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  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Axel Berkofsky, Giulia Sciorati
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In 2020, the way we define “insecurity” has drastically changed. Insecurity can now also be invisible and all around us, in the shape of a virus that disrupts people’s lives, upends the economy, subverts the core functions of national governments and jeopardises the foundations of international cooperation. At the same time, the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic has not made traditional security challenges disappear, especially in and around Asia. This Report presents short- and long-term scenarios for each of the hotspots that challenge peace and stability in Asia, a region that, after the pandemic, has become even more crucial for a swift global recovery.
  • Topic: Security, Political stability, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Giorgio Fruscione, Michael L. Giffoni, Gentiola Madhi, Chiara Milan, Jovana Marovic, Giorgio Fruscione, Nikolaos Tzifakis
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: One year after it landed in Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has left a deep mark on the Western Balkans. On the one hand, it has exacerbated geopolitical dynamics that had been ongoing for decades, especially with regards to the activity of external actors. And while the EU has continued to be inconclusive, proceeding at a snail’s pace with its carrot-and-stick approach, China has seized on the opportunity and expanded its footprint. On the other hand, the pandemic has had deep consequences on domestic politics, too. The two keywords explaining local trends are continuity and new hopes. They are both shaping the speed and direction of democratic transitions or consolidations, which remain far from complete. How has the geopolitical competition among big powers evolved in the Balkans over the last year? What have been the effects of the pandemic on local democratic standards? Is there room for new hopes in terms of regime change and citizen participation?
  • Topic: Democracy, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Aldo Ferrari, Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, Maxim Matusevich, Marianne Belenkaya, Andrei Kolesnikov, Alicja Curanović, Alexander Graef, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: What drives Russia’s foreign policy in Vladimir Putin’s times? Why did the Kremlin decide to annex Crimea, occupy South Ossetia, intervene in Syria, or give its blessing to Nord Stream II? When explaining Russia’s foreign policy, the consolidation of Putin’s autocratic tendencies and his apparent stability despite many economic and political challenges have contributed – at least in the West – to an excessive “Putin-centrism” and the relative neglect of other agents of domestic politics. As a result, many facets of the country’s foreign policy decisions are misunderstood or shrouded under a thin veil of vagueness and secrecy. This Report attempts to fill this gap, exploring the evolving distribution of political and economic power under the surface of Putin’s leadership to assess the influence of different “lobbies” on Russia’s foreign policy. Who decides what in Moscow? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not always “Vladimir Putin”. All of the contributions in the volume underline the complexity of Russia’s decision-making process beneath the surface of a monolithic and increasingly personalistic government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics, Authoritarianism, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Fabio Petito, Fadi Daou, Michael Driessen, Elie Al-Hindy, Georges Fahmi, Nejja Al-Ourimi, Silvio Ferrari, Mohammed Hashas, Scott M. Thomas, Pasquale Ferrara, R. Scott Appleby, Miguel Angel Moratinos, Alberto Melloni, Azza Karam, Paul Gallagher, Nayla Tabbara, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, Andre Azoulay, Jean-Marc Aveline
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Polarization and discrimination linked to religion have been increasing in many parts of the world, including on the two shores of the Mediterranean. Against this background, however, seeds of hope have emerged from a number of religious leaders who have called for a new narrative of human fraternity and inclusive citizenship. This report analyzes the opportunities which human fraternity and inclusive citizenship offer for government-religious partnerships aimed at building more inclusive and peaceful societies across both shores of the Mediterranean and puts forward interreligious engagement as a new policy framework that recognizes and amplifies these novel dynamics. Can the interreligious narrative of human fraternity help to create new inclusive forms of citizenship? How can governments and international organizations better partner with religious leaders and communities to concretely build inclusive societies from the MENA region to Europe?
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Refugees, Citizenship, Pluralism , Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean
  • Author: Matteo Villa, Marta Foresti, Elena Corradi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Migration is often envisioned as a movement from origin A to destination B. But, even for forcibly displaced people, migration trajectories are much more complex and can be made up of multiple displacements. This study aims to look at how decisions to migrate are shaped and what it is that drives, diverts or deters migratory movements across borders. It focuses on how education in emergency (EIE) affects the migratory decisions of forcibly displaced people. What impact does EIE have on the living conditions of forcibly displaced people in countries of transit? How does the perspective of education in emergency affect their decisions on when, where, and how to migrate further?
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Mario Del Pero, Paola Magri, Gary C. Jacobson, Michele Alacevich, Gabriella Sanchez, Scott L. Greer, Mario Del Pero, William F. Wechsler, Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Unprecedented and unpredictable: this is how US President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly been labelled. Beyond the frequent tweets and bombastic rhetoric, however, lie a more conventional four years, as the United States navigated an ever-evolving international reality, compounded by a global pandemic and one of the deepest economic recessions in over a century. This Report analyses the continuity and changes that occurred during Trump’s presidency. Domestically, it investigates the growing political polarization, the country's pre-pandemic economic performance, Trump's approach towards regular and irregular migration, and the US’ response to a healthcare emergency. At the international level, this volume looks at how the US stance has changed vis-à-vis China, the Middle East, and Europe. Which long-term trends has President Trump had to ride through? What was his trademark, and what might be his lasting legacy?
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Immigration, European Union, Inequality, Economic Growth, Engagement , Donald Trump, COVID-19, Polarization, Disengagement
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone, Michele D'Alessandro, Zemalak A. Ayele, Giovanni Putoto, David Styan, Michael Woldemariam, Afyare A. Elmi, Abdi M. Hersi, Aleksi Ylönen, Alexander Meckelburg, Camillo Casola
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the context of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Horn of Africa remains one of the most dynamic and intriguing regions on the African continent. The political processes currently under way – including the recent conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – have deep implications that reflect on the domestic equilibria within the area’s core states - Ethiopia itself, but also Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti – as well as on the relations among them. The nature and extent of involvement by external, non-African players is bound to be affected too. How is the Horn of Africa changing, following the leadership transition in Ethiopia? What are the main political and security prospects for the region and for the states belonging to it? And how will ongoing dynamics impact on European political strategies?
  • Topic: Hegemony, Geopolitics, State Building, Domestic Policy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Fabio Rugge, John R Allen, Giampiero Massolo, Thomas A. Campbell, Samuele Dominioni, Caitlin Chin, Mishaela Robison, John Villasenor, Darrell M. West, Paola Benanti
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The rise of Artificial Intelligence applications is accelerating the pace and magnitude of the political, securitarian, and ethical challenges we are now struggling to manage in cyberspace and beyond. So far, the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and cyberspace has been investigated mostly in terms of the effects that AI could have on the digital domain, and thus on our societies. What has been explored less is the opposite relationship, namely, how the cyberspace geopolitics can affect AI. Yet, AI applications have so far suffered from growing unrest, disorder, and lack of normative solutions in cyberspace. As such, from algorithm biases, to surveillance and offensive applications, AI could accelerate multiple growing threats and challenges in and through cyberspace. This report by ISPI and The Brookings Institution is an effort to shed light on this less studied, but extremely relevant, relationship.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Inequality, Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, Disinformation, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vali Nasr, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The MED Report 2020, Navigating the Pandemic, provides analyses, policy recommendations and a vast array of data and infographics to stimulate discussion and inspire innovative ideas during the 6th edition of Rome MED Dialogues. Following MED's four traditional thematic sections – shared security; shared prosperity; migration; civil society, culture and media – the Report focuses on a selection of topics that are crucial to the region, highlighting both the challenges and the dynamics taking shape in an area that has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of this publication is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the prospects and policy options for the Middle East and North Africa, where COVID-19 has impacted on a context already marred by socio-economic vulnerabilities and instability.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Culture, Geopolitics, Media, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Andrea Cellino, Annalisa Perteghella, Thomas Guerber, Paola Magri, Ranj Alaaldin, Jerome Drevon, Jalel Harchaoui, Irene Constantini, Eleanore Ardemagni, Annalisa Perteghella
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic is not only a health challenge. In the MENA region, against the backdrop of protracted conflicts, instability, and an overall deterioration in socio-economic conditions, the coronavirus crisis adds another layer of vulnerability and has already had long-lasting repercussions on human security across the region. Moreover, as hybrid actors take on an important role as security providers amid the pandemic in a context of limited or absent oversight, risks associated to a lack of accountability, ethno-religious discrimination, human rights abuses and gender-based violence grow. While classical approaches to security provision tend to portray non-state actors and the State as inherently at odds, the complexity of a rapidly evolving security landscape throughout the region should trigger a revision of the very concept of effective governance. Against this backdrop, how should Security Sector Reform (SSR) strategies and programmes adapt? What lessons can be drawn from selected case studies such as Iraq, Libya, and Yemen?
  • Topic: Conflict, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, North Africa
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Annalisa Perteghella, Nadereh Chamlou, Gawdat Bahgat, Abbas Kadhim, Hafsa Halawa, Yahia Mohamed, Lemine Mestek, Emadeddin Badi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as many countries in the MENA region remain engulfed in vicious internal conflicts or must cope with structural socio-economic distress and popular dissent. In many respects, such a context and many of its problems resemble those that formed the backdrop for the Arab Spring in 2011. Exactly like what happens with humans, who are hit the hardest when presenting pre-existing conditions, MENA states have been impacted because of their own pre-existing conditions. In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare all the vulnerabilities and deficiencies of these states’ structures, and has aggravated pre-existing political, social, and economic shortcomings. How has the pandemic impacted state structures? What is its effect on organized protests and spontaneous popular movements? What are the possible long-term consequences?
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Arab Spring, Conflict, Protests, COVID-19, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Andrei Kortunov, Paola Magri, Ines Abdel Razek, Andrey Chuprygin, Chiara Lovotti, Matteo Villa, Elena Corradi, Ivan Bocharov, Ruslan Mamedov
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Mediterranean region has faced a significant number of challenges that have stemmed from turbulent events taking place on its Southern shores: conflicts and instability, the migration crisis, disruptions of regional value chains, souring regional relations, and foreign power interferences that have severely affected the region. The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the Southern Mediterranean, but the health crisis had ambiguous effects on the underlying economic, social, and political trends of the region. It has exposed and exacerbated much of the previous sources of tension and, obscured many of them as public attention moved towards facing the public health emergency. Will the Covid-19 pandemic spur governments and civil societies to action? Or will it just serve as another smokescreen behind which to hide the region's longstanding problems?
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Migration, Terrorism, Conflict, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Author: Fabio Rugge
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The year 2018 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Morris worm, the first malware ever released in the Internet. Thirty years later, technological innovations have dramatically increased the importance of the Internet in virtually every economic, social and political endeavor, tremendously expanding the potential “surface” of cyber attacks. The cyber domain makes it possible to gather privileged information, disrupt industrial processes, create havoc by targeting, for instance, ICT supporting critical infrastructures, and to launch cyber-enabled information warfare campaigns against largely unaware foreign target audiences. Cyberspace, in sum, allows states to achieve strategic results with campaigns that fall below the threshold of the “use of force”, while offering an unprecedented level of plausible deniability, as the real perpetrator of a cyber attack is always difficult to identify with certainty. And yet, this is only the beginning: we are in the midst of a digital revolution. By 2025, with the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the cyber domain will connect more than 75 billion devices, many of which will control key functions of our daily lives and most of our critical infrastructures.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Africa is a fast-changing continent and an area of rising global relevance, where major transformation processes are currently underway, from demographic expansion to economic development, from social progress to environmental challenges, from technological innovation to continental integration, from political change to migratory pressures. How will these complex transformations shape the Africa of tomorrow? This Report sets out a vision for Africa’s future based on five key traits: an archipelago of heterogeneous growth trajectories; the revolutionary impact of technological leapfrogging; regional integration and the growing role of sub-regional processes; the clustering of instability mainly around the core of the region; and the migration movements that originate from – but also predominantly remain within – the African continent.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region volume deals with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa that are facing a particularly troubled period in their historical development. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan and Tunisia have plunged into a legitimacy crisis that in some cases has turned into civil war or violent upheaval. As traditional authorities lose their legitimacy, two alternatives are emerging. The first is a more decentralized system of government, evinced by the empowerment of subnational government bodies and the growing legitimacy of local authorities; in this trend, the local authorities are able to keep the state united and more functional. The second is a growing number of political groups that act as opposition to authoritarianism, which is experiencing a revival. The analysis herein also focuses on Islamist movements; namely, their organizational and ideological development as well as how the shrinking of the political space affects them and the entire polity. This Report explores the distinctive dynamics and characteristics of these challenges in the post-Arab Spring era.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Matteo Villa
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: European cities are at the forefront of tackling the complex challenges of integration. The foreign-born population is constantly growing and already exceeds 30% in Berlin, Vienna, and London. Local authorities are therefore playing a more and more important role in managing increasingly complex integration processes. Integrating foreigners requires a commitment to the coordination of policies in diverging areas such as: reception, education, the labour market, health services, and fighting segregation. This report addresses the issue of urban diversity by answering some crucial questions: what problems do cities face in addressing the challenge of integration? How can best practices be replicated? And how can the dialogue between cities, regions, national governments, and European institutions be improved?
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Lorenzo Vidino
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the past few years, the MENA region witnessed a rise in jihadist extremism and radicalization, as countries in the area were rocked by a series of deadly terrorist attacks. As authorities responded to the threat, it became clear that in order to effectively counter the phenomenon, traditional repressive measures had to now be accompanied by alternative methods of prevention, rehabilitation and dissuasion. How have different governments around the Mediterranean responded? What sort of alternative measures have been taken? How effective have these policies been? What further steps can be taken to strengthen the response of the authorities? These are just some of the key issues that this ISPI Report seeks to cover. The experts in this volume illustrate the policies of contrast, prevention and de-radicalization that have been adopted by countries in the MENA region, revealing emerging trends, lessons learned and overviews of this security status.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Alessia Amighini
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reforms and opening up. In four decades, China has learned how to grasp the benefits of globalisation and has become a world economic champion. As the world’s second-largest economy, today China is no longer the factory of the world but an industrial power aiming at the forefront of major hightech sectors, in direct competition with Europe and the US. In sharp contrast with Trump’s scepticism on multilateralism, President Xi has renewed his commitment to growing an open global economy. But how does globalisation with Chinese characteristic look like? Is Beijing offering more risks or more opportunities to both mature and emerging economies? To what extent is China willing to comply with international rules and standards? Is Beijing trying set its own global rules and institutions? Is the world destined to a new model of economic globalisation detached from political and cultural openness?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China