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  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The US Department of Defense (DOD) released its longawaited Indo Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) in tandem with the IISS-Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore on 1 June 2019. This IPSR appears to subsume or extend the earlier Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP) strategy (sometimes referred to now as a “vision”) into a more comprehensive regional Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS), that is anchored in the earlier 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) documents. Australia has yet to produce an analogous document dedicated to profiling its own “Indo Pacific Strategy”, but with the US iteration in view, it is possible to construct an plausible image of such a strategy in the Australian case by drawing upon various pertinent materials from a range of government sources. Indeed, the notion of an overarching IPs is gradually taking shape in Australian strategic thinking, as testified to by a variety of official documents, including large portions of the 2016 Defence White Paper, and especially 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, alongside other policy statements and initiatives, framed in the context of analysis and debate undertaken by nationally-based strategic commentators. A small case “s” in “Indo Pacific strategy” is specifically employed in this paper to distinguish the author’s conception from any formally mandated government “Strategy”
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: During two critical meetings, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to France in May 2019, followed by President Macron’s visit to Japan in June of the same year, several elements were highlighted that demonstrate a close convergence of analysis on the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific region. This convergence paves the way for increased opportunities for cooperation. Internal evolutions on defense-related issues in Japan since 2012 have made this type of cooperation more accessible. On the French side, a more assertive ambition for engagement in a critical area has been expressed on many occasions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Berkshire Miller
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Indo-Pacific, as a geographic concept that connects the vast oceans of Pacific and the Indian along with the states in between, is not a new idea. Indeed, the idea of a broader geographic region – rather than more traditional subsets such as East Asia, South Asia, or the more expansive Asia-Pacific – has been used for more than a decade by scholars and practitioners in the region. An Indian naval captain began using the concept in geopolitical terms more than a decade ago, but the terminology has not been limited to scholars in Delhi. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, back during his first stint as Prime Minister in 2007, spoke to India’s parliament about his country’s vision for Indo-Pacific noting a “confluence of the two seas”2 and pressed for a need to transcend beyond traditional frameworks that often separated or minimized the geopolitical connections between South Asian and the Indian Ocean region with that of East Asia and the Pacific
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Histor y often tends to repeat itself, or as Spanish-American philosopher, Jorge Agustín Santayana wrote in 1905-06 in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. While setting out to write on, or about Tibet, it is inevitable to conclude that there never was, or will be, a long walk to freedom either for Tibet, or for the holy chair of the successive Dalai Lamas – the god and king-in-one incarnation of Chen-re-zi, the Lord of Mercy – the patron deity of Tibet. The Dalai Lama not only governs his subjects in this life, but can influence their rebirth in the next, or as Tibetans believe is the “Ruler in this life, the Uplifter in the hereafter.”1
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: For both Japan and the European Union, deepening their partnership in an increasingly unstable world has become an essential element, if not yet a priority. Since he came to power in 2012, Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet understand the importance of expanding cooperation opportunities for Japan beyond the scope of traditional alliances in order to implement the concept of proactive contribution to peace. This is also a priority for the European Union, that, like its most prominent member States, understands that the EU’s Asia policy cannot be summed up to its relations with China.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hideshi Tokuchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: It is almost a cliché that Australia and New Zealand are canaries in the coal mine for Chinese attempts at exerting political influence.1 In fact, Chinese influence is not a topic that affects just Oceania. It is already a serious challenge that confronts all democracies and open societies. According to Clive Hamilton’s “Silent Invasion,” a Chinese diplomat who sought political asylum in Australia told Hamilton that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, a large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened Australia’s capacity to recognize and defend against the Chinese infiltration, but all democracies and open societies are susceptible to the threat
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Paris Peace Conference opened on January 18, 1919, paving way for an ensuing legacy of peacemaking. It aimed at fortifying the conceptual foundations in reference to the very essential premise on which peacemaking rests – i.e., bringing a conflict/war to a halt, and thereafter initiating a diplomatic process that seeks to provide a platform for initiating the process of reconciliation. Held at the Palace of Versailles, the Peace Conference saw delegates from 27 parties, with rigorous deliberations and recommendations that eventually got included into the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, held at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, on June 28, 1919
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simone Tagliapietra
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The new members of the European Parliament and European Commission who start their mandates in 2019 should put in place major policy elements to unleash the energy transition. It is becoming economically and technically feasible, with most of the necessary technologies now available and technology costs declining. The cost of the transition would be similar to that of maintaining the existing system, if appropriate policies and regulations are put in place
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Tim Kerckhoff
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The government of Azerbaijan has expressed ambitious plans to ramp up the share of electricity gen-erated from renewable and alternative energy. Currently, most electricity in Azerbaijan is produced from fossil fuels, including natural gas. Beyond being the source of almost all electricity produced in Azerbaijan, oil and gas exports form the backbone of the Azerbaijani economy–making it highly sus-ceptible to price volatility in the global markets. Between 2018 and 2020, however, the government aims to increase its capacity for generating electricity from wind, solar and biomass by 420 Mega-Wat
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Orkhan Huseynov
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The automotive industry is a major employment generator in many economies, with millions of people earning their livelihood, both directly and indirectly. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (IOMVM), the current turnover of the automobile industry is around 2 trillion EURO and is equivalent to the size of 6th largest economy in the world. While there has been a growth momentum for the global automotive industry in the past, it is also facing challenges of late, especially in view of the increasing cost of production and slowing down of demand. The world automotive industry is also faced with the challenge of undertaking R&D and designing fuel-efficient vehicles in view of volatile oil prices. The environmental challenges have also assumed critical importance to the automotive industry at the backdrop of climatic change
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The existence of a well-functioning business environment is a key factor in the diversification of the economy, the efficient use of available resources and ensuring sustainable growth. The business environment, in its turn, should be regarded as a composite of conditions that incorporate quite complex components. If one or more of the composition components are not functioning appropriately, the result you will get is not adequate to the available capacity. The existence of contemporary institutions is the absolute requirement for a "good business environment", performing functions such as coordinating all other economic advantages, organizing appropriate arrangements, and risk management.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: In January-February of 2019, activity in foreign exchange markets has further escalated. According to the information provided by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), during the corresponding period 951 million US dollars were sold, including 634.9 million in January and 316.2 million in February. This is 47.2% higher than the same period of the previous year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: Following the recession and stagnation of the economy of Azerbaijan in 2015-2017, a growth of 1.4% was recorded in 2018. Economic growth has been mainly driven by the following factors. Favorable foreign economic environment for Azerbaijan from the context of oil prices: the initial forecast of the oil prices by the Azerbaijani government at the beginning of 2018 was 45 US dollars per barrel. Then, during the second half of the year, the forecast was adjusted to 55 US dollars per barrel. However, the actual price of one barrel of oil for the reporting period was above 71 US dollars (29% higher than forecasted)…
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dan Breban
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The current external macroeconomic conditions observed throughout the year of 2018, such as increasing rates by FED/ECB, exerts certain pressure on the economies of developing nations. Despite hovering well-over its predicted value for most of the year, the recent decline in the price of oil once again puts question marks for the future of the commodity. Considering all of the above mentioned facts in mind, dependence of 2019 state budget of Azerbaijan on oil, where 50.4% of revenues directly come from the oil sector further makes the country more vulnerable to oil price fluctuations. The largest hike is observed in the amount of revenues collected through the excise taxes while the biggest decline is in income taxes, reflecting the new amendments to the tax code. Expenditures of the state budget are going to be 7.3% higher in 2019, with the most significant boost observed in construction sector. This fact undermines the efficiency of the public funds, as the expenditures towards construction are more likely to become subject of mismanagement. When looking at the SOFAZ’s budget, a clear trend of increasingly allocating more and more funds to the state budget can be seen. As expected, new amendments were made to the fiscal rule in order to make it more flexible, however, the effectiveness of these changes are still unclear.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victoria Bittner
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The establishment of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy as a part of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) sets new objectives for the deepening of cooperation between the EU and EaP countries, and the greater integration of the EaP based on shared norms, values and standards. Forming the eastern divide of the ENP, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia are considered official neighbors of the EU, although half of these countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) do not lie on the immediate borders of the EU. However, these South Caucasian countries play an important transit role by connecting the EU with Central Asia and China. Hence, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad, crossing Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, establishes a significant link in the further development and integration of regional and global transit corridors stretching from China to Europe through Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jasmine El-Gamal
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: European governments must decide when and how to protect Syrian refugees who are voluntarily returning home They should do so using their remaining levers of influence in Syria, in line with European interests and UNHCR protection parameters. European engagement on voluntary refugee returns should be limited, cautious, and conditional. Europe must work with Middle Eastern host countries to prevent forced refugee returns. European governments must talk to all relevant stakeholders in the Syrian conflict, particularly Russia.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Asli Aydıntaşbaş
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: European fears of Turkish expansionism in the Western Balkans have no basis in reality. Turkey spots opportunity in the region – yet it actually wants the Western Balkans inside the EU and NATO.The AKP’s approach once deserved a ‘neo-Ottoman’ tag, but Erdogan has since refocused on personalised diplomacy and pragmatic relations. Western Balkans governments remain reluctant to act on Turkey’s behalf by pursuing Gulenists, despite overall warm ties. Europeans should cease questioning Ankara’s motives and work on shared goals instead – hugging Turkey close and keeping it out of Russia’s embrace
  • Topic: Civil War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Yaakov Lappin
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Trump administration’s decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity will ultimately be judged by how successful it is in changing Iran’s conduct.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The US designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, and the Iranian response, has potentially put US military personnel in the region in harm’s way. The designation increases economic pressure on Iran because the IRGC is not only an army but also a commercial conglomerate – but it remains to be seen to what degree the sanctions will affect the IRGC
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel