Policy Brief No.88 - September, 2020
The EU seems to be at a watershed in its foreign, security and defence policy. A number of broad trends—the migration to Europe, Brexit, the Trump Administration’s “America first” policy, the re-emerged geopolitical rivalry and the Corona crisis—suggest that the EU is confronted with tough decisions to find its role in this changing environment when the multilateral world order is crumbling. The ambition of strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy has been put in second place by national interests and foreign policy contradictions. Many indicators point in the direction of realpolitik and an intensified military role for the EU. In this process it is essential to design and agree upon a realistic EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, so that the priorities are clear: first the political concept, followed by the necessary civilian and military capacities.
Policy Brief No.87 - August, 2020
The world order is in a state of flux with, amongst other factors, sovereign states as the new building blocks of international affairs, trade and technology wars at the top of the international agenda, and a tense relationship between the US and China. Such a world does not leave many options for cooperative action. In the military field, states have returned to unilateral security policies as primitive as those of the Cold War. There is one overriding common concern, however—to avoid nuclear war. To this end, stability measures are of the essence. In such a turbulent world, where big powers compete for positions and influence in the face of an unpredictable future, what are the prospects, if any, for cooperative security policies, arms control, and disarmament?
Policy Brief No.86 - August, 2020
In 2020, we live in a reality where arms control, rather than being seen as sacrosanct, has been reduced by some experts to “nuclear identity politics” while others claim that it is “practically exhausted”. Disconcerting as these sentiments may be, they contain a kernel of truth. Arms control in 2020 is still oriented to realities of the past. But if the arms race spirals into full force, it is humans who will be the losers. Hence, it is unhelpful to dismiss arms control as an obsolete manifestation of Cold War nightmares. But it is time for an update to address new global challenges, in particular quickly evolving geopolitical realities and emerging technologies. Furthermore, the silos in the debate on arms control need to be overcome.
Policy Brief No.85 - August, 2020
Until very recently, China has been seen as an important and constructive force in the crisis management in South Asia in the event of an India-Pakistan military crisis. However, due to the shifting power balance in the region and the trilateral interactions between China, the United States and India, this view has become increasingly challenged. China’s Belt and Road investments and infrastructure development is also likely to draw it into third-party crisis management. Although China is interested in preventing a nuclear war, its interest in crisis management is constantly subject to its definition of its national interest in the changing regional power balance and great power dynamics. With the deteriorating U.S.-China relations and great power competition, China’s instinct is to preserve its strategic leverage. In addition, with the border skirmishes between China and India continuing to flare up, China itself might become a party to the regional conflict.
Policy Brief No.82 - July, 2020
On June 15, a clash between two nuclear-armed neighbours, fighting with fists, rocks and clubs at an altitude of 4,250 metres, led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Chinese casualties are unconfirmed but are estimated at 40 deaths. Each side blames the other for the deadly clash. China’s media is state controlled but India’s too is noisily jingoistic. The Modi government’s propensity to bluster and to impugn the patriotism of anyone asking critical or sceptical questions does not inspire confidence in its narrative significantly more than in China’s official narrative. India does not seem to have learnt anything from its abysmal global public diplomacy in the clash with Pakistan in February 2019. With these caveats in mind, what happened; why; and what does it mean going forward?