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Showing posts from April 12, 2009

Horizon Scanning in Government

Concept, Country Experiences, and Models for Switzerland Author(s): Beat Habegger Publisher(s): Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich Date of publication: Feb 2009 Pages: 36 Description: Confronted with an increasingly interconnected and dynamically changing world, governments are developing new ways of thinking ahead and planning strategically to cope better with future threats and opportunities. This report on Horizon Scanning in Government presents an innovative approach to support governments in dealing with uncertainties and in envisaging and realizing the policies they desire. It outlines the concept and purpose of horizon scanning, reviews the experiences of the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the Netherlands, and develops perspectives for the establishment of horizon scanning in Switzerland. Document Download: English Version

Are the northern sea routes really the shortest?

Source: Maybe a too rose-coloured picture of a blue Arctic Ocean Is the world trade soon going to use routes through the Arctic for large amounts of transit shipping? DOWNLOAD complete report No, that is much too early, says senior researcher Svend Aage Christensen in a new DIIS Brief. Reading the headlines, it is easy to get the impression that the Arctic Ocean will soon be ice-free, but what grabs the headlines is the few weeks at the end of August and the beginning of September where new opportunities are developing. However, a few weeks’ reduction of the ice cover will not lead to a massive reorientation of the global transit routes. Supposing that large scale Arctic transit becomes physically possible some day, it still has to be economically viable as well. However, the purpose of the attached brief is not to discuss climate issues, but to deal with the more mundane questions of the distances involved on the northern sea routes as well as the alternative souther

Economic Crisis and Russia’s Defense Industry

Moscow Defence Briefs Konstantin Makienko Russia’s economy has been deeply affected by the global economic crisis, and its defense industry is no exception. That said, in addition to its severely negative consequences, the crisis also promises to create new opportunities to improve the efficiency of the sector. Threats The most serious threats to the defense industry arise from the following circumstances. Credit Crunch The availability of financing for the defense-industrial complex began to tighten in the summer of 2008, when banks began to demand higher interest rates and shorter terms. The average rate for ruble loans rose from 10% in July to 18–20% in September. By the Fall of 2008, bank loans became practically impossible to secure. If firms lost the ability to secure long-term, relative cheap loans in the summer, by the Fall they could hardly even get expensive loans. The financial crisis threatened to become a crisis of

Nordic Countries Must Take Care of Each Other

Nordic Countries Must Take Care of Each Other - A Time for New Nordic Cooperation in Security and Defence? Open seminar - registration required Tue 21.4.2009 at 13:00-15:00 the Auditorium of the new Annex Building of the Parliament Arkadiankatu 3 In June 2008 the Norwegian Foreign Ministry asked Thorvald Stoltenberg, previous Norwegian Foreign and Defense Minister, to prepare a report on how Nordic countries could develop their foreign and defense cooperation. The report, published in February 2009, consists of thirteen concrete proposals. They cover topics such as crisis management, air and sea surveillance, arctic cooperation, societal security, as well as other forms of military cooperation, including a suggestion for a Nordic solidarity declaration. The proposed areas of cooperation are open to all Nordic countries, but initially it is enough if two or three states begin cooperation, which would allow for other Nordic states to join in later on. Key Note Speaker: Mr. Thorva

What to do About Piracy?

by Mackubin Thomas Owens Source: Policy Research Institute April 2009 Mackubin T. Owens is a Senior Fellow of FPRI, editor of Orbis, and Associate Dean of Academics for Electives and Directed Research and Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Piracy, a scourge that had been stamped out in the 19th century, still flourishes in those Hobbesian areas of the world where order and the “rule of law” do not exist. The seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel, the MaerskAlabama, earlier this month and the subsequent rescue of the ship’s captain by the U.S. Navy has alerted Americans to the fact that Somalia and its coast is such an area. Ever since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, it has been a particularly stark example of what is now called a “failed state.” According to statistics provided by the International Maritime Bureau, there were 293 incidents of piracy or

The Financial War Against Iceland

By Prof Michael Hudson 17 April, 2009 Global Research Iceland is under attack – not militarily­ but financially. It owes more than it can pay. This threatens debtors with forfeiture of what remains of their homes and other assets. The government is being told to sell off the nation’s public domain, its natural resources and public enterprises to pay the financial gambling debts run up irresponsibly by a new banking class. This class is seeking to increase its wealth and power despite the fact that its debt-leveraging strategy already has plunged the economy into bankruptcy. On top of this, creditors are seeking to enact permanent taxes and sell off public assets to pay for bailouts to themselves. Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare. Faced with loss of their property and means of self-support, many citizens will get sick, lead lives of increasing desperation and die early if they do not repudiate most of the fraudulently offered loans of the past five yea