GIS Dossier: Japan’s search for an energy strategy after Fukushima
Since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident, Japan has sharply decreased its reliance on nuclear energy. Following years of deliberations weighing nuclear’s inherent risks against the expense of energy imports and climate protection obligations, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided that by 2050, about one-fifth of the country’s power will be coming from strictly regulated nuclear facilities.
War in the North? Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iran
Israel is girding for another war in southern Lebanon. But this time Hezbollah can pound northern and central Israel with up to 1,500 missiles a day – 10 times as many as it launched in the entire 2006 Lebanon war. And the conflict could well spread to Syria and Gaza, and perhaps even to Iraq and the Mediterranean offshore gas fields. As Iran supplies Hezbollah with ever more advanced missile technologies, the window for a preemptive strike by the Israeli Defense Forces is closing.
GIS Dossier: The North Korean opening
President Donald Trump’s surprising decision to hold summit talks with Kim Jong-un has triggered a round of high-stakes diplomacy, including repeat meetings between North and South Korean officials and a lightning visit by Mr. Kim to Beijing. There is nothing accidental about Pyongyang’s charm offensive. It is the moment the North Korean leader has been preparing for years.
The ‘neutralization option’ in North Korea
The possibility of the United States launching a preemptive attack against North Korea’s nuclear missile program appears to have receded with Pyongyang’s recent peace overtures, but the two are connected. The conventional wisdom holds that such a strike, dubbed a “bloody nose,” is unthinkable. But that ignores the long history of U.S.-South Korean planning for war against North Korea, the extensive intelligence collected on the North’s conventional and nuclear forces, and the overwhelming U.S. military advantage.
Strategizing the European Union
The European Union has a meager track record of anticipating and containing external threats. The bloc’s 2016 Global Strategy is an attempt to rectify this situation by devising an integrated security approach that avoids the extremes of isolationism and interventionism. But if member countries insist on a multispeed approach instead of true cooperation, the attempt to build EU-based security structures will crumble.
GIS Dossier: Ukraine
Four years after the Maidan revolution swept President Viktor Yanukovych from power, Ukraine remains suspended between Russia and the West. The protracted armed struggle to break free of Moscow’s orbit has helped forge a Ukrainian nation, but its politics and economy remain as dysfunctional as ever. This survey looks at reports published by GIS on Ukraine since 2012.
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.
U.S. missile defense tries to keep ahead of North Korea and Iran
The U.S. strategic missile defense program tends to speed up under Republican presidents and slow down under Democrats. This trend seems to be holding as the Trump administration puts renewed emphasis on missile defense as a cornerstone of its military strategy. Amid threats from North Korea, look for Washington to prioritize defending the homeland against nuclear missiles.
In naval deterrence, numbers matter
Chinese naval construction has far outpaced that of the United States for many years. By some measures, the lethality of its surface combatants is a match for comparable Western vessels – or even better. With the U.S. Navy already stretched thin in the East Asia, reliance on its traditional allies and long-time technological edge is not enough. There must be more hulls in the water.
After Mosul and Raqqa, risks multiply
As the battle for Mosul concludes, the battle for Raqqa is entering its initial phase. From a military perspective, the fall of these twin bastions of Daesh was never in doubt. But tactical victories can only be turned into long-term strategic gains if a political process is put in place. Otherwise, we will see a “son of Daesh” and worse in Syria and Iraq.