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  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The year 2020 was characterized by the intensification of US-China confrontation and strategic competition, which had been pointed out in the Strategic Annual Report 2019, in all areas from military and security affairs as well as dominance in advanced technologies and supply chains to narratives on coronavirus responses. Amid this confrontation, the rules-based international order faced even more severe challenges; the multilateral framework established after World War II with the United Nations at its core lost its US leadership and fell into serious dysfunction. While the international community is struggling to cope with the rapidly expanding outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China has been moving to expand its influence through increasingly authoritarian and assertive domestic and international policies on the rule of law and territorial issues, as well as through economic initiatives such as the existing “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and its responses to the pandemic. The confrontation with the United States is becoming more and more pronounced, and the Indo-Pacific region is turning itself into divided and contested oceans. In this transforming strategic environment, expressions of support for the vision of a rulesbased “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) that Japan has been promoting for the past several years, or announcements of similar visions have followed one after the other. The year 2020 also saw significant strengthening of the cooperative framework among four countries – Japan, the United States, Australia, and India (QUAD) – together with the enhancement of bilateral cooperation between countries in this group. At the same time, progress was also made in a regional cooperation framework that includes China with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in East Asia. The Strategic Annual Report 2020 looks back at major international developments since last year’s Report through the end of 2020, focusing on the transformation of the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region and the response of the international community.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Multilateralism, COVID-19, Destabilization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Middle East, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard, Sune Lund
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report first analyzes the use of CUES in the South China Sea, which is the region they initially were designed for as an instrument to prevent unwanted escalation. In what sense have CUES in the South China Sea set a precedent for reassurance measures in other regions? Second, we discuss whether CUES could be useful to lower tension levels between Russia and NATO in their ongoing conflicts over spheres of interest, strategic space, and appropriate deterrence measures in maritime Europe. The analysis draws on the first-hand experiences of personnel engaged in implementing the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). This allows us to go beyond rhetorical announcements of intention and understand how de-escalation instruments are used at the level of implementation and whether they have any effect. Third, we conclude by discussing the caveats to and advantages of adopting CUES in the Euro-Atlantic area and how they should be designed to take the specific strategic context of this area into account.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Defense Policy, NATO, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has described the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation as the most significant great-power challengers to the United States and its allies, values, and interests. The 2017 US National Security Strategy identified China and Russia as ideological rivals “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.” The 2018 US National Defense Strategy described China as “a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors” while undertaking “a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.” The document further criticized Russia for seeking “veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, National Security, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Samuel Ramani
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: After spending nearly three decades as a marginal player in the Horn of Africa, the Russian Federation has made significant progress towards recapturing its great power status in the region. Russia has engaged with all countries in the Horn of Africa and refused to take sides in the region’s most polarizing conflicts, so Moscow can be best described as an “engaged opportunist” on the Horn of Africa. Russia is principally focused on establishing itself as the region’s leading arms vendor, but prospectively, has one eye on constructing a Red Sea base. Russia’s resurgence in the Horn of Africa has generally dovetailed with the People’s Republic of China’s regional aspirations, but has placed it increasingly at odds with France and the United States. Looking ahead, Russia’s ability to link its Horn of Africa strategy to its aspirations in the Middle East will shape the future trajectory of its involvement in the region. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan organization that seeks to publish well-argued, policy-oriented articles on American foreign policy and national security priorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The 2016 U.S. presidential election and the 2018 and 2020 Taiwanese local and presidential elections crystallized that Russia and China are using digital interference to shape the contest between democracies and autocracies. While foreign information operations are time-tested methods of authoritarian influence, the digital space has increased the scope and speed with which these operations can be waged. Although there is no concrete evidence to suggest that Beijing and Moscow explicitly coordinate their information operations, the two countries are increasingly finding common cause as their interests align on a number of issues and in strategic regions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: With both Russia and China facing increasingly confrontational relations with the United States, the two countries have increased ties with each other and have pursued similar approaches in opposition to the US government concerning Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. Steve Biegun, US Deputy Secretary of State, recently characterized the developing relationship between Russia and China as one built on “mutual determination to challenge the United States.” To better understand how experts think about Russia’s relations with the other great powers, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently conducted a survey of 201 American experts on Russia. The survey finds that a majority describe the relationship between Russia and China today as one of mostly partnership. They also describe India as primarily a partner to Russia, both today and in the future. By contrast, they say that Russian relations with the United States and the European Union are mostly competitive. But they anticipate that in 20 years, rivalry between Russia and China will grow, perhaps creating space for reducing tensions with the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US Experts Anticipate Future Decline for Russia Among the Great Powers OCTOBER 6, 2020 By: Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Brendan Helm, Research Assistant Although President Trump initially hoped for improved relations between the United States and Russia, during his tenure the US government has overtly declared Russia a top threat to US national security. Congress and the administration widened Obama-era sanctions against Russia after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Data from a recent survey of American experts on Russia, conducted by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs paints Russia as a declining power. The results show that while experts anticipate changes in the global balance of power in the next 20 years, with China overtaking the United States, they do not expect Russia to come out stronger over that time frame. Experts draw attention to Russia’s cracked economic and political foundation in the present and its likely decline over the next two decades due to economic mismanagement and faltering soft power. Now there are the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to add to this list.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the strategic framework for Russia’s policies toward Northeast Asia, placing it in the context of Moscow’s geopolitical repositioning after the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing confrontation with the United States, and the alienation from Europe. After 2014, the Ukraine crisis put an end to Russia’s quarter-century-long attempt to integrate with the West and become part of a Greater Europe and the Euro-Atlantic community. At the same time and in the same place (Ukraine), Russia’s attempt to build a power center in the former Soviet space came to an end. Ukraine was not the cause of either failure, but it was the trigger of both. The conclusion was clear. Russia was not fit for integration into something that was bigger than Russia, and Russia was no longer capable of integrating former borderlands. Two-plus decades after the break-up of the former Soviet Union, Russia stood alone—but also free. Such was the end of a grand illusion linked to the West, and also the end of three centuries of empire-building.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Lily Wojtowicz
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Building over the last few years, disputes between the United States and Europe over trade, climate change, and nuclear weapons were on full display at the annual Munich Security Conference last month. Russian leaders have tried to exploit these strains between the United States and its allies. In Munich, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia suggested that the European Union and Russia build a “shared European home.”[1] Sidelining the United States through deepened ties with Europe has long been a strategy of the Kremlin to weaken the West’s united front against Russia’s regional and international aggression.[2] Findings from a new US-Russia binational survey, conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Analytical Center, reveal that publics in both countries have noticed cracks in the US-EU relationship.[3] While Americans have long expressed support for NATO, a majority say that unity among NATO allies is weakening. At the same time, Russians’ impressions that transatlantic security links are weakening contribute to their sense that the United States is now in a weaker global position.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Public Opinion, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stepan Goncharov, Denis Volkov
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved and—after five years—it does not appear to be reaching a resolution any time soon. The ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and rebel forces supported by Moscow not only degrades the relationship between Kiev and Moscow but also contributes to the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West. [1] This particular regional conflict has become an important destabilizing factor for international security. Findings from a new binational survey, conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Analytical Center, show that a plurality of Russians believe these eastern areas of Ukraine should be independent states.[2] And a majority of Russians continue to say that Russia’s annexation of Crimea has brought the country more good than harm.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Samuel Bendett, Elsa Kania
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: What’s the problem? Sino-Russian relations have been adapting to an era of great-power rivalry. This complex relationship, categorised as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era’, has continued to evolve as global strategic competition has intensified.1 China and Russia have not only expanded military cooperation but are also undertaking more extensive technological cooperation, including in fifth-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and the digital economy. When Russia and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in October 2019,2 the celebrations highlighted the history of this ‘friendship’ and a positive agenda for contemporary partnership that is pursuing bilateral security, ‘the spirit of innovation’, and ‘cooperation in all areas’.3 Such partnerships show that Beijing and Moscow recognise the potential synergies of joining forces in the development of these dual-use technologies, which possess clear military and commercial significance. This distinct deepening of China–Russia technological collaborations is also a response to increased pressures imposed by the US. Over the past couple of years, US policy has sought to limit Chinese and Russian engagements with the global technological ecosystem, including through sanctions and export controls. Under these geopolitical circumstances, the determination of Chinese and Russian leaders to develop indigenous replacements for foreign, particularly American technologies, from chips to operating systems, has provided further motivation for cooperation. These advances in authoritarian innovation should provoke concerns for democracies for reasons of security, human rights, and overall competitiveness. Notably, the Chinese and Russian governments are also cooperating on techniques for improved censorship and surveillance and increasingly coordinating on approaches to governance that justify and promote their preferred approach of cyber sovereignty and internet management, to other countries and through international standards and other institutions. Today’s trends in technological collaboration and competition also possess strategic and ideological implications for great-power rivalry. What’s the solution? This paper is intended to start an initial mapping and exploration of the expanding cooperative ecosystem involving Moscow and Beijing.4 It will be important to track the trajectory and assess the implications of these Sino-Russian technological collaborations, given the risks and threats that could result from those advances. In a world of globalised innovation, the diffusion of even the most sensitive and strategic technologies, particularly those that are dual-use in nature and driven by commercial developments, will remain inherently challenging to constrain but essential to understand and anticipate. To avoid strategic surprise, it’s important to assess and anticipate these technological advancements by potential adversaries. Like-minded democracies that are concerned about the capabilities of these authoritarian regimes should monitor and evaluate the potential implications of these continuing developments. The US and Australia, along with allies and partners, should monitor and mitigate tech transfer and collaborative research activities that can involve intellectual property (IP) theft and extra-legal activities, including through expanding information-sharing mechanisms. This collaboration should include coordinating on export controls, screening of investments, and restrictions against collaboration with military-linked or otherwise problematic institutions in China and Russia. It’s critical to continue to deepen cooperation and coordination on policy responses to the challenges and opportunities that emerging technologies present. For instance, improvements in sharing data among allies and partners within and beyond the Five Eyes nations could be conducive to advancing the future development of AI in a manner that’s consistent with our ethics and values. Today, like-minded democracies must recognise the threats from advances in and the diffusion of technologies that can be used to empower autocratic regimes. For that reason, it will be vital to mount a more unified response to promulgate norms for the use of next-generation technologies, particularly AI and biotech.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Power Politics, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Bruce Jackson
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: U.S.-Russian relations, though currently intractable, are nevertheless the most discussed subject in American foreign policy today. In fact, our impressions of how relations with Russia are going are central to how we demarcate our own history. “After the wall fell” and “post-Soviet” are ways of telling historical time. And it is also how the current generation refers to the beginning of modern times, in much the same way as an earlier generation used “post-war” as shorthand for when normal life resumed after the war. The ability to make sense of the recent past should help us understand where we are and where we are going. The meaning of “post-war” seems clear to us today: It connotes the aftermath of sacrifice, accomplishment, and a certainty about the historical role and significance of the World War II generation. “Post-Soviet” does not have the same historical clarity. The words that evoke our present circumstances convey a sense of uncertainty, persistent conflict, political stasis, and historical confusion. The significance of the present remains elusive for those of us living in the first decades of the 21st century. America has spent slightly more than a century worrying about Russia without great success. Relations today between the U.S. and Russia are still as bad as they have ever been. If we look closely at the period 1989 to 2019, what significance do we find in our recent past and what does this tell us about the meaning of the present? Do we find a common history that puts the challenges of the present in the proper perspective? Or does where we come from make where we are now even more baffling? Strictly speaking, U.S.-Russian relations are a cluster of epistemological problems. What do we think we know about the events that occurred between 1989 and 2019? How much confidence should we place in our interpretation? What are the implications of how we see our recent past for how we judge our present circumstances? Why do we currently find our conjectures so unsatisfactory at the personal level and from a policy perspective? Is there another way to look at the last thirty years that connects the events from the pre-history of modern times more closely with what we see in the present? For example, why does post-Soviet Russia look so much like Soviet Russia in 1989 when Western Europe today looks so unlike the confident and self-assured Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Soviet Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: On 12 October ISPI in cooperation with the IEMed organised a workshop “New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean”. The event was organised in the framework of the EuroMeSCo ENI Project, co-funded by the European Commission. This dialogue workshop aimed at discussing the initial research results of the Joint Policy Study and engaging the participants in analyzing and sharing their perspectives on whether the Russian moment in the MENA region corresponds to opportunism, a new strategy or it falls in between these options. Additionally, this workshop aimed at shedding light on the role Russia is currently playing, how this can influence the balance of power as well as how regional players look at Russia. The present report is a summary of main points raised in workshop discussions
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, North Africa
  • 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: Amit Bhandari, Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin is in India on a two-day state visit to India, his third trip to India during Prime Minister Modi’s term. A key agreement that has just been signed is the $5 billion deal for the S-400 air defence system. However, U.S. sanctions on Russia’s top defence manufacturers will be a hurdle in closing this agreement, making payments to Russia difficult and scaring away potential Indian partners, especially those with investments in the West. Gateway House looks at India’s options for successfully concluding this agreement without falling foul of American sanctions
  • Topic: International Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, India
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, ​Neil Bhatiya, Edorado Saravalle
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congress adopted new sanctions in late July to codify and significantly expand U.S. financial restrictions on Russia and tightly constrain the president’s exercise of policy in this domain. The sanctions bill was driven by concerns over Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and destabilizing aggression abroad, as well as a broadly held belief by legislators that the president is mishandling critical national security issues. With these new sanctions authorities, Congress is taking an unprecedented step to assume greater control over a domain of foreign policy
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey and Russia recently announced that their talks about the delivery of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system to Ankara were now at a nal stage. That is a sign that a key element of the deal, estimated at USD 2.5 billion, has already been achieved. According to statements delivered by Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, in Moscow one week before the MAKS-2017 air-show, the two countries resolved technical issues regarding the con- tract of the four missile interceptor batteries, with only administrative issues remaining. His statement indicates that the serious steps have been already taken towards implement- ing what can be described as a done deal.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: rms control has figured on the agenda between Washington and Moscow since the 1960s. Suc- cessive U.S. administrations since that of Richard Nixon have pursued negotiated arms control arrangements to limit and reduce the number of Soviet (and Russian) nuclear weapons, to enhance strategic stability, to increase transparency and predictability, to reduce the costs of U.S. nuclear forces, and to bolster America’s non-proliferation credentials. Negotiations on arms control have proceeded in times of both good and difficult relations. At times, progress on arms control has helped drive a more positive over- all relationship between Washington and Moscow. At other times, differences over arms control and related issues have contributed to a downward slide in rela- tions. The next president will take office in January 2017, when the overall U.S.-Russia relationship is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, America