Search

You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Political Geography Russia Remove constraint Political Geography: Russia Publication Year within 5 Years Remove constraint Publication Year: within 5 Years
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Paul Stronski, Richard Sokolsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades, and especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the Kremlin has intensified its engagement with international institutions. This paper evaluates the drivers of this involvement, Russian views of three of these organizations, and Moscow’s success in achieving its objectives.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Multilateralism, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Philip Remler
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The central task for Russian foreign policy in the era of President Vladimir Putin has been to regain the undisputed recognition that Russia is a world power like the Soviet Union before it, a status to which Russia feels entitled.1 The United Nations (UN) is Russia’s most important venue for putting its global aspirations and achievements on display. Russia’s status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council boosts its claim to be part of a global oligarchy and grants it the power to veto or undermine initiatives that it deems contrary to its interests. The concepts underlying Russia’s use of the UN to promote its aspirations form the subject of this paper. Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, devotes great resources to its missions at the UN, especially New York and Geneva. It traditionally cultivates extensive expertise among its mission members, appointing them to UN postings several times over their careers and leaving them in place for long periods. Russian diplomats are noted for their abilities in drafting highly technical UN documents in English—none more so than Sergey Lavrov, currently Russia’s foreign minister and formerly its permanent representative to the UN from 1994 to 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, Power Politics, Law, Geopolitics, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Nations
  • Author: Robert Springborg, F.C. "Pink" Williams, John Zavage
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States, Russia, and Iran have chosen markedly different approaches to security assistance in the Middle East, with dramatic implications for statebuilding and stability. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the world’s testing ground for the effectiveness of security assistance provided by global and regional powers. That security assistance has contributed to the intensity and frequency of proxy wars—such as those under way or recently wound down in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq—and to the militarization of state and substate actors in the MENA region. Security assistance is at the core of struggles for military, strategic, ideological, and even economic preeminence in the Middle East. Yet despite the broad and growing importance of security assistance for the region and for competition within it between global and regional actors, security assistance has been the subject of relatively little comparative analysis. Efforts to assess relationships between the strategic objectives and operational methods of security assistance providers and their relative impacts on recipients are similarly rare.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Political stability, State Building
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, policy debates in nuclear-armed states and alliances have centered on the question, “How much is enough?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are enough to credibly deter given adversaries? This paper argues that the more urgent question today is, “How much is too much?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are too likely to produce humanitarian and environmental catastrophe that would be strategically and legally indefensible? Two international initiatives could help answer this question. One would involve nuclear-armed states, perhaps with others, commissioning suitable scientific experts to conduct new studies on the probable climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war. Such studies would benefit from recent advances in modeling, data, and computing power. They should explore what changes in numbers, yields, and targets of nuclear weapons would significantly reduce the probability of nuclear winter. If some nuclear arsenals and operational plans are especially likely to threaten the global environment and food supply, nuclear-armed states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states would benefit from actions to physically reduce such risks. The paper suggests possible modalities for international debate on these issues. The second initiative would query all nuclear-armed states whether they plan to adhere to international humanitarian law in deciding if and when to detonate nuclear weapons, and if so, how their arsenals and operational plans affirm their intentions (or not). The United Kingdom and the United States have committed, in the words of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, to “adhere to the law of armed conflict” in any “initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” But other nuclear-armed states have been more reticent, and the practical meaning of such declarations needs to be clarified through international discussion. The two proposed initiatives would help states and civil society experts to better reconcile the (perceived) need for nuclear deterrence with the strategic, legal, and physical imperatives of reducing the probability that a war escalates to catastrophic proportions. The concern is not only for the well-being of belligerent populations, but also for those in nations not involved in the posited conflict. Traditional security studies and the policies of some nuclear-armed states have ignored these imperatives. Accountable deterrents—in terms of international law and human survival—would be those that met the security and moral needs of all nations, not just one or two. These purposes may be too modest for states and activists that prefer the immediate prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. Conversely, advocates of escalation dominance in the United States and Russia—and perhaps in Pakistan and India—will find the force reductions and doctrinal changes implied by them too demanding. Yet, the positions of both of these polarized groups are unrealistic and/or unacceptable to a plurality of attentive states and experts. To blunt efforts to stifle further analysis and debate of these issues, the appendix of this paper heuristically rebuts leading arguments against accountable deterrents. Middle powers and civil society have successfully put new issues on the global agenda and created political pressure on major powers to change policies. Yet, cooperation from at least one major nuclear power is necessary to achieve the changes in nuclear deterrent postures and policies explored here. In today’s circumstances, China may be the pivotal player. The conclusion suggests ways in which China could extend the traditional restraint in its nuclear force posture and doctrine into a new approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament with the United States and Russia that could win the support of middle powers and international civil society. If the looming breakdown in the global nuclear order is to be averted, and the dangers of nuclear war to be lessened, new ideas and political coalitions need to gain ascendance. The initiatives proposed here intended to stimulate the sort of analysis and debate from which such ideas and coalitions can emerge.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Environment, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Weiss
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Populism, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy, Austria
  • Author: Jeffrey H. Michaels
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In the Declaration that emerged from the Decem- ber 2019 London Leaders Meeting, NATO Secre- tary General Jens Stoltenberg was tasked to present Foreign Ministers with “a forward-looking reflection process under his auspices, drawing on relevant exper- tise, to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation”. This new tasking has been largely attributed to French President Emmanuel Ma- cron’s remark the previous month that the Alliance was suffering from “brain death”. Speaking at a press conference alongside Stoltenberg, Macron elaborated on his comment, complaining the Alliance was overly focused on “cost-sharing or burden-sharing” whereas too little attention was being placed on major policy issues such as “peace in Europe, the post-INF, the re- lationship with Russia, the issue of Turkey, who is the enemy?”3
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Turkey, North America
  • Author: Abdurrahman Utku Hacioglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: India is a country rarely discussed in any of NA- TO’s operational activities, regional dialogues, or global partnerships. This rarity, however, is likely to change because of shifting political and economic trends, emerging threats from outside NATO’s tradi- tional Euro-Atlantic area, and the necessity to adapt to changing circumstances. Taking account of the emerging multi-polarity in the Asia-Pacific and the US resistance to change, India will become a key country to counter-balance China’s and Russia’s growing influ- ence, to project stability and strengthen security in the Asia-Pacific region in the near future. NATO should take advantage of the opportunity, consider India as a key strategic partner, and include India within NA- TO’s growing strategic partnership framework as a “Partner Across the Globe”.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Atlantic, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The continuing role of nuclear weapons for NATO security was the focus of a Workshop for early- to mid-career nuclear strategists convened at the NATO Defense College in July 2019, and organized and run by Andrea Gilli. The articles in this volume, which were drafted by several of the speakers at the event, highlight a number of the most critical challenges to NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy and propose recommendations for further NATO action. Carrie Lee provides detailed analysis on the development of hypersonic missile systems by great powers, assesses their unique characteristics and reviews the potential implications of these systems on strategic stability and deterrence. Jacek Durkalec dives deep into Russia’s nuclear strategy and doctrine and proposes some additional steps that NATO can take to be more effective in deterring Russia. Katarzyna Kubiak examines the security challenges posed by the end of the INF Treaty and assesses a range of nuclear response options that NATO could consider. Finally, Harrison Menke reviews Russia’s integration of conventional and nuclear forces in its defence strategy and argues that NATO should take steps to better align its own conventional and nuclear forces and operations in order to enhance deterrence.
  • Topic: NATO, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia’s operations and reach are increasingly becoming global. This is the common message affirmed by the four articles contained in this special edition collection. Given Russia’s growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), particularly in Syria and Libya, and the deepening level of cooperation with China, what is one to make of it? Six years ago, President Obama dubbed Russia to be “a regional power”, and Russia’s actions along its borders would certainly attest to having at least aspirations of projecting power in the region. This was most clearly observable in, first, Georgia and then Ukraine through military and clandestine operations. Indeed going back over a decade, Moscow has made no secret of the fact that it has a right to “privileged” status in its neighbourhood as then President Medvedev claimed.1 However, Russia’s most recent foreign endeavours are increasingly pointing to the emergence of a broader and more global approach, one that not only asserts Russian economic interests, but also an intention to shape the global environment. The picture is still emerging, but Russia’s actions in Asia and the MENA region could represent bellwethers for what is to come. These articles explore Russia’s actions in both regions in addition to the question of Russia’s global strategy.
  • Topic: NATO, Imperialism, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel is still holding to its traditional security maxim. Based on a perception of a hostile region, Israel’s response includes early warning, deterrence and swift – including pre-emptive – military action, coupled with an alliance with a global power, the US. Israel is adjusting these maxims to a changing reality. Overlapping interests – and perhaps the prospect of an even more open conflict with Iran – led to limited relationships between Israel and some Gulf states. These, however, will be constrained until Israel makes progress on the Palestine issue. Israel aligned with Greece and Cyprus around energy and security, which may lead to conflict with Turkey. Russia’s deployment in Syria placed new constraints on Israeli freedom of action there. The US’s retrenchment from the Middle East is not having a direct effect on Israel, while the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s territorial designs in the West Bank may make it easier for Israel to permanently expand there, thus sowing the seeds for future instability in Israel/Palestine. The EU could try and balance against such developments, but, as seen from Israel, is too divided to have a significant impact. Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, April 2020.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Gas, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Kirill Semenov
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The situation in Idlib poses a challenge to the Assad government. Damascus has neither the forces nor the means to resolve the problem. Moreover, any operation conducted against the Syrian moderate opposition and the radical alliance “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” (HTS) concentrated in this region could be significantly problematic for the government. Turkey seeks to establish a protectorate or security zone in Idlib to accommodate those fleeing regime-held areas and prevent a new refugees flow into Turkey. The gains achieved by the Turkish operation in Idlib by the establishment of the security zone has potentially been lost as a result of the subsequent Russian backed Syrian government offensive, which has created a problem for Turkey with hundreds of thousands heading toward the Turkish border and threatening to exasperate what is already a costly refugee problem for Ankara. In order for Turkey to address issues in Idlib, including IDPs and economic problems, it first needs to deal with the HTS, ideally finding a way to dissolve the group. This could potentially be an area of cooperation for Moscow and Ankara. This may be necessary to prevent a deterioration in the security situation and long-term destabilisation of the area.
  • Topic: Security, Refugees, Economy, Political stability, Displacement, Syrian War, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Serhat Erkmen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Peace Spring Operation (PSO), launched on 9 October 2019, was Turkey’s military/diplomatic/political offensive against the People's Defence Units (YPG) in Syria and beyond and was triggered by key dynamics in the country. The first was the redeployment of US troops in the northeast of Syria; second was the expansion of Russia’s area of influence towards the east of the Euphrates; third was the launch of a new phase of the Assad government’s operation in Idlib; forth was a re-evaluation of YPG’s patron-client relationship with the United States and the European Union. Turkey sought to prevent the formation of a Kurdish state and to address the Syrian refugee issue. While Turkey was able to achieve some strategic gains via the PSO, many challenges remain which prevent Ankara from achieving all its objectives. This paper argues that PSO should be analysed in the context of Turkey’s two former operations in Syria, Euphrates Shield Operation (ESO) and Olive Branch Operation (OBO).
  • Topic: Military Intervention, Conflict, Syrian War, Transition, YPG
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Nikolay Sukhov
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Russian leadership believes that the Constitutional Committee (CC) is a key factor in a political settlement in Syria. Russia hopes that the West, primarily the EU, adhering to the principle of “no reconstruction without a political transition”1, would regard the launch of the CC as the beginning of this political process and increase humanitarian aid to Syrians living in government- controlled territory. Russia's position on the constitution issue differs from that of the Syrian government. However, glimmer of hope could come from events in northeast Syria2, which has strengthened position of the opposition in the CC. Yet, neither Russia, nor Syria, are ready to recognise this reality. The Russian leadership is not likely to promote rapprochement between the Syrian government and the opposition on reform issues, as Russia perceives these to be the internal affairs of Syria. In Russia, it is perceived that the constitutional, and later, the political process based on the new constitution, could facilitate the return of refugees. The next step after the adoption of the new constitution should be legislative reform, which would bring Syrian legislation into line with the constitution. The topic of legislative reform in Syria could become bargaining tool for Europe in negotiations with Russia. If Europe wishes to stabilise the situation in Syria and the Middle East, it should first participate in reconstruction efforts by reviving the economy, and thereby Syrian civil society. This would be an indirect stimulation of political reforms. In this case, European leaders need to develop a long-term strategy aimed at improving Syrian society, preventing radical ideas, terrorism and possible new waves of migration to Europe. Russia could contribute to the implementation of European initiatives as the interests of Russia and Europe to stabilise Syria and the region coincide.
  • Topic: Constitution, Syrian War, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Eoin Micheál McNamara
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Eoin Micheál McNamara in his Policy Paper called The Visegrád Four and the Security of NATO’s “Eastern Flank” expresses the argument that there is considerable scope for the V4 states to improve their contribution to NATO’s collective defence posture. Based on this fact, he argues the different strategic positions of each V4 member within the NATO membership related to Russian influence.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Mark Galeotti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In March 2019, the European Parliament formally voted on a resolution that “Russia can no longer be considered a strategic partner.” This was a non-binding political resolution, though, and it is still unclear what is behind the EU’s Russia policy. A particular problem in formulating EU-wide responses to Russian political war is the breadth of opinion between member states and organizational culture – and often institutional requirement – for consensus or unanimity.
  • Topic: European Union, Political Science, European Parliament
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In the next decade, it is all too likely that the past success of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons among the world’s nations will be reversed. Three trends make more proliferation likely. First is the decay of nuclear taboos. Second, and arguably worse, is renewed vertical proliferation—the increase in size and sophistication of nuclear arsenals by states that already have them. Third, the technical information to fuel nuclear breakouts and ramp-ups is more available now than in the past. These trends toward increased proliferation are not yet facts. The author describes three steps the international community could take to save the NPT: making further withdrawals from the NPT unattractive; clamping down on the uneconomical stockpiling and civilian use of nuclear weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); and giving real meaning to efforts to limit the threats that existing nuclear weapons pose.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich, James Hackett, Meia Nouwens
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, European governments’ combined defence spending, when measured in constant 2015 US dollar terms, surpassed the level reached in 2009, before the financial and economic crisis led to a series of significant defence-spending cuts. However, a different strategic paradigm – one that Europe is struggling to adjust to and which is once more a concern for European governments – has re-appeared in this past decade: great-power competition. Russia attempted to change international borders in Europe through the use of force in 2014 by annexing Crimea and continues to support an armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s challenge to Euro-Atlantic security exists in multiple dimensions: as both a conventional military and also a hybrid-warfare issue, with Russia working to dislocate existing societal alignments and disrupt political processes in Western states. The poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer (and of his daughter) in the United Kingdom, attributed by the British government to Russia, underlines further how much the character of conflict has changed. How to manage the challenge Russia poses without simply reverting to Cold War logic remains a worrying problem for governments in NATO and the European Union member states. Meanwhile, European security establishments are beginning to recognise the growing political, economic and military influence of a rising China. Although less of an immediate challenge, China’s growth in these areas has possible profound consequences in the long run. Indeed, in December 2019, NATO declared: ‘We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.’2 For the United States, China has already become the pacing military threat. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, released in June 2019, opens with the assertion that ‘the Indo-Pacific is the Department of Defense’s priority theater’. In other words, the European theatre is not. European analysts and officials have begun to wonder whether the US might begin to see Europe through an Asian lens, seeking to generate European commitments to the Indo-Pacific region, or at the very least getting Europeans to take on greater responsibility for their own security and thereby freeing up US resources. Although there will be some elements of the US military presence in Europe that are indispensable to US military action in other regions of the world, that might not be enough to sustain Washington’s firm commitment to European security in the future, regardless of who occupies the White House. Significantly, not even the US has the capability to fight two major wars simultaneously any more, meaning binary choices regarding focus are inevitable. As some observers have argued, Europeans need to urgently assess what Washington’s choices in this regard – and their implications for Europe – might look like. Considering both how to deter Russia and what a European contribution to containing China might entail represents a major challenge for Western European nations, which have relegated defence to a secondary position, as almost a discretionary activity. European states partially demobilised in the 1990s and early 2000s, intellectually and in terms of their force structures, in response to the end of the Cold War. For example, according to IISS data, in 1990 West Germany alone was thought to be able to field 215 combat battalions and the UK 94. Today it is a fraction of that. However, security challenges relating to regional instability, crisis management and transnational terrorism – which all dominated the previous two decades – have not disappeared. On the contrary, all these still demand attention and the investment of European resources. While there is a growing recognition among Europe’s analytical community, and some governments, that things cannot simply continue as before in terms of regional security and defence, coherence and resolve among core actors in the Euro-Atlantic sphere have weakened. The US administration has intensified its call for better transatlantic burden sharing, at the same time displaying a cavalier attitude to the collective-defence commitment enshrined in NATO. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed severe doubts about the viability of NATO’s collective-defence mission. In addition, the British decision to leave the European Union in 2020 implies that the EU has lost one of its most militarily experienced and one of its most capable member states. There is a tendency among many observers and some politicians to argue that European NATO and EU member states need to clarify the political dimension of their defence ambition, via-à-vis greater strategic autonomy, before resolving the problem of how to meet this ambition militarily, at what cost and in what time frame. Indeed, at times, the debate about European strategic autonomy seems to focus more on the degree of independence from the US that its various proponents would like to achieve and less on the military requirement that autonomy is meant to respond to. It is now widely accepted across Europe that Europeans need ‘to do more’ for their own security and defence. Most of the intellectual energy allocated to this aspiration is spent on achieving better coordination – and even a level of integration – among European armed forces. This is useful, but only if it is directed at building capability to provide for the defence of Europe. The existing military capabilities of the European NATO member states fall short when compared to the force requirements generated by the political–military level of ambition as defined by NATO, or for that matter the EU.5 However, this should not be an excuse to lower the level of ambition, nor should the assumption that Europeans are unable to defend themselves be declared an inevitability. Defence output is the result of political, financial and military choices by governments. To think systematically about the challenge of providing capabilities that can meet Europe’s emerging military requirements, The International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Hanns Seidel Foundation convened a group of thinkers and practitioners from Germany and the UK. The group took seriously the US assertion that Europe needs to be able to provide for its own defence. If Europeans can achieve this, they will be valuable partners to the US in upholding and strengthening the liberal international order on which Euro-Atlantic prosperity and security depend. Meeting twice in 2019, the group discussed threat assessments, debated European capability gaps and scoped potential approaches to addressing them. The following pages draw on the group’s deliberations but do not represent a consensus position.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Serhii Plokhy
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: It is only in the past decade that Ukrainian history has begun to be researched in the context of international or global history. The American historian Serhii Plokhy, Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, is a prominent exponent of this approach. His books The Gates of Europe: A History of UkraineandChernobyl: History of a Tragedy analyze the major problems of the Ukrainian past from a transnational perspective. His latest book, Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front: An Untold Story of World War II, deals with the establishment of United States Air Force bases in the Poltava region of Soviet Ukraine in 1944—the only place where Soviet and American troops lived and fought side by side during the war, putting the anti-Nazi alliance to the test. Plokhy's research interests include the early modern history of Ukraine, twentieth-century international history, and intellectual history. I spoke with Serhii Plokhy about the integration of Ukrainian history into global history, the colonial status of Ukraine, and environmental history.
  • Topic: History, Military Affairs, World War II, Air Force
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Soviet Union
  • Author: Nathaniel Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia’s return to the global stage as a major power relies on an array of diplomatic, information, security, and economic tools that help the Kremlin punch above its weight. One of the newest instruments in that toolbox is the Wagner Group—a shadowy band of mercenaries loyal to the Kremlin and controlled by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a member of President Vladimir Putin’s coterie. Russian and Western media have been following the group’s expanding footprint from Ukraine and Syria to Sudan, the Central African Republic, and now possibly Libya and Venezuela. But despite the significant attention, Western understanding of Wagner’s role and capacity is still incomplete at best. This is partly due to Moscow’s relentless disinformation campaigns and efforts to deny responsibility for Wagner’s operations. Adding to the confusion is a false perception that Wagner is a private military company (PMC) no different than Western outfits like Academi (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp International. A detailed analysis of the group—including its origins, ties to the Putin regime, political and economic drivers, and capabilities—is essential for Western policymakers to better gauge the threat Wagner poses and how to respond. The group may not offer the Kremlin entirely new ways to wage war or build influence, but its existence is emblematic of how a more assertive Russia often—and at times implausibly—tries to evade responsibility for actions beyond its borders. Wagner is also a window into the broader dynamics of the Putin regime, including how it harnesses the ambitions and self-interests of elites like Prigozhin to create deniable and flexible tools. The West should not overreact to the challenge from Wagner, but a multilateral, low-cost campaign to shed light on the group and constrain its options will reduce the risk.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Conflict, Vladimir Putin, Wagner Group
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Paul Stronski
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After a decades-long absence, Russia is once again appearing on the African continent. The Kremlin’s return to Africa, which has generated considerable media, governmental, and civil society attention, draws on a variety of tools and capabilities. Worrying patterns of stepped-up Russian activity are stirring concerns that a new wave of great-power competition in Africa is now upon us. U.S. policymakers frequently stress the need to counter Russian malign influence on the continent. On a visit to Angola in early 2019, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that “Russia often utilizes coercive, corrupt, and covert means to attempt to influence sovereign states, including their security and economic partnerships.”1 Advocates for a more forceful Western policy response point to high-visibility Russian military and security cooperation in the Central African Republic and the wide-ranging travels of Russian political consultants and disinformation specialists as confirmation that Russia, like China, represents a major challenge in Africa. Yet is that really the case? Are Russian inroads and capabilities meaningful or somewhat negligible? Hard information is difficult to come by, but any honest accounting of Russian successes will invariably point to a mere handful of client states with limited strategic significance that are isolated from the West and garner little attention from the international community. It remains unclear whether Russia’s investments in Africa over the past decade are paying off in terms of creating a real power base in Africa, let alone putting it on a footing that will expand its influence in the years to come. Nevertheless, Russia increasingly looks to Africa as a region where it can project power and influence. President Vladimir Putin will welcome leaders from across the continent to Sochi in late October for the first Africa-Russia summit, a clear indication of the symbolic importance that Africa holds for the Kremlin right now.2 It is clear that Russian inroads there would be far more limited but for the power vacuums created by a lack of Western policy focus on Africa in recent years. That state of affairs gives Russia (and other outside powers) an opportunity to curry favor with the continent’s elites and populations. More than anything else, it is opportunism that propels Russia’s relatively low-cost and low-risk strategies to try to enhance its clout and unnerve the West in Africa, just as in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Power Politics, Democracy, Geopolitics, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eugene Rumer
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The 2015 Russian military intervention in Syria was a pivotal moment for Moscow’s Middle East policy. Largely absent from the Middle East for the better part of the previous two decades, Russia intervened to save Bashar al-Assad’s regime and reasserted itself as a major player in the region’s power politics. Moscow’s bold use of military power positioned it as an important actor in the Middle East. The intervention took place against the backdrop of a United States pulling back from the Middle East and growing uncertainty about its future role there. The geopolitical realignment and instability caused by the civil wars in Libya and Syria and the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia have opened opportunities for Russia to rebuild some of the old relationships and to build new ones. The most dramatic turnaround in relations in recent years has occurred between Russia and Israel. The new quality of the relationship owes a great deal to the personal diplomacy between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Russia’s emergence as a major presence in Syria has meant that the Israelis now have no choice but to maintain good relations with their new “neighbor.” Some Israeli officials hope that Moscow will help them deal with the biggest threat they face from Syria—Iran and its client Hezbollah. So far, Russia has delivered some, but far from all that Israel wants from it, and there are precious few signs that Russia intends to break with Iran, its partner and key ally in Syria. Russian-Iranian relations have undergone an unusual transformation as a result of the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war. Their joint victory is likely to lead to a divergence of their interests. Russia is interested in returning Syria to the status quo ante and reaping the benefits of peace and reconstruction. Iran is interested in exploiting Syria as a platform in its campaign against Israel. Russia lacks the military muscle and the diplomatic leverage to influence Iran. That poses a big obstacle to Moscow’s ambitions in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Maxim Samorukov
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The biggest point of contention in the Balkans is back on Europe’s front burner. For decades, Serbia was mired in a conflict with Kosovo, its breakaway province that unilaterally declared independence in 2008 after violent ethnic clashes and international intervention in the late 1990s. Last year, a protracted diplomatic effort to end the conflict was unexpectedly boosted when then U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was ready to consider changes to the Serbia-Kosovo border as part of a settlement. The Serbian government welcomed the idea, giving rise to hopes that a negotiated solution to the Balkan conflict is now potentially within reach. Still, any final settlement is very much an uphill battle. Many Kosovar leaders are not enthusiastic about the proposed border correction, which would entail swapping areas in northern Kosovo populated mainly by ethnic Serbs for Serbian municipalities dominated by ethnic Albanians. Germany and other members of the European Union (EU) have disapproved strongly, arguing that redrawing boundaries may open a Pandora’s box, with unpredictable ripple effects.2 On top of all that, it is increasingly clear that Russia, which has long held great sway over the region, may not actually want the conflict resolved at all. So long as Serbia does not formally recognize Kosovo’s independence, it must rely on Russia’s veto power in the United Nations (UN) Security Council to prevent full international recognition of what it regards as a breakaway province. That dependency gives Russia a nontrivial degree of influence, both in the region and within Serbia itself. The Kremlin fears that ending the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo will diminish Russia’s stature in Serbia and severely undermine its clout in the Balkans. Moscow is well-positioned to derail the resolution process. Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoys unchecked popularity across most of Serbian society, and the Russian political and national security establishment maintains close ties with its counterparts among Serbia’s political and security elites, who tend to strongly oppose any compromise with Kosovo. From all appearances, Moscow also hopes to use its influence over the Kosovo issue as leverage in its acrimonious relationship with the West.
  • Topic: United Nations, Conflict, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Russia, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Weiss, Eugene Rumer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Amid the widespread attention the Kremlin’s recent inroads in Africa have attracted, there has been surprisingly little discussion of South Africa, a country which, for nearly a decade, unquestionably represented Russia’s biggest foreign policy success story on the continent. As relations soared during the ill-starred presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009–2018), the Kremlin sought to wrest a geopolitically significant state out of the West’s orbit and to create a partnership that could serve as a springboard for expanded influence elsewhere in Africa. Moscow’s strategy was multifaceted, capitalizing on well-established close ties with Zuma, a former African National Congress senior intelligence official with extensive Soviet bloc connections. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials pursued a series of initiatives, such as the inclusion of South Africa in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping and the launch of ambitious forms of cooperation between state-backed energy interests primarily in the nuclear sector. Yet relations were undermined by the Kremlin’s propensity to overreach, to lean too heavily on the legacy of Cold War–era relationships forged with leaders of national liberation movements, and to take advantage of cultures of corruption. The controversy arising from a massive $76 billion nuclear power plant construction deal triggered strong pushback and legal challenges from South Africa’s institutional checks and balances, civil society groups, and independent media. Key parts of the Russian national security establishment view civil nuclear power exports as an important tool for projecting influence overseas while creating revenue streams for sustaining intellectual and technical capabilities and vital programs inside Russia itself. Yet such cooperation is often a two-edged sword. On the one hand, costly projects such as the one pushed by Zuma typically make little economic sense for the purchasing country, spurring uncomfortable questions about who stands to benefit. On the other hand, heavily subsidized projects pursued mainly for geopolitical reasons risk saddling Russia’s nuclear power monopoly Rosatom with burdens it can ill afford. Ongoing investigations of high-level corruption during the period of so-called state capture under Zuma shed remarkable light on how the Kremlin operates in Africa and other parts of the world. In retrospect, the sustainability of Moscow’s embrace of South Africa was highly questionable due to its paltry tool kit. Russian involvement in the South African economy is miniscule compared to that of other trading partners such as the EU, China, the United States, India, and the UK, accounting for a mere 0.4 percent of South Africa’s foreign trade. While the Soviet Union was an important patron during the anti-apartheid struggle, modern-day Russia offers little in the way of practical assistance for helping South Africa deal with its deep-set economic and societal challenges.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, National Security, Geopolitics, Nuclear Waste
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, South Africa
  • Author: Dave Johnson
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The visibility, scale and scope of Russian military exercises have been a focus of the Western media and specialist literature since 2014. Of most recent interest, Russia conducted Vostok 2018, the latest it- eration of its annual strategic1 exercises, from early July to 17 September 2018. Vostok (meaning East) is part of a system of strategic exercises that the Russian Armed Forces have been developing since 2009. It is one of the four named annual strategic exercises conducted on a rotating basis among four of Russia’s five military districts. It should be noted that these visible events represent a small fraction of Russia’s nationwide whole-of-Government effort to develop the ability to conduct large-scale operations against a major military power, and to influence po- tential adversaries.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Sten Rynning
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This NDC Research Paper argues that in spite of these warning signs, NATO can regain its balance between power and purpose and thus secure its future. NATO’s balancing act is ultimately a question of leadership: it is within the reach of Allied leaders to balance the interests and geopolitics of Europe and Asia, as well as the restrained and affirmative policies that represent Canada and Europe’s inclination for concerted diplomacy on the one hand and the United States inclination for strategic engagement on the other. Regrettably, these leaders may be drawn to some of the easy NATO visions that offer stringency of purpose, as in “come home to Europe”, or inversely, “go global”. Yet the reality of the Alliance’s geopolitical history and experience is that NATO is strong when apparently contrasting interests are molded into a balanced vision. Today, NATO can only encourage European investment in global, US-led policy if it secures stability in Europe, while inversely, NATO can only secure US investment in Europe’s security order if the Allies are open to coordination on global affairs. The report first outlines the basic geopolitical trends with which the Alliance is confronted: an Alliance leader questioning its heritage of overseas engagement, China’s rise as a great power, an emerging alignment between China and Russia in opposition to liberal order, and the track record of southern unconventional threats dividing the Allies on matters such as counter-terrorism, immigration control, stabilization and development. The Allies seem to be hesitating on the West-East axis and paralyzed as a collective on southern issues, which leads the report to sketch three NATO futures.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Liberal Order, Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Julian Lindley-French
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In April 1949, at the signing of the foundation doc- ument of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Treaty of Washington, the Western Allies had twelve active divisions. They believed, erroneously as it turned out, that Stalin’s Red Army had 175 di- visions on the other side of the River Elbe which marked the then inner-German border. At the time the West consoled itself with the monopoly that the United States had on atomic weaponry. Such com- placency ended on 29 August 1949 with a nuclear shock when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic device. The new NATO was also tied inextricably to Europe’s then recent past. Soon after the Treaty of Washington was signed the French newspaper Le Monde suggested that the creation of NATO repre- sent a big step down the road to German rearma- ment: “The rearmament of Germany is present in the Atlantic Pact as the seed in the egg”.1 April 1949 thus encapsulated both the ambition and the tensions that were to mark the three strands of post-World War Two European security and defence: transatlantic relations, the German Question and the road to European Union and how to both engage Russia and defend against it.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Germany, North America
  • Author: Bruno Tertrais
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, as the Atlantic Alliance was get- ting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, this au- thor published a piece entitled “Will NATO still exist in 2009?”.1 It argued that NATO’s lost sense of mission after the disappearance of the Sovi- et threat, disagreements over peacekeeping, and a growing US disinterest for Europe legitimately raised the question of the Alliance’s ability to sur- vive ten years from then. Today NATO’s Article 5 missions are once again taking center stage and the relevance of the Alli- ance is hardly questioned. But questions are still being raised about its political solidity. Is it more le- gitimate today to wonder about NATO’s existence ten years from now than it was in 1999? To a point, no. There is no longer a significant debate about NATO’s relevance. However, there are severe ten- sions in the transatlantic relation, which Russia’s aggressiveness is unlikely to dampen. NATO has remarkably adapted and has even been rejuvenated: but the Atlantic Alliance remains in trouble. And this, in turn, could have consequences on NATO’s ability to deter and act.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Tomáš Valášek
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, it has re- turned nearly all the way to its original deterrence and defence roots. While it remains in the busi- ness of collective security and crisis management, for the past five years – since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – Article 5 tasks have come to dominate the agenda of the commanders, plan- ners and policy makers. As for the years ahead, the challenges come in three forms. The first is to finish the transition to common defence. 2019 is not 1949; the nature of the technologies that determine winners and los- ers has changed. And while NATO has adapted admirably in many ways, it has work left to do, par- ticularly in addressing cyber vulnerabilities. The second challenge is also related to technolo- gies, and it is to start preparing for the next gener- ation of partly or fully automated warfare, which will make use of artificial intelligence (AI). The re- search and development is well under way, on the part of the Allies as well as potential adversaries. A lot less thinking is taking place with regard to how defence politics – the way Allies agree on plans and guide operations – will be affected. That is a mistake. The changes which automation will bring to NATO deliberations will be no less dramatic than those which will happen on the battlefield. The third challenge is more immediate and po- litical in nature: it is to keep the Alliance unified inthe face of unprecedented soul-searching on the part of the biggest Ally, the United States. And while by virtue of its size and dominance Wash- ington tends to be self-referential, reactions from the rest of NATO member states do make a dif- ference, both positive and negative. Their track re- cord over the past two years has been mixed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Jan Broeks
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since 2014, the Euro-Atlantic security environment has become less stable and predictable as a result of a series of actions taken by Russia: Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and ongoing destabilization of eastern Ukraine; Russia’s military posture and provocative military activities, such as the deployment of modern dual-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, repeated violations of NATO Allied air- space, and the continued military build-up in Crimea; its significant investments in the modernization of its strategic forces; its irresponsible and aggressive nu- clear rhetoric; its large-scale, no-notice snap exercises; and the growing number of its exercises with a nucle- ar dimension. In parallel, growing instability in our southern re- gion, from the Middle East to North Africa, as well as transnational and multi-dimensional threats, are chal- lenging our security. These factors can all have long- term consequences for peace and security in the Eu- ro-Atlantic region and stability across the globe. Yet it is mainly Russian military actions that have brought deterrence and collective defence back to the fore- front of NATO’s agenda.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine in 2014, the Western strategic community is trying to come to grips with the concept of hybridity.1 Some ob- servers were quick to point out that the idea of combining military and non-military tools was far from new, and they warned against exaggerating hy- brid warfare.2 However, Russia’s apparently seam- less and effective blending of political, diplomatic, economic, electronic and military tools in order to annex Crimea and support separatists in the Don- bas seemed to herald a new era of hybrid warfare: a revisionist power was using both old and new means to undermine and, eventually, tear down a post-Cold War order it considered unfair and un- favourable.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Mathieu Boulegue
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia’s military posture in the Arctic is informed by the changing geopolitical environment, and can no longer be considered in isolation from the country’s growing tensions with the West. In this sense, the period of “Arctic exceptionalism” – in which, by convention, the region has been treated as a zone of depoliticized cooperation – is coming to an end. Certainly, the Russian Arctic is not exceptional for Moscow in military-operational terms. Russia’s leadership has accorded the same threat perception to the Arctic as it has to other theatres of operation. It seeks consistent control over foreign military activity in the Russian Arctic, and ensured access for Russian armed forces, particularly the Northern Fleet. Russia’s military build-up in the Russian Arctic and the Kremlin’s intentions are, at least for now, defensive in nature. Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) primarily aims to ensure perimeter defence of the Kola Peninsula for the survivability of second-strike nuclear assets. Russia’s “Bastion” defence concept consists of the projection of multi-layered sea denial and interdiction capabilities. Another Russian priority is to ensure the Northern Fleet’s access to, and passage along, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This has hitherto been achieved through military infrastructure along the NSR. However, due to the receding ice, Moscow will seek to enforce “border control” over a larger portion of its Arctic area in the future. The revamping of dual-use border control infrastructure and facilities is deemed a priority for safeguarding Russia’s vision of national security in the AZRF. Since the mid-2010s, Russia has deployed substantive force and capabilities along its northern border in the AZRF. Parts of the armed forces, such as the Arctic Brigade, are now Arctic-capable and have developed concepts of operations tailored to that environment. The Northern Fleet has been repurposed with the Arctic environment in mind, and has been provided with Arctic-specific military technology and training. Russia acts as a status quo power and a reluctant rule-follower in the Arctic, partly because international law there plays in its favour, and partly because it is in Russia’s interest to do so. Despite growing tension, cooperation between Russia and other Arctic nations is likely to endure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Arctic
  • Author: Marc Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: s the growing relationship between Russia and China a short term “axis of convenience” as some have suggest- ed or rather a “stable strategic partnership” described by China’s former vice Foreign Minister, Fu Ying”.1 Based on current events, it is still too early to tell how substan- tive this relationship will develop. On the one hand, there are impressive achievements in cooperation with clear sig- nals from Moscow and Beijing of their future aspirations, which are serious and long-term. On the other hand, there are indications that things could fall apart quickly consid- ering a contentious history that is still in living memory, lingering distrust and socio-cultural obstacles. Although both countries have finally agreed on a mutually recog- nized border, growing Chinese influence and the sheer disparity of populations in the border region raise con- cerns that even Russian leadership privately acknowledge. For the time being, however, the forces bringing both countries together are enough to overcome these obsta- cles. Although the current direction of bilateral relations is towards cooperation, it is still a fragile sort. Because co- operation requires the participation of Russian and Chi- nese leadership, it could recede without their active pro- motion. In the long term much will depend on how the leadership navigates through the phases of cooperation, both military and economic. For NATO, this underscores the need to incorporate Far East developments into its strategic awareness of the Eastern Flank, particularly with respect to the convergence of political, military and eco- nomic forces.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Patrick Turner
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO at 70 shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, the last few years have been marked by a growth in the challenges to which we must respond, and a high tem- po of decisions and adaptation. NATO’s ability to adapt to the changing security environment has always been a core strength – but this ability has been and will continue to be put to the test. In the last five years, since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and intervention in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO has been going back to basics. Its core purpose of defending Allies has come back to the fore. But not to the exclusion of other tasks and priorities such as: NA- TO’s operations and missions, for example in Afghani- stan, Kosovo and Iraq; our broader contributions to the international fight against terrorism; or our work to build partner capacity. This Policy Brieffocuses on NATO’s efforts to strength- en its defence posture. The NATO shorthand for our efforts to improve our collective defence is deterrence, defence and dialogue (the “three Ds”). These are un- derpinned by responsiveness, readiness and reinforce- ment (the “three Rs”), as well as strengthened national resilience to attack. More investment and commitment by non-US Allies in line with the Defence Investment Pledge agreed at the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014, the shorthand for which is cash, capabilities and contri- butions (the “three Cs”), provides the crucial enablers for the three Ds and the three Rs.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Graeme Gill
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The accepted wisdom about dictators is that they rule their political systems in an essentially arbitrary and willful manner. Their leadership colleagues are said to live in constant fear of the dictator, always vulnerable to his will and always looking to defend themselves against him. The leadership is shown as a Hobbesian “war of all against all” as the leader rules with no real restraint. This paper challenges that view. It will explain why such a view of leadership politics in authoritarian systems is inadequate, and will illustrate this by looking at two of the most egregious dictators of the twentieth century, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Politics, Governance, Institutions, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Hans Binnendijk, Daniel S. Hamilton, Charles L. Barry
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: The NATO Alliance faces simultaneous dangers to its east, to its south, and from a series of security challenges unbounded by geography, at a time when disparate allied responses to a host of challenges are tearing the seams of European unity and American political figures have even questioned the need for NATO. Europe risks turning from an exporter of stability to an importer of instability. The vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace is challenged by a Europe fractured and anxious. The Alliance must be revitalized for the new world rising before us. An overarching Alliance strategy must rely on NATO’s ability to provide a full spectrum of deterrent and defense tools to provide collective defense for all of its members, together with an ability to project stability and resilience beyond its borders using an array of tools for crisis management.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Partnerships, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America
  • Author: David M Malone, Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper includes essential history of how the multilateral world has evolved over the last 150 years, followed by an examination of several types of multilateral systems: the United Nations and related organizations (including the World Bank group and the International Monetary Fund), and the World Trade Organization; regional organizations; and cross-cutting multilateral or plurilateral groupings with more limited, generally consultative purposes, such as the Group of Seven and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China). It concludes with some reflections on the implications for multilateralism of a defection from its attractions and principles by key actors.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, World Trade Organization, World Bank, Multilateral Relatons, IMF, BRIC
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, Brazil, South America, North America
  • Author: Igor A. Matveev
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In order to achieve the goals of the “Rebuild Syria” strategy, Damascus has been trying to attract investment from friendly countries, viewing business cooperation with Russia as a cornerstone of such efforts. Moscow has not yet made a final choice between a comprehensive “broad” approach, aimed at building a long-term economic presence in Syria, and a “narrow approach” of outsourcing the country’s reconstruction to selective Russian companies capable of securing rapid compensation for Russia’s expenditures during the Syrian war. Currently the second approach seems to prevail. The modalities of the Russia-Syria business cooperation are based on the “government-to-government” (G2G), “business-to-government” (B2G) and “business-to-business” (B2B) formats with the first two being preferable for Russian partners. Traders and industrialists from Russia encounter opportunities and challenges in Syria, related to the need of Damascus to restore and modernise the national economy amidst the disruption of the territory and to socioeconomic life, disconnection from the global financial system, Western sanctions against Moscow and Damascus, a history of unsuccessful B2B practices and over-bureaucracy in Syria, hence a preference for G2G and B2G. Future mutual economic ties depend on the evolution of the environment around Syria, reconciliation inside the country and the improvement of the domestic business climate. Moscow is making an effort to push the UN, the EU and GCC states to become donors; although Syria-Russia-EU coordination on other matters seems unlikely due to the latter’s negative political image inside Syria and Damascus’s reliance on Russia and Iran.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Business , Syrian War, Reconciliation , Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hamidreza Azizi, Leonid Issaev
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. There has historically been low levels of trade and investment from both Russia and Iran with Syria, with trade in military items being a notable exception. While the trade relationship between Syria and its two main allies predates the conflict, levels of trade had been remarkably low before the crisis, in contrast to mainstream perceptions. Yet, these figures cannot be confirmed due to unavailability of a comprehensive record of the Syrian bilateral relationship with Iran and Russia. Internationally imposed sanctions have discouraged Russian and Iranian companies from doing business with Syria. Lacking any other resources, the only way that Syrian could repay debts to its allies would be to grant exclusive access to energy and natural resources. This however would reduce the public revenue needed to rebuild state institutions, and also encourage foreign rivalry over economic opportunities. As Syria lacks any coordination mechanism for post-war economic reconstruction, Russia and Iran have set their eyes on the energy sector, where Russia has the upper hand. Yet, cooperation is also possible in other sectors, such as Syria’s rail sector. In order to understand the Russian and Iranian economic relationship with Syria, two factors should be considered. First is the informal relationship between Syria and its two allies, which has taken the form of unofficial agreements and trade. These would be important when sanctions are lifted. The second factor is military exports to Syria, expected to be large, given the scale of war and Syrian reliance on Russia and Iran. Due to lack of official data, this paper will not consider both issues.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions, Conflict, Syrian War, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Nikolay Surkov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. When the major fighting in Syria had stopped, Russia immediately began a campaign of repatriation of Syrians who had fled to neighbouring countries. The Russian government developed a special programme focusing on rehabilitating infrastructure and job creation inside Syria. Its implementation was entrusted to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), working in cooperation with the Syrian authorities to assess the damage and provide necessary materials and equipment. While the programme achieved a measure of success in terms of reconstruction, the security of the returnees remained an issue. Russia has been willing to cooperate with the West for funding reconstruction efforts, so long as they relaxed their political conditionality. It also looked to the Gulf countries as an attractive, yet uncertain option.
  • Topic: Refugees, Political stability, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Miroslav Tůma in his new Policy Paper titled "The Importance of Verification and Transparency in the Nuclear-Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Process" explained how monitoring and verification procedure associated with the nuclear-arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament process is nowadays important, especially in the sphere between US and Russia, which posses 90% of nuclear weapons all over the world. The author also analysed the development of the verification procedure in this field and its future curse. Should be the engagement of verification activity in a straight line with international law? What attitude should the Czech Republic take towards this problem in the near future?
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Michel Duclos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. According to many reports, Iranian leaders—notably including Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)—were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria and save Bashar al-Assad’s skin in September 2015
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Brian G. Chow
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: This article reviewed three major projections of the global space industry by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch and extracted the trands that would significantly impact the design of both the domestic and international space traffic management (STM) schemes. If found that, in the next two decades, the United States will have the largest market share in practically every space industrial sector. It suggests how the United States, as well as the West, can use its market power to incentivize Russia and Chinna to fall in line with a STM that provides peace and prosperity to all. It also proposed five measures as building blocks for developing standards, practices, regulations and laws for such STM.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Space, Public Sector, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Jianwei Xu
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Bilateral Relations, Governance, Investment, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Victor Esin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The stabilizing role of the INF Treaty is still relevant. Its importance has even increased against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in recent years due to the well-known events in Ukraine, aggravated by mutual sanctions and NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders. Preserving the INF Treaty, which has now become the subject of controversy and mutual non-compliance accusations between Russia and the United States, is therefore doubly important.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Jan Cingel
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Armenia is a landlocked country situated in the South Caucasus region. History of the region was shaped by the clash of three major empires: Ottoman, Persian and Russian trying to win control over it. The modern history of Armenia began in 1991, when the country seceded from the crumbling Soviet Union. Those were difficult years as the fledgling country was in ongoing war with its new post-USSR neighbour – Azerbaijan. The war was waged over “Nagorno- Karabakh”, a region that was mostly populated by ethnic Armenians, however was formally part of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In the international arena, Armenia joined the UN in 1991, the Russia-led defence pact called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in 1994, and also in that year, NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP). Armenia became part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) in 2009 and until September 2013 had been negotiating the EU’s Association Agreement (AA), which included a free trade agreement. Two months before the intended completion of negotiations, and after a visit of then President Serzh Sargsyan to Moscow, Armenia announced that it would cancel negotiations with the EU on the AA and that it was going to join the emerging Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) instead. Armenia joined the EAEU in 2014.
  • Topic: NATO, Post Colonialism, United Nations, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ottoman Empire
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: For more than half a decade Ukraine has been one of epicenters on the map of geopolitical crises in the world and consequently drawn a lot of international attention worldwide. Ever since it gained its independence form the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine was a of the country also changed. Ukraine has been dominated by Russia as the Russian Empire penetrated deep toward the Black Sea in the 17th century, and the position of inferiority towards Moscow was also the case in the USSR. The first upheaval dubbed the Orange Revolution sort of buffer zone between the West and East, between the United States and European allies on the one hand, and the Russian Federation on the other. With the change of political elites and their political preferences, the orientation in 2004, brought to power Viktor Yushchenko, who tried to conduct reforms and bring Ukraine closer to the West, but the effect of his Presidency were ephemeral. President Viktor Yanukovych turned Ukraine’s sight towards Russia again, but also kept the process of EU association alive before suddenly deciding not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU just days before the planned signing ceremony on 29th November 2013. This Yanukovych’s abrupt turn from EU in favor of stronger ties with Russia triggered the wave of massive public demonstrations which later become known as the Euromaidan and subsequently the Ukrainian revolution in February 2014. The Euromaidan Revolution toppled Yanukovych and the new pro-Western government was formed. Russia soon reacted to the change of tide in Ukraine by annexing the Crimean peninsula in March and soon the armed conflict between the pro- Western government in Kiev and Russia backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts broke out. Ever since the spring of 2014, Ukraine has been engulfed in a brutal conflict in the east of the country that is hampering its efforts to reform and get closer to the EU. Nonetheless, Ukrainian leadership is under the new President Volodymir Zelensky is striving to forge stronger links with the West and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Author: Liudmila Zakharova
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The New Northern Policy, proclaimed by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok in September 2017, is designed to boost economic cooperation between Russia and South Korea. However, two years after a special presidential committee was created to plan and coordinate joint economic efforts, few results have been achieved. Bilateral trade has continued to increase with limited change to its structure: Russia mostly sends its mineral resources to South Korea and receives industrial products in return. New ROK investment in the Russian Far East has yet to occur, despite South Korea’s efforts to assist its businesses in finding profitable Russian projects. Seoul tried to convince Moscow that concluding a free trade agreement in the near future is necessary for intensified cooperation, but Russia prefers a more gradual approach to trade liberalization. InterKorean rapprochement in 2018 laid a foundation for further progress in the implementation of multilateral economic projects involving Russia if the international sanctions against North Korea were to be eased. Therefore, bilateral relations between Russia and the ROK can also be viewed from the perspective of promoting regional cooperation with North Korean participation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Collapse of the Syrian state is largely a reality. Both Russia and Iran, Assad’s allies, know he is not the guarantor of the continuity of the state any more but continue to hold on to him to sign off on projects that consolidate their control. This paper argues that instead of a failed state, a two-headed system has emerged, with Iran and Russia each pushing for their own vision of the country.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Fragile/Failed State, Authoritarianism, Military Intervention, Repression
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Syria, Damascus
  • Author: Ben Barry, Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The study applies scenario analysis – with scenarios set in the early 2020s – to generate force requirements, and assesses the ability of NATO’s European member states to meet these requirements based on data from the IISS Military Balance Plus online database. The cost of closing the identified capability shortfalls through equipment acquisition has been estimated. The objective of the study is to enable informed policy dialogue both in Europe and in a transatlantic setting. The study explicitly does not intend to predict future conflicts nor the intentions of any of the actors involved. Neither does it wish to prescribe a certain path of action to be pursued by European NATO governments. The first scenario examined deals with the protection of the global sea lines of communication (SLOCs). In this scenario, the United States has withdrawn from NATO and has also abandoned its role of providing global maritime presence and protection, not just for its own national interest but also as an international public good. It thus falls to European countries to achieve and sustain a stable maritime-security environment in European waters and beyond, to enable the free flow of international maritime trade, and to protect global maritime infrastructure. The IISS assesses that European NATO members would have to invest between US$94 billion and US$110bn to fill the capability gaps generated by this scenario. The second scenario deals with the defence of European NATO territory against a state-level military attack. In this scenario, tensions between Russia and NATO members Lithuania and Poland escalate into war after the US has left NATO. This war results in the Russian occupation of Lithuania and some Polish territory seized by Russia. Invoking Article V, the European members of NATO direct the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to plan Operation Eastern Shield to reassure Estonia, Latvia and Poland, and other front-line NATO member states, by deterring further Russian aggression. European NATO also prepares and assembles forces for Operation Eastern Storm, a military operation to restore Polish and Lithuanian government control over their territories.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Strategy, Maritime, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: David Santoro, Anton Khlopkov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: Much ink has been spilled on the return to major-power competition in recent years, singling out three states: the United States, Russia, and China. For good reasons: the relationships between these three states have become increasingly complicated, notably between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China. What’s more, there are few signs that the current trajectory could change for the better. If anything, we can expect these relationships to become more, not less, complicated.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy outline a U.S. shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for much of this competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs of conventional and nuclear war would likely be catastrophic. U.S. strategy is evolving from a post-9/11 focus on counterterrorism against groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to competition between state adversaries. As the National Defense Strategy notes, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”1 This shift has significant implications for the U.S. military, since it indicates a need to improve U.S. capabilities to fight—and win—possible wars against China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea if deterrence fails. Though it is prudent to prepare for conventional—and even nuclear—war, the risks of conflict are likely to be staggering. Numerous war games and analyses of U.S. conflicts with Russia in the Baltics, China in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, and North Korea on the Korean peninsula suggest the possibility of at least tens of thousands of dead and billions of dollars in economic damages. In addition, these conflicts could escalate to nuclear war, which might raise the number of dead to hundreds of thousands or even millions. According to one analysis, for example, a U.S. war with China could reduce China’s gross domestic product (GDP) by between 25 and 35 percent and the United States’ GDP by between 5 and 10 percent. The study also assessed that both countries could suffer substantial military losses to bases, air forces, surface naval forces, and submarines; significant political upheaval at home and abroad; and huge numbers of civilian deaths.2 These costs and risks will likely give Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and even Pyongyang pause, raising several questions. Will these high costs deter the possibility of conventional and nuclear war? If so, what are the implications for the United States as it plans for a rise in inter-state competition? The Cold War offers a useful historical lens. NATO planners prepared for a possible Soviet and Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. The U.S. military, for example, deployed forces to the Fulda Gap, roughly 60 miles outside of Frankfurt, Germany, as one of several possible invasion routes by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces. NATO also planned for nuclear war. The United States built up its nuclear arsenal and adopted strategies like mutually assured destruction (MAD). The concept of MAD assumed that a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. The threat of such heavy costs deterred conflict, despite some close calls. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the two superpowers nearly went to war after a U.S. U-2 aircraft took pictures of Soviet medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) under construction in Cuba. But Washington and Moscow ultimately assessed that direct conflict was too costly. Deterrence held. Instead, the United States and Soviet Union engaged in intense security competition at the unconventional level across Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Both countries backed substate groups and states to expand their power and influence. Under the Reagan Doctrine, for example, the United States provided overt and covert assistance to anticommunist governments and resistance movements to roll back communist supporters. The Soviets did the same and supported states and substate actors across the globe. In addition, the Soviets adopted an aggressive, unconventional approach best captured in the phrase “active measures” or aktivnyye meropriatia. As used by the KGB, active measures included a wide range of activities designed to influence populations across the globe. The KGB established front groups, covertly broadcast radio and other programs, orchestrated disinformation campaigns, and conducted targeted assassinations. The Soviets used active measures as an offensive instrument of Soviet foreign policy to extend Moscow’s influence and power throughout the world, including in Europe. Unlike the Cold War, the United States confronts multiple state adversaries today—not one. As the National Defense Strategy argues, the United States is situated in “a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory” where “the central challenges to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers.” But based on the likely costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, much of the competition will likely be unconventional—and include what former U.S. State Department diplomat George Kennan referred to as “political warfare.” The term political warfare refers to the employment of military, intelligence, diplomatic, financial, and other means—short of conventional war—to achieve national objectives. It can include overt operations like public broadcasting and covert operations like psychological warfare and support to underground resistance groups.3 The United States’ adversaries today are already engaged in political warfare. Russia, for instance, utilizes a range of means to pursue its interests, such as technologically sophisticated offensive cyber programs, covert action, and psychological operations. Moscow has conducted overt operations like the use of RT and Sputnik, as well as semitransparent and covert efforts. It has also become increasingly active in supporting state and substate actors in countries like Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya to expand its influence in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa. Finally, Russia is attempting to exploit European and transatlantic fissures and support populist movements to undermine European Union and NATO cohesion, thwart economic sanctions, justify or obscure Russian actions, and weaken the attraction of Western institutions for countries on Russia’s periphery. Iran is using political warfare tools like propaganda, cyber attacks, and aid to substate proxies to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats. Tehran is also assisting state and substate actors in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. Iran supports Shia militia groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. In the South China Sea, China is pouring millions of tons of sand and concrete onto reefs, creating artificial islands. It is also conducting a sophisticated propaganda campaign, utilizing economic coercion, and using fleets of fishing vessels to solidify its assertion of territorial and resource rights throughout the Pacific. Finally, Beijing is targeting the U.S. government, its allies, and U.S. companies as part of a cyber-espionage campaign. With political warfare already alive and well with the United States’ state adversaries, there are several implications for U.S. defense strategy. First, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for significant inter-state competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war may be prohibitively high. This should involve thinking through trade-offs regarding force posture, procurement, acquisition, and modernization. A U.S. military that predominantly focuses on preparing for conventional or nuclear war with state competitors—by modernizing the nuclear triad, building more resilient space capabilities, acquiring more effective counter-space systems, equipping U.S. forces with high-technology weapons, and emphasizing professional military education (PME) to fight conventional wars—may undermine U.S. unconventional readiness and capabilities. Second, even organizations that already engage in some types of political warfare—such as U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. intelligence community—will need to continue shifting some of their focus from counterterrorism to political warfare against state adversaries. This might include, for example, providing more aid to the Baltic States to conduct an effective resistance campaign against unconventional action by Moscow. Or it might involve aiding proxies in countries like Syria and Yemen to counter Iranian-backed organizations. It could also include improving the border security capabilities and effectiveness of Ukrainian military and police units against Russian-backed rebels. Third, the United States should invest in resources and capabilities that allow the military and other U.S. government agencies to more effectively engage in political warfare—and to provide agencies with sufficient authorities to conduct political warfare. One example is improving capabilities to conduct aggressive, offensive cyber operations. Other examples might include advanced electronic attack capabilities, psychological warfare units, security force assistance brigades, and precision munitions. Recognizing that other powers routinely conduct political warfare, George Kennan encouraged U.S. leaders to disabuse themselves of the “handicap” of the “concept of a basic difference between peace and war” and to wake up to “the realities of international relations—the perpetual rhythm of struggle, in and out of war.” Kennan’s advice may be even more relevant today in such a competitive world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years of relative calm and predictability in relations between Russia and the West enabled European governments largely to neglect their military capabilities for territorial defense and dramatically redraw Northern Europe’s multilateral, regional, and bilateral boundaries, stimulating new institutional and cooperative developments and arrangements. These cooperative patterns of behavior occurred amid a benign security environment, a situation that no longer obtains. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its military incursion into eastern Ukraine, its substantial military modernization efforts, heightened undersea activity in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, and its repeated air violations, the region’s security environment has dramatically worsened. The Baltic Sea and North Atlantic region have returned as a geostrategic focal point. It is vital, therefore, that the United States rethink its security approach to the region—what the authors describe as Enhanced Deterrence in the North.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, Northern Europe, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Suzanne Spaulding
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This report, informed by a CSIS-convened Experts Group, calls for a whole-of-nation approach to address the threat to, and improve the resilience of, the country's democratic institutions. The report proceeds in four sections. First, it outlines the nature of the threat posed by the Russian government, building upon what Russia has done in other countries, as well as in the United States. The second section describes how technology has magnified this threat. The third section examines essential elements of a "National Strategy to Counter Russian and Other Foreign Adversary Threats to Democratic Institutions." The final section is a call for action.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Democracy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Edward C. Chow, Andrew J. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia was roiled by political and economic chaos, many state-owned assets were privatized based on political connections and corrupt practices. The oil sector was a particularly attractive, but by no means the only, target for these privatizations. By the end of the 1990s, almost all of Russia’s oil production was privately owned. In spite of continued nontransparency, the oil sector began to resemble a competitive market with private investors introducing Western technology, financial accounting, and operating and management practices. It also started to attract major foreign investments. The remaining state oil assets were managed by a sleepy state enterprise named Rosneft that, in spite of its name (Russian Oil), produced less than 5 percent of Russia’s oil. Today, majority state-owned Rosneft produces almost half of Russia’s oil. Its daily oil production of 4.6 million barrels, according to its last reported quarterly results, is double that of the world’s largest oil company by market capitalization, ExxonMobil, which last reported daily liquids production of 2.3 million barrels. Rosneft’s rapid rise coincided with the rule of Vladimir Putin, who first became president of Russia in 2000. Its production increases were built largely on the backs of controversial acquisitions of assets previously held by private companies such as Yukos, TNK-BP, and Bashneft. Rosneft’s acquisition spree accelerated after Putin’s close associate and Russia’s then-deputy prime minister Igor Sechin became chairman of its board of directors in 2004. Sechin left government in 2012 to take over as Rosneft’s chief executive officer. Rosneft’s board of directors is now chaired by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Rosneft’s transformation as Russia’s national oil champion is consistent with Putin’s policy of regaining state control over the commanding heights of the Russian economy, which is more reliant on oil income today than the Soviet Union ever was. Rosneft is Russia’s largest taxpayer and contributed a quarter of government revenue in 2014. Until recently, Rosneft concentrated mainly on consolidating its dominance over the domestic oil patch. It is also Russia’s leading refiner and is increasing natural gas production for direct sales to domestic gas users, producing 67 billion cubic meters in 2016. In 2014, Russia was hit by the twin shocks of a global oil price collapse and Western economic sanctions enacted after its aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas region and annexation of Crimea. These developments affected Rosneft severely since it involved the value of the commodity it produces and sells and restricted Rosneft’s access to international financing when it was heavily indebted from the aforementioned acquisitions. A normal company might hunker down, repair its balance sheet, and wait for external conditions to improve. Instead Rosneft has done the exact opposite and expanded its international business aggressively. As part of the 2014 U.S.-led sanction efforts, Igor Sechin, as the leading figure of Russia’s largest petroleum company and his having “shown utter loyalty to Vladimir Putin,” was directly sanctioned. Further Russian sanctions enacted by Congress in 2017 called on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to submit a detailed report on senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities as determined by their “closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” While the unclassified version of the report released to Congress on January 29 included Igor Sechin, the report was poorly received and largely regarded as nothing more than a “rich list” by Russian experts. However, the report also contains classified annexes, including a list of parastatal entities and supporting analysis, which by definition would have included Rosneft. Although Rosneft’s rapid international expansion is too recent to assess definitely, this paper describes some of Rosneft’s overseas ventures and explores possible motivations, economic and political, behind them.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Foreign Direct Investment, Sanctions, Gas, Transparency, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Whatever his other limitations, Vladimir Putin has shown he is a master in exploiting Russian nationalism and American and European sensitivities. His latest gambit—publicizing new Russian nuclear systems—several of which are still developmental, may have key components that are untested, or do not yet exist—give him political credibility in asserting Russian national strength in a Russian election year, and emphasize the one key area where Russia remains a leading global super power: its possession of nuclear weapons. The key question is whether they represent any real change in the nuclear balance, Russian and U.S. ability to pose an existential threat to the other state, and mutual assured destruction. If they do not, they are more technological status symbols or “toys” than real threats, although the proliferation of such weapons might allow smaller nuclear powers like Iran and North Korea to defeat today’s missile and air defense systems and technologies. An analysis of the actual content of his speech, the changing nuclear and conventional balance between the superpowers—the U.S., Russia, and China, the global balance of deployed nuclear weapons, the shifts taking in US and Russian balance since the Cold War, and as a result of START, the full range of new U.S. and Russian nuclear programs, and of what Putin did and did not say about Russia's new programs, provides a very different picture from the one Putin portrayed in his speech. It shows that Putin focused on the "toy factor" in emphasize technology over any real world aspects of the balance, arms control, and war fighting.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nationalism, Military Strategy, Authoritarianism, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kathleen H. Hicks
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Northern Europe, and specifically the Baltic and Norwegian Seas, has been the site of increasingly provocative and destabilizing Russian actions. The country’s use of a range of military, diplomatic, and economic tools to undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its allies highlights the need to monitor and understand Russian activity. The region is characterized by complex factors like unique geographic features, considerable civilian maritime traffic, the presence of advanced Russian and Western military capabilities, and strategic proximity to Russia and the Kola peninsula, home to the Russian Northern Fleet. While the Norwegian and Baltic Seas do differ in key ways, they are linked by the emerging risk posed by Russia’s long-range strike capabilities. Responding to Russian challenges across the competitive space requires a deep understanding of the Northern European maritime environment. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), defined by the United States as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of a nation or region, is an exceptionally broad concept. At its core, MDA has three functions: the collection of raw data, the analysis of that data, and the action of disseminating information to and coordinating among the different components of the framework. In order to provide security in Northern Europe, NATO and its allies must use MDA frameworks to understand and respond to the challenges above, on, and underneath the sea, as well as the surrounding land environment. While some constructive work has been done to address the evolving Russian threat, NATO and its partners must make changes to their current MDA capabilities to evolve alongside with it. Russia presents three challenges of particular concern to the MDA efforts in Northern Europe: maritime hybrid warfare, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, and long-range strike systems. Maritime Hybrid Warfare—The Russian military is experienced and effective in its use of hybrid warfare, seen in Syria, Crimea, and Northern Europe. The ambiguity possible in the maritime domain lends itself well to this strategy. Russia uses three specific approaches in this realm: deception through different types of vessels including civilian ships, deniable forces like the amphibious and light infantry that easily navigate the complex Baltic and Norwegian Seas, and the country’s well-developed and diverse force for seabed warfare. Cyber and Electronic Warfare—Russia’s advanced EW capabilities have the potential to hinder information gathering and dissemination methods, which are both vital functions of MDA. These capabilities are challenging for military personnel but potentially devastating in civilian contexts, especially as civilian networks and technology (like GPS) are far less secure. Long-Range Strike Capabilities—New challenges for NATO and Northern European partners have emerged with Russia’s development of a long-range precision strike complex. The weapons, now being mounted on new and existing Russian naval vessels, give these vessels the option to stay in the Barents or White Seas and strike targets across Northern Europe. This, combined with air force capabilities based on the Kola Peninsula and in Kaliningrad, presents threats unlike any seen by NATO before. These capabilities require NATO and its partners to use MDA frameworks to monitor launch platforms across the domain. The modern history of MDA begins in the United States, with Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 13 (HSPD-13) / National Security Presidential Directive – 41 (NSPD-41) issued in 2004 by President George W. Bush. The document lays out core interests for the United States to enhance security in the maritime domain and creates a cooperative framework to support MDA operations across different spheres. At the same time, the European concept of maritime security awareness was built upon the U.S. definition of the challenge, placed within the context of rising illicit traffic in the Mediterranean. A weakness of the original MDA and Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) concepts is that many of the associated capabilities and frameworks are focused on civil maritime issues. Given the global proliferation of advanced military capabilities, like antiship cruise missiles, NATO and its partners require a holistic understanding of the maritime environment that focuses on everything from civil maritime actions to high-end military operations and even issues associated with the maritime environment. A key implication of the heightened maritime threat environment is the need to improve the integration of and attention to undersea aspects of MDA. Antisubmarine warfare (ASW), a traditional strength of Western naval intelligence and operations, has atrophied since the end of the Cold War. Today, Russian submarines with conventional long-range missiles pose a threat to NATO. ASW must be integrated with MDA to address these concerns. Comprehensive understanding of the undersea realm should extend beyond ASW. Russia’s amphibious special forces and combat swimmers threaten more than just military targets, including civilian vessels and undersea cables, which are an integral part of MDA. ASW technology can be useful in countering these and other threats. In the Norwegian Sea, the biggest challenge for NATO is detecting advanced ultra-quiet submarines. This issue is sharpened by dramatically depleted stockpiles of sonobuoys, a constant need for increasingly advanced sonobuoy technology, and an American unwillingness to share highly classified information about the undersea domain. NATO would benefit from an apparatus like the ASW Operations Centers (ASWOC), used most prominently during the Cold War to streamline ASW operations. Integration of platforms is a challenge in the Baltic Sea as well, largely because Sweden and Finland are not NATO states, making data sharing challenging. Frameworks like Sea Surveillance Co-Operation Baltic Sea (SUCBAS) and the Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR) project facilitate the work of regional states to address these issues but more must be done. Additionally, NATO monitoring of the Baltic region is largely domain specific and suffers from not examining the maritime domain holistically. The alliance and its partners should also act to focus on resiliency to continue to operate in the face of jamming and nonkinetic attacks from Russia. The key to enhancing MDA capabilities in Northern Europe is the integration of frameworks across the maritime domain. Cooperation between NATO states and allies is vital to understanding the complex environment. The CSIS study team has identified seven recommendations of particular importance: Create a Baltic Sea MDA analytic center at the Baltic Maritime Component Command (BMCC) at Rostock, Germany; Empower a small analytic team at the BMCC to focus on maritime hybrid issues; Develop a training course for military intelligence officers on best practices for Baltic Sea MDA analysis; Create a classified Baltic Sea data environment that can incorporate both NATO and partner states; Develop a multinational operational framework for the Baltic Sea; Integrate subsurface sensors and antisubmarine warfare into a comprehensive MDA framework; and Acquire significant stockpiles of advanced sonobuoys and associated acoustic processing systems. These priority recommendations are presented in detail in Chapter 4 of the report, along with others. Collectively, their implication would markedly enhance security in Northern Europe by closing identified gaps and ensuring capabilities for collection, analysis, and action in MDA.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Western Europe, Baltic Sea, Norwegian Seas
  • Author: Nikos Tsafos
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Issue Russian energy has divided the transatlantic alliance for over 60 years. Tensions normally just simmer, but they flare up when a new project is proposed, especially after a political crisis. In the 1960s, it was the prospect of increased Soviet oil exports following the Cuban missile crisis. In the 1980s, it was more Soviet gas for Western Europe after the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan and martial law had been declared in Poland. Today, it is the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its war against Ukraine (among other actions). Disagreements are natural in a broad alliance with diverse interests and perspectives. But it is now almost impossible to discuss Russian gas with any sense of calm (increasingly true for all things related to Russia). Russian initiatives are infused with perceptions and fears that range from the simple and legitimate to the obscure and far-fetched. In reality, arguments about Russian gas are rarely about Russian gas; they are about history, strategy, and geopolitics. Gas is just the spark. The end result is confusion and discord at a time when the transatlantic alliance has enough problems—without needing to add gas to the fire. It is time to separate Russian gas from the broader Russia agenda. Doing so will boost energy security, protect and strengthen the transatlantic alliance, and allow us to focus where the West can resist Russian power more meaningfully. This argument rests on three propositions. First, that energy does not give Russia as much power as we usually assume; second, that an antagonistic strategy is unlikely to be sustained or succeed in bringing about change, whether in energy or geopolitics; and third, that the best response to Russian gas is a set of policies that Europe should pursue anyway and that are unrelated to Russia. In short, we need to radically rethink Russian gas; how much it matters; and what the United States and Europe should do about it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Gas, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Olga Oliker
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. But what forms does this take, and with what implications for Russian society, Russian policy, and Russia's future? This volume examines the many ways in which religion and violence intersect in Russia, and offers recommendations for both policymakers and scholars as they chart paths forward. Presenting the results of original research by collaborative teams of Russian and western authors, it takes on topics from violent radical Islamic jihadism to religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups; from repression of religious communities to conflict within religious confessions. In each case, it offers not only new analysis, but prospective policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Violence, Repression, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On Friday, May 5, 2017—just two days before the second and final round of the French presidential elections—gigabytes of data hacked from Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign team were released online. Months earlier an orchestrated disinformation campaign against the Macron presidential campaign had already begun. The so-called Macron Leaks—a combination of real emails and forgeries—could have been yet another example of a long list of attempts by Russia to interfere in a high-stakes transatlantic election. But the 2017 French presidential election may be the exception that proves the rule: it is the most clearly failed attempt. The Kremlin neither succeeded in interfering with the presidential election nor in dividing French society. As the United States prepares to hold nationwide elections on November 6, 2018, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has already warned in February of this year that “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States.” Calling Russian influence “pervasive,” Director Coats further noted that “The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States,” he said. “While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage, a sophisticated advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but . . . throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere.” Because the United States is not well prepared for future elections, it is necessary to study the past. This is why the 2017 French presidential election is a particularly important election to study and why we highlight French scholar Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer’s groundbreaking report on the Macron Leaks.1 Drawing in part upon the work of CSIS visiting fellow Boris Toucas,2 Vilmer’s forthcoming report will examine what happened during the French presidential election; who orchestrated the affair; how it was successfully countered; and what lessons can be learned. This Brief, which is part of the forthcoming CSIS comprehensive report, sums up the main lessons learned. Myriad structural factors, luck, as well as effective anticipation and reaction by the Macron campaign staff, government and civil society, and especially the mainstream media, combined to successfully resist Russian malign influence.
  • Topic: Intelligence, National Security, Elections, Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Howard Gethin
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In September 2015, the Russian military, predominantly though not exclusively through the use of air power, intervened in Syria’s civil war. Moscow’s aim appears to have been to bolster the Bashar al-Assad regime with even a comparatively modest Russian force, to allow it to prevail against the disparate array for opposition forces reined against the Baath administration. As 2017 drew to a close this appeared to be paying off, with the Syrian regime in an increasingly strong position, and the Russian political and military leadership effectively proclaiming success and the end of substantive hostilities. Russia’s credibility as an ally has been enhanced in the region and beyond.
  • Topic: Civil War, Imperialism, Military Strategy, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Diego A. Ruiz Palmer
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia’s Zapad 17 large-scale exercise, staged in September 2017 in cooperation with Belarus, as part of their combined operational grouping of forces, attracted unprecedented attention in the West. Widespread interest in Zapad 17 reflected a deepening concern even before its conduct that the exercise’s actual purpose and scale did not correspond to the troop size and objective announced by Russia, namely 12,700 Russian and Belarussian troops involved in fighting a postulated terrorist threat. Instead, by all accounts, Zapad 17 was much larger in scale than notified by Russia (60,000-70,000 troops versus 12,700) and oriented to fighting and defeating a capable adversary.1 Zapad 17 was only the latest Russian exercise to generate similar concerns.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Tobias Aust
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Th e year 2014 marked an infl ection point in NATO‘s relations with Russia after the Cold War: Moscow moved from a potential “strategic partner to a strategic competitor.”2 With the illegal annexation of Crimea, the intervention in the Ukraine, and the continued intimidation of NATO member states, Russia violated central principles of the Euro-Atlantic security order, such as the inviolability of frontiers and the non-use of force.3 Th is in turn has led to calls in NATO for reinforced deterrence, especially from East Europe, while other NATO allies have argued for concurrent dialogue with Moscow.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Yury Barmin
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The emerging security dynamics and the political settlement in Syria”, Syracuse, Italy, 18-19 October 2018. Throughout its involvement in the Syrian conflict, Russia has been the main guarantor of the survival of the Syrian army as an active fighting force and as a state building block. While Moscow has been investing time and effort into making the Syrian Arab Army a powerful institution, a deep reform process would need to be launched once the war is over. Russia’s role in the Syrian army reform is predicated not only on its active involvement in the Syrian war alongside the army, but also on the close links that have existed between the two countries during the Cold War. The USSR became a political and military patron for Syria in 1955, the country’s military was essentially modelled after the Red Army. The Russian role in Syria extended not only to instructions on how to use Soviet-made weapons but also to training in planning, tactics and operations1 . The extent to which Russia is ready to spearhead the reform process is not yet clear. However, it has been making attempts to increase the institutional and fighting capacity of the Syrian army. Moscow realises that while Iran mostly relies on militias inside Syria, the government in Damascus will not be able to create a viable army on its own. The real extent of change that could be performed by Russia also depends on its willingness to enact political reform in Syria.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Reform, Conflict, Syrian War, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hamidreza Azizi
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The emerging security dynamics and the political settlement in Syria”, Syracuse, Italy, 18-19 October 2018. Since the onset of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Iran has provided political, economic and military support to save a friendly government in Damascus and has become a key component of the Syrian equation. Syria’s location in the Levant places it at the heart of the Iranian national security doctrine, as Syria is key to maintaining land access to Hezbollah in Lebanon, preventing terrorism from destabilising Iran, and challenging the dominance of Iran’s rivals in Syria. However, achieving these goals in Syria is problematic in both the short and long term. Despite their agreement on preserving the Assad government, Tehran is not in full agreement with Moscow and Damascus on a post war political system, the role of Iranian forces, Syrian-Israeli relations, and reconstruction policies and contracts. Despite the strong positions against the US and the Syrian opposition, Iran is ready to compromise in Syria. Iran has become more accepting of the Syrian opposition playing a role in the future political structure, but such an acceptance is defined by their real power on the ground and conditioned by respecting Iran’s interests in Syria. Once the West is ready to accept Iran’s interests in Syria and include Iran in the UN peace process in Geneva, the Islamic Republic could relax its positions on post-war political and military structures, which would significantly contribute to ensuring a peaceful political transition in Syria.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Nikolay Surkov
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The emerging security dynamics and the political settlement in Syria”, Syracuse, Italy, 18-19 October 2018. Since 2015, Syria has been a test-ground for many Russian military innovations. Among them the Russian Military Police (RMP), which quickly became one of the symbols of the Russian involvement in the Syrian crisis. After defeating the militants, the Russian stabilisation and reconciliation strategy included the deployment of forces that could provide security for civilians, negotiators, demining teams and medics. Furthermore, once the ceasefire agreement was reached in 2016, a peacekeeping force was needed to oversee its implementation. Due to domestic and international circumstances, Russia could not deploy combat troops, so the RMP was chosen for its effectiveness and low profile. The RMP provided support to the Reconciliation Centre (RC), secured humanitarian evacuations and monitored de-escalation zones. Despite certain achievements, total success was limited. Due to its size, the RMP was unable to maintain a massive presence in the governmentcontrolled areas to protect the civilian population and shape the security environment. As such, it could not be a substitute for the local and national Syrian forces that were needed to bring peace and stability in the long run.
  • Topic: Security, Military Affairs, Syrian War, Police, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This document briefly outlines major trends in Israel’s regional foreign policies over the past six months. It is based on the Mitvim Institute’s monthly reports that cover ongoing developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process/conflict, Israel’s relations with the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the conduct of Israel’s Foreign Service.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, European Union
  • Author: Nilsu Gören
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Turkey and NATO are experiencing a mutual crisis of confidence. Turkish policy makers lack confidence in NATO guarantees and fear abandonment—both prominent historical concerns. At the same time, policy makers within the alliance have begun to question Turkey’s intentions and future strategic orientation, and how well they align with NATO’s. One important factor contributing to this mistrust is Turkey’s recent dealings with Russia. Turkey is trying to contain Russian military expansion in the Black Sea and Syria by calling for a stronger NATO presence at the same time that is seeking to diversify its security strategy by improving ties with Russia and reducing its dependence on the United States and NATO. Turkey’s contradictory stance is no more apparent than in its evolving policy regarding the Syrian civil war. The threat topography of NATO’s southern flank reflects a complex web of state and non-state actors involved in asymmetric warfare. The Turkish shoot down of a Russian jet in 2015 highlighted the complexity and helped to precipitate military dialogue between NATO and Russia in Syria. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan seem to have overcome their strategic differences in their preferred outcome for Syria and have de-escalated the tensions following several rounds of peace talks headed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran and involving some, but not all, factions involved in the Syrian conflict. Yet several important questions about Turkish security policy and its impact on Turkish-U.S./NATO relations remain. What are the security implications of Turkey’s military actions on the southern flank? How is the continued fight against extremism in the region, including ISIS, likely to affect relations? And how should the West respond to Turkey’s security ties with Russia, including the Russian sale of advance military equipment to Ankara? The answers to all of these questions depend in part on whether Turkey’s behavior with Russia in Syria is a tactical move or a strategic shift away from NATO. Understanding these dynamics is key to devising policies and actions to minimize security risks between the U.S., NATO, and Russia. This paper argues that Turkey has economic and political interests in developing closer relations with Russia, but that these interests are not as strong as Turkey’s strategic alliance with the West, and NATO in particular. Turkish policymakers, who lack confidence in NATO, are pursuing short-term security interests in Syria as a way to leverage Western acquiescence to their interests regarding the Kurdish populations in Syria and Iraq. These objectives, however, are not aligned with Russia’s security objectives and do not add up to a sustainable long-term regional security strategy. In the short term, Turkey’s contradictory approaches to relations with NATO and Russia are likely to lead to ambiguity and confusion in the regional security architecture, with Syria being the most visible example of this disarray. To combat this approach, U.S. leadership and NATO should work to convince Turkey that the alliance takes Turkish security concerns in Syria seriously and to minimize the risks of Turkey’s acts as a spoiler in the region. For instance, addressing Turkish concerns over Washington’s arming of the Kurdish rebel group, the YPG, in northern Syria, will go a long way to resolving the key issue motivating Turkey’s decision to partner with Russia.
  • Topic: NATO, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Rachael Gosnell
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: While concern about renewed international competition in the Arctic has attracted significant attention, the continuation of cooperation and adherence to international rules and norms of behavior is a far more likely outcome. The magnitude of activity in the region remains below historic Cold War levels and accounts for a very small percentage of overall global military activity. Further, stakeholders have thus far exhibited adherence to international law, and venues for dialogue offer an alternative to an Arctic security dilemma. Sound adherence to the principles of deterrence, international norms, and continued cooperation in forums such as the Arctic Council will ensure the region remains stable into the future.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Arctic
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: There has been much controversy around Nord Stream 2, a planned extension of the undersea gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Germany. By lying down two extra pipes in addition to the two already in operation since 2011-2012, the second phase would see the doubling of the capacity of the route, from 55 to 110 billion cubic meters (bcm) and commence operations in 2019 at a cost of 9.5 billion euros. This would mean that over 70% of Russian gas exports could be channeled through a single pipeline through Germany. Nord Stream 2, coupled with constructing the �irst two lines of Turkish Stream (with a capacity of 31.5 bcm) would also allow for the complete circumvention of the Ukrainian transit route.
  • Topic: European Union, Gas, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Robert Barić
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Recent Polish proposal for financing permanent US military presence in Poland isn't motivated only to counter current Russian aggressive posture. This offer is a part of a wider Poland strategy for achieving long term security. In pursuing this strategy, Warsaw risks not only to undermine NATO cohesion, but also to deepen growing East-West divide inside the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Imperialism, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Corentin Brustlein
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The instruments of cooperative security created during and since the Cold War to foster mutual confidence and reduce the risks of war, inadvertent escalation, and arms races, in and around Europe, have come under increasing strain. The European security architecture has been – and is being – weakened by renewed geopolitical competition, technological and military developments, and states violating or bypassing international law, or walking away from previous commitments. Against this backdrop, it is crucial to reassess the meaning and requirements of crisis and strategic stability in Europe. This report looks at some current and future sources of strategic instability, and focuses in particular on how the Russian way of waging modern conflict could, through the importance given to strategic ambiguity and operational opacity, fuel escalatory dynamics in Europe. It argues that strengthening strategic stability in Europe requires a two-pronged approach, combining a sustained effort to reinforce deterrence and defense in Europe with new confidence- and security-building and arms control measures to reduce reciprocal fears, incentives to escalate rapidly during a crisis, and risks of conventional and nuclear war in Europe.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Alimar Lazkani
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian Army has inherited a few of the norms and customs the French used for running army affairs following the French occupation. These did not include any provisions on regulating the army. After the Baa’th Party came to power, particularly after Hafez Assad had assumed office, the norms and customs guaranteeing minimum rights for army soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers faded gradually, leaving room for cronyism and allegiance to individuals and to the regime as the sole guarantor for the military to gain their rights. Leaders of military units became almost governors of their own units where nothing could take place without their blessings The Russians became fully in charge of the Syrian Army and started to instil rules and regulations that would ensure discipline and transform the army to a professional force capable of actual missions on the ground. Such rules included entrenching among Syrian soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers’ allegiance to Russian military officers and meant to subdue and prevent them from exercising their authority. This has established the Russians as the de facto leaders in the minds of members of the Syrian army. This has mainly shifted the responsibility for all the atrocities committed by the Assad forces under the Russian leadership to the Russians together with the regime’s officers and leaders. Despite their inability to make decisions, they are responsible, in terms of political structure and posturing, for all cases of genocide, chemical attacks, displacement, starvation and other violations. It has therefore become difficult in the Syrian context to separate between the Russian leadership and the Syrian Army, except in terms of differentiating between the leader and the follower, a divide that Russia has been working on consolidating in the media and in its diplomacy as an entity “assisting to achieve peace and combat terrorism”, while it undoubtedly deserves the description of “occupier” with its ability to run a lot of important issues on Syrian soil.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Genocide, Political structure, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Alimar Lazkani
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: There is constant talk of the “soft conflict” between Iran and Russia in Syria. Most research and media reports focus on the areas of influence and control of each party. Without going into the relationship between Iranian and Russian forces on Syrian soil, in which the Iranian of influence weakened following the entry of Russian troops, it is important to distinguish the nature of these two forces to help identify the characteristics of this conflict, which are not limited to areas of influence. In fact, there is a clear difference between Iranian and Russian interests as well as strategy on two major issues. The first is the relationship with Israel. While Russia sees Israel as a strategic ally in the region, Iran gains its regional legitimacy by emphasizing the continuity of conflict with it. The second is the way each party sees the future of Syria, and its own role in it. Iran is not capable of establishing a centralized state in Syria because of its ideological hostility to the Sunni majority there. Therefore, a state based on sectarian militias will be the cornerstone of Iran’s continued presence on Syrian soil as it has the capacity to manage militias with no national project. Russia, on the other hand, has a vision of a centralized state that is based on the fundamental pillar of a disciplined and dutiful army. Thus, the “soft conflict” involves not only the geographical divvying-up of Syria, but also fundamental matters related to the structure of Syria’s security and military system. This paper is the second part of a broader study of Russia’s policy of establishing a military influence in Syria. It will look at the Syrian militias that Iran has fostered and supported, and Russia’s approach in dealing with them on the ground. However, it does not consider non-Syrian militias on Syrian soil brought by the Iranians, such as Hezbollah, the Fatemiyoun, the Zainabiyoun, and other Shia militias because of their close association with Iranian politics and their temporary posting in specific conflict areas, making them a foreign presence on Syrian soil.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Intervention, Sunni, Shia
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As long as military means prevailed in deciding the fate of Syria, the European Union could not alone induce any decisive change in the dynamics of the conflict, and Assad was vindictively seeking to prove that the European Union’s ability to influence the conflict was nil. Assad’s luck was that Putin was determined to prevent his fall and threw his full weight behind him to maintain his rule. When the guns finally fall silent, should the key countries of Europe and the EU itself simply accept as “a sad reality” the fact that the Syrian regime is back in full control of the country? Will they channel funds for humanitarian, post-emergency and early recovery purposes through the State’s financial system knowing full well that European tax payers’ money might be massively diverted to end in the pockets of Assad’s family and the kleptocracy around him,1 and serve to pursue his sectarian scheme of changing the demographics of Syria along religious and ethnic lines? Framing the discussion in terms of accepting Assad and rehabilitating him or not is disempowering for the EU. It assumes that military force alone is what determines the outcome of the conflict and the political fate of the country. If it follows this rationale, Europe would be annihilating everything it stands for; it would serve as a helping hand in Assad’s strategy to bury the civil society groups it helped organize and silence the democratic forces and all those within the different sectors of society who want a Syria that resembles Europe in terms of its values and its political system on the other side of the Mediterranean. The EU’s declared position that there will be no reconstruction without political transition in Syria is an honorable one, but this position still needs to be operationalized if the EU is to turn it into a policy and use its full clout to shape the resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Humanitarian Intervention, Military Intervention, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Tatianna Mitrova, Tim Boersma
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The United States and Russia have long been the world’s largest natural gas producers, but they traditionally have not faced off in direct competition in that market. The United States was expected to become a net importer of natural gas, while Russia’s state-owned Gazprom took a prominent position in the European market. The boom in US shale-gas production changed that. While the United States had been trading gas regionally by pipeline for decades, the shale boom allowed for the export of US liquefied natural gas, putting the two gas giants in competition. Even before the first molecule of US LNG shipped, rising US production had diverted LNG destined for the United States into the European Union. Facing increased competition pushed Russia toward a more market-oriented strategy, with Gazprom adjusting its long-term oil-linked contracts that had previously been the backbone of Russian sales to European customers to use more hybrid formulae. This was just the beginning. After a slow start, the competition brought on by US gas is to a large extent shaping the Russian natural gas strategy in Europe and beyond. For Europe, rising gas competition from new suppliers has both economic and energy security implications. Globally, it is also raising questions about how Gazprom will compete in Asia, where demand is growing and gas suppliers are looking to place future production, as well as in other markets. Understanding how Gazprom will react to US gas is thus a critical economic and geopolitical question for LNG importers and exporters worldwide. In this paper the authors examine how Gazprom will maneuver in global markets under specific circumstances. It opens with a discussion of how the US and Russian gas sectors developed and interacted in the period before shale gas. The paper then examines how Gazprom’s gas trade has been impacted by new US production and what changes may be coming as US exports continue to increase. It finds that the advent of US LNG has already reduced Russian gas revenue, undermined its oil-linked pricing model, forced contract renegotiations and accelerated domestic gas market liberalization and LNG development. The authors argue that Russia is in a good position to defend its market share in Europe and looks at some of the strategies that could be pursued under various market scenarios, including the following: High Asian demand and low oil prices: If oil-linked gas prices were pushed below spot prices, Gazprom would not need to further adjust its pricing policy (as was the case in 2015–2017). In certain situations Gazprom might even limit supplies to drive prices up and increase its rent, becoming the price maker. Such a strategy would be utilized cautiously to avoid demand destruction and prompting new FIDs for new (US) liquefaction capacity. High Asian demand and high oil prices: In this scenario Gazprom’s position would be well served in the short to medium term by strong revenues. In the longer term, however, high prices will attract more competitors to the markets (and prompt new FIDs), so it is important for Gazprom to keep its own prices competitive and to keep the margin of the aggregators, which are supplying the European market, below their margin in Asia. There are already almost no “pure” oil-linked contracts left, and Gazprom in Europe mainly has hybrid pricing, but this scenario will require a more fundamental shift in the pricing, with the share of spot-indexed prices becoming dominant. Low Asian demand and low oil prices: Gazprom may be forced to keep prices for its long-term contracts below short-run marginal costs of US LNG. Gazprom might voluntarily move to completely spot-indexed prices, simultaneously trying not only to find new markets for its gas (both in Asia and in Europe) but also to stimulate new demand. The company would need more flexible and creative marketing, and it would seek to improve the efficiency of its operations, both internationally and domestically. Should Gazprom start to see its market share decline, Moscow could decide to liberalize the pipeline export monopoly, a decision that would make Novatek and Rosneft more powerful players. Low Asian demand and high oil prices: Russia would feel competitive pressure not only from the United States but also from all existing low-cost LNG suppliers like Qatar, which may have to switch to Europe and keep gas prices at a low level. Gazprom would have to engage in this price competition as well, flooding the market using spare capacities and driving the prices down to the level of its short-run marginal costs, which will disincentive US LNG aggregators to offtake their LNG. Gazprom has considerable underutilized upstream capacities and huge spare transportation capacities, allowing it to drive down European prices below the level acceptable for US LNG suppliers. This scenario hurts everyone on the supply side, and it is warranted to ask how long it could be upheld. The study finds that even in scenarios where Gazprom sees gas revenues driven down to 2009 or 2016 levels, this should not prove catastrophic for Russia. For Moscow, facing more competition in Europe is a new situation that Gazprom and decisions makers in the Kremlin will have to deal with. Under normal circumstances, competition between various sources of supply can result in net benefits for the end consumer. In addition, this paper demonstrates that the changes in the global gas market have forced Gazprom to adjust its business practices. However, the increased politization of natural gas in the United States carries a risk of inflamed tensions between Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: Globalization, Natural Resources, European Union, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Paula R. Cruz, Victor Rebourseau, Alyssa Luisi
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: This working paper results from the first phase of the research project on “Social Innovation and Higher Education in the BRICS” conducted by the Research Group on Innovation Systems and Development Governance at the BRICS Policy Center. This research aims to contribute to both the advancement of the scholarly debate on the engagement of HEIs in social innovation initiatives, and the promotion of more inclusive and sustainable development policies in the Global South, particularly in the BRICS.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Governance, Innovation, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Paula R. Cruz, Alyssa Luisi, Victor Rebourseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: This is the second working paper resulting from the first phase of the research project on “Social Innovation and Higher Education in the BRICS” conducted by the Research Group on Innovation Systems and Development Governance at the BRICS Policy Center. It aims to provide evidence on the ways in which social innovation labs in HEIs in the BRICS countries may operate within a complex, multiscalar governance mode, which a number of local-, national-, and international or transnational level stakeholders participate in.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Governance, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Mikhail Krutikhin
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." The nature and shape of the Russian oil and gas industry is not just Moscow’s concern. The ups and downs of Russia’s energy production and exports are factors that affect the global political environment. The influx of revenues from hydrocarbon sales determines the way the Kremlin behaves in the world arena, and the notorious unpredictability of the Russian political leadership becomes even more pronounced when oil prices show an appetite for instability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." The current level of Russian presence in the Middle East is unprecedented for the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Records of diplomatic and political contacts show increased exchange of multilevel delegations between Russia and the main regional countries. After 2012, Moscow has attempted to cultivate deeper involvement in regional issues and to establish contacts with forces in the Middle East which it considers as legitimate. Moreover, on September 30, 2015, Russia launched air strikes against Syrian groupings fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before that time, Russia had tried to avoid any fully-fledged involvement in the military conflicts in the region. It was also the first time when it adopted an American military strategy by putting the main accent on the use of air power instead of ground forces. Under these circumstances, the turmoil in the Middle East, which poses a political and security challenge to the EU and United States, makes it crucial to know whether Russia could be a reliable partner in helping the West to stabilize the region or whether, on the contrary, Moscow will play the role of a troublemaker.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, United States of America, European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." U.S. domination in global politics provided a powerful incentive for the post-Cold War rapprochement between Russia and China. The worsening of Russia’s relations with the West since 2014 made Moscow even more willing to offer significant concessions to Beijing. However, closer Russian-Chinese cooperation predates the Russian-Western crisis over Ukraine and reaches back to the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Even the growing power asymmetry has not dissuaded Moscow from deepening its cooperation with China. This challenged widespread Western expectations that Russia would be eager to cooperate with the West in order to compensate for China’s increasing advantage. Hence, a potential improvement of Russian-Western relations is highly unlikely to result in the weakening of Russian-Chinese ties
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Trump, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Stepan Grigoryan, Hasmik Grigoryan
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." With the growing tension between East and West, and with the rejection by Russia of common international rules, the question how the post-Soviet states should construct their foreign relations remains of utmost importance. Armenia, a landlocked country in the South Caucasus, has yet to accomplish its transition from socialism to democracy and market economy. Moreover, efforts along these lines have regressed, and the authorities do little to implement reforms or to establish a healthy system of checks and balances. In recent months the country has been overwhelmed by protests. The authorities neither address domestic problems nor satisfy protestor demands. Instead the Armenian government frequently resorts to disproportionate use of police forces against peaceful protestors. With political prisoners and hundreds of detained civil activists, journalists and politicians, it will be impossible to build an independent and prosperous country. Armenia has a rich history and culture, but at the same time it has experienced dark historical periods. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shape Armenian identity. However, such historical issues have been instrumentalized by the Armenian government. Instead of building the future, Armenian authorities emphasize the past. Policies based on past grievances lead the Armenian government to become more and more dependent on Russia. Armenia needs to tackle corruption, falsified elections, a corrupt judiciary and many other problems -- and Western partners whose efforts are based on democratic values, free and fair elections, and respect towards human rights have a crucial role to play. This chapter offers background on Armenia's relations with various actors, historical matters that shape Armenian identity, and the failure and lack of will to improve the country's current situation. It then discusses the role of the West and its importance for Armenia. We seek to answer why Armenia slowed down its reform efforts, what the West needs to do to improve the situation in Armenia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Genocide, International Cooperation, Reform, Political Prisoners, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Armenia, European Union
  • Author: Thomas de Waal
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Twenty five years after Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia became independent states, the South Caucasus remains a strategically sensitive region between Europe and Asia, Russia and the Middle East. It is still struggling with the legacy of the conflicts that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed. Economic development lags behind its neighbors and unemployment and emigration are enduring problems.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Syria, South Caucasus, United States of America
  • Author: Olexiy Haran, Petro Burkovskiy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." In this chapter, Haran and Burkovskiy begin with a general analysis of mutual perceptions from both sides, then proceed to identify key interests and concerns regarding the war in Donbas, and analyze whether the political aspects of the Minsk agreements can be implemented. They then suggest some recommendations on the way ahead. The authors argue that Putin’s success in attacking Ukraine, which is impossible to achieve without undermining unity among Western powers, could embolden him to exert his power and influence in wider Europe. Moreover, as U.S.-EU ties are likely to undergo some stress after elections on each side of the Atlantic in 2016 and 2017, Russia will to be tempted to take advantage of such turbulence by pressing forward with its goals in Ukraine and pushing the so-called “grey zone” of insecurity westward before a new equilibrium is found within the Euro-Atlantic area.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since Moldova's November 2014 election, the country's image has changed drastically from the “success story” of the EU´s Eastern Partnership to that of a “captured state.” Moldova's politics continue to be defined by corruption and vested interests, which take advantage of weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law enforcement agencies. This environment has enabled hostile takeovers of financial companies, often through concealed offshore operations, for criminal purposes, money-laundering schemes and a spectacular banking fraud, which was uncovered in autumn 2014. Low incomes have prompted hundreds of thousands of Moldovans to leave the country in search of a better life. Rivalries for political power, control over institutions, and economic assets have generated growing crises within different ruling coalitions, resulting in rapid changeover in governments, the break-up of major political parties and the formation of new parliamentary majorities with precarious democratic legitimacy. All of these factors have subjected Moldova to an unrelenting series of governmental, economic, financial and social crises since early 2015. The deeper causes of these crises can be traced to much earlier developments, however, and are deeply rooted in local structures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Development, Economics, Reform, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldova, European Union
  • Author: Natalie A. Jaresko
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Once again, the world is grappling with historic challenges, as it did when the Soviet Union fell in 1991, and once more, Ukraine is at the forefront of these challenges. The Kremlin’s attempts to destroy Ukraine’s European aspirations is simply one of Russia's many challenges to the post-World War II international liberal order. The actions of the Kremlin -- be they in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Syria; in the U.S. electoral process; or in the funding of far-right and far-left political parties throughout Europe -- have but one purpose: to destroy the transatlantic partnership and the principles of the post-World War II order and peace. Ukraine is simply one of the battlegrounds, but it is a key because it is in Europe. Unity of the transatlantic partnership and of the democratic nations is critical. Unity of support for the Ukrainian transition process is a serious part of this battle, because Ukraine’s successful democratic, rule-of-law based transformation is key to ensuring a Europe whole, free and at peace.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Territorial Disputes, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Evelyn Farkas, Ben Freeman, Gary Ashcroft
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: In this paper, we argue that Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election is just one part of a wide-ranging effort by Moscow to undermine confidence in democracy and the rule of law throughout countries in the West. Russia has engaged in this effort because, in both economic and demographic terms, it is a declining power – the only way it can “enhance” its power is by weakening its perceived adversaries. Because Russia’s aim is to erode the health of Western nations, we argue it is time for America and its allies to employ a comprehensive, non-kinetic response to contain Russia.
  • Topic: Security, Elections, Cybersecurity, Democracy, Foreign Interference, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: anya Loukianova fink
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper analyzes a sample of 2014-2016 Russian-language publications focused on Russia’s security relations with the United States. It characterizes the Russian expert debate at that time as dichotomous in nature, where security policy analysts proposed either coercive or restrained policy approaches in dealing with perceived threats. It assesses similarities and differences of these two perspectives with regard to the nature of Russia’s political-military relationship with the West, as well as past challenges and then-future opportunities in nuclear arms control and strategic stability.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: As Serbia braces itself for the presidential election on 2nd April 2017, the international community �inds itself puzzled with the prospect of future political orientation of this Balkan country. The biggest republic of ex-Yugoslavia, Serbia still bears the burden of the wars in the nineties, unde�ined relations with Kosovo and NATO bombing of 1999, due to which the country is still somewhat cautious toward Euro-Atlantic integration and the United States. It seems that Serbia seeks to join the European Union (EU), and at the same time to foment its relation with its traditional ally, the Russian Federation. In that respect, the current trends of foreign policy in Serbia are also visible in other Balkan countries, namely Macedonia and Montenegro, which like Serbia have strong links to their big Orthodox patron in the East, while striving to make progress on the path to the EU. This dichotomy between pro-European and pro-Russian forces in Serbia was exacerbated to a new level with Brexit and stalemate in the EU enlargement process, growing Russian in�luence in the region and expectations in Serbia that the newly inaugurated US president Donald Trump will bring a thaw in relations with Russia and allow a regionally more dominant Serbia, while curbing ambitions of Kosovar Albanians. This dichotomy has created a division in the country torn between its Western and Eastern ambitions that is visible in many aspects of Serbian society, candidates bare hallmark, or in Obradović, the leader of the Serbian Movement Dveri (Srpski pokret Dveri) is a clear example of a pro-Russian politician in Serbia, while independent candidate SašaJanković represents the voice of a civil and pro-European Serbia. The rest of the presidential candidates are positioned on a wide spectrum dividing Obradović and Janković, thus contributing to the rather short but at the same time very electri�ied presidential campaign.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Elections, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the state of current US-Russian relations as at its “lowest point since the Cold War.” This situation has potentially dangerous implications for the US, Russia and Europe, as well as a variety of regional conflicts around the globe. Among the top of this list is the Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. In the past three years, the frequency, intensity and technological level of flare ups in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan have intensified. Adding to the propensity for danger is the fact that several regional conflicts are now linked together—Syria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh and the policy toward Iran—with actions in one conflict affecting developments in another.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Elina Lepomäki
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Military activity and military tensions have increased in the Baltic Sea region. The early-warning period for military crises has become shorter and the threshold for using force has lowered. Russia bears the main responsibility for this negative development. The area that was previously under no signi�icant stress is now facing dif�iculties following the Russian occupation of Crimea and the con�lict in eastern Ukraine. The strategic importance of the Baltic Sea region has risen and military activity has intensi�ied in the area. A con�lict in the Baltic Sea region would inevitably impact Finland’s security. Finland has responded by improving military readiness through procuring new materiel, and by increasing defense spending. Other countries in the region have undertaken similar measures. During the years 2012-2014, a reform of the Finnish Defense Forces was carried out. It adapted the size and the basic structure of the Defense Forces to meet stringent �inancial demands and the then lower threat level of the security environment. The defense budget was cut by approximately 10 per cent. Since then, the policy has been reversed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Ivan Timofeev
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The article aims to highlight Russian approaches to Chinese One Belt-One Road initiative. It examines possible opportunities and challenges for co-development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt project. Both projects and their co-development may reduce the uncertainty in Eurasia, caused by significant structural changes in international relations and the world economy, the emergence of new trade regimes and the erosion of leadership in international affairs. Russian interests in this regard are determined by the need for modernization and long-term development, which could also help to address acute security issues. These particular factors encouraged Russia to come up with an ambitious plan of the Extensive Eurasian Partnership, although the prospects of its implementation currently are uncertain. The present article argues that the success of Russia-China collaboration in Eurasia will depend crucially on the future dynamics of the Eurasian integration, as well as on the agreement to co-develop the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt Initiative with concrete and mutually beneficial projects.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Veera Laine
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Russian state has been described as becoming “more nationalistic”. In the time period encompassing the Sochi Winter Olympics, the occupation of Crimea, the war in Donbas that continues to this day, air strikes in Syria, and the state seeking new legitimacy during the deepening economic crisis in Russia, many notions have been connected to growing nationalism. But nationalism as such is an ambiguous concept. Moreover, there is hardly any state in today’s global system that could be said to be totally devoid of nationalistic argumentation. Therefore, the way in which the Russian state leadership is using nationalism in order to achieve its political goals requires a critical empirical study. Authoritarianism, conservatism, and even imperialism have been discussed as “new” features of the Russian state. But the change in the self-understanding of the Russian state is not a result of one factor, such as strengthening national pride, but rather a wide range of ideas that have been reshuffled in relation to each other. This Working Paper focuses on the state-led nationalism in this changing ideational environment between the years 2012 and 2016, and how it has been received by the people.
  • Topic: Nationalism, International Affairs, Power Politics, Authoritarianism, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Judith Reppy, Catherine M. Kelleher
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Abstract: What conditions are needed for a stable transition to a new nuclear order, one in which the total number of nuclear weapons would be reduced to very low numbers, perhaps even zero? We have addressed the myriad issues raised by this question with funding from a grant on “Creating Conditions for a Stable Transition to a New Nuclear Order,” co-directed by Catherine Kelleher and Judith Reppy, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Cornell University. The essays collected here are a sample of the work supported by the grant. The goals of our project are three-fold: to take a fresh look at the theoretical underpinnings of the arguments about strategic security and nuclear doctrines; to encourage members of the younger generation (NextGen) scholars working on nuclear security issues to see themselves as part of a network that stretches from scholars in the field to active participants in the policy process; and to disseminate the products of the project to the policy community, in Washington and elsewhere. We have convened four workshops—in Berlin (December 2014); Ithaca, NY (November 2015); Monterey, CA (February 2016); and Washington, DC (May 2016)—and held several discussion dinners in Washington, DC. We received very welcome assistance in organizing these events from the German Marshall Fund, which hosted our Berlin workshop, and Bill Potter and Jeffrey Lewis at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey. Elaine Scott and Sandra Kisner at Cornell provided invaluable support throughout, as did Ari Kattan, Jessica Gottesman, and Debak Das.A number of themes have emerged from these meetings, which we outline below. First, however, it is worth discussing the broader context in which the project has unfolded. In a very real sense, the seeds of our project were sown by the “Gang of Four” op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in January 2007 calling for worldwide nuclear disarmament. This call, coming from four highly respected individuals in the policy world, re-invigorated the debate over the usefulness and dangers of nuclear weapons around the world, and spurred a number of similar calls from diplomats and politicians in other countries. In April 2009, President Obama gave an important speech in Prague, in which he stated that the United States was committed “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”2 The shift in the political discussion encouraged scholars to return to the topics of strategic security and nuclear deterrence, topics that had fallen into neglect following the end of the Cold War. One such effort was a series of meetings organized by Catherine Kelleher under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which resulted in our co-edited book, Getting to Zero. In that volume the question of what a transition to nuclear zero would look like was broached, but not analyzed in detail. The current project is intended as a step toward filling that gap. The dangers that nuclear weapons pose—from accidents, miscalculation in times of crisis, or their acquisition by non-state actors—have persuaded many people that a nuclear-weapons free world is desirable. The optimism that nuclear disarmament might be feasible was based in large part on the success of European countries following World War II in building a zone of peace across the European continent, historically the site of so many bloody wars, and on the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Russian annexation of Crimea in spring 2014, however, ushered in a period of conflict in Ukraine and threw the validity of the European model into question. In Asia, stability has been threatened by North Korea’s detonation of nuclear devices and a more assertive international policy on the part of China. These shifts in the international situation have made it clear that a new nuclear order will have to be robust enough to weather unexpected political shocks, as well as the challenges arising from technological changes that can undercut strategic balances and other changes that we cannot foresee. As Harald Müller has cogently argued, global nuclear disarmament will not happen in a world that looks like the world of today, minus nuclear weapons. Instead, it will be the result of a step-by-step process of changing ideas, building new modes of cooperation and trust among states, and finding ways to respect regional differences within a global order. The essays in this Occasional Paper offer ideas for this process. We have selected them from the larger number of commissioned papers and commentaries produced by the participants in the project. We have confined our choices to papers by NextGen participants and included examples from each of the four workshops. The issues discussed include new ways to frame deterrence logics, important both for understanding the history of the Cold War and current questions of nuclear learning (Harrington; Akhtar). Security perspectives both within and between regions are analyzed (Zhao; Martin), and the importance of cooperative approaches to security addressed (Kühn; Gheorghe).
  • Topic: National Security, Nuclear Power, Denuclearization, Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University (LISD) convened a special Liechtenstein Colloquium,“Emerging European Security Challenges,” in Triesenberg, Principality of Liechtenstein, from November 12-15, 2015. The colloquium brought together senior diplomats, academics, policy-makers, experts and representatives of European civil society and NGOs. The colloquium was off-the-record and was financially supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and SIBIL Foundation, Vaduz. The objective of the colloquium was to examine the interactions between and the various effects of three key crises—the Ukraine war, the war in Syria, and the European refugee crisis—for broader regional, EU, and international security. Cluster One considered “Russia, Ukraine, the West, and the future of collective security,” including the role of the Baltic states in security issues, the relationship between Russia and the European Union, and the role of media, information and hybrid warfare. Cluster Two, “The Syrian War and ISIS/Da’esh” focused on several issues related to the ongoing civil war and conflict in the Middle East, including alliances of the Assad government, rebel and other opposition groups, ISIS/Da’esh, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and, especially, the Kurds. Emphasis was put on the plight of Christians and other religious groups in the region. Cluster Three, “The refugee crisis and the challenge of European collective action,” connected the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II to the situation in the MENA region. It focused on refugees and migrants within Europe’s borders and along the Balkan route, the role of Turkey, Greece and Germany, terrorism concerns, and EU actions and emerging differences between member states. The protection of religious minorities and the longer-term question of integration and assimilation of refugees and asylum-seekers offered another focus. This report reflects the substance of these discussions and includes an updated Chair’s Addendum.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, European Union, Refugee Crisis, ISIS, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hannes Androsch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: In many places it is forgotten that Europe, especially the EU, is a veritable success story, as this continent has never before experienced a period such as the past seven decades of democracy, peace and prosperity. Faced with the current challenges, especially the refugee crisis, there has been an increasing tendency among European governments to take unilateral action. This approach cannot be successful, however, as European governments attempt to implement policy prescriptions of the past to solve problems of the present. In fact, we need not less but more Europe—but also a reformed Europe: a European Union with one voice for external policy (common foreign, security and defense policy and asylum and migration policy) and the capacity to overcome its internal turmoil (common economic, budget, and tax policies, and a minimum of a transfer union). We also need a European Union that makes the benefits of globalization available to all people. The European Union is currently experiencing one of its worst crises in its history. Old fault lines that have run through the continent for centuries, once considered overcome, have become prominent once again; new challenges have arisen, especially in the wake of globalization, climate change and new technological developments (the Digital Revolution). The world has seemingly become ungovernable. The proclaimed 1989 “end of history” (Fukuyama) is certainly over, and history has a firm grip on Europe. This, at least since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis in 2007/08, no longer deniable fact is reflected in the still unresolved crisis in Greece (“Grexit”), the associated Euro Crisis, the British referendum on exit from the EU (“Brexit”), and in the renaissance of geopolitics. The annexation of Crimea by Russia undertaken in violation of international law, the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as state disintegration in Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have made it clear that, from the Caucasus to the Balkans and from Pakistan/Afghanistan via the Middle East to North Africa, extends a “Ring of Fire,”—a term used by former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew to describe the geopolitical challenges of Europe more than twenty years ago. These long concealed —or ignored—distortions are now breaking out again in the form of “wars of succession,” leaving behind territories plagued by unrest, civil wars, and failed states, and resulting in terrorism and refugee waves now reaching the center of Europe. The resulting “crisis mode,” within which the European Union has been operating for several years now, reached its climax with the result of the referendum conducted in June, determining Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit). Aside from the medium and long-term economic implications for the country, Brexit was an earthquake with unforeseeable consequences especially on the political level. Scotland is once again discussing its potential separation from the United Kingdom, the fragile peace funded by the EU in Northern Ireland is threatened by collapse, and in a considerable number of other EU countries—mainly France and the Netherlands—populist and nationalist parties are interpreting Brexit as a signal to seek their salvation in national initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Global Recession, European Union, Refugee Crisis, Brexit, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Bhavna Dave
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Russia-ASEAN summit being held in Sochi on 19-20 May 2016 to mark twenty years of Russia’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN is a further indicator of President Vladimir Putin’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy, triggered also by its current confrontation with the west. Through this pivot, Moscow wants to assert Russia’s geopolitical status as a Euro-Pacific as well as Asia- Pacific power. It is a pragmatic response to the shifting of global power to Asia. It also builds on the growing Russo-Chinese relations to develop the Russian Far East, a resource-rich but underdeveloped region into the gateway for expansion of Russia into the Asia Pacific. At the same time, the growing asymmetry in achieving the economic and strategic goals of Russia and China has resulted in fears that the Russian Far East will turn into a raw materials appendage of China. Moscow lacks the financial resources to support Putin’s Asia pivot. Therefore, Russia needs to strengthen ties with other Asia-Pacific countries and ASEAN as a regional grouping so as to attract more diversified trade and investments into its Far East region. It is in this context that the Sochi summit takes on added significance. However, given Russia’s sporadic interest in Southeast Asia and its strategic role defined mainly by the limited potential of Russian energy and arms exports to ASEAN Member States, the PR diplomacy and summitry at Sochi may not deliver substantive outcomes for Russia. Nonetheless, Moscow aims to enhance its status in the east and seek business and strategic opportunities through the summit thereby compensating to some extent Russia’s loss following the sanctions imposed by the west over the annexation of Crimea.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher, Clay Ramsay, Ebrahim Mohseni
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Summary of Findings 1. Views of the Rouhani Administration President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif enjoy high levels of popular support in Iran. Nearly 8 in 10 Iranians say they have a favorable opinion of Rouhani and Zarif. Yet the intensity of their popularity has substantially eroded since August 2015. With Iran’s parliamentary elections only about a month away, 6 in 10 Iranians continue to want Rouhani supporters to win, while a growing minority favors his critics. Though Rouhani receives high marks for improving Iran’s security and deepening Iran’s relations with European countries, views of the economy are mixed. An increasing majority of Iranians think that Rouhani has not been successful in reducing unemployment. Iranians are also substantially less optimistic about Iran’s economy, with less than half now thinking that the economy is getting better. 2. Iran’s February 2016 Parliamentary Elections Four in ten Iranians voice confidence that the upcoming Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) elections will be very fair, and another four in ten assume it will be somewhat free and fair. Two thirds are highly confident they will vote in the upcoming elections for the Majlis and the Assembly of Experts. The most important issues Iranians want the new Majlis to tackle are unemployment and Iran’s low performing economy. 3. Civil Liberties in Iran Two in three Iranians believe that it is important for President Rouhani to seek to increase civil liberties in Iran. However, only a small minority complains that Iranians have too little freedom. While only about a third thinks that civil liberties in Iran have increased during Rouhani’s presidency, a plurality expects that civil liberties will increase at least somewhat over the next two years. 4. Approval for Nuclear Deal Seven in ten Iranians approve of the nuclear deal, though enthusiasm has waned somewhat. The deal garners support from majorities of those who favor Rouhani’s critics in the Majlis election, as well as those who favor his supporters. Two thirds still think the Iranian leadership negotiated a good deal for Iran, though the number of those disagreeing has risen to one in five. The number who believes it was a win for Iran has also declined, while the number who believes it was a victory for both sides has risen and is now a majority. 5. Perceptions of the Nuclear Deal Substantial numbers of Iranians now have a more accurate picture of the deal than they did in August 2015. About half (up from a third) now realizes that Iran has accepted limits on its nuclear research. Almost half (up from a quarter) now knows that many US sanctions are not covered by the agreement and will continue. However, growing majorities continue to believe incorrectly that Iranian military sites cannot be inspected under any conditions. A majority also believes that the US has agreed to not impose new sanctions to replace the ones that were removed as part of the nuclear deal. 6. Expectations of Economic Benefits Three in five Iranians expect that the nuclear deal will eventually result in improvements in their own economic well-being. This sentiment is shared by a majority of those who support Rouhani’s critics in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Majorities expect to see, within a year, better access to medical products from abroad, more foreign investment, and significant improvements in unemployment and the overall economy, though these majorities have declined from August 2015. 7. The Nuclear Deal’s Effect on Iran’s Foreign Relations A large majority of Iranians thinks that Iran’s relations with European countries have already improved as a result of the nuclear deal, but only one in three thinks Iran’s relations with the United States have improved. 8. Views of US Cooperation in the Nuclear Deal Six in ten Iranians are not confident that the US will live up to its obligations under the nuclear agreement and do not think the US will accept other countries cooperating with Iran’s civilian nuclear sector, as provided for under the deal. Half assume the US will use pressure and sanctions to extract more concessions from Iran—up from only a quarter in August 2015. 9. Views of the Nuclear Program Just as in past years, four in five Iranians see the development of an Iranian nuclear program as very important, and three in four see this program as being for purely peaceful purposes. Four in five continue to favor the idea of a Middle East nuclear-free zone that would require all countries in the Middle East, including Israel, not to have nuclear weapons. 10. Iran’s Involvement in Syria and Fighting ISIS Large majorities of Iranians approve of Iran being involved in Syria and strongly support countering ISIS, preserving Iran’s influence in the region, and countering Saudi, American, and Israeli influence. Overwhelming majorities approve of Iran fighting ISIS directly. Large majorities also approve of Iran supporting Shiite and Kurdish groups fighting ISIS and providing support to Iranian allies in the region. Strengthening the Assad government gets more modest support and is seen as a secondary goal for Iran. Two in three Iranians approve of sending Iranian military personnel to help Assad fight against armed Syrian rebels, including ISIS. 11. Views of US Involvement in Syria A large majority of Iranians disapproves of US involvement in Syria. US involvement in Syria is widely perceived as being primarily motivated by a desire to topple the Assad government, to increase US influence and power in the region, to protect Israeli and Saudi interests, and to decrease Iran’s influence and power in the region. Views are divided about whether the United States is seeking to protect Syrian civilians, to end the conflict, to prevent the conflict from spreading, or to fight ISIS. A modest majority says US efforts against ISIS are not at all sincere. A bare majority supports direct cooperation with the United States to counter ISIS in Iraq. 12. Views of Other Nations Involved in Syria Large majorities of Iranians approve of the involvement in Syria of Russia and Hezbollah, and seven in ten express confidence that Russia’s efforts against ISIS are sincerely motivated. However, large majorities disapprove of the involvement in Syria of Turkey, France, and, especially, Saudi Arabia. Large majorities say that the Saudis’ efforts against ISIS are insincere; views of the sincerity of the efforts by Turkey and France are less negative. A large majority has a negative view of Saudi efforts to create a coalition against terrorism, primarily because Saudi Arabia is seen as a supporter of ISIS. 13. International Collaboration on Syria and ISIS Despite their suspicions of other countries operating in the region, eight in ten Iranians approve of Iran participating in the international talks on the conflict in Syria. Of those who know about the Vienna agreement, seven in ten approve of it. 14. Views of Other Countries Iranians view their country’s allies, notably Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Hezbollah, favorably, and view Saudi Arabia and Turkey increasingly unfavorably. Views of Russia and China are generally favorable and have improved considerably over time. Western countries, with the exception of Germany, are viewed unfavorably, with Britain and the US viewed negatively by large majorities in Iran. In contrast, a majority has a favorable opinion of the American people.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Geopolitics, ISIS, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, United States, China, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria