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.
Opinion: Russia returns to Africa
Russia is making a big push for closer ties with African countries. It aims to gain access to energy resources and in return offers military support and arms sales. Its goals are not only economic, however. It wants to show its people and the world that it is still a global power, as well as challenge the U.S., Europe and China as they make their own inroads on the continent.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – looking east
Europe is politically diffuse and poorly armed for a great power at a geopolitical crossroads. Yet it has proved deceptively capable of leveraging the NATO alliance and its enormous economic “soft power” to expand eastward. Now its mettle is being tested as Russia – and, to a lesser extent, Turkey – push back.
Border conflicts in the Balkans
Nearly three decades after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the borders in the Balkans are still up for debate. Eight unresolved border disputes are dividing countries in the region, pitting European Union and NATO members against each other and threatening the integration of several EU candidates. Some of these disputes will likely last for years to come, as the enmity of past conflicts gets in the way of negotiations.
Opinion: Can the North Korean leopard change its spots?
The June 12, 2018, Singapore summit between the president of the United States and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was better than the alternative – a potentially catastrophic outcome of belligerent rhetoric between two nuclear-armed states. A great deal will depend on what has been agreed in that other, less reported, North Korean summit – the one between China’s President Xi Jinping and Mr. Kim. For the West, though, the ultimate success hinges on keeping a focus on human rights as an essential part of the process.
Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’ offers a bleak outlook
In Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, forces advocating secession from the rest of the country are gaining clout. Violent clashes are increasing, dragging down the country’s economy and displacing thousands of people. President Paul Biya, now Africa’s longest-serving leader, is still likely to win a seventh term in office this year, but his eroding legitimacy will make it even more difficult to bring stability back.
GIS Dossier: The many faces of Vladimir Putin
The West still lacks a Russia policy that would go beyond demonization of Vladimir Putin, or punishment and containment attempts. The Kremlin’s top man is proving to be one of the most resourceful and undaunted Russian rulers in generations.
The Visegrad Group and Europe’s security system: a story to watch
NATO and the EU are the leading actors shaping European security, but there are also smaller players performing important roles. The Visegrad Group is one of them. Its member governments, though, are increasingly perceived in some European capitals as euroskeptic. Under adverse scenarios, this could lead to political and security problems for the EU. This report reviews how the V4 has contributed to Europe’s security system and what role it may play in the future.
Duterte’s impact at the two-year mark
When President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in the Philippines, his plan to reorient the country’s geopolitics toward Beijing and away from Washington was a shock. But reality has set in – although Manila now takes a more neutral line, the U.S. still plays a crucial role in the Philippines’ security. The public is also wary of China, whose aggressive moves in the South China Sea could cause an uproar and force Mr. Duterte to realign with Washington.
Armenia’s velvet revolution poses long-term risks
On the surface, the overthrow of Armenia’s longtime ruler Serzh Sargsyan poses no threat to Russia’s geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, elevated to the premiership by popular revolt, keeps stressing his exclusively domestic agenda and desire for close ties with Russia. But the long run, reforms that tackle corruption among the local political and business elites work against Moscow’s interests.
GIS Dossier: China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a huge infrastructure-building project that includes investments in roads, railways and ports spanning three continents and two oceans. While Beijing claims the BRI is purely an attempt to better connect China with key markets, it is clearly using the investments to gain geopolitical leverage. This Dossier brings together GIS experts’ analysis of how China is using the BRI to build its influence, and how countries around the world are reacting.