International conflicts over national territory
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.
East Asia after the Pax Americana
Since the end of the Korean War, the American military presence in East Asia has been crucial to maintaining a balance of power in the region and preventing the outbreak of a major war. Now, with China rising and the United States withdrawing, Japan has been left in limbo. Tokyo must now decide how to tackle some daunting challenges.
Spain and Morocco: trouble or potential?
The burden of controlling irregular immigration, terrorism and drug smuggling has fallen disproportionately on the European Union’s southern members, including Spain. Ensuring stability on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, one of the world’s key waterways, is particularly tricky. If the new government in Madrid can’t find ways to work more closely with Morocco, the problems both countries are facing could get worse.
Serbia prepares to change course on Kosovo
The Serbian-Albanian dispute over Kosovo has kept the Western Balkans unstable for more than a century. Now, President Aleksandar Vucic is preparing the Serbian public for a new opening – recognition of Kosovo’s independence as the price of admission to the European Union. The Serbian public and senior officials are far from convinced this is the right move – some are calling for partitioning the territory and keeping Serbia’s orientation towards Russia.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
GIS Dossier: Modi’s India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed identity politics to shake up India’s inefficient economy and turn it into a global player. At home and abroad, he has proved an adept operator. Geopolitically, Mr. Modi’s most important move is an increasingly obvious realignment with the U.S., as part of a long-term strategy to counter China’s bid for hegemony in Asia.
Caspian oil and gas in a world of plenty
Back in the 1990s, there was a gold-rush atmosphere about the Caspian Sea, which was proclaimed as the next Alaska or North Sea in terms of its oil and gas potential. But exploitation of these riches was hobbled by territorial disputes between the littoral states Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. Now the end of this stalemate could be in sight, but the oil and gas market has moved on.
China hasn’t won yet in the South China Sea
Much has been made of China's increasing activity in the South China Sea, especially its reclamation of islands and other land features that it is converting into air bases and outposts. But while it has extended its military foothold, it is still far from securing several of its strategic objectives. In fact, some steps proved counterproductive and led to major setbacks.
Opinion: Military situation heats up on China’s perimeter
The main threat to world peace can be found not in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, but along a 6,000-mile stretch of land and sea on Asia’s eastern and southern rim. As China’s push for access to the sea runs up against a picket line of U.S. allies and bases, potential conflicts are brewing.
The South Caucasus – a conflict zone
South Ossetia’s land grab by a vital east-west oil pipeline in Georgia and more fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh illustrate a key fact about the South Caucasus – Russia is just fine with the status quo.