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.
Vietnam’s balancing act
Vietnam has traditionally sought a maximum degree of autonomy. However, its geopolitics are dominated by competition between the United States and China, as well as Russia. How the machinations between these powers play out in the region will determine the choices Hanoi makes, as it tries to balance the benefits it receives from its alliances with its desire to hold back external influence.
Northern Syria after Turkish intervention
Turkey’s decision to intervene in Syria has demolished U.S. plans to press home the ground war against Daesh. Ankara must now decide whether to respect an American-sponsored cease-fire or venture deeper into Syria to break up the emerging Kurdish autonomous zone. If they choose the latter course, as seems likely, the Turks could find themselves in a military quagmire.
Colombia’s peace pact: now comes the hard part
The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas have signed a long-awaited peace agreement. Now comes the hard part: making it work. There is no guarantee that Colombians will approve the deal in a referendum on October 2. If they do, there will be many other challenges ahead, including asserting state control over the entire country and reintegrating fighters into society. Though all of that will be difficult, the alternative is much worse.
India raises its profile in Africa
India is taking keener interest in Africa as it tries to buttress its strategic position against Chinese encroachments in the Indian Ocean. Trade, investment and security cooperation are all expanding rapidly, especially in Mozambique, which New Delhi regards as a crucial bridgehead. But India is still a long way from matching China’s footprint on the continent.
Failed coup transforms Turkey’s geopolitics
Turkey’s geopolitical outlook has changed drastically in the aftermath of the failed coup there this summer. The military has been deprived of many experienced officers and has lost Turkish society’s trust. Domestic sectarian tensions are heating up. Internationally, certainties about Turkey’s alliances have suddenly become doubtful: Ankara’s burgeoning partnership with Moscow is straining ties with NATO.
New border conflicts in the Balkans could foil NATO strategy
A new conflict over border delineation between two small Western Balkans nations complicates Washington’s and Brussels’ efforts to shore up the region militarily and politically. A small-fry bilateral spat is fast becoming a major multilateral problem as Russian and Islamic interests compete for influence on Europe’s southern flank.
Drug money keeps Venezuelan military in Maduro’s corner
Venezuela is in dire straits, with its economy contracting, its oil income falling and supplies of food and medicine dwindling. Against this backdrop, President Nicolas Maduro is resisting a recall referendum and installing generals in the top posts around him. Because he allows the military to profit from drug trafficking, it is likely to remain on his side.
In North Korea, no one wants to stay in heaven
A surge of high-profile defections has struck at the heart of Kim Jong-un’s regime. They contradict Pyongyang’s propaganda, which calls North Korea a “heaven” on earth, and even threaten the dictator’s personal income. Kim Jong-un’s solution? Increasingly brutal methods for punishing the “traitors.”
Can Turkey and Israel sustain detente?
Turkey’s mercurial president decided to make up with Israel just as suddenly as when he froze relations back in 2010. That bodes ill for a durable rapprochement, especially in light of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s long-standing ties with Hamas. But there are long-term reasons why the deal could work.
What if the Mosul Dam collapses?
The Mosul Dam holds back some 11.1 billion cubic meters of water, 45 kilometers northwest of the city of Mosul. It is built on fragile geology and requires 24-hour maintenance to keep it from collapsing. If it were to fail, it could kill as many as 1.5 million people, with the waves reaching as far as Baghdad. The catastrophe would unleash a new wave of migration towards Europe and worsen internal conflicts in Iraq and Turkey.