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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The Geopolitics of the Middle East

Policy Brief  No.155 - March, 2023 • By Sverre Lodgaard

This Policy Brief discusses the new geopolitical landscape and its implications for war and peace in the Middle East. US retrenchment from the Middle East—long in waiting—has caused Arab states to seek new partnerships in order to reduce their vulnerabilities in a turbulent world. The geopolitical fault line between East and West has moved westward, from Iran to Saudi Arabia, and the new agreement between Iran and these countries has a huge potential to turn the region in a cooperative direction. Given all the uncertainties, however, the significance of it can only be tested over time.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Can Conflict Resolution Principles Apply in Ukraine?

Policy Brief  No.153 - January, 2023 • By Hugh Miall

This Policy Brief analyses the Russia–Ukraine conflict at three inter-related levels, and explores the belief that conflict resolution principles could be applied if the parties were to move away from their current positions. It is vital to try to bring the conflict to an end, to avert the obvious risks of the conflict widening and escalating. Yet there are few expectations of an early peace and the conflict seems highly resistant to resolution. Is the application of conflict resolution and the achievement of a reasonable outcome completely hopeless in these circumstances?

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

External and Domestic Drivers of Nuclear Trilemma in Southern Asia: China, India, and Pakistan

Policy Brief  No.152 - January, 2023 • By Jingdong Yuan

This Policy Brief discusses both the external and domestic drivers of the nuclear trilemma in Southern Asia that involves China, India, and Pakistan. It identifies and examines the internal dynamics of the China–India and India–Pakistan conflicts and explores how domestic drivers such as nationalism, public opinions, and civil-military relations either mitigate or exacerbate nuclear risks in a region marked by perennial disputes, emerging rivalry, and long-standing extra-regional interferences. The paper addresses the central theme of the nuclear trilemma between China, India, and Pakistan by looking at causes of instability, risks of conflicts and escalation to nuclear use, and prospects of restraints and risk reduction.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Plus ça Change? Prospects of a Nuclear Deterrence Multipolarity in Southern Asia

Policy Brief  No.151 - January, 2023 • By Toby Dalton

This Policy Brief addresses the key variable in an emergent Southern Asian nuclear multipolarity: the India–China relationship and the extent to which nuclear weapons become more prominent in respective national security belief systems in New Delhi and Beijing. It first assesses the existing boundaries of nuclear deterrence, then evaluates four trends that are pushing the region towards deterrence multipolarity. Next it identifies two possible fulcrums: developments that would tip the region from the status quo into a new system. Finally, it surveys the rather barren landscape of existing CBMs before identifying possible avenues to improve stability and reduce potential sources of conflict.