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: Saudi Arabia’s transforming role
Over the past five years, Saudi Arabia has had to make some big adjustments, as geopolitical shifts have put it in a precarious position. After the oil price slump of 2014 and Iran’s rise to regional prominence in 2015, the kingdom made strategic changes both at home and abroad. It decided to make a stand against Iranian attempts to forge a Shia crescent and moved to diversify its economy. This dossier reviews our analysts’ predictions for how successful these moves will be.
Iran’s rapprochement with Azerbaijan opens dangerous dynamics
The relentless rise of Iran is also making itself felt in the South Caucasus, a region ridden by border conflicts and great-power rivalry. The inroad is Azerbaijan. The small but oil-rich Caspian Sea state with a border issue with a neighbor is being intensely courted by Tehran and Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Israel, too, cultivates its relations with Baku. Russia’s traditional policy in its backyard – divide and rule, and sell weapons to all – may backfire under such circumstances.
Is the U.S. going back to the Western Balkans?
The United States is increasing its engagement with the Western Balkans on issues including security, energy and good governance. The administration is trying to reduce instability in the region, improve economic development and counter outside influence from countries like Russia and China. If these efforts are successful, U.S. capital investment will increase and the Balkans will move closer toward NATO membership.
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.