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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: If decision-makers are to cope with a rapidly emerging polycentric world characterized by compounding complexity and declining constitutionalism, new forms of statecraft are need - ed. Partnerships may well be the way forward.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Power Politics
  • Author: Janne Bjerre Christensen
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This report offers a critical examination of Iran's influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two points are made: that Iran's top priority is its own regime's survival and its regional policies are directed by its national security concerns. Secondly, that Iran's engagements in Afghanistan are clearly guided by the presence of the US. Iran's predominant interest is in stabilizing Afghanistan, but as long as Afghanistan is neither safe nor stable, Iran will play a double game and engage with its regional neighbours according to the US–Iran equation. Deterrence, counter-containment and competition are the keywords in these complex relations. The report outlines Iran's reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, its political platform and 'soft power', and the bonds of mutual dependency in terms of water rights, refugees and drug trafficking. It examines Iran's alleged military interventions and the reasons for playing this double game. Lastly, the report discusses Iran's tense relationship with Pakistan with regard to both Afghanistan and the troubled region of Baluchistan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Power Politics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Andreas Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What are the implications of China's rapid rise for international order? This report seeks to answer the question from an identity perspective. The key argument is that China is currently undergoing an identity shift towards Sino-centrism, that is, a self-centering tendency to turn narrative attention towards the internally generated, specifically Chinese hallmarks associated with China's civilizational past and cultural heritage.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Culture
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Erik Beukel
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The South China Sea is subject to competing claims of sovereignty by the littoral states. Due to the number of claimants and the complexity of claims, it is called the “mother of all territorial disputes”. China is far the biggest country in the region and claims sovereignty over almost all the South China Sea. This Working Paper elaborates the claims and considers the implications for China's neighborhood relations and the alignments in the Asia-Pacific. The focus is on two faces of power in China's policy, military power and soft power, after China's seizure of Mischief Reef in 1995 that upset its neighbors. China attaches great weight to developing good neighborhood relations and has become an advocate of soft power. However, when it concerns the South China Sea the soft power approach is combined with a continuing use of military power to strengthen its position. It is concluded that the two faces of power present China with new unwieldy challenges.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Peter Albrecht
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen has caught the eye of the international community above all because it has been portrayed as a hotbed of radicalisation and a training ground for al-Qaeda. As a state, Yemen is broadly considered to be both fragile and on the brink of failure. This Policy Brief argues that for a variety of reasons – largely relating to the political system and dynamics within the country – support from Europe and North America will have limited effect. There are limited, if any, technical solutions to the challenges that confront the country; only political ones. International actors from outside the regional context must therefore think twice before engaging and, above all, have a good understanding of the political system that they will be engaging with.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Bjørn Møller
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia has been without a functioning state ever since 1991, when the former dictator, Siyad Barre, was overthrown. None of the competing factions were strong enough to take his place as ruler of the country, producing first chaos, but gradually a form of stateless order. The international interventions have ever since the failed, and counter-productive intervention by the United Nations and the United States in the early 1990 exacerbated rather than mitigated the problems, let alone solved them. This was especially the case for the Ethiopian invasion (December 2006-January 2009), which produced utter chaos and a severe humanitarian crisis. Since the withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces, Islamist extremist militias have been establishing control of Somalia, and they may or may not be able to maintain this control. If they pursue their radical programme of Islamisation, their reign is likely to be short, but if they moderate themselves they may retain control.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Somalia
  • Author: Pertti Joenniemi
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The contribution focuses on the unfolding and tensions within the transatlantic relationship and it pursues, in particular, the question how the bonds of association between Europe and America are best comprehended and accounted for. In trying to break some new ground for theorization it argues that the Realist, Liberal and Constructivist accounts have so far come up short in terms of providing up-to-date and broadly acceptable answers. With the dominant theories focusing largely on either external enmity or internal homogeneity, difference internal to the relationship has too easily been conceptualized as destabilizing and seen as representing a rupture. In contrast, the paper assert s that while elements of enmity and homogeneity are important, communities such as the Atlantic one are also critically brought together by their internal differences. It then aims, in view of the difference-based dynamics at play and foundational for the Atlantic communality, to complement an d provide a corrective to the more established theorization of that togetherness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Katrine Barnekow Rasmussen
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This is a brief English version of a Danish DIIS Report on the foreign policy of Iran. In the Report, Iran's foreign policy is investigated both ideologically and in respect of its pragmatic motivations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Asia
  • Author: Ian Manners
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The social sciences have many different understandings of 'normative power'. The purpose of this brief is to help clarify the concept of normative power in world politics as developed in European Union (EU) studies over the last ten years. The brief uses a five-point conceptualisation of normative power as being ideational; involving principles, actions, and impact; as well as having broader consequences in world politics. For each point both a general observation about world politics and a specific comment about the EU is made.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nanna Hvidt, Hans Mouritzen
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This is an outline of Danish foreign policy 2006 provided by the Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Throughout 2006, developments caused by globalisation posed huge challenges to Denmark. The cartoons crisis and the conflict in Lebanon were the most obvious ones. Confronted with these challenges, Denmark managed to pursue a pro-active foreign policy. Interrelated issues such as energy security, climate change, failed states and weapons of mass destruction became increasingly important. These issues must be addressed with different instruments ranging from diplomacy and multilateral cooperation to trade policy and development cooperation. They illustrate the need for new tools in foreign policy such as public diplomacy, which has gained further importance in the globalised and network-based system of international relations. In addition, the need for horizontal coordination has increased. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a major globalisation study in 2006, recommending how Denmark can cope with the challenges of globalisation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Marianne Hanson
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The proliferation of missiles is commonly viewed as one of the most pressing international security issues and has been a key concern in the arms control and proliferation debate s over the past decade. This has occurred at the same time that apprehension about the horizontal spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has risen, and the two issues have become closely related in formulations of potential threats, as well as in existing attempts to regulate the spread of missile technology and parts.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Author: Trine Flockhart
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The paper addresses the question of how Europe (in NATO and the EU) has responded to changes in US announced and operational strategic and military policy and what the principal factors are for explaining European responses to what is perceived as a new form of American hegemony. The discussion is centered around the question of whether the United States has altered it conception of hegemony from one based on consent to one based on 'a preponderance of force', and therefore to have abandoned the crucial process of consensus building through persuasion, which has formed the foundation for the post-war Euro-Atlantic community. If so, then the problem relates more to the fundamental question of maintaining the security community during significant international change and perceived changes in European and American interests than it does to the specific policy content of American foreign policy. European reactions to the perceived change in American foreign policy have been varied in style and rhetoric, but can be di vided into those that have been concerned with safeguarding the achievements of the post-war era by following the United States wherever it may choose to go, or those who see a need for constructing a different relationship with the United States based on a more independent European foreign policy stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Jørgen Staun
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The window of opportunity for ensuring Russian democracy is closed or rapidly closing, at least in the intermediate term. Putin's so-called “managed democracy” has turned the Putin-regime into an autocratic system of power where all matters of importance, be it of domestic or foreign policy concern, are decided upon by the members of the small, non-elected elite of powerful bureaucrats surrounding Putin. Elections, parties, court-decisions, major media as well as major business deals – especially in so-called “strategic sectors” of oil, gas, metals and arms – are controlled by the Kremlin, based upon a closed matrix of private, corporate, organisational and national interests. Russia is still a market-based society where property rights are generally accepted – even if they are suspect of turf wars between competing clans and well-connected business groups. But “rule of law” in Russia is at least in high-profile cases a matter of “telephone justice”, that is, rulings are decided outside and not inside the courts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Kremlin, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Maryland