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: Governance in Africa, the case of three countries
Three sub-Saharan African countries, all with decades-long, devastating civil wars behind them. Two are populous and large, well-endowed in natural riches, while one is a small, landlocked nation with no particular resources. Which one is Africa’s poster child of economic and developmental success today? This GIS Dossier examines why the longtime leaders of these three countries delivered such widely differing results for their societies.
India decides on force to break a pointless cycle
The latest round of fighting on the India-Pakistan border reveals a changed mood in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to order an air strike deep inside Pakistan in reprisal for a terrorist attack is evidence of a more muscular policy taking shape. If Mr. Modi is reelected in a few months, it can be assumed that India will be brandishing a bigger stick at its Western neighbor.
Integrating a half-empty Balkans into the EU
Citizens of the Western Balkans are entering the European Union much faster than their countries. As a result, the region’s depopulation is accelerating, driven by high unemployment, poor governance, rampant corruption, rising crime and unclear prospects for the future. The most desired destination is Germany, which welcomes emigrants as a much-needed supplement to its workforce. However, the geopolitical consequences of a half-empty Balkans may be disturbing.
The Trump maritime strategy
After two decades of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq, where land and air power ruled supreme, the U.S. Navy is again on the leading edge of American foreign policy. Freedom of Navigation missions and bold forward deployments of carrier task groups are just part of a new policy to challenge expansion by strategic adversaries such as China and Russia. Yet for the Trump maritime strategy to work, it must be sustained by effective communications and diplomacy, and by an accelerated naval construction program.
GIS Dossier: Vietnam defends its independence
Vietnam, with its more than 3,400-kilometer coastline on the South China Sea, its growing economy and its large military, is a linchpin of Southeast Asia. It also lies at the crux of global powers’ interests in the region. So far, it has managed to maximize its independence, but rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region threaten to undermine its strategy. This Dossier reviews GIS experts’ analysis of and predictions for this emerging regional leader.
President El-Sisi’s Egypt: Quietly rebuilding economic strength
Following his 2013 coup d’etat that was sternly criticized in Washington and European capitals, Egypt’s former defense minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, was elected the country’s president by an overwhelming margin. After five years in charge of the most populous Arab country, Mr. El-Sisi has accumulated a predictably shoddy record on human rights but a surprisingly strong one as an economic reformer and agent of stability in the turbulent region.
Opinion: Venezuela’s endless endgame
Bankrupt and in an economic freefall, Venezuela has become the scene of a humanitarian drama. The opposition is finally unified and appears close to being able to push the die-hard Chavista regime out. Much of the outside world, including Latin America, Europe and the United States, is eager to help, but the devil, as always, is in the detail.
Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
The future of Russia’s Special Operations Forces
Russia’s special forces have gained prominence and valuable combat experience in recent years playing crucial roles in Crimea and Syria. Now they are training to engage their NATO counterparts. As a result, Western militaries have been forced to change the way they approach this threat. Though Russian special forces are still playing a game of technological catch-up, they are a tool the Kremlin is increasingly likely to use.
Opinion: Political implications of terminating the INF Treaty
President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is one in a series of withdrawals from contractual security arrangements. For the U.S., this step changes little in the bilateral relationship with Russia, but among European policymakers and media it has stirred up outrage. Paradoxically, this comes at a time when nuclear missiles – which are political weapons par excellence – have lost much of their significance in Europe.