Defense & Security
Military strategy, alliances, weapons, troops and firepower. Defense and security issues shape geopolitical events now more than ever. GIS experts provide scenarios for future military developments.
GIS Dossier: China’s Africa strategy
Beijing’s 1996 Going Out strategy called for trade and investment in developing countries to secure energy and raw materials for its accelerating economy. Two decades later, China’s relationship with Africa is evolving into a mature, balanced system of economic and political interests.
Will Kurdistan get a second chance?
The independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan was clearly a miscalculation by President Massoud Barzani. His assumption that Erbil could present a bill to Baghdad for services rendered in defeating Daesh was swiftly trumped by realpolitik. Now, the question is what can be saved from the debacle, and whether war can be avoided in Kurdistan itself.
Opinion: Honduras has it all – unfortunately
Honduras is a textbook example of why the one-size-fits-all U.S. policy toward Central American isn’t working. As the flow of drugs and migrants continues unabated, American law enforcement and aid programs have gotten in each other’s way. They would do better to find ways to strengthen the Hondurans who are still trying to take their state back from the narco cartels.
Geopolitics drives Japan’s economy
Japanese companies are making a big push overseas. The phenomenon is a result of a shrinking population, but also geopolitical pressure from China. To counter Beijing’s influence, Japan is using its economic heft to expand its reach and protect its interests. Its ties with countries like India and Australia will continue to grow, and it will step into the vacuums left by a withdrawing United States and an overstretched China.
Opinion: How Kirkuk could trigger a new major war
Iraqi Kurdistan’s disastrous decision to press ahead with an independence referendum has allowed the Iraqi federal government to reassert control over Kirkuk and its vital oil fields. But an even bigger consequence of Baghdad’s resurgence could be a potential conflict with its erstwhile sponsor, Tehran. Any such confrontation would quickly become regional in scope, bringing in Saudi Arabia, the United States and possibly Israel.
Theresa May’s guardedly optimistic Brexit scenario
Under London’s current proposal, the United Kingdom could quit the European Union at midnight on March 30, 2019 largely unscathed, leaving behind a smaller, but cooperatively disposed community on the continent and the outstanding, complex divorce issues for settling later on. But then, there is the “cliff edge” scenario with not such a happy ending.
In naval deterrence, numbers matter
Chinese naval construction has far outpaced that of the United States for many years. By some measures, the lethality of its surface combatants is a match for comparable Western vessels – or even better. With the U.S. Navy already stretched thin in the East Asia, reliance on its traditional allies and long-time technological edge is not enough. There must be more hulls in the water.
What’s next for the Caspian region
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Caspian Sea region plays an outsized role in geopolitical events. In recent years, global powers have made some significant changes in their policies toward the region. China is stepping up its activity, while the U.S. has backed away. Russia’s influence has greatly increased, while Turkey’s has waned. Now, states in the region face a growing threat from Muslim extremism. How well countries meet these challenges will depend on the strength of their state institutions. In Central Asia, that could mean increased cooperation and peace. In the South Caucasus, conflict could be on the cards.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
China’s expanding space program
China started its manned space program four decades after the United States, but it is making great strides while the American effort stagnates. Beijing has long-term plans for a manned lunar base and is testing antisatellite weapons at record altitudes. There appears to be little will in Washington to commit to a multi-decade program needed to stay ahead of the Chinese, and no other country appears able to compete on equal terms.