The CSS Blog Network

The Economic Rules of Geopolitics

Flags of APEC states. Image: nznationalparty/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 3 November, 2014.

Regional economic cooperation in Asia and across the Pacific was developed around the idea of open regionalism and building the capacity for regional development in the global, multilateral trading system. Global institutions — the GATT and then the WTO — underpinned Asia’s confidence in deeper integration into the international economy and successful trade and industrial transformation through trade, economic reform and multilateral or unilateral liberalisation. No countries collectively have more at stake in global institutions for their economic and political security than the countries of the Asia Pacific region. » More

Chemical Disarmament in Syria and the Future of the Chemical Weapons Control Regime

Soldiers wearing protection suits. Image: Percy Jones/Wikimedia

What questions has the Syrian conflict raised about the current and future efforts to dismantle and destroy all known stockpiles of chemical weapons? To answer this and a host of other questions, our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies (CSS), hosted an Evening Talk on 23 October 2014 that offered a Swiss perspective on the global chemical weapons control regime and related developments in Syria. The guest speakers were Ambassador Benno Laggner, who is the Head of Security Policy at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Stefan Mogl, who currently leads the Chemistry Division at the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed suspected chemical warfare samples in the aftermath of the August 2013 chemical attacks in the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. » More

Religious Leaders Countering Extremist Violence: How Policy Changes Can Help

Church and Mosque in Beirut. Image: Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) on 31 October 2014.

As the militant group calling itself “Islamic State” stormed across northern Iraq and Syria in recent months, prominent imam Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah and more than 100 other Muslim leaders flew into action, drafting a condemnation of the insurgent group’s actions with an appeal to Islamic jurisprudence. In Burma (Myanmar), as Muslims have faced persecution from Buddhist extremists, some Buddhist monks offer shelter in their monasteries. In Nigeria, the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by Boko Haram this year prompted Muslim and Christian leaders like Pastor Esther Ibanga to organize peaceful demonstrations to oppose extremist violence. » More

Back to the Future in Turkish Politics?

President Erdogan of Turkey. Image: Michał Józefaciuk/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 30 October 2014.

As Turkey celebrates its 91st anniversary as an independent state since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk forged a modern republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, much of today’s tumult in its region is eerily reminiscent. Having once ruled from Istanbul through Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem to Tripoli, no country has more at stake than Turkey; and no leader has more to prove than its first popularly elected president: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has always sought to overturn the effects of early Republican Kemalism. Claiming that his domestic win was a victory for all these regional capitals he even stated that, “The only loser is the status quo.” Having set 2023, Turkey’s centennial, as the deadline for his ambitious slate of reforms, Erdoğan will be celebrating this Republic Day as the first president outside of Ataturk’s shadow as he plans for the next decade ahead. » More

‘Cybersecurity’ and Why Definitions Are Risky

Computer screen. Image: hackNY.org/Flickr

On November 7, the Swiss Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held a conference in Vienna  on confidence-building measures for cybersecurity. The event built on several positive international developments last year, including a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russia and the member states of the OSCE to adopt “an initial set of OSCE Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) to Reduce the Risks of Conflict Stemming from the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.” Last week’s conference sought to promote the implementation of the latter and further negotiations. This includes a recent study commissioned by the Swiss Government, and available at the Global Cyber Definitions Database, which offers a compilation of existing cybersecurity-related terms in order to shed light on these differences. » More

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