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  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: With the boost that has been given to the EU’s defence policy, some of the St. Malo reflexes have reoccurred in Washington. Mostly, there are some misgivings in the United States about the exact meaning of ‘European strategic autonomy’, as it featured in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But also in Europe, it is not clear what strategic autonomy means. In light of the increasing uncertainty among the EU and European NATO-members about the solidity of the American security guarantees, strategic autonomy gains a new quality. If Europe were forced ‘to go it alone’, what would that take, both in terms of conventional and nuclear capabilities?
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The risk of a connectivity conflict becoming the next Great Game in the Balkans and Black Sea region is real. If, instead, countries in the region are to capitalize on their geography and history as a trading hub, all stakeholders need to invest in furthering political will, money, cooperation and trust. The Balkans and Black Sea Cooperation Forum (BBSF), convened in Athens in May 2018, is a noteworthy building block in this process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Ana Uzelac, Jos Meester
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This report analyses the challenges of implementing a ´protection in the region´ agenda in Lebanon, a country that hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, and which has been the recipient of one of the largest per capita aid and support packages since 2016. Our main finding is that EU diplomatic efforts and financial commitments to date have made very limited progress in ensuring protection for Syrian refugees in the country or improving their dismal socio-economic position. On the contrary, the main socio-economic indicators for Syrian refugees have remained very poor for the past three years, and the refugees’ continued presence in the country is increasingly questioned by parts of Lebanon’s political establishment.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the transatlantic partnership are spurring the German debate on how to prepare for the possibility of a post-Atlantic Europe. Germany has renewed its focus on the EU’s security and defence policy. This includes long-term initiatives to improve European operational readiness, as well as recognition of the EU mutual assistance clause in the doctrine of the German armed forces. However, efforts by German politicians to convince the public of the need for a greater international engagement face difficulties as Germans see the threat as negligible and eye the military with suspicion. The challenge for Berlin remains to step up the ambition for European defence cooperation, while avoiding new fault lines among EU members.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin has cast a cloud over the horizon for millions of Russian citizens. People do not perceive the forthcoming pension reform as a necessary measure for sustaining economic and social stability. Rather, it has ignited a collective sense of anger among the people that they have been cast adrift by the elite
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Emma Hakala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As climate change progresses, it will have impacts on global politics, creating both new vulnerabilities and opportunities. Geoeconomics provides a useful analytical framework for the political implications of climate change as it shifts the focus from military force to economic means of exerting power. This working paper looks at the geoeconomics of climate change in the case of India. It examines the ways in which India has used climate policies to gain leverage and contain threats regionally and globally. Due to its emerging power status and high vulnerability to climate impacts, India holds a key position in the global fight against climate change. The paper argues that India has incorporated geostrategic uses of climate change into a wider shift in its foreign policy. Globally, it has chosen a cooperative strategy to emphasise its responsibility through diplomacy and sustainable energy investments, contributing to its role as a global power and to its influence in partner countries. Yet a similar geoeconomic climate policy has not been applied in its regional relations. The Indian case shows how climate change can lead to both competitive and cooperative geostrategies.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Xi Jinping Thought is aimed at guiding China both domestically and internationally. The goal is China’s national rejuvenation, which will break the global dominance of Western civilization. The revival must allegedly be led by a strong ideology guided by a strong and charismatic leader: Xi Jinping. Based on the ancient Chinese ideal of “great unity under Heaven”, Xi’s long-term goal for China is the creation of a “community of a common destiny for Mankind”. So far, this idea has no concrete manifestations on the global scale. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China is building a regional community of common destiny in Central and Southeast Asia. This is both an indirect challenge to the existing “Western” system, and a step in delineating China’s sphere of influence.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Katja Cruetz
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) principle both seek to respond to mass atrocities. They are products of the heyday of the international liberal order, which allowed the formation of projects based upon interference in the internal affairs of states in order to protect populations from atrocity crimes. The changing international system with the redistribution of power between states has affected these projects by bringing uncontroversial activities to the fore in order to secure state acceptance. Consensus on the RtoP extends to the primacy of the state in protection of its populations, while actions of the international community going beyond assistance and capacity-building are contested, particularly highly coercive ones such as military intervention. Alongside its judicial task of trying perpetrators of international crimes, the ICC has focused on positive complementarity whereby national capabilities are enhanced. It has also engaged in symbolic activities, such as highlighting certain international crimes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mika Aaltola
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The 2020 US presidential election could be a close call with a narrow margin of victory. Many key factors underlying Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral success are still active and might suffice to win over a very polarized electorate in an extremely ugly election.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Alistair D. B. Cook, Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The exposure to natural hazards has prompted Bangladesh to institutionalize disaster management and coordination. This report examines Bangladesh’s established disaster management structures and the role of key actors through reviewing existing literature from international organisations, academia, and think tanks, followed by interviews with key disaster management stakeholders in Bangladesh from the end of February to the beginning of March 2018. In analysing the response to the 2017 Rohingya Exodus, this report aims to identify lessons learnt and factors which may impede effective disaster management and coordination between different actors with some operating outside their traditional mandated area of natural hazards to govern a complex humanitarian emergency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Human activities, technology and climate change drive changes to our environmental landscape and societal order. Marine microplastics arising from woeful human use of plastics threaten marine ecology. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels disrupts weather systems and consequently undermines food security. Unequal access between the “haves and have nots” aggravates food insecurity. Without meaningful intervention, annual deaths from food-borne diseases (FBDs) caused by anti-microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria will reach 10 million in 2050. Human displacement continues unabated across state lines as humanitarian crises require fresh responses. Ubiquitous use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has created a new landscape where cyber-threats target both hardware and software and where truth has become its latest victim. Moreover, social media has been weaponized to breed intolerance. The Annual Conference of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia held in Singapore recently examined responses to these uncertainties, if not threats to humanity, arising from key disruptions. This report captures the responses and hopes touted by experts at the Conference with the view of providing policy makers and invested scholars interested in such developments with some recommendations towards building resilience within and across states.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jose Ma, Luis Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: As Southeast Asian economies become deeply integrated, there are concerns as to whether movement of people through labour migration should be part of this integration. While labour migration offers benefits especially in addressing labour shortage in countries with shrinking working age population, for countries at different levels of economic development, opening up the labour markets presents disadvantages to locals facing more job competition and falling wages. This paper re-examines this debate by analysing a number of factors that have allowed states to maintain their competitiveness and improve wages. By comparing the experiences of a number of countries that have seen rising wages with those countries that saw falling wages with labour migration, and using a statistical (two-sample difference of means) test, this preliminary study shows that labour migration by itself is neither boon nor bane. A more nuanced view is needed, as labour migration’s impacts on wages hinge on the nature of institutional support provided by governments in helping firms to be internationally competitive.
  • Topic: Migration, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vishalini Chandara Sagar, Alistair D. B. Cook, Tamara Nair, Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past fifteen years, Timor Leste has made noteworthy gains in national development in general but continues to experience significant exposure during natural disasters like prolonged droughts and flooding in particular. Yet there is little documented evidence of these disasters and their impact on human security in Timor Leste. The challenges facing the country are considerable, and low institutional capacity makes it difficult for the government to increase resilience to slow onset disasters. This report explores how current structures, mechanisms and institutions in the country have been organised for emergencies and how disaster response operations have been conducted thus far. Data was collected by conducting in-depth interviews with relevant personnel from government agencies, international aid agencies and local non-state actors. This was supplemented by document analyses of major reports and literature surrounding disaster preparedness in the country. The findings reveal that there are three key strategies that need further development: enhancing institutional capacity, strengthening coordination mechanisms and evaluating current emergency response plans. Further research should include conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, mapping the localised response structures, and the contextualising of human insecurities in the country.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Timor-Leste
  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief is based on “Escalation through Entanglement: How the Vulnerability of Command-and- Control Systems Raises the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear War,” which appears in the summer 2018 issue of International Security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Porter
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Political scientists and historians continue to debate the sources of U.S. grand strategy. Some emphasize the importance of the United States’ material capabilities and large share of relative power; others point to the significance of ideas in shaping policymakers’ choices. Both accounts are incomplete. Two case studies—the first eighteen months of the presidency of Donald Trump and the presidency of Bill Clinton—demonstrate that the United States persists with a strategy of primacy because it has become a habit—an axiomatic, sacrosanct belief system that the American foreign policy establishment perpetuates.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Barak Barfi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Abdul Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, Egyptians were clamoring for stability after the chaos of the post–Arab Spring years and the failed leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood government. Emblematic of this stability, Sisi was at one point so highly regarded that his face adorned chocolate bars. Although he remains popular four years later, Sisi can no longer rest on prior achievements and promises of financial improvement. Grappling with a moribund economy, domestic unrest, jihadist threats, and foreign policy challenges, he will need even stronger support as he implements an austerity plan approved by the IMF in November 2016. In this new study, Barak Barfi methodically sets the leadership of President Sisi in the context of his military predecessors Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. He then examines trends in the country such as the growing role of the military, the need for reductions in subsidies, and the looming water crisis posed by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The U.S. role, as well, is subject to a much-needed assessment. Among the limited ways Washington can influence Cairo, he argues, is by tying increased aid to the enactment of essential economic reforms.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Holtom, Irene Pavesi
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The 2018 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer (the Barometer) identifies the most and least transparent of 49 major small arms exporters, based on their reporting of their arms-trading activities undertaken in 2015.1 For the first time the Barometer assesses Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Programme of Action on small arms (PoA) reports to determine small arms exporters’ levels of transparency. These sources provide new information for the Barometer’s assessment of national transfer control systems, while ATT annual reports on arms exports reveal new data compared to national arms export reports; United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) data, and the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UN Register). Despite the increase in reports containing information on national transfer control systems and small arms exports assessed by the Barometer, no major exporter received full marks for transparency.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfram Lacher
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Since the arrival of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in March 2016, four large local militias have gradually divided up the capital between themselves. Though nominally loyal to the government, they now exert a degree of influence over state institutions and resources that is unprecedented in post-Qaddafi Libya. This Paper examines the rise of a militia cartel in Tripoli, and concludes that the situation is untenable, as it risks provoking a major new conflict over Tripoli fought by those who have been excluded from access to the state and impedes efforts to establish a meaningful unity government
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Aaron Karp
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Available sources indicate that as of 2017 there was a global total of at least 22.7 million known or estimated law enforcement firearms, equal to roughly 2.2 per cent of all firearms identified by the Small Arms Survey around the world. Worldwide, 4.8 million law enforcement firearms have been reported to the Small Arms Survey or documented from other sources. An additional 17.9 million or so firearms owned by law enforcement agencies can be estimated with reasonable confidence. The global estimate is slightly lower than the previous Small Arms Survey global estimate for 2006, the result of methodological changes and a decision not to estimate the holdings for many specialized or smaller law enforcement agencies. There are several reasons to assume that the total of 22.7 million law enforcement firearms given in this Briefing Paper is an underestimate. The state of research on law enforcement armament makes it hard to say whether global law enforcement weapons inventories are increasing or decreasing. But the types of firearms used by law enforcement agencies appear to be changing more rapidly than those of military services, also becoming more alike to military armament
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus