A Legal Precipice? The DPRK-Uganda Security Relationship

Traditional craft of the Ugandan flag. Image: Flickr

This article was originally published by 38 North on 13 November, 2014.

Uganda and North Korea are two countries which few would immediately identify as natural partners. Yet on October 29, 2014, Kim Yong Nam, Chairman of the Presidium of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly, arrived in Kampala to a hero’s welcome. Over four days, Kim met with the Ugandan President, Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister amongst others, and had a state banquet thrown in his honor.

Kim’s visit comes as part of a longer African tour to the handful of countries on the continent where the DPRK still has a noteworthy foothold. Many of them are known or suspected to be long-time military customers, and bolstering ties will have been on the agenda for each stop. The reported purpose of the Uganda visit was to enhance security cooperation specifically. As noted by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, bilateral relations in this area have spanned decades. Military training and weapons transfers were facilitated by Pyongyang during the Cold War. Today, Kampala has made a conscious effort to publicly discuss the more benign nature of cooperation with Pyongyang, making sure to add that, while it has nothing to hide, Uganda’s foreign relations are no one’s business. Venturing close to the grey areas of sanctions-relevant activity, DPRK-Uganda cooperation nevertheless merits further scrutiny. » More

Five Minutes with Robert O. Keohane

Image: Michael Doherty/Flickr

This interview was originally published on 8 November 2014, by EUROPP, a blog hosted by the London School of Economics and Political Science.

You’ve written on the problems associated with implementing democratic principles in global governance. What specifically prevents us from creating proper democratic structures at the global level?

It’s important to distinguish between liberal constitutionalism and democracy. There has in fact been a lot of progress made in global governance on the legal side. There are more regular adjudication arrangements – most notably in the World Trade Organization, but also in a number of other areas such as human rights – than there were 30 or 40 years ago, providing better ways to settle disputes. Strengthening the rule of law in this way is the liberal side of global governance and there has been remarkable progress in this respect over recent decades. » More

The Cold War Offset Strategy: Origins and Relevance

Reagan and Gorbachev. Image: U.S Federal Government/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 6 November, 2014.

Mark Twain reportedly quipped that history does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. For students of Cold War history, discussions of a “new offset strategy” certainly have a meter or cadence that resonates with a period of American defense strategy and military innovation that, until now, has been largely ignored. The history of American defense policy during the Cold War is often told by chronologically outlining the waxing and waning of defining ideas or concepts: containment, atoms for peace, open skies, massive retaliation, AirLand Battle, flexible response, détente, entente, various “doctrines” (e.g., Nixon, Carter, Reagan) and so on. Frequently, the idea or concept represents a complex strategy or policy that retains historic significance because of its influence on subordinate defense planning and force structure decisions. In a period replete with acronyms and nicknames, the relatively straightforward “offset strategy” concept has gone relatively unnoticed. » More

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

Taiwan’s Ten Thousand Double-Edged Swords

IDF F-CK-1A front view. Image: Chang-Song Wang/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 24 October, 2014.

Procuring the Ten Thousand Swords missile system is a blunder for Taiwan; it aggravates the security dilemma between it and the PRC. For its own security, Taiwan should deter threats from the PRC by manufacturing weapons with exclusively defensive capabilities.

The Ten Thousand Swords missile, or the ‘Wan Chien’ missile, is an aircraft-launched standoff missile that creates a barrage to destroy enemy facilities such as air bases, runways and missile launching sites. Its accuracy is enhanced by radars and GPS, with a striking range of 300 kilometres. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has installed the missile in 40 Indigenous Defence Fighter (IDF) aircrafts to date and intends to complete installation on all 127 IDF aircraft by the end of 2016. » More

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