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  • Author: Thierry Tardy
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Because of its magnitude, economic dimension, and lethality, the COVID-19 crisis has raised a wide range of questions that pertain to how seismic the crisis is, how much it will shape international politics and in what ways it is going to change the way we live. These are strategic-level questions (with very practical consequences) that only arose to the same degree in the context of the Second World War. The analysis of the impact of the current crisis on international security is not an easy exercise given that a) the crisis is not over and b) it will impact so many interconnected domains over such a long period that the number of unknowns is immense. The way and speed in which COVID-19 has already changed our lives – who would have thought in January 2020 that just three months later all of Europe’s economies would be totally paralyzed with most of their populations at home under lock-down? – are also an invitation to some prudence, or modesty, when it comes to predicting the fallout. On three occasions over the last 20 years, major events on the international scene – 9/11, the Arab Spring, and the current health crisis – have come as strategic surprises to our societies (if not to policy-makers and security experts). Not that global terrorism, political and social unrest in the MENA region or pandemics were absent from strategic foresight exercises, but the way they happened and, even more uncertainly, the type of cascading effects they provoked, were simply beyond any predictive capacity. The topic of the day, and of this Research Paper, is more the cascading effects of the current crisis than its non-prediction. Looking back at 9/11 and the Arab Spring, and at what those events meant for NATO, one can only acknowledge that such implications could hardly have been fully comprehended in the midst of the two events.
  • Topic: NATO, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, 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: Dumitru Minzarari
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has not only triggered a crisis in public health and safety that engendered a significant economic fallout. The pandemic has also triggered an infodemic, one that sets the context for a significant spike in anti-NATO and anti-Western propaganda. Unless countermeasures are taken, the already deteriorating public opinion vis-a-vis the Alliance can be expected to worsen. Viewed individually, these two pandemic's outcomes have not critically threatened the Alliance; however, their combined effect could become a formidable challenge for NATO. Despite the measures taken, the pandemic is likely to continue exacerbating the frustrations among member states, further fraying the Alliance's unity. This, arguably, is the most immediate and concerning challenge facing NATO today.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, NATO, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Alice Billon-Galland
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaks havoc around the world. Its scale and duration, as well as the full social and economic impact of lockdowns and social distancing measures, are yet to be seen. Exactly how the pandemic and its aftermath will impact the defence policies of European states in the long-term remains uncertain for a while yet. However, some Europe-wide trends--economic strategic, and geopolitical--are already visible. These will impact how Europeans (re)think their security after the pandemic, and therefore have implications for defence planners, decision-makers and armed forces throughout the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Geopolitics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claudia Major
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis is teaching European countries that a pandemic can destabilize societies, the economy and political institutions to the same extent that military or hybrid threats do. However, while the pandemic's impact on European security seems massive, it is difficult to isolate the COVID-19 factor: what is uniquely pandemic-driven, and what is the result of other elements, such as the lack of US leadership, is not always easy to determine.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Institutions, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sten Rynning
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a tectonic shift in world politics: China's rise and an erosion, if not a decline, of Western power. Where Western Allies squabble, China acts with confidence. NATO's timorous decision of December 2019 to discuss China's "growing influence" now seems quaint one year on, or at best a preamble to the preeminent question of our era: is NATO sufficiently cohesive to confront change?
  • Topic: NATO, Power Politics, Alliance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America
  • Author: Olivier Rittimann
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, a number of voices criticized NATO's absence in the fight against the pandemic. As expected, many of these critics came from Russia and China, exploiting a highly effective STRATCOM to allege an apparent lack of NATO involvement. However, criticism also emerged from within the Alliance, urging that NATO should wake up to the situation. Russian propaganda, backed by the actual deployment of planes and trucks to Italy, and domestic condemnation fueled a sense of discontent in people as regards the usefulness and effectiveness of international organizations at large, and more specifically NATO and the European Union (EU). This impression of inaction persisted for a couple of weeks after the outbreak of the COVID crisis in most Allied nations, until eventually an aggressive counter messaging strategy was put forward by NATO HQ, SHAPE and individual nations themselves.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, European Union, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Paul Beckley
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War and after the 9/11 attacks, globalization has not replaced Great Powers' competition as some predicted but, progressively, it has accelerated it. Such competition has been driven by advanced technology, which potentially preludes the next revolution in military affairs. Competition among nations is nothing new, but in contrast to the industrial era, in the digital age it is not just about the number of tanks, ships, aircraft and brigades. It is also about the control of networks, platforms and software. This represents an important transformation: norm-setting in these technical domains will yield significant geopolitical returns. In the realm of technology, standards are tantamount to the rules of the game.
  • Topic: NATO, Geopolitics, Standardization
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Thanks to their higher speed, larger data volume, lower latency, and capacity to sustain very high density connections (including machine-to-machine communications), 5G networks are set to unleash a major economic revolution, potentially adding trillions of dollars to the global economy (at least according to recent forecasts). From smart cities to Artificial Intelligence (AI); telemedicine to driverless cars; virtual reality to the Internet of Things (IoT); Industry 4.0 to all manner of applications that will comprise this new ecosystem, 5G ushers in enormous opportunities. 5G communications still require significant investments, both for research and development of key technologies, and for building the supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the next generation of telecommunications raises several important questions about the political economy of spectrum allocation and standard definition, their military applications, the role of Chinese companies and the attendant cybersecurity risks. These are all relevant topics for NATO from which the Alliance can draw some strategic lessons.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Strategy, Data, 5G, Internet of Things
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen J. Mariano
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO created the Strategic Direction South--the "Hub"--in 2017, in response to illegal migration into Europe from war-torn Libya, Syria, and Iraq, highlighting humanitarian and internal security concerns. As evidence began to emerge that criminal organizations and terrorist groups were leveraging migration flows, these fears coalesced with other security concerns, not only disrupting the stability of European societies but also threatening the security of European societies but also threatening the security of the Alliance. Eventually, NATO recognized that the situation was connected to deeper sources of instability and that solutions would require a comprehensive approach to the southernmost parts of "the South".
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America