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  • Author: Albert B. Wolf
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Whoever wins, the result will intimate deeper trends in Iranian society, such as public support for the regime and the Supreme Leader’s intentions for the country’s future. The Washington Institute has been sponsoring a series of discussions about sudden succession in the Middle East. Each session focuses on scenarios that might unfold if a specific ruler or leader departed the scene tomorrow. Questions include these: Would the sudden change lead to different policies? Would it affect the stability of the respective countries involved, or the region as a whole? What would be the impact on U.S. interests? Would the manner of a leader’s departure make a difference? The discussions also probe how the U.S. government might adjust to the new situation or influence outcomes. This essay, thirteenth in the series, assesses the situation in Iran, where a June election will determine the successor to President Hassan Rouhani. An IRGC-backed candidate such as Majlis speaker Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf or former defense minister Hossein Dehghan could ultimately prevail—but a history of election surprises in the Islamic Republic suggests no outcome is certain. Whoever wins, the result will offer clues about deeper trends in Iranian society, such as public support for the regime and the Supreme Leader’s intentions for the country’s future.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Elections, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Alexandre Kateb
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: According to official statistics, the African continent has been relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to Europe, America and Asia. The factors behind the low incidence of coronavirus in Africa are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the African continent has benefited from certain structural factors such as the limited international connectivity of most African countries, with the exception of some regional "hubs" such as Johannesburg, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Incidentally, the most 'connected' African countries such as Morocco and South Africa have incurred the highest prevalence rates of Covid-19, which may lend credence to this explanation.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: To Japanese authorities, there is no such thing as the “Senkaku question”. China is pursuing with increased assertiveness a strategy of coercion, using ambiguity and “grey zone” operations to put the onus of potential escalation on Tokyo.1 The vague and ambiguous nature of this strategic power play makes it all the more dangerous and complex. When Tokyo proclaims, with reason, that “the government continues to control and administer the territory by such means as patrolling and law enforcement,” it seeks to answer the permanent pressure that China exerts in the zone.2 However, the maintenance of the status quo, when China exerts an almost continuous pressure in the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands and Japanese fishermen do not have access to part of Japan’s own national territory, poses other types of problems that the People’s Republic of China tries to exploit at the service of broader ambitions. It also poses a challenge in crisis management: how can the Japanese government be active and in control of situational developments, and not just reactive, without going as far as sparking a major incident in the East China Sea?
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Christine Nissen, Jessica Larsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The concept of ‘European strategic autonomy’ is girdled by myths and resistance. These common misconceptions can be overcome by member states to strengthen the EU in the face of today’s challenging security environment. RECOMMENDATIONS: Ways forward for the concept of strategic autonomy: Level of ambition: strategic autonomy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to protect and promote common values and interests across strategically important EU policy areas. Geography: strategic autonomy should enable the EU to undertake activities, in particular in the immediate European neighbourhood. Policy scope: strategic autonomy should encompass the entire spectrum of foreign and security policy, and not just defence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Organization, European Union, Strategic Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Gabriella Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The upcoming EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling 2021-2025, like its predecessor, suggests that the prevention of and the fight against migrant smuggling will continue to be at the centre of a strong and comprehensive European approach to migration management. However, to be effective, the Action Plan must rely on the growing evidence-base concerning the structure and organization of migrant smuggling, as well as rethink the way smuggling research and analysis is produced. Doing otherwise may seriously impact the Action Plan’s implementation and outcomes. Recommendations: Demand that gender, race and class perspectives are present in smuggling and counter-smuggling research and analyses in ways that identify the wider impact of EU actions on communities in countries of origin, transit and destination and within the EU. Include the perspectives of third-country, junior and female researchers, scholars and policy analysts, and involve stakeholders and informants beyond those typically reached out to during research, policy making or knowledge generating processes. Create an open access database that includes examples of smuggling caselaw and legislation that showcase the impact of EU law enforcement agencies’ counter-smuggling efforts in transit, destination and origin countries and within the EU to demonstrate clear efforts towards transparency and accountability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Migration, Borders, Risk
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned its Ambassador to Morocco on July 18, 2021, in order to consult with him regarding what the Moroccan envoy to the UN had stated in a recent meeting of foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement States (NAM) in Baku, as he called for granting the Kabylie region located in Eastern Algeria the right to self-determination. Algeria regards this measure as a violation of international law and the African Union Constitutive Act. It further considered such statements opposing the principles and agreements governing Moroccan-Algerian relations. Algeria also referred to the possibility of taking other measures should no positive and appropriate action be taken by the Moroccan side.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Law, Territorial Disputes, Self-Determination
  • Political Geography: Algeria, North Africa, Morocco
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s endeavor to improve its relations with Israel were evidenced in its recent official contacts with Israel. Most recently, on July 12, 2021, Israeli President Issac Herzog and Turksih President Recep Tayyib Erdogan held a phone call, followed by official contacts between ministers and officials from both countries. The contacts are perceived as a Turkish attempt to overcome years of strained relations between the two countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Military Affairs, Economy, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Peggy Blumenthal
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Many U.S. colleges and universities are anxiously wondering if newly admitted Chinese students will accept their admission offers and return to American campuses in fall 2021. Needing to balance a host of issues, will Chinese students decide to remain at home or study in a different host country? This IIENetwork Briefing paper assesses the current situation, explores possible outcomes for fall 2021 enrollments from China’s mainland and Hong Kong, and presents some ways that U.S. campuses are responding to these recruiting challenges during a changing political and health environment in both the host and home countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Higher Education, COVID-19, Study Abroad
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: As long as Turkey pursues its regional ambitions, any understandings with the US and the West will necessarily have a hard ceiling. However, Ankara seems to be pursuing a more conciliatory policy in the region and in its relations with the West for both economic and strategic reasons.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Bilateral Relations, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Rapprochement, Strategic Interests , Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Charon
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last few decades, analysis of international relations and strategic issues has developed rapidly in China, both within the Chinese Communist Party– state apparatus and in think tanks and universities. However, the richness of this field of study is in stark contrast to the absence of any real open reflection on the question of foresight. If, like other nations, China is committed to understanding the world in which it is evolving and to identifying possible changes, the function of foresight has not been conceptualised or institutionalised to the same degree as in the West. Foresight analysis in China is marked by several salient features: firstly, it remains almost non-existent in Chinese institutional frameworks dedicated to the analysis of international relations; secondly, the concepts of the ‘black swan’ and the ‘grey rhino’ have made a significant breakthrough, particularly in economics, before being cannibalised and politicised by the Party; and thirdly, the reading of the horizon remains essentially informed by the Party’s vision, fears and obsessions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Parties, Domestic Policy, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: China, Asia