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  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Russia’s geopolitical projection has shifted over the past two decades. The country has tried to reverse its losses in Ukraine and the South Caucasus, but it is in Belarus that Moscow will most likely try to further extend its leverage to keep the EU and NATO at bay.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Frank Gorenc
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the world enters an era of great-power competition, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) faces a renewed challenge from an old adversary. A Europe whole, free, and at peace is now at risk as Russian aggression challenges the traditional rules-based world order. Russia’s activities in and against Ukraine and Georgia, rampant intrusion on Western democratic processes and political discourse, blatant assassination attempts on NATO soil, support for rogue regimes in Syria and Iran, and military deployments and force accumulation in Kaliningrad and Crimea, as well as in the Sea of Azov, demonstrate that the threat is as real and compelling as it ever was.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Alessandro Colombo, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Under the pressure of the new US administration’s aggressive rhetoric, 2017 has revealed that traditional dynamics among great powers are back in the international context of the XXI century. Contrary to the most optimistic predictions and discourses of the early post-Cold War period, the “game of big powers” is regaining centre stage. This is mainly due to three intertwined processes: the growth and renewed assertiveness of potential United States’ global competitors such as Russia and China; the enduring crisis of multilateralism and global co-existence; and even more, the breakdown of the regional order into increasingly autonomous arenas, where regional powers are on the rise. The ISPI 2018 Report reflects upon this change, only partly offset by positive news coming from the global economy over the past year. The first part of the volume focuses on the global context; the second investigates the role Europe can play in a “world of big powers”; the last part addresses Italian foreign policy.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: With the boost that has been given to the EU’s defence policy, some of the St. Malo reflexes have reoccurred in Washington. Mostly, there are some misgivings in the United States about the exact meaning of ‘European strategic autonomy’, as it featured in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But also in Europe, it is not clear what strategic autonomy means. In light of the increasing uncertainty among the EU and European NATO-members about the solidity of the American security guarantees, strategic autonomy gains a new quality. If Europe were forced ‘to go it alone’, what would that take, both in terms of conventional and nuclear capabilities?
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Patrick Porter
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Political scientists and historians continue to debate the sources of U.S. grand strategy. Some emphasize the importance of the United States’ material capabilities and large share of relative power; others point to the significance of ideas in shaping policymakers’ choices. Both accounts are incomplete. Two case studies—the first eighteen months of the presidency of Donald Trump and the presidency of Bill Clinton—demonstrate that the United States persists with a strategy of primacy because it has become a habit—an axiomatic, sacrosanct belief system that the American foreign policy establishment perpetuates.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The president’s recent statement that OPEC should reduce their prices may merely be an attempt to assign blame for rising gasoline prices in the midst of the US driving season or an even more cynical attempt to rally his political base in opposition to globalism. Or, it may have something to do with the president’s own decision to create a crisis with Iran. While attention is duly paid to how much Americans have to pay at the pump, a more subtle and complicated story will soon play out with respect to Iran and the reapplication of US sanctions ordered by Trump on May 8, 2018. In fact, unless oil prices are contained, the primary result of the president’s action may be to ensure that Iran profits from the oil market risks that sanctions have created.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: U.S.-China relations have now entered into a new structural phase. Officially, the Americans describe this as a change from 40 years of “strategic engagement” to a new period of “strategic competition.” The precise definition of strategic competition, as an operational rather than a declaratory strategy, has yet to fully emerge. But we would be foolish not to recognize that there has been a fundamental systemic shift in U.S. sentiment toward China
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China
  • 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: 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
  • 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: Emad Drimly, Fares Akram
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: PalThink 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: 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: Ahmed Alili
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: On 20th January, Donald John Trump, an American businessman and TV entertainer is going to be 45th President of the United States of America (US). This is a hard-to-be comprehended statement by the academic and research communities, who did not expect the result of the US presidential elections to turn out this way. The possibility of Trump’s victory was repeatedly denied by the major research centres, and each scandal encouraged researchers to re-state their predictions on the soon-to-be collapse of the Trump election campaign. Needless to say, these predictions were proven false by the final election results. Nevertheless, in the end, the academic and policy research communities have not produced research on what Trump’s presidency would look like. The same stands true for the foreign governments of the EU, Russia, China, and the rest of the world. In order to figure out who is the new US President and what he can do, the world has entered into a phase of intensive research on Trump. This paper is an attempt to puzzle out Trump’s foreign policy for the Caucasus and Azerbaijan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Theory, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Khaled Hroub
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: On 1 May 2017, Hamas released its “Document of General Principles and Policies” following years of periodic speculation that the movement was working on a new political platform. Heralded by some as a significant milestone in Hamas’s political thought and practice, the document reiterates longstanding positions but also lays out some new ones. Given the timing of its release, as well as its contents and possible implications, the document could be considered Hamas’s new charter: it details the organization’s views on the struggle against “the Zionist project” and Israel and outlines its strategies to counter that project. This essay aims to provide a fine-grained analysis of the substance, context, and ramifications of the recently released document. The discussion starts with an overview highlighting aspects of the document that could be considered departures from Hamas’s original 1988 charter, and pointing to changes in the movement’s discourse, both in form and substance. A contextual analysis then probes the regional, international, and internal impetuses behind the issuance of the document. Finally, the discussion concludes with a look at the possible implications for the movement itself, as well as for the Palestinians and for Israel.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Border Control, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, discusses his company’s annual top political risks for 2017 and their ethical implications. Topics include the potential challenges from a Trump administration, the moral legacy of President Obama’s foreign policy, human rights in the Middle East, the fate of liberalism in Europe and the world, and the dangers of populism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Pollack
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Brookings Senior Fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair Jonathan Pollack explains the threat that North Korea poses to the United States, its neighbors, and the world. Pollack also explores the different options that the United States has to handle threats from North Korea and describes the different scenarios that could escalate tensions between the United States and North Korea.
  • Topic: International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Simón, Vivien Pertusot
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Europe’s southern neighbourhood is a diverse but interlinked geopolitical ensemble, whose specificities need to be carefully assessed before Europeans devise dedicated security strategies, divide responsibilities and make policy decisions. This exercise in geopolitical scoping seeks to make sense of the main security challenges present in Europe’s broader European neighbourhood, a space encompassing areas as diverse as the Gulf of Guinea, the Sahel, North Africa, the Levant and the Persian Gulf. It identifies (some of) the main sub-regions that make up the ‘South’, offers an overview of the threat environment in each of them and identifies relevant differences as well as common themes. In doing so we aim to provide a conceptual referent for further policy research on the security of Europe’s ‘South’, and to help inform future strategic and policy discussions within the EU, NATO and their Member States.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: John R. Haines
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Hungarian proverb Madarat tolláról, embert barátjáról translates roughly as “You can tell a bird by its feathers, and a person by his friends.” If so, it says much about Hungarian President Viktor Orbán. Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked during a 12 April interview with Russia’s MIR television and radio network whether “relations deteriorated with Trump in office from what they were under his predecessor?” He answered, “We could say that at the working level, the degree of trust has dropped, especially in the military area. It has not improved and has probably worsened.”[1] Mr. Putin premised this appraisal with an extended dissemble about “several versions” about “the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province, which led to the US air strike on a Syrian air base:”
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Hungary
  • 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
  • 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: Eugene Rumer, Richard Sokolsky, Paul Stronski, Andrew Weiss
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S.-Russian relationship is broken, and it cannot be repaired quickly or easily. Improved personal ties between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin may be useful, but they are not enough. The Trump administration needs to temper expectations about breakthroughs or grand bargains with Moscow. Instead, the focus should be on managing a volatile relationship with an increasingly emboldened and unpredictable Russian leadership. The real test for any sustainable approach will be whether it advances U.S. interests and values, especially in the wake of Moscow’s reckless meddling in the November presidential election.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Soren 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: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, South Africa, Colombia, South America, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Giorgio Gomel
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is some degree of ambivalence, mistrust, and even hostility between Europe and Israel. Europeans see Israel on a path of permanent occupation of Palestinian territories. Israel sees the European posture as unbalanced and biased against Israel. Economic and institutional linkages are strong. A further strengthening of relations is however difficult unless a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reached. For the EU resolving the conflict is a matter of both interests and values. The engagement of the EU can take different forms, in the realm of sticks one may point to legislation concerning the labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and carrots such as the EU offer of a special privileged partnership with Israel. For the Israeli public a clearer perception of the costs of non-peace and the benefits from a resolution of the conflict could help unblock the stalemate and remove the deceptive illusion that the status quo is sustainable.
  • Topic: Politics, Geopolitics, Israel, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel
  • 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: Yitzhak Shichor
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Since the early 1960s when Taiwanese officials met Professor Ernst David Bergmann, the first chairman of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, he played a significant role in Taiwan’s nuclear (and missile) programs. In Taiwan, which he visited occasionally and maintained close relations with President Chiang Kai-shek and its military-technological-scientific complex, Bergmann also facilitated some of Israel’s conventional military transfers to Taiwan. While some of his activities in Taiwan may have been approved by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (which followed its own foreign policy), the Foreign Ministry took exception, well before Jerusalem’s rapprochement with Beijing. Israel’s military relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) had been aborted by the mid-1990s, even though attempts have been made to resume defense links. Since his death in 1975—one day after Chiang Kai-shek’s—and definitely before, Ernst Bergmann has been considered, implicitly but lately explicitly, a prominent player in Taiwan’s defense modernization and one of the forefathers of its nuclear program.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Taiwan
  • Author: Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2016, almost 13 years after the Thessaloniki declaration to integrate the Western Balkans into the European Union, Brussels is left with Croatia as a Member State, Montenegro half way, at best, to becoming one, Serbia with first negotiation chapters just opened, and half of the region with no clear prospect of membership. But the wait-and-see approach that the EU had been employing for a number of years towards the enlargement policy in the Balkans has become even riskier in times of new international challenges. Among them, the ever-growing tensions between the West and Russia should, in particular, serve as motivation for the Union to look at enlargement in the Balkans from a geopolitical angle. Even if the Member States have in recent years shown less enthusiasm towards further rounds of enlargement, this should not discourage the EU institutions from undertaking an active role to revive the European integration process in the Balkans.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Serbia, Croatia
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Russian regime is ready to re-set its troubled relationship with the USA. While hopes are high, specific expectations are lower and the Trump presidency may eventually offer Russia a smaller action space than suggested by the campaign statements. The 2016 US presidential election was unusually dramatic. Part of the drama was allegedly provided by the Russian authorities as some of their state-spon- sored hackers broke into servers of the Democratic National Committee and released compromising emails immediately prior to the July 2016 Democratic Party Convention.
  • Topic: Elections, Geopolitics, Key players to watchPolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Andreas Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between Washington and Beijing are likely to face major change once Donald Trump takes over the White House. This DIIS Policy Brief by Andreas Bøje Forsby offers an overview of US-China relations and how they are likely to develop with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. If Trump follows through on his protectionist campaign statements, China will be targeted by economic sanctions against its export industries. In most other respects, however, the Chinese may actually come to benefit from a Trump presidency, whose ‘America First’ slogan suggests a more self-centered, even neo-isolationist US foreign policy. Most importantly, a Trump administration is unlikely to sustain key elements of the US rebalance to Asia like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the efforts to build a strategic network of like-minded states in the region to counter the rise of China.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Yang Jiang, Aki Tonami, Adam Moe Fejerskov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: China actively seeks to expand its overseas investment in critical infrastructure. This involvement makes host countries uneasy especially in the West, even though financial benefits sometimes override broader national interests and security issues. China’s attempts to invest in overseas critical infra- structure, defined as infrastructure closely related to sovereignty and national security, has become a sensitive issue to host country governments parti- cularly in the West. They fear that Chinese investment in nuclear and telecommunications infrastructures entails consequences for nuclear security and safety and information security respectively. This policy brief provides an overview of how various countries have received Chinese interest in nuclear power and telecommunications.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Kirill Rogov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent 2016 Duma elections were planned by the Kremlin to attest to the fact that the period of troubled political development – which began during the previous 2011 Duma elections – is over. Further, the elections served to test Putin’s consolidated authoritarianism on the eve of the forthcoming presidential elections in 2018. While successful in terms of preserving full control over the new Duma, the election results nevertheless demonstrated that the patriotic enthusiasm evoked by the annexation of Crimea has largely been exhausted. The pressure on the opposition, new electoral rules and reliance on regions with so-called “administrative voting” secured a victory for the party of power, but in urban regions the turnout was very low and voting for the Kremlin’s party did not differ much from 2011 patterns. Although the direct effect of the economic crisis on people’s political attitudes is still moderate, the continued long-term stagnation in the Russian economy that started even before the fall in energy prices remains the major challenge for regime stability. Ambiguous election results force the Kremlin to seek new instruments of political consolidation. The Kremlin’s most probable strategy may be to combine toughening authoritarian institutions with maintaining high tension in the international arena in order to prolong the ‘rally around the flag’ effect domestically, by attempting or promising “authoritarian modernization” to gain support in urban regions. As the presidential election date approaches, both Putin’s foreign and economic policies could become even riskier than they have been to date.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Political Economy, International Affairs, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari , Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: While the refugee crisis has exposed the severe limitations of EU decision-making, German choices have had a knock-on effect on the rest of Europe. The politicization of German migration policy will likely force Angela Merkel to take a step towards more conservative positions ahead of the 2017 federal election. This will again require the EU to adjust to Berlin’s policy turns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Migration, Immigration, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Luis Simon
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The global proliferation of precision-strike systems and the concomitant emergence of anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities challenges the foundations of Western global military-technological supremacy. What does this mean for current EU debates on military ambition? This policy brief argues that the assumption of the freedom of (military) access and movement, which has guided European strategic thinking since the end of the Cold War, is no longer valid. Europeans should get to grips with the new military-strategic paradigm and translate this into an updated ambition level and related capabilities.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The fight against the Islamic State (IS) has caused a ‘rallying around the flag’ effect amongst Iraqi Kurds. Once IS is defeated key political and economic issues long neglected in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) will come to the fore. Thus, it is imperative they are addressed now, as failure to make inroads will have dire consequences for the KRI.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Geopolitics, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Donald Trump, the next President of the United States, will soon be confronted with the difficulty of translating campaign rhetoric regarding his foreign policy in the Middle East into policy and positive outcomes. He is thus likely to be forced to make significant concessions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: When the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, came into power in 2014 he promised to end the politics of dominance that was largely responsible for the rise of Islamic State (IS). Yet, with the military defeat of IS in Iraq imminent, Sunnis are still being marginalised and until this ends, the foundations of IS will remain within the society.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Political Power Sharing, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Olli Ruohomäki
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the complexity Afghanistan entails, it is possible to outline the main contours of the fragmented reality and geopolitical fault lines that inform the situation on the ground. It is with this in mind that this Briefing Paper examines the cur- rent state of affairs in Afghanistan with a focus on the highly contentious politics, precarious security situation and the role of the difficult neighbourhood. The paper concludes with reflections regarding the prospects for peace, which do not appear promising.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Taliban, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The 2016 US presidential election is the most consequential election for international order since the Second World War. America’s status as a liberal superpower is on the ballot. To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, we must distinguish between his three core beliefs that he has held for many decades and rarely if ever waivered from, the central themes of his campaign, and other issues. His core beliefs are opposition to America’s alliance arrangements, opposition to free trade, and support for authoritarianism, particularly in Russia. If he is elected president and governs in a manner consistent with these beliefs, the United States will be transformed from the leader of a liberal international order into a rogue superpower that withdraws from its international commitments, undermines the open global economy, and partners with Putin’s Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel H. Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Though I came to Tunisia as Ambassador in the Fall of 2015, my relationship with the country and its people actually began in the late 1990s. In some ways, the Tunisia I returned to in 2015 is the one I knew years before—the Arabic and French linguistic mélange, the stambeli and malouf music, the local soccer and handball rivalries, the pine nuts floating atop mint tea. Yet alongside those resilient traditions, the Tunisia I returned to is now in its fifth year of the post-Ben Ali era, and is a country in the midst of an exciting but difficult transition. That transition is replete with a challenging self-realization, as the country and its citizenry redefine themselves and learn what it means to be a democracy in the wake of the 2011 revolution. Tunisians are still deciding how they want to incorporate democratic principles into day-to-day life, and through their decisions are defining what it means to be Tunisian for future generations. As a longtime friend—our diplomatic relations with Tunisia date to 1795—and strategic partner, the United States will continue to support the new Tunisia as it looks to the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Popular Revolt, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Donald T. Bliss
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: As the United Nations welcomes a new Secretary-General, and the United States elects a new Administration and Congress, we have a unique opportunity to reset relationships, building on the United Nations’ successes and addressing its failings as we adapt to the changing demographics and global challenges of this century.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, United Nations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles A. Ford
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s leading exporter, the world’s leading importer, and the world’s primary source and destination of funds for foreign investment. Our position as the best place in the world to do business—the most reliable in which to buy, the most lucrative in which to sell, and the safest and surest in which to invest or to raise capital—is the cause, not an effect of American global leadership. Protecting and expanding the US role as the world’s supplier and customer of choice for goods, services, ideas, capital, and entrepreneurial energy should be a foreign policy objective second only to securing the homeland.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The evolving Asia-Pacific region is marked by increased balancing strategies, the forging of flexible partnerships between countries, and economic interconnectedness. In order to retain a central role and achieve a new equilibrium, the US will need to adapt to these changes.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Alfred Tovias
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: At the two Western and Eastern geographic extremes of the Mediterranean basin, Spain and Israel –both OECD member countries– have been developing over the past three decades in totally different directions. Spain is increasingly looking North towards the EU but also towards Latin America, while Israel is actively developing its relations with emerging economies such as India and China and strengthening ever more its relations with the US. Could it be that the two countries are ignoring each other and missing out on potential complementarities? Before Spain’s accession to the European Community (EC), the latter considered Israel and Spain in tandem in the context of a Global Mediterranean Policy, as they both represented semi-industrialised economies in the same league. The demographic and economic structures of the two countries have diverged since then, offering clear prospects of fruitful cooperation, especially in the fields of energy and technology.
  • Topic: International Security, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Israel, Spain
  • Author: Maria Solanas Cardín
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: The II National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, currently being prepared by the Spanish Government, should build on lessons learnt and include specific measures and best practices if it aims to achieve any advancement in the women, peace and security agenda. Nine years after the approval of the I National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 –and mainly driven by its participation, as a non-permanent member, in the United Nations Security Council during the 2015-16 biennium–, the Spanish Government has marked the women, peace and security agenda as a priority, undertaking to draft a II National Action Plan. The number of challenges outstanding, almost 16 years after the approval of Resolution 1325, calls for a global commitment that is sustained over time and for actions and measures in field operations supported by sufficient funding (the most serious and persistent impediment for implementation of Resolution 1325). The alliance with local organisations and agents, mainly women’s organisations, has proved to be the most efficient way to promote and ensure a significant participation by women in the prevention of conflicts and in peace-building. Only a Plan based on such premises will effectively contribute towards the implementation of Resolution 1325.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus