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  • 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: James Sherr
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe
  • Author: Evelyn Goh
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article argues that Japan matters crucially in the evolving East Asian security order because it is embedded both in the structural transition and the ongoing regional strategies to manage it. The post-Cold War East Asian order transition centres on the disintegration of the post-Second World War Great Power bargain that saw Japan subjecting itself to extraordinary strategic constraint under the US alliance, leaving the conundrum of how to negotiate a new bargain that would keep the peace between Japan and China. To manage the uncertainties of this transition, East Asian states have adopted a three-pronged strategy of: maintaining US military preponderance; socializing China as a responsible regional great power; and cultivating regionalism as the basis for a long-term East Asian security community. Japan provides essential public goods for each of these three elements: it keeps the US anchored in East Asia with its security treaty; it is the one major regional power that can and has helped to constrain the potential excesses of growing Chinese power while at the same time crucially engaging with and helping to socialize China; and its economic and political participation is critical for meaningful regionalism and regional integration. It does not need to be a fully fledged, 'normal' Great Power in order to carry out these roles. As the region tries to mediate the growing security dilemma among the three great powers, Japan's importance to regional security will only grow.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, East Asia
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Cambridge history of the Cold War is a three-volume work by 75 contributors, mostly from the United States and the United Kingdom, and is intended as 'a substantial work of reference' on the subject. The bulk of the text deals, in frequently overlapping chapters, with the main protagonists of the conflict—viz. the United States, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China—and the areas in which they clashed. At the same time, it aims to go 'far beyond the narrow boundaries of diplomatic affairs', although it is not always successful in doing so. In analysing the origins of the Cold War, the contributors pay perhaps too much attention to ideology as opposed to geopolitics, a flaw which is made easier by the absence of sufficient historical background. On the other hand, the duration of the conflict and the failure of various attempts at détente is more successfully explained in terms of the zero-sum game nature of the conflict and its progressive extension from Europe across the rest of the world. When it comes to the end of the Cold War, the overall conclusion is that this came about through both a shift in the international balance of power following the Sino-Soviet split and the political and economic problems of the Soviet bloc. It is generally agreed that Mikhail Gorbachev's willingness to abandon old shibboleths both at home and abroad was a major factor in bringing about the end of the conflict. The three volumes, while not always an easy read, are the outcome of considerable research and expertise in both primary and secondary sources and will repay careful study.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Soviet Union