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  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since achieving its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has maintained warm relations with the United States. The country regards the United States both as a potential source for trade and investment and as a partner to balance the influence of Russia and China in Central Asia, a perspective which underlines the importance of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. During the visit, Pompeo was generous in his praise for Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of bilateral ties, while criticizing China’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and ethnic Kazakhs in so-called “re-education” camps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To help Ukraine find peace, the EU, NATO, and member states must seek new approaches to arms control discussions with Russia and European security as a whole. They should also consider a more flexible sanctions policy, such that progress in Ukraine may lead to incremental easing. What’s new? Russia’s Ukraine policy, including its military intervention, is driven both by Moscow’s goals in Ukraine itself and its longstanding desire to revise Europe’s security order. Western responses are similarly driven by both Ukraine-specific and Europe-wide interests. A sustainable peace plan must address both sets of factors. Why does it matter? Efforts to make peace in Ukraine by solving problems specific to Ukraine only will fail, because the causes of the conflict are both local and geostrategic. A truly sustainable peace should address European security as a whole to make Russia, its neighbours and the entire continent safer. What should be done? European states should engage Russia in discussions of European security, including regional and sub-regional arms limitations. They should also consider adjusting the current sanctions regime to allow for the lifting of some penalties if Russia contributes to real progress toward peace.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has an interest in allowing the Russian Federation to “win” an outright victory in Syria, so long as it secures from Moscow an agreement that is favorable to the Syrian Kurds, builds in negative consequences for an external actor targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, and establishes a “deconflict plus”-type mechanism to continue to target Islamic State- and Al Qaeda-linked individuals in Syria. A forward-looking policy that the incoming Biden administration could consider is to deprioritize the nascent threat of the Islamic State as a key factor in driving U.S. national security strategy, and instead focus more intently on long-term competition with great powers. This approach would seek to shape how Moscow spends finite defense dollars—at a time of expected global defense cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic—in ways that are advantageous to the United States. It also would seek to limit the cost of the U.S. presence in Syria—to include secondary and opportunity costs not accounted for in a basic cost breakdown of the U.S. war against the Islamic State. This approach is not without risk, particularly from a nascent Islamic State insurgency in Russian-controlled territory, but seeks to match U.S. strategic priorities with action and to impose upon a long-term competitor the costs of victory for its intervention in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Robert E. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: On August 26, Politico reported that U.S. service members were injured after an altercation with Russian forces in northeast Syria. This pattern of Russian challenges to U.S. forces was enabled by the Trump administration’s decision to retreat from parts of northern Syria in 2019, allowing Russia to fill the void. Until this decision was made, the two countries had agreed to make the Euphrates River the deconfliction line to keep U.S. and Russian forces separated. Russia stayed on the west side of the river, and the United on the east side, where this incident took place. Robert Hamilton, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, commented on the story and warned that it will not be a one-off incident: “We need to respond to this immediately and forcefully. Russian forces deliberately escalated against U.S. partners when I was running the ground deconfliction cell for Syria in 2017, but tended to be careful when U.S. forces were present. Unless we make it clear that we’ll defend ourselves, these escalations will continue with dangerous and unpredictable results.” Below, we offer readers an excerpt from a chapter written by Robert Hamilton from a forthcoming edited volume on Russia’s Way of War in Syria.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, North America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: As tens of thousands more refugees are shunted by Turkey toward Europe and a new phase of the brutal Syrian war unfolds, Russia, Turkey, the EU, and the international community are being handed the bill for a flawed short-term approach to the nine-year conflict that lacked empathy for the millions of victims and was likely to magnify rather than resolve problems.
  • Topic: War, Refugees, Syrian War, International Community
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Michael Flynn, Andrew Rhodes, Michael F. Manning, Scott Erdelatz, Michael Kohler, John T. Kuehn, B. A. Friedman, Steven A. Yeadon, Matthew C. Ludlow, Terje Bruøygard, Jørn Qviller
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: In 2019, the 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps released his planning guidance that laid out the strategic focus and future direction of the Marine Corps. General David H. Berger’s intent for the following four years concurred with the analysis of the previous Commandant and the necessary alignment of the Corps with the National Defense Strategy for the future needs of the Fleet by focusing on five areas: force design, warfighting, education and training, core values, and command and leadership. General Berger cogently noted that the coming decade will be characterized by conflict, crisis, and rapid change—just as every decade preceding it. And despite our best efforts, history demonstrates that we will fail to accurately predict every conflict; will be surprised by an unforeseen crisis; and may be late to fully grasp the implications of rapid change around us. Berger’s primary concern is that the Marine Corps is not fully prepared— equipped, trained, or organized—to support the naval force. To that end, force design became the priority for Marine Corps efforts to fulfill its role for the Fleet as prescribed by the U.S. Congress. The level of change required to integrate the Corps of the future with the naval forces of today would not happen overnight and certainly not without a great deal of growing pains to ensure the Corps is equipped and prepared for the future security environment. When Force Design 2030 was released in March 2020, the Marine Corps was prepared to make the force-wide changes necessary to partner with the Navy and serve as the country’s naval expeditionary force. Our current force design, optimized for large-scale amphibious forcible entry and sustained operations ashore, has persisted unchanged in its essential inspiration since the 1950s. It has changed in details of equipment and doctrine as technology has advanced toward greater range and lethality of weapon systems. In light of unrelenting increases in the range, accuracy, and lethality of modern weapons; the rise of revisionist powers with the technical acumen and economic heft to integrate those weapons and other technologies for direct or indirect confrontation with the U.S.; and the persistence of rogue regimes possessing enough of those attributes to threaten United States interests, I am convinced that the defining attributes of our current force design are no longer what the nation requires of the Marine Corps. Berger’s plan pointed to specific areas of change required to make force design a reality: the size, capacity, and capability of the Corps. In an austere fiscal environment, the Marines must assess their current capabilities to achieve a smaller footprint with broader reach—do more with less. As the reality of COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. presidential election have so poignantly reminded us all, these tasks cannot and should not rest on any single shoulder and any response should be well considered and intended to benefit the greater good. This issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies (JAMS) will address elements of the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, particularly the concept of naval integration and what it means for the Services, especially the Marine Corps. Our authors look to the past for relevant examples of military successes and failures of integration, but they also discuss how future warfare will play out based on these concepts. The authors explore the topic from a variety of perspectives, including those for and against, and they offer analyses of past and current attempts and what naval integration may mean for the future of the Corps. The following articles present the capabilities that will be required to shift from a traditional power projection model to a persistent forward presence and how the Marine Corps can exploit its positional advantage while defending critical regions. Our first author, Dr. Matthew J. Flynn, presents a historical approach to the topic in his article “The Unity of the Operational Art: Napoleon and Naval Integration.” Flynn’s research calls for greater coordination between the sea and land domains to improve U.S. national security. His article draws parallels between Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat and the importance of naval integration for military success: “Napoleon’s fate reveals a great deal about naval integration and how it explains France’s defeat and, most importantly, that there is but one operational art—not one for land and one for sea.” Our second author, Andrew Rhodes, also relies on a historical example with his discussion of the salient lessons that can be learned from the Sino-Japanese War. Rhodes encourages professional military educators and planners who are developing future operational concepts to look beyond simply retelling history and consider how the legacy of this conflict might shape Chinese operational choices. He reinforces From the Editors 9 Vol. 11, No. 2 the concept that military history is not simply a resource for answering concerns about future conflict, but it encourages us to ask better questions about the role of the sea Services and how they can handle uncertainty when preparing for the future. Lieutenant Colonel Michael F. Manning’s “Sea Control: Feasible, Acceptable, Suitable, or Simply Imperative” offers a historical review of early twentieth century Japanese naval battles as a framework to model possible future contests for control of the maritime domain. Manning believes that control of the maritime domain is a prerequisite for assured access and sets the condition for successful Joint operations. Manning believes that “nations not only have to compete with their enemy’s major air and naval capabilities but must also defend against land-based airpower; missiles; torpedoes; short-range, antisurface warfare assets; and coastal mines.” Colonel Scott Erdelatz (Ret) and his team of coauthors focused on an old approach for a new era of naval integration that acknowledges the long-term threat posed by China but also considers how much of what we know as the Marine Corps should be retained to fulfill other missions. Erdelatz et al. also analyze how radical integration might incur significant risk for the Marine Corps if long-term force structure decisions are based on still-evolving concepts and unproven technologies. Major Michael Kohler’s article, “The Joint Force Maritime Component Command and the Marine Corps: Integrate to Win the Black Sea Fight,” discusses how most current Marine and Navy integration takes place at the Service-chief level and primarily focuses on the Pacific. Kohler, however, believes that naval integration is also an important component of a successful defense against Russian expansion in the Black Sea region. Dr. John T. Kuehn shifts the focus to carriers and amphibious operations with his article “Carriers and Amphibs: Shibboleths of Sea Power.” Dr. Kuehn argues that aircraft carriers and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit represent shibboleths of seapower that conflate a deeper understanding of where the U.S. Fleet belongs now and where it needs to go in the future to face the challenges of the twenty-first century. Major B. A. Friedman’s article, “First to Fight: Advanced Force Operations and the Future of the Marine Corps,” then circles back to the traditional Marine Corps stance as always first to fight and the need for advanced force operations in the Corps of the future. Steven A. Yeadon’s article, “The Problems Facing United States Marine Corps Amphibious Assault,” rounds out the current perspective with a review of issues the Marine Corps has faced with amphibious assaults. Yeadon offers actionable information on current limitations and vulnerabilities of U.S. amphibious forces to chart a way forward for a robust forcible entry capability from the sea. The discussion closes with two articles looking to the future of naval in- 10 From the Editors Journal of Advanced Military Studies tegration and the Marine Corps. Major Matthew C. Ludlow’s article, “Losing the Initiative in the First Island Chain: How Organizational Inefficiencies Can Yield Mismatched Arsenals,” presents what may be considered a losing proposition of initiatives in China’s First Island Chain; however, strategic gaps in capabilities have emerged that could dramatically impact the ability to execute an island-defense strategy. The final article by Lieutenant Colonels Terje Bruøygard and Jørn Qviller, “Marine Corps Force Design 2030 and Implications for Allies and Partners: Case Norway,” offers a larger discussion of Force Design 2030 and its future implications for American allies with a case study on Norway. The authors encourage the Department of Defense to consider greater interoperability between and among Services and allies, including increased communication with allies on changes happening at the Service and national level of the U.S. armed forces. The remainder of the journal rounds out with a review essay and a selection of book reviews that continues our focus on naval integration, but it also highlights continuing challenges in national security and international relations. The coming year will be busy for the JAMS editors as we work to provide journal issues on a diverse range of topics relevant to the study of militaries and defense.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, History, Military Strategy, Power Politics, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Europe, Norway, Asia, North America, United States of America, Black Sea
  • Author: Konrad Muzyka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Since Vladimir Putin declared the fall of the Soviet Union to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century, prompting concerns that Moscow would seek to rebuild its influence by conquering territories on its borders, Russia has deployed combat troops into Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and inserted private military companies into the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Venezuela. But there is little consensus among analysts about the meaning of Russia’s military behaviour, or how far it might go in pursuing its interests. Is it trying to rebuild a version of the former Soviet Union? Does it have the will and capability to go to war? Under what circumstances might it be ready to commit combat troops? And how do these questions relate to its immediate neighbourhood, in particular to the Baltic region? This analysis examines Russia’s fundamental motives for going to war in the ‘near abroad’, describes how Russia might wage war in the Baltic states, and identifies some of the indicators that might suggest it is preparing to do so.
  • Topic: War, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Baltic States
  • Author: Deborah Jordan Brooks, Stephen G. Brooks, Brian D. Greenhill, Mark L. Haas
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The world is experiencing a period of unprecedented demographic change. For the first time in human history, marked disparities in age structures exist across the globe. Around 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with significant numbers of elderly citizens. In contrast, the majority of the world's people live in developing countries with very large numbers of young people as a proportion of the total population. Yet, demographically, most of the world's states with young populations are aging, and many are doing so quickly. This first-of-its kind systematic theoretical and empirical examination of how these demographic transitions influence the likelihood of interstate conflict shows that countries with a large number of young people as a proportion of the total population are the most prone to international conflict, whereas states with the oldest populations are the most peaceful. Although societal aging is likely to serve as a force for enhanced stability in most, and perhaps all, regions of the world over the long term, the road to a “demographic peace” is likely to be bumpy in many parts of the world in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, International Security, Democracy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. McCarthy, Matthew A. Moyer, Brett H. Venable
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States lacks a cohesive strategy to deter Russian aggression. Despite being militarily and economically inferior, Russia has undermined the United States and its allies by exploiting the “gray zone,” or the conceptual space between war and peace where nations compete to advance their national interests. In dealing with Russia, the United States must shift its strategic framework from a predominantly military-centric model to one that comprises a whole-of-government approach. The holistic approach must leverage a combination of diplomacy, information, military, and economic (DIME) measures. In this timely and prescient monograph, three active duty military officers and national security fellows from the Harvard Kennedy School look to address this contemporary and complex problem. Through extensive research and consultation with some of the nation’s and academia’s foremost experts, the authors offer policymakers a menu of strategic options to deter Russia in the gray zone and protect vital U.S. national security interests.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Affairs, Economy, Peace, Deterrence, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In none of the conflicts in the post-Soviet area have so many foreign fighters participated than in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014. It is estimated that more than 17,000 fighters from 55 countries have fought there on either side. Those fighting on the Russian side pose a special challenge to Ukraine’s security and to neighbouring countries because these fighters can engage in terrorism or other radical actions and are part of Russia’s hybrid warfare.
  • Topic: War, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Robert E. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The war in the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas has killed over 13,000 people, displaced millions, and led to the worst rupture in relations between the Russian Federation and the West since the end of the Cold War. The war was caused by inherent cleavages in Ukrainian society, combined with clumsy and self-interested intervention by outside powers. The war’s effects on Ukraine have been profound: the collapse of the post-Soviet Ukrainian political elite; billions of dollars in direct and indirect losses to the Ukrainian economy; a wholesale restructuring of the Ukrainian armed forces; social dislocation and psychological trauma; and unprecedented environmental damage. Despite these sad legacies, there are reasons to be optimistic that a settlement to the conflict is in view. The exhaustion and frustration of people in the separatist-controlled regions, Russia’s changing policy on the war—at least in part a result of rising frustration among the Russian public—and the election of a new Ukrainian government without regional ties or ties to networks of oligarchs all contribute to the possibility of peace. But in order for peace to endure after the war, the Ukrainian state must construct a broad-based, civic national identity, and it must tackle the country’s endemic corruption. The international community must be engaged in both crafting a settlement to the war and helping Ukraine deal with its consequences. External observers may be inclined to point to social division and corruption as the internal causes of the war, and argue that Ukraine has to fix itself before the outside world can intervene to help. And this is true as far as it goes. But it is also true that the outside world contributed to the start of war in Ukraine by making the country the object in a geopolitical tussle between Russia and the West. Any honest accounting of the war’s history must acknowledge this fact. And any fair treatment of Ukraine after the war should seek to compensate it through significant, long-term assistance.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Separatism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Paul Dibb
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: We’re in an era when the risks of major-power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are China, the rising power, and the US, the formerly dominant power that’s now in relative decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and US-led NATO. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American power? The most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complementary grievances. This paper examines Russian and Chinese concepts of great-power war in the 21st century, their views of the West and its military capabilities, and what risks they might both take to regain lost territories. The paper concludes by examining how America might react, the implications of all this for the West, including Australia, and what sort of armed conflict might be involved.
  • Topic: War, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Kars de Bruijne(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The Global Security Pulse tracks emerging security trends and risks worldwide. This month the Global Security Pulse focuses on the subject of political warfare. It specifically assesses how it plays a role in the foreign relations of Russia
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Today’s geopolitical conflicts, especially among great powers, involve a desire to fundamentally revise the order of alliances as well as solidify new norms of conduct. The purpose of our paper is to delineate two distinct phenomena in international affairs – hybrid warfare, which emphasizes the tactical level and grey-zone conflicts, which incorporates a long-term strategic dimension into international disputes. We argue that hybrid warfare can be a tactical subset of grey-zone conflict deployed under certain conditions and in varying degrees. We examine four case studies: China’s application of ‘unrestricted warfare’, Russia’s strategy of ‘hybrid balancing’, ‘regional hybridism’ practiced by Israel and ‘restricted hybridism’ applied by Canada/NATO globally. We conclude that the solution to challenges from Russia and China is not a military one but a political and collective one based on baseline requirements for building resilience. Israel, on the other hand, is largely uninterested in the revision of order of alliances and will continue to utilize its tactical advantage vis-à-vis regional neighbors to achieve victories in short conflicts. We conclude that NATO (and Canada) should work more closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union to effectively extend security guarantees to its members. In doing so Canada and likeminded countries will involve the costs of engaging in hybrid warfare and the subsequent erosion of democratic accountability.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Geopolitics, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Middle East, Canada, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Dima Adamsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: This monograph argues that the Syrian experience may leave a major imprint on Russian strategic thought and operational art. It explores Moscow’s Syrian campaign and seeks to answer the following questions: How did the Russian art of strategy manifest itself? How did Moscow design the campaign and then estimate its operational performance, judged against its own ends? Which lessons has the Russian strategic community learned? How might these insights project on Moscow’s future strategic behavior? Which strategic trends are more likely than others?
  • Topic: War, Military Strategy, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ed Erickson, Christian H. Heller, T. J. Linzy, Mallory Needleman, Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, Keith D. Dickson, Jamie Shea, Ivan Falasca, Steven A. Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, Ian Klaus
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: There are a variety of reasons to study geopolitical rivalries, and analysts, officers, and politicians are rediscovering such reasons amid the tensions of the last several years. The best reason to study geopolitical rivalries is the simplest: our need to better understand how power works globally. Power not only recurs in human and state affairs but it is also at their very core. Today’s new lexicon—superpower, hyperpower, and great power—is only another reminder of the reality of the various ways that power manifests itself. Power protects and preserves, but a polity without it may be lost within mere decades. Keith D. Dickson’s article in this issue of MCU Journal, “The Challenge of the Sole Superpower in the Postmodern World Order,” illuminates how fuzzy some readers may be in their understanding of this problem; his article on postmodernism calls us to the labor of understanding and reasoning through the hard realities. Ed Erickson’s survey of modern power is replete with cases in which a grand state simply fell, as from a pedestal in a crash upon a stone floor. Modern Japan, always richly talented, rose suddenly as a world actor in the late nineteenth century, but the Japanese Empire fell much more quickly in the mid-twentieth century. A state’s power—or lack thereof—is an unforgiving reality. This issue of MCU Journal, with its focus on rivalries and competition between states, is refreshingly broad in its selection of factors—from competing for or generating power. Dr. Erickson recalls that Alfred Thayer Mahan settled on six conditions for sea power, all still vital. Other authors writing for this issue emphasize, by turns, sea power (Steven Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, and Ian Klaus); cyberpower (Jamie Shea); alliances (T. J. Linzy and Ivan Falasca); information (Dickson); and proxies (Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, and others).
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Islam, Terrorism, War, History, Power Politics, Military Affairs, European Union, Seapower, Cities, Ottoman Empire, Hybrid Warfare , Cyberspace, Soviet Union, Safavid Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Lithuania, Georgia, North Africa, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anne De Tinguy, Bayram Balci, François Dauceé, Laure Delcour, Tatiana Kastouéva-Jean, Aude Merlin, Xavier Richet, Kathy Rousselet, Julien Vercueil
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Sovereignty, War, International Security, Regional Integration, State
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, European Union
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Pietro A. Shakarian
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey have been improving their relationship since June 2016, the Kurdish question presents a potential challenge to their attempts to strengthen their ties. Reconciling Kurdish aspirations with Turkish fears will be a top priority for Moscow in its effort to broker a post-war peace in Syria.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: David J. Bercuson, Randolph Mank, Sarah Goldfeder, Mike Day, David Perry, Peter Jones, David Carment, Milana V. Nikolko, Brett Boudreau, Rolf Holmboe, Darren Schemmer, Andrew Griffith, Robert Vineberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Global Exchange is the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s quarterly magazine featuring topical articles written by our fellows and other contributing experts. Each issue contains approximately a dozen articles exploring political and strategic challenges in international affairs and Canadian foreign and defence policy. This Spring 2017 issue includes articles on trade, defense policy, elections and more.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, Bilateral Relations, Budget, Elections, Democracy, Negotiation, Peace, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Syria, North America, United States of America, Gambia
  • Author: Bayram Balci, Juliette Tolay
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: While the issue of Syrian refugees has led an increasing number of countries to work on curbing arrivals, one country, Turkey, hosts almost half of these refugees. Yet, far from imposing restrictions, Turkey has distinguished itself for its open border policy and large-scale humanitarian contribution. Turkey’s generosity alone is not sufficient to understand this asylum policy put in place specifically for Syrians. There are indeed a number of political factors that indicate a certain level of instrumentalisation of this issue. In particular, Turkey’s benevolent attitude can be explained by Turkey’s early opposition to Assad in the Syrian conflict and its wish to play a role in the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria, as well as by its willingness to extract material and symbolic benefits from the European Union. But the refugee crisis also matters at the level of domestic politics, where different political parties (in power or in the opposition) seem to have used the refugee issue opportunistically, at the expense of a climate favorable to Syrians’ healthy integration in Turkey.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Nationalism, Religion, Terrorism, War, International Security, Diaspora, Peacekeeping, Refugees, Syrian War, Regional Integration, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans, Syria