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  • Author: Danielle Cohen
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: China and ASEAN possess tremendous opportunities for economic cooperation, but also face significant security challenges, particularly regarding the South China Sea. In both domains, China’s national identity has greatly influenced the trajectory of the bilateral relationship. China’s ASEAN policy is characterized by a desire to recreate the Sinocentric structures of the tributary system, a belief in the historical legitimacy of China’s maritime and territorial claims, a vision of China as a global economic powerhouse, and a sense that China has already “peacefully risen” and can more actively assert itself to reap the rewards.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott, Paolo Maggiolini, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: Survey data from the ArabTrans 2014 survey contains a unique battery of questions pertaining to the perception of the European Union. This report builds on those questions to analyse perceptions of the EU, its development cooperation programmes, its promotion of democracy, the appropriateness of its response to the Arab Uprisings, and the perception of the EU as an international actor. Overall, the data suggests low levels of awareness and relatively negative opinions of the EU’s actions both in general and in the specific context of its response to the Arab Uprisings. However, respondents’ preferences also suggest avenues for policy development for the Union such that it might simultaneously achieve its interests and meet the demands of MENA populations. Throughout, the paper also takes note of specific patterns and conditions found in individual countries which present particular challenges for the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Jeffrey Bader
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Serious people understand that the manner in which the United States deals with China will be a critical, if not the critical, overseas chal- lenge for the United States in the 21st century. China will likely be the largest economy in the world within one or two decades; the second or third strongest military soon, if not already; and competitive with the United States and Europe in global economic, and perhaps political and cultural, influence in some regions. China is ruled by a Communist Par- ty resistant to political liberalization at home and wedded to nationalist rhetoric and behavior in dealing with its neighborhood, enhancing the chances for rivalry with the United States. For those students of history who see conflict as the likely outcome when ris- ing powers encounter dominant powers, these are precursors of a dark future. How should we deal with China? What policy framework best optimizes our interests, which are multiple and not always consistent with each oth- er? Americans are in the midst of an ongoing presidential campaign that, in a better world, would be asking and answering such questions, but this is not such a campaign.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Sören Scholvin
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Geopolitical research is frequently portrayed as a dead end. To some scholars it appears that in the 21st century geography is largely scenery, all but irrelevant to the most important issues of grand strategy. This working paper aims to revitalise geopolitics, reflecting both on the critique of the subject and the strengths that have characterised it for more than a century. It is argued that geographical conditions constitute a set of opportunities and constraints, a structure that is independent of agency. General patterns and long-term processes can be aptly explained by this structure but geopolitics is not a theory of state behaviour or foreign policy. Understanding specific phenomena that occur in international relations therefore requires taking into consideration non-geographical factors. Such a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors provides sound explanations, as several examples demonstrate: China’s projection of power into the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe in 2008, Iran’s maritime strategy and the poor integration of Colombia and South America. Given that geopolitics is about analysing international relations (or politics) for its geographical content, all those committed to geopolitics should concentrate on the three guiding questions: Do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome? If yes, do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome significantly? If yes, how, meaning in combination with which other factors do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome?
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After the re-run of the parliamentary election on 1 November 2015, it is certain that Turkey will again be ruled by the Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) one-party government. Based on this premise, this study provides a future-oriented analysis in the form of three scenarios: 1) an authoritarian Islamist state; 2) a consolidated liberal democracy; and 3) the dissolution of the Turkish state. The study also identifies three major drivers: a) the AKP and the Islamic-conservative state project; b) regional instability; and c) the Kurdish question. Regarding scenario one, there are factors and processes present that decidedly increase the possibility of an authoritarian Islamist state in Turkey. On the other hand, the republican tradition of parliamentary democracy has at the same time proved to be remarkably resilient, suggesting that the course of events depicted in the positive scenario two still have a significant chance in the long run. Scenario three, the dissolution of the Turkish state, would create enormous instability in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and exponentially increase unpredictable tendencies and conflicts. The internal and external forces that could produce such a dramatic outcome are still rather weak, but they do exist in an embryonic form. Thus, the republican modernization project attaching Turkey to the Western legacy of secular humanism should not be underestimated and may well prevail in the end. For the time being, however, it seems to be on the losing side as the political process is consolidating the Islamic-conservative version of Turkish nationalism. At the present moment this current is pointing to a concentration of power and a non-pluralist authoritarian regime whereby national identity is increasingly constructed in a form that conceptualizes political liberalism as an existential threat.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the general impression that the US president-elect Donald Trump has given us very little clue to predict his foreign policy doctrine, a guiding framework behind his scattered statements does exist. In this DIIS Policy Brief, Senior Researcher Vibeke Schou Tjalve takes a closer look at the surprisingly consistent philosophy of power and interest that Trump has aired during the past two decades. Trump is labelled a ‘nationalist’ and an ‘isolationist’. These are understandable labels, and yet: Trump is not your classical cultural-conservative nostalgic with deep veneration for old alliances or shared norms. His American nationalism does not linger on the memories of the New World European roots. Rather, it is founded on a deeply Darwinist conception of the world as a cutthroat competition, in which raw strength - not cultural characteristics – matters. As such, Trump will have no sentimentality for NATO or Europe, and he will view the world through largely value-neutral eyes. This leaves Europe with a defining set of questions, and to influence a Trump presidency, we should understand and appreciate this not-so-simple nationalism, Tjalve writes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Zora Popova, Inga Marken, Lavinia Bâdulescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The current paper, developed in connection to an ECMI project implemented in Azerbaijan in 2014, explores the transferability of successful reconciliation and intercultural cohesion mechanisms from one region or a country to another. Analysing the positive example of Schleswig-Holstein and the conflict region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the paper aims at overcoming the specific context related issues and to look at the structural factors that need to be considered if a model is to be adapted to a historically, geographically, and culturally different case.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vadim Poleshchuk
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Russian-speaking population of Estonia experienced serious problems on the labour market and in education in the years following the post-Soviet transition. The perception of inequality is typical among minority groups. Nowadays there are no significant disparities in terms of health conditions or access to the health care system for majority and minority groups; however, there are accumulated negative factors for the minority population, especially when we look closer at socially marginalised groups. In addition to their generally weaker socio-economic status, many Russophones face the problem of social exclusion, proven by higher rates of extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness, trafficking victimisation, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. All these factors may have an adverse effect on the enjoyment by ethnic minorities of the right to health. Considering the demographic make-up of Estonia, a reduced use of the Russian language in the provision of health services has emerged as a new challenge to the national health care system.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Estonia
  • Author: Oh Yoon Ah
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of China's development finance to developing countries with a focus on Asia from 2000 to 2012. It uses a recent version of China Aid Data, one of the most reliable and publicly available data sources that systematically collect and differentiate different types of China's official development financial flows. This paper differs from previous studies in two aspects that (1) it analyzes a wider range of developing countries, moving beyond earlier research largely limited to Africa; and (2) it examines regional variation in China's motives for development financing. The findings show that China's allocations decision for concessional development flows, or ODA, has mixed motives of humanitarian, commercial and strategic interests. It is noteworthy that China's ODA appears not to be in competition against, but rather in a complementary form to, established donors in this period. Yet substantial regional variation is observed, suggesting different regional dynamics are at work. On the other hand, it is found that China's allocations decision for less-concessional development financing largely follows commercial considerations. This paper also provides detailed discussion of the trends in China's development finance to Southeast Asia, which is an Asian region critical for China's economic and foreign policy interests. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of possible shift in China's overseas development finance strategy since 2011.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia