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  • Author: Ian Easton
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: This publication breaks down Beijing’s likely top five war plans to understand what may be driving China’s military reorganization and reform campaign. Easton analyzes available Chinese military sources and concludes that China’s primary strategic goal is to take Taiwan using one or more of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s five outlined combat operations, in the 21st century’s foremost flashpoint. He also explains how these five different joint operations could be used to isolate or occupy Taiwan, thwart American intervention in offensive operations against U.S. military units, and repel potential border threats from India in the event of aPLA invasion of Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On May 10, Brookings hosted the launch event for Senior Fellow Dan Byman's latest book, “Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad,” with discussion moderated by Peter Bergen, acclaimed journalist and vice president for Global Studies & Fellows at New America.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philippe Le Corre
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan is one of China’s direct neighbours, and a prominent one by size and border. As the Chinese proverb states, “a close neighbour is more valuable than a distant relative”,[1] hence the importance of Sino-Kazakh ties, especially at a time when Beijing tries to promote its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) across Eurasia. The country has a 1782.75 km-long border with China, and shares much history and people with the former Middle Kingdom. Although data is sparse, it is known that many Uyghurs –the main tribe of Xinjiang, China’s troubled autonomous region – live in Kazakhstan. There are also ethnic Kazakhs living on the Chinese side, in Xinjiang (many of them facing great political difficulties, if not persecutions).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Since 2017, the decline of social capital in Morocco represents a tree that hides a forest. We are now at an interlocking point of two negative trends in this decline: one is political vertical, and the other is societal horizontal.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Anna Jacobs
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Morocco’s migration policy reflects of the interconnectedness of foreign policy priorities, desired reform and the reality of domestic politics. Morocco has positioned itself as a counterterrorism and migration ally for Europe; while leaning toward the African Union, and African markets.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, International Affairs, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Burak Akçapar
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation, New York University
  • Abstract: Since the launch of the Mediation for Peace initiative by Turkey and Finland in 2010, there has been an upsurge of activity at the United Nations (UN) and several regional organizations to promote mediation as a conflict resolution method. The UN General Assembly, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have set out to develop mediation norms, procedures, and capacities. The assets and motivations of international actors, including foremost nation states, to provide mediation services as part of their foreign policy have been widely studied. However, the actual role played by specific leading nations in the promotion of mediation at international forums lacks a framework of analysis. This essay aims to fill this gap by employing the concept of “policy entrepreneurship” to explain the role of individual actors in transforming the politics, norms, and capacities that pertain to mediation. In this regard, the article discusses Turkey’s activities in the field of mediation and their transformative outcomes in a bid to test the proposed framework. It concludes that as the only country that co-chairs the friends of mediation groups simultaneously in the UN, the OSCE and the OIC, the distinguishing contribution of Turkey as a policy entrepreneur lies in its efforts to feed and shape the normative basis and capacities of international peace mediation efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: 2018 REPRESENTED A FUNDAMENTAL STRATEGIC TURNING POINT in the 40-year history of U.S.-China relations. This is not just an American view; it is also the Chinese view. Just as it is my own analytical view based on 40 years of observation of this relationship, going back to the time when I was an undergraduate student at the Australian National University. The nature of this change is that the United States, after 40 years of strategic engagement with China following China’s decision under Deng Xiaoping to pursue a domestic policy shift toward economic reform and opening, has concluded that China is no longer a trustworthy strategic partner. The analytical underpinnings of the period of engagement were that China, having embarked upon a series of economic, social, and some political reforms, was incrementally integrating itself into the American-led international rules-based order. This, in turn, was based on China’s decision in 1978 to abandon its policy of support for communist revolutionary movements around the world. This change followed the abandonment of a decade-plus of political radicalism pursued by Mao during the Cultural Revolution. And it followed, perhaps most significantly, China’s decision to embrace one series after another of market-based economic reforms, beginning with the introduction of price-based incentives in agriculture, then light manufacturing, then the services industry before extending across much of the rest of the Chinese economy. On top of this, the normalization of political relations between the United States and China, from Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972 to formal diplomatic recognition under Jimmy Carter in 1979, led to a sustained period of fundamental strategic realignment between China and the United States against a common strategic adversary in the form of the Soviet Union
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Schroeder
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As a young, single-seat fighter pilot based in Germany in the Royal Air Force of the early 1980s, I enjoyed a degree of certainty about my role in life. The world was, to all intents and purposes, a bi-polar place. We knew exactly from where our threat emanated and, indeed, had comprehensive standing plans for dealing with it. In the event of an attack by the Warsaw Pact on NATO’s eastern flank, we had pre-designated areas in which we would interdict any enemy military force heading westwards. We had pre-planned missions for systematically taking down all elements of Soviet air power — be it through suppression of enemy air defense sensors and surfaceto-air systems or denial of his airfields’ operating surfaces. In the event that the conflict escalated too rapidly, or went too far, we even had plans to resort to the ultimate sanction of the pre-planned and graduated employment of tactical nuclear weapons. Our plans, and our skills, were tested on a frequent and regular basis. It was no rare experience to be woken by a siren in the middle of the night to be called to duty. Our response time was measured, as was the ability to demonstrate our preparedness to brief our wartime missions, arm our aircraft, and prove our abilities to be airborne within the allocated time period. The results of these exercises—known as NATO Tactical Evaluations (TacEvals)—were equally rigorous in the Land and Maritime domains. Their results were widely shared within Alliance circles. Achieving a “one” for a TacEval result was every commanding officer’s goal
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carrie Cordero
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congressional oversight is essential for providing accountability for the activities of the intelligence services.1 Effective oversight by the congressional intelligence committees – by an independent branch of government – is needed in order to monitor the adequacy of legal authorities, the lawfulness of activities carried out under those authorities, and the responsible application of public funds for intelligence activities. As elected representatives entrusted with providing an outside check on activities that are conducted out of the public eye, members of the committees serve a critical function in facilitating accountability, transparency, and confidence in intelligence activities conducted under law.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric M. Brewer, Elisa Catalano Ewers
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has adopted an aggressive Iran strategy. The United States seeks to achieve—via the application of maximum pressure—nothing short of a fundamental change to policies that have defined the Islamic Republic for decades, if not since its founding, and have been a constant source of tension with the United States. Although the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-impose sanctions on Iran has garnered most of the attention, the administration also is leveraging diplomatic, law enforcement, informational, and other tools to apply pressure across a range of issues: Iran’s missile program, support for terrorism, regional influence, and human rights record
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue analyses both progress made by and challenges facing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It does so in order to explore under what conditions and to what extent these two conventions might help build a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs). Finally, the issue presents some options for the future and a major long-term initiative towards this ambitious goal.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dimitris Tsarouhas
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article focuses on the discursive frames used by policy entrepreneurs in Greece as they attempted to deal with the 2009 crisis and analyses the role played by discourse in handling the crisis’ consequences. Adopting a historical institutionalist framework, I argue that ineffective policy outcomes can be attributed to a path- dependent logic enshrined in the country’s political economy structures following the transition to democracy post-1974. Moreover, the reaction of policy entrepreneurs to the crisis was reinforced by their discursive logic of action, itself embedded in the state’s institutional matrix. Procrastination, a refusal to face an uncomfortable reality and politics as usual colours the response of Greek actors to the country’s biggest crisis in recent memory.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Amal Cemal Ertürk
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Since the end of World War II, foreign policy and security issues have haunted the European dreams of complete integration in terms of alignment in a highly challenging field, which is also constantly interrupted by sovereignty concerns of member states. Within today’s changing dynamics, the EU’s current instruments seem to fall short of preventing terrorism or providing a meaningful answer to the problems in the Middle East. The EU’s capacity to act in this field needs to be strengthened. The newest approach presented by the European External Action Service (EEAS) is called PESCO (the Permanent Structured Cooperation) and aims to change this current structure of “inactivity”. This short paper will briefly analyze this new instrument.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi indicated in a televised broadcast on 16 January, 2018 that his country neither wants war with Sudan nor Ethiopia; Egypt was also not looking to meddle in the internal affairs of these two countries. These pronouncements came at the backdrop of what is proving to be a challenge for these three countries, the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the largest hydro-electric dam project in Africa. This policy brief gives a snapshot of the brewing tension surrounding the GERD and some of the regional geopolitical concerns as well as an alternative for a workable solution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The risk of a connectivity conflict becoming the next Great Game in the Balkans and Black Sea region is real. If, instead, countries in the region are to capitalize on their geography and history as a trading hub, all stakeholders need to invest in furthering political will, money, cooperation and trust. The Balkans and Black Sea Cooperation Forum (BBSF), convened in Athens in May 2018, is a noteworthy building block in this process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the transatlantic partnership are spurring the German debate on how to prepare for the possibility of a post-Atlantic Europe. Germany has renewed its focus on the EU’s security and defence policy. This includes long-term initiatives to improve European operational readiness, as well as recognition of the EU mutual assistance clause in the doctrine of the German armed forces. However, efforts by German politicians to convince the public of the need for a greater international engagement face difficulties as Germans see the threat as negligible and eye the military with suspicion. The challenge for Berlin remains to step up the ambition for European defence cooperation, while avoiding new fault lines among EU members.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin has cast a cloud over the horizon for millions of Russian citizens. People do not perceive the forthcoming pension reform as a necessary measure for sustaining economic and social stability. Rather, it has ignited a collective sense of anger among the people that they have been cast adrift by the elite
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Emma Hakala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As climate change progresses, it will have impacts on global politics, creating both new vulnerabilities and opportunities. Geoeconomics provides a useful analytical framework for the political implications of climate change as it shifts the focus from military force to economic means of exerting power. This working paper looks at the geoeconomics of climate change in the case of India. It examines the ways in which India has used climate policies to gain leverage and contain threats regionally and globally. Due to its emerging power status and high vulnerability to climate impacts, India holds a key position in the global fight against climate change. The paper argues that India has incorporated geostrategic uses of climate change into a wider shift in its foreign policy. Globally, it has chosen a cooperative strategy to emphasise its responsibility through diplomacy and sustainable energy investments, contributing to its role as a global power and to its influence in partner countries. Yet a similar geoeconomic climate policy has not been applied in its regional relations. The Indian case shows how climate change can lead to both competitive and cooperative geostrategies.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Alistair D. B. Cook, Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The exposure to natural hazards has prompted Bangladesh to institutionalize disaster management and coordination. This report examines Bangladesh’s established disaster management structures and the role of key actors through reviewing existing literature from international organisations, academia, and think tanks, followed by interviews with key disaster management stakeholders in Bangladesh from the end of February to the beginning of March 2018. In analysing the response to the 2017 Rohingya Exodus, this report aims to identify lessons learnt and factors which may impede effective disaster management and coordination between different actors with some operating outside their traditional mandated area of natural hazards to govern a complex humanitarian emergency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Human activities, technology and climate change drive changes to our environmental landscape and societal order. Marine microplastics arising from woeful human use of plastics threaten marine ecology. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels disrupts weather systems and consequently undermines food security. Unequal access between the “haves and have nots” aggravates food insecurity. Without meaningful intervention, annual deaths from food-borne diseases (FBDs) caused by anti-microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria will reach 10 million in 2050. Human displacement continues unabated across state lines as humanitarian crises require fresh responses. Ubiquitous use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has created a new landscape where cyber-threats target both hardware and software and where truth has become its latest victim. Moreover, social media has been weaponized to breed intolerance. The Annual Conference of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia held in Singapore recently examined responses to these uncertainties, if not threats to humanity, arising from key disruptions. This report captures the responses and hopes touted by experts at the Conference with the view of providing policy makers and invested scholars interested in such developments with some recommendations towards building resilience within and across states.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia