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  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War (September 29–November 9) has had a transformative effect on the country. It not only changed the attitudes of its population, whose members now feel themselves to be heroes rather than victims (see EDM, January 21), but also bolstered the diplomatic weight and possibilities of the Azerbaijani government in its dealings with other regional states. In prosecuting a triumphant war against Yerevan, Baku demonstrated its own ability to act. But just as importantly, Azerbaijan has shown to peoples and governments in the Caucasus and Central Asia that it is a force to be reckoned with, in part thanks to its growing links with Turkey. Moreover, that alliance makes possible an appealing path to the outside world for all who join it. That reality is causing countries east of the Caspian to look westward to and through Azerbaijan in their economic planning and political calculations. At the same time, however, these developments are generating concerns in Moscow and Tehran, which oppose east-west trade routes that bypass their countries’ territories and instead favor north-south corridors linking Russia and Iran together. As a result, Azerbaijan’s recent successes in expanding links with Central Asia set the stage for new conflicts between Azerbaijan and its Turkic partners, on the one hand, and Russia and Iran, which have far more significant naval assets in the Caspian, on the other (see EDM, November 27, 2018 and February 20, 2020; Casp-geo.ru, December 24, 2019; Chinalogist.ru, November 21, 2019).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • 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: Eugene Rumer, Richard Sokolsky, Aleksandar Vladicic
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russian foreign policy remains focused primarily on Europe. That said, Moscow’s diplomatic foray into Asia hinges on its burgeoning strategic partnership with China. Much has been written about Russia’s so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific since its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and break with the West, but there is less to this supposed strategic shift than meets the eye. The country is and will remain a European—rather than an Asian—power by virtue of its history, strategic culture, demographics, and principal economic relationships.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Demographics, Diplomacy, History, Partnerships, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s return as a major geostrategic actor in the Mediterranean is one of the most significant trends characterising this area over the past few years. Part of a broader geopolitical pluralization of this space, Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria marked a new phase in Moscow’s Mediterranean engagement. Based on a stringent logic of intervening where other powers leave strategic vacuums, Russia has succeeded to carve out an increasingly central role in Mediterranean equilibria, despite its limited resources. Russian diplomatic and economic support for the Syrian regime in Damascus had steadily increased since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011. Yet, it was Moscow’s direct military intervention in September 2015 that signalled a decisive upgrade in engagement. Moscow’s military involvement shifted the tide of the conflict, proving decisive in avoiding the collapse of the Syrian regime, which is also backed by Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Economy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • 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: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has at times worked cooperatively with Russia and China to promote shared nonproliferation objectives. But with no end in sight to the current precipitous decline in Washington’s bilateral relations with Moscow and Beijing, constructive engagement on today’s nonproliferation challenges has become increasingly problematic. Unless the United States and its two great power competitors can find a way to carve out areas of cooperation in otherwise highly adversarial relationships, the remarkably positive record of international efforts to prevent additional countries from acquiring weapons will be difficult to sustain. From sometimes partners to frequent foes, this Occasional Paper examines the history of US cooperation with Russia and China on key issues including Iran, North Korea, Syria, international nonproliferation mechanisms, and nuclear security. It also outlines the obstacles to future nonproliferation cooperation, as well as the growing proliferation threats that require such cooperation. Most importantly, it identifies several possible areas where the United States can hope to find common ground with both countries. With relationships with Russia and China reaching new lows and unlikely to improve for the foreseeable future, finding a way to for the United States to work cooperatively with both countries will not be easy. Bridges to constructive engagement have been burned and will be difficult to rebuild. However, the author points out that constituencies for cooperation remain in all three countries, including in government bureaucracies. “As hard as it may be to find common ground in otherwise highly adversarial relationships, it is imperative that the US administration in office after January 2021 make every effort to do so. Cooperation with America’s two great power rivals will not always guarantee success, but the absence of such cooperation will surely increase the risk of failure.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, United States of America, North 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: 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: 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: Tapio Juntunen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current discussion on the possible repercussions of the INF crisis have largely concentrated either on great power relations or on the level of NATO-Russia relations and the future of the transatlantic ties. This Working Paper aims to broaden the present discussion by reflecting on the potential implications of the negative trends in nuclear weapons politics and arms control from the perspective of the Nordic region. One of the key concerns for the Nordic countries in this regard is Russia’s significant arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the immediate vicinity of the region. The prospect of a looming nuclear weapons buildup in the North Sea areas and around its key locations is also something that the Nordic countries should be concerned about together with their allies and key partners. The Nordic countries should also aim to increase their agency in relation to the stalling nuclear arms control agenda. In addition to supporting the efforts to open up different possibilities to salvage the INF Treaty, the Nordic countries also have self-interest when it comes to integrating other categories of non-strategic nuclear weapons into these discussions. Tapio Juntunen
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Nordic Nations
  • Author: Arkady Moshes
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The French-German-Russian-Ukrainian top-level encounter could not and did not deliver a prospect of resolving the conflict in Donbas, but the limits of the possible are now clearer. No certainty, but the “draw” may push the parties closer to a sustainable ceasefire.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Humanitarian Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, France, Germany
  • 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