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  • Author: Heinrich Brauss, Christian Mölling
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO must “stay strong militarily, be more united politically, and take a broader approach 1 globally”. When launching the reflection pro- cess on NATO’s future role, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg set these three priorities to frame his vision of NATO 2030. At their meeting in London in December 2019, NA- TO’s political leaders mandated a “forward-looking re- flection process” on how NATO should further adapt to ensure it was able to successfully cope with a world of competing great powers due to the rise of China and Russia’s persistently aggressive posture, together with instability along NATO’s southern periphery, new trans- national risks emerging from pandemics, climate change and disruptive technologies. Establishing a unified stra- tegic vision is vital for upholding the Alliance’s cohesion, credibility and effectiveness. Looking forward, what does this mean for NATO’s military dimension?
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Anahita Motazed Rad
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the Biden and Rouhani administrations’ position to renew diplomatic efforts on the Iranian nuclear file with European support, they face more challenges than their predecessors did in 2015, when the Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was originally signed. Today, domestic, regional and international confrontations have increased; hardliners and conservatives in Tehran and Washington, on the one hand, and in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the other, are now more aligned and coordinated against a diplomatic success than they were in 2015.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Power, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher, Clay Ramsay, Ebrahim Mohseni
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This report covers findings from two surveys fielded in September and early October 2020 and late January through early February 2021 to assess how Iranians were faring as the covid-19 pandemic intensified the challenges their country was already facing, what they thought about the parliamentary election in Iran and the presidential election in the United States, and how the inauguration of Joe Biden impacted their attitudes towards nuclear diplomacy and regional security. Iran was one of the earliest countries to be hard-hit by the novel coronavirus, with the country’s first cases confirmed on February 13, 2020, two days before the parliamentary election, senior officials among those soon infected, and high death rates reported. Western reporting depicted widespread government incompetence and cover-ups exacerbating the pandemic’s toll. As in other countries, Iranian officials struggled to decide whether to close schools, curtail economic activities, and restrict religious observances in hopes of slowing the virus’ spread, but cases and deaths remained high through 2020. When we fielded the first survey wave, the daily number of new confirmed covid-19 cases in Iran was starting to climb sharply again after having been relatively flat since May. Some world leaders, including the U.N. Secretary General, called for an easing of sanctions on Iran as part of global efforts to fight the pandemic. The United States, which had withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, maintained that medicine, personal protective equipment, and other humanitarian supplies were exempt from the steadily increasing sanctions applied as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign. But, the United States’ designation in September 2019 of the Central Bank of Iran as a terrorist organization made most foreign suppliers of humanitarian goods reluctant to sell to Iran. A decision in October 2020 to also designate the few Iranian banks that were not previously subject to secondary sanctions further impeded humanitarian trade, caused another sharp drop in the value of Iran’s currency, and had other negative economic effects. The Trump administration’s stated objective was to keep imposing more sanctions until Iran acquiesced to a long list of U.S. demands articulated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The original twelve points include the types of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that the government rejected during previous negotiations and that the Iranian public has consistently opposed. It also included stopping development of nuclear-capable missiles and ending support for various groups throughout the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Public Opinion, International Community
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Stronski
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Eurasia is squeezed between a rising China and an aggressive and unpredictable Russia. The United States should remain engaged with the region to help it resist Russian advances. Since 2014, Russia has redoubled its efforts to build a sphere of influence, operating frequently under the flag of Eurasian integration. Its undeclared war in Ukraine and hardball tactics vis-à-vis other neighbors demonstrate the lengths to which it is willing to go to undermine their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Moscow has pushed hard to expand the membership and functions of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the formal vehicle for cross-regional integration of political and economic activity. However, Russia’s limited economic resources and lack of soft-power appeal; the engagement with the region by other outside powers, including the European Union, China, Turkey, and the United States; and societal change in neighboring states are creating significant long-term obstacles to the success of Russian neo-imperialist ambitions and exposing a large gap between its ends and means. Russia’s ambitions in Eurasia are buffeted by unfavorable trends that are frequently overlooked by analysts and policymakers. Russia’s own heavy-handed behavior contributes to both regional upheaval and instability as well as to the creation of diplomatic headwinds that constrain its own room for maneuver.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Sokolsky, Eugene Rumer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S.-Russia relations will remain frosty for years, but even Cold Wars eventually thaw. The United States should prepare now to act decisively when this one finally does, even if it takes a decade. U.S.-Russian relations are at the lowest point since the Cold War. Almost all high-level dialogue between the two countries has been suspended. There are no signs that the relationship will improve in the near future. However, this situation is unlikely to last forever—even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union maintained a limited but meaningful dialogue; the two countries eventually will reengage, even if mostly to disagree, and new U.S. and Russian leaders could pursue less confrontational policies. What is the agenda that they will need to tackle then—perhaps as far in the future as 2030?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Camille Grand, Matthew Gillis
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The credibility of any alliance depends on its ability to deliver deterrence and defence for the safety and secu- rity of its members. Without capability, any alliance is deprived of credibility and exists only on paper. De- spite a rocky history – up to and including the current debate on burden-sharing – capability lies at the heart of NATO’s success. There is good cause to draw opti- mism from the Alliance’s accomplishments throughout its 70 years in providing a framework for developing effective and interoperable capabilities. However, the future promises serious challenges for NATO’s capabilities, driven primarily by new and dis- ruptive technology offering both opportunities and threats in defence applications. Moreover, develop- ments in these areas are, in some cases, being led by potential adversaries, while also simultaneously mov- ing at a pace that requires a constant effort to adapt on the part of the Alliance. On the occasion of NATO’s 70th anniversary, the future outlook requires a serious conversation about NATO’s adaptability to embrace transformation and develop an agile footing to ensure its future relevance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Can Kasapoglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In three decades, Ankara’s strategic agenda in Syria has considerably changed. First, back in the late 1990s, Tur- key’s primary goal was to put an end to the Hafez al-As- sad regime’s use of the PKK terrorist organization as a proxy. To address the threat at its source, Ankara resort- ed to a skillfully crafted coercive diplomacy, backed by the Turkish Armed Forces. A determined approach – championed by Turkey’s late president Suleyman Demi- rel – formed the epicenter of this policy: it was coupled with adept use of alliances, in particular the Turkish-Is- raeli strategic partnership. In October 1998, Syria, a trou- blesome state sponsor of terrorism as designated by the US Department of State since 19791, gave in. The Baath regime ceased providing safe haven to Abdullah Oca- lan, the PKK’s founder who claimed thousands of lives in Turkey. The same year, Damascus signed the Adana Agreement with Ankara, vowing to stop supporting ter- rorist groups targeting Turkey. In the following period, from the early 2000s up until the regional unrest in 2011, Turkish policy aimed at reju- venating the historical legacy. During that time, Ankara fostered its socio-cultural and economic integration efforts in Syria – for example, cancelling visas, promoting free trade, and holding joint cabinet meetings. Turkey’s foreign policy was shaped by then Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s thought, popularly formulated in the concept of “Strategic Depth”. Refer- ring to David Laing’s anti-psychiatry school, Davutoglu claimed that the nation was alienated from its roots and embraced a “false self”. To fix the “identity crisis”, Tur- key pursued charm offensives in the Middle East. This ideationally motivated stance even led to speculative neo-Ottomanism debates in Western writings.2 From 2011, when the Arab Spring broke out, there were high hopes as to Turkey’s role model status. In April 2012, before the Turkish Parliament, then For- eign Minister Davutoglu stated that Ankara would lead the change as “the master, pioneer, and servant” of the Middle East.3 Five years later, the Turkish administration dropped these aspirations. At the 2017 Davos meeting, then Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek stated that the Assad regime’s demise was no longer one of his gov- ernment’s considerations.4 In fact, by 2015, Turkey had to deal with real security problems on its doorstep, such as the Russian expedition in Syria, ISIS rockets hammer- ing border towns, the refugee influx, and mushrooming PKK offshoots.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Turkey, Syria, North America
  • Author: Jyri Lavikainen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Non-compliance and disputes between Russia and the US resulted in the US exiting the Open Skies Treaty. If Russia withdraws in response, European countries will lose an important source of intelligence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Teresa Val
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Joint Threat Assessment is intended to serve as an analytical tool for policymakers and an impetus for joint U.S.-Russia action. The report provides an overview of the security situation and peace process in Afghanistan, taking into account U.S. and Russian policies, priorities and interests; surveys the militant terrorist groups in and connected to Afghanistan and explores the security interests of various regional stakeholders vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Challenges relating to border management, arms trafficking and terrorist financing in Afghanistan are also briefly addressed.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Joshua Cavanaugh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: A select delegation of leaders from the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties and the global business community traveled to Beijing, China to meet with senior officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on November 18-21, 2019. The discussions were part of the 11th U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue organized by the EastWest Institute (EWI) in partnership with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC). Launched in 2010, the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue seeks to build understanding and trust between political elites from the U.S. and China through candid exchanges of views on topics ranging from local governance to foreign policy concerns. The dialogue process consistently involves sitting officers from the CPC and the U.S. Democratic and Republican National Committees. In the 11th iteration of the dialogue, the CPC delegation was led by Song Tao, minister of IDCPC. Gary Locke, former secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, former governor for the state of Washington and former United States Ambassador of China; and Alphonso Jackson, former secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; lead the U.S. Democratic and Republican delegations, respectively. Throughout the dialogue, members of both delegations spoke freely on relevant topics including foriegn policy trends, trade disputes and emerging areas of economic cooperation. EWI facilitated a series of meetings for the U.S. delegation, which included a productive meeting with Wang Qishan, vice president of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People. The delegates also met with Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs; Dai Bingguo, former state councilor of the People’s Republic of China; and Lu Kang, director of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. delegates visited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and met with their president, Jin Liqun, as well as the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University to engage prominent scholars on the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic threatened to damage China’s international reputation just as the Chinese government under Xi Jinping was peaking in its promotion of China as a model political system and superior international citizen. Beijing launched a massive diplomatic effort aimed at both foreign governments and foreign societies. The goal was to overcome initial negative publicity and to recast China as an efficient and heroic country in the eyes of international public opinion. The crisis created an opening for China to make gains in its international leadership credentials as the world saw the superpower United States falter. Ultimately, however, Chinese pandemic diplomacy contributed to a net decrease in China’s global prestige, largely because domestic political imperatives motivated behavior that generated international disapproval and distrust for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government. This paper summarizes the content of Chinese pandemic diplomacy through the key period of January through May 20201, identifies specific strengths and weaknesses of China’s effort, and briefly assesses its global impact.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Alistair Millar
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: The Trump administration was handed a resounding defeat in the United Nations Security Council at the end of last week when it offered a new resolution to indefinitely extend the UN arms embargo on Iran… Not only is the outcome of this vote embarrassing for the United States, it was the first salvo in a dangerous game of brinksmanship that is likely to be the biggest test of the Security Council’s resolve in the 75-year history of the United Nations.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, United Nations, UN Security Council, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher W. Bishop
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The idea for this paper began after several conversations with Canadian friends and colleagues about the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. On December 10, 2018, Chinese officials detained the two Canadian citizens for “endangering state security”, 10 days after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on an extradition warrant from the United States, where she was wanted for bank fraud. Despite Chinese statements denying any connection between the two Michaels and Meng, some Canadians have argued the only way to gain their release is for Canada to release Meng – a classic “prisoner exchange”. Others, however, have argued just as forcefully that trading Meng for the two Canadians would only give legitimacy to China’s “hostage diplomacy”. One friend asked me if China had ever done anything like this before. How had those cases been resolved, and what would China do this time? Those were good questions. As a U.S. Foreign Service officer who has spent much of my career working on China – including at the U.S. embassy in Beijing from 2015-2018, where I analyzed the Communist Party leadership and China’s state security apparatus – I had some insight into Chinese foreign policy. I also had a personal connection to one of the cases. I knew Michael Kovrig – he had been one of my counterparts at the Canadian embassy in Beijing – and I had great respect for his work as a diplomat, and later as a senior advisor at the International Crisis Group. Moreover, because I was now on leave from the U.S. Department of State to serve as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Canada, I had time to look for some answers. And so I began trying to identify and analyze similar cases from the recent past. This paper is the result. It represents my own views, and although the Department of State has allowed me to publish it in my personal capacity, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department or the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs, Prisons/Penal Systems, Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since taking power in January 2017, the Trump administration has overseen a dramatic escalation of sanctions[1] to pressure and punish US adversaries, including high-profile cases against Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela. Against this background, the Center on Global Energy Policy is publishing a short series of critiques of the Trump administration’s sanctions in the four cases mentioned. The series utilizes findings from the author’s book The Art of Sanctions, which recommends policy makers evaluate their sanctions decisions regularly to assess whether they are using sanctions effectively. It counsels that policy makers should have alternative strategies under development for use if they determine sanctions have or will likely fail to achieve their objectives. Further, the author enjoins those intent on using sanctions to recall that, like all foreign policy instruments, sanctions are only as good as the underlying strategy being pursued. This commentary, the fourth and last in the series, examines the effectiveness of the sanctions put in place against Venezuela. It assesses the sanctions approach within the parameters of the framework outlined in The Art of Sanctions and concludes with recommendations for the Trump administration. The Trump administration began with a conundrum: how to exert leverage on a country that is not only hostile to the United States but also an economic mess. Diplomatic engagement appeared an implausible path toward resolving US concerns with the country—not least of which centered on its potential to be disruptive to the region as a whole—but these concerns did not reach the level that would merit the use of military force. Such situations are usually tailor-made for the application of sanctions pressure, but, in Venezuela’s case, the country was already suffering under considerable economic strain that was entirely self-administered. Sensibly, the Trump administration declined to undertake major new sanctions initiatives for over a year. But upon doing so, the administration found itself in a wholly new and arguably more difficult situation: imposing sanctions on a country in the midst of a contested political transition. To date, the sanctions approach selected has been largely reasonable in this context, but impatience over the slow pace of the aforementioned transition could prompt error, especially if the administration loses sight of the desired end goal and begins to see sanctions pressure as an end unto itself.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: South America, Venezuela, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matt Bowen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Nuclear energy cooperation between the United States and its allies has been important for over a half century. Bilateral cooperation agreements with key countries date back to the 1950s, and the United States played a principal role in the development of several allied nuclear energy programs. Today, the international nuclear energy marketplace has changed, and the supply chain is globalized—the US program, for example, depends on working with allies for major safety-related components. However, limitations imposed by legacy US statutes and other obstacles are hampering greater collaboration in areas that would enhance the country’s nuclear program today. Developing advanced reactors to produce dispatchable zero-carbon electricity and heat as part of global efforts to address climate change would be aided by greater cooperation and utilization of resources and financing across countries. Deeper cooperation with like-minded allies would also allow the United States to better compete against other supplier countries that have different commercial and geopolitical objectives. If the challenges facing the US nuclear program are not overcome, the country risks further ceding its role as a leading nuclear technology exporter to China and Russia. Already China and Russia are growing their domestic nuclear energy programs and offering attractive financing to prospective customers of this technology around the world. These nuclear competitors may place differing priorities on areas such as nonproliferation, and therefore maintaining a US role in the nuclear supplier regime is connected with national security considerations. This paper, part of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s nuclear power program, examines part of what may be required for the United States to regain momentum in the nuclear power industry after an erosion of domestic capabilities stemming from a long hiatus in new reactor orders. The paper discusses the historical importance of nuclear cooperation between the United States and allies, some of the challenges that the US and some allied nuclear energy programs are facing, and how cooperation could be reinvigorated to the benefit of the United States and its allies.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Energy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jose Ignacio Hernandez
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Latin American experience with international sanctions has been mostly as sanctioned states rather than targeting states. This is not merely because Latin American countries have lacked the interest in using sanctions tools but also because of more complex factors, including the historical evolution of Latin American nationhood, a set of cultural values rooted in the defense of national sovereignty, and opposition to any foreign intervention. Although those values were embraced as a result of defending the independence of Latin American nations against European dominance, the values were also applied in intraregional relations in Latin America. As a result, there is not a strong culture of international sanctions imposed by Latin American countries. With few exceptions—such as Cuba—Latin American countries tend to rely on diplomatic negotiations conducted under the nonintervention principle. The unparalleled crisis in Venezuela has produced a change in perspective. While the main actions adopted regarding this crisis were undertaken to facilitate diplomatic negotiations with the Venezuelan government, Latin America—particularly within the framework of the Organization of American States (OAS)—has started to implement international sanctions as a tool to promote a transition in Venezuelan governance. This shift has not been without controversy in Latin America. Consequently, the principle of nonintervention as relates to the use of sanctions is under stress in Latin America and merits re-examination. This paper, part of the International Security Initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy, reviews the history of international sanctions in Latin America in the context of broader diplomatic developments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism, Sanctions, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The last four years have borne witness to a range of new sanctions, policies, and approaches around the world. Some of these were predicted in November 2016, as Donald Trump took to sanctions far more than his predecessors, using them to tackle virtually every foreign policy problem he encountered. In fact, Trump’s use of sanctions transcended their typical usage in both form and content, as he employed tariffs and other more traditional “trade” tools to try to manage a bevy of nontrade problems. The long-term effects of this decision have yet to be felt or properly understood. It may be that Trump was ahead of the curve in seeing the fracturing of the global liberal economic order and employed the US economy for strategic advantage while it was still ahead. It may also be that Trump undermined the US position in the global economy through his policies, if not actually hastened the demise of this system of managing global economics. Time and the evolution of policy in other global power centers will eventually tell. The shifting approach to sanctions policy by a variety of other states is a manifestation of the potential effects of Trump’s policy choices in using US economic power. From the EU to Russia to China, other countries have changed long-standing policy approaches as they relate to sanctions, either to respond to or perhaps to take advantage of the new paths forged by the United States. The actions that they have taken are not “unprecedented” per se, as each of these countries or organizations has—at times—embraced policies that are consistent with some of these current actions. But, in aggregate, they describe an overall shift in how the world treats sanctions and trade policy, particularly that as practiced by the United States.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aimee Barnes, Fan Dai, Angela Luh
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Averting global climate catastrophe depends in large part on progress by the world’s two greatest powers and emitters: the United States and China. However, relations between these two countries—particularly on climate action—have deteriorated over the past four years. With a new presidential administration set to enter the White House in January 2021, there is an opportunity for the US and China to build trust and cooperation on climate change in a way that supports a cooperative and dynamic bilateral relationship more broadly. This commentary takes a close look at the Biden-Harris presidential platform with respect to climate action and China, and assesses China’s domestic and international climate efforts, particularly with respect to the status of its 14th Five-Year Plan. Importantly, what emerges from this examination is a starting point for China and the US to improve their relationship through climate action and collaboration. China’s announcement that it would seek to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 is an important step towards such cooperation.[1] The most promising potential areas for US-China cooperation fall into three broad categories: renewing a shared commitment to global climate governance under the Paris Agreement; building trust to enable renewed bilateral cooperation, such as on technology innovation and investments; and supporting subnational leaders' progress in both countries through platforms where they can productively convene. Recognizing that a climate-safe future is bound up in our mutuality, these two world powers can promote a new era of climate action and resiliency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Meia Nouwens, Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2019, for the first time, NATO leaders recognised China as a new strategic point of focus for the Alliance. This reflects growing concern among NATO members surrounding China’s geopolitical rise and its growing power-projection capabilities, as well as the impact that these may have on the global balance of power. Today, China is not only taking a central role in Indo-Pacific security affairs but is also becoming an increasingly visible security actor in Europe’s periphery. As such, the question of how to deal with an increasingly global China has been an important part of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s NATO 2030 reflection process. China poses a wide range of challenges to NATO. Beijing sees the Alliance as a United States-centric outfit that may be used by Washington to contain China, and has therefore tried to influence individual NATO members’ decisions in order to weaken the Alliance’s unity. Close ties between China and Russia, especially in the security and military spheres, have also been a source of concern for NATO allies. Besides the Chinese and Russian navies’ joint exercises in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, there is also the potential for the two sides to further coordinate – or at least align their behaviour – on issues of relevance to the Alliance, including hybrid warfare and cyber espionage, arms-control issues, and their approach to Arctic governance, among others. China’s defence spending and military-modernisation process, along with the growing strength of its defence industry, have led to the proliferation of more advanced military platforms around the world. Beijing is also expanding its stockpile of missiles, some of which have the range to reach NATO countries. China’s military-power-projection capabilities have likewise edged towards Europe as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its international presence over the last few years. While NATO allies may have agreed that China presents a number of challenges to the Alliance’s security, they have yet to achieve consensus on how to address them. Some of these issues lie beyond NATO’s traditional areas of competence and will require expertise best provided by partners of the Alliance rather than the Alliance itself. NATO allies will need to prioritise how, when, where and with which partners to use their combined resources to deal with them. At the same time, the Alliance acknowledges that China is not its adversary. NATO thus must find areas of common interest where it can continue to cooperate with China, albeit with a more clear-eyed approach than it has done in the past. Addressing the opportunities and problems posed by China as a cohesive alliance will be more important than ever.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States government can neither engender new states nor prevent them from coming into being, but it does possess a range of policy tools to influence the trajectory of new or aspiring states. While U.S. history creates a certain amount of empathy for self-determination groups, as a general rule the U.S. government views most independence movements skeptically. This is appropriate, in part because few such movements are viable. Economies are small or fragile (or both), the cause enjoys limited internal support, or the forces arrayed against it are too massive. In addition, the United States is tied diplomatically to some 190 countries around the world, and it usually privileges intergovernmental ties over those with non-governmental groups. Supporting secession not only would threaten U.S. relations with countries fighting U.S.-backed movements, but also other countries that feared that the United States might come to support secessionists elsewhere. For the United States, some sort of decentralization or autonomy arrangement is often a less costly option. It is also more agreeable to partner governments and reduces the risk of regional instability. However, exceptions can occur when secessionist movements take root in countries where the United States has more difficult relations, or where repression of minority groups or some other humanitarian factor weighs heavily on the scale.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Non State Actors, Governance, Self Determination, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When President Trump declared on December 19 that U.S. troops in Syria were “all coming back and coming back now,” it plunged the future of the East of the country into uncertainty.1 Dynamics in Syria were already shifting against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration (AA) in Northeast Syria, as threats from Turkey and the regime increased. The impending withdrawal of U.S. forces eliminates the AA’s main source of leverage over the Assad regime and increases its vulnerability to the Turkish invasion President Erdogan has threatened. Scrambling to avoid conflict, AA officials have turned to Russia to mediate a political deal with President Assad, hoping to restore regime control to Syria’s eastern borders in exchange for self-administration.2 However, the lack of clarity over the timeline of the withdrawal means the United States maintains important influence in eastern Syria.3 Shaping the outcome of the Kurdish question at this critical juncture and preventing a new conflict in Northeast Syria are among the few remaining positive steps it can take in Syria. Although the Kurdish issue seems tangential to U.S. interests, the United States should invest in its diplomatic and military tools to facilitate a limited autonomy settlement in Northeast Syria when the area is formally reintegrated into Assad’s territory. To do so, the United States should work to discourage potential spoilers to such a deal and then forge an international coalition to act as guarantors to the agreement. Failing to secure an autonomy settlement could sow the seeds of long-lasting instability in Northeast Syria. The experience of autonomy has fanned the flames of Kurdish self-determination, and although the position of Syrian Kurds is now precarious, they are nonetheless stronger and more united than they ever have been. Throughout the conflict, they have won freedoms which Damascus long denied them and built a formidable army: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly numbers over 60,000 troops.4 Such self-determination movements do not flare out so easily. A new CSIS edited volume, Independence Movements and Their Aftermath: Self-Determination and the Struggle for Success,” shows that from Bangladesh to East Timor, governments’ attempts to curb a minority’s rights have often accelerated their push for independence.5 A U.S. abandonment of Syrian Kurds without facilitating a negotiated settlement could therefore ignite another bloody, long-term struggle for self-determination in the Middle East, with wide-reaching regional implications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Governance, Self Determination, Settlements, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan, United States of America
  • Author: Judd Devermont
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is election season again in sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly every five years, the region faces a tidal wave of elections. In previous cycles, starting in the mid-1990s, the outcome was generally predictable. The ruling party leveraged its considerable advantages—including access to state resources—to secure another term. If the incumbent party rigged the poll, international monitors easily spotted the fraud and strenuously objected, even if to little effect. For the past two decades, five out of every six elections have produced the same result. This next batch of some two dozen elections will be different. A combination of demographic, technological, and geostrategic developments is disrupting the region’s electoral landscape. African leaders, opposition, and publics are adapting and writing a new playbook in the process. From street protests and parallel vote counts to election hacking and internet shutdowns, sub-Saharan African politics are becoming more competitive and more unpredictable. The case for democracy and improving the quality of elections is not simply a moral or altruistic one. U.S. national security objectives, including promoting prosperity and stability, are more achievable in democratic systems. Autocratic regimes, in contrast, worsen corruption, undercut sound economic management, and fail to produce long- term growth. Indeed, recent research indicates that Africa’s democracies grow at a faster rate than its autocracies, and this is more pronounced among countries that have been democracies for longer.1 Moreover, historically, democracies rarely have gone to war with one another. If the United States wants to advance its broad objectives in the region, it will need to reconceptualize its investments, partnerships, and interventions regarding elections.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Elections, Democracy, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The European Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues, organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Fondation pourla Recherche Stratégique (FRS), has convened senior nuclear policy experts from the United Kingdom, France, and the United States (P3) for the past ten years to discuss nuclear deterrence, arms control, and nonproliferation policy issues and to identify areas of consensus among the three countries. The majority of the experts are former U.S., UK, and French senior officials; the others are well-known academics in the field. Since the Dialogues’ inception, high-level officials from all three governments have also routinely joined the forum and participated in the discussions. The Dialogues have been unique in bringing U.S., UK, and French representatives into a trilateral forum for discussing nuclear policy. The United States, United Kingdom, and France hold common values and principles directed toward a shared purpose of global peace and security, as well as an understanding of their respective roles as responsible stewards of the nuclear order. Their sustained engagement will thus, irrespective of political shifts in any of the three countries, remain unique in the context of international alliances and partnerships and essential into the foreseeable future. In 2018, the group’s discussion addressed a range of issues in the Euro-Atlantic security environment and beyond, prompting agreement among the group’s nongovernmental participants to issue the following statement reflecting the consensus views of the undersigned. All signatories agree to this statement in their personal capacity, which may not represent the views of their respective organizations.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The analysis concludes that the sudden breakdown in the latest round of U.S.-Korean nuclear arms control talks in Vietnam should scarcely come as a surprise to anyone. Both sides sought too much too soon and did so despite a long history of previous failures. Heads of state engaged before their staffs had reached a clear compromise and did so seeking goals the other leader could not accept. It is not clear that an agreement was reachable at this point in time, but each side's search for its "best" ensured that the two sides could not compromise on the "good." This failure sent yet another warning that agreements like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear arms agreement with Iran that offers major progress in limiting a nation's nuclear weapons efforts can be far better than no agreement, and of the danger in letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. The failed U.S. negotiations with Korea sends a warning that any set of compromises that preserves Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, and creates a structure where negotiation can continue, will be better than provoking a crisis with Iran that can end in no agreement at all and alienate America's European allies in the process.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Denuclearization, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Amy Searight, Brian Harding, Kim Mai Tran
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has long historic ties to the Pacific Islands, but for many decades this region has taken a back seat to other areas viewed by U.S. policymakers as holding greater strategic and economic weight. This has begun to change as Washington has started shifting its focus back to the Pacific Islands, reaching levels of political attention in recent months not seen since the end of the Pacific War in 1945. While the Pacific Islands are important for a range of reasons, not least their extreme vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, it has been China’s recent diplomatic and economic push into the region that has caused growing concern and renewed diplomatic attention in many capitals. The United States has long enjoyed strong ties and warm relationships with countries in the region, but the calls for significantly boosting levels of engagement, dialogue, and cooperation commensurate with the region’s strategic significance are new.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: North America, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the Secretary General’s Annual Report for 2018 makes clear, NATO has many productive initiatives underway that focus on its real security needs, and that will help deter Russia and deal with the key issues in its military readiness and force planning. In fact, some 90% of the Secretary General’s report focuses on such issues. At the same time, NATO does not issue any net assessments of the balance between NATO and Russia and its capability to deter and fight. It does not openly address any of the many national problems and issues in current force structure nation-by-nation strength and readiness, and it has no coherent force and modernization plans for the future.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Military Spending, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Brian Harding, Kim Mai Tran
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The post-World-War II era has seen extraordinary growth in international trade and the creation of regional and global trading frameworks spearheaded by the United States and anchored in the General Agreement on Tariffs (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). In recent years, frustration with the WTO’s stalled process had pushed U.S. policymakers to pursue regional and bilateral trade agreements. However, since president Donald Trump came to office in January 2017, U.S. trade policy has undergone a dramatic reorientation, creating enormous volatility and impacting global trade and supply chains. President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) on the third day of his presidency, his focus on reducing bilateral trade deficits, and his interest in only forging new bilateral trade deals have had widespread implications for U.S.-Southeast Asia economic and political relations. In many ways, the United States is no longer a predictable trade partner for Southeast Asian countries, and the uncertainty stemming from U.S.-China trade tensions is further affecting U.S.-Southeast Asia trade relations. Meanwhile, Asian regional economic integration and regional trade architecture are moving ahead without the United States at the table.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Alliance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Nicholas Harrington, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran in the Middle East, Russia is engaged in covert and overt cooperation with Iran in ways that undermine U.S. national security interests. This analysis of commercial satellite imagery at Tiyas Airbase in Syria indicates the scope and proximity of Russian and Iranian military ties. If Washington wants to contain Tehran and prevent further Iranian expansion, U.S. policymakers will need to increase pressure on Moscow to curb Tehran’s activities in countries like Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Afghan War has entered a critical period in which the U.S. is actively seeking a peace settlement with the Taliban, and doing so in spite of the fact that it is negotiating without the full participation of the Afghan government. Its options now consist of finding some form of peace, leaving the country without any form of victory or security, or fighting indefinitely in a country whose central government has no near or mid-term capability to either defeat its opponents or survive without massive military and civil aid. Peace is a highly uncertain option. There are no official descriptions of the terms of the peace that the Administration is now seeking to negotiate, but media reports indicate that it may be considering a full withdrawal of its military support within one to two years of a ceasefire, and other reports indicate that it is considering a 50% cut in U.S. military personnel even if a peace is not negotiated. As of late-August 2019, the Taliban continued to reject any formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, and its military activity and acts of violence while it negotiated with the United States. Terrorist groups like ISIS-K add to the threat, as do the many splits within the Afghani government and political structure. The Taliban has not encouraged further ceasefires, or shown any clear willingness to accept a lasting peace on any terms but its own. It may well see peace negotiations as a means of negotiating a withdrawal of U.S. and other allied forces and a prelude to a peace that it could exploit to win control of Afghanistan. At the same time, the other options are no better. They either mean leaving without a peace and the near certain collapse of the Afghan government, or continuing the war indefinitely with no clear timeframe for victory or the emergence of an Afghan government that can fight on its own or act as an effective civil government. Much of the analysis of these three options has focused on the possible terms of the peace, the immediate progress in the fighting, and/or the coming Afghan election and Afghanistan’s immediate political problems. These are all important issues, but they do not address the basic problems in Afghan security forces that will limit its military capabilities indefinitely into the future, or the scale of the civil problems in Afghanistan that have given it failed governance and made it the equivalent of a failed state, and that will shape its future in actually implementing any peace or in attempting to continue the war.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: William Alan Reinsch, Catherine Tassin de Montaigu
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With House members pushing for changes to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) legal text and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) directing working groups of Democratic members to work with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer on changes to address their concerns, the question of whether a trade agreement can be reopened and renegotiated after signing has been raised. In an effort to inform that debate with some facts, CSIS reviewed trade agreements the United States entered into after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and examined whether any of them were modified after signing. In brief, we concluded that of the 12 agreements reviewed, six were subject to subsequent modification. In all six cases, new side letters were signed after the agreement was signed. In three cases, the text of the agreement itself was reopened. Below are the details of our conclusions. Agreements post-NAFTA are set out in the order by which they entered into force. The “days in between” calculation refers to the number of days between the agreement’s signing and its entry into force, which in most cases was well after the date of final congressional approval. In addition, links are provided to the text of each agreement and any side letters that were added.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nils Lukacs
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Ten years ago, President Barack Obama’s unprecedented address to the Muslim world from Cairo was hailed as a landmark in US–Middle Eastern relations and described by contemporary observers as a historical break in US foreign policy in the region. Yet it soon became clear that the president’s vision for a “new beginning based on mutual interest and mutual respect” would face many practical constraints. Analysing the thematic and rhetorical development of Obama’s speeches during the formative period between summer 2008 and 2009, as well as the public and academic perception of and reaction to these moments, the paper examines the underlying interests and motivations for the president’s foreign policy approach in the Middle East. It argues that despite the low priority given to foreign policy issues during the economic crisis occurring at the time, the key pillars of Obama’s ambitious vision for the Middle East were rooted in pronounced US interests as well as the president’s personal convictions, rather than opportunistic calculations. It thus counters retrospective post-2011 criticism which argues that Obama’s words were never meant to be put into practice. The study contributes to the establishment of a solid empirical and conceptual base for further research on the United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East under the Obama administration.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Seven decades after it was established, the North Atlantic Alliance is doing fairly well and fully de- serves being described as the most successful secu- rity organization in modern history. By constantly evolving and adapting, NATO managed to main- tain its relevance on both sides of the Atlantic in fundamentally different security environments. It preserved the territorial integrity of its members during the Cold War and was crucial for bringing down the Iron Curtain. It helped to bring peace to the Balkans and prevented Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for jihadist ter- rorism. Since Russia’s return to revanchist policies in 2014, NATO again guarantees the freedom and security of its members in the East. In the long term though, NATO faces an almost existential problem, as it will be difficult to main- tain its relevance for the United States as the dom- inant power within the Alliance. This will be less a result of the current president’s erratic policy than of the geostrategic reorientation of the US away from Russia and towards China. NATO will also have to fundamentally alter its geographic orienta- tion to avoid falling into oblivion.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: 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: Sara B. Moller
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO has made a series of reforms (“Adaptation Measures”) to the NATO Force Structure (NFS), the pool of conventional national and multinational forces and headquarters placed at the Alliance’s disposal on either a permanent or temporary basis.1 Designed to strengthen NATO’s long-term military posture and enable quick response to emergencies wherever they arise, the post-2014 initiatives constitute the most ambitious attempt at modernizing the NFS in a generation. While NATO deserves praise for the speed with which it reacted to security developments on its Eastern flank in recent years, the importance Brussels placed on responding quickly has come at the expense of a comprehensive theater-wide strategy for the new force structure. Because the new Adaptation Measures were adopted largely on an ad hoc basis, with different framework nations often taking the lead, the question of their relationship with existing NATO initiatives and structures received insufficient attention early on. Indeed, within the Alliance, many officials continue to liken the post-Wales force structure adaptation process to the act of building an airplane while flying. The political expediency which initially gave rise to the Adaptation Measures has since given way to intra-Alliance debates about burden-sharing and the appropriate number of resources to commit to one flank. At the core of these disagreements lie members’ differing threat perceptions. To succeed, however, the new NFS will require the support of all members. For this reason, it is imperative that NATO officials and member states redouble existing efforts to forge consensus on an Alliance-wide threat assessment.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Sven Sakkov
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, most of Europe went on a “strategic holiday”. The West had won and the future was bright. Even the fact that at its weakest the Russian Federation was still able to create frozen conflicts at its borders did not dent this optimism. Defence spending in Eu- rope was plummeting throughout the 1990s, and all the way to 2014. NATO’s prevailing paradigm changed from being a collective defence organi- sation more to something of a collective security actor, with many main missions and a plethora of partnerships. After the shock of 9/11, the Alliance focused on counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan. Military capabilities required to fight a modern near-peer adversary atrophied even further. In this context, some Allies did not take their eyes off Russia – primarily Poland and the Baltic States. Yet they were perceived by major Western Allies as nuisances requiring psychological counselling, as countries who had been traumatised by their harsh history and hence had become incapable of embracing this new reality of partnership with Rus- sia. Even the Russian military aggression against Georgia in 2008 did not change that Zeitgeist. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her “reset” button to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just seven months after Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Eastern Europe, North America, Northern Europe
  • 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: 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: Gustav Lindstrom, Thierry Tardy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The state of NATO-EU relations is currently high on the political agenda. There are at least three reasons for this. First, there is a genuine expectation that both organisations should increasingly work together and complement each other in an era where threats are multifaceted. There is a recognition that tackling such threats, while having to adapt their respective positions in light of geopolitical muscle flexing in other parts of the world, requires both organisations to strengthen the partnership. In 2016, the two institutions adopted a Joint Declaration that reflected on this necessity: “In light of the common challenges we are now confronting, we have to step up our efforts: we need new ways of working together and a new level of ambition; because our security is interconnected; because together we can mobilize a broad range of tools to respond to the challenges we face; and because we have to make the most efficient use of resources. A stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security in Europe and beyond”.1 Second, there are concerns over how NATO-EU relations are faring at a time when the transatlantic relationship is going through turbulent times. In particular, US relations with several EU member states and the EU in general are mired in disagreements on issues ranging from the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, to the possibility of introducing new tariffs on specific goods traded between the two sides. Looming on the horizon there are also concerns about the implications of Brexit for NATO-EU relations – in particular, whether it may inadvertently complicate both organisations’ ability to work together.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Matti Pesu, Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transatlantic relationship is undergoing a period of turmoil. President Trump’s unorthodox policies have exacerbated historical sources of mistrust between the U.S. and its European allies. This working paper approaches the transatlantic bond from the perspective of asymmetric trust, a perennial factor in transatlantic security and defence affairs. For Europe, the U.S. remains the ultimate guarantor of security, rendering allies dependent upon Washington’s decisions and goodwill. From the American perspective, the European allies are not crucial in ensuring U.S. national security, but remain a pool of reliable partners, whom Washington can periodically draw upon to pursue its global ambitions. This paper evaluates how mistrust has featured within the asymmetric alliance setting, and places the current friction between the U.S. and Europe within this broader context. Acknowledging the sources of mistrust and managing mutual suspicions are crucial for the sustainability of the alliance in an increasingly competitive international arena.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The heightened tensions between the United States and Iran should be understood in the context of the Trump administration’s broader foreign policy approach. Even if neither side wants a military confrontation, the “maximum pressure” campaign by the US has raised the risk of a potential miscalculation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A newfound focus on great-power competition has brought geoeconomics to the forefront of strategic thinking in Washington D.C. The United States is well positioned to use coercive economic tools, particularly unilateral sanctions, in this game because of its structural advantages in the global economy and financial system. President Donald Trump and his administration have also signalled a preference for the unilateral use of sanctions to excel in the competitive international geostrategic environment and confront “rogue regimes”. Meanwhile, wrangling between Congress and the White House over sanctions policy has intensified since the 2016 presidential election. These systemic, policymaker-bounded and domestic-political factors have created a perfect storm in US sanctions policy. While the US may be able to pursue sanctions unilaterally in the short term, in the long run this may dissuade allies from cooperating and erode America’s structural advantages as other states resort to hedging.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Deborah A. McCarthy
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US Department of Defense is playing a predominant role in US foreign policy due to expanded mandates, large budgets and the disparagement of diplomacy by the Trump Administration. Defense relations may be the steadier foundation for transatlantic cooperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Budget, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 1 February 2019 Pugwash held a consultation in collaboration with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C., to assess the perspectives of the American strategic community on the prospects for arms control. The meeting gathered 20 experts and former officials from across the political spectrum, and took place immediately following a set of meetings with senior Russian officials in Moscow by a Pugwash delegation, as well as a similar consultation with the Russian strategic community in December 2018.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 2 March 2019 Pugwash held a roundtable in Tel Aviv in cooperation with the Israeli Pugwash Group and the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, University of Tel Aviv. More than 25 participants including former officials, academics, and members of civil society attended, including a small number from Europe, the US and Russia. Discussion broadly focused on the situation in the Middle East and the role of the United States and Russia, as well as China, and with a particular focus on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Many Israelis continue to have serious concerns regarding the entrenchment of Iranian influence and the extent of their force projection toward the Levant. Equally, many Israelis were keen to understand the nature of the Russian-Iranian relationship, most acutely expressed through their cooperation in Syria in recent years, and how the direction of US policy appears to be evolving in the region. In general, it was observed that the prevailing tensions in the region – with ongoing conflict in Syria and Yemen, the isolation of Qatar amongst many Arab countries, and the deepening rivalry between Iran and other countries – should be viewed through the lens of the lack of communication between officials and non-officials across the spectrum of complex issues.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 23-24 June 2019 a delegation from Pugwash travelled to Iran to participate in a specially-arranged two-day meeting organized together with the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in Tehran. The central focus of the discussions was the current status of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more than one year after the United States withdrew from implementing it, and the ensuing program of ever-tightening sanctions imposed by the US on Iran that has dramatically increased tension in the Middle East. The meeting also put this into context by looking at the regional situation of arms control, as well as Iran’s relations with China, Russia, the EU, and its neighbours including Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, European Union, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: Today’s increasingly complex global operating environment can change at the speed of a tweet or viral video. It is therefore imperative for US forces to have the relationships that offer flexibility and options for any contingency—relationships established in advance of unforeseeable events. The world’s interconnectedness and US defense requirements demand partners and allies with whom we work effectively to bridge cultural gaps. Those relationships increase interoperability by creating realistic expectations and combating what can at times emerge as negative stereotypes. Further, shared experiences can help overcome misunderstandings and foster friendships that will be critical in times of crisis. Simply put, you cannot surge trust. It must be cultivated and given constant attention.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Environment, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: Russia docks a warship in Havana knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. How dare they. The US Navy dispatched a destroyer to shadow the vessel; after all, the United States has the Monroe doctrine to enforce. A few weeks prior, Russia sent around a hundred troops to Venezuela. This also provoked a response, albeit rhetorical. Despite these US reactions, Russia continues to play strategic games. Why did the United States respond to these actions in these ways? And what is the most appropriate response?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, South America, North America
  • Author: Nikolai Sokov
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: On November 7, 2019, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Center for Energy and Security Studies held a forum titled “US-Russia Dialogue on Nuclear Issues: Does Arms Control Have a Future?” Dr. Nikolai Sokov, a senior fellow with the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, prepared the briefing paper, “Avoiding a Post-INF Missile Race,” to address the concerns about a new arms race in Europe arising after the end of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Though comparisons to the Euromissile crisis of the early 1980s are inevitable, the present situation is different in one important respect: neither Russia nor NATO want a new arms race, and both have demonstrated a degree of restraint. “Nevertheless,” Dr. Sokov argues in the paper, “the situation is fragile, and it is difficult to predict how long mutual restraint can hold.” Furthermore, the military balance today includes additional, complicating features, including the replacement of nuclear weapons’ missions with high-precision long-range conventional weapons, the enlargement of NATO and the collapse of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the risk of escalation presented by increased dual-capable delivery systems, as well as the role of Asia in the global strategic balance. The window of opportunity for addressing these rising concerns is relatively narrow. Since “full-scope arms-control negotiations aiming at legally binding and verifiable treaties are hardly feasible in the current and projected political and security environment,” this CNS brief suggests a “more modest” approach to expanding and securing the restraint that exists, before it disappears altogether.
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nonproliferation, Missile Defense, Deterrence, Arms Race
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Taylor Valley
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: What is Russia’s geopolitical game in Latin America? Since the early-2000s, we have witnessed bilateral trade spike by 44 percent, around 40 diplomatic visits by high-ranking Russian officials, and budding military cooperation through joint-naval exercises in Latin American ports. Some explain this growth as Russian efforts to create multipolarity in the western hemisphere and undermine U.S. influence in the region. This narrative of bilateral relations disregards a key element that may be driving Russia’s engagement— the role of Latin American leadership.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher, Ebrahim Mohseni, Clay Ramsay
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) has been conducting in- depth surveys of Iranian public opinion on nuclear policy, regional security, economics, domestic politics, and other topics since the summer of 2014. Each survey includes a combination of trend-line questions, some going as far back as 2006, and new questions written to assess and inform current policy debates. This report covers findings from three surveys fielded in May, August, and early October 2019 to evaluate how the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign is affecting public opinion in Iran. The United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and began re-imposing sanctions on Iran that the Obama administration had lifted under the terms of the 2015 agreement it had negotiated with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. In the fall of 2018, it blacklisted hundreds of Iranian entities and threatened to impose secondary sanctions on anyone who did business with them. In spring of 2019, it tried to prevent Iran from getting any revenue from oil sales, its main export, by ending exemptions for key customers. In the summer of 2019, it tightened constraints on Iran’s access to the international financial system, including channels that had been used to pay for medicines and other humanitarian goods that were officially exempted from earlier sanctions. It also sanctioned Iran’s foreign minister, complicating his ability to interact with U.S. officials, experts, and media figures. The Trump administration’s stated objective is to keep imposing more sanctions until Iran acquiesces to a long list of U.S. demands articulated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The original twelve points include the types of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that the government rejected during previous negotiations and that the Iranian public has consistently opposed. It also includes stopping development of nuclear-capable missiles, ending support for various groups throughout the Middle East, halting cyberattacks and other threatening activities, and releasing all U.S. and allied detainees. Pompeo subsequently added other demands related to civil liberties in Iran. The Iranian public enthusiastically supported the JCPOA when it was first signed, partly due to unrealistic expectations about how much and how quickly economic benefits would materialize. After the International Atomic Energy Agency certified in January 2016 that Iran had met all of its nuclear obligations and implementation of sanctions relief began, foreign companies were slow to ramp up permissible trade with Iran or to make major investments there before they knew how the next U.S. president would view the JCPOA. By the end of the Obama administration few Iranians said that they had seen any economic benefits from the deal and most lacked confidence that the other signatories would uphold their obligations. But a solid majority of Iranians (55%) still approved of the agreement.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: After a year in which Iran opted for "strategic patience," in the hope that European nations would compensate for the United States sanctions, it now seeks to present a price tag for the US measures against it, and has thus embarked on a response comprising action in three realms: nuclear, military, and oil exports from the Gulf. In the current circumstances, Iran and the United States are demanding conditions that would make a resumption of negotiations difficult, although both sides apparently understand that dialogue may ultimately be the less dangerous option for them. The latest developments embody the potential for escalation and miscalculation that is liable to affect Israel's security, and therefore the security cabinet should convene to craft an appropriate policy for the near, medium, and long terms.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Oil, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Though historically China has been a sanctions recipient, with only a few isolated incidents of using sanctions in return, this situation is likely going to change in the years to come. China’s global economic position — as well as its ambitions to serve as not only a global power, but also potentially the leading international power — will push it to consider means of exerting international leverage. The United States has shown vividly in the last 30 years that sanctions are one means to this end, and Chinese scholars are demonstrating increasing facility with sanctions doctrine. China’s increasing assertiveness in economic sanctions will allow it to not only hit back directly against the United States with retaliatory measures, but also to develop independent rationales to apply sanctions in pursuit of Chinese policy objectives. China may begin using sanctions as an affirmative instrument of policy. The United States is vulnerable to disruptions in U.S.-Chinese economic ties. The U.S. reliance on Chinese financing, especially for U.S. national debt, and Chinese economic growth in areas where the U.S. typically excels demonstrate China’s capacity to target the U.S. To combat this potential emerging threat, the United States should seek first to negotiate with China on ways to avoid conflict. But, given the likelihood of competition nonetheless, the United States should also add sanctions development to its crisis management process, and increase intelligence and analytical capabilities that focus directly on Chinese sanctions doctrine and practice.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Sanctions, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Oona A. Hathaway
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Legal Challenges, Yale Law School
  • Abstract: The President’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has long been beating the drums of war with Iran. Those drums are growing louder. In the last month, Bolton has repeatedly threatened that Iran’s support for its “proxies” could bring “a very strong response”—even military force. By threatening military action against Iran in retaliation for the acts of groups it supports, Bolton is trying to frame a war on Iran as a justified—even righteous—act of self-defense even if he cannot prove that Iran itself has participated in any attacks. Such a war would, however, be illegal.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Law, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Any government elected in Israel will undoubtedly agree to discuss the plan with the Americans.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: It is inconceivable that the Trump plan will parrot the stale Clinton/Obama parameters of yesteryear or force any “peace paradigm” on Israel.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Leadership, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Trump’s landmark Golan decision asserts the law of diminishing returns: Arabs who refuse to make peace with Israel lose rights and assets as time goes forward. Mahmoud Abbas: Take notice.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The guaranteed failure of the “deal of the century” is an opportunity for Israel to open the Americans’ eyes to the harsh and complicated reality in our region and lead them to support the strategy of managing the conflict and wait for better times.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Territorial Disputes, Leadership, Peace, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign must not be curtailed before Iran’s leaders truly have no choice but to capitulate to Western demands.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus must encourage the US to assert a higher military and diplomatic profile as a counterweight to Turkish pressures, Russian and Iranian ambitions, and Chinese inroads.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Military Strategy, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Asia, North America, Egypt, Cyprus, United States of America
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Deadlock between Washington and Tehran won’t easily turn into détente even if Trump and Rohani do find a way to meet in New York. However, even a tentative rapprochement between the US and Iran would severely strain Israel’s close ties with the White House.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Rivalry, Appeasement
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The move confirms that the current US administration is not interested in heading an alliance of regional forces against Iranian expansionism or Sunni political Islam, but is, like its predecessor, managing imperial decline.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Trump’s Syria decision accords with previous presidential decisions and is not necessarily a disaster for Israel.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Leadership, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis, John J. Hamre
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S.-China relationship is one that neither country can escape. Both benefit from it in important ways. The question for quite some time, though, has been whether China’s economy, international presence, and participation in global institutions would come to look more like our own, or whether it would seek to challenge the order the United States has built and led over the past 70 years. While China’s economic size does not necessarily threaten the United States, China’s willingness to use its economic leverage to forge a global economy closer to its image raises complicated questions considering its lack of transparency. The essays in this volume, written by a diverse group of CSIS scholars, address some of the key issues that currently vex the U.S.-China economic relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Global Political Economy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Melissa Dalton, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the range of security challenges confronting the United States in the 21st century, characterized by competition by both state and nonstate actors, the importance of working with allies and partners to address common challenges is paramount. Deeper examination of the relative effectiveness of U.S. security sector assistance and how it must nest in a broader foreign policy strategy, including good governance, human rights, and rule of law principles, is required. Improving oversight and accountability in U.S. security sector assistance with partners are at the core of ongoing security assistance reform efforts to ensure that U.S. foreign policy objectives are met and in accordance with U.S. interests and values. This report examines key areas in security sector programming and oversight where the U.S. Departments of Defense and State employ accountability mechanisms, with the goal of identifying ways to sharpen and knit together mechanisms for improving accountability and professionalism into a coherent approach for partner countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Christopher K Johnson
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly two weeks after the U.S. “Trade Avengers” unleashed during their visit to Beijing what one reasonably could call “trade shock and awe” with a very aggressive—if thoroughly researched and well-crafted—set of demands targeting the yawning U.S. trade deficit with China and the core of that country’s throaty industrial policy, China this week is taking its turn with the visit of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo member and Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s economic point man who is almost universally described as a thoughtful, pragmatic, and mild-mannered policy academic. In the interim, voices from a wide swath of official Washington have sounded the alarm about the dangers of Chinese influence operations and the presence of alleged subversives, while President Trump himself seemed to cast aside these growing concerns by suggesting via Twitter that he would ask the Commerce Department to overturn its action against the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE—long a focus of the U.S. security community for suspected cyber espionage activity and irrefutable violations of U.S. law—in response to protests that reportedly emanated directly from President Xi. With such frenetically sustained action in such a short period of time, the fog of war seems particularly thick at the moment. As such, it seems like a good time to slow down and have a think about how we got here, what actually is going on, and, with a little bit of luck, perhaps think about some ways to craft a viable way forward. Just like milestone birthdays in one’s personal life, important political anniversaries also can incline the mind toward reflection. Next year, of course, marks the fortieth anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and China. As such, much breath and a lot of ink have been devoted to analyzing the course of the bilateral relationship over that nearly half-century. Although certainly not a universal opinion, it seems fair, if perhaps overly reductionist, to suggest that the general conclusion among a substantial number of U.S. officials, policy analysts, and journalists has been that the consistent U.S. policy emphasis on engagement with China during those forty years was, at the end of the day, a sham. In this rendering, naïve groups of senior policymakers in succeeding U.S. administrations and in most of the U.S. China-watching community were hoodwinked by wily CCP leaders who talked the talk of integrating into the so-called U.S.-led rules-based international order, but all the while they had a secret master plan to instead subvert that order and challenge U.S. primacy throughout the globe. In a slightly less menacing (if no less absurd) version of this narrative, China was, indeed, headed generally toward this hoped for integration under the stewardship of deceased paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and his handpicked successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao until Xi Jinping arrived and, through a ruthless consolidation of power, decided instead to change course in what now regularly is referred to in shorthand as Xi’s “authoritarian turn.” But this conclusion seems utterly wrongheaded when examined in the light of hard facts. On the Chinese side of the equation, for example, Deng Xiaoping may have appeared warm and cuddly when donning his cowboy hat during his famous 1979 visit to the United States, but he could be just as ruthless and grasping as any other authoritarian leader. Deng’s exceptionally courageous and dogged pursuit of the policies of reform and opening certainly are worthy of praise, but they cannot, and therefore should not, be separated from the fact that he was content to sit idly by as Chairman Mao’s loyal lieutenant as Mao decimated his political rivals during the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957-59) and the Great Leap Forward (1958-62). Nor should we forget that Deng used every ounce of his massive personal prestige with the People’s Liberation Army to, with steely determination, rally his many reluctant commanders to execute the brutal Tiananmen crackdown of June 4, 1989. Similarly, Xi Jinping is no Jack-in-the-Box-like figure who has pulled a fast one with a sharp directional turn in the last couple of years made all the more stark after his sweeping consolidation of power at last fall’s 19th Party Congress. In fact, it is this author’s contention, as supported by a large body of written work and public commentary, that everything Xi has done over the last five years was abundantly clear, whether explicitly or in embryonic form—from the moment he was introduced to the world as China’s new top leader in the fall of 2012, as encapsulated in his call for his country to pursue the “China Dream” set on a foundation of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” This by no means suggests the United States should express support for, or even acquiescence in, Xi’s policies, but only that it should not be reacting with the borderline hysteria that now seems to be gripping Washington.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On October 24, 2017, Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, welcomed over 3,500 of the world’s financial elites to a conference center adjoining the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh for an “economic coming-out party.”1 The crown prince was selling investors and government officials on his plans for the transformation of the country, not just its economy but also its society. His Vision 2030 plan to lessen the economy’s dependence on oil and increase the role of the private sector required investment, both from at home and abroad.2 It was a glittering show, featuring plans for a new city on the Red Sea coast, Neom, which would be staffed at least in part by robots. Within a few weeks of this impressive gathering, hundreds of the Kingdom’s economic and political elites were prisoners in that same Ritz Carlton. One year after the conference, self-exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by agents of the Saudi government in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. When the crown prince convened a second investment conference in Riyadh, a “Davos in the desert” as some billed it, in October 2018, the guest list was much reduced. A number of high-profile political leaders and CEO’s backed out, including the U.S. treasury secretary, the president of the World Bank, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, and the London Stock Exchange.3 While $50 billion in investment deals were announced, over $30 billion were with Saudi Aramco, the state oil company.4 In the year between the two conferences, the crown prince suffered a number of setbacks that called into question both his judgment and his political capacity. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was simply the most recent in that line. Whether the killing was directly ordered by the crown prince or the work of close aides who believed they were carrying out his wishes, the ultimate responsibility rests with him. Some of those setbacks can be attributed to MBS’s own decisions; others simply reinforced the fact that there are considerable obstacles confronting his ambitious plans. His regional foreign policy initiatives, in particular, have not worked out as he had hoped. But these setbacks do not mean that the crown prince’s days are numbered in the Saudi leadership. He has successfully consolidated power in his own hands in a way that is unprecedented in recent Saudi history. The Trump administration, which hitched its wagon to MBS in an imprudent and counter-productive way, now has to decide how to use the fallout from this crisis to change MBS’s behavior, avoiding the extremes of a purely symbolic reaction that has no effect on Saudi policy and the unrealistic goal of declaring, as Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham did, that the crown prince “has got to go.”5
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Authoritarianism, Assassination
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Adel El-Adawy
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Today, Egypt’s relationship with NATO remains marginal with many challenges affecting the pros- pects of closer ties. In 2014, NATO and Egypt signed an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP), and NATO has since pro- vided some support in the field of demining and training. In this context, and at a time when the Alliance’s goal is to project stability in its southern neighbourhood, with efforts being undertaken to increase engagement with countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, there are areas where NATO and Egypt’s interests overlap offering the potential for closer cooperation.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North America, Egypt
  • Author: Ian Hope
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On 11 November commemorations occurred throughout North West Europe and the British Commonwealth, marking the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. A significant commemoration was held in the city of Mons, Belgium, location of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), and another in Brussels, location of NATO Headquarters. Many attending these commemorations will have had little knowledge of the direct link between the events of 11 November 1918 and the structure and workings of the Alliance today. This Policy Brief seeks to reveal this legacy by explaining the First World War origins of the North Atlantic Council, Military Committee, Alliance committee structure and the importance of the principles behind supreme command, summit consultations and consensus. These entities and practices, essential to the institutional design and culture of NATO, were established at the inception of the Alliance by civilian and military leaders who had participated in the Second World War and who knew their value to the maintenance of Alliance cohesion, and their importance to effective strategy formulation. These same leaders had derived their knowledge directly from the lessons learned during the final stages of what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars”.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Martin Dufour
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO has arguably been the most successful alli- ance of its kind, and much of this success can be attributed to its cohesion in the face of various threats. At the heart of this cohesion lie two import- ant notions: burden sharing between members; and interoperability. The Alliance’s cohesion however has increasingly come under pressure over the last two decades, and there are growing challenges with the level of interoperability between member coun- tries. While numerous technical and political factors influence interoperability, the emergence of disrup- tive technologies such as genetic engineering, nano- technology, additive manufacturing and robotics, are likely to make this challenge more acute in the next two decades. Of the many technologies rapidly emerging, none is likely to have as significant an impact as that of artificial intelligence, which combines with other technologies and multiply their effect by allowing the development of advanced autonomous systems. And while the latter holds the promise of develop- ing new classes of weapons with great military po- tential, its asymmetrical adoption among the various NATO allies could also lead to significant interoper- ability problems.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Ian Hope
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO’s internal security is intrinsically linked to external stability, and its quest for optimal security for its member states’ citizens therefore requires a presence at its periphery. This is what Projecting Stability is about. With this concept and activity, NATO takes stock of the indivisibility of security that is no longer composed of two distinct spaces. This is probably not new. After all, NATO’s crisis management and cooperative security efforts over the last 25 years have had a lot to do with handling the consequences of the internal-external security nexus. To a large extent therefore, NATO has been in the business of Projecting Stability since the end of the Cold War, just as Molière’s Mr Jourdain was speaking in prose without knowing it. Nonetheless, the Projecting Stability agenda was formalized at the 2016 Warsaw Summit, and is now being run in parallel with Deterrence and Defence as NATO’s main effort. This poses at least three sets of questions. First, beyond the above-mentioned internal-external security nexus, what is it that Projecting Stability is really about and aims to achieve? How does stability relate to security, and how can one “project” it? Does it contain a value-promotion agenda, or is the concept a retrenchment from the ambitious democratization goals of the past? Second, to what extent can Projecting Stability be prioritized, given the prominence of the Russian threat and therefore the necessity to “deter and defend”? Can NATO do both? And how much consensus is there among NATO member states on the need for Projecting Stability? Third, where is Projecting Stability supposed to happen, with what local buy-in and level of intrusiveness, and through what sets of instruments? Does the activity carry potential unintended consequences by which, in lieu of Projecting Stability, the Alliance’s presence would bring instability? Are there any past activities that attest to this risk, and about which lessons must be learned? Overall, is Projecting Stability an elixir, i.e. the appropriate response to a well- posed question, or is it rather some sort of snake oil, i.e. a false solution or a concept that is doomed to stumble against innumerable political and operational obstacles? These issues are what Ian Hope’s edited volume Projecting Stability – Elixir or XII Snake Oil? aims to explore. It does so through a collection of chapters, authored by a group of scholars and NATO officials, which offer an open analysis of the potential and challenges of Projecting Stability. This NDC Research Paper is the first issue of a new series created by the NATO Defense College. NDC Research Papers deal with NATO-related issues from a multiplicity of angles that can be historical, political, operational or prospective; they can have an obvious research – or, even more so, policy – angle; they are analytical in nature, and must be relevant to the understanding of NATO’s challenges and policy making. May this NDC Research Paper be the first of a long list of analytically sound, thought-provoking, and academically rigorous publications by the NDC Research Division.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Stefano Marcuzzi
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: EU-NATO maritime cooperation is essential to a co- ordinated response to a variety of Mediterranean is- sues, including terrorist threats, the protracted conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and the refugee emergency. The EU’s Operation EUNAV- FOR Med Sophia is deployed in the Southern-Central Mediterranean, whilst NATO’s Operation Sea Guard- ian operates in the whole Mediterranean basin. NATO also launched a new activity in the Aegean in 2016. Although each operation has its own mandate, their coordination was defined as crucial in the 2016 Joint Declaration on EU-NATO cooperation. At a tactical level, these operations have by and large been successful in enhancing situational awareness in the Mediterranean; monitoring migration networks; constraining the activity of human and arms smug- glers on the high seas; and to a degree in providing as- sistance to migrants. However, they also face strategic challenges, including the failure to dismantle the smug- glers’ networks, their relatively low deterrent effect, and a limited degree of inter-institutional cooperation.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Leo Michel, Matti Pesu
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the most notable consequences of the end of the Cold War was the diminished role of nuclear weapons in international relations. The world’s primary nuclear weapon powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, made considerable reductions in their nuclear forces. The climax of the process was the New START Treaty signed in 2010. Now, the optimism that characterized the first decades of the post-Cold War era is rapidly evaporating. Geopolitical competition again dominates global and regional security dynamics. Nuclear powers are modernizing their forces and introducing novel systems that may affect strategic stability. At the same time, existing arms control regimes are crumbling. This report takes stock of recent developments in deterrence in general, and nuclear deterrence in particular. Its main ambition is to understand how deterrence has changed in light of certain post-Cold War trends. To this end, the report introduces the basic principles of deterrence. It also explores the nuclear-related policies and capabilities of the four nuclear weapon states most directly involved in European security affairs – Russia, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Importantly, the report also analyses the implications of the recent trends in strategic deterrence for Northern Europe. This report is part of a research project conducted by the FIIA entitled ‘New Challenges for Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century’. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 6-7 December 2018, Pugwash organized a seminar, “Avoiding Nuclear Destabilization”, and other side meetings in Moscow in cooperation with the Russian Pugwash Committee and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This was interconnected with the Russian Congress of Political Scientists organized by the Russian Political Science Association, MGIMO-University under the Russian Foreign Ministry, and the Financial University under the Government of Russia, which allowed some Congress participants to take part in the Pugwash debates. These consultations with Russian experts were designed to seek out reaction in Moscow and the Russian strategic community to the US Administration’s announcement to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and survey current opinion on the future of arms control.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Denuclearization, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Summit on the Future of Europe is an initiative of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University. Since 2014, this annual conference has convened scholars and public leaders to debate critical challenges facing Europe. The 2018 Summit convened at Harvard on November 7, 2018 and was a partnership of CES, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, the diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute, the European Stability Initiative (ESI), Central European University (CEU), and Real Colegio Complutense (RCC) at.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Political stability, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Jolyon Howorth
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: The EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP) was launched in the 1990s as a quest for “autonomy.” Fifteen years of efforts failed to deliver that objective. The coherence of the EU member states in their security dealings with the US was always vulnerable to the potentially incompatible objectives of the UK and France. But as EU leaders post-Brexit re-launch the CSDP, as the 2016 European Global Strategy rediscovers the virtues of “strategic autonomy,” and as the world juggles with a US president who appears to question the basis of the Atlantic Alliance, it is time to radically re-think the relations between the EU and NATO. This paper argues that, in the longer term, it is through the strengthening of the EU-NATO relationship that EU strategic autonomy will become possible, and that a consolidation of the transatlantic bond will emerge.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Assaf Orion, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: At the strategic level, the convergence in time and space of the events following the chemical weapons attack in Duma by the Syrian regime portend a dramatic development with substantial potential impact for Israel’s security environment. The attack on the T4 airbase, attributed to Israel, falls within the context of the last red line that Israel drew, whereby it cannot accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The attack in Duma reflects the Syrian regime’s considerable self-confidence at this time. As for Trump, the attack provides him with another opportunity to demonstrate his insistence on the red lines that he drew and take a determined stance opposite Putin. Thus, Israel’s enforcement of its red line and the United States’ enforcement of its red line have met, while Russia finds itself exerting efforts to deter both countries from taking further action that could undermine its achievements in Syria and its positioning as the dominant world power in the theater. However, the strategic convergence does not stop at Syria’s borders, and is unfolding against the backdrop of the crisis emerging around the Trump administration’s demands to improve the JCPOA, or run the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions and the US exiting the agreement. Indeed, the context is even wider, with preparations for Trump’s meeting with North Korean President Kim on the nuclear issue in the far background. Therefore, the clash between Israel and Iran in Syria on the eve of deliberations on the nuclear deal could potentially lead to a change from separate approaches to distinct issues to a broader and more comprehensive framework with interfaces and linkages between the issues.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North Korea, Syria, North America
  • Author: Ephraim Asculai, Emily Landau, Daniel Shapiro, Moshe Ya'alon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of the visit to Washington by President Macron and the scheduled visit by Chancellor Merkel in an effort to persuade US President Trump not to leave the JCPOA, this article zeros in on the key issues that need to be addressed by the allies. Guided by what is not only necessary but feasible at this late stage, the topics addressed include missiles, inspections, lack of transparency, sanctions, and the sunset provisions. Everything turns on political will – if it exists, agreeing to the proposed steps should not entail a lengthy process, and implementation can realistically begin in relatively short order. Significant results will mean the international community emerges with reinforced solidarity and a strengthened JCPOA. If negotiations progress seriously on this basis, it would make sense for the Trump administration to allow additional time beyond May 12 to complete them.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Shimon Arad
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: In January 2018, the United States and Egypt signed a bilateral communications security agreement known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which protects and regulates the use of sensitive American avionics and communications systems. This development now allows, for the first time, the acquisition by Egypt of US-made high precision GPS-based air-to-ground weapon systems and components, as well as advanced air-to-air missiles. Over the years, Israel’s concerns over the sale of large quantities of US weapon systems to Egypt were moderated by the quality cap dictated by the absence of a CISMOA agreement. Israel thus needs to raise this issue with Washington, within the context of the Qualitative Military Edge (QME) discussions. Given the unreliability of enduring stability in the Middle East, as exemplified by the events in Egypt since 2011, Israel should not disregard possible future scenarios in which its QME versus Egypt may matter. Based on the current convergence of security interests between Israel and Egypt, raising this issue with the US, though likely to upset Cairo, is not expected to undermine the practical manifestations of this relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, North America, Egypt
  • Author: Shmuel Even
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Israel’s exposure of the Iranian nuclear archive was an impressive and professional operation. It was meant to help prepare public opinion for President Trump’s statement and to make it more difficult for the other leaders who are party to the agreement and who are in no hurry to enter into a confrontation with Iran. In light of the importance of the great threat that Iran poses to Israel, the exposure operation was a vital step in a long struggle. The alternative of not exposing the material would have meant giving up the chance of using the information to create cognitive value and leaving it in the archives of the intelligence community.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Michael Elleman, Mark T. Fitzpatrick
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic-missile arsenal in the Middle East – could these systems one day be used to launch nuclear weapons? In a new report, IISS analysts Michael Elleman and Mark Fitzpatrick offer a detailed assessment of the design intentions behind each missile within Iran’s inventory. The result is a clear picture as to which platforms the United States and its allies should seek to remove, and which ones can be discounted. The common claim that Iran’s missile development must be stopped altogether because these systems could deliver nuclear weapons in the future rests on broad generalisations. While there is reason for concern, priority attention should be given to those missiles that might realistically be used for such a purpose, if Iran were to go down a perilous nuclear path. The international standard – but not treaty – for determining the inherent nuclear capability of missiles is the threshold developed in 1987 by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which seeks to forestall exports of missile systems able to deliver a 500kg payload a distance of 300km or more. Eight of Iran’s 13 current ballistic missile systems – the largest and most diverse arsenal in the Middle East – exceed this threshold and are thus deemed to be nuclear capable. The other five, all within the Fateh-110 family of missiles, are certainly lethal, especially when shipped to Hizbullah for use against Israel, but they are clearly not intended for nuclear use. Because capability does not equal intent, the MTCR guidelines should be just the first step in an assessment of Iran’s intentions for its missiles. When the United Nations Security Council drafted a new resolution in July 2015 to accompany the Iran nuclear agreement finalised that month, an element of intent was added to previous sanctions resolution language that prohibited launches of Iranian missiles that were ‘capable of delivering nuclear weapons’. The 2015 resolution calls upon Iran not to engage in activity concerning missiles ‘designed to be’ capable of delivering nuclear weapons. What it means ‘to be designed’ is undefined. Judging intent is partly subjective, but technical clues and intelligence information can guide analysis. The soundest approach is to disaggregate Iran’s various missile systems, and to assess design intentions on the basis of the technical capabilities and lineage of the different missiles.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Harper and Pence have offered moral and spiritual leadership for the world. Their momentous Knesset speeches were epoch-making events.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Canada, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: What needs “nixing” is not the JCPOA – a piece of paper – but the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Infrastructure, Nuclear Power, Denuclearization, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: By leveraging its remarkable achievements in the fields most relevant to future conflicts, Israel can transition from dependence on the U.S. to partnership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The broader context to US President Trump’s recent decisions to nix the nuclear deal with Iran and to move the US embassy to Jerusalem is restoration of America’s credibility as a world power after eight years of diffident presidential leadership.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Bad management, corruption and a failure of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to generate expected levels of foreign investment compound the problem.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The Clinton-Obama parameters haven’t worked – not for 25 years of peacemaking efforts since Oslo. They have lead to deadlock and much suffering. Let’s give the Trump team credit for taking a fresh look at what is safe, wise, fair and realistic in today’s Israeli-Palestinian reality.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Territorial Disputes, Leadership, Borders, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Omer Dostri
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The recent agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia to increase oil production is a significant blow to Iran. America seeks either regime change or a new nuclear deal on better terms.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Oil
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: On restoring relations between Tehran and Washington. If the protests in Iran expand, Trump will be able to exert greater pressure on Tehran.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Omer Dostri
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: In the past decade, relations between Israel and China have become closer, following a decision in Jerusalem to diversify and expand Israel’s ties with emerging powers and countries that do not belong to the European Union and are less identified with the American coalition. The visit to Israel by China’s vice president is evidence of the warming of relations between the two countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Emerging Powers
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joshua Krasna
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The possibility that Iran and Turkey will be emboldened by the American decision, is worrisome. The main counter to that will be robust deterrence from Israel, whose maintenance may increase the likeliness of escalation in Syria and Lebanon, and even more resort to the restraining hand of Russia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Hegemony, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: While relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated in recent years, making it exceedingly difficult for both countries to collaborate in managing a variety of common concerns, emerging challenges to global order make such cooperation increasingly imperative. To explore where U.S.-Russia cooperation is desirable and, in some places, even necessary, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France, on June 9 and 10, 2017, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-Russian Cooperation.”
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Jennifer M. Harris
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese outbound investment is on the rise, and much of it is finding its way into the United States. Be- tween 2010 and 2015, China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the United States grew by an average of 32 percent annually.1 Within the past two years alone, Chinese foreign investment inflows to the United States increased four-fold, and available data suggests 2017 will see the second highest annual investment on record, after 2016.2 This is not a two-way street: the United States and other foreign investors do not enjoy similar open market access in China. China maintains a dizzying assortment of formal and informal barriers to for- eign investment—from outright restrictions and quotas to mandatory joint ventures, forced localization measures, and domestic licensing regimes. Despite years of negotiations, these barriers are, if anything, growing more cumbersome in many sectors. U.S. firms paint a darkening picture of the business climate they face in China. U.S. FDI in China has slowed considerably in recent years: after growing roughly 180 percent from 2002 to 2007 (albeit from a low baseline), U.S. FDI flows into China have declined since 2012.3 The one-way surge of Chinese investment into the United States comes against a backdrop of strategic mistrust between Washington and Beijing. Ongoing accusations of state-sponsored cyber predation of U.S. firms, Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness over territorial disputes, its systematic efforts to under- mine the U.S. alliance system in Asia, and mounting tensions over North Korea all contribute to a dark- ening mood in the U.S.-China relationship. And, like so much involving China, this investment is simply different. Rarely, if ever, has the United States seen an increase in investment of this magnitude—espe- cially from a non-ally and especially from one where the lines between state ownership and private own- ership are so inherently blurred. For all the concern surrounding Japanese investment in the United States in the 1980s—coming as it did amid fierce economic competition—those debates ultimately re- mained under the umbrella of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. All of this raises questions about whether the United States needs to tighten its stance on Chinese in- bound investment; proposals to that effect have bipartisan support in the Congress. The Donald J. Trump administration has signaled its desire for a tougher approach in its economic dealings with China, which U.S. businesses seem to welcome. One foundation for such an approach is the principle of reciprocity. Roughly two dozen sectors in China—construction, mining, banking, insurance, and so on—remain effectively off-limits to American investment, because the Chinese government protects its domestic companies through regulations and financial subsidies. Even in sectors that technically allow foreign investment, discriminatory industrial policies tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese firms. Until this changes, Washington would be justi- fied—even obligated—to limit Chinese investment in the U.S. market. However, U.S. policymakers do not have a consensus on what a policy of reciprocity would entail, and different policy interpretations could spell quite different economic and foreign policy consequences for the United States. The United States should aim for a version of reciprocity that allows it the flexibility to maximize pressure on the broad range of Chinese industrial policy concerns while leaving a clear route to negotiations. The United States should also encourage European and other Western countries, many of which are seeing similar increases in Chinese investment, to adopt this new approach.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Eli Stiefel, Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Maria J. Stephan is a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on civil resistance, nonviolent movements and their relevance to conflict transformation and democratic development. At the Atlantic Council, she co-leads the Future of Authoritarianism project. Previously, Stephan was lead foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), where she worked on both policy and operations for Afghanistan and Syria engagements. Earlier, Stephan directed policy and research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), a private foundation dedicated to developing and disseminating knowledge about nonviolent struggle. She simultaneously taught courses on human rights and civil resistance at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and American University’s School of International Service.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Diplomacy, Social Movement, Women, Protests
  • Political Geography: Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Last December, the Weatherhead Center recognized the upcoming retirement of University Distinguished Service Professor Joseph S. Nye, Jr. by dedicating the 2016 Manshel Lecture on American Foreign Policy to him. One of the most influential foreign affairs scholars of our time, Nye served as Center director from 1989 to 1992—though his roots at the Center trace back to its infancy in 1961, when he was a research assistant to Director Robert Bowie. Nye's accomplishments run deep. He began his distinguished career as a Harvard faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government in 1964, and became the school's dean in 1995. He held security appointments in both the Carter and Clinton administrations, and his thought leadership has influenced heads of state and policy makers around the world. He is perhaps best known for coining the term “soft power,” which describes the ability of states or institutions to attract and persuade others through noncoercive means. The Weatherhead Center sat down with Nye to discuss the fate of soft power in the context of current US foreign affairs—and also asked him to share his memories of early days at the CFIA.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Bryan Lee
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: This report provides an overview of crowdsourcing systems and identifies the key elements in their successful operation. It also offers an examination of best practices for US government implementation of crowdsourcing projects. Finally, it describes four instances of crowdsourcing projects with applicability to arms control and nonproliferation. Crowdsourcing systems have been used to address a variety of problems, but government applications are typically restricted to one of four types
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Governance, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Alexandra Novosseloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Peace Operations Review
  • Abstract: ince 1945, the United Nations has helped support many successful peace processes and protected millions of civilians around the world. Peace operations deliver results: research estimates suggest that the presence of a UN peace keeping mission can reduce the risk of relapse into conflict by 75 – 85 percent;1 and that larger deployments diminish the scale of violence and protect civilians in the midst of fighting.2 Peace operations can be highly cost effective, with one General Audit Office assessment finding the cost to be roughly half of what a bilateral stabilization operation would cost.3 Different types of peace operations - from mediation and special envoys through to multidimensional peace-keeping and specialized justice and emergency health missions - have helped end long running conflicts and prevented violence from escalating or recurring in situations as diverse as Burkina Faso, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. Yet in 2017 the UN’s peace and security pillar faces deep challenges. Three reviews in the past two years have highlighted serious inadequacies in UN peace and security responses at large. Many of the recent challenges are due to real world shifts in the nature of conflict and geopolitical dynamics – the tragedy of Syria, renewed fighting in Yemen and South Sudan, continued crisis in Libya, difficulties in preventing a political and humanitarian crisis in Burundi, longstanding missions that are struggling to deliver sustainable peace in DRC and Haiti, and newer missions in Mali and CAR where geography creates sustained cross-border security risks. These situations are also affected by divisions amongst Member States that have prevented agreement on action in some cases. Part of the weaknesses, however, are managerial and structural. The sense of urgency pervading Member States at the UN, together with a new Secretary-General who has signaled his determination to reform this area, provides the opportunity to take a more fundamental look at what would give the UN’s peace and security pillar the right form to deliver the functions that it is called to serve, now and in the future. The purpose of this report is to analyze options for organizational restructuring in the UN’s peace and security pillar. It focuses on headquarters structures since this has been identified as a primary source of overlap and competition: the purpose however is to deliver better results in the field, from prevention through crisis management to post-conflict recovery. It does not cover wider reforms across the UN’s three pillars, which are supported in other CIC work streams.4 Following an introductory section, Section II traces the history of UN peace and security structures since the UN’s founding (see Box). The UN has had no shortage of reform in the past, each designed to address specific weaknesses or new demands. Cumulatively, however, these changes have resulted in a structure that is no longer fit to fulfill the functions needed.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Yemen, Haiti, Syria, North America, South Sudan
  • Author: Alexandra Novosseloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Peace Operations Review
  • Abstract: If UN peacekeeping operations are “at a crossroads” as the Secretary-General told the Security Council on 6 April, then it is a policy and linguistic roundabout. This is the same phrase that a senior official used to describe the Brahimi report in 2000 and others used to characterize the work of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) in 2015. Does this mean that the policy debate that surrounds UN peacekeeping has just been going around in circles for the past twenty years? The recent declarations made by the US administration on possible cuts of its share of the peacekeeping budget and its push to cut individual missions at the time of mandate renewal (as observed in the case of MONUSCO already) has created uneasiness and has given new life to the old debate about the relevance of UN peacekeeping. But this in itself is not a new position. The HIPPO report has also argued for such a review of existing operations. Whether peacekeeping missions are “fit for purpose”, and what this actually means in practice, are questions numerous governments, delegations in New York, departments of the UN Secretariat, experts on the matter, non-governmental organizations and at times, international public opinion, have kept asking for years and even decades. The question was put on the table of the Security Council again by the new US administration during its presidency in April 2017. The goal, as outlined in its concept paper, was to review every single peacekeeping operation to “identify areas where mandates no longer match political realities.” The objective was to “propose alternatives or paths towards restructuring to bring missions more in line with achievable outcomes.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America