The Bildt-Sikorski-Effect

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsi. Image: Platforma Obywatelska RP/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by European Geostrategy on 12 October 2014.

The departure of Carl Bildt and Radoslaw Sikorski as foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland respectively is an interesting development for European foreign policy. The timing is awful. At a moment when Europe is faced with crises in the east and the south, Europe can ill afford to lose either its most experienced statesmen or the vision they bring to the table. Both leaders simultaneously believe in the strategic necessity of the EU and they are as comfortable in Washington as they are at home in Warsaw or Stockholm. With Bildt and Sikorski gone, the EU is also lacking any obvious hardliners on Russia. This may satisfy some in the EU but surely Vladimir Putin must be pleased with their replacements. » More

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Prepare Yourself for Security Jam 2014!

2014 Security Jam

The ISN is proud to be a partner of Security Jam 2014, a global online brainstorming session which the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) will co-host with IBM from 14-16 October 2014. Over the course of 54 hours and across 6 discussion forums, thousands of experts will discuss and then propose concrete solutions to a variety of security-related problems. Subsequent to the online session, the Jam’s top 10 recommendations will then serve as the foundation of a report that will be presented to the new leaders of NATO and the EU, and distributed to thousands of policymakers and decision-makers worldwide.

Since anyone can participate in Security Jam, we welcome you to register for free and share your ideas on key security and defense issues with leading experts. And in order to help you prepare for the discussion, we’ve put together a special dossier collection, which features background materials that relate directly to each of the six Security Jam forums. (You can, by the way, also create your own specifically tailored multimedia collection using the over 80,000 items currently available in the ISN Digital Library. To find out more click here.)

1) The New Global Balance

The first Security Jam forum will feature a broad discussion on the future of the global order and international security. Some of the questions that will be discussed include the following: What does the US pivot towards Asia and declining Western influence mean for emerging powers such as Russia, China, India or Turkey, especially in economic, diplomatic, and security terms? How will the massive discrepancies in worldwide defense spending impact the “new global balance”? Which challenges and new threats should strategic planners take into account and what military and civilian capabilities are required to counter these threats?

2) The EU as a Global Security Broker

The second forum will focus on the role of the European Union as a global security actor and provider. More specifically, the Jamparticipants will discuss a) how the EU can and should enhance its global status and credibility, b) whether EU members states can agree on a common security and foreign policy vision, and c) what lessons should be drawn from previous and current EU efforts to promote security and development.

3) NATO’s Role 2025

As the ISAF mission in Afghanistan continues to wind down, what will the future of transatlantic security cooperation look like? Can and should NATO remain a military-centered alliance? Will other countries join NATO in light of renewed tensions with Russia? How should NATO and the EU cooperate in the future? Answering these questions and others will be the focus of the third Security Jam forum.

4) Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense

The fourth forum will explore future cyber threats and the ways to counter them. Some of the questions that will be discussed include the following: How can governments, international organizations and private companies enhance their technical and strategic cyber defense capabilities? Should NATO and the EU take an offensive approach towards cyber security? How does cyber security affect privacy and data protection? Can international rules in this domain be established and enforced?

5) Case-Study – Ukraine and Russia

Given the troubled relations Western states are currently experiencing with Russia, how should NATO, the OSCE, the European Union and the United States engage with Moscow, specifically in order to avoid further tensions and possible conflict? Could the recent crisis have been foreseen and avoided? How are domestic politics continuing to influence Russia’s behavior? These questions and many more will be up for discussion during the fifth Security Jam forum.

6) Case-Study – Syria

Finally, the sixth Jamforum will focus on the complex internal conflict in Syria and its impact on global security. At a minimum, how should regional and global powers deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? How can the humanitarian consequences of the conflict be alleviated? What are the spill-over effects for the region? How can European countries prepare for the return of Jihadist foreign fighters? Ect.

In closing, we hope the above materials are of interest and helpful to you and that they will spur you to participate in Security Jam 2014. It is a golden opportunity for you to participate in an important dialogue and have your voice heard.

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Why Belarus is Different

This article was originally published by ISIS Europe Blog on 25 July 2014.

The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Office for a Democratic Belarus had recently organized a conference on the subject of Belarus’ internal politics and its international position. “Why Belarus is different”, a “Food for Thought” event, took place in Brussels, on June 23rd. The importance of the topic for the EU states derives from the geographic proximity of the country to the communitarian borders and from the increasing instability in the Eastern European region, which could potentially expand its turmoil beyond the Ukrainian borders. » More

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Bringing Europe into the Middle East Peace Process

John Kerry meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, courtesy of U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations on 22 May 2014.

During his trip to South Korea at the end of April, American President Barack Obama announced a “pause” in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, nine months into Secretary of State John Kerry’s flailing initiative. As the plan’s April 29, 2014 deadline approached, progress towards a first framework-agreement remained slow, if not inexistent. Washington hedged its bets on an exchange to prevent the process from complete derailment: the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) acceptance to postpone the deadline for talks, in return for a package making such extension acceptable, including most notably a partial settlement freeze in the West Bank and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s follow up on his July 2013 promise to release a number of Palestinian prisoners. » More

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Impact of the ‘Big Bang’ Enlargement on EU Foreign Policy – 10 Years On

EU humanitarian aid cargo, courtesy of Rock Cohen/flickr

This article was originally published May 5 2014 by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

New horizons, new sensitivities

The European Union’s leap from 15 to 25 members (and later to 28) was supposed to have consigned the Cold War legacy of separate and hostile camps in Eastern and Western Europe to the shelves of history. The fault lines that opened up across Europe in 2003 over the war in Iraq were therefore ominous signs for the development of a cohesive EU foreign policy after the fifth enlargement of the Union envisaged for 2004. All Central and Eastern European candidate countries signed letters supporting the US policy to ‘disarm’ Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The position of the majority of Western European states, Germany and France in particular, was one of emphatically rejecting the impending war. Divisions were deepened by French President Jacques Chirac, who noted that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe had “lost a good opportunity to keep quiet”, calling their support for the US “infantile” and “reckless”. There was even an implicit threat that they might have their EU accession blocked by a French referendum. » More

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