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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
  • Author: Richard Fontaine
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In June 2008, the Center for a New American Security published a compendium of essays to grapple with the central questions of American grand strategy.1 The volume compiled the views of leading senior strategists from across the political spectrum and from both academia and the policy community. Four years later, CNAS embarked on a similar venture, presenting the views of four more expert thinkers
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate interfaith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Friday, June 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosts the leaders of the 19 major economic nations and the European Union in Osaka, Japan. As G20 finance ministers noted after their meeting earlier this month “growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside. Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified.” Created in the wake of the 2007-2008 “Great Recession”, the G20 is economic multilateralism at work, an insurance policy to prevent globalization going off the rails. This 14th G20 summit is the culmination of a year-long series of ministerial meetings, hosted throughout Japan. G20 leaders are a diverse group – liberal democrats, authoritarians and autocrats. While the plenary sessions are the point of the meeting, attention will be on the interactions between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Can they start to undo their trade war or will tariffs continue to escalate? While the focus is geo-economics, the geopolitics are always present. After abandoning the nuclear deal with Iran, the Trump administration has re-imposed sanctions and tensions have risen with recent actions, attributed to Iran, against container ships and a U.S. drone. China continues to muscle into the South China Sea. HMCS Regina and MV Asterix recently transited the Straits of Taiwan and sailed into these international waters. Russia still occupies parts of Ukraine. Ukraine now has a new president and parliamentary elections are underway. Canada hosts the third Ukraine Reform Conference this July in Toronto. There is little discernible progress in the U.S.’s negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear and missile capacity. Canadian ships and aircraft are part of the international sanction efforts on North Korea. Conflict continues in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Central Africa and famine ravages parts of Africa. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports there are over 70 million displaced persons. Among them are 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. With millions of stateless people not just in the Middle East and Africa, but in Asia and Latin America, it is estimated that one person is forcibly displaced every two seconds. Canada resettled more refugees than the United States in 2018, the first time the U.S. did not lead the world on this measure in decades. Human rights are also part of the backdrop. China has said it will not permit any discussion of the Hong Kong situation because it is China’s “internal affair”. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, there is “credible evidence” that Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a participant at the G20, is liable for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia is to host next year’s G20, but does this not give de facto impunity to MBS?
  • Topic: G20, Geopolitics, Multilateralism, Trade, Primer
  • Political Geography: Japan, Canada, North America
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of August, the leaders of the major western democracies will meet in their 45th summit. They will discuss global geopolitical and socioeconomic issues in Biarritz, a seaside resort in Basque country on the Atlantic coast, made famous in the 19th century as the summer playground of Europe’s elite. As the host, French President Emmanuel Macron is focusing on inequality: be it income, gender, education, healthcare or access to drinking water. But can M. Macron bring his fellow leaders into consensus given their diverging perspectives on diverse issues including gender, work, climate, energy, protectionism, populism and extremism? What will be the chemistry between the disparate leaders, including the new member of the group, Boris Johnson? And how will these heads of state manage Donald Trump? Will there be a communiqué? As Justin Trudeau will ruefully recall, the US president upended last year’s Charlevoix summit revoking the US agreement to the communiqué while en route to meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. There will be various measures of success in Biarritz, but it will be important for leaders to say something and do something on Hong Kong. Keeping the spotlight on this international city will be important to restrain China from rash action. As the principal guardians of international covenants, the G7 leaders have an obligation to Hong Kong. It will also be important for the leaders to make some sort of statement on trade measures. If we are moving into an economic decoupling with China, then it will be vital that the G7 hangs together. A recession will only incite more populism and aggravate the inequalities that are the focus at Biarritz.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Inequality, Multilateralism, Trade, G7
  • Political Geography: Canada, France
  • Author: Cristina Carpinelli
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: The ethnic landscape in the Baltic States is dominated by one large ethnic minority: Russians. Lithuania is an exception as here the first biggest ethnic minority are Poles, followed by Russians. The Baltic States have also significant Slavic minorities, such as Belarusians and Ukrainians. There are many barriers for people from different ethnic groups to overcome because the Baltic societies are segregated according to ethnicity across a number of dimensions: language, work and geography. During the Soviet period there were separate language schools, a system that reinforced ethnic separation. Labor market was also split along ethnic lines and a large proportion of ethnic minorities lived spatially segregated from the majority group and was concentrated mostly in urban centers. The impact of communist heritage and the construction of the post-communist state order had a negative impact on the integration process of the Russian minorities in those countries. The ethnic Russians had been heavily marginalized as many of them had no citizenship at all. As a result, they had limited access to labor-market and less social protection. However, the accession of the Baltic States to the European Union (EU) has succeeded in significantly changing policies with respect for and protection of minorities in the three Baltic countries. In the last years the ethnic Russians have in fact been partially accommodated through the consistency of the citizenship laws with the European Union norms, which precisely require the protection of minorities and respect for them. The aim of the study described herein is to investigate the historic roots of ethnic segregation between the native Baltic population and the Russian minority and show how the entry of the Baltic States into the EU has facilitated the process of promoting minority rights, especially from the perspective of granting citizenship right to Russian (and Polish) ethnic persons living in those countries
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Baltic States
  • Author: Abdullah Metin Durmuş
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: This article is based on the idea that it is necessary to develop a quantitative method to calculate power of international actors, which will enable scholars to analyse international conflicts. The Global Potential Power Distribution Chart, which is calculated based on three main characteristics of international actors, namely population, territory and economic power, shows “potential power of states and international organisations”. It may be called “Durmuş Scale of Power (DSoP)”. The chart is a comprehensive indicator with considerable accuracy and 100 % objectivity. In this article, potential powers of international actors have been calculated for years 1987, 2004 and 2015, which gives a clear overview of the potential power distribution (balance of power) of the World regarding states and as well as international organisations. Potential military powers of some states and international organisation in year 2015 have also been calculated. This research proves by means of a contemporary approach applied and a quantitative method developed that, the World is multipolar since 2004, and China is, potentially, the most powerful state of the World since 2015. The method introduced in this article were sufficient enough to explain the effects of the enlargement of NATO and EU, EU after BREXIT, reform of the Security Council of the United Nations and instrumental enough to provide a peaceful understanding for the self-determination issue of Kosova. There are three conclusions to this research: 1) The method “Durmuş Scale of Power” is calculated is reliable because everybody with a scientific calculator or a computer can easily calculate potential power of a state provided that he or she has reliable data for territory, population and GDP. 2) “Global Potential Power Distribution Chart” is a comprehensive Chart which shows “balance of power” at a specific year. It enables us to compare power of states and international organisations in different years. 3) It is convenient to use “Durmuş Scale of Power” while analysing issues of international relations
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aneta Dawidowicz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: Views of the National Party (1928–1939) merit special attention, given both the Party’s prominent role in the political life of interwar Poland and the interesting combination of various elements derived from diverse ideological trends within the Party’s programme. The ideological legacy of the National Party reflected, to a large extent, the key constituents of the National Democracy’s political thought, such as nationalism, representation of all social classes, national integrity and the concept of the nation-state. The National Party underwent major evolution and was subject to internal divisions which makes the image of its political thought much more complex. Based on an analysis of the National Party’s political thought, several conclusions can be formulated. The National Party developed its own views regarding political systems. These were, to a large extent, determined by their own system of values based on the national idea. The National Party’s political system projections were mainly inspired by (1) the successes of the “new type” states; (2) pressure from totalitarian systems; and (3) the influence of the economic and spiritual crisis. The National Party leaders wanted to make the political system more efficient. Nonetheless, views in favor of directly imitating any foreign political systems could hardly be found in the Party’s political thought. The National Party’s ideologists and journalists invariably stated that there was no pre-defined political system, but its form had to be adjusted to the specificity and unique character of a given national body. Although inspiration was drawn from external political systems, the Party’s political thought did not lose its independence.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia and China play dissimilar roles in global governance and define their interests in this sphere in divergent ways. While the two states agree on certain international principles and norms, their engagement with global governance differs significantly. These differences pose the most serious long-term obstacle to closer cooperation between Moscow and Beijing
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: A July 2018 ISD report on “The New Arctic: Navigating the Realities, Possibilities, and Problems” explores the implications of the New Arctic, and the broader geopolitical repercussions of these changes. The Arctic region has become a New Global Common. Increasingly navigable seaways and new access to natural resources create both opportunities for greater collaboration between Arctic and non-Arctic nations, as well as potential flashpoints, environmental disasters, and threats to indigenous communities. The challenge is to mitigate all of these potential threats, and develop the policies, partnerships, and infrastructure to help guide Arctic diplomacy in the decades to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Natural Resources, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Arctic, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, Turkey seems to have embraced the East again. Ankara’s closer relations with Eurasian countries go hand in hand with the international trend to move eastwards, towards the ever-growing and most dynamic region in the world. They are also the result of an increasing differentiation of Turkey’s foreign relations, driven by strategic, economic and energy interests. Stronger ties with the Eurasian countries, i.e. Russia and China, are also the litmus test for the ups and downs in relations with the Washington and Brussels. While Ankara still retains strong ties with the West, it is laying the groundwork to further widen its interests to the East. This report aims to analyse the multi-faceted aspects of Ankara’s Eurasian shift, highlighting domestic drivers of Turkey’s “Eurasianism”, the interests at stake, the areas of cooperation and competition, and last but not least the implications for the EU.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Yun Sun
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Since being applied to U.S.-Soviet-China trilateral relations after the Sino-American rapprochement in the early 1970s, the notion/theory of “strategic triangles” has been widely used to examine many trilateral relations. The model of “U.S.-China plus one” is popular among students of U.S.-China relations and, consequently, the policy community has witnessed an increasing amount of scholarship on triangles among U.S.-China-India, U.S.-China-Japan, U.S.-China-Russia, and even U.S.-China-Taiwan. Unsurprisingly, this begs the question whether a strategic triangle could be construed and constructed among the United States, China, and South Korea. Generally speaking, despite the trilateral nature of U.S.-China-ROK relations, the Chinese policy community rarely subscribes to the existence of a strategic triangle among the U.S., China, and South Korea. This is not necessarily because South Korea does not carry the same strategic weight as the two great powers, but more importantly is because China does not see South Korea as possessing the strategic autonomy to act as an independent player in the trilateral relations. Although arguably such autonomy might exist in economic and trade relations, on key political and security issues, the Chinese see South Korea as invariably constrained by the U.S.-ROK military alliance and unable to form its own independent national security policy. In writing about the post-Cold War period with an emphasis on geopolitics, Chinese authors do not often treat South Korean policy or Sino-ROK relations as autonomous. Given the great weight given to the U.S. role, it is important, therefore, to take a triangular approach in assessing these writings centered on South Korea. I do so first explaining in more detail why the “strategic triangle” framework does not apply, then examining views on how this triangle has evolved in a period of rising Chinese power relative to U.S. power and fluctuating U.S.-ROK relations as the leadership in Seoul changed hands, and finally returning to the triangular theme to grasp how this shapes China’s understanding of Seoul’s policies with emphasis on the ongoing Moon Jae-in era.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Emad Drimly, Fares Akram
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Pal-Think For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: GAZA, Hamas parliamentary bloc has recently approved the financial budget for Hamas’ government in the Gaza Strip, officials said on Monday. The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the budget, although other parliamentary blocs, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, boycotted the session. The budget for the fiscal year is 428 million U.S. dollars and it applies only in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, excluding the West Bank which is ruled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) led by Abbas. Fatah says the PLC sessions have been illegal since June 2007 when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized control of the coastal strip. The approval of the budget took place as Israel still keeps a tight blockade on Gaza and amid vagueness and controversy over Hamas’ financial resources. In the West Bank, the Western-backed Abbas government goes through fiscal crisis despite financial support from the international community.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The diplomacy associated with Libya’s 2003 decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and support for terrorism has been rightly held up as a model. After years of isolation and international sanctions, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi decided to change course. He agreed to dismantle and repatriate most of his nuclear infrastructure, to eliminate his chemical weapon stocks and ballistic missiles, and to abandon the use of terrorism as a foreign policy instrument. Libya wanted to be largely normalized and was prepared to pay a price to achieve this end but also wanted to receive the benefits of this normalization.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Tim Boersma, Casey Johnson
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Over the preceding decade until November 2016, energy came to occupy a more central position in the United States’ foreign policy apparatus, and the term “energy diplomacy” became frequently used in policy circles and the media. The reasons for this are numerous, but a 2014 headline from the New York Times captures the essence: “Oil’s Comeback Gives U.S. Global Leverage.”[1] Indeed, the unleashing of massive amounts of US unconventional oil and gas transformed the country from a political and economic superpower that was relatively energy poor in relation to its consumption habits into an energy superpower in its own right. The US energy narrative shifted quickly from talk of scarcity and ever-increasing import dependence to one of abundance, in which the nation became a major global exporter. For US diplomats, this occasioned the rethinking of what role energy could play in advancing strategic interests abroad. In October 2012, then secretary of state Hillary Clinton gave a major address at Georgetown University on energy diplomacy in the 21st century, proposing that energy could be used to help solve territorial and maritime disputes, promote competition in Europe, get the Republic of Iraq back on its feet, bring peace in the South Sudan and Sudan conflict, and tackle energy poverty and climate change.[2] Secretary Clinton’s State Department stood up a Bureau of Energy Resources with dozens of diplomats devoted to these topics. At meetings abroad and in Washington, energy was literally on the agenda, assuming a more prominent role than at any time since the Carter administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jackson Ewing
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: ACROSS ALL ERAS AND IN ALL PLACES, POLICYMAKERS MAKE DECISIONS on incomplete information. It is fundamental to public leadership—particularly at the highest levels—that decisions taken reflect some personal judgment of the existing evidence and arguments at hand. Uncertainty of outcome and the risk of unintended consequences are ever-present
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Heather A. Conley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of the Arctic as a region of political and economic opportunity adds a new dimension to U.S.-China relations. Despite divergent priorities in the region, there are opportunities for greater cooperation. Both countries experience the physical challenges of climate change while investing in scientific research to gain a better understanding of a transforming Arctic. They both also seek cooperation through the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization to promote governance in the region. For these reasons, among others, the United States and China should create a more purposeful dialogue on a range of Arctic issues. U.S.-Sino Relations in the Arctic: A Roadmap for Future Cooperation is the result of fruitful exchanges between American and Chinese experts who addressed a range of issues: the future of Arctic governance, geopolitical factors shaping the Arctic’s future, international maritime issues in the Central Arctic Ocean, future trends in sustainable Arctic development, and new bilateral scientific research initiatives in the Arctic. Through frank and candid exchanges, this report aims to lay the foundation of strong bilateral cooperation between the United States and China in the Arctic.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: China, America, Arctic
  • Author: Andrew Philip Hunter, Gregory Sanders, Samantha Cohen
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: International joint development programs are important because of their potential to reduce costs and increase partnership benefits such as interoperability, economies of scale, and technical advancement. While all major development and acquisition programs are complex undertakings, international joint development programs introduce additional layers of complexity in the requirement for coordination with more than one government customer, supply chain and organizational complexities resulting from international industrial teaming, and technology control issues. The performance of international joint development programs varies greatly. This study compares the best practices of international joint development and domestic development programs through case-study analysis to identify the key variables that contribute to a program’s eventual success or failure and to understand the elements that are crucial to managing these programs.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Global Security, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ankita Gothwal
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current state of India-U.S. relations marks a complete turnaround of the diplomatic stalemate that marked the two countries’ relationship during the Cold War. A quintessential example of this strategic transformation can be found through India’s quest to build an aircraft carrier. The United States has come a long way from its 1971 decision to send the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal to deter India. In 2015, the United States began cooperating with India to build a carrier at Kochi port.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Lavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Donald Trump confounds political observers. For many, he is defined by his missteps and flamboyance. His foreign policy statements contain sufficient imprecision—if not outright contradictions—to allow observers to conclude a lack of care in dealing with the issues. Is China’s presence in the South China Sea acceptable or not? Is NATO useful or not? Should the United States use force in Syria for humanitarian or geo-political goals? This ambiguity gives rise to further questions regarding his foreign policy architecture: what are the guiding principles?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Populism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Syria, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Pawal Kowal, John S Micgiel
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: “All we have left of the Soviet Union are jokes...” I’d like to ask you all somewhat perversely, besides jokes, is there any good memory left behind from this empire? Did the Soviet Union leave anything good behind? I mean the Soviet Union not as the Soviet Union itself, but also as the whole region, in other words the Warsaw Pact countries, as well as other communist countries and parties in the world. So, we see the empire as Alexei Salmin, the Russian political scientist, views it – as a concentrated orb: the Russian Federation, around it the USSR, then the Warsaw Pact, followed by other communist countries and finally the Comintern, and after its dissolution, parties cooperating with the Kremlin from all over the world. So, we see the entire empire, not just the Soviet Union, and the question is this – did it leave anything good behind? Surely every empire leaves something good behind
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Poland
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, has re- configured more than contributed to resolving internal strife. A year ago, the conflict was between rival parliaments and their associated governments; today it is mainly between accord supporters and opponents, each with defectors from the original camps and heavily armed. The accord’s roadmap, the idea that a caretaker government accommodating the two parliaments and their allies could establish a new political order and reintegrate militias, can no longer be implemented without change. New negotiations involving especially key security actors not at Skhirat are needed to give a unity government more balanced underpinning.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The current government term may be the best chance for a negotiated political settlement to almost 70 years of armed conflict that has devastated the lives of minority communities and held back Myanmar as a whole. Aung San Suu Kyi and her admin istration have made the peace process a top priority. While the previous government did the same, she has a number of advantages, such as her domestic political stature, huge election mandate and strong international backing, including qualified support on the issue from China. These contributed to participation by nearly all armed groups – something the former government had been unable to achieve – in the Panglong- 21 peace conference that commenced on 31 August. But if real progress is to be made, both the government and armed groups need to adjust their approach so they can start a substantive political dialogue as soon as possible.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: As an important commercial gateway and a rich source of natural resources, the South China Sea holds great economic and strategic significance. This is manifested not only in the conflicting territorial and maritime claims of the coastal states, but also in the simmering geopolitical rivalry between an increasingly self-assertive China and a United States bent on `rebalancing´ China’s growing power in the region. This new DIIS report by Andreas Bøje Forsby examines recent development trends in the South China Sea, focusing primarily on three key areas: China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, the rebalancing efforts of the United States in the region and the recently-concluded arbitration case between the Philippines and China concerning their maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Philippe Le Corre, Jonathan Pollack
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China’s emergence as a global economic power and its fuller integration in the international order are among the principal policy challenges facing Europe and the United States in the early 21st century. At the time of Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China (though already growing rapidly) was in global terms an economic actor of limited consequence. A decade and a half later, China’s transformation is without parallel in economic history. Over the past 15 years, China has experienced an eightfold increase in GDP, enabling it to serve as the pri- mary engine of global economic growth in the early 21st century. It has leapfrogged from sixth to second place among the world’s economies, trail- ing only the United States in absolute economic size. In addition, China has become the world’s leading trading state and is now the second largest source of outward foreign direct investment. Change of this magnitude has enhanced China’s political power and eco- nomic leverage. It has also stimulated China’s internal economic evolution, simultaneously expanding the power of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) while also contributing to major growth in the private sector. China has also begun to think bigger, devoting increased attention to the rules of global economic governance. Although Beijing insists it has no intention of supplanting the existing international order, China contends that chang- ing power realities will require modification of global rules.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, America, Europe
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: As the world faces a slew of complicated challenges and the international community comes together to select the next UN Secretary General, there is renewed debate about the role of the UN in international affairs. In UN 2030: Rebuilding Order in a Fragmenting World, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) President Kevin Rudd argues that the UN continues to matter. The report makes the case that if the UN fails, falters, or fades away, it would fundamentally erode the stability of an already fragile global order. At the same time, Rudd contends, we tend to take the UN for granted, overlooking the reality that its continued existence is not inevitable. The UN, while not yet broken, is in trouble. The report concludes, however, that the UN is capable of reinventing itself. This requires not one-off reforms but a continual process of reinvention to ensure the institution is responding to the policy challenges of our time.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sergey Aleksashenko
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It has been more than two years since the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. For some of the measures, though not all, that is time enough to evaluate effectiveness. But before such an assessment can be made, the initial goals of the sanctions should be clearly stated. This is not as straightforward as it might seem.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Security, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, European Union
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Turmoil in traditional geopolitical hotspots—Europe, Russia, the Levant, and Asia—has distracted the United States from the numerous opportunities and challenges across the Atlantic in Africa. Over the last decade, Africa has celebrated economic growth and new levels of political and economic engagement with the United States. But the continent faces many challenges to its continued economic development, security, and governance. In this latest Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham persuasively argues that the United States needs to modernize its relations with a changing Africa to best engage a new range of actors and circumstances.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, America
  • Author: Adriana Abdenur
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The present study aims to develop an analysis of how the fast-changing geopolitics and geoeconomics of East Asia impacts current and potential trends in cross-regional economic cooperation, with a focus on Latin America. The paper revolves around three anchor trends: i. The Economic Transformation of East Asia; ii. Security and Cooperation in the Pacific; and iii. Mega-Agreements. For each of these areas, the study provides a succinct yet analytical overview of current debates by incorporating both Western and non-Western perspectives from academe and policy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aysegul Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: This Policy Paper is part of the Middle East Institute's Regional Cooperation Series. Throughout 2016, MEI will be releasing several policy papers by renowned scholars and experts exploring possibilities to foster regional cooperation across an array of sectors. The purpose is to highlight the myriad benefits and opportunities associated with regional cooperation, and the high costs of the continued business-as-usual model of competition and intense rivalry. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is regarded as one of the most water-challenged regions in the world. The destabilizing impact of its resource constraints is compounded by the fact that some 60 percent of the region’s water flows across international borders, generating and exacerbating political tensions between states. Water insecurity will increase in the MENA region if the current situation of minimal water cooperation persists under the disabling conditions of political volatility, economic disintegration, institutional failure, and environmental degradation. Experiences from around the world demonstrate that countries that have achieved regional water cooperation have prospered together and kept the threat of conflict a remote possibility. It is time for the countries in the Middle East to realize that there is no alternative to sustainable water cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Water, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Rani Mullen, Ashish Arora
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The 21st century is witnessing a substantial re-engagement of India and Africa. Though India and Africa have a history dating back millennia, bilateral relations for most of the 20th century were tepid as each focused inward, first on anti- colonial struggles and then on building up their independent countries. However, since the turn of the century India has re-engage with Africa as both experienced significant economic growth and face similar development challenges on their path towards sustained progress. Acknowldeging the importance of mutual cooperation, both India and African countries have been engaging with each other through bilateral and multilateral initiatives, including the Pan-African e-network, India- Africa Forum Summits, such initiatives signal India and Africa's mutual interest in strengthening their relationship and South-South cooperation. Furthermore, in a changing global order where OECD countries are experiencing low growth trends and with the emergence of new multilateral institutions such as the BRICS countries-led New Development Bank, these rising powers are influencing global governance, geoeconomics, as well as the global development architecture. This report analyzes the changing India- Africa relationship, with a special focus on development partnerships between the two regions and the future potential of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, India
  • Author: D. Malysheva
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: ON JULY 26, 2015, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on board the frigate Admiral of the Soviet Navy Gorshkov endorsed a new version of the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation, the basic document that specifies Russia’s naval and maritime policy. This version added the Mediterranean to the areas of the national maritime policy (the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific zones) and specified that Russia’s naval pres- ence there is aimed at “turning it into the zone of military-political sta- bility and good-neighborly relations.”1 This is not fortuitous: The region is one of the main zones of Russia’s politics and international coopera- tion. Time has come to sort out regional developments, varied interests of the states involved and the problems they have to cope with. In other words, we should arrive at a clear idea about the region’s importance for the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Thomas Juneau
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In this MEI Policy Paper, Thomas Juneau examines Iran’s role in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and the Arab-Israeli conflict to explain why Iran is not a “rising regional hegemon” but rather a “mid-sized regional power frustrated at not reaching its ambitions.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Yemen, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Ross Harrison
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In this MEI Policy Paper, Ross Harrison asserts that a new regional order is emerging out of the conflicts of the Middle East. The relationships among the pillars of this order--Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran--are crucial, as they will largely determine "whether the future of the Middle East will be a continuation of the current chaos and destruction or a more positive transition toward stability and prosperity." Harrison argues that global powers must concentrate on creating conditions conducive to cooperation among the pillars.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The paper presents the results of three meetings co-organized by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) Foreign Policy Programme (FPP) and the The PeaceResearch Institute Oslo (PRIO) Cyprus Centre. The workshops, held in Tbilisi, Istanbul and the buffer zone in Nicosia, discussed the policies followed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the former imperial geography and noted current expectations from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Aybars Görgülü, Enis Erdem Aydın, Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report contains the results of a survey conducted on 6-14th December 2010 by KA Research that has been evaluated by TESEV Foreign Policy Programme. Based on a sample size of 1,000, the survey aims to understand the perception of foreign policy in Turkey. A first of its kind for TESEV, the survey includes striking findings that may be of interest to decision-makers in Turkey and those following Turkey around the world. This report finds many results for the opinion on the foreign policy vision of Turkey concerning the Turkish government, the US government, the EU and the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus, United States of America, European Union