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  • Author: Johannes Lang, Rens van Munster, Robin May Schott
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Disagreements on how to define “autonomy” are stalling formal UN discussions on the compliance of autonomous weapons with international humanitarian law. A pragmatic approach that focuses on the weapon’s critical functions, such as target selection and firing, can help move discussions forward in the future.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Until recently, we were operating under the assumption that the liberal world order would prove sufficiently inclusive, productive and resilient to serve as a stable framework for international cooperation. But such optimism seems increasingly unwarranted as a wide host of existential challenges have materialized, including the return of geopolitics, the resurgence of autocratic leadership, the revival of economic protectionism and the rising tide of populism and nationalism.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Anti-corruption is central to building capable and legitimate security institutions in fragile states. However, military capacity-building programs often do not include anti-corruption measures. Denmark should strive to put the fight against military corruption on the international agenda
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Johannes Lang, Robin May Schott, Rens van Munster
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Formal UN discussions have begun to address how the international community should regulate the development and use of lethal autonomous weapons – also known as ‘killer robots’. Denmark has so far chosen not to participate in these discussions, but there are good reasons to get involved.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Albrecht
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Elections in Sierra Leone will not change the circumstances that have led to war in the country – and already marginalized citizens stand to lose. The greatest concern is not the election, but the deep-seated patronage networks that govern the country.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Sierra Leone
  • Author: Johannes Lang, Rens van Munster, Robin May Schott
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Disagreements on how to define “autonomy” are stalling formal UN discussions on the compliance of autonomous weapons with international humanitarian law. A pragmatic approach that focuses on the weapon’s critical functions, such as target selection and firing, can help move discussions forward in the future.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jairo Munive, Finn Stepputat
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Armed non-state actors are significant players in most conflicts. The international community is often forced to engage with them in order to secure humanitarian aid for civilians or to end armed political conflicts. The question of when and how to engage is being debated. We sug­gest a more pragmatic approach.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed, Finn Stepputat, Lars Erslev Andersen, Maya Mynster Christensen
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: By 2035 an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. Due to the fast-growing rate of urbanisation, many future conflicts are expected to take place in urban terrains. Therefore defence and security organisations are becoming increasingly interested in understanding the trends and dynamics of cities. This report under the DIIS Defense and Security Projects contributes with a deepened understanding of the security challenges in four cities – Nairobi, Beirut, Hargeisa and Yangon – with a particular focus on mass migration and political authority.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Erik Lundsgaarde
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Critical public attitudes toward economic globalization reflect a response to different facets of globalization and varied consequences of international market integration for individuals. The distribution of benefits and losses related to globalization provides a starting point for numerous studies of attitudes toward economic integration. Individuals perceive globalization’s benefits differently depending on their sector of employment or level of educational attainment, among other factors. In addition to these explanations, attention to the institutions and policies that influence how governments engage with globalization and manage its domestic consequences can also inform the analysis of why scepticism to economic integration varies across national settings.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rasmus Alenius Boserup, Luis Martinez
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In this new DIIS report senior researcher at DIIS, Rasmus Alenius Boserup and Research Director at Sciences Po, Luis Martinez, analyse how European policy-makers have recently come to perceive the Sahel as a threat to Europe’s own security and stability. Marking the end of the Sahel-Maghreb Research Platform – a research project funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hosted by DIIS in collaboration with Voluntas Advisory – the report draws on input and analysis provided by an international team of experts and scholars associated to the project.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Without a stable Libya to strike migration deals with, EU is looking further south, to Niger, as a way of cutting off the trans-Saharan migration routes. However, the question is whether the EU is exchanging short-term gains for long-term stability?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Niger
  • Author: Fabrizzio Tassinari, Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: From being a historical bridge-builder among different sensibilities in Europe, Germany has gradually assumed a more assertive posture on key issues from the refugee crisis to Brexit negotiations. As a result, the federal election in September will be consequential not just for Germany, but also for the rest of Europe.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jatin Dua
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Much of the existing scholarship on the Somali peninsula is informed by territorialized assumptions focusing on pastoralism or overland trading. In this working paper Jaitin Dua, an anthropologist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan, proposes a ‘maritime’ view on the Somali economy that highlights the role of ships, ports and seas. Comparing the three port cities of Benderbeyla, Bosaso and Djibouti the author provides insights into the nexus between violent capture, regulation and sovereignty across the Somali territories. What emerges are different modes of port-making that are closely related to global circulation. By bringing the sea back into Somali studies and contemporary anthropology, Dua offers an innovative interpretation of state formation dynamics. This DIIS Working Paper is part of the GOVSEA PAPER SERIES (Governing Economic Hubs and Flows in Somali East Africa)
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Mikkel Runge Olesen, Matthew Hinds
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The election of Donald Trump as US president was met with considerable unease in Europe. This has not least been the case among those who, like the UK and Denmark, consider themselves among America’s closest allies. In the policy brief, Matthew Hinds and Mikkel Runge Olesen take stock of the US special relationships in Europe – large and small. In the policy brief they discuss both the classical “Special Relationship” between the US and the UK, as well as the US-Danish relationship, as an example of a small power that has chosen to give the relationship to the superpower premium priority. Hinds and Runge Olesen find that Trump may destabilize relations, but also that he may open up for new opportunities as well – especially for the UK.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peter Albrecht, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Peacekeepers in the UN stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA) operate under very difficult conditions, especially in the outskirts of the mission. The recent jihadist attack on a military base in Gao in northern Mali, killing 60 and wounding more than 100, is the latest example of how dangerous working in this part of the country is. This policy brief, based on fieldwork in Mali, analyses the challenges to the mission of supplying fuel, food and water to these areas. In doing so, it describes the inequality that exists between African and non-African soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Peter Albrecht, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: n 2014, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) established an intelligence capability that is unprecedented for how peacekeeping operations are organized. An All Sources Information Fusion Unit (ASIFU) was set up to assist MINUSMA in countering asymmetric threats faced by mission personnel and the local population. This policy brief focuses on how inadequate collaboration and lack of trust between European and African forces in the mission impede sharing of intelligence. Insight is provided on why and how the intelligence capability could benefit from the cultural knowledge and language skills of African troops. The policy brief is one of the outputs of a project that has explored the plight of African peacekeepers in MINUSMA. The project is a collaborative effort between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College. It is funded by the Danish Ministry of Defence.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Thomas Mandrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite that South Africa deploys the highest numbers of female soldiers in the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), significant challenges to changing a military culture that tacitly accepts sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of local populations in the DRC remain. A new DIIS policy brief discusses the measures taken to adress SEA in MONUSCO. In the South African contigent in MONUSCO, 18% of the military personnel are women compared to the average of 3.8% for UN peacekeeping missions. The brief argues that strengthening in-mission gender training and investigtative capacities will be small, yet realistic, steps forward. Furthermore, the UN the should put more pressure on troop contributing countries to hold their defence leadership accountable for effective command and control enforcement. The policy brief is based on a collaborative research between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College, RDDC.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The cabinet nominations, budget proposals and stepped up force displays of the Trump administration signals a decisive militarization. Even if European NATO members also increase their military muscle, a transatlantic gap on the purpose, language and limits of military power seems looming – not least in the field of counter-terrorism.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The basic tenet of the Russian disinformation strategy is the claim that all news is constructed and therefore contested. In the best postmodern tradition they claim there is no ‘objective news’ – only different, rivalling interpretations which purport to show different aspects of what may be called ‘reality’. And what the Russian media outlets present are merely possible explanations which serve as alternatives to the stories offered by Western media. It is a strategy which is both cunning and elegant as it preys on the enlightenment tradition and on the vulnerabilities of liberal democratic media. The Russian authorities seem to believe that (dis-) information campaigns hold great prospects. In a 2017 article, the Russian Chief of Staff informed the public about the Russian military thinking on the topic of ‘war’ and on the role of the non-military or "non-kinetic" in this. It seems premature to conclude that this thinking sees the possibility of war as an exclusively non-kinetic activity – this at least was not announced in the article – but the development points strongly in this direction and we should therefore expect to see an increased Russian focus on (dis-) information campaigns designed to bring well-defined outcomes. There will not be any easy or fix-it-all solutions to this development. Rather, liberal democracies, especially vulnerable as a result of their free media culture, should prepare themselves for a long-term commitment to countering disinformation and to building up cognitive resilience to ensure that the former has minimal effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari, Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The election of pro-European Emmanuel Macron as president of France has reignited hopes that the so-called Franco-German engine, providing political impetus to European integration in the past decades, might be revived. While Macron’s election proved a rebuke to the populist challenge, it remains to be seen whether and how it will manage to rebalance the partnership with Berlin, which is overwhelmingly premised on Germany’s growing strength and clout at the European level. While pronouncing herself supportive of the new course in Paris, Chancellor Angela Merkel, like the rest of Europe, remains in a wait-and-see position regarding the ability of President Macron to fulfil his ambitious pro-EU agenda.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erik Lundsgaarde
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief argues that the expertise, networks, and convening role of governments are key assets in efforts to expand business involvement to promote sustainable development goals. In addition, development cooperation providers have the potential to adopt a systemic perspective that can contribute to improving the framework conditions in partner countries. These public sector advantages should provide a point of departure for partnership development approaches.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Security
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Rasmus Alenius Boserup, Luis Martinez
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Experiencing the consequences of an unstable Sahel, the EU and its member states will sooner or later be forced to fill the security and stability void left behind by the weakness of the states in the Sahel and the lack of willingness of North and East Africa’s regional powers to become involved.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Peter Albrecht
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Policing in the global North and the global South is becoming more alike. An increasingly common characteristic is the blurring of boundaries between rule-based and more personalized policing styles. Reasons for this approximation include a growing focus on fighting or preventing radicalisation globally, and a general debureaucratisation of policing that has occurred in the global North.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: With no credible state in Libya, the EU is focused on putting the brakes on transit migration in the Sahelian countries. But closing the important Niger–Libya corridor through increased militarisation is detrimental to progress in this impoverished region.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ida Vammen, Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the EU and Turkey sealed a migration deal in 2016, millions of refugees have been living on the fringes in Turkey. Without long-term solutions, they will continue to risk their lives by embarking on new, dangerous routes to Europe.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: “The weaponization of information” alerts us to the thinking about the very conscious use of information to achieve various goals. Moreover, it reminds us of the new opportunities offered by modern information technology.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Information Age
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christine Nissen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This week constitutes yet another step towards the materialization of an ‘EU defence union’. On 13 November the so-called ‘PESCO’ provision was launched, which allows groups of willing EU member states to make binding commitments to each other on security and defence. 23 EU member states immediately signed up to participate, and since then, Ireland and Portugal have also joined in, which means that the only hold outs are Malta, Denmark and the United Kingdom. At the European Council summit held on 14-15 December, EU leaders will welcome the PESCO initiative cementing their willingness to significantly strengthen the EU as a framework for European security and defence cooperation. This week, EU foreign ministers will adopt the decision establishing PESCO as well as unveil the first common projects, which will drive their engagement in the years to come. 17 concrete projects are now on the table, including an European Medical Command, the creation of a crisis response centre and a plan for increased military mobility.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Gibbon, Jakob Vestergaard
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A few weeks ahead of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to be held in Buenos Aires from 10 to 13 December, the international trade community is gripped with a mixture of angst, disbelief and despair. Although US President, Donald Trump, made radical statements during his presidential campaign – including the infamous statement that the “WTO is a disaster” [for the US] – few expected much of that to translate into actual policies when he was elected and appointed President. Yet, this is very much what has in fact happened over the past 10 months.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peter Albrecht, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite efforts to increase the deployment of female soldiers, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) remains dominated by men. A new DIIS policy brief discusses how to increase gender awareness in MINUSMA. In the MINUSMA force of 11,000 troops, only 1.8% of military personnel are women compared to the average of 3.8% for UN peacekeeping missions. The brief argues that a focus on the operational relevance of gender integration and on strengthening existing capacities in the mission will be small, yet realistic, steps forward. Furthermore, MINUSMA should use African nations with a solid focus on gender in their own armies as role models and mentors for all military staff across the mission. The policy brief is based on a collaborative research between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College, RDDC.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Rasmus Alenius Boserup, Hans Lucht, Mohamed Eljarh
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Hampered by a combination of a historical absence of strong and centralized state institutions and a recent destruction of the institutional pillars underpinning the Gaddafi-regime, Libya’s transition government that took office on 17 December 2015, remains at a loss. Like previous transition governments, the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has failed to re-establish central authority. In a new DIIS brief, Senior Researchers Rasmus Alenius Boserup and Hans Lucht and Non-resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Mohamed Eljarh, analyse the constraints for the current government. They propose a way forward based on an acknowledgement that power resides in the peripheries of Libya, not at the centre.
  • Topic: Political Power Sharing, Peacekeeping, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Luke Patey, Michal Meidan
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The size and sophistication of Chinese foreign investment is on the rise. In 2014, inbound investment to China was outpaced by outbound investment for the first time. Chinese foreign investment has surpassed the $100 billion mark for the past three years, making China the third largest overseas investor. At the same time, beyond oil and gas, which dominated headlines over the past decade, Chinese state-owned enterprises and private corporations are making multi-billion dollar investments in construction, telecommunications, nuclear, and high-tech across the globe. What political and security implications do these new investment have for host government in North America and Europe? What is the view point of Beijing towards the growing reach of its corporations overseas? A new policy brief by Michal Meidan, research associate at Chatham House and Asia Analyst at Energy Aspects, and DIIS senior researcher Luke Patey explores these questions.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • 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: 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: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • 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, Nationalism, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • 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: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Counter-narratives and campaigns promoting normality, are often highlighted as universal means against online propaganda from militant movements. However, such campaigns are driven by a number of unfortunate assumptions and are difficult to apply in practice. We often turn to information campaigns to inform and instruct the general population. Such campaigns are also pointed to as possible tools, to combat radical and militant counter-cultures on the internet. However, reaching broad segments of the population is one thing. It is more challenging, to direct communication at a smaller audience.
  • Topic: Politics, Political Theory, Political Activism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the confrontation with radicalism and political violence, democratic freedoms are often viewed as a problem. Freedom of expression is viewed to encourage the spread of radical ideas and freedom of congregation, the formation of radical groups and communities. However, these democratic freedoms can also be part of the solution. The success criteria for an effective prevention policy, is the absence of political violence and crime, as well as increased democratic participation. A new policy brief by Tobias Gemmerli, argues for a more democratic approach to those who challenge democracy. Democratic freedoms can generate public debate, about the allegations and utopian ideas put forward by radical and anti-democratic movements. Democratic freedoms can beckon these movements out into public space and uncover the counter-cultural modus operandi. The brief therefore recommends that we include real political disagreement and support initiatives, which make space for critical societal debate. We should take radical opinions, frustrations, and criticisms seriously, make more space for legal radical expression, and focus on combatting unlawful actions. Finally, we should address the dilemmas and compromises that are part of modern foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Radicalization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maybritt Jill Alpes, Ninna Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The current European Agenda on Migration aims at reducing the arrival of asylum seekers and irregular migrants. For this purpose, various mechanisms of ‘effective and humane return’ are introduced. But can deportation ever be humane and what would be required? VU postdoc researcher Maibritt Jill Alpes and DIIS senior researcher Ninna Nyberg Sørensen take a closer look at international cooperation on migration and the risks migrants and rejected asylum seekers may face upon a forced return. They argue that international cooperation on migration has criminalized departure and consequently contributed to put forcible retuned people at risk not only of economic and psychosocial harm, but also of monetary extraction, arbitrary detention and criminal persecution in the hands of state agents. They argue that more emphasis must be put on different post-deportation risks and measures to avoid them in order to guarantee the safety of border apprehended and returned persons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Immigration, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher and research coordinator Flemming Splidsboel Hansen explores Russia’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. The Kremlin presents Russia’s political and military involvement in Syria as an unconditional success. Its overall aim of putting Russia firmly back on the geopolitical map has been met. It is now clear that the key to any negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria lies in Moscow. Moreover, Russia now seems to be close to a position where it may dictate the composition of the future Syrian regime and, not least, decide whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will remain in the presidential palace or be forced into exile. The costs of the military operations have been acceptable to the Russian public. Defence observers estimate that the first year of military operations cost the Russian armed forces 65 bn Rubles (approximately one bn USD) and some 20 deaths (combat and non-combat). The financial costs may be partially offset by increased future weapons sales. There is a high probability, however, that Russia will find itself embroiled in a complicated sectarian conflict in Syria from which there is no easy exit. This would test Russian public support for the military involvement in Syria. Already now Russian media comments suggest some degree of frustration over the alleged lack of fighting capacity and will on part of the Syrian armed forces. The Russian public may want to see a plan for an orderly exit from Syria, and this puts pressure on the Kremlin to deliver. However, the Syrian regime may not be able to survive without Russian military support, and Russian policy-makers may therefore soon be facing difficult choices.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Halle Malmvig
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher Helle Malmvig explores Israels’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. Israel’s activities in Syria have not drawn much attention due to Israel’s official policy of neutrality. Yet, over the last couple of years, Israel has stepped up its operations in Syria, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah assets and providing quiet assistance to the rebels.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria
  • Author: Ian Christoplos, Le Duc Ngoan, Thi Hoa Sen Le, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Goals for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management are widely recog- nised as overlapping, but little is known about the dynamics of this interplay in the perspectives and practices of local authorities. An important aspect of this is how provincial, district and municipal level institutions comprehend and operationalise climate change adaptation frameworks against the backdrop of their past experience of responding to disasters. This is in turn related to how they provide services to risk prone populations. This research report describes how meso-level institutions in Việt Nam mediate between the different intentions and priorities embodied in national climate change and disaster risk management policies, and ongoing efforts of indivi- dual households and communities to adapt to environmental change and natural hazards. Research findings suggest that they are doing this in a context wherein past assumptions about the role of the state are being questioned, but where answers remain ambiguous. Findings emphasise the process of ‘bricolage’ that is underway, wherein different disaster risk and climate goals, rules and structures are combined. Some of these institutional changes involve innovation and others reflect path dependencies anchored in past societal roles.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Environment
  • Political Geography: Vietnam
  • Author: Ian Christoplos
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Paris climate agreement established a new framework for global climate governance that is firmly anchored in national plans and commitments. But who is actually going to take the next steps to implement these plans on the ground and what are the incentives and obstacles they face in moving from words to action? Many have pointed to the important role of local governments and other sub-national institutions, not least in developing countries where the task of adapting to climate change is considerable. Yet little is known about the way such sub-national institutions are responding to climate change, and how they interact with the central state and local communities in practice.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Climate Finance, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Vietnam, Nepal, Zambia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: 'Local Needs Policing' is the hallmark of the Sierra Leone Police community policing model. This DIIS Policy Brief lays out ten key observations that may be helpful when police reform is established elsewhere in the Global South.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Crime, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anne Mette Kjær
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Ugandan economy resembles many other economies in sub-Saharan Africa in that it has a large subsistence sector, relies on a few primary commodities for export and depends on aid to finance its public services. Oil and minerals have so far not been important to the economy. However, this might change as an estimated 3.5 billion barrel oil reservoir has been discovered in Uganda's Western and Northwestern Albertine Graben. Minerals have also been found and are being sold off as concessions. If oil revenues start to be mobilized as currently planned (2016-17), significant changes in not only government finance but also in the governments' relationships with donors and in state–society relations are likely to occur. The consequences for local communities and the environment are also likely to be significant.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Oil, Natural Resources, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Social accountability as a tool for development planning is gaining foothold in international donor circles. It is concerned with the responsibility and responsiveness of state authorities, as well as the ability of citizens to make claims and hold those who exercise power to account for their actions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa