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  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Ambiguity about whether a weapon is nuclear-armed prior to its launch is an underappreciated, serious, and growing danger. Rising geopolitical tensions and the decay of arms control are exacerbating the risk that such pre-launch warhead ambiguity could lead to nuclear use in a crisis or conflict. Recent developments in technology—as well as potential future advances, such as the development of ambiguous intercontinental missiles—further add to the danger. A first step toward reducing these risks is to enhance awareness among decisionmakers of the causes and potential consequences of ambiguity. Unilateral and cooperative risk-mitigation measures could further reduce the danger of escalation, including in conflicts between the United States and Russia or the United States and China.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United States of America
  • Author: Richard L. Morningstar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On November 18, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service welcomed former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Richard Morningstar for a conversation on energy security in the Caspian region. Prior to the event, GJIA sat down with Ambassador Morningstar to discuss the intersection of energy and geopolitics, legacies from the Soviet Union, and energy security challenges facing Central Asian states.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Interview
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Soviet Union, Caspian Sea, United States of America
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration recognises the “Indo-Pacific” region—which in official terminology has replaced “Asia-Pacific”—as the most important area for maintaining U.S. global dominance by confronting China. The anti-China approach in the American strategy is not shared by other countries that also are developing Indo-Pacific policy because they are concerned about the negative effects of the U.S.-China rivalry. The Americans will put pressure on their NATO and EU allies to more strongly support the achievement of U.S. goals in the region. However, the EU approach is closer to that of the Asian countries in seeking cooperation and strengthening the stability of a cooperative and rules-based regional order.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hillel Frisch, Eytan Gilboa, Gershon Hacohen, Doron Itzchakov, Alexander Joffe
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The targeted killing by the US of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force and close confidant of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has unsettled the region and the world. We have assembled initial takes on this event by five BESA researchers: Prof. Hillel Frisch, Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Dr. Doron Itzchakov, and Dr. Alex Joffe.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Qassem Soleimani, Assassination
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Uzi Rubin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning on the emergent Yemen-originating missile threat corresponds to Iran’s modus operandi of surrounding its foes with missile “rings of fire” and will enable Tehran to complete the missile encirclement of the Jewish state as a step toward its eventual demise. Israel must do its utmost to confront this new strategic threat by establishing an alert system and defense capabilities against Yemen-originating cruise and ballistic missiles, whatever the cost.
  • Topic: Security, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Yemen
  • Author: Élie Tenenbaum, Morgan Paglia, Nathalie Ruffié
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: France is one of the few nations in the world to benefit from a permanent global military presence. With more than 10,000 military personnel from all three services, deployed across the five continents and the three main oceanic basins, it benefits from the second largest network of prepositioned forces in the world. This global military posture is structured around five “presence forces”, based in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates, as well as five “sovereignty forces” in the dependent overseas territories of the Antilles, French Guyana, Southern Indian Ocean, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Over the past twenty years, this unique force posture has been hit by a series of deep budgetary cuts, translating into staff reductions and persisting delays in equipment delivery. As a result, the current military presence is under serious strain, as some capability are now weighing on the ability of these prepositioned forces to contribute as much as they could to the five strategic functions reiterated in the 2017 Strategic Review. These considerations are all the more important given the coming demographic, climatic, economic, geopolitical, and of course military challenges that will dramatically constrain the operational environment of the French forces in the coming years.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France, Latin America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Julia Pomares, María Belén Abdala
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)
  • Abstract: We are living in an era of unprecedented changes. Mature democracies, emerging polities and the least electorally competitive countries are now facing new challenges in a globalized world. They are all dealing with technological breakthroughs, changes in global economic power, ageing populations and urbanization of their territories. Today’s picture shows that social inclusion seems to be an unfulfilled promise, and social cohesion is weakening. Some citizens are disenchanted, and political systems are having trouble adapting and responding to new demands. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer (2017), one in every two countries does not have faith in the system, and we still do not know how this picture is going to evolve. In democracies, pro-democracy attitudes coexist with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, such as rule by experts (49 per cent), strong leaders (26 per cent) or the military (24 per cent). This picture might be part of a transition period or indicating that polities are not being able to cope with some of the new challenges. It is why we need to think about the future of politics and how these trends will shape global governance in the next 10 to 20 years. Are political systems ready to govern a digital economy? How should political leaders evolve to address radical changes in an automated world? What will the consequences be for global governance and for the role of G20? This paper analyzes current global trends in domestic politics and the prospective scenarios on the future of politics. To do so, the paper presents a brief description on three forces we know will forge the future: technological breakthroughs, demographic changes and shifts in global economic power. Later, it turns to the uncertainty of the future. We live in nation states, so we first attempt to devise how these forces will shape domestic politics. We then look at global governance and the way these trends will impact upon it. The final stop of this journey is an analysis of the implications of these scenarios for the role of the G20.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Governance, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Barry Zellen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With Greenland making front page news, the world’s attention is turned to the Arctic. And yet, this region has been the focus of increasingly consequential geopolitical competition for centuries, whether for furs, whales, fish stocks, gold, oil, strategic-military corridors, or (particularly as the ice has retreated) maritime trade routes. In recent years, China has articulated an invigorated vision of Arctic engagement as part of its Polar Silk Road strategy—a component of its broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In its 2018 white paper on Arctic policy, China described itself as a “near-Arctic” state, a definition that has proven controversial and that, earlier this year, was publicly rejected by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo at an Arctic Council (AC) ministerial: “Beijing claims to be a ‘Near-Arctic State,’ yet the shortest distance between China and the Arctic is 900 miles. There are only Arctic States and Non-Arctic States. No third category exists, and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing.” Such a visible diplomatic smackdown in a forum better known for its consensus governance and multilateral approach to Arctic issues generated headlines (and some indignation) worldwide. But Pompeo is right—China cannot reasonably be considered a “near-Arctic” state, owing to its lack of geographical, climatic, and cultural attributes of the Arctic. What kind of seat at which tables a state receives is determined, to a significant degree, by its claims to have a say in the region (combined with its capacity to persuade other states of the merits of its claims), so Beijing’s assertion of near-Arctic statehood weighs on the balance of power and diplomacy in the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Arctic