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Showing posts from April 15, 2018

EU Ambassadors Condemn China’s Belt and Road Initiative Clearly, European countries aren’t buying China’s rhetoric of the BRI as “win-win cooperation.” By Ravi Prasad April 21, 2018 On Wednesday, it was reported by  Handelsblatt   that 27 out of 28 EU ambassadors to China signed a report criticizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hungarian ambassador was the only exception. It is unclear when the report will get published, and whether  Handelsblatt  saw a draft of the report or a finished version. However, if  Handelsblatt ’s claims turn out to be true, it will mark one of the biggest setbacks the BRI has seen to date. Europe is the final frontier of the land routes central to the BRI. Every day trains from the Chinese trading hubs of  Yiwu , Chongqing, and elsewhere begin epic three-week journeys to Europe – ultimately arriving at distribution hubs in  Duisburg , Madrid, and London. Moreover, the  16+1 Initiative  between China and 16

Russia’s Nuclear Policy: Worrying for the Wrong Reasons DownloadPDF The Russian nuclear problem is real and serious – but it is political more than it is military. By:  Bruno Tertrais Publication:   Survival: Global Politics and Strategy  April–May 2018 Article Type:  Commentary Pages:  33-44 Volume:  60 Edition number:  2 Date:  20 March 2018 The dominant narrative about Russia’s nuclear weapons in Western strategic literature since the beginning of the century has been something like this: Russia’s doctrine of ‘escalate to de-escalate’, and its large-scale military exercises, show that Moscow is getting ready to use low-yield, theatre nuclear weapons to stop NATO from defeating Russia’s forces, or to coerce the Atlantic Alliance and end a conflict on terms favourable to Russia. Examples of this narrative abound in recent official and non-official statements and writings. In 2015, tw

Macron, l’américain?

While French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump may be worlds apart, Fabrice Pothier examines the issues on which they share common ground. Date:  19 April 2018 By  Fabrice Pothier , IISS Consulting Senior Fellow for Defence Policy and Strategy US President Donald J. Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are worlds apart: one is an impulsive populist, the other a cerebral centrist. Yet in this case, opposites appear to attract. Macron in particular has made a point of building a relationship with his US counterpart despite Trump’s often disdainful attitude towards Europe. The question is whether Macron’s calculated embrace of Trump can deliver positive results for French and European interests. Macron’s state visit to the White House on 22 April could provide some answers. Macron’s opportunity There are some similarities between the two leaders’ political stories. Both reached the highest offices in their respective countries in 2017 despite having never

A large oil and gas A large oil and gas discovery in Bahrain The discovery of large quantities of oil and gas off the coast of Bahrain may alter the country’s economic fortunes. Date:  05 April 2018 By  Pierre Noël , Senior Fellow for Economic and Energy Security Large quantities of oil and gas have been discovered off the western coast of Bahrain, potentially altering the economic fortunes of the small Kingdom. The announcement was made on 2 April; on 4 April, the country’s minister of oil held a press conference where a few more details were given. This is evidently a large oil and gas discovery, but it is impossible – from what has been made public so far – to estimate with any degree of certainty what it may mean in terms of future production, let alone revenues. The authorities in Manama have announced that the discoveries – which are held in source-rock formations

Libya’s War Economy: Predation, Profiteering and State Weakness Libya’s War Economy: Predation, Profiteering and State Weakness 12 April 2018 As Libya's war economy persists, prospects for the restoration of functioning central governance become more distant. Download PDF(opens in new window) Authors Tim Eaton Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme Libya’s War Economy: Predation, Profiteering and State Weakness Summary Libya suffers from interlinked political, security and economic crises that are weakening state institutions, damaging its economy and facilitating the continued existence of non-state armed groups. As rival authorities continue to compete for power, the resulting fragmentation and dysfunction have provided a fertile environment for the development of a pervasive war economy dependent on violence.This war economy is dynamic and constantly in flux. Relative to earlier problems, there were signs of pro

From Chechnya to Syria: The Evolution of Russia’s Counter-Terrorist Policy

From Chechnya to Syria: The Evolution of Russia’s Counter-Terrorist Policy Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 107, Ifri, April 2018 The struggle against terrorism is supposed to be one part of security policy in which Russia has every necessary capability and know-how, and its special services can draw on vast experience without encountering the legal and institutional constraints that often interfere with Western efforts. From Chechnya to Syria: The Evolution of Russia’s Counter-Terrorist Policy Download 0.55 Mo Yet, instead of strength, counter-terrorism is a major weakness in the country’s still uncertain state-building. Relative stability in the North Caucasus is eroding, St Petersburg was shocked by its first terrorist attack on 3 April 2017, Western condemnation of Russia’s intervention in Syria has gained new momentum, and the expectations in the Kremlin for building cooperative counter-terrorist ties with the Trump administration have been disappointed. Russia is facing growing thre

10 Takeaways from the Fight against the Islamic State

23/03/2018   Michael Dempsey   Conflict Image  courtesy of DMA Army -Soldiers/Flickr.  (CC BY-NC 2.0) This article was  originally published  by  War on the Rocks  on 12 March 2018. Nearly three years on from the Islamic State’s high water mark in the summer of 2015, there are several lessons that the United States and its allies can discern from the terrorist group’s meteoric rise to control large parts of Iraq and Syria to the loss of its physical caliphate late last year. The steady decline in ISIL’s fortunes is striking given the palpable fear its rise in the summer of 2014 sparked across Washington, when a common question circulating within the policy community was whether Baghdad itself might fall. Many of these takeaways will be relevant to U.S. policymakers as they attempt to prevent the group from reconstituting itself in the coming months. ISIL is Hurting Without a Safe Haven Since the fall of Mosul and Raqqa, ISIL’s external operations have been sharply curtailed, and

Russia´s Propaganda War about Syria: How Pro-Kremlin Twitter Accounts Manipulate the West

13/04/2018   Sophie Eisentraut   Social Media Image courtesy of Walkerssk/Pixabay This article was  originally published  by the  Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA)  in March 2018. Moscow is keen to exploit the conflict in Syria in its information war against the West. Russian messaging on Syria is meant to help expel Americans from the country. It is also aimed at discrediting the liberal ideas that have long defined the West. Since Russia directly entered the Syrian war in 2015, the Kremlin has been keen to exploit Syria for domestic propaganda purposes. Most importantly, Moscow seeks to portray its involvement as proof that Russia’s great power status has finally been restored. By shifting Russians’ focus to Moscow’s foreign policy adventures, the Kremlin also attempts to distract its citizens from serious domestic problems, chiefly the dire economic outlook for the country. Yet the war being waged in Syria not only chimes with the Kremlin’s domestic propaganda

A two-way street: why China is not just a student departure lounge anymore A two-way street: why China is not just a student departure lounge anymore Posted on Apr 20, 2018 by Chris ParrPosted in Analysis, under Asia. Tagged with China, Student mobility. Bookmark the permalink. Mainland China has long been known as something of a student departure lounge. Between 1978 and 2016, it is estimated that more than 4.5 million Chinese studied outside their home country, to the huge cultural and financial benefit of the universities in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and beyond. China is seeing significant bilateral student traffic. Photo: Reisefreheit_eu/Pixabay Share this: About Chris Parr Chris Parr is a freelance education journalist based in London. He was formally a reporter and digital editor at Times Higher Education, and writes regularly for a range of national education titles. It is well on course to meet its self-imposed target of hosting 500,000 internation