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  • Author: Robert Springborg, F.C. "Pink" Williams, John Zavage
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States, Russia, and Iran have chosen markedly different approaches to security assistance in the Middle East, with dramatic implications for statebuilding and stability. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the world’s testing ground for the effectiveness of security assistance provided by global and regional powers. That security assistance has contributed to the intensity and frequency of proxy wars—such as those under way or recently wound down in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq—and to the militarization of state and substate actors in the MENA region. Security assistance is at the core of struggles for military, strategic, ideological, and even economic preeminence in the Middle East. Yet despite the broad and growing importance of security assistance for the region and for competition within it between global and regional actors, security assistance has been the subject of relatively little comparative analysis. Efforts to assess relationships between the strategic objectives and operational methods of security assistance providers and their relative impacts on recipients are similarly rare.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Political stability, State Building
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel is still holding to its traditional security maxim. Based on a perception of a hostile region, Israel’s response includes early warning, deterrence and swift – including pre-emptive – military action, coupled with an alliance with a global power, the US. Israel is adjusting these maxims to a changing reality. Overlapping interests – and perhaps the prospect of an even more open conflict with Iran – led to limited relationships between Israel and some Gulf states. These, however, will be constrained until Israel makes progress on the Palestine issue. Israel aligned with Greece and Cyprus around energy and security, which may lead to conflict with Turkey. Russia’s deployment in Syria placed new constraints on Israeli freedom of action there. The US’s retrenchment from the Middle East is not having a direct effect on Israel, while the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s territorial designs in the West Bank may make it easier for Israel to permanently expand there, thus sowing the seeds for future instability in Israel/Palestine. The EU could try and balance against such developments, but, as seen from Israel, is too divided to have a significant impact. Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, April 2020.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Gas, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Matti Pesu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This Briefing Paper looks into the fundamentals of the Baltic Sea security landscape in the early 2020s. It argues that three interconnected security dynamics shape the present, ‘post-2014’ security environment in Northeastern Europe. That is to say, Russia’s assertive behaviour in the region and in Europe more broadly, NATO’s reassurance and deterrence measures in the area, and Finland’s and Sweden’s closer integration into the Western defence network all affect hard se- curity dynamics in the Baltic Sea region. These three dynamics underlie the tense regional stability that emerged after a period of alarmism and turbulence in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s ac- tions in Ukraine. Fundamentally, the stability is the product of the interplay between the three dynamics. In other words, NATO’s reassurance and deterrence measures accompanied by Finland’s and Sweden’s in- tegration into the Western security and defence system act as a counterweight to Russia’s actions in the region, creating a balance of power holding Russia’s ambitions in check. Investigating the sources of regional balance is rele- vant for multiple reasons. The region remains a poten- tial hotspot between Russia and the West and, thus, it merits close and continuous attention. Moreover, the word ‘stability’ frequently features in foreign policy parlance in Northern Europe, particularly in Finland and Sweden. Given this rhetorical proclivity, attention needs to be paid to the factors that actually constitute stability and the state of hard security in the Baltic Sea area. The paper consists of three analytical parts. First, it provides a brief historical overview of the twists and turns in the regional security landscape from the early post-Cold War era to today. The second part introduces the three dynamics in detail, followed by an analysis of how they are interconnected. The paper concludes by contemplating how regional stability could best be preserved in the 2020s.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Matti Pesu, Tuomas Iso-Markku, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This FIIA Finnish Foreign Policy Paper looks at the evolution of Finnish foreign and security policy during the country’s 25 years as an EU member. The paper aims to trace how – and with what kind of consequences – Finnish foreign and security policy has interacted with EU foreign policy during the membership period. More specifically, the study examines the interlinkage between Finnish and EU foreign policy in relation to three different topics: the policy towards and relations with Russia, security and defence, and Finland’s broadening international agenda. The paper argues that the Finnish policy vis-à-vis the three domains is marked by different patterns of continuity and change. However, the rise of a protective agenda in the Finnish policy towards Russia, Finland’s increased boldness in advancing the EU’s security and defence dimension, and the recent emphasis on the Union’s role as a bulwark against geo-economic threats all indicate that the EU’s role in enhancing Finnish security has become a top priority. Indeed, Finland is currently endeavouring to unlock the EU’s potential as a security community.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Finland, Scandinavia
  • Author: Teresa Val
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Joint Threat Assessment is intended to serve as an analytical tool for policymakers and an impetus for joint U.S.-Russia action. The report provides an overview of the security situation and peace process in Afghanistan, taking into account U.S. and Russian policies, priorities and interests; surveys the militant terrorist groups in and connected to Afghanistan and explores the security interests of various regional stakeholders vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Challenges relating to border management, arms trafficking and terrorist financing in Afghanistan are also briefly addressed.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: Kirill Semenov
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The situation in Idlib poses a challenge to the Assad government. Damascus has neither the forces nor the means to resolve the problem. Moreover, any operation conducted against the Syrian moderate opposition and the radical alliance “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” (HTS) concentrated in this region could be significantly problematic for the government. Turkey seeks to establish a protectorate or security zone in Idlib to accommodate those fleeing regime-held areas and prevent a new refugees flow into Turkey. The gains achieved by the Turkish operation in Idlib by the establishment of the security zone has potentially been lost as a result of the subsequent Russian backed Syrian government offensive, which has created a problem for Turkey with hundreds of thousands heading toward the Turkish border and threatening to exasperate what is already a costly refugee problem for Ankara. In order for Turkey to address issues in Idlib, including IDPs and economic problems, it first needs to deal with the HTS, ideally finding a way to dissolve the group. This could potentially be an area of cooperation for Moscow and Ankara. This may be necessary to prevent a deterioration in the security situation and long-term destabilisation of the area.
  • Topic: Security, Refugees, Economy, Political stability, Displacement, Syrian War, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The New START Treaty, which limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons, will expire in February 2021. According to the assessment of most arms control experts and, for example, the former US and Russian Foreign Ministers, the non-extension of the New Start Treaty will have a number of negative effects. What are the possibilities of the subsequent development if the last US-Russian control-arms contract New START is not extended? And what would that mean for strategic use of the universe? The unfavorable security situation in the world in recent years is characterized, among other things, by deepening crisis of the bilateral arms-control system between the USA and Russia, built since the 1970s. The urgency of addressing this situation is underlined by the fact that both countries own about 90% of all nuclear weapons that they modernize, introduce new weapon systems into their equipment, and reduce the explosiveness of nuclear warheads and thus their declared applicability in regional conflicts. The culmination of this crisis may be the expiry of the US-Russian New START treaty which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic carriers. Concerns about the consequences of non-prolongation are, among others, raised by the expected disruption of space strategic stability, which could occur as a result of eventual termination of the complex verification system. In addition to notifications, the exchange of telemetry and information, on-the-spot inspections, etc., the termination would relate in particular to the contractual non-interference in the verification work carried out by National Technical Means (NTMs).
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eoin Micheál McNamara
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Eoin Micheál McNamara in his Policy Paper called The Visegrád Four and the Security of NATO’s “Eastern Flank” expresses the argument that there is considerable scope for the V4 states to improve their contribution to NATO’s collective defence posture. Based on this fact, he argues the different strategic positions of each V4 member within the NATO membership related to Russian influence.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Outside its borders, Russia has military bases in the post-Soviet space and in Syria. The main goal is to increase Russian military security and political influence in countries in which these bases are located. Despite economic difficulties related to the drop in oil and gas prices and the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia will maintain its network of bases, which it considers an important element of influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Jakub Benedyczak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has become an opportunity for the Russian authorities to increase repressive measures and test Chinese solutions for digital control of society. Most of the solutions will probably be maintained after the pandemic eases, especially given the deepening economic crisis and potential of protests.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Surveillance, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic has become another contested area between the U.S., Russia, and China. The region’s growing importance for global trade and American security means the U.S. goal is largely to maintain freedom of navigation in the Arctic. For this reason, the Trump administration strives to increase American capacities to operate in the Arctic. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay implementing these plans; nevertheless, they will be achieved in the long term and the U.S. will also expect support in the Arctic from NATO allies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Lauren Speranza
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tackling hybrid threats, particularly from state actors such as Russia and China, remains one of the greatest challenges for the transatlantic community. Hybrid threats have gained more traction among policymakers and publics across Europe and the United States, especially in a world with COVID-19. Over the last five years, Euro-Atlantic nations and institutions, such as NATO and the European Union (EU), have taken important steps to respond to hybrid issues. But, as hybrid threats become more prominent in the future, policymakers must move toward a more coherent, effective, and proactive strategy for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats. To develop such a transatlantic counter-hybrid strategy for Russia and China, this paper argues that two major things need to happen. First, transatlantic policymakers have to build a common strategic concept to guide collective thinking on hybrid threats. Second, transatlantic policymakers need to take a range of practical actions in service of that strategic concept. In a strategic concept for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats, Lauren Speranza offers five strategic priorities that could form the basis of this strategic concept and presents a series of constructive steps that NATO, the EU, and nations can take, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society, to enhance their counter-hybrid capabilities against Russia and China.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, Science and Technology, European Union, Innovation, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Hans Binnendijk, Conor Rodihan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The conventional military threat from Russia towards Europe most acutely affects a number of frontline Nordic and Baltic states from the Barents Sea in the Arctic through the Baltic Sea region: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, these countries, in concert with other Euro-Atlantic allies and partners, have concentrated on strengthening their own defenses and on developing and enhancing eight sets of different defense cooperation arrangements. As the only two non-NATO and militarily nonaligned nations in the region, Finland and Sweden’s role in regional security and their level of cooperation with these and other partners poses challenges as well as opportunities for deterrence and defense in Europe’s northeast. These two countries have particularly emphasized cooperation with partners as they seek to build an interlocking web of security relationships to improve defense in the region. The core arrangements within this network include: The Finnish-Swedish bilateral defense relationship; Nordic Defense Cooperation; Nordic-Baltic Eight; The Northern Group; NATO Partnerships; The European Union; Ad hoc arrangements such as the Joint Expeditionary Force; Framework Nations Concept, and European Intervention Initiative; Finnish-Swedish-US trilateral and bilateral defense cooperation. These “geometries of deterrence” vary in scope, scale, and membership, but taken together, they enhance a range of important components of deterrence. In Geometries of Deterrence, Hans Binnendijk and Conor Rodihan assess the contributions of each of these arrangements against an ideal or “gold standard” for conventional military deterrence, before evaluating the arrangements collectively and offering recommendations to further strengthen deterrence for Finland, Sweden, and indeed for all of Northeastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Northern Europe
  • Author: Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, Christian Trotti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced five new nuclear-capable, strategic weapons systems. These systems include a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile and a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarine drone. What does Russia have to gain from developing these novel and exotic nuclear weapons? And what should the United States and NATO do about it? This new Atlantic Council issue brief, Russia’s Exotic Nuclear Weapons and Implications for the United States and NATO, answers these questions. Informed by a workshop convened by the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Los Alamos National Laboratory, authors Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, and Christian Trotti evaluate the potential utility, motivations, and consequences of these new systems. Among other conclusions, the most significant may be that great-power competition has returned, and with it, the importance of nuclear weapons in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Power, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This policy paper sets out the various interests and goals of global powers (the US, Russia, China and the EU) in the Mediterranean, and the measures they are undertaking to implement them. The document also describes Israeli policies vis-àvis the powers’ activities in this region, and points to the principles that should guide them. The paper is based on a July 2019 meeting in Jerusalem of the research and policy working group on Israel in the Mediterranean, held at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Israel, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout may rewrite the security as well as the political and economic map of the Middle East. The crisis will probably color Gulf attitudes towards the region’s major external players: the US, China, and Russia. Yet the Gulf States are likely to discover that their ability to shape the region’s map has significantly diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is at odds with just about everybody. He is on opposite sides with Russia in Syria as well as Libya and is trying the patience of his US and European allies. Turkey and Russia are testing the limits of what was always at best an opportunistic, fragile partnership aimed at capitalizing on a seemingly diminishing US interest in the Middle East, already evident under President Barack Obama and continuing under Donald Trump, who is haphazardly redefining what he sees as America’s national interests.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya, Syria
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: After three years of limited discussion, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine renewed their peace talks to resolve the separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). Efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas began five years ago with the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. This framework, developed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), attempted to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine through the mediation of an impartial actor, and it culminated in the Minsk I (September 2014) and then Minsk II (February 2015) agreements. The Minsk II agreements comprised a 13-point peace plan, chief among which is an arrangement specifying support for the restoration of the Ukrainian-Russian border. While the implementation of the military portions of the Minsk II agreements were finalized within three months of signing, the political and security portions remained unresolved. Though President Vladimir Putin has declared his intent to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of the region, he has also stated he has no interest in reclaiming Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, since Russia’s ultimate goal is undeclared, the conflict has proved very difficult to resolve.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The first reflection about the geopolitical environment that Bulgaria faced after the tectonic systemic shifts in the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century thirty years later is that the efforts of the country to influence the transformation of the Balkans into a regional security community were successful. The second reflection is that Bulgaria was not able to influence effectively a similar development in the Black Sea area. Both the Balkans and the Caspian Sea-Caucasus- Black Sea area were conflictual knots of relations inherited from the Cold War divide. While the traditional European great powers that polarized the Balkan system of international relations pushing the small countries one against the other and the United States had the strategic interest of pacifying the South Eastern region of Europe, the dominating great power in the Black Sea area – Russia, aimed at preserving the opportunities of coming back to the territories that the Soviet Union lost after its collapse by preserving various degrees of conflictness in the neighbouring countries. Depending on the general condition of the Russian economy and state as well as its domestic political status different opportunities were either designed or just used to preserve the profile of Russia of the empire that sooner or later will be back. What are, in this regard, the perceptions in Bulgaria of the annexation of Crimea?
  • Topic: Security, International Security, Geopolitics, Conflict, Empire
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Caspian Sea
  • Author: James Sherr
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: The aims of this report are to explain Ukraine’s consolidation, resilience and determination to make its own decisions despite great asymmetries of power and Russia’s exploitation of its vulnerabilities and divisions; to describe why President Volodymyr Zelensky represents an opportunity as well as a challenge to Russia; and to set out necessary and realistic goals for the West.
  • Topic: Security, History, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Ivo Juurvee, Anna-Mariita Mattiisen
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: This report revisits the spring 2007 crisis in Estonia, centred on the World War II memorial known as the Bronze Soldier statue. The crisis is well-known both in Estonia and abroad. It was one of the first wake-up calls to the cooling of relations between Russia and the West. It also involved the first use of wide-ranging cyber-attacks against a state.
  • Topic: Security, History, Cybersecurity, Resilience, Hybrid Warfare , Hybrid Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Estonia
  • Author: Heinrich Brauss, Kalev Stoicescu, Tony Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014, NATO has revitalised its core business of deterrence and defence and adapted it to today’s political and geostrategic circumstances. In the Baltic region, the most visible expression of this effort has been the deployment of the enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Poland and the three Baltic states. These are, in turn, backed up by a readiness and reinforcement strategy, which NATO has also strengthened through the adoption of a number of measures agreed by the Allies. But deterrence is a complex matter that involves political, diplomatic, military, economic, cyber, information-related, and other aspects. In the Baltic region, the constraints of geography coupled with the proximity of the region to Russia pose particular challenges to NATO’s approach. The region remains a focus of tensions between Russia and the West and the three Baltic states are still NATO’s most vulnerable members. Moscow, meanwhile, pretends that it is particularly threatened in the Baltic region, where it regards the territory of the Baltic states as a potential bridgehead of American power projection and presents NATO’s deterrence measures as a deliberate, unprovoked and unjustified build-up of forces around its periphery. Two interdependent developments in the period since 2014 have pointed to a particular need to re-examine the credibility of NATO’s posture as it pertains to the Baltic region: first, Russia’s continued programme to achieve conventional military superiority in its western direction; and second, its recent deployment of new mobile, land-based, intermediate-range, nuclear-capable missiles. The former has given Russia has a substantial numerical advantage in ground forces in the Baltic region which give Moscow the option of executing a rapid land-grab attack before NATO could react. The latter could be used to try to decouple Europe from the extended nuclear deterrence provided by the US, paralysing NATO decision making and undermining the Allies’ resolve. Full and expeditious implementation of all decisions taken at Warsaw and Brussels to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence posture is therefore imperative. In this policy paper, we recommend some steps that NATO should take in order to strengthen the deterrent effect of NATO forces and to ensure that timely reinforcement of its peripheries is feasible. In the light of a US Congressional request for a detailed assessment from the Pentagon on whether to expand US military presence in the Baltic states, we pay particular attention to the role of US forces in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Political stability, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Baltic States
  • Author: Elizabeth N. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When and how do domestic politics influence a state's nuclear choices? Recent scholarship on nuclear security develops many domestic-political explanations for different nuclear decisions. These explanations are partly the result of two welcome trends: first, scholars have expanded the nuclear timeline, examining state behavior before and after nuclear proliferation; and second, scholars have moved beyond blunt distinctions between democracies and autocracies to more fine-grained understandings of domestic constraints. But without linkages between them, new domestic-political findings could be dismissed as a laundry list of factors that do not explain significant variation in nuclear decisions. This review essay assesses recent research on domestic politics and nuclear security, and develops a framework that illuminates when and how domestic-political mechanisms are likely to affect nuclear choices. In contrast to most previous domestic arguments, many of the newer domestic-political mechanisms posited in the literature are in some way top-down; that is, they show leaders deliberately maintaining or loosening control over nuclear choices. Two dimensions govern the extent and nature of domestic-political influence on nuclear choices: the degree of threat uncertainty and the costs and benefits to leaders of expanding the circle of domestic actors involved in a nuclear decision. The framework developed in this review essay helps make sense of several cases explored in the recent nuclear security literature. It also has implications for understanding when and how domestic-political arguments might diverge from the predictions of security-based analyses.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Domestic politics, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The digital domain is an arena of opportunity for Russia in which to attempt to achieve its various objectives. However, it is also a source of threat, as it contains the possibility of attacks on Russia’s digital infrastructure, including the ability to send a relatively uninterrupted flow of information to the public. The continued development of artificial intelligence has the potential to upset the system, and Russia, which will trail the leading states within this field, is still in the early phases of formulating a response to this challenge. Recommendations ■ Remember that the digital domain in Russia is seen not only as an arena of opportunity, but also as a source of threat to the state (or rather to the regime). ■ Be prepared for Russia to think creatively to minimize the gap separating it from the world’s leaders in the development of AI. ■ Be prepared for Russia to work for an international regime restricting the use of AI for military purposes.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Power Politics, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War meant that the Arctic region lost most of its geostrategic relevance. However, due to growing great power competition, the Arctic is back on the geopolitical map. Hard security dynamics in the region are defined by two key elements: the importance of conventional long-range missiles and nuclear weapons for Russia, and the importance of the North Atlantic sea line of communication for European defence. Russia has revitalized its Cold War-era bastion strategy, which aims to ensure the survival of its strategic ballistic missile submarines. In a crisis scenario, this strategy could pose serious challenges to the Nordic countries as well. Five Arctic states are members of NATO and the Alliance’s collective defence is operational in the Arctic. Even if the Arctic is still not a focus area for NATO, the North Atlantic maritime domain is increasingly back on the agenda. Given the divergent strategic interests and lack of common ground between Russia and other Arctic states on grand strategic issues, the Arctic will not be losing its geostrategic importance anytime soon.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Canada, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Arctic
  • Author: Agne Cepinsktye
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Britain’s Arctic security policy has been shifting from abandoning the region after the Cold War to developing a non-military security approach, to reintroducing the military defence dimension, most notably by the announcement of the UK Defence Arctic Strategy (DAS). These changes are both reactive to regional factors, namely the increasing geostrategic importance of the Arctic and Russia’s military expansion in the North, and reflective of the UK’s redefined post-Brexit identity as Global Britain. The focus on expanding the naval presence in the Arctic is consistent with the Global Britain vision, which underlies the UK’s broader foreign and security policy direction and emphasises the reassertion of naval strength and global maritime influence. While Britain’s ambition to restore the naval power in the Arctic and the North Atlantic is currently constrained by a lack of resources in the defence budget, it indicates an aspiration to strengthen historically rooted naval defence relations with the Arctic states.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Navy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Arctic
  • Author: Deborah A. McCarthy
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia, China, Iran and ISIS use information operations to undermine the national security objectives of the United States and its allies. However, the US’s international response has been weak. Internal constraints have limited more effective counter-measures. In particular, the lack of a coordinated White House-level strategy, dispersed authorities and little cooperation with private social media companies can be identified as causal factors. Additional steps by the Trump Administration to counter foreign disinformation will aim to protect the 2020 presidential elections rather than to push back on efforts to undermine US leadership abroad.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, ISIS, Social Media, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, North America
  • Author: Samuel Bendett
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Following the end of the Cold War, the Russian Federation lagged behind the United States in terms of advanced technology in warfighting. However, after substantial spending on modernization starting in 2008, the Russian military and the nation’s defense sector have been making great strides at developing remotely operated and autonomous technologies and integrating them in their tactics and combat operations. Russia is also starting to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development with specific military applications. These developments affect the ability of the United States to meet the goals in its new National Security Strategy; in order to meet its stated December 2017 objective of renewing American competitive advantage in key military areas, the United States should be aware of key adversarial developments such as Russia’s emerging unmanned, autonomous, and AI capabilities, and prepare itself in terms of appropriate capabilities, tactics, and plans...
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Military Spending, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Author: Heather Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Heather Williams is a lecturer in the Defence Studies Department and Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College London. She also does research for the Institute for Defense Analyses on Strategy, Forces, and Resources, and previously was a Research Fellow at Chatham House. Williams received her doctorate from King’s College London for her dissertation on U.S.-Russia arms control from 1968-2010.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Science and Technology, Weapons , Interview
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nina Jankowicz
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Nina Jankowicz is writing a book on the evolution of Russian influence campaigns in Eastern Europe. She has previously worked advising the Ukranian government on communication and managed democracy assistance programs for Russia and Belarus. She is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Kennan Institute and has previously served as a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow.
  • Topic: Security, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Sam J. Tangredi, Mathieu Boulegue, Keir Giles, C. Anthony Pfaff, Karen J. Finkenbinder, Massimo Pani, Richard A. Lacquement Jr., John F. Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Our 2019 Spring/Summer issue of Parameters features three forums. In the first forum, A2/AD Myths: Chinese & Russian, Sam Tangredi’s “Anti-Access Strategies in the Pacific: The United States and China” puts Beijing’s A2/AD capabilities in perspective and encourages the United States to consider developing an anti-access strategy of its own to deter possible Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Keir Giles and Mathieu Boulegue’s “Russia’s A2/AD Capabilities: Real and Imagined,” explode some of the myths concerning Russia’s A2/AD capabilities and recommend ways to promote a stronger defense of the Baltic states and Eastern Europe. The second forum, Enhancing Security & Stability, considers how to address emerging and periodic challenges in regional and functional stability. In “Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the US Army,” Tony Pfaff explains the growing importance of Arctic security for Army strategists. The challenges of climate change will require the Army, including the Alaska National Guard, to reallocate forces to this important region. In “Projecting Stability: A Deployable NATO Police Command,” Massimo Pani and Karen Finkenbinder propose methods NATO could use to project a stability force to crisis situations within 5 days, to be augmented with additional police forces and command elements within 30 days. Our third forum, On Strategic Foundations, offers two articles that explore the reliability of some of the conceptual foundations of our strategic thinking. Richard Lacquement Jr. discusses the use of historical analogies as one of humanity’s most important adaptive techniques in “Analogical Thinking: The Sine Qua Non for Using History Well.” He suggests pattern recognition may aid in clarifying context and in guiding action in unfamiliar intellectual terrain. In “Reconsidering Sun Tzu,” John Sullivan challenges readers to be more critical of orthodox interpretations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. After all, the unexamined theory is not worth teaching.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Ekaterina Klimenko, Jan Nilsson, Miyase Christensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Arctic has been narrated as both a region of cooperation and a region of conflict. This paper presents an analysis of how three Russian newspapers (Rossiyakaya Gazeta, Izvestiya and Novaya Gazeta) reported on the Arctic region between 2007 and 2016. The aim of the analysis is to provide a foundation for a discussion of Russian perceptions of conflict and cooperation in the Arctic in a decade when the desecuritization and peaceful cooperation that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s was challenged by a combination of changes to the physical environment and a shifting geopolitical landscape. The paper also explores how Russia’s narratives of conflict and cooperation fit into narratives about the region that have emerged in the international media. Last, the paper discusses what Russian media narratives can tell us about the priorities and future trends of Russia’s Arctic policy.
  • Topic: Security, Media, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Arctic
  • Author: Leo Lin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on September 10-12 was not merely a state visit, but also signaled a new era in bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and China. During his visit, Tokayev met top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Tokayev also stopped in Hangzhou, where he visited the headquarters of the Alibaba Group and spoke with founder Jack Ma, as well as the new chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang (Sina Tech, September 12). The September visit has symbolic meaning for both Xi and Tokayev as they prepare for a new stage of their partnership—in the same year as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka, Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s increasing presence in Africa is motivated by global political ambitions and economic goals. To expand its influence, Russia is involved in local conflicts and fuels anti-Western sentiment. Competing with EU and U.S. countries, it is simultaneously becoming an important security partner for many African governments. An obstacle to Russia further increasing its presence in Africa is its weak economic condition, which not only limits the possibility of economic expansion on the continent but also its interference in internal political processes in African countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, African Union
  • Author: Abbas Kadhim
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Iraq has a long and complicated history with the United States, and security and military engagements have been the primary driver of the relationship. Iraq’s relations with Russia, on the other hand, have been more transactional and economically-oriented. At a time when there are signs of US disengagement from the Middle East and North Africa while Russian and Chinese activities in the region are increasing, it is useful to trace the past US and Russian strategies in Iraq and assess how the United States could better tailor its strategy toward Iraq in the future in order to achieve durable outcomes that would bring benefits to both sides such as a responsive government, a thriving economy, and security. This chapter is part of an edited volume that gathers analysis on the policy choices pursued by Washington and Moscow in the MENA region and develops case studies of the two powers’ policies in the countries beset by major crises.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq, Eurasia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Taylor Valley
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: What is Russia’s geopolitical game in Latin America? Since the early-2000s, we have witnessed bilateral trade spike by 44 percent, around 40 diplomatic visits by high-ranking Russian officials, and budding military cooperation through joint-naval exercises in Latin American ports. Some explain this growth as Russian efforts to create multipolarity in the western hemisphere and undermine U.S. influence in the region. This narrative of bilateral relations disregards a key element that may be driving Russia’s engagement— the role of Latin American leadership.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ferry de Kerckhove
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The art of war has changed considerably since the end of the Second World War. In the last 15 years, the centre of gravity has slowly shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The West is increasingly being destabilized. Hybrid warfare and cyber-attacks have become increasingly effective alternatives to both hard and soft power. Russia is a major player in this domain; so is Iran. Other players are joining the fray, most of them hostile to the West, such as Iran and Russia’s client states. The barriers between civilian and military are fading quickly. All-out war now happens in a space that’s invisible to the naked eye. Not only is such warfare threatening us, but it also has consequences we have barely begun to assess. The divide between good and bad is blurring. Marshall McLuhan said the medium is the message. Today, the medium and the message are an undecipherable continuum where evil and lies coexist with truth and goodwill. Technological prowess increases vulnerability, but technology is also at the heart of corresponding systems of security. Thus, we have fully entered a new arms race where deterrence comes from the other side knowing what you don’t want him to discover, but what you want him to fear. Voltaire said: “If you wish to speak to me, let us start by defining the meaning of our words.” In this day and age, this mantra is particularly applicable to the definition of contemporary threats as well as of the targets, or even who is in the sights of Russian and Middle Eastern leaders. “Cyberspace is a domain characterized by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify, and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures. In effect, cyberspace can be thought of as the interconnection of human beings through computers and telecommunication, without regard to physical geography.” Consequently, “(c)ybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes. Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is particularly challenging today because there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative.” Discussions focus on whether Russia or China is the heavyweight in terms of threat. Some argue that China is more subtle while Russia is more of a rogue. But it is undeniable that China’s attempt to change the fundamental paradigm of international relations, while using and hopefully subduing the existing international order’s mechanisms to its advantage, represents a holistic approach and is thus more threatening to the world if it even partly succeeds. Indeed, the planet’s centre of gravity is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific and that means the global threat comes from China. If we needed a reminder, in 2014 Chinese hackers stole the personal information of more than 22 million people connected to U.S. security clearance processes. Not bad for five years ago!
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Nazir Hussain, Amna Javed
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: South Asia is an important but complex region. Its manifold complexity is largely ascribed through historical, economic, political and strategic manifestations. The region has witnessed instability in all the given premises and interactions. The entirety happens to be the fact that the structure of alignments is motivated by security complexes which involve cohesion of foreign powers and regional states. The US, Russia, Iran and China now make out to be contemporary stakeholders in South Asian security equation. Their involvement has been seen as a major reorientation in the regional dynamics in terms of political, economic and security characteristics. The manifold possibilities of re-alignments are what the future of the region will look like. The chance of full-fledged strategic alliance in the face of US-India on the basis of similar political, economic and security interests is on the horizon. As a corollary to this alliance pattern, there is China-Russia-Pakistan alliance which is similar in force but opposite in direction. These two systems are one set of opposition forces to each other, which are also natural in form. Another structure which occurs out of the regional dynamics happens to be of India-Iran-Afghanistan which is a trifecta aiming at Pakistan. On the other hand, Russia-China-Pakistan which could turn into a politically motivated and economically driven alliance and can also cover certain aspects of security. Therefore, due to various changes in order there will stem out various patterns of relationships, which could set the order of the region as one marked by various fluctuating alignment patterns.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Realignment
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, South Asia, North America, Punjab, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: What makes the militia milieu so unique and important for understanding today’s Russia is that it finds itself at the intersection of state institutions, patronage mechanisms, criminal structures, and grassroots illiberal activism. Abroad, the Kremlin plays through it one of its major “hybrid warfare” cards, outsourcing activities traditionally conducted by intelligence entities and allowing for plausible deniability. The militia realm thus seems destined to play a growing role in Russia’s law-enforcement, military and intelligence culture both at home and abroad. Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University (Washington DC) and Co-Director of PONARS-Eurasia. She has been Associate Research Fellow at Ifri’s Russia/NIS Center since January 2019.
  • Topic: Security, Nationalism, Military Affairs, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Andrei V. Belyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: The Baltic region is making a significant progress in developing functioning regional natural gas market, expanding and integrating the related infrastructure, and ensuring the security of supply. However, there are multiple factors—at the national, regional, European and even global levels—that prevent this from becoming an ideal market capable of delivering greater security at a reasonable cost. Liquidity of the market is low due to falling consumption; state aid and state participation in the energy enterprises discourage private investments and distort market conditions, while geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia add further complications. The report considers the trends in the overall natural gas sector—such as greater portion of trade being conducted in gas trading hubs; more reliance on spot pricing rather than long-term contracts; LNG glut in the global markets, introduction of “virtual pipelines” and flexible infrastructure, pressure to reduce CO2 emissions as well as the US entry into the global LNG market as a major player—and analyses their implications to Estonia. It puts forward a number of recommendations on how to create and sustain the conditions necessary for efficient natural gas market in the region as well as for improved energy security of Estonia.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States of America
  • Author: Anna Tiido
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: This analysis calls for European governments to pay greater attention to the resilience of their societies, starting with the integration of minorities. It is also important to continue work to increase awareness of Russian influence. The paper analyses the issue of Russian speakers in the EU based on the example of Finland, Germany and Estonia. Although the Kremlin’s “Russian World” policy sees all the people connected to Russia as a homogeneous group, the minority groups analysed are quite diverse. The media preferences and habits of Russian-speakers are connected to language, naturally, and these communities are one of the targets of Russia’s actions. At the same time, Russia also targets non-Russian audiences. It promotes propaganda that is tailor-made for specific countries, based on existing conditions. The grievances of Russian-speakers are one such tool, but they constitute one of many available—and not the main one.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Integration, Social Cohesion, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland, Germany, Estonia
  • Author: James Sherr, Kaarel Kullamaa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Until recently, the Russian Orthodox Church was a subject that interested few outside expert circles. That dramatically changed in late 2018 when the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople granted autocephaly (independence) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The reverberations of this decision — religious, political and geopolitcal — underscore the importance that the Church once again plays in Russian policy. In this report, we consider the role that the Russian Orthodox Church has played as an adjunct to an imperial policy stretching back over many centuries. Today, the Russian Federation has a secular constitution. But as much as in tsarist times, the Church regards itself as one of the pillars of Russia’s political order. As much as in the time of Catherine the Great, it is also a protagonist in its wars of identity and the rewriting of the history of former imperial subjects whose experience of the relationship between church and state is different from Russia’s. This diversity is well brought out in the report’s two case studies, Ukraine and Estonia. In both countries, local Orthodox churches embodied distinctive cultural traditions and values until they felt the full force of Russian control, tsarist and Soviet. Since 2014, Russia’s hybrid war in Ukraine has revived many historical controversies. It also has raised entirely new security concerns about the borderline between faith and politics. These concerns are summarised at the conclusion of the report, which closes with a section on policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Politics, Religion, International Affairs, Governance, Christianity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Estonia
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy outline a U.S. shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for much of this competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs of conventional and nuclear war would likely be catastrophic. U.S. strategy is evolving from a post-9/11 focus on counterterrorism against groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to competition between state adversaries. As the National Defense Strategy notes, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”1 This shift has significant implications for the U.S. military, since it indicates a need to improve U.S. capabilities to fight—and win—possible wars against China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea if deterrence fails. Though it is prudent to prepare for conventional—and even nuclear—war, the risks of conflict are likely to be staggering. Numerous war games and analyses of U.S. conflicts with Russia in the Baltics, China in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, and North Korea on the Korean peninsula suggest the possibility of at least tens of thousands of dead and billions of dollars in economic damages. In addition, these conflicts could escalate to nuclear war, which might raise the number of dead to hundreds of thousands or even millions. According to one analysis, for example, a U.S. war with China could reduce China’s gross domestic product (GDP) by between 25 and 35 percent and the United States’ GDP by between 5 and 10 percent. The study also assessed that both countries could suffer substantial military losses to bases, air forces, surface naval forces, and submarines; significant political upheaval at home and abroad; and huge numbers of civilian deaths.2 These costs and risks will likely give Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and even Pyongyang pause, raising several questions. Will these high costs deter the possibility of conventional and nuclear war? If so, what are the implications for the United States as it plans for a rise in inter-state competition? The Cold War offers a useful historical lens. NATO planners prepared for a possible Soviet and Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. The U.S. military, for example, deployed forces to the Fulda Gap, roughly 60 miles outside of Frankfurt, Germany, as one of several possible invasion routes by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces. NATO also planned for nuclear war. The United States built up its nuclear arsenal and adopted strategies like mutually assured destruction (MAD). The concept of MAD assumed that a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. The threat of such heavy costs deterred conflict, despite some close calls. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the two superpowers nearly went to war after a U.S. U-2 aircraft took pictures of Soviet medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) under construction in Cuba. But Washington and Moscow ultimately assessed that direct conflict was too costly. Deterrence held. Instead, the United States and Soviet Union engaged in intense security competition at the unconventional level across Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Both countries backed substate groups and states to expand their power and influence. Under the Reagan Doctrine, for example, the United States provided overt and covert assistance to anticommunist governments and resistance movements to roll back communist supporters. The Soviets did the same and supported states and substate actors across the globe. In addition, the Soviets adopted an aggressive, unconventional approach best captured in the phrase “active measures” or aktivnyye meropriatia. As used by the KGB, active measures included a wide range of activities designed to influence populations across the globe. The KGB established front groups, covertly broadcast radio and other programs, orchestrated disinformation campaigns, and conducted targeted assassinations. The Soviets used active measures as an offensive instrument of Soviet foreign policy to extend Moscow’s influence and power throughout the world, including in Europe. Unlike the Cold War, the United States confronts multiple state adversaries today—not one. As the National Defense Strategy argues, the United States is situated in “a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory” where “the central challenges to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers.” But based on the likely costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, much of the competition will likely be unconventional—and include what former U.S. State Department diplomat George Kennan referred to as “political warfare.” The term political warfare refers to the employment of military, intelligence, diplomatic, financial, and other means—short of conventional war—to achieve national objectives. It can include overt operations like public broadcasting and covert operations like psychological warfare and support to underground resistance groups.3 The United States’ adversaries today are already engaged in political warfare. Russia, for instance, utilizes a range of means to pursue its interests, such as technologically sophisticated offensive cyber programs, covert action, and psychological operations. Moscow has conducted overt operations like the use of RT and Sputnik, as well as semitransparent and covert efforts. It has also become increasingly active in supporting state and substate actors in countries like Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya to expand its influence in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa. Finally, Russia is attempting to exploit European and transatlantic fissures and support populist movements to undermine European Union and NATO cohesion, thwart economic sanctions, justify or obscure Russian actions, and weaken the attraction of Western institutions for countries on Russia’s periphery. Iran is using political warfare tools like propaganda, cyber attacks, and aid to substate proxies to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats. Tehran is also assisting state and substate actors in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. Iran supports Shia militia groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. In the South China Sea, China is pouring millions of tons of sand and concrete onto reefs, creating artificial islands. It is also conducting a sophisticated propaganda campaign, utilizing economic coercion, and using fleets of fishing vessels to solidify its assertion of territorial and resource rights throughout the Pacific. Finally, Beijing is targeting the U.S. government, its allies, and U.S. companies as part of a cyber-espionage campaign. With political warfare already alive and well with the United States’ state adversaries, there are several implications for U.S. defense strategy. First, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for significant inter-state competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war may be prohibitively high. This should involve thinking through trade-offs regarding force posture, procurement, acquisition, and modernization. A U.S. military that predominantly focuses on preparing for conventional or nuclear war with state competitors—by modernizing the nuclear triad, building more resilient space capabilities, acquiring more effective counter-space systems, equipping U.S. forces with high-technology weapons, and emphasizing professional military education (PME) to fight conventional wars—may undermine U.S. unconventional readiness and capabilities. Second, even organizations that already engage in some types of political warfare—such as U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. intelligence community—will need to continue shifting some of their focus from counterterrorism to political warfare against state adversaries. This might include, for example, providing more aid to the Baltic States to conduct an effective resistance campaign against unconventional action by Moscow. Or it might involve aiding proxies in countries like Syria and Yemen to counter Iranian-backed organizations. It could also include improving the border security capabilities and effectiveness of Ukrainian military and police units against Russian-backed rebels. Third, the United States should invest in resources and capabilities that allow the military and other U.S. government agencies to more effectively engage in political warfare—and to provide agencies with sufficient authorities to conduct political warfare. One example is improving capabilities to conduct aggressive, offensive cyber operations. Other examples might include advanced electronic attack capabilities, psychological warfare units, security force assistance brigades, and precision munitions. Recognizing that other powers routinely conduct political warfare, George Kennan encouraged U.S. leaders to disabuse themselves of the “handicap” of the “concept of a basic difference between peace and war” and to wake up to “the realities of international relations—the perpetual rhythm of struggle, in and out of war.” Kennan’s advice may be even more relevant today in such a competitive world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years of relative calm and predictability in relations between Russia and the West enabled European governments largely to neglect their military capabilities for territorial defense and dramatically redraw Northern Europe’s multilateral, regional, and bilateral boundaries, stimulating new institutional and cooperative developments and arrangements. These cooperative patterns of behavior occurred amid a benign security environment, a situation that no longer obtains. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its military incursion into eastern Ukraine, its substantial military modernization efforts, heightened undersea activity in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, and its repeated air violations, the region’s security environment has dramatically worsened. The Baltic Sea and North Atlantic region have returned as a geostrategic focal point. It is vital, therefore, that the United States rethink its security approach to the region—what the authors describe as Enhanced Deterrence in the North.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, Northern Europe, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Leo Michel, Matti Pesu
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the most notable consequences of the end of the Cold War was the diminished role of nuclear weapons in international relations. The world’s primary nuclear weapon powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, made considerable reductions in their nuclear forces. The climax of the process was the New START Treaty signed in 2010. Now, the optimism that characterized the first decades of the post-Cold War era is rapidly evaporating. Geopolitical competition again dominates global and regional security dynamics. Nuclear powers are modernizing their forces and introducing novel systems that may affect strategic stability. At the same time, existing arms control regimes are crumbling. This report takes stock of recent developments in deterrence in general, and nuclear deterrence in particular. Its main ambition is to understand how deterrence has changed in light of certain post-Cold War trends. To this end, the report introduces the basic principles of deterrence. It also explores the nuclear-related policies and capabilities of the four nuclear weapon states most directly involved in European security affairs – Russia, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Importantly, the report also analyses the implications of the recent trends in strategic deterrence for Northern Europe. This report is part of a research project conducted by the FIIA entitled ‘New Challenges for Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century’. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America
  • Author: Igor Istomin, Akshobh Giridharadas
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Igor A. Istomin is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Applied Analysis of International Issues at MGIMO University. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from MGIMO University as well as an undergraduate degree from Saint Petersburg State University. Istomin teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in methods of applied analysis of international affairs. He is an executive editor at International Trends, a leading Russian academic journal. He is also a visiting fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. Istomin is the author of more than 50 publications on U.S. foreign policy, relations in the Euro-Atlantic space, and international security. His most recent book is The Logic of State Behavior in International Politics (2017). He has also prepared policy reports and papers for the Russian International Affairs Council, the Valdai Discussion Club, the Center for Strategic Research in Moscow, and the European Leadership Network.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tatiana Shakleina, Ryan Rogers
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Professor Tatiana Shakleina sat down with the Fletcher Security Review in November 2017 in conjunction with the Conference on U.S.-Russia Relations between The Fletcher School and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). In a detailed and engaging conversation that spanned over 25 years of history, Professor Shakleina traced the post-Cold War origins of the current tension between the United States and Russia. While personnel within the Trump Administration have moved on to new positions or left government altogether since the interview, Professor Shakleina’s rich historical overview of post-Cold War U.S.-Russia relations remains extremely relevant in understanding the recent trajectory and current state of the bilateral relationship. ​
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government, History, Bilateral Relations, Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ursula Kazarian
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The independent development of renewable energy resources — and especially solar energy production, in the short term — may present the best opportunity for both intrastate and interstate autonomy in the South Caucasus, and may particularly benefit the Republic of Armenia, whose current energy portfolio is almost entirely supplied, owned, and, until recently, operated by Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Armenia, South Caucasus