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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Climate Change and Conflict

How Robust is the Evidence on Climate Security? An Assessment of Confidence Levels in IPCC Reports via the SCIPCC Dashboard.

Policy Brief  No.129 - June, 2022 • By Cesare Scartozzi

This Policy Brief aims to fill existing research gaps and discuss the temporal and thematic evolution of confidence levels in WGII's climate security reporting. Since AR4, the IPCC has been assigning a level of scientific uncertainty to each substantive statement in its reports. Using a novel application of natural language processing, this study was able to assess IPCC confidence levels in climate security literature over time and across topics. The study finds that more scholarship does not automatically lead to more robust evidence and that while the IPCC has a strong bias toward reporting findings with medium to high confidence levels, the under-representation of low confidence findings is somewhat problematic. The Policy Brief concludes with recommendations for researchers and practitioners.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Escalation, De-escalation and Perhaps—Eventually—an End to the War?

Policy Brief  No.128 - April, 2022 • By Herbert Wulf

The war is back in Europe. February 24, 2022, the day of the Russian invasion, is called a watershed, a turning point. How will this war possibly end and how can we get out of this escalation spiral? What is a possible path to de-escalation? The massive arms build-ups and mutual threats are reminiscent of the times of the Cold War. It looks like the major powers are trying the chop the globe into spheres of influence again. It seems that there can be no return to intensive economic interdependence, a cornerstone of détente. But in the medium- and long-term, a Helsinki II process is important: a political project that pursues predictability of the nuclear arsenals, arms control and the return to an adherence to international law.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

South Korea’s Geopolitics: Challenge and Strategic Choices

Policy Brief  No.127 - April, 2022 • By Chung-in Moon and Sung-won Lee

South Korea is currently facing growing rivalry between China and the United States, creating pressures which have precipitated intense debates on South Korea’s strategic positioning. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the nature of domestic debates on geopolitical challenges and strategic choice in South Korea. The first section presents a brief historical overview of geopolitical dynamics of the Korean Peninsula. The second looks into South Korea’s strategic dilemma in the face of China-U.S. hegemonic rivalry. Thirdly, the article identifies four strategic options currently being debated in South Korea and traces how they are factored in the domestic politics of the March presidential election, 2022. Finally, it suggests a transcending diplomacy as an alternative to the current strategic dilemma.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Transformation in the Strait: Prospects for Change in China-Taiwan-US Relations

Policy Brief  No.126 - March, 2022 • By Hugh Miall

President Xi Jinping’s warning that the US would be ‘playing with fire’ if it supported Taiwanese independence, made at the virtual summit with President Joe Biden on 15 November 2021, followed a number of moves by both the Trump and Biden administrations that appeared to increase US support for Taipei. In Taiwan, public support for independence remains high. Meanwhile both China and the US are ramping up their preparations for a possible military conflict. The February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised existing tensions in the region. What then are the prospects for averting war in the Strait? Can the underlying dispute over Taiwan be peacefully resolved? If not, can the relationships between China and Taiwan, and China and the US, be developed in such a way that their disputes can be managed in a more cooperative manner?