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  • Author: Bryan MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: At the start of 1917, rumours reached London that something was stirring in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). As a result, the concerned Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, urgently dispatched Lord Milner, a diplomat of some repute, to the Russian capital. His Lordship visited the Tsar and spoke to ministers and members of the Duma, who informed him that enemies of the state were spreading groundless yarns. Sadly, being a creature of his class, Milner believed that only the elites mattered so he neglected to consult any of the general public. Thus, cocooned in his bubble, the peer reported to London that there was nothing the government could not handle and no need to expect no major changes. However, the same British travelling party also included Lloyd George’s private secretary Philip Kerr. A little more clued in, Kerr walked the streets and interviewed the plain folk. Armed with their predictions, he sent a telegram to Downing Street which asserted that Russia was on the verge of an unstoppable revolution. As it happens, the man who stepped out of the comfort zone was right because Nikolai II was shorn of his crown before the British delegation made it home. We know this story because many years later the ‘Welsh Wizard,’ Lloyd George, revealed the details to Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London. And almost a hundred years later, it is a salutary lesson in the dangers of the establishment refusing to acknowledge ordinary people’s concerns when evaluating the causes of political upheaval.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The transatlantic relationship is likely to face difficult challenges whatever the result of the US election. If Trump wins he will launch a revolutionary presidency — pulling back from NATO and other security guarantees, undermining key parts of the global free trade regime and building closer relations with strong-man leaders than allies. Even if Hillary is elected the transatlantic relationship could still face difficult albeit more everyday challenges. Her poor relations with Moscow, exacerbated by gender issues, could threaten transatlantic unity on Russia. Europe would be foolish not to learn lessons from the experience of Trump’s candidacy. Trump represents only an extreme version of a growing feeling in the United States that, in a time of relative decline, the country is getting a raw deal from its allies. The EU should not be complacent in assuming that the transatlantic relationship will continue as it is and should begin to take more responsibility for its own defence and build resilience against a potentially more self-interested US.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dinshaw Mistry
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the early and mid-2000s, US policymakers anticipated India becoming one of America's top global partners. Have New Delhi's policies on key strategic issues actually aligned strongly with US objectives, as would be typical of close partners? An analysis of twelve prominent issues in US-India relations indicates that New Delhi's policies mostly converged moderately, rather than to a high extent, with US objectives. Specifically, the alignment between New Delhi's policies and US objectives was high or moderate-to-high on three issues--UN peacekeeping, nonproliferation export controls, and arms sales. It was moderate or low-to-moderate on six issues--China, Iran, Afghanistan, Indian Ocean security, Pakistan, and bilateral defense cooperation. And it was low or negligible on three issues--nuclear reactor contracts for US firms, nuclear arms control, and the war in Iraq. To be sure, despite the low or negligible convergence, New Delhi did not take an anti-US position on these issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Iryna Solonenko
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In the two years since its “Revolution of Dignity” – also known as Euromaidan – Ukraine has launched important reform initiatives. Most of them are still in the inception phase, however, and much remains to be done to ensure their sustainability. The past two years have made clear the enormity of the challenge Ukraine faces in its transformation. At the same time, it has also shown unprece- dentedly strong determination on the part of new reform-minded actors to overhaul the old system. Ukraine today can best understood as a battlefield: the old system and its structures are fighting for their survival, as new actors – from both within the system and outside it – push for a new social contract. This struggle is taking place on an everyday basis at different levels, national and local, in a number of different reform areas. External actors can best contribute by giving stronger sup- port to reformers while promoting development of institutions that limit the space for vested interests to persist. Special attention should be paid to enforcing and implementing already adopted decisions and new laws that change the rules of the game.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Iraq’s long-simmering political conflicts and violence erupted in June with the stunning capture of Mosul and advances toward Baghdad by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The collapse of the Iraqi army and the rapid seizure of territory by ISIS took most observers by surprise, but the crisis had been developing for years. This POMEPS Briefing collects more than a dozen recent articles by academics writing for The Monkey Cage and other leading online publications that explore both the immediate crisis and its underlying causes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupied a dominant political position not too long ago. In June 2011, his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won nearly 60 percent of the seats in parliament while expanding its lead over its closest competitor. Turkey seemed well primed to take advantage of the Arab uprisings, with its independent foreign policy and criticism of Israel playing well with Arab audiences. Erdogan even seemed keen to find a resolution to the long-running struggle with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and reconcile with the country’s Kurdish citizens. Those days seem distant indeed. For at least the last six months, Erdogan has struggled to respond to sustained popular protests, a growing corruption scandal, a stalled peace process with the PKK, a deeply unpopular and ineffective Syria policy, and dissent from within his own party. How did Erdogan’s fortunes reverse so quickly? Are his problems primarily the natural decay of a leader too long in power or do they speak to deeper problems with his party’s ideology or the foundations of Turkish democracy? The 14 deeply researched and analytically powerful Foreign Policy Middle East Channel essays collected in this POMEPS Briefing go deeply into the origins, dynamics, and likely implications of Turkey’s new political scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: Central Asia presents a broad spectrum of security challenges. These range from religious terrorism, organised crime and simmering ethnic quarrels to endemic corruption, environmental decline and a disintegrating infrastructure. Besides, the danger of instability is heightened by a lurking receptiveness to religious extremism among returned migrants.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: On 12 May we received the news that David Greenwood had passed away. It was expected in a way, but still it came as a shock. David had been suffering from a disease one can fight for some time, but never beat. Although at the end he was very weak and never left home anymore, David was not supposed to leave Margaret and all of us so soon.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: In the second half of 2007 we decided to take the Starlink programme further east and got in touch with the Netherlands Embassy in Astana to investigate possibilities in Kazakhstan. During a fact-finding mission in November 2007 we found that there was a clear need to develop capacity for democratic governance in the security sector of Kazakhstan. The country is engaged in a process of reform that, if successful, will improve oversight of the security agencies, enable the country to fulfil the commitments it undertook in its NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan of 2006, and enhance Kazakhstan’s standing at the OSCE. Kazakhstan will hold the presidency of the OSCE in 2010. It is obvious that Kazakhstan has put in place several of the laws and institutions required for democratic oversight of the security sector, and others are likely to follow. However, Kazakhstan still has some way to go to foster a culture of accountability. Here Starlink training courses will be helpful. The Starlink programme has been included in Kazakhstan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Security Studies
  • Abstract: CESS is deeply involved in developing and delivering training courses for Security Sector Reform (SSR). In this issue, we will report on our Starlink programme for training development, which has completed its activities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Starlink is now being introduced in Kazakhstan, and plans are underway to take it to the Western Balkans. Starlink is supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the OSCE. We will also discuss the work CESS has been doing to teach the OECD DAC approach to SSR. In a thought-provoking commentary article Kars de Bruynequestions the conventional intepretation of the spring 2007 crisis in Turkey.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus