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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution Finnish Institute of International Affairs Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs Political Geography Asia Remove constraint Political Geography: Asia Publication Year within 25 Years Remove constraint Publication Year: within 25 Years Topic Foreign Policy Remove constraint Topic: Foreign Policy
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  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China is challenging the regional balance of power in East Asia through a military buildup and an increasingly assertive foreign policy. The US is forced to find the right balance between cooperating with China while benefiting from its economic rise, and countering China's regional reach by carrying out its self-declared "pivot" to Asia in spite of domestic and budgetary constraints. With just over one year in office, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has received wide domestic support for his ambitious plans to revive Japan's economy through his threefold policy of Abenomics. At the same time, however, he has implemented a number of significant policies in the defence and security sphere. In response to China's military rise, the Abe administration increased and recalibrated the defence budget. Furthermore, in order to reinforce the alliance with the US, the government approved the creation of a US-style National Security Council, passed a Secrecy Bill, and aims to reverse Japan's self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defence. Under the banner of "proactive pacifism", the Abe cabinet is seizing the momentum caused by the changing regional power dynamics in order to edge closer towards "breaking away from the postwar regime". A proposed revision of Japan's constitution, unchanged since 1947, symbolizes the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) objective to bring about a more autonomous role for Japan both in the security alliance with the US and as an international actor.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War EU–Russia relationship has been based on erroneous premises: Russia has not been willing to live up to its original aims of pursuing a western democratic and liberal path; nor have the European Union and its member states been able to develop a coherent policy line that would have consistently nudged Russia in that direction. The lack of a genuinely shared understanding concerning the relationship has resulted in chronic and growing political problems and crises between the parties. The increasingly fraught nature of the EU–Russia relationship has also played to Russia's strengths. It has enabled Russia to re-assert its sovereignty and walk away from the commonly agreed principles and objectives already codified in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1994. The erosion of the original central aims of the partnership has not resulted in an atmosphere of working relations. Although Russia has been able to get its own way in most of the issues, a relationship worthy of the name “strategic partnership” is currently more elusive than ever. Instead of toning down its relations with Russia, the EU should seek to re-invigorate its approach to the country. It should also acknowledge that despite the current problems the EU's policy on Russia has, by and large, been based on sound principles. Democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human and minority rights, and liberal market principles are all factors that are badly needed in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Russia. The EU should, through its own actions, also make it clear to Russia that it deserves respect and needs to be taken seriously. It would be prudent to proceed from the sector that seems to be the key to the current relationship: energy. By pursuing a unified internal energy market and subsequent common external energy policy, the EU might be able to make Russia take the Union level more seriously again. It would also deprive some of the main culprits – Russia and certain key member states alike – of the chance of exploiting the economic and political deals cut at the bilateral level to the detriment of the common EU approach to Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The West should keep a close eye on Belarus. Events during recent weeks have resulted in some unexpected shifts in Belarus' foreign policy. Apparently, President Lukashenko now sees the main challenge to his power to be coming from Russia's direction, and feels the need to look for support from the West. Over time, this could also herald some potentially far-reaching changes inside the country. One should not expect Lukashenko's regime to vanish overnight. Despite the increases in gas and oil prices, the country's economic situation is likely to remain stable for the foreseeable future. What is more, the political opposition remains weak and fragmented. The Belarusian foreign policy line is not developing within the “Russia-West” axis only. In reality, the Minsk contacts are more diversifi ed than is sometimes believed. Most visible are the ties with Venezuela, Iran, and China, as well as some other Latin American and Arab countries. The Western actors should be cautioned against taking Lukashenko's recent overtures at face value. It is quite likely that they may end up being deceived and merely help Lukashenko perpetuate his regime. More importantly, by rushing to embrace Lukashenko, the West would only discredit its own liberal agenda as well as betray the very opposition forces in Belarus that it has sought to cultivate. Despite the rapid pace of recent events, the West should be in no hurry to react. Time remains to follow the developments. The West – especially the European Union – should voice its continued support for the liberal agenda of the genuine opposition in Belarus and be ready to approach the country with a generous programme of rapprochement should the ice begin to thaw in the as yet frozen river.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia