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  • Author: Thijs Van Laer
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Peace Operations Review
  • Abstract: In July 2016, serious fighting erupted in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, when a peace agreement signed less than a year before broke down. Many citizens were killed, often in deliberate, ethnically motivated attacks, while others sought safety in the vicinity of the premises of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Many more had already found relative safety there after earlier violence and atrocities in 2013. As of June 28, 2018, more than 210,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living under UNMISS protection. Despite its responsibility to protect those IDPs, in July 2016 peacekeepers abandoned their positions at the IDP site, and more than 20 civilians were killed. In addition, two Chinese peacekeepers died after a grenade exploded near their armored personnel carrier. Despite repeated alerts, UNMISS did not intervene when government security forces forced their way into a nearby hotel and killed one and sexually abused other UN and humanitarian personnel residing there. Much has been written about the woefully inadequate response by the UN peace operation to these attacks, blamed by a UN inquiry on the lack of leadership, inadequate coordination, and poor troop performance. The mission’s military commander was sacked after the inquiry.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Displacement, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Veera Laine
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The initiative to create an autocephalous national Orthodox Church in Ukraine, proposed by the political leadership of he country, now seems more likely than ever before. The Russian Orthodox Church duly risks losing its economic support and status in the Orthodox world, which has political implications for Russia as well.
  • Topic: Religion, Catholic Church, Secularism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Robert Bell
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In no aspect of NATO’s deterrence and defense posture is the challenge of Alliance management more demanding than in its nuclear dimension. This is especially the case at a time when Russia’s aggressive actions and threatening behavior have fundamentally changed the security environment in Europe, and President Donald Trump’s approach to NATO has presented challenges of its own. In this context, it is crucial that Allies understand the positions that they have agreed on in terms of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ADN), as well as nuclear weapons policy, doctrine and posture. Considering the security benefits they receive in return for the United States’ extension of its nuclear deterrent to its NATO Allies, these states must also distinguish between the nuclear-related roles and responsibilities they are expected to take on and those with regard to which they have the option to ‘opt out’. For its part, the Trump Administration must appreciate that if all Allies are expected to close ranks behind the enhancements to NATO’s nuclear posture that are needed in order to respond to Russia’s threatening behavior, many will require an equally robust arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation posture as a quid pro quo.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The liberal, norms-based international order is being challenged by two contradicting trends: the rise of power politics and geopolitical conflicts, on the one hand, and the diffusion of power and increased importance of networks, on the other. This paper explores how increased connectivity is shaping the agenda and practice of EU foreign policy and re-defining the traditional tensions between realist and liberal approaches to global politics. It argues that the EU should develop foreign policy strategies that utilise networks as an asset against power politics, looking at two examples of how a network-based approach can help the EU to defend its values and interests: networks for resilience against hybrid threats, and networks for supporting Ukraine. These cases shed light on how the concept of networks can contribute to the EU’s strategy in today’s fluid global politics and unstable regional security environment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Jussi Lassila, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The appeal of left-leaning ideas is on the rise in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. Nonetheless, the main left-wing parties, particularly the communists, remain stuck in the past and at odds with the interests of the electorate. The communists have gradually transformed from opposition forces and political competitors into conformists of the ruling elites. This new function dictates their key interest in maintaining the stability of the system, which also leads to growing dissent among the parties’ members. Embeddedness in the existing political system is preventing the Left from self-reforming and impeding their transformation into modern national social-democratic projects. Yet Moldova has shown that in the new political context old ‘Leninists’ can reinvent themselves and become the most popular political project in the country.
  • Topic: Communism, Political stability, Political Parties, Participation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova
  • Author: Matthew D. Stephen
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: International institutions thrive when they are utilized, their rules are respected, and they are important in shaping international outcomes. They fail when they fall into disuse, their rules are violated, or they otherwise become peripheral to the events of world politics. In order to function effectively, international institutions require a minimum level of agreement amongst their most powerful members. In many institutions today, the level of agreement is shrinking. While geopolitical tensions are real, the biggest risk to international institutions comes from the unravelling of domestic and transnational social coalitions in favour of economic openness and ideals of internationalism. To rescue international institutions, it will be necessary to take action at the national level. This means using the policy tools available to national governments to create economic security, reduce inequality, and foster inclusive community identities. This may come at the expense of deeper international integration, but it will be better for international cooperation in the long run.
  • Topic: Security, Inequality, Institutionalism, Community, International Institutions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite concrete achievements in energy and military-technical cooperation, long-term trends, such as Russia’s growing dependence on China, India’s tilt towards the US, and tense Sino-Indian relations are not conducive to closer strategic cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This FIIA analysis situates President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy in the discursive field of post-Cold War American foreign-policy debates, and assesses the possible perils it poses for US global engagement. The “Trump doctrine” has been built in contradistinction to liberal internationalism, contains civilizational tropes drawn from neoconservatism, and is underpinned by a zero-sum materialist worldview borrowed from realism. Trump’s approach to the international is also transactional, which means he intermittently draws upon (neo)isolationist themes. This Trumpian amalgamation of four American foreign policy traditions can be termed transactionalist realism with civilizational undertones. By embracing this approach to the international arena, Trump and his administration risk eschewing the importance of social relations that legitimize US international conduct, turning inter-cultural struggles into self-fulfilling prophecies, and undermining prudent long-term use of American power. If methodically carried out, the emerging “Trump doctrine” will prove detrimental for the future of US global leadership in a complex 21st-century world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Leadership, Social Roles
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Stephen J. Flanagan
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a period of renewed great power competition, the United States and other NATO allies are once again giving attention to the maritime dimension of deterrence and defense in the North Atlantic and Northern Europe. Growing Russian assertiveness and the deployment of a range of new maritime surface and subsurface systems have increased the threat to maritime lines of communication across the Atlantic, which are a central area of NATO’s responsibility and essential for North American reinforcement of forces deployed in Europe in the event of a major crisis. The US and NATO responses include an increased naval operational tempo, expanded maritime exercises, the pre-positioning of additional equipment, and the re-establishment of the US 2nd Fleet and the NATO Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, both with missions to defend the North Atlantic. These developments need to be further integrated into NATO and national plans for defense of Northern Europe and the Arctic, and tested through exercises and training. There may be opportunities to improve this integration in the context of Nordic/Baltic cooperation and the bilateral and trilateral defense cooperation that Finland and Sweden are pursuing with the United States.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Northern Europe
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kurds are an ethnic group of approximately 35 million people, half of whom live inside the Republic of Turkey, where the conflict between the state and the Kurdish separatist PKK organization has now lasted for over three decades. After a promising peace process in 2009–2015, the AKP government under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now reduced Turkey’s Kurdish question to anti-terror operations, and marginalized the legal Kurdish HDP party, echoing the failed policy of the 1990s. Turkey is now a presidential system where power is tightly concentrated in the hands of President Erdoğan, a development directly opposed to Kurdish demands for greater local autonomy in the Kurdish-majority districts. Through the PKK network and transnational Kurdish sympathies, the fate of Syria’s and Turkey’s Kurds is now inextricably intertwined. The current way of building the new regime in Turkey is likely to produce more PKK attacks, but also widespread resentment among ordinary Kurds, including those opposing the PKK.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Ethnicity, Separatism, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, Kurdistan