Strategic defense: NATO’s conventional deterrent
The undeclared neo-Cold War between Russia and the West mixes 21st-century techniques – below-the-threshold operations, cyberattacks, information warfare through social media – with more traditional forms of military confrontation. As arms races, proxy wars and nuclear blackmail stage a comeback, NATO must rethink conventional deterrence. Yet even a beefed-up force will prove ineffective if the alliance chooses the wrong defensive strategy.
2019 Outlook: U.S. foreign policy to stay the course
Unconventional as his leadership style may be, President Donald Trump, succeeded in 2018 in getting both U.S. allies and competitors to pay serious attention to his foreign policy agenda. His administration is undaunted in pursuing U.S. policy goals despite replacements of key officials in the president’s national security apparatus. Mr. Trump will remain focused on crushing transnational terrorist threats to the U.S. and its allies, and dealing with great power competition in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in 2019 before he turns his attention to his bid for reelection.
Europe stands to be the biggest loser of the INF Treaty’s ending
The U.S. has announced officially that it walks away from the 1987 treaty banning intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear weapons, removing a cornerstone of the existing arms control system. The chances of it being replaced with a better, multilateral agreement involving China and a handful of other nuclear powers appear to be slim at this point.
U.S.-Iran confrontation puts the EU in a quandary
The European Union has hoped to make Iran an important part of its energy security scheme and still backs the nuclear deal with Tehran from which the United States has withdrawn. As the world’s fifth largest and OPEC’s third-largest oil producer gropes for ways to circumvent American sanctions against its oil exports, however, the EU can only do so much to help Iran. Geopolitical and economic facts of life are making it hard for the Europeans to ignore the unilateral U.S. abrogation of the treaty.
Dire consequences of ending the INF treaty
If the United States walks away from the 1987 treaty banning intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear weapons, as President Donald Trump claims he wants to do, a cornerstone of the existing arms control system will be removed. The chances of it being replaced with a better, multilateral agreement involving China and a handful of other nuclear powers are very slim.
Russia’s ground forces: No return to large tank armies
Moscow’s propaganda touting the scale of its military maneuvers notwithstanding, the country does not command nearly enough ground forces to defeat NATO or China in a protracted open conflict. The Russian Federation also does not have the demographics to expand its armies significantly. Its military planners, however, have been demonstrating an impressive dexterity in finding ways to address the changing defense needs of the Eurasian colossus.
GIS Dossier: How Turkey scored big in the gas pipeline game
Sitting at the intersection of important energy transfer routes, Turkey is an active participant in the high-stakes pipeline game between the European Union, Russia and the Caspian region energy producers. Ankara has increased its geopolitical heft and secured earnings from gas transit fees but at the price of making Turkey more dependent on Russia. This has important implications for Europe.
The perpetual war
The truce brokered by Turkey and Russia in northwestern Syria has prevented a slaughter of the remnants of the Syrian opposition forces and scores of hapless civilians. This highlights the pragmatic attitudes of the two powers that have assumed key roles in the Syria conflict. The danger of a larger war remains, however, as long as Iran’s designs in Syria threaten Israel.
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.