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  • Author: Louise Schaik Van, Louise Van Schaik
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief synthesises the findings of political economy analyses (PEA) in the energy sector in three fossil-endowed middle-income countries (MICs): Colombia, Indonesia and Kenya. It is based on a research project on political economy constraints and enablers influencing governments’ decisions on green growth options in the energy sector, where policy directions for a robust green growth trajectory are explored.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Indonesia, Colombia
  • Author: Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This policy brief presents an overview of the ASEAN economy in terms of its economic relationship with multinationals, particularly Japanese companies, that have long invested in this region. ASEAN has been an attractor of foreign direct investment (FDI). Business interest in ASEAN has increased again recently due to the (i) relatively low wage of ASEAN compared to China, (ii) establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), (iii) economic partnership network with a core of ASEAN countries, (iv) large-scale market covered by ASEAN, and (v) rise of CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam). In these trends, ASEAN has established a reciprocal economic relationship with other countries and regions. To develop its economy, ASEAN member states are expected to further advance the AEC at a high level. Hence, ASEAN must address challenges such as deepening further economic integration and narrowing development gaps in the region. Most importantly, ASEAN still needs to increase the attractiveness of its 'whole region' as an essential and integral part of global value chains to draw further FDI.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mark Hallerberg, Christopher Gandrud
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Japan serves as a cautionary tale for Italy on how to clean up banking-sector problems. A general lesson is the need for policies to forthrightly address non-performing loans (NPLs) in countries with widespread banking problems. This helps address zombie banks and sluggish economic growth. The Japanese experience indicates that three elements are necessary to address NPLs: (a) sufficiently capitalised banks that can take losses from NPL write-downs; (b) an independent regulator that can identify problems and force action; and (c) tools to manage the orderly disposal of NPLs. The problem is not that this combination of policy tools is unknown, but that banks and governments lack incentives to use them in combination. Italy’s December 2016 package providing €20 billion for recapitalisation of banks is a step in the right direction. Similarly, pressure from the European Central Bank on Italian authori- ties and on banks to address NPLs is welcome. However, policy tools to manage and dispose of NPLs and, just as importantly, incentives to use them, are lacking. In January 2017, the European Banking Authority published a set of policy proposals for NPL resolution. Those include national and European-level public asset management companies (AMC), also known as ‘bad banks’. We argue that in Italy, the incentives to use such tools and dispose of NPLs have been weak.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Economic structure, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Italy
  • Author: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, Robert Kalcik, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: London is an international financial centre, serving European and global clients. A hard Brexit would lead to a partial migration of financial firms from London to the EU27 (EU minus UK) to ensure they can continue to serve their EU27 clients. Four major cities will host most of the new EU27 wholesale markets: Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam. These cities have far fewer people employed in finance than London. Moreover, they host the European headquarters of fewer large companies. The partial migra- tion of financial firms will thus have a major impact on these cities and their infrastructures. Banks are the key players in wholesale markets. United States and Swiss investment banks, together with one large German and three large French banks, will make up the core of the new EU27 wholesale markets. Some Dutch, Italian and Spanish banks are in the second tier. The forex, securities and derivatives trading markets are now in London. We map the current, limited market share of the four major cities that might host the EU27 client business. The expected migration of financial trading will lead to a large increase in trading capacity (eg bank trading floors). Clearing is the backbone of modern financial markets. A comparative overview of clearing facilities in the EU27 shows that Germany and France have some clearing capacity, but this will need to be expanded. The ownership of clearing is often intertwined with stock exchanges. Were the planned LSE-Deutsche Börse merger to go ahead, LSE would sell the Paris subsidiary of its clearinghouse. In terms of legal systems, there is an expectation that trading activities will be able to continue under English contract law, also in the EU27. A particular challenge is to develop FinTech (financial technology) in the EU27, as this innovative part of the market is currently based in London. We estimate that some 30,000 jobs might move from London to the EU27. This will put pressure on the facilities (infrastructure, offices, residential housing) in the recipient cities. The more the European Union market for financial services is integrated, the less need there will be for financial firms to move to one location, reducing the pressure for all facilities to be in one city (see Sapir et al, 2017, which is a companion piece to this paper).
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The United States is the European Union’s most important trade and bilateral investment partner, which has, until now, supported a multilateral trade system and European integration and has provided a security guarantee to the countries of the EU. But like other advanced economies, the US’s relative weight in the global economy has declined. The new US administration seems intent on replacing multilateralism with bilateral deals. In trade, it aims to secure new trade deals in order to reduce bilateral trade deficits and to protect, in particular, the US manufacturing sector. In climate policy, the US commitment to the Paris Agreement is being questioned. In defence, the security umbrella appears less certain than previously. The overall promise behind this change of direction is to put ‘America first’ and deliver better results for US citizens.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Relatons, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Andre Sapir, Dirk Schoenmaker, Nicolas Veron
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union creates an opportunity for the remaining EU27 to accelerate the development of its financial markets and to increase its resilience against shocks. Equally, Brexit involves risks for market integrity and stability, because the EU including the UK has been crucially dependent on the Bank of England and the UK Financial Conduct Authority for oversight of its wholesale markets. Without the UK, the EU27 must swiftly upgrade its capacity to ensure market integrity and financial stability. Furthermore, losing even partial access to the efficient London financial centre could entail a loss of efficiency for the EU27 economy, especially if financial developments inside the EU27 remain limited and uneven.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Political stability, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Robert Kalcik, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Brexit offers a political opportunity for the European Parliament to reform the allocation of seats to member states. This Policy Contribution explores different options for reform and their implications for equality of representation and distribution of seats to countries, within the constraints set by the EU treaties.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Political Theory, European Union, Democracy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zsolt Darvus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The ‘poverty’ target set by the European Commission aims to lift “over 20 million people out of poverty” between 2008 and 2020 in the EU27. Progress to date against this target has been disappointing. Why is it so hard to reach the Europe 2020 ‘poverty’ target? What does the poverty indicator actually measure?
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Runge Olesen, Matthew Hinds
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The election of Donald Trump as US president was met with considerable unease in Europe. This has not least been the case among those who, like the UK and Denmark, consider themselves among America’s closest allies. In the policy brief, Matthew Hinds and Mikkel Runge Olesen take stock of the US special relationships in Europe – large and small. In the policy brief they discuss both the classical “Special Relationship” between the US and the UK, as well as the US-Danish relationship, as an example of a small power that has chosen to give the relationship to the superpower premium priority. Hinds and Runge Olesen find that Trump may destabilize relations, but also that he may open up for new opportunities as well – especially for the UK.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peter Albrecht, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Peacekeepers in the UN stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA) operate under very difficult conditions, especially in the outskirts of the mission. The recent jihadist attack on a military base in Gao in northern Mali, killing 60 and wounding more than 100, is the latest example of how dangerous working in this part of the country is. This policy brief, based on fieldwork in Mali, analyses the challenges to the mission of supplying fuel, food and water to these areas. In doing so, it describes the inequality that exists between African and non-African soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Peter Albrecht, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: n 2014, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) established an intelligence capability that is unprecedented for how peacekeeping operations are organized. An All Sources Information Fusion Unit (ASIFU) was set up to assist MINUSMA in countering asymmetric threats faced by mission personnel and the local population. This policy brief focuses on how inadequate collaboration and lack of trust between European and African forces in the mission impede sharing of intelligence. Insight is provided on why and how the intelligence capability could benefit from the cultural knowledge and language skills of African troops. The policy brief is one of the outputs of a project that has explored the plight of African peacekeepers in MINUSMA. The project is a collaborative effort between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College. It is funded by the Danish Ministry of Defence.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Thomas Mandrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite that South Africa deploys the highest numbers of female soldiers in the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), significant challenges to changing a military culture that tacitly accepts sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of local populations in the DRC remain. A new DIIS policy brief discusses the measures taken to adress SEA in MONUSCO. In the South African contigent in MONUSCO, 18% of the military personnel are women compared to the average of 3.8% for UN peacekeeping missions. The brief argues that strengthening in-mission gender training and investigtative capacities will be small, yet realistic, steps forward. Furthermore, the UN the should put more pressure on troop contributing countries to hold their defence leadership accountable for effective command and control enforcement. The policy brief is based on a collaborative research between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College, RDDC.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In this new Transition 2017 paper, Institute expert Andrew J. Tabler argues that Syria remains de facto partitioned, making the establishment of safe zones in non-Assad-controlled areas the Trump administration's most expedient course of action. Moreover, it would further Washington's cause to drive a wedge into the country's Russia-Iran alliance, and both isolate and pressure the Assad regime. If Washington's objectives in Syria are to defeat U.S.-designated terrorist groups and stem the outflow of refugees, President Bashar al-Assad is under no circumstances the right person to entrust with these missions. Simply in practical terms, he lacks the manpower to retake and hold the two-thirds of Syrian territory outside his control any time soon, despite having sufficient support from Russia and Iran to maintain control in large parts of the country. But more important, Assad is an avowed adversary of the West, undeserving of its cooperation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, International Security, International Affairs, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt, Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has an opportunity to reset, tighten, and maximize America's strategic relations with the Gulf states. For the United States, expanded security cooperation and coordination could be a force multiplier in campaigns to achieve key policy goals, such as countering Iran's destabilizing policies and defeating the Islamic State. Gulf leaders have expressed optimism over the new administration's gestures, despite its "America First" rhetoric. But the administration also faces challenges, including those brought about by its own emphasis on "radical Islamic terrorism." This two-part Transition 2017 paper, featuring contributions by Gulf experts Lori Plotkin Boghardt and Simon Henderson, navigates the complex U.S.-Gulf relationship. The first essay provides an overview of its basic tenets, stressing the importance of rapport to bilateral ties and discussing key policy priorities. The second essay narrows the focus to the Washington-Riyadh link, the most important U.S. tie with the conservative Gulf. It analyzes differences in viewpoint, policy options, and some anticipated Saudi responses on the core issues of oil, terrorism, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Gulf allies, and the Sunni bloc.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Shia Block is realistically the key determinant for national reconciliation to occur in Iraq. However, its internal divisions make it a problematic and non-unitary interlocutor for national, regional, and international initiatives. So far, the Block has outlined two separate and independent plans: al-Hakim’s “Historical Settlement” and al-Sadr’s roadmap
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: On 3 March, clashes erupted between the PKK-linked forces and the KDP’s Rojava Peshmerga near Khanasor in the district of Shingal. These events now more than ever highlight the need for a negotiated compromise between the KRG and the PKK; and for the international community to actively intervene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iraq and Libya are facing similar challenges: addressing the hurdles of socio-economic recovery in areas liberated from the Islamic State (IS); facing a fiscal crisis in the midst of continuous political tensions; and striking a power balance between central and local authorities, serving the interests of the people.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi and Turkish leadership have restored direct contact, thus providing an opportunity for dialogue. However, the extent to which this can lead to a sustainable normalisation process and furthermore to a deepening of their relationship is highly questionable. This policy brief argues that the main problem lies with the fact that a win-win scenario of overlapping or complementary interests does not seem to be driving the leaderships’ actions. Instead, it is ad hoc developments external to their bilateral relationship that have a positive effect for the time being, such as the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, and subsequently a concerted attempt between Russia, Turkey and Iran to stabilise the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Katarina Djokic
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This paper presents a performance analysis of the G-4 Super Galeb military trainer aircraft modernization project. The analysis shows that the Ministry of Defense has to review the need for this project as soon as possible, in view of the announced equipping of the Serbian Armed Forces with MiG-29 fighter planes, several-year delay of the beginning of the project and Su- per Galeb maintenance difficulties. The paper also shows that the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces cannot effectively plan modernization and equipping projects without a top-level political decision on what type of army Serbia needs, and without a more decisive fis- cal policy, which would ensure funds for priority projects on a medium-term level.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Maha Yahya, Jean Kassir
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A sustainable political settlement to end the multiple conflicts in Syria will not be possible without a real focus on the challenges of refugee returns. The complexities of the Syrian wars as well as previous international experiences with similar conflicts underscore that ensuring long-term peace requires a more focused attention on the challenges for effective repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, including significant security and protection guarantees. Without these, and irrespective of the eventual shape of a political solution, their return may be neither possible nor sustainable—with significant repercussions for peace in Syria, neighboring countries, and states beyond.
  • Topic: War, International Security, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Catherine S. Panaguiton
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The judgment award rendered in the Republic of the Philippines vs. The People’s Republic of China was a significant development to the disputes in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea. Conflicting opinions from littoral and affected states on the legal issues abound the institution of the case and the conduct in these areas as a whole have been raised and a decision has been rendered on these issues. Provisions in the UNCLOS that were made to be deliberately vague because States at the UN Conference negotiating UNCLOS could not agree on more precise language have been clarified. The judgment not only has implications in the lawyering and judicial sphere. It also carries practical implications that are to be considered in lawmaking and formulation of government policies. All these implications will be discussed in this paper.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Law
  • Political Geography: South China, West Philippines
  • Author: François Godement
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Xi Jinping took a bold stance at this year's Davos summit, claiming that China could be the leader and protector of global free trade. However, he fell short of pronouncing the same commitment to the international order. • While China finds little to criticise in globalisation, which has fuelled its rapid economic rise, it has an uneasy relationship with the international order, picking and choosing what parts of it to engage with. • China's governance model at home is fundamentally at odds with the liberal international order. Whether in climate talks, international arbitrations, or on the topic of open markets, China resists any parts of the order that infringe on its sovereignty. • Facing an increasingly interest-driven China, and a US in retreat from the international order, the EU must stand by its values if it wants to protect them. Faced with Donald Trump, Xi has sent a clear message about his country's commitment to internationalism. The EU should hold China to its word on this.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Hamza Meddeb
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Six years since the revolution, the success of democracy in Tunisia depends on those parts of the country where the popular uprising began: its ‘periphery’, whose regions lag far behind the country’s economically more developed coast. Tunisia’s periphery regions suffer from weak economic growth and high levels of poverty and unemployment – a legacy of decades of underinvestment. Regional conflict, terrorism and organised crime have led the government to crack down on security threats in the periphery regions. This has disrupted the informal and illegal economic networks on which much of the population relies and caused it to lose faith in the government. Tunisia has enjoyed extensive support from international partners since 2011 – money is not the problem. Instead, the country must strengthen its regional governance and address fragmentation at the heart of government. Europeans can radically alter the terms of debate by offering Tunisia membership of the European Economic Area, galvanising change in support of its journey towards democracy and stability.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hayder al-Khoei, Ellie Geranmayeh, Mattia Toaldo
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ISIS has suffered significant setbacks in both Iraq and Libya with the battles for Mosul and Sirte representing potential turning-points. • Without a clear political strategy to guide post- ISIS efforts, these military gains could quickly be lost. Both countries could again become breeding grounds for conflict and extremism, exacerbating European security and migration challenges. This risk is especially high for Iraq given the conflict in neighbouring Syria. • The new US administration is likely to invest less energy than its predecessors in strengthening political orders which provide stability. European states must step up their own efforts
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Catherine S. Panaguiton
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: Chinese incursions in disputed waters in the SCS and WPS started from as early as the 1950s. However, they were scant and far in between. As decades passed, Chinese surveillance and incursions and the incidents between PRC, RP and Vietnam have increased in these areas. Rapid reclamation activities by PRC and the construction of installations on them (many of which are of a military nature)7, amidst protests by its neighbors (including the Philippines) and claimant states, have likewise increased the tensions.
  • Topic: International Law, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: China, Philippines
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David S. Mitchell, Jeremy Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor (DOL) published two important legal opinions that propose to give states new options for expanding retirement coverage for private-sector workers. These opinions open the door for states to move forward along one of two distinct paths: a payroll deduction plan that avoids ERISA, or a more traditional model that would fall under ERISA. This issue brief summarizes these rules and highlights the tradeoffs state policymakers will face when deciding which of these new avenues to pursue. The brief will be updated once the proposals are finalized.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Georges Fahmi
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: Egypt and Tunisia have been witnessing over the past few years a new wave of violent Islamist radicalisation. The engagement of Egyptian and Tunisian youth in political violence shows that depending only on classical counter-terrorism strategies will not only fail to prevent violent radicalisation, but it might actually increase it. Both the political and religious actors need to work together to formulate a comprehensive de-radicalisation strategy to render the political and religious spheres less enabling for violent radical ideas and movements.
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cyrus Rustomjee
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The world’s oceans are crucial to human life. They cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the earth’s water (Oceanic Institute 2016); provide vital ecosystem services; serve as a growing source of renewable energy and make crucial contributions to global food production and food security, through the provision of food, minerals and nutrients. Fish provide 4.3 billion people with about 15 percent of their intake of animal protein (UN Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] 2014b). Over 3.1 billion people live within 100 km of the ocean or sea in about 150 coastal and island nations (FAO 2014a), and global ocean economic activity is estimated to be US$3–5 trillion (FAO 2014b). Oceans and seas serve as waterways for global trade, with more than 90 percent of global trade carried by sea (International Maritime Organization 2012). Some 880 million people depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods (ibid.). Recognition of the services and resources provided by oceans has accelerated in recent years, spurred by the opportunities and challenges posed by a rapidly growing global population, increasing global demand for food and energy, advances in technology, and changes in patterns of global trade and human consumption. Developed countries have expanded fisheries, tourism and other oceanic and maritime industries; extended mineral exploration and extraction; and scaled up ocean-related scientific, technological and industrial research. Using increased knowledge of marine biodiversity, they have developed new value chains in pharmaceuticals, health care and aquaculture; and many have established integrated national ocean economy strategies, bringing together the regulatory, environmental, spatial, policy, institutional, industrial and other factors influencing their ability to exploit maritime resources.
  • Topic: Environment, Political Economy, Maritime Commerce, Biosecurity, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Global Focus
  • Author: Samuel Howorth, Domenico Lombardi, Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Students of macroeconomics will have heard about the central role played by the so-called Phillips curve in both theoretical and empirical analyses for almost 70 years. In 1958, A. W. Phillips reported an inverse relationship between changes in wages and the unemployment rate (Phillips 1958). The progeny of his thinking led to a revolution both in policy making and in the development of theoretical links between the real and nominal macroeconomic variables. Names such as Samuelson, Solow, Phelps, Friedman, Lucas and Sargent became associated with refinements and enhancements of the core finding reported by Phillips. Indeed, all of these economists went on to become Nobel laureates in economics, although not exclusively because of their contributions to the analysis of what has since been called the Phillips curve. Indeed, the concept is so influential that it spawned several different versions of the trade-off used to guide policy makers as a menu for the choices they face when deciding whether the gains from lower inflation are offset by the economic costs of higher unemployment. Initially, expectations of individuals or firms were ignored. This briefly gave policy makers the impression that they could simply select an inflation-unemployment combination and implement the necessary policy mix to achieve the desired outcome. Once a role for expectations was incorporated, debate centred on how forward-looking individuals are. The more forward-looking, the less likely it was that policy makers would be able to “exploit” the trade-off because, unless wages rose in purchasing-power terms, the gains from lower unemployment would, at best, be temporary once workers realized that the higher inflation, at unchanged wages, actually drives real wages down. Indeed, the pendulum swung all the way to the conclusion — reached by the 1970s and early 1980s — that the Phillips curve was illusory and there was no trade-off policy makers could exploit.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Céline Bak
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the way to Washington, DC, for a September 2015 visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping stopped in Seattle, WA, to sign an agreement aimed at combatting climate change by increasing the business ties between Chinese and US clean technology companies (South China News 2015). Five US states signed the agreement on commerce between China and clean-tech businesses from California, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. On the same day, Bill Gates’s energy company, TerraPower, signed an agreement with the China National Nuclear Corporation for joint cooperation on next-generation renewable and fusion nuclear power. In early 2015, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in General Fusion, a Canadian company based in Vancouver, to advance its energy innovation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sarah Birch
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Leaders, negotiators and scientists returned home from the recent United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris with a new mandate: to explore pathways to a world that warms no more than 1.5°C; to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries at a meaningful pace and scale; and, ultimately, to create real policy tools that can deliver prosperity that is not so fundamentally tied to burning fossil carbon. The Paris Agreement is historic in that it is universal (both industrialized and less-developed nations have agreed to the text), a heavy focus is placed on transparency and reporting of progress, and opportunities to periodically reevaluate and ratchet up ambition are built into the process. The ultimate power of this agreement, however, is not in its technicalities and legal implications. Rather, the Paris Agreement represents the manifestation of collective ambition, creating and demonstrating shared norms around the reality of climate change and the responsibility to act. This international process of negotiation and commitment is triggering a wave of conversations about how to reach these ambitious greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation targets. This will require a rapid and fundamental transformation of all sectors, including the design of urban spaces and the ways in which we produce and consume energy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Thistlewaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes that employ a range of different standards to measure climate change risks and corporate sustainability, this task will be challenging. But the diversity of schemes also represents an opportunity to assess which practices are effective at improving corporate accountability for sustainability performance, as well as efficient at producing comparable reports that do not unfairly burden reporting organizations. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the FSB and its Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Governance, G20, Regulation, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Australia has a long history of immigration, including accepting refugees. Over the years, it has developed mechanisms and instruments that aim not only to help people in need but also to provide for the country’s stability and prosperity. However, in recent years some elements of Australia’s refugee policy, especially its approach towards the so-called boat people, have come under fire. Nevertheless, the solutions implemented by Australia should be part of the EU’s efforts to find ones useful for dealing with its current migration crisis.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a communication of 12 April, the European Commission assessed the potential political and economic consequences of suspending visa exemption for U.S. citizens. Lacking pressure from individual EU Member States, the Commission discouraged such a move and gave the EU Council and European Parliament three months to take an official position. It seems almost certain that the measure of applying pressure on a non-EU country will not be used to help Poland and four other Member States obtain visa-free travel to the United States or other countries with a similar restriction. However, if current trends continue, Poland should join the U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in five years.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, European Union, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carolina Salgado, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Visegrad Group is still a new label among policy makers as well as public and private investors, scholars and media in Brazil. However, since their accession to the EU in 2004, and the financial crisis that started in 2008, the four Central European countries in this group have started to look beyond Europe in order to formulate their economic and political agenda, aiming to boost partnerships, for example among the biggest South American countries such as Brazil. V4 and Brazil should build momentum to deepen cooperation in the most promising prospective areas such as trade, military, tourism and education.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Cordella Buchanan Ponczek
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Traditionally, there is a partisan split on foreign policy in the United States: Republican candidates and voters worry more about terrorism, defense and national security than Democratic candidates and voters, thereby putting more stock in foreign policy issues, which manifests itself in the aggressiveness—of lack thereof—of each party’s foreign policy platform. But the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can be categorised by more than just party: a line can also be drawn between conventional candidates—Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Republicans—and unconventional candidates—Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat. Should a conventional candidate be elected president, U.S. foreign policy would be based on predictable adaptation to the changing international environment. An unconventional candidate, however, would be a wild card, whose actions would be difficult to predict.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Asia could be described as the world’s great construction site, and is already the focus of a scramble for infrastructure projects. Among countries competing for investments are not only China with its Silk Road initiative, but also Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN, which have prepared their own infrastructural strategies. The plethora of initiatives may have a positive impact on Asia, offering diverse solutions to the infrastructural bottleneck and reforms of existing institutions and modes of assistance. But there is also the risk that fierce competition may result in unprofitable projects, while economic slowdown could cause a decline in funding. For Europe these initiatives create opportunities to take part in new projects, but the EU should be aware that the projects will be implemented mainly in Asia and by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2016, almost 13 years after the Thessaloniki declaration to integrate the Western Balkans into the European Union, Brussels is left with Croatia as a Member State, Montenegro half way, at best, to becoming one, Serbia with first negotiation chapters just opened, and half of the region with no clear prospect of membership. But the wait-and-see approach that the EU had been employing for a number of years towards the enlargement policy in the Balkans has become even riskier in times of new international challenges. Among them, the ever-growing tensions between the West and Russia should, in particular, serve as motivation for the Union to look at enlargement in the Balkans from a geopolitical angle. Even if the Member States have in recent years shown less enthusiasm towards further rounds of enlargement, this should not discourage the EU institutions from undertaking an active role to revive the European integration process in the Balkans.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Serbia, Croatia
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Transnistria, in exchange for meeting certain conditions, was allowed to benefit from the free trade agreement that Moldova signed with the EU, there are plenty of obstacles which could derail the deal. The business community in the breakaway republic is eager to enjoy the fruits of the DCFTA but is reluctant to shoulder the price of necessary reforms, the outgoing leader of the separatist enclave could undermine the agreement for electoral reasons, Russia might be tempted to test the EU’s resolve to defend its trade-related norms, and Moldova could erect bureaucratic barriers for producers from the left bank of the Nistru River. In the light of these many risks, the EU should persistently encourage all sides to stick to their commitments while averting disputes that would undermine enforcement of the DCFTA in Transnistria in a timely manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Transnistria
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Piotr Kościński
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At a time when many European countries are strengthening border protection (including building walls), migrants will seek new avenues to Europe. In this context and of particular importance will be the policy of the authorities of Ukraine, which currently, and despite the still unstable situation in the country (war in the east and economic problems) could become the country of choice for migrants. Another problem for Kyiv may be internal migration. Both forms increase the risk of migration to EU countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which are neighbours of Ukraine. In this situation, additional EU assistance to the authorities in Kyiv will be necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Dinshaw Mistry
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • 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. Four factors explain why New Delhi's policies aligned unevenly with US objectives across the issues: India's strategic interests (that diverged from US interests on some issues); domestic political and economic barriers (that prevented greater convergence between India's policies and US objectives); incentives and disincentives (that induced New Delhi to better align with US objectives); and certain case-specific factors. This analysis suggests that, rather than expecting India to become a close ally, US policymakers should consider it a friendly strategic partner whose policies would align, on the average, moderately with US strategic interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Political Economy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyop Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Vinod K. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The rise of a multiplicity of diverse bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) has led countries to pursue mega-FTAs to manage the growing complexity of global trade arrangements. The US and China are promoting rival accords: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would encompass 800 million people and almost 40 percent of global GDP, is a centerpiece of the Obama Asia Pacific strategy. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would account for 30 percent of global GDP, with a population of over three billion people, creating the largest FTA in the world. TPP advocates assert that it will strengthen the US’ strategic role in the region, in part by countering China’s membership in the RCEP. These claims, made in response to growing skepticism in the United States about the value of liberalized trade, overemphasize the TPP’s strategic value. At the same time, projecting the economic impact of the TPP is thorny, given the deal’s scope and the diversity of countries involved.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyo Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael Lt. Col. (ret.) Segall
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since June 2016, Iran has been enduring terror attacks and assassinations by ethnic-opposition elements operating within its territory and adjacent to it. Attacks on Iranian petroleum infrastructure in Ahvaz are a reaction to Iran’s ongoing repressive policy against the Arab minority in Ahvaz, including the ongoing arrests, trials, executions, and expulsions of young people in that area. There are currently six to seven million Kurds living in Iran. Although they are part of the Iranian state, they may be distinguished from the Shiite minority by language and religion (most Kurds are Sunnis). The Arab Sunni fighters’ targeting of the oil facilities, if it gains momentum, could pose a problem for Iran just as it is trying to renew oil exports after the lifting of sanctions. Attacks on energy infrastructure for gas and oil could foster an unsafe, unstable environment for international energy companies. Iran’s security forces have been cracking down on the Arabs, augmenting this population’s discontent along with its separatist aspirations. The Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Sprin
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Russian regime is ready to re-set its troubled relationship with the USA. While hopes are high, specific expectations are lower and the Trump presidency may eventually offer Russia a smaller action space than suggested by the campaign statements. The 2016 US presidential election was unusually dramatic. Part of the drama was allegedly provided by the Russian authorities as some of their state-spon- sored hackers broke into servers of the Democratic National Committee and released compromising emails immediately prior to the July 2016 Democratic Party Convention.
  • Topic: Elections, Geopolitics, Key players to watchPolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Andreas Bøje Forsby
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between Washington and Beijing are likely to face major change once Donald Trump takes over the White House. This DIIS Policy Brief by Andreas Bøje Forsby offers an overview of US-China relations and how they are likely to develop with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. If Trump follows through on his protectionist campaign statements, China will be targeted by economic sanctions against its export industries. In most other respects, however, the Chinese may actually come to benefit from a Trump presidency, whose ‘America First’ slogan suggests a more self-centered, even neo-isolationist US foreign policy. Most importantly, a Trump administration is unlikely to sustain key elements of the US rebalance to Asia like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the efforts to build a strategic network of like-minded states in the region to counter the rise of China.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the general impression that the US president-elect Donald Trump has given us very little clue to predict his foreign policy doctrine, a guiding framework behind his scattered statements does exist. In this DIIS Policy Brief, Senior Researcher Vibeke Schou Tjalve takes a closer look at the surprisingly consistent philosophy of power and interest that Trump has aired during the past two decades. Trump is labelled a ‘nationalist’ and an ‘isolationist’. These are understandable labels, and yet: Trump is not your classical cultural-conservative nostalgic with deep veneration for old alliances or shared norms. His American nationalism does not linger on the memories of the New World European roots. Rather, it is founded on a deeply Darwinist conception of the world as a cutthroat competition, in which raw strength - not cultural characteristics – matters. As such, Trump will have no sentimentality for NATO or Europe, and he will view the world through largely value-neutral eyes. This leaves Europe with a defining set of questions, and to influence a Trump presidency, we should understand and appreciate this not-so-simple nationalism, Tjalve writes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Yang Jiang, Aki Tonami, Adam Moe Fejerskov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: China actively seeks to expand its overseas investment in critical infrastructure. This involvement makes host countries uneasy especially in the West, even though financial benefits sometimes override broader national interests and security issues. China’s attempts to invest in overseas critical infra- structure, defined as infrastructure closely related to sovereignty and national security, has become a sensitive issue to host country governments parti- cularly in the West. They fear that Chinese investment in nuclear and telecommunications infrastructures entails consequences for nuclear security and safety and information security respectively. This policy brief provides an overview of how various countries have received Chinese interest in nuclear power and telecommunications.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Counter-narratives and campaigns promoting normality, are often highlighted as universal means against online propaganda from militant movements. However, such campaigns are driven by a number of unfortunate assumptions and are difficult to apply in practice. We often turn to information campaigns to inform and instruct the general population. Such campaigns are also pointed to as possible tools, to combat radical and militant counter-cultures on the internet. However, reaching broad segments of the population is one thing. It is more challenging, to direct communication at a smaller audience.
  • Topic: Politics, Political Theory, Political Activism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process, the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission – and particularly their leaders – has strengthened. This inter- institutional connection also has a party-political dimension, being intrinsically linked to the emergence of a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest groups of the EP. However, in an EU beset by crises, the political agenda is firmly under the control of the member states and the European Council, which makes it difficult for the EP to take advantage of its closer relationship with the Commission, as the latter acts very cautiously.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kirill Rogov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent 2016 Duma elections were planned by the Kremlin to attest to the fact that the period of troubled political development – which began during the previous 2011 Duma elections – is over. Further, the elections served to test Putin’s consolidated authoritarianism on the eve of the forthcoming presidential elections in 2018. While successful in terms of preserving full control over the new Duma, the election results nevertheless demonstrated that the patriotic enthusiasm evoked by the annexation of Crimea has largely been exhausted. The pressure on the opposition, new electoral rules and reliance on regions with so-called “administrative voting” secured a victory for the party of power, but in urban regions the turnout was very low and voting for the Kremlin’s party did not differ much from 2011 patterns. Although the direct effect of the economic crisis on people’s political attitudes is still moderate, the continued long-term stagnation in the Russian economy that started even before the fall in energy prices remains the major challenge for regime stability. Ambiguous election results force the Kremlin to seek new instruments of political consolidation. The Kremlin’s most probable strategy may be to combine toughening authoritarian institutions with maintaining high tension in the international arena in order to prolong the ‘rally around the flag’ effect domestically, by attempting or promising “authoritarian modernization” to gain support in urban regions. As the presidential election date approaches, both Putin’s foreign and economic policies could become even riskier than they have been to date.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Political Economy, International Affairs, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Mika Aaltola, Mariita Mattiisen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US, as a highly digitalized state, depends on different cyber platforms for election campaigning, political discussions, forming popular opinions, and – in some cases – the voting process itself. Geopolitically motivated election hacking can aim to influence the direction of foreign policy debates, to promote/demote candidate(s), and to instigate disruptions, suspicions, and distrust towards the election process or the democratic system. The strategic aim to lower democratic appeal and increase the attraction of autocratic "stability”. A state sponsor of hacking can demonstrate that it has sophisticated cyber capabilities, thereby promoting its own major power standing. Even if its efforts raise suspicions, it gains visibility, as its efforts are discussed in the media and it manages to insert itself into the election discussions. The state sponsor can subtly promote the images of its own type of political system as being comparatively more resilient and stable than the US democratic system. The relative success of the election hacking targeting the US might motivate scaling up the intensity and scope of similar operations in future democratic elections. At a minimum, the election hacking incidents point to a scenario that has to be taken seriously.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: The direct implications of Brexit for the EU’s political system will be less significant than the indirect consequences, opening up possibilities for reform. The treaty rules on a qualified majority in the Council might need to be reconsidered due to Brexit, which will also lead to a major reshuffle of the EU’s critical political groups in the European parliament after the 2019 EP elections. The political pressure to consolidate the EMU in terms of strengthening its governance and its own fiscal capacity may grow as a part of the general reform process following on from Brexit. If the treaties are reopened, principled amendments to the institutions and decision-making of the common foreign and security policy as well as further steps within the common security and defence policy are very likely to occur. Any internal reform project shouldn’t compromise the unity and coherence of the EU any further, however, as it is currently highly exposed to both internal and external pressures.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari , Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: While the refugee crisis has exposed the severe limitations of EU decision-making, German choices have had a knock-on effect on the rest of Europe. The politicization of German migration policy will likely force Angela Merkel to take a step towards more conservative positions ahead of the 2017 federal election. This will again require the EU to adjust to Berlin’s policy turns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Migration, Immigration, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the confrontation with radicalism and political violence, democratic freedoms are often viewed as a problem. Freedom of expression is viewed to encourage the spread of radical ideas and freedom of congregation, the formation of radical groups and communities. However, these democratic freedoms can also be part of the solution. The success criteria for an effective prevention policy, is the absence of political violence and crime, as well as increased democratic participation. A new policy brief by Tobias Gemmerli, argues for a more democratic approach to those who challenge democracy. Democratic freedoms can generate public debate, about the allegations and utopian ideas put forward by radical and anti-democratic movements. Democratic freedoms can beckon these movements out into public space and uncover the counter-cultural modus operandi. The brief therefore recommends that we include real political disagreement and support initiatives, which make space for critical societal debate. We should take radical opinions, frustrations, and criticisms seriously, make more space for legal radical expression, and focus on combatting unlawful actions. Finally, we should address the dilemmas and compromises that are part of modern foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Radicalization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maybritt Jill Alpes, Ninna Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The current European Agenda on Migration aims at reducing the arrival of asylum seekers and irregular migrants. For this purpose, various mechanisms of ‘effective and humane return’ are introduced. But can deportation ever be humane and what would be required? VU postdoc researcher Maibritt Jill Alpes and DIIS senior researcher Ninna Nyberg Sørensen take a closer look at international cooperation on migration and the risks migrants and rejected asylum seekers may face upon a forced return. They argue that international cooperation on migration has criminalized departure and consequently contributed to put forcible retuned people at risk not only of economic and psychosocial harm, but also of monetary extraction, arbitrary detention and criminal persecution in the hands of state agents. They argue that more emphasis must be put on different post-deportation risks and measures to avoid them in order to guarantee the safety of border apprehended and returned persons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Immigration, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The newly launched European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) opens the door to EU spending on defence. This Policy Brief analyses why the EDAP has been launched, what it is and how it will work in practice. It argues that the plan is a step change in the European Commission’s growing involvement in defence and a potential game changer in solving the problem of European military shortfalls. European capitals should therefore embrace the new kid on the block and make full use of the potential offered by the EDAP.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Political Economy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Sico Van Der meer
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Some medium-sized states play varying, yet important roles in international cyber-security policies. In this policy brief author Sico van der Meer offers a concise overview of five medium-sized states with such a prominent position: Australia, Estonia, Israel, the Netherlands and South Korea. How did these states attain these positions, and what are the benefits and challenges? The analysis shows that these positions are not easy to acquire or to maintain. Whilst the will to continuously invest and to develop an integrated (whole-of-government) approach seems to be an obvious key requirement for success, cyber security as a policy area is very broad. Remaining in a lead position may require looking for ‘a niche within the niche’.
  • Topic: Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Simon
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The global proliferation of precision-strike systems and the concomitant emergence of anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities challenges the foundations of Western global military-technological supremacy. What does this mean for current EU debates on military ambition? This policy brief argues that the assumption of the freedom of (military) access and movement, which has guided European strategic thinking since the end of the Cold War, is no longer valid. Europeans should get to grips with the new military-strategic paradigm and translate this into an updated ambition level and related capabilities.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Louise Van Schaik
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Colombia. As a result of renewed international activity and high vulnerability to the effects of climate change, Colombia has embraced ambitious green growth objectives and climate change mitigation goals. Rapid economic growth and rising peak demand centres for energy may well go hand in hand with clean energy uptake. Most Colombian citizens are highly aware of the need for a low-carbon growth trajectory and the country has already invested substantially in renewable energy development. However, dominance of private sector interests within the state, resulting from a powerful transnational alliance of extractive industries, may hamper long-term green growth efforts to succeed. Greening the private sector in a post-conflict Colombia may prove to be one of the crucial steps in consolidating Colombia’s low-carbon growth trajectory.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ries Kamphof
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Kenya. It is part of a two-year research project on energy security and green growth in middle income countries by means of political economy analysis. Other project outputs can be found here. Kenya has taken a leading role in the region on several fronts, including its ambitions to address climate change and boost green growth while improving the country’s energy security. Efforts have been underway to realise this goal. Most vividly illustrated by the execution of large-scale geothermal, hydro and wind power projects. Yet, not all is straightforward. Constitutional reform has led to a new institutional framework which presents both opportunities and obstacles to green growth implementation. Moreover, the presence of oil and coal reserves and the ambition to exploit these threaten efforts to build a low-carbon economy. Kenya is currently at crossroads, and decisions taken today may influence its green growth potential for the decades to come.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Margriet Drent, Anne Bakker, Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The why, what & how of permanent structured cooperation The deteriorating security situation around Europe and the burgeoning messages from Washington that Europe has to take more responsibility for its own security call for a step change in European defence cooperation. So far, progress has been too slow. This policy brief argues that permanent structured cooperation (Pesco) offers the option to take a more ambitious and more productive route by member states willing to move forward more quickly, set more demanding objectives and commit themselves more strongly. This would end the well-known ‘voluntary basis’ which has often been used as an excuse for doing little or nothing at all.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism, International Security, International Affairs, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: America, European Union
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Today’s uncertainty in cross-Strait relations is not without consequence for third parties that maintain ties with both China and Taiwan. To what extent does (and should) the situation also impact on EU’s trade diplomacy with both sides? This policy brief argues that under today’s circumstances, the cold peace in cross-Strait relations is reason to tread carefully — and to stay on course. The May 2016 inauguration of the Taiwanese government led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Tsai Ing-wen placed a big question mark over the future of cross-Strait relations. Within weeks, Beijing had unilaterally imposed a freeze on (semi-)official talks until the new Taiwanese President acknowledges the so-called 1992 Consensus. While confirming its ‘one China’ policy, the EU may contribute to the stability of cross-Strait relations by being a partner in China’s economic reform and by negotiating EU–China and EU–Taiwan investment agreements in parallel. In this policy brief author Maaike Okano-Heijmans builds on discussions during the 13th Symposium on ‘Sino–EU Relations and the Taiwan Question’, which was held in Shanghai from 9–11 October 2016 and in Taipei from 12–14 October 2016. These second-track dialogues were supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, European Union
  • Author: Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Belgium and the Netherlands work closely together in defence. Both countries for example have a combined naval command; they also have single schools and maintenance facilities for their M-frigates and minehunters. Yet, the Belgian and Dutch defence industries are quite different. This report, issued by the Armaments Industry European Research Group (Ares), compares the defence industrial policies of both countries. Clingendael senior research fellow Dick Zandee has contributed to the report by writing the sections on the Netherlands.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Belgium, Netherlands
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: As mega free trade agreements (FTAs) are reshaping the rules of global governance, there is urgency for member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take proper actions in response to the changing world economic order. On one hand, they should closely observe the progress of negotiations and follow up the issues that are under discussion in mega FTAs. On the other hand, they have to accelerate the pace in concluding the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen, Maura Ada Iliuteanu, Shimpei Yamamoto, Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is essential for economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness. As the global economy is increasingly organised within global value chains, disciplining and enforcing IPR in a coherent manner internationally has become a critical issue in the 21st century trade system. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement flags America's achievement in setting new standards on international IPR enforcement under a plurilateral framework that involves countries from Asia-Pacific. Yet such standards run the risk of becoming the new norm at the international level. Reaching agreement on the text of the TPP signals emerging Asian economies' heightened commitment to IPR enforcement. Some factors that policymakers may want to consider include the following: Efficient IPR protection at the domestic level is integral to efforts that facilitate technology adoption and stimulate incremental innovations. It is crucial to increase public awareness of intellectual property (IP) in general and its associated rights in particular. IP laws and regulations must at least meet the requirements of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and always aim for higher-level standards. IPR disciplines must be binding and practically enforceable. Asian countries should actively participate in global IPR rule-making. The abundance and quality of human capital will affect not only the level of invention and other innovative activities but also the efficiency of IPR enforcemen
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Yanfei Li
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The recent ERIA report on 'Effective Power Infrastructure Investment through Power Grid Interconnections in East Asia' aims to support existing initiatives--the ASEAN Power Grid and Greater Mekong Subregion Power Master Plan--by quantitatively showing the possible economic and environmental benefits of such power grid interconnections. The study team selected specific candidate routes of cross-border transmission lines for further examination. They carried out the preliminary project planning and per kilowatt-hour cost estimation for the selected cross-border lines. The estimated results indicate that although these are capital-intensive projects, attainable benefits seem to be large enough to justify the investment well.
  • Topic: Economics, Climate Finance, Business
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The rise of emerging countries, above all the precipitous rise of China, is a key driving force behind changes in international relations on a global scope. This does not mean, however, that China is taking over the reins of “hegemony” from the US and building a new international order centered on China and other emerging countries, i.e., that a clear-cut “power transition” is underway.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: With President Obama’s second term coming to an end, 2016 will mark a major turning point for US politics and foreign policy. Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate since the 2014 mid-term elections have made the Obama administration a “lame duck” but, with no concerns about re-election, the administration is now using its “free hand” to issue executive orders and exercise presidential authority for the sake of “legacy building” through, say, revisions to the Immigration Act and normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Among the most significant variables defining trends in the international order and the international environment surrounding Japan are domestic circumstances in China and its foreign policies prescribed by them. China ranks highest among the emerging powers that have rapidly increased their presence within the international community over a short period and is, from Japan’s standpoint, simultaneously a real threat to Japanese security in the East China Sea and Japan’s largest trading partner.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Two of the most important variables influencing trends within the international order are the domestic circumstances within the US and China and the foreign policy shifts stemming therefrom. An element of equal or perhaps even greater significance is the nature of relations between these two major powers.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: What are the arguments for and against centralisation of insurance supervision? What would be the scope of a possible insurance union, and what would the legal basis be? How rapid should the move to insurance union be? This Policy Brief sets out to answer these questions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yan Vaslavsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin delivered his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at St. George’s Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace on December 1. The state-of-the- nation address is regarded as a major speech over a 12-month period. It usually recounts the progress and outlines national priorities and the development agenda for the near future. This format is not unique1, but it tends to command attention of the general public at home and abroad as well as of parliamentarians to whom, judging by its very name, it is addressed.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Crosston
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Vyacheslav Volodin was elected as head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Parliamentary Assembly during the 9th Plenary Session of the CSTO’s PA in St. Petersburg on November 24th. Thus concludes a relatively fast and interesting transition personally for the influential Volodin, who in just three months has gone from the first deputy chief of President Putin’s staff in the Kremlin to being elected to the Russian Duma from his native Saratov to quickly becoming that body’s Speaker, officially putting him fourth in line in terms of Russian political power, behind the President, Prime Minister, and speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the national parliament.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political Theory, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher and research coordinator Flemming Splidsboel Hansen explores Russia’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. The Kremlin presents Russia’s political and military involvement in Syria as an unconditional success. Its overall aim of putting Russia firmly back on the geopolitical map has been met. It is now clear that the key to any negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria lies in Moscow. Moreover, Russia now seems to be close to a position where it may dictate the composition of the future Syrian regime and, not least, decide whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will remain in the presidential palace or be forced into exile. The costs of the military operations have been acceptable to the Russian public. Defence observers estimate that the first year of military operations cost the Russian armed forces 65 bn Rubles (approximately one bn USD) and some 20 deaths (combat and non-combat). The financial costs may be partially offset by increased future weapons sales. There is a high probability, however, that Russia will find itself embroiled in a complicated sectarian conflict in Syria from which there is no easy exit. This would test Russian public support for the military involvement in Syria. Already now Russian media comments suggest some degree of frustration over the alleged lack of fighting capacity and will on part of the Syrian armed forces. The Russian public may want to see a plan for an orderly exit from Syria, and this puts pressure on the Kremlin to deliver. However, the Syrian regime may not be able to survive without Russian military support, and Russian policy-makers may therefore soon be facing difficult choices.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Halle Malmvig
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher Helle Malmvig explores Israels’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. Israel’s activities in Syria have not drawn much attention due to Israel’s official policy of neutrality. Yet, over the last couple of years, Israel has stepped up its operations in Syria, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah assets and providing quiet assistance to the rebels.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria
  • Author: Anubhav Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: India’s membership in APEC would mitigate two significant problems: 1) India’s relatively poor integration into the global economy; and 2) the emergence of a divisive trade agenda in the Asia-Pacific. This issue brief outlines these challenges and highlights the obstacles and opportunities related to India’s inclusion in APEC. It concludes that this is the right time to start considering India’s membership in the forum and that a strategy is needed to chart a pathway for the country’s eventual accession to APEC.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Sanjin Hamidičević
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: The constitutional construction of Bosnia and Herzegovina created multiple police agencies and four judicial systems, which means that fifteen police agencies and the Intelligence- Security Agency of BiH could file a demand for telecommunication surveillance from 68 different courts. Even though the legal framework has been equalized, this complexity together with parliamentary oversight on multiple levels opens up penetration points for the misuse of telecommunication surveillance. In order to prevent eventual misuse, this paper recommends to decrease the number of courts that can issue warrants, create a coordination system for telecommunication surveillance between the police agencies and define guidelines for parliamentary oversight.
  • Topic: National Security, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek, Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the future political stability of Nineveh depends on a two-level normalisation. A potential agreement between competing local actors, such as Baghdad and Erbil, is not the only necessary condition to stabilise the area. It also requires that Turkey and Iran decide to desecuritise Nineveh to the extent that it ceases to play the role of a buffer zone in the Middle East regional security complex. This argument is underpinned by the close examination of Turkey’s and Iran’s involvement together with their respective local allies in Nineveh in the post-2014 period. Developments referring to the cases of Bashiqa, Shingal, Tal Afar, as well as activities in favour or against Mosul leaders’ post-Islamic State (IS) vision illustrate that Nineveh’s securitisation has transcended Iraq’s borders. All in all, Turkey and Iran are vying for greater influence in Nineveh, or at least attempting to ensure that it will not become a satellite area of a competing power. Partly through their direct diplomatic and military engagement, but most importantly through their military and economic support to their local allies, the two regional powers pursue their security and diplomatic goals. At the same time, their involvement in the area has compounded the friction between local actors. Accordingly, the paper argues that in order to avoid greater polarisation in Nineveh and prepare the ground for constructive negotiations in the post-IS environment, Turkey and Iran should work on institutionalising their relationship beyond trade. Working together on issues of security between them, but also specifically in Nineveh, would improve trust and confidence in their relationship and help overcome the catch-22.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East is still in flux and will remain so for some time, it will possibly be another decade before the ultimate power balance is reached. Policy makers of Iraq and the KRI who wish to pursue paths of their own design, must look carefully at the trends in power dynamics and the policies of the global and regional powers before designing their strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Zachary Gallant
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The shift of United States (US) foreign policy from a heavy international focus with traditional alliances over the past century to the anti-globalist administration promised by President-elect Donald Trump will necessarily upset longstanding regional relations in the Middle East and North Africa. This Policy Paper discusses some of the Trump administration’s most likely foreign policy advisers and their positions on Kurdish self-governance, as well as those of some previous policymakers whose legacies he will be unable to escape.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Maisie Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: With the liberation of Mosul fast becoming a reality, attention is turning to post-IS dynamics. Without sufficient deradicalisation policies, including within the education system, the narrative of the Islamic State will lie dormant or transform, creating the potential for another extremist group to emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Education, Radicalization, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Hawraman Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iran and its opposition Kurdish groups have been involved in intermittent armed conflict for decades. Considering the new political realities of the region and the domination of US politics by the Republicans after the recent election, Iran should engage in dialogue with its Kurdish opposition parties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Kurdistan
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is experiencing a crisis of orientation in its internal and external affairs as a result of a transition between a dying and an emerging vision. The end of the current transitional period will not necessarily mark the end of the country’s crisis, but most probably its entrenchment or deepening.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly thirteen years since the beginning of one of the largest programmes for post-conflict reconstruction, Iraq finds itself again in need of international financial assistance, but the conditions are hardly the same. This time the role of the international community should be matched by the Iraqi political leadership taking responsibility for the country and all of its population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The fight against the Islamic State (IS) has caused a ‘rallying around the flag’ effect amongst Iraqi Kurds. Once IS is defeated key political and economic issues long neglected in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) will come to the fore. Thus, it is imperative they are addressed now, as failure to make inroads will have dire consequences for the KRI.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Geopolitics, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Donald Trump, the next President of the United States, will soon be confronted with the difficulty of translating campaign rhetoric regarding his foreign policy in the Middle East into policy and positive outcomes. He is thus likely to be forced to make significant concessions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Hashd al-Shaabi launched an offensive on Tal Afar on 29 October; the looming recapture of Tal Afar prompted a strong reaction from Turkey, which maintains ties to the Turkmen population there. Tal Afar is thus yet another flashpoint of competing interests between Ankara, Erbil, Baghdad, and Tehran and can possibly further destabilise the situation in Nineveh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly two years since the north side of Shingal was liberated from the Islamic State, most of the Yazidi population is still displaced. Yazidis are trapped between millstones of the competition of exogenous actors, such as the KDP, the PKK-linked forces, and Baghdad, over the control of the strategically important disputed territory of Shingal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This paper lays out three administrative options for the post-Islamic State governance of Nineveh and analyses the benefits and drawbacks related to each option. Despite minorities and international lobbying groups tied to the minorities favouring separate minority provinces, this paper argues against the formation of a Nineveh Plain province. A separate province would prevent efforts for reconciliation, is likely to induce new conflicts, and will ultimately not benefit minorities in the ways proponents of the plan claim. Similarly, the paper highlights that although decentralisation to the province through Law 21 could address a number of important issues, it would leave minorities in Nineveh too vulnerable to being marginalised and politically dominated by Sunnis. The main argument, and thus recommendation, of the paper is that the best available option for all components of Nineveh is the creation of a Nineveh federal region with entrenched power sharing and decentralisation within the region. This will provide the components of Nineveh with a political arena in which to address and overcome differences, while protecting minorities as well as Sunnis from being marginalised. Moreover, the creation of a region for Nineveh will have a stabilising effect on the wider Iraqi political system.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not only surprised everyone with its cruelty but also by proving to be one of the world’s richest terrorist organisations. Now that its economic gains are draining due to military setbacks and financial strains, IS-held territories are increasingly struggling through economic hurdles – the challenge ahead is to link military interventions against IS with concrete economic plans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: When the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, came into power in 2014 he promised to end the politics of dominance that was largely responsible for the rise of Islamic State (IS). Yet, with the military defeat of IS in Iraq imminent, Sunnis are still being marginalised and until this ends, the foundations of IS will remain within the society.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Political Power Sharing, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The roadmap to independence starts from home and ends at home. A fragmented and unstable Kurdistan Region is neither good for the stability of the Kurdistan Region nor for Iraq or the rest of the Middle East. Institutionalisation of national unity and promotion of good governance are a key priority in every country of the Middle East, and even more so for an emerging one like the Kurdistan Region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East