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  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Union (EU) increasingly uses sanctions in order to respond to breaches of international norms and adverse security developments in its neighbourhood and beyond. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the current state of EU sanctions and discusses options on how to maintain them as an effective tool. The study identifies the withdrawal of the UK as one of main architects of the instrument and an increasingly unilateral and unpredictable US sanctions policy as key challenges. In addition, the EU’s machinery for planning, deciding, implementing and enforcing sanctions exposes vulnerabilities in an increasingly geopolitical environment. The current shifts in international relations constitute an opportunity to clarify the strategic nature of EU sanctions and to fine-tune the sanctions machinery. EU unity and a joint diplomatic approach to international crises are vital for the success of the policy tool. Consequently, the efforts to improve the instrument need to ensure member states’ ownership of EU sanctions policy. Our economic analysis of Russia sanctions and countermeasures reveals rather minor macroeconomic repercussions for the EU and Finnish economy. The efforts to sharpen EU sanctions policy is important for Finland as one of the smaller and export oriented countries in the EU given the increasingly turbulent world marked by geopolitical competition. This publication is final report of a research project conducted by FIIA and ETLA entitled “Development of EU’s Sanctions Policy: Political and economic implications for Finland”. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2019
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku, Teemu Tammikko
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Terrorism is one of the most significant security threats in Europe. As it is transnational in character, countering it requires both cooperation between EU member states and widespread external action. This report examines the latter by focusing on the concepts, development, actors and structures, as well as the practices of the EU’s external action on counter-terrorism. The EU’s external action on counter-terrorism is performed in four different frameworks: diplomacy, crisis management, external aid, and the external action of the EU’s internal security agencies. All of these have their own policy-making structures with different actors and mandates, and hence the overall picture is complex. Several ongoing institutional reforms add to the complexity. Although the EU’s external action on counter-terrorism has its challenges and limitations, the EU has shown that it is capable of adapting its approach to changing needs. The EU can add value to the counter-terrorism action of its member states by developing and promoting common concepts and practices, maintaining an overview of the threat, and facilitating cooperation with different partners. However, the EU’s external action on counter-terrorism is dependent on the ability of the member states to agree on common goals and the ability of the different EU actors to coordinate their actions. This publication is updated version of the Finnish report published as part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research in January 2020.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, European Union, Counter-terrorism, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Mikael Wigell, Mika Aaltola
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The idea of a ‘Middle East Helsinki Process’ has been raised as a potential collective security mechanism to help avoid major political regressions and violent spirals. The Helsinki Process, known for reducing tensions between the Soviet Union and the West in the 1970s, can provide some useful lessons, but the region will have to develop its own model by drawing on past experiences and the region-specific threat perceptions and political needs. Non-interference, sovereignty and the protection of religious rights could serve as useful starting principles for regional security-building in the Middle East. Drawing on the lessons learnt from the Helsinki Process, specific recommendations for a possible Middle East Process would be as follows: i) establish a regional initiative for building a security architecture in the Persian Gulf inspired by the Helsinki Process and its institutionalization; ii) establish a channel for Track 1, state-to-state-level consultations; iii) focus on the basic security guarantees that are common to the Persian Gulf states; and iv) maximize regional ownership, but with external facilitation.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matti Pesu, Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation has taken significant steps. Currently, the two countries engage in operative planning, which constitutes a significant part of their new cooperation agenda. Although interoperability between the Finnish and Swedish armed forces is crucial for the bilateral defence relationship, the countries should be ‘interoperable’ at the strategic level as well. Neither Finland’s and Sweden’s strategic cultures nor their decision-making systems or legislation are entirely similar. However, military non-alignment, similar threat perceptions and a shared assessment of their security environment facilitate their cooperation. In view of the future, questions remain about the two countries’ readiness to enter mutual defence commitments. There is also a need to ensure that their basic messages concerning the bilateral defence relationship are aligned. Over the longer term, the idea that one’s neighbour is worth defending should be entrenched in the strategic cultures of both states. This requires active nurturing of the already close relations between their national security communities.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Sweden, Scandinavia
  • Author: Tyyne Karjalainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Union is renewing its Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities after more than a decade. The new concept is being launched at a time when international peace mediation is at risk of lagging behind in the face of accelerating power politics. The United Nations Security Council seems to be paralysed, and many peace processes frozen solid. Regional actors, such as the EU, now have a window of opportunity to strengthen their role, albeit amid difficult circumstances, as learnt, for example, in Ukraine and Syria. This Working Paper suggests that the EU has special abilities to build on in peace mediation, including exceptional resources for capacity-building and mediation support. Capable of harnessing the resources of the member states, civil society and private mediation actors alike, the EU can build tailor-made, multi-level processes for resolving conflicts, and make the essential change-makers pull together. However, there is still room for improvement in EU action, for example in the evaluation of mediation, to which end this research sheds light on several concrete steps that the EU can take in order to optimize its efforts.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Syria
  • 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: 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: 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: Tom Plant
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the last twenty years, the UK has researched nuclear arms control and disarmament verification in increasing breadth and depth. Although this principally technical activity has not yet been directly linked to any of the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile reductions or postural changes, it does form much of the UK’s recent disarmament diplomacy. This is because more effective techniques for verification of nuclear arms control and disarmament are widely regarded as essential for the multilateral regimes that might be necessary if global nuclear stockpiles are to reduce. Thus, the UK balances its retention of nuclear weapons with plans – or at least the appearance of plans – for future disarmament. This balance stems in part from the degree of internal conflict in the UK about its nuclear weapon status, and the perceived need to take the lead in nuclear disarmament matters, set against decreasing room for manoeuvre in terms of substantive reductions to its declared nuclear arsenal; in the future it is likely to be increasingly central to the UK’s disarmament diplomacy. The degree to which UK verification research is genuinely intended to make a tangible disarmament contribution therefore merits scrutiny. This is particularly true for those states that are also working in the field or are interested in doing so. This paper lays out how Finland and other Nordic states could contribute by encouraging the UK to take more meaningful action, inter alia by linking UK verification research and its modernisation programme to potential arms control futures.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • 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
  • 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
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite concrete achievements in energy and military-technical cooperation, long-term trends, such as Russia’s growing dependence on China, India’s tilt towards the US, and tense Sino-Indian relations are not conducive to closer strategic cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU’s new strategy for connecting Europe and Asia, implicitly a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is an important first step in promoting European priorities in terms of connectivity. However, uncertainties, including those surrounding the financial implications, remain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • 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