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  • Author: Juha Käpylä, Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With exciting economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges, the Arctic is transforming and re-emerging as a geopolitically important region. Major global players within and without the Arctic are paying greater attention to the region. While Russia is a traditional Arctic state with significant economic and security interests in the region, China, the US and the EU have also expressed their Arctic interests more explicitly. They are keen to tap into the economic potential and have a say in the way the region becomes accessed, exploited and governed. As a result, the Arctic is no longer a spatially or administratively confined region, but is instead taking its new form in the midst of contemporary global politics. The globalization and economization of the Arctic will most likely downplay environmentalism and reduce the relative influence of the indigenous people and small Arctic states in Arctic affairs. Arctic governance is also likely to turn more complex and complicated as the economic and political stakes are raised.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Maria Raquel Freire
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: TThis policy brief focuses on the interplay of external actors in the South Caucasus, i.e. the EU, NATO and Russia, looking specifically at how political and security relations have been shaped. Three main issues are highlighted: firstly, that the South Caucasus is a heterogeneous area and that the concept of being a region in its own right is underdeveloped; secondly, that despite the enlarged involvement of international players in the area, the South Caucasian countries retain agency and are not mere agents of foreign role-players; and, thirdly, that the area is characterised by processes of competition and collaboration that do not necessarily meet common agendas, despite shared interests regarding regional stability. The paths of the three South Caucasian republics has been different, with Armenia being dependent on Russia, Azerbaijan pursuing a policy of independence regarding external players, and Georgia assuming a pro-Western, anti-Russian position. The lack of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, EU involvement in crisis management in the wake of Georgia's 2008 war with Russia, a diminished NATO presence and increased Russian assertiveness in the area are central elements to understanding ongoing policies and practices. This complex framework suggests the need to address challenges and opportunities in the South Caucasus in terms of the complexity of the actors and factors at play.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Patrick Nopens
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Three major geopolitical events are putting the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean at risk. Most of the region is in a deep monetary and economic crisis. The Arab Spring is causing turmoil in the Levant and the Maghreb. Gas and oil discoveries, if not well managed, could further destabilise the region. At the same time, Russia and Turkey are staging a comeback. In the face of these challenges, the EU approaches the Greek sovereign debt crisis nearly exclusively from a financial and economic viewpoint. This brief argues that the EU has to develop a comprehensive strategy for the region, complementing its existing multilateral regional framework with bilateral agreements in order to secure its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Oil, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Arabia
  • Author: Celeste Wallander
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's goals for arms control and security cooperation with Russia are the right ones, but they cannot be achieved as long as US-Russian strategic stability is in question. Unless leaders in both capitals confront the new requirements for strategic stability in the twenty-first century, they will fail to seize the opportunity for further arms reductions and enhanced national security.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. political parties are divided on nuclear weapons policy. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have reached an arms control impasse and no new agreement is on the horizon. Confidence-building measures could help reduce nuclear risks between the United States and Russia, advancing the goals of both countries and both U.S. presidential candidates.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Adam Segal
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of dismissing the utility of international negotiations on cyberspace, U.S. officials now say that they will participate in talks to develop rules for the virtual world. But which norms should be pursued first and through which venues? As a start, the United States should issue two “cyber declaratory statements,” one about the thresholds of attacks that constitute an act of war and a second that promotes “digital safe havens”—civilian targets that the United States will consider off-limits when it conducts offensive operations. These substantive statements should emerge from a process of informal multilateralism rather than formal negotiations. Washington should engage allies and close partners such as India first and then reach out to other powers such as China and Russia with the goal that they also issue similar statements. Washington should also reach out to the private corporations that operate the Internet and nongovernmental organizations responsible for its maintenance and security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev met with U.S. president Barack Obama on several occasions during the former's April 11–14, 2010, visit to Washington, one of the issues the two leaders discussed was the volatile political situation in Kyrgyzstan. They were also joined on at least one occasion by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who was in Washington for the April 12–13 Nuclear Security Summit. The three governments were eager to share assessments about developments in Kyrgyzstan after the April 6–7 civil strife there killed about 80 people and wounded over 1,000. The ensuing chaos led Kazakhstan and other neighboring countries to close their borders with Kyrgyzstan and begin intensive consultations on an appropriate response.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The adoption of the new energy efficiency legislation in Russia in 2009 has led to anticipation that a new exciting avenue of cooperation is about to open up in Russia-EU relations. The EU has been called upon to support the Russian initiatives as they would make its energy relations with Russia more stable. Furthermore, because both Russia and the EU are working towards the same goal of making their respective economies more energy efficient, the two are natural partners. This partnership is often postulated in terms of transferring European investments and technologies to Russia’s emerging energy efficiency market.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Andrew Macintosh
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Clearly the natural gas market is experiencing considerable change: a second Ukraine-Russia gas crisis, a collapse in the price of natural gas, a new European natural gas security of supply regulation and the mass production of natural gas from unconventional sources in the US as a result of technological advancements, which could yet have an impact on the EU. This Policy Brief is a summation of the European Union's vulnerability to natural gas supply security risks.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine