Search

You searched for: Content Type Commentary and Analysis Remove constraint Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Luis Simon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Europeans and Japanese are often described as ‘natural’ partners. As liberal democracies, market economies and close allies of the US, they have similar world views and share many interests. They also have a long history of cooperation, whose foundations go back to Japan’s embracing of modernisation and industrialisation in the late 19th century along European lines
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Whichever way one looks at it, Spain has been profoundly transformed since the 1978 democratic Constitution that sealed the end of the 1939-75 dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, the victor of the three-year Civil War. Be it economically with, for example, the creation of significant number of multinationals or the world’s second-largest tourism industry in terms of visitors (81.8 million in 2017), politically with a vibrant democracy that ranks high in classifications, socially with the greatly improved status of women or in foreign policy –where Spain has reclaimed its place on the international stage–, the country bears no resemblance to what it was like 40 years ago. Over the period, per capita income at purchasing power parity increased fivefold and life expectancy at birth rose by almost 10 years. All the more remarkable is that the transition, guided by King Juan Carlos I, was achieved in the face of considerable adversity. It was not guaranteed from the outset to be successful: the Basque terrorist group ETA killed an average of 50 people a year in the first decade of democracy (and mounted assassination attempts in 1995 on both the King and the Prime Minister, José María Aznar), and Francoist officers staged a coup in 1981 in an attempt to turn back the clock. The economy, which was entering a period of recession, galloping inflation and rising unemployment, was also subjected to unprecedented competition after decades of protectionism. In the first three months of 1976 there were 17,731 cases of industrial action alone. Today’s problems, such as the very high jobless rate, particularly among young adults, acute income inequality, increased social exclusion, the illegal push for independence in Catalonia and corruption in the political class do not detract from the fact that Spain has enjoyed an unprecedented period of prosperity and stability over the past 40 years. Spain has achieved conditions that are similar –in some cases better– than in the rest of Western European nations, disproving the theory, still beloved in some quarters, of the country’s ‘exceptional nature’ or ‘anomaly’.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Africa is a fast-changing continent and an area of rising global relevance, where major transformation processes are currently underway, from demographic expansion to economic development, from social progress to environmental challenges, from technological innovation to continental integration, from political change to migratory pressures. How will these complex transformations shape the Africa of tomorrow? This Report sets out a vision for Africa’s future based on five key traits: an archipelago of heterogeneous growth trajectories; the revolutionary impact of technological leapfrogging; regional integration and the growing role of sub-regional processes; the clustering of instability mainly around the core of the region; and the migration movements that originate from – but also predominantly remain within – the African continent.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Samuele Dominioni
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Elections, when free and fair, are regular and legitimate occasions to vie for power in a democratic country. In order to compete and to be elected, political competitors, usually organized into parties or movements, must follow the democratic principles that rule electoral competitions. There are numerous international regulations that set worldwide standards for democratic elections, which have been adopted by many countries and that constitute the concept of electoral integrity.[1] This refers not only to management of the so-called e-day (election day), but also includes many provisions that must be respected throughout the electoral cycle.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In President Donald Trump’s first year in office, U.S. policy relating to supporting democracy abroad became starkly divided. At the level of “high policy”—direct engagement and messaging by President Trump and his principal foreign policy advisers—the United States sharply downgraded its global pro-democratic posture. Trump’s praise of dictators, criticism of democratic allies, and anti-democratic actions at home recast the United States as at best an ambivalent actor on the global democratic stage. Yet at the same time, pro-democratic “low policy”—quiet but serious engagement by U.S. diplomats to counter democratic backsliding and support democratic advances overseas, and the extensive but generally low-profile domain of U.S. democracy assistance programs—largely carried on, making important contributions in many countries. During Trump’s second year, this policy schism has only widened. He has doubled down on his embrace of dictators and spurning of democratic partners, as well as his anti-democratic actions at home. His new secretary of state and national security adviser may not share his anti-democratic impulses, but they have done little to mitigate his anti-democratic actions and have reinforced a transactional foreign policy with little apparent commitment to the idea of democracy as a universal value. Still, U.S. pro-democratic low policy carries on, as American diplomats support democracy in various countries at important moments of political change, and as democracy assistance remains at pre-Trump levels of activity. Yet the manifest lack of commitment to democracy at the top is increasingly corroding the low policy domain. Under Trump, U.S. democracy high policy has reached its lowest ebb of at least the past forty years. If the United States continues its present course for two more years, it will end up stranded on the sidelines, or even on the wrong side, of the global democratic struggle, precisely at a time when that struggle is more acute than at any time in modern history. Nevertheless, democracy’s defenders—both inside and outside of the U.S. government—still have the opportunity to mitigate the damage.
  • Topic: Politics, Democracy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrey Chuprygin, Valeriy Matrosov
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The campaign carried out by the government of eastern Libya and by military forces associated with it (the Libyan National Army or LNA) since 2014 has been mainly finalized towards capturing Benghazi and Derna from the local municipalities. By July 2017 Benghazi was captured, or, to quote eastern Libyan pundits, "liberated" (although, contrary to the LNA reports, the situation in the city is still far from stable), and the siege of Derna began. These advancements of Tobruk and LNA leadership, however, failed to solve harrowing problems affecting the whole of Libya, such as radical Islam, lack of fair leadership or social security, economic stability and development, whose solution remains essential for transitioning Libya from the condition of a failed state to a country on the up-hill track of development. On the contrary, the tendencies to intra-territorial clashes between different seats of power and military forces in Libya contributed to the rise of traditional historic trends: the search for a new strong leader, who will be able to keep Libya safe, the fatigue of the war and the rejection of all contemporary centers of power. In this context the dichotomist relationship between tribes vs urban centers, which allows for a semblance of stability in several regions of Libya, constitutes a major destabilizing factor along the coastal planes. Derna and Benghazi are the stark examples of this socio-political conundrum, which has determined the evolution of the social psyche from 2011 onwards. Every subsequent government, of which there were quite a few since the "February Revolution", promised peace and modernization of the state but, instead, what we have been witnessing lately, is the phenomenon of "Dernisation".
  • Topic: Politics, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, North America
  • Author: Eleanore Ardemagni
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Western Indian Ocean (the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian/Persian Gulf) is the new Gulf powers’ battlefield. Saudi Arabia and Iran, as already in the Middle East, are vying for hegemony in this sub-region: the Gulf monarchies also compete for influence, especially after the 2017 Qatari crisis and Doha’s boycott by neighbours. Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman but also Turkey, struggle to acquire geopolitical leverage in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). Nowadays, the multipolar system which shapes International Relations maximizes the geostrategic relevance of WIO, at the crossroads between Eastern Africa, the Gulf, and Southern Asia. In these waterways, regional and international players share security and energy interests (as freedom of navigation), but they also compete, more and more, for local alliances, commercial ports, and/or military agreements and bases. In the WIO, China and India are designing rival nodes of influence: the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative (OBOR), which adapted the previous “string of pearls” strategy, pushed New Delhi to counterbalance Beijing’s plans with a policy of connectivity in the sub-region. For the Gulf powers, maritime politics enters a new protagonist season: WIO is its basin. The Gulf “pivoted to East” since the 2010s, in terms of energy export, trade and market routes, investments, and infrastructures. Gulf monarchies’ strategies of economic diversification, as the Saudi “Vision 2030”, have further enhanced this trend: would-be post-oil economies need Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and partners for infrastructural projects. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pursue a new interventionist and military-driven foreign policy: this pro-active posture has to be supported by maritime power and sea expertise, as demonstrated by the military operation in Yemen. On the other shore of the Gulf, Iran seeks economic modernization and recovery after years of international sanctions: Iranian port throughput increased after 2015. Asian markets can boost trade and investments in Teheran, helping the Islamic Republic to develop a new set of alliances since Iran also aims to upgrade its naval power. Gulf powers’ maritime competition in the WIO crafts fresh alignments with Asian and Eastern African players, adding to the traditional map of rivalries in the Indian Ocean (India vs Pakistan; China vs India). This intra-Gulf competition can be traced along three vectors of geostrategic influence: commercial ports, military agreements and bases, and choke-points.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Geopolitics, Economy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indian Ocean, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Giuseppe Dentice
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the wake of the killing of more 300 Muslim worshippers by allegedly Jihadist militants during al-Rawdah massacre in November 2017, President Sisi launched a new military campaign - “Comprehensive Operation-Sinai 2018” - with the aim of putting an end to terrorism and restoring security within three months in turbulent Egypt. The military operation, which precedes the presidential election of March 26-28, 2018, has pursued growing repression of the opposition and militarization of institutions in the country. Despite the media fanfare and pro-Sisi triumphalism, the Egyptian government needed a red herring and the construction of an ‘enemy’ to help engineer some ‘national unity’ among disgruntled Egyptians, with the aim of diverting public attention away from atrocities and structural reform failures. Operation Sinai-2018 represents a new step in the militarization of the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, where the State and the Army have reasserted their control under authoritarian policies based on brutal force and harsh methods against the local population. This paper analyses the reasons behind the military operation and examines the threats arising from the militarization policy in Sinai and the impact of authoritarian measures on domestic politics. It also probes into the emerging correlation between military measures and militaristic nationalism, and how new risks may arise during Sisi’s second presidential term.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Fabio Rugge
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The good old days of cold war disinformatia are gone. Social media are increasingly relevant in shaping the public opinion, but they are just “eco chambers”. Foreign actors with malicious intent can easily exploit this intrinsic feature of social media manipulating online information in order to influence the public opinion. Moreover, cyberspace allows a large degree of anonymity, behind which it is easy to automate propaganda, and cyber attacks may be leveraged to exfiltrate and expose sensitive content or to gain information dominance during military operations, increasing the strategic relevance of the “information space”. Operations in this domain are central in Russia’s security strategic thinking, featuring predominantly in its “New Generation War” military doctrine. But the ongoing militarization of cyberspace risks having dangerous spillovers in the conventional domain. What can we do in order to protect our open democracies while preserving a global, free and resilient Internet? The answer is multi-faceted, in as much as CEIW (cyber-enabled information warfare) is an emerging asymmetric threat that forces us to innovate our security approach in many ways.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: François Lhoumeau
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Centre for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The third round of the public opinion survey "The Citizens’ Opinion of the Police Force" was conducted in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The questionnaire based on which the public opinion survey was conducted was devised by the regional network POINTPULSE to provide answers concerning the citizens’ opinion of the police. The questionnaire included six groups of questions
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus