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  • Author: Victor Esin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The stabilizing role of the INF Treaty is still relevant. Its importance has even increased against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in recent years due to the well-known events in Ukraine, aggravated by mutual sanctions and NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders. Preserving the INF Treaty, which has now become the subject of controversy and mutual non-compliance accusations between Russia and the United States, is therefore doubly important.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Nilsu Gören
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Turkey and NATO are experiencing a mutual crisis of confidence. Turkish policy makers lack confidence in NATO guarantees and fear abandonment—both prominent historical concerns. At the same time, policy makers within the alliance have begun to question Turkey’s intentions and future strategic orientation, and how well they align with NATO’s. One important factor contributing to this mistrust is Turkey’s recent dealings with Russia. Turkey is trying to contain Russian military expansion in the Black Sea and Syria by calling for a stronger NATO presence at the same time that is seeking to diversify its security strategy by improving ties with Russia and reducing its dependence on the United States and NATO. Turkey’s contradictory stance is no more apparent than in its evolving policy regarding the Syrian civil war. The threat topography of NATO’s southern flank reflects a complex web of state and non-state actors involved in asymmetric warfare. The Turkish shoot down of a Russian jet in 2015 highlighted the complexity and helped to precipitate military dialogue between NATO and Russia in Syria. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan seem to have overcome their strategic differences in their preferred outcome for Syria and have de-escalated the tensions following several rounds of peace talks headed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran and involving some, but not all, factions involved in the Syrian conflict. Yet several important questions about Turkish security policy and its impact on Turkish-U.S./NATO relations remain. What are the security implications of Turkey’s military actions on the southern flank? How is the continued fight against extremism in the region, including ISIS, likely to affect relations? And how should the West respond to Turkey’s security ties with Russia, including the Russian sale of advance military equipment to Ankara? The answers to all of these questions depend in part on whether Turkey’s behavior with Russia in Syria is a tactical move or a strategic shift away from NATO. Understanding these dynamics is key to devising policies and actions to minimize security risks between the U.S., NATO, and Russia. This paper argues that Turkey has economic and political interests in developing closer relations with Russia, but that these interests are not as strong as Turkey’s strategic alliance with the West, and NATO in particular. Turkish policymakers, who lack confidence in NATO, are pursuing short-term security interests in Syria as a way to leverage Western acquiescence to their interests regarding the Kurdish populations in Syria and Iraq. These objectives, however, are not aligned with Russia’s security objectives and do not add up to a sustainable long-term regional security strategy. In the short term, Turkey’s contradictory approaches to relations with NATO and Russia are likely to lead to ambiguity and confusion in the regional security architecture, with Syria being the most visible example of this disarray. To combat this approach, U.S. leadership and NATO should work to convince Turkey that the alliance takes Turkish security concerns in Syria seriously and to minimize the risks of Turkey’s acts as a spoiler in the region. For instance, addressing Turkish concerns over Washington’s arming of the Kurdish rebel group, the YPG, in northern Syria, will go a long way to resolving the key issue motivating Turkey’s decision to partner with Russia.
  • Topic: NATO, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Rachael Gosnell
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: While concern about renewed international competition in the Arctic has attracted significant attention, the continuation of cooperation and adherence to international rules and norms of behavior is a far more likely outcome. The magnitude of activity in the region remains below historic Cold War levels and accounts for a very small percentage of overall global military activity. Further, stakeholders have thus far exhibited adherence to international law, and venues for dialogue offer an alternative to an Arctic security dilemma. Sound adherence to the principles of deterrence, international norms, and continued cooperation in forums such as the Arctic Council will ensure the region remains stable into the future.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Arctic
  • Author: anya Loukianova fink
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper analyzes a sample of 2014-2016 Russian-language publications focused on Russia’s security relations with the United States. It characterizes the Russian expert debate at that time as dichotomous in nature, where security policy analysts proposed either coercive or restrained policy approaches in dealing with perceived threats. It assesses similarities and differences of these two perspectives with regard to the nature of Russia’s political-military relationship with the West, as well as past challenges and then-future opportunities in nuclear arms control and strategic stability.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher, Clay Ramsay, Ebrahim Mohseni
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Summary of Findings 1. Views of the Rouhani Administration President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif enjoy high levels of popular support in Iran. Nearly 8 in 10 Iranians say they have a favorable opinion of Rouhani and Zarif. Yet the intensity of their popularity has substantially eroded since August 2015. With Iran’s parliamentary elections only about a month away, 6 in 10 Iranians continue to want Rouhani supporters to win, while a growing minority favors his critics. Though Rouhani receives high marks for improving Iran’s security and deepening Iran’s relations with European countries, views of the economy are mixed. An increasing majority of Iranians think that Rouhani has not been successful in reducing unemployment. Iranians are also substantially less optimistic about Iran’s economy, with less than half now thinking that the economy is getting better. 2. Iran’s February 2016 Parliamentary Elections Four in ten Iranians voice confidence that the upcoming Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) elections will be very fair, and another four in ten assume it will be somewhat free and fair. Two thirds are highly confident they will vote in the upcoming elections for the Majlis and the Assembly of Experts. The most important issues Iranians want the new Majlis to tackle are unemployment and Iran’s low performing economy. 3. Civil Liberties in Iran Two in three Iranians believe that it is important for President Rouhani to seek to increase civil liberties in Iran. However, only a small minority complains that Iranians have too little freedom. While only about a third thinks that civil liberties in Iran have increased during Rouhani’s presidency, a plurality expects that civil liberties will increase at least somewhat over the next two years. 4. Approval for Nuclear Deal Seven in ten Iranians approve of the nuclear deal, though enthusiasm has waned somewhat. The deal garners support from majorities of those who favor Rouhani’s critics in the Majlis election, as well as those who favor his supporters. Two thirds still think the Iranian leadership negotiated a good deal for Iran, though the number of those disagreeing has risen to one in five. The number who believes it was a win for Iran has also declined, while the number who believes it was a victory for both sides has risen and is now a majority. 5. Perceptions of the Nuclear Deal Substantial numbers of Iranians now have a more accurate picture of the deal than they did in August 2015. About half (up from a third) now realizes that Iran has accepted limits on its nuclear research. Almost half (up from a quarter) now knows that many US sanctions are not covered by the agreement and will continue. However, growing majorities continue to believe incorrectly that Iranian military sites cannot be inspected under any conditions. A majority also believes that the US has agreed to not impose new sanctions to replace the ones that were removed as part of the nuclear deal. 6. Expectations of Economic Benefits Three in five Iranians expect that the nuclear deal will eventually result in improvements in their own economic well-being. This sentiment is shared by a majority of those who support Rouhani’s critics in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Majorities expect to see, within a year, better access to medical products from abroad, more foreign investment, and significant improvements in unemployment and the overall economy, though these majorities have declined from August 2015. 7. The Nuclear Deal’s Effect on Iran’s Foreign Relations A large majority of Iranians thinks that Iran’s relations with European countries have already improved as a result of the nuclear deal, but only one in three thinks Iran’s relations with the United States have improved. 8. Views of US Cooperation in the Nuclear Deal Six in ten Iranians are not confident that the US will live up to its obligations under the nuclear agreement and do not think the US will accept other countries cooperating with Iran’s civilian nuclear sector, as provided for under the deal. Half assume the US will use pressure and sanctions to extract more concessions from Iran—up from only a quarter in August 2015. 9. Views of the Nuclear Program Just as in past years, four in five Iranians see the development of an Iranian nuclear program as very important, and three in four see this program as being for purely peaceful purposes. Four in five continue to favor the idea of a Middle East nuclear-free zone that would require all countries in the Middle East, including Israel, not to have nuclear weapons. 10. Iran’s Involvement in Syria and Fighting ISIS Large majorities of Iranians approve of Iran being involved in Syria and strongly support countering ISIS, preserving Iran’s influence in the region, and countering Saudi, American, and Israeli influence. Overwhelming majorities approve of Iran fighting ISIS directly. Large majorities also approve of Iran supporting Shiite and Kurdish groups fighting ISIS and providing support to Iranian allies in the region. Strengthening the Assad government gets more modest support and is seen as a secondary goal for Iran. Two in three Iranians approve of sending Iranian military personnel to help Assad fight against armed Syrian rebels, including ISIS. 11. Views of US Involvement in Syria A large majority of Iranians disapproves of US involvement in Syria. US involvement in Syria is widely perceived as being primarily motivated by a desire to topple the Assad government, to increase US influence and power in the region, to protect Israeli and Saudi interests, and to decrease Iran’s influence and power in the region. Views are divided about whether the United States is seeking to protect Syrian civilians, to end the conflict, to prevent the conflict from spreading, or to fight ISIS. A modest majority says US efforts against ISIS are not at all sincere. A bare majority supports direct cooperation with the United States to counter ISIS in Iraq. 12. Views of Other Nations Involved in Syria Large majorities of Iranians approve of the involvement in Syria of Russia and Hezbollah, and seven in ten express confidence that Russia’s efforts against ISIS are sincerely motivated. However, large majorities disapprove of the involvement in Syria of Turkey, France, and, especially, Saudi Arabia. Large majorities say that the Saudis’ efforts against ISIS are insincere; views of the sincerity of the efforts by Turkey and France are less negative. A large majority has a negative view of Saudi efforts to create a coalition against terrorism, primarily because Saudi Arabia is seen as a supporter of ISIS. 13. International Collaboration on Syria and ISIS Despite their suspicions of other countries operating in the region, eight in ten Iranians approve of Iran participating in the international talks on the conflict in Syria. Of those who know about the Vienna agreement, seven in ten approve of it. 14. Views of Other Countries Iranians view their country’s allies, notably Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Hezbollah, favorably, and view Saudi Arabia and Turkey increasingly unfavorably. Views of Russia and China are generally favorable and have improved considerably over time. Western countries, with the exception of Germany, are viewed unfavorably, with Britain and the US viewed negatively by large majorities in Iran. In contrast, a majority has a favorable opinion of the American people.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Geopolitics, ISIS, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, United States, China, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: anya Loukianova fink
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Policy makers in the Euro-Atlantic region are concerned that incidents involving military or civilian aircraft could result in dangerous escalation of conflict between Russia and the West. This brief introduces the policy problem and traces the evolution of three sets of cooperative airspace arrangements developed by Euro-Atlantic states since the end of the Cold War—(1) cooperative aerial surveillance of military activity, (2) exchange of air situational data, and (3) joint engagement of theater air and missile threats—in order to clarify the current regional airspace insecurity dynamics and identify opportunities to promote transparency and confidence in U.S./NATO-Russian relations.
  • Topic: NATO, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic
  • Author: Marianna M. Yamamoto
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This monograph tests the OSCE approach to security. The OSCE approach to security encompasses all areas that can cause tensions and conflict between States, and is the result of a sustained effort by almost all of the world’s democracies on how to achieve both security and individual freedom. An important basis of the OSCE security concept is that international security cannot be achieved without the protection and promotion of individual rights and freedoms. The study first extracts from official OSCE documents a set of principles designed to achieve international security, and then uses the work of the first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), Max van der Stoel, to test the effectiveness of the principles in practice. From 1993 to 2001, HCNM Max van der Stoel applied OSCE principles in cases involving minority tensions with a high potential for international conflict, and this experience provided the means to assess the practical effects on security when OSCE principles are implemented. The study examined three cases that involved potential conflict: Ukraine and separatism in Crimea; Estonia and tensions regarding the Russian minority; and Macedonia and tensions regarding the Albanian minority. The study found that in each of the three cases, the implementation of OSCE principles reduced national and international tensions involving minority issues, and increased security. The increase in security was seen within each State, between States, and in the region, and reduced the potential for conflict within and between OSCE States. The results were particularly significant in view of the instability, conflicts, and tensions of the post–Cold War period; the OSCE’s ongoing institutionalization during the period; and the limited resources and tools available to the OSCE and the HCNM. The study identified and articulated twenty OSCE security principles that addressed national and international security. The principles addressed the rights and responsibilities of State sovereignty; a comprehensive, cooperative, and common security approach; the prevention of security threats and the peaceful resolution of issues; the protection and promotion of individual rights and freedoms through democracy, the rule of law, and the market economy; rights and responsibilities pertaining to national minorities; the development and advancement of shared values; and processes and mechanisms. The monograph extended the research on the OSCE principles to express an OSCE security concept. The OSCE security concept is a security framework based on the idea that security depends on the development and implementation of principles guiding three areas: how States deal with each other and resolve problems; the protection and promotion of individual rights within States; and the processes and mechanisms to review and advance values, principles, and commitments. The study showed that the implementation of OSCE principles in Ukraine, Estonia, and Macedonia significantly increased security in those three countries and the OSCE region. The study found that the OSCE principles and the OSCE security concept constitute a significant body of thought and practice regarding security, and respect for the individual. The OSCE principles, the OSCE security concept, and the work of the High Commissioner on National Minorities merit further examination, development, and application to national security policy and practice. The application to national security policy and practice is relevant to all security threats and problems.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, International Cooperation, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Estonia, Macedonia, Crimea
  • Author: Jonas Siegel
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: In the years since the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, NPT nuclear weapons states have engaged in consequential transparency measures about their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials. The level of transparency thus far achieved, however, has proven uneven in terms of the types and amounts of information released and in terms of the frequency of those releases—and most importantly, has not contributed significantly to fulfillment of these states NPT commitments. Nuclear weapons states should reassess the scope of their transparency efforts to date and consider expanding the types of information that they reveal to provide international assurances and achieve gains in support of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. This paper identifies particular steps that these states could take to fulfill the desire for greater transparency that move beyond declarations of the number and status of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. In particular, it focuses on how transparency can be expanded about the operational practices and protocols that govern the day-to-day management of their military nuclear materials—their warheads, weapons components, and material stockpiles—and how transparency in this area would contribute to fulfilling their disarmament and nonproliferation commitments.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, France