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.
Turkey has the right to protect its national interests
Turkey is a regional power, a direct neighbor of Middle Eastern states and their historic trading and political partner. The West continues to ignore its national interests only at the risk of its own security.
Syria heads toward renewed conflict
Daesh’s imminent defeat in Syria has brought new tensions to the fore. Iran now has proxies and allies right next door to Israel, while the U.S. has committed to a long-term military presence. Russia’s main objective continues to be securing its Syrian bases, and Turkey is becoming more isolated over its insistence on keeping Kurdish groups from controlling any territory. These factors form a volatile mix that makes it difficult to foresee anything but renewed conflict in the already war-torn country.
Saudi Arabia’s hidden power struggle comes into the open
The arrest of 208 high-ranking individuals in November 2017 on suspicion of corruption suggests that the House of Saud faces serious challenges. King Salman’s son, Mohammad bin Salman, has consolidated power in a way that contravenes the traditional rules of succession of the Saudi ruling dynasty. But amid foreign policy setbacks and a mixed record with domestic reforms, it is far from certain that the Crown Prince will succeed his father on the throne.
India’s stake in the Afghanistan conflict
India is happy that the United States has recommitted to fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Keeping them out of power will limit the influence of India’s longtime rival, Pakistan. But the U.S. commitment is tenuous, and President Donald Trump is a known skeptic of the war. Russian and Iranian support for the Taliban complicate the issue. India will therefore continue to support the government in Kabul through aid and diplomacy, without getting militarily involved.
GIS Dossier: China dominates the rare earths supply chain
The unique chemical and physical properties of rare earth elements make many cutting-edge technologies possible. China is richly endowed with the resource and once attempted to corner the REEs market. Beijing’s predatory policy was thwarted by the WHO and the global economic slowdown, but the West’s efforts to develop alternative supply sources have come up short.
Options for European defense
After three decades of continuous decline, European defense budgets are again on the rise. What kind of military capabilities will these investments provide? Money will only go so far without the right strategic choices.
Wars no longer between states
Warfare has entered a stage where the parties engaged are no longer easily recognizable as states. Some security experts have even gone so far as to say that the era of war between states has come to an end and that this is a good thing. The latter is a very dubious claim.
Opinion: Do not underestimate Russia’s fear
Russia is at a dead end. Paralyzed by fear that the process of its disintegration that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union has not run its course yet, Russia’s ruling elite is uncertain of the country’s future and its own legitimacy. Hence the besieged fortress mentality, aggressive posture abroad and oppressive policies at home. Perceiving reforms as risky, the Russian civilization concentrates its waning energy on trying to maintain the status quo.
Will the South Korean success story continue?
South Korea has proven that even through adversity and the constant threat of war, it can still develop and progress. That will continue to be the case if the precarious peace on the Korean Peninsula continues. But that is a big “if.” The country is dependent on China and the United States, especially, keeping their cool as the current crisis plays out. On the other hand, if a sustainable solution can be found for the tensions, South Korea will be the biggest winner.
Opinion: Defense is essential
Every state above a certain size needs armed forces to defend itself. Methods for their use vary, ranging from the Swiss model of territorial defense to the blue-water navies, foreign alliances and overseas bases deployed by superpowers. The one common element – essential to any sort of effective deterrence – is the political will to fight.