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  • Author: David J. Berteau, Gregory Sanders, T.J. Cipoletti, Meaghan Doherty, Abby Fanlo
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The European defense market, though impacted by lethargic economic growth and painful fiscal austerity measures, continues to be a driver in global defense. Five of the fifteen biggest military spenders worldwide in 2013 were European countries, and Europe remains a major market for international arms production and sales. Surges in military spending by Russia, China, and various Middle Eastern countries in recent years has augmented the defense landscape, especially as European countries in aggregate continue to spend less on defense and the United States embarks on a series of deep-striking budget cuts. This report analyzes overall trends in defense spending, troop numbers, collaboration, and the European defense and security industrial base across 37 countries. To remain consistent with previous reports, this briefing utilizes functional NATO categories (Equipment, Personnel, Operations and Maintenance, Infrastructure, and Research and Development) and reports figures in constant 2013 euros unless otherwise noted. Many of the trends identified within the 2012 CSIS European Defense Trends report continued into 2013, namely reductions in topline defense spending, further cuts to R spending, and steadily declining troop numbers. Though total European defense spending decreased from 2001-2013, with an accelerated decline between 2008 and 2010, select countries increased spending2 between 2011 and 2013. Collaboration among European countries has decreased in the R category; however, it has increased in the equipment category – indicating increased investment in collaborative procurement. Defense expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure has decreased across Europe from 2001-2013 with the exceptions of Albania and Estonia. An updated CSIS European Security, Defense, and Space (ESDS) Index is included within this report and exhibits a shift in geographic revenue origin for leading European defense firms away from North America and Europe and towards other major markets between 2008 and 2013. Finally, a brief analysis of Russian defense spending is included in the final section of this report in order to comprehend more fully the size and scope of the European defense market within the global framework. In 2013, Russia replaced the United Kingdom as the third largest global defense spender, devoting 11.2 percent of total government expenditures to defense. This briefing report concludes with summarized observations concerning trends in European defense from 2001 to 2013. CSIS will continue to follow and evaluate themes in European defense, which will appear in subsequent briefings.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United Kingdom, America, Europe
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years at the margins of international diplomacy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has suddenly regained political relevance because of the Ukraine crisis that began in 2014. The organization turned out to be the most appropriate framework to manage the crisis and prevent further escalation. To continue to play a useful role in resolving this issue and in easing tensions between Russia and the West, the OSCE needs to adjust its way of working and strengthen its toolbox. As the relationship between Russia and the West deteriorated at the end of the 1990s, the OSCE’s role declined. The organization’s arms control regime eroded, its debates on human rights relapsed into ideological confrontation, and its work on promoting economic cooperation never got off the ground. The Ukraine crisis has revived the organization. While political crisis management has been left mainly to a few capitals working with the parties to the conflict, the OSCE’s monitoring mission in Ukraine has become an essential factor of stability. Violence has not stopped, however, and the mission’s work remains hampered by insufficient cooperation from the parties. The OSCE has also assumed an important role in facilitating negotiations on implementing the Minsk agreement, which contains a road map for a political settlement. However, little progress has been made so far. diplo
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Dr. Ariel Cohen, Ivan Benovic
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of gas disputes between Russia and Central and Eastern European countries have unveiled the strategic dependence of Europe on Russian piped gas. The recent Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that Europe has a desperate need to improve the security of its gas supply. The United States is interested in the economic stability and growth of Europe, because the European Union (EU) is its principal and largest economic partner. The United States and the EU enjoy the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, which should not be jeopardized by disruptive, anti-status-quo powers. Europe’s energy independence is not only an economic interest of America, but also a political and security one. Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas undermines European unity and weakens the primary U.S. allies in their relations with Russia. U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the U.S. Army in particular can and should play an important role in promoting energy security. This involvement includes: increased situational awareness; deployment to the sensitive areas; and enhanced training activities, including with the allies of the U.S. military in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Richard Dr. Weitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: China and Russia have engaged in an increasing number of joint exercises in recent years. These drills aim to help them deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats, such as Islamist terrorists trying to destabilize a Central Asian government, while at the same time reassuring their allies that Russia and China would protect them from such challenges. Furthermore, the exercises and other joint Russia-China military activities have a mutual reassurance function, informing Moscow and Beijing about the other’s military potential and building mutual confidence about their friendly intentions toward one another. Finally, the joint exercises try to communicate to third parties, especially the United States, that Russia and China have a genuine security partnership and that it extends to cover Central Asia, a region of high priority concern for Moscow and Beijing, and possibly other areas, such as northeast Asia. Although the Sino-Russian partnership is limited in key respects, the United States should continue to monitor their defense relationship since it has the potential to become a more significant international security development.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Keir Giles, Major General Aleksandr V Rogovoy
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and ongoing operations in eastern Ukraine, have refocused attention on the Russian military as a potential cause for concern in Europe. This Letort Paper, by an influential Russian general and military academic, lays out specifically Russian views on the essential nature of strong conventional land forces, and how they may be used. With an expert commentary providing essential context and interpretation, the Paper presents a valuable insight into Russian military thinking, at a potentially critical juncture for European security.
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Alvin Almendrala Camba
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Central European University Political Science Journal
  • Institution: Central European University
  • Abstract: Nazrin Mehdiyeva's work is elegantly argued and timely volume on small states and energy politics; however, in looking to contribute to both of these literatures, she opens up questionable points in her book. Her main aim was to understand the conditions that allowed Azerbaijan to pursue an autonomous foreign policy after the Cold War while focusing on energy's role in the context of global energy insecurity. Mehdiyeva's structure relies on a simple and clear deductive narrative. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on small state literature and its application in Azerbaijan's institutional context; 4 focuses on Russia, the main 'antagonist' in the narrative, and 5 on the Caspian sea issue; while 6 and 7 deal with alternative allies in the form of Turkey and the United States. The last chapter concludes with the author's projection of future foreign policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Alexandra Yatsyk
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea were two major international events in which Russia engaged in early 2014. In spite of all the divergence in the logic underpinning each of them, four concepts strongly resonate in both cases. First, in hosting the Olympics and in appropriating Crimea, Russia was motivated by solidifying its sovereignty as the key concept in its foreign and domestic policies. Second, the scenarios for both Sochi and Crimea were grounded in the idea of strengthening Russia as a political community through mechanisms of domestic consolidation (Sochi) and opposition to unfriendly external forces (the crisis in Ukraine). Third, Sochi and Crimea unveiled two different facets of the logic of normalisation aimed at proving - albeit by different means - Russia's great power status. Fourth, one of the major drivers of Russian policy in both cases were security concerns in Russia's southern flanks, though domestic security was also an important part of the agenda.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's actions towards Ukraine in 2013-14, which inaugurated a new Cold War in its relations with the West, presented a dilemma to Russia's allies: whether to align themselves with Russia's choices or pursue a more independent course of action. The leadership of Belarus, Russia's closest ally, chose the latter option both by establishing dialogue with the interim government and President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, considered illegitimate in Russia and, later, by being present at the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on 7 June 2014 and downplaying Russia's position on the 'federalisation' of Ukraine as the only way out of the country's instability. The perspective of the intra-alliance security dilemma helps explain the divergence of views between Russia and Belarus, while pointing to the changing position of the parties towards the Eurasian integration project.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international system is returning to multipolarity—a situation of multiple Great Powers—drawing the post-Cold War 'unipolar moment' of comprehensive US political, economic and military dominance to an end. The rise of new Great Powers, namely the 'BRICs'—Brazil, Russia, India, and most importantly, China—and the return of multipolarity at the global level in turn carries security implications for western Europe. While peaceful political relations within the European Union have attained a remarkable level of strategic, institutional and normative embeddedness, there are five factors associated with a return of Great Power competition in the wider world that may negatively impact on the western European strategic environment: the resurgence of an increasingly belligerent Russia; the erosion of the US military commitment to Europe; the risk of international military crises with the potential to embroil European states; the elevated incentive for states to acquire nuclear weapons; and the vulnerability of economically vital European sea lines and supply chains. These five factors must, in turn, be reflected in European states' strategic behaviour. In particular, for the United Kingdom—one of western Europe's two principal military powers, and its only insular (offshore) power—the return of Great Power competition at the global level suggests that a return to offshore balancing would be a more appropriate choice than an ongoing commitment to direct military interventions of the kind that have characterized post-2001 British strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Kamran Ismayilov, Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan recently had to face a wave of criticism from the European institutions (the OSCE and the European Parliament) due to its government’s undemocratic practices. In response, Baku accused its European partners of Islamophobia and declared the suspension of parliamentary cooperation in the framework of the EU’s Euronest. The Azerbaijani ruling elite also blames the West of supporting a “fifth column” in Azerbaijan (meaning civil society organisations) as well as of giving political support to its arch-enemy Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time authorities in Baku are displaying their developing political partnership with Russia. This paper examines the consequences of the crisis in relations between the EU and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani-Russian rapprochement for the prospects for EU-Azerbaijan energy projects and regional security in the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Civil Society, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Russia has invested extensive resources and prestige in the Winter Olympics to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, 7-23 February 2014. The tab, an estimated $51 billion, does not include a nationwide security operation to protect the venue against attack by a resilient and ruthless armed jihadi movement. A spate of bombings, including two in December in the southern city of Volgograd, show that North Caucasus Islamist terrorists are determined to strike opportunistically across the country to mar the games and challenge President Vladimir Putin, who has promised a "safe, enjoyable and memorable" Olympic experience. If ripple effects of security for Sochi and the ambitious regional tourism project the games are meant to inaugurate are not to worsen the situation in the war-to rn North Caucasus, local communities must be assured they will benefit from the development plans, not fall victims to rapacious local elites or the abuses allegedly accompanying the Games. Equally important, they will need guaranteed long-term security, not simply oppressive security regimes.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, International Affairs, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Sochi
  • Author: Józef Lang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's current and foreseeable policy towards Afghanistan is multi-vectored, complex and shows, at times, signs of incoherence. Russia views developments in Afghanistan as a strategic challenge and is expressing growing concern over the country's prospects for stability after the withdrawal of ISAF forces by the end of 2014. Russian decision-makers fear that a security vacuum emerging after the withdrawal could destabilise Central Asia and have a negative impact on Russia itself. At the same time, Moscow is concerned with Western military presence in the region, which it regards as interference in its neighbourhood. At tactical level, Russia also sees the situation in Afghanistan as an opportunity to secure its interests both regionally (consolidating its influence in Central Asia) and more widely (in terms of its relations with NATO).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Creating political unity and reasons to be loyal to government. Creating a new structure of governance and balance between factions. Effective revenue collection, budget planning and expenditure, and limits to corruption. Fully replacing NATO/ISAF with the ANSF and "layered defense". Creating a new structure of security forces, advisors, and aid funds, to include addressing the presence of US and other nations' personnel. Acting on the Tokyo Conference: Creating effective flow and use of aid, economic reform, and limits to corruption and waste Stabilizing a market economy driven by military spending and moving towards development: Brain drain and capital flight. Coping with weather and other challenges to agricultural structure and with pressures to increase the narco - economy. Dealing with neighbors: Pakistan, I ran, Central Asian nations, India, China, and Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Military Strategy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, South Asia, India, North America
  • Author: Andrew Monaghan, Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States and its allies are in general agreement on the legal status of conflict in cyberspace. Although key principles remain unresolved, such as what precisely constitutes an armed attack or use of force in cyberspace, overall there is a broad legal consensus among Euro-Atlantic nations that existing international law and international commitments are sufficient to regulate cyber conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, North America
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Ukraine is once again at a potential turning point in its young history. It missed the opportunity at independence and during the Orange Revolution to make a decisive break with an authoritarian past and move decisively toward an open, market-oriented society. Yet Ukrainian civil society remained vibrant and late last year once again spoke out against the country's authoritarian and corrupt leaders. As a result of the protests from an enraged citizenry, then-President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country for Russia.
  • Topic: Security, Territorial Disputes, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Coghlan Christopher, Muzammil Maliha, Ingram John, Vervoort Joost, Otto Friederike, James Rachel
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: From 2010 to 2013 the world experienced a number of extreme weather events, several of which were notable for their intensity, duration, and impacts on livelihoods and food security. This report focuses on four case studies – a heat wave in Russia, flooding in Pakistan, drought in East Africa, and a typhoon in the Philippines – that represent a range of extreme weather. It analyses the impact of these extreme weather events on food security, by considering when and why threats emerge. This involves characterization of the weather events, examination of the vulnerable groups affected, and analysis of livelihoods and the role of governance and capital.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Food
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, Russia, Philippines
  • Author: Richard Barrett
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Over 12,000 fighters from at least 81 countries have joined the civil war in Syria, and the numbers continue to grow. Around 2,500 are from Western countries, including most members of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are also several hundred from Russia. But the great majority are from the Arab World. Most are fighting with rebel groups, and increasingly with the most extreme among them; but many are also fighting with the Government, or with ethnic or faith communities that are trying to protect themselves from both sides. A lot are young, often teenagers, and a fair percentage of those arriving from non-Muslim majority countries are converts to Islam. These and others who share their faith commonly express their motivation as a religious obligation to protect fellow Muslims from attack. This sense of duty is captured by their loose use of the word 'jihad'.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Canada, Arabia, Australia, Syria, New Zealand
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Moscow's aggression against Ukraine has truly been a “game changer” for the Atlantic Alliance. Its implications for NATO's further evolution can hardly be over-estimated and after the likely shoot-down of a Malaysian civil aircraft over Ukrainian territory, controlled by pro-Russian rebels, the situation is even more unpredictable. Even if the catastrophe has put heavy political pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian involvement in Ukraine, Moscow is still not likely to revert the annexation of the Crimean peninsula. As a result, the crisis will dominate the international security debate for a long time to come. Thus, signs of resolve directed at Russia, measures to reassure the NATO members in Eastern Europe and indications of further cooperation with Ukraine will rank very high on the agenda of the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014. With the draw-down of the operation in Afghanistan, some Allies tend to see NATO's future role as primarily to preserve the territorial integrity of its member states. Hence, they argue in favour of a “back to basics” approach with an Alliance concentrated on its defence mission, according to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Malaysia, Ukraine, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine, which culminated in Russia's annexation of the Crimea, marks a new low in NATO-Russia relations. While this relationship had been deteriorating for quite some time, Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis revealed a geopolitical agenda that caught many observers by surprise. In the course of just a few weeks Russia clearly emerged as a revisionist power, behaving in a manner reminiscent of the "predatory nation-states from the 19th century" and changing borders by force in order to deny a neighbouring country the choice to determine its own alignments.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Roger McDermott, Brooke Smith-Windsor, Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia's behaviour in the Ukrainian crisis has been described by some as giving rise to “the most dangerous situation in East-West relations since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.” For one, NATO's recently retired Supreme Allied Commander has called for immediate action in response. This could include, for example, bringing the NATO Response Force – a sea, air, land, special forces capability – to a higher state of alert, and sailing NATO maritime forces into the Black Sea.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Hanna Shelest
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The pictures of Kyiv on fire in early 2014 have attracted attention of the world's media, with Molotov cocktails, barricades and injured journalists making headlines. This is in sharp contrast to the previous two months, when hundreds of thousands of people were coming every Sunday to the main square – Maidan Nezalezhnosti – in peaceful protest.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On 27 January 2014, the NATO Defense College Research Division hosted its Russia Roundtable, where international experts from various research institutions meet senior practitioners from the International Staff and International Military Staff from NATO HQ.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Tracey German
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph examines Russia's policy toward the Caspian Sea region as Moscow attempts to counterbalance growing American involvement within what it perceives to be its zone of privileged interest, focusing on the recent expansion of the Caspian Flotilla and the rationale behind it. Moscow has sought to counterbalance the growing involvement of other actors in the region, which has led to rising tension between Russia and its southern neighbors. The primary objectives of the research are to examine Russian perceptions of threat and security in the Caspian region and assess the implications for other actors. This monograph analyzes the drivers of the increasing competition for influence, focusing on developments within the energy sector, and assess the implications of Russia's consolidation of its dominance for security and stability in the region. This issue is important because a clear understanding of Russian strategic thinking and threat perception in the Caspian Sea is vital in order to facilitate effective U.S. policy in the wider Caucasus and Central Asian region.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia
  • Author: Andrew Monaghan, Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: When U.S. President Barack Obama cancelled a scheduled September 2013 summit meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “lack of progress on issues such as missile defense” was cited as the primary justification. Despite widespread and well founded assumption that the real trigger for the cancellation was the Russian decision to offer temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the citing of missile defense was indicative. The comment marked one of the periodic plateaus of mutual frustration between the United States and Russia over U.S. attitudes to missile defense capability, stemming from a continued failure to achieve meaningful dialogue over U.S. plans and Russian fears.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Zinaida Shevchuk
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: This article explores the conflict processes in one of the most volatile regions in post-Soviet space - South Ossetia. The objective of the analysis is to bring more nuanced and explicit distinction to the understanding of the heterogeneous nature of the armed conflict. By studying the evolution of issues at stake and conflict processes we can trace the pattern of conflict behavior. The study focuses on an assessment of the extent to which ethnicity is merely a convenient common dominator to mobilize ethnic groups in the struggle over resources, land, or power. This study rejects the common notion that the contemporary conflicts in the South Ossetia can be understood as "unfinished business" from the past ethnic conflicts that had been "frozen" under the communist regime.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Ossetia
  • Author: Syuzanna Vasilyan
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: This article develops a new conceptual framework of 'moral power' by arguing that the 'civilian'/'normative' power Europe paradigms are insufficient for understanding the essence of the conflict resolution policy of the European Union (EU) in the South Caucasus. Analysing the conflicts of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the study reveals that until the August 2008 war, the EU was an incoherent actor in terms of the interplay among its institutions and member-states. The EU's policy has been devoid of a long-term peace-focused strategy, making it inconsequential; as a result, the EU has merely dealt with, rather than managed, the conflicts. Its rhetoric has been inconsistent with practice. Often the EU has subordinated its values to material and power-related interests. Moreover, the EU has hardly been normatively stable in its approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Bypassing inclusiveness until the launch of the Geneva talks pertaining to the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts, the EU has not enjoyed much legitimacy by the de facto states. Whereas the EU has largely failed to resolve the South Caucasian conflicts, it has achieved partial success by putting a halt to the 2008 hostilities between Russia and Georgia. Overall, having faltered as a 'civilian'/'normative' power it still has to fare as a 'moral power'.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Political Theory, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia, South Caucasus, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Pami Aalto, David Dusseault, Michael D Kennedy, Markku Kivinen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: In this article, we examine the formation of Russia's energy policies vis-à-vis Europe and the Far East. As energy policy is a very complex field, we propose a new structurationist analytical model to deal with that complexity. Our model highlights the practices by which actors acquire information of their policy environments, which are conceptualised as structures enabling and constraining their actions. These practices involve intentions, interests and schemata. In our case analyses - the Nord Stream pipeline project and the Sakhalin Island's energy politics - we find that profit interests, as part of a wider business frame, most centrally guide Russian actors. The often-hyped energy superpower frame is found to be ambiguous. It generally does not bring the intentions of Russian actors together well, even if such a frame resonates with some of Russia's European customers. Energy security frames are found to be prevalent among Russia's customers and are highly differentiated. Environmental frames are mostly instrumentally deployed. Russian energy actors are capable of displaying collective intentionality, but are incapable of fully controlling the various dimensions of the complex policy environment.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Ana Stanic
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Diversification of gas supply has been a strategic priority for the European Union since its dependence on imports began to grow in the early 2000s. The crisis in Ukraine has heightened concerns that the flow of Russian gas passing through this country may be interrupted and has reignited calls for dependency on Russian gas to be reduced. As a new European Commission takes over energy policy in Brussels, it is worth examining the lessons the EU ought to learn from the Southern Gas Corridor project, which for a decade was seen as key to enhancing energy security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: V. Orlov
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, the issue of nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine and, accordingly, of security assurances to Ukraine in the case of its achieving a non-nuclear status was the focus of attention for policymakers, diplomats and the international expert community. It was also then that it was seemingly resolved once and for all – first through the Trilateral statement by the presidents of Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine (Moscow, January 14, 1994), then through a Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (Budapest, December 5, 1994), signed by the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Terrorists constantly seek the spotlight and attacking major sporting events constitutes a seemingly perfect springboard for global notoriety. As the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are nearing, the global public is understandably concerned about the July 2013 North Caucasian jihadi threats to either disrupt the Games or prevent them altogether. Are the recent Volgograd bombings all the terrorists could muster in anticipation of the Olympics or is there more to come? It is worth analysing some of the options the Caucasus Emirate might be considering in relation to their stated intent to disrupt or force the cancellation of the Olympics. All of the options are derived from information on previous terrorist attacks on other sporting events that could provide clues for counter-terrorism authorities in Russia and neighbouring countries to use when securing these Olympics.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, International Organization, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is often seen as a land of extremes – and the narratives for this month's Winter Olympics in Sochi reflect that view. From the record-length 65,000 km Olympic torch run (which included trips to outer space, the north pole and the bottom of the world's deepest lake) to the incredible $51 billion price tag and the Ian Flemingesque threat of attacks from black widow terrorists, the Sochi games have a distinctly Russian flavour. The Kremlin appears to have envisioned the games as a national triumph, not unlike the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with organisational, architectural and sporting successes that could unite the country. However, with global headlines dominated by stories of corruption, human rights abuses, anti-gay laws and the very real threat of terrorist attacks, one might be forgiven for wondering whether the Russian government regrets its decision to bid for the games.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Political Violence, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Varun Sahni
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The statement by India's national security adviser on March 6th 2014 referring to "legitimate" Russian interest in Ukraine was unsurprisingly criticised in the West, but appreciated in Russia. Most observers missed other important elements in the statement: reference to Ukraine's internal issues; recognition that both Russian and other interests were involved; and emphasis on a peaceful settlement, reconciliation and negotiation. Debate on the Ukrainian crisis has been largely absent in India due to preoccupation with national elections, widespread consensus that Russia is a dependable "friend of India", and sneaking admiration of President Putin for his "decisiveness" in promoting Russia's interests and open defiance of the West. While China and Pakistan have deployed historical/ethno-cultural arguments to dispute Indian sovereignty over territories that India considers its own, India has consistently rejected claims to alter the territorial status quo on grounds of kinship across sovereign borders.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, India, Asia
  • Author: Jakob Aarøe Jørgensen
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Leading up to the NATO Summit in September, the crisis in Ukraine has vindicated some NATO members' fears of Russia. This could cause NATO to revert to a narrow focus on Article 5 defense. Yet, other issues still pose threats and NATO should remain vigilant towards security challenges from the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Middle East
  • Author: Pinar Dost-Niyego, Orhan Taner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The recent events in Ukraine have revived the question of European dependence on Russian natural gas. The security of Europe's natural gas supply has been a consistently important issue in Russian-European Union (EU) relations. Russia provided 34 percent of EU gas in 2012, and Russian policies can have a direct impact on EU supplies. After the West-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, a lot has been said about the 'US shale gas revolution' and the possibilities of the United States becoming an energy exporter for future European energy needs. Although US energy independence seems to promise new perspectives for future European energy security, as well as for the balance of power in the Middle East, this is not for this decade. We cannot expect that the European Union would be able to cut off all of its energy relations with Russia, but we can foresee–or at least agree–that the European Union should diversify its natural gas supplies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The destabilization of Ukraine and the possible escalation of the crisis have presented a direct security risk to the Visegrad countries - Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - particularly concerning military security, the potential interruption of energy transit, and the possible influx of refugees. These factors have forced the Visegrad states to show unprecedented unity and activism in addressing the crisis. However, regarding the possibility of sanctioning Russia, the Visegrad Group is unable to take a joint position. The main reason for this is that Russia does not pose a direct military threat to the region. Consequently the individual policies of the Visegrad countries towards Russia are defined by a constellation of geopolitical concerns, normative motivations, business interests and domestic political ambitions, which are decidedly different in all four cases. Domestic political motivations, such as the will to increase domestic legitimacy, and concerns over the economic effects of sanctions, obviously influence the foreign policy actions of the Visegrad governments. However, Viktor Orbán of Hungary was the only one to break the Visegrad solidarity on Ukraine with his domestically-motivated remarks in May 2014 and demanding autonomy for Hungarians living in the Trans-Carpathian region. As most normative, business and domestic political motivations are of a lasting strategic nature, it is highly likely that the general incoherence of the Visegrad region regarding Russia will prevail.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Poland
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Three articles written by Russian foreign policy analyst Sergei Karaganov and published at the turning points of the Ukraine conflict shed light on how the reasoning on Russia's strategic interests in Ukraine has evolved amid the conflict. The meaning of the conflict, as explained in the first essay, is that Russia is drawing a line of defence against Western interference in its sphere of interest. In the second essay, the assertion that with the Crimean operation Russia has forced the West to put an end to the Cold War, is reconfigured into a choice that Russia needs to make between the Western or non-Western path. Finally, in an essay written after the downing of flight MH17, it is argued that without de-escalation the situation in Donbass will become a threat to Russian national security. The evolution of the argumentation shows that some sort of 'reality check' has occurred in the vicinity of the general line. However, while the dangers inherent in the conflict are recognized, Karaganov fails to acknowledge Russia's active involvement in the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Xenia Avezov, Timo Smit
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The transition towards multipolarity in the international system has concerned many observers in recent years. They fear'an era of disorder and greatly diminished multilateralism owing to miscalculation, uncertainty and distrust between the new and established powers'. This is based partly on the assumption that multipolarity will create competition rather than cooperation as international actors promote or object to intervention in conflicts based on their own geostrategic, economic or political interests.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Syria
  • Author: Siemon T. Wezeman, Pieter D. Wezeman
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2009–13 was 14 per cent higher than in 2004–2008 (see figure 1). The five biggest exporters in 2009–13 were the United States, Russia, Germany, China and France and the five biggest importers were India, China, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, United States, China, India, Paris, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Ryszarda Formuszewicz
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The tougher tone in Germany’s policy towards Russia reflects changes in Berlin’s perception of the eastern giant and in its own self-perception as a power willing to play a more active international role. This readiness for leadership could cement Germany’s status as a key international player whilst handing it the influence necessary to secure its own primary economic interests vis-à-vis Russia. However, it will also require Germany to critically address the long-standing premises of its policy towards Russia, and its appetite to overturn old assumptions remains limited. Lessons drawn by Germany now, in particular with regards to the causes of the Ukraine crisis, will prevail as a guideline for its Russia policy, and as such will also be decisive in the prospects for Polish–German cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Power Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Germany
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Eurasian integration has been formally elevated to a new level. On 29 May, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed in Astana the founding treaty of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, problems related to integration, enlargement and international cooperation with the EEU indicate the effort is far from a point of no return. Despite the upbeat mood in Moscow, integration remains weak and selective, and in several important fields has been shelved until 2025. At the same time, the enlargement process has encountered security-related obstacles and triggered additional costs for Russia.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Frédéric Mérand, Nicola Contessi, Jérémie Cornut, Dominika Kunertova
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Over the next 20 years, the empowerment of individuals and new information and communication technology will reverberate in the security field with implications such as the growth of cyber-terrorism and the spread of nuclear technology to non-state actors. Power will be diffused among states and from states to informal networks, leading to a less Western-centric globalization. Demographic patterns and a growing demand for resources will have adverse consequences on defence spending and energy security. Among Euro-Atlantic states, there is broad agreement on the nature of future threats: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, regional conflicts, and cyber attacks. Russia is alone in identifying a Europe-specific phenomenon, the expansion of NATO to the East, as one of the main external military threats to its national security. While no major new conflict is predicted to arise in the Euro-Atlantic area, there will be no shortage of crises originating from outside this area, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa, requiring a response from Euro-Atlantic organizations. In the Euro-Atlantic area, it is expected that Russia will reclaim its traditional sphere of influence by intensifying efforts to strengthen regional organizations, sometimes in cooperation with China or smaller states. The Arctic may become one of the new geostrategic hotspots. A relatively cohesive club, NATO remains the most successful military alliance in contemporary history. As an inclusive, regional, and crosscutting organization, the OSCE is less central to key Canadian interests, but it provides a fairly low-cost means to establish a diplomatic foothold and contribute to building a security community in Eurasia. While NATO and the OSCE are expected to remain the pillars of the Euro-Atlantic order, one important question that underlies this report is why Euro-Atlantic-based organizations are necessary to deal with global risks. NATO's civil-military focus is likely to become more central as future multinational interventions place increasing demands on NATO capabilities. Predictions for the OSCE are more difficult to make given its protracted impasse, but the need for confidence building among disagreeing powers remains present. While Canada should not reconsider its membership in these organizations, it should support planned reforms and initiatives that will make them more relevant. Both NATO and the OSCE are moving in the right directions by taking seriously transnational, including cyber-threats. Applying lessons learned, they are likely to continue to improve coordination of civilian and military capabilities to address new risks. Energy security is also likely to move up the agenda of both organizations. To address the shift in global power, and in particular the renewed assurance of Russia, the OSCE must renew its original focus on confidence building, including through multi-track initiatives. Eschewing enlargement for the time being, NATO would be well-advised to nurture its relationship both with Russia and with new partners through political and technical cooperation. In times of austerity, both organizations will have to do more with less. Administrative reforms such as results-based management should be encouraged. At NATO, Smart Defence provides interesting opportunities for Canada to streamline defence procurement and optimize capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Canada, North Africa
  • Author: John W. Parker, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's institution of a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, an appalling response by the Duma to U.S. sanctions against officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case,1 was a clear indicator that bilateral relations will assume a lower priority in the next 4 years for both capitals. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the measure despite open misgivings by some of his own key aides and against the opposition of most of Russia's civil society. The Russian Internet response was scathing, producing an instant winner for best sick joke of 2012: “An educated American family has decided to adopt a developmentally disabled Duma deputy.”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Daria Ukhova
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Extreme weather events are becoming more and more common in Russia. The 2012 summer drought, which came so soon after the devastating drought of 2010, is just one confirmation of this trend. According to the 2012 annual report of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet), 2012 saw a record number of extreme weather events. In the period May to June 2012, the number of extreme weather events increased by 65 per cent compared with the same period in 2011, and were roughly on par with the number of events that occurred in the same period in 2010.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Food
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold, Chloe Coughlin-Schulte
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US and Iranian strategic competition is heavily drive by four key factors–the success or failure of sanctions, the im0pact of that competition on the flow of Gulf energy exports, the success or failure of efforts to limit Iran's nuclear options and the broader prospect for arms control, and the prospects for accommodation of regime change. In recent years, the key variable has been ways in which sanctions on Iran have changed US and Iranian competition since the fall of 2011, and helped lead to a tentative set of Iranian agreements with the UN's P5+1--the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany--in November 2013.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Oil, Regime Change, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States Army War College educates and develops leaders for service at the strategic level while advancing knowledge in the global application of Landpower.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The SCO grew out of a Chinese initiative (hence its name) from the late 1990s that brought together all the states that had emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991 and signed bilateral border-delimiting treaties with China: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001, these states and Uzbekistan formally created the SCO. Since then it has added observer states—Mongolia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Pakistan—and dialogue partners—Turkey, Belarus, and Sri Lanka. The SCO's original mandate seemingly formulated it as a collective security organization pledged to the defense of any member threatened by secession, terrorism, or extremism—for example, from Islamic militancy. This pre-9/11 threat listing reflected the fact that each member confronted restive Muslim minorities within its own borders. That threat may indeed be what brought them together since China's concern for its territorial integrity in Xinjiang drives its overall Central Asian policy. Thus, the SCO's original charter and mandate formally debarred Central Asian states from helping Uyghur Muslim citizens fight the repression of their Uyghur kinsmen in China. Likewise, the charter formally precludes Russian or Chinese assistance to disaffected minorities in one or more Central Asian states should they launch an insurgency. In practice the SCO has refrained from defense activities and followed an idiosyncratic, even elusive, path; it is an organization that is supposed to be promoting its members' security, yet it is difficult to see what, if anything, it actually does. Officially published accounts are of little help in assessing the SCO since they confine themselves to high-flown, vague language and are short on specifics. We see from members' actual behavior that they primarily rely on bilateral ties with Washington, Beijing, or Moscow, or on other multilateral formations like the Russian-organized Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), itself an organization of questionable effectiveness. Therefore, this essay argues that the SCO is not primarily a security organization. Rather, it provides a platform and regulatory framework for Central Asian nations to engage and cope with China's rise and with Sino-Russian efforts to dominate the area. As such, it is attractive to small nations and neighboring powers but problematic for Russia and the United States. Analyzing the SCO's lack of genuine security provision, its membership expansion considerations, and Russia's decline in power will help clarify the organization's current and future roles.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, United States, China, Iran, Washington, Central Asia, India, Shanghai, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Beijing, Tajikistan, Soviet Union, Moscow