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  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since achieving its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has maintained warm relations with the United States. The country regards the United States both as a potential source for trade and investment and as a partner to balance the influence of Russia and China in Central Asia, a perspective which underlines the importance of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. During the visit, Pompeo was generous in his praise for Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of bilateral ties, while criticizing China’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and ethnic Kazakhs in so-called “re-education” camps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To help Ukraine find peace, the EU, NATO, and member states must seek new approaches to arms control discussions with Russia and European security as a whole. They should also consider a more flexible sanctions policy, such that progress in Ukraine may lead to incremental easing. What’s new? Russia’s Ukraine policy, including its military intervention, is driven both by Moscow’s goals in Ukraine itself and its longstanding desire to revise Europe’s security order. Western responses are similarly driven by both Ukraine-specific and Europe-wide interests. A sustainable peace plan must address both sets of factors. Why does it matter? Efforts to make peace in Ukraine by solving problems specific to Ukraine only will fail, because the causes of the conflict are both local and geostrategic. A truly sustainable peace should address European security as a whole to make Russia, its neighbours and the entire continent safer. What should be done? European states should engage Russia in discussions of European security, including regional and sub-regional arms limitations. They should also consider adjusting the current sanctions regime to allow for the lifting of some penalties if Russia contributes to real progress toward peace.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has an interest in allowing the Russian Federation to “win” an outright victory in Syria, so long as it secures from Moscow an agreement that is favorable to the Syrian Kurds, builds in negative consequences for an external actor targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, and establishes a “deconflict plus”-type mechanism to continue to target Islamic State- and Al Qaeda-linked individuals in Syria. A forward-looking policy that the incoming Biden administration could consider is to deprioritize the nascent threat of the Islamic State as a key factor in driving U.S. national security strategy, and instead focus more intently on long-term competition with great powers. This approach would seek to shape how Moscow spends finite defense dollars—at a time of expected global defense cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic—in ways that are advantageous to the United States. It also would seek to limit the cost of the U.S. presence in Syria—to include secondary and opportunity costs not accounted for in a basic cost breakdown of the U.S. war against the Islamic State. This approach is not without risk, particularly from a nascent Islamic State insurgency in Russian-controlled territory, but seeks to match U.S. strategic priorities with action and to impose upon a long-term competitor the costs of victory for its intervention in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Konrad Muzyka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Since Vladimir Putin declared the fall of the Soviet Union to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century, prompting concerns that Moscow would seek to rebuild its influence by conquering territories on its borders, Russia has deployed combat troops into Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and inserted private military companies into the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Venezuela. But there is little consensus among analysts about the meaning of Russia’s military behaviour, or how far it might go in pursuing its interests. Is it trying to rebuild a version of the former Soviet Union? Does it have the will and capability to go to war? Under what circumstances might it be ready to commit combat troops? And how do these questions relate to its immediate neighbourhood, in particular to the Baltic region? This analysis examines Russia’s fundamental motives for going to war in the ‘near abroad’, describes how Russia might wage war in the Baltic states, and identifies some of the indicators that might suggest it is preparing to do so.
  • Topic: War, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Baltic States
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. McCarthy, Matthew A. Moyer, Brett H. Venable
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States lacks a cohesive strategy to deter Russian aggression. Despite being militarily and economically inferior, Russia has undermined the United States and its allies by exploiting the “gray zone,” or the conceptual space between war and peace where nations compete to advance their national interests. In dealing with Russia, the United States must shift its strategic framework from a predominantly military-centric model to one that comprises a whole-of-government approach. The holistic approach must leverage a combination of diplomacy, information, military, and economic (DIME) measures. In this timely and prescient monograph, three active duty military officers and national security fellows from the Harvard Kennedy School look to address this contemporary and complex problem. Through extensive research and consultation with some of the nation’s and academia’s foremost experts, the authors offer policymakers a menu of strategic options to deter Russia in the gray zone and protect vital U.S. national security interests.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Affairs, Economy, Peace, Deterrence, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In none of the conflicts in the post-Soviet area have so many foreign fighters participated than in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014. It is estimated that more than 17,000 fighters from 55 countries have fought there on either side. Those fighting on the Russian side pose a special challenge to Ukraine’s security and to neighbouring countries because these fighters can engage in terrorism or other radical actions and are part of Russia’s hybrid warfare.
  • Topic: War, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Paul Dibb
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: We’re in an era when the risks of major-power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are China, the rising power, and the US, the formerly dominant power that’s now in relative decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and US-led NATO. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American power? The most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complementary grievances. This paper examines Russian and Chinese concepts of great-power war in the 21st century, their views of the West and its military capabilities, and what risks they might both take to regain lost territories. The paper concludes by examining how America might react, the implications of all this for the West, including Australia, and what sort of armed conflict might be involved.
  • Topic: War, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Kars de Bruijne(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The Global Security Pulse tracks emerging security trends and risks worldwide. This month the Global Security Pulse focuses on the subject of political warfare. It specifically assesses how it plays a role in the foreign relations of Russia
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Anne De Tinguy, Bayram Balci, François Dauceé, Laure Delcour, Tatiana Kastouéva-Jean, Aude Merlin, Xavier Richet, Kathy Rousselet, Julien Vercueil
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Sovereignty, War, International Security, Regional Integration, State
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, European Union
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Bayram Balci, Juliette Tolay
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: While the issue of Syrian refugees has led an increasing number of countries to work on curbing arrivals, one country, Turkey, hosts almost half of these refugees. Yet, far from imposing restrictions, Turkey has distinguished itself for its open border policy and large-scale humanitarian contribution. Turkey’s generosity alone is not sufficient to understand this asylum policy put in place specifically for Syrians. There are indeed a number of political factors that indicate a certain level of instrumentalisation of this issue. In particular, Turkey’s benevolent attitude can be explained by Turkey’s early opposition to Assad in the Syrian conflict and its wish to play a role in the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria, as well as by its willingness to extract material and symbolic benefits from the European Union. But the refugee crisis also matters at the level of domestic politics, where different political parties (in power or in the opposition) seem to have used the refugee issue opportunistically, at the expense of a climate favorable to Syrians’ healthy integration in Turkey.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Nationalism, Religion, Terrorism, War, International Security, Diaspora, Peacekeeping, Refugees, Syrian War, Regional Integration, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans, Syria
  • Author: Gilles Lepesant
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Sovereignty, War, Territorial Disputes, Europeanization, Memory, Borders, State
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, European Union
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Pagé, Anne De Tinguy, Jacques Sapir, Julien Vercueil, Vitaly Denysyuk, Raphaël Jozan, David Teurtrie, Faruk Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Le lecteur ne s’étonnera pas de ce que, en 2014, le conflit en Ukraine soit au cœur des préoccupations des pays d'Europe centrale, orientale et de l'Eurasie, même si ses incidences sont diversement ressenties selon les régions considérées. Les pays d’Europe centrale et orientale sont divisés dans leur appréhension politique des événements, et leurs économies ne sont pas directement concernées par les retombées du conflit en Ukraine. On pouvait craindre en revanche qu’elles subissent l’atonie de la zone euro, et son incapacité à retrouver des taux de croissance stimulant la demande extérieure. Cependant – et c’est là une heureuse surprise –, plusieurs d’entre elles ont trouvé la parade en tirant parti des fonds que l’Union européenne leur destine généreusement pour relancer leur demande domestique. Et les effets positifs de cette tactique portent des fruits spectaculaires, d’autant qu’elle se combine avec les incidences de la faible hausse des prix sur le pouvoir d’achat des consommateurs. Il y a là des enseignements à tirer pour la politique économique de l’Europe Occidentale ! Les pays de l’espace eurasiatique sont eux directement aux prises avec les développements du conflit ukrainien. Les incidences en sont multiples : les sanctions et contre-sanctions entre la Russie et l’Union européenne influent grandement sur les économies périphériques, de grands projets comme le gazoduc South Stream sont annulés, les relations des pays d’Asie centrale et du Caucase avec l’Union européenne sont observées avec vigilance par la Russie… La crise ukrainienne, c’est un fait, porte son ombre sur le grand projet de Vladimir Poutine d’instauration d’une Union économique eurasiatique.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Organization, Markets, Political Economy, War, Natural Resources, Finance, Regional Integration, Transnational Actors, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Belarus