition government took office, was entitled 'A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty'. It made no mention of the two existential challenges—the possible secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom, and the risk of a British withdrawal from the European Union. Yet either event would be a fundamental transformation in the very nature of the British state, with profound impact on its foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Ana Stanic
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Diversification of gas supply has been a strategic priority for the European Union since its dependence on imports began to grow in the early 2000s. The crisis in Ukraine has heightened concerns that the flow of Russian gas passing through this country may be interrupted and has reignited calls for dependency on Russian gas to be reduced. As a new European Commission takes over energy policy in Brussels, it is worth examining the lessons the EU ought to learn from the Southern Gas Corridor project, which for a decade was seen as key to enhancing energy security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Nicholas Westcott
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Summits with Africa are in fashion: in August, President Obama hosted America's first; in April, the European Union staged the fourth EU-Africa summit in Brussels; the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–held one in Durban in March last year; and in June 2013 Japan hosted its five-yearly conference on African development in Yokohama. Next year will see the sixth China-Africa summit. South America, South Korea and Turkey, which have all held summits with African leaders in recent years, have pledged return matches in Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe