The CSS Blog Network

China: Icebreaking in the Arctic

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Chinese vessel ‘Snow Dragon’ in action (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

When we think of Chinese foreign policy most of us picture foreign direct investment in Africa and assertiveness in the Near Seas (Yellow, East China and South China). Few of us think ice breakers. China’s application to join the Arctic Council as permanent observer however suggests the Chinese are now looking north.

Careful Diplomacy

Estimates have it that half of China’s gross domestic product is dependent on export. If the Arctic would become navigable during summer months, as a result of climate change, and shorten the trip from Shanghai to Hamburg by taking the Northern Sea Route instead of 6400 kilo-metres longer route via the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal, then it seems justifiable, even for a non-Arctic state, to have some interest in High North policy. » More

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What Are Security Professionals Thinking?

From Monday the 19th to Friday the 23rd of March, our partners at the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) organized Security Jam 2012. Over the course of these five days, thousands of experts, representatives of national governments and armed forces, international institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, industry, academia and members of the media took part in a massive online brainstorming session focused on finding real solutions to global security issues. The numbers speak for themselves: during the event, there were 17,000 logins from some 3,000 participants and 50 VIPs spanning 115 countries.

The SDA gave its partner institutions the opportunity to submit some short questions that were published as online polls during the event.  Especially considering the high profile of some of the participants, it is interesting to see what security professionals are thinking about some of the most pressing issues on the security agenda. Below we present the results of five of the most interesting polls. » More

Security, Climate and Money

The MAS ETH SPCM is offered in cooperation with leading academic partner institutions (Photo: ETH Zurich)


Week 2 of the Center for Security Studies’ Master of Advanced Studies in Security Policy and Crisis Management (MAS SPCM) lecture series moved from its focus on terrorism  to consider money laundering, climate change and their impact upon the changing security landscape.

Money laundering and terrorism

The CSS’s Michel Hess begins by explaining links between money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities:

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Occupy Finds Societal Alternatives Amid a Legitimacy Crisis

Protester upholding a sign

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come (Photo: qwrrty/flickr)

“Orthodoxy is experienced in debate and controversies, in those tacit agreements that are masked by overt disagreements.” – Ronen Palan, Global Political Economy: Contemporary Theories.

With the eviction of Occupy groups from their months-long encampments across the globe, and the cold of winter pushing people indoors, the general consensus was that Occupy had failed. Without long-term access to public spaces to practice their namesake tactic, few believed the movement had – or ever could – affect any meaningful change. However, this belief ignores the subtle ways in which the Occupy movement has come to, well, occupy our dialogue.

The Occupy movement grew out of a grumbling dissatisfaction echoed by youth around the world over broken promises from the increasingly globalized and interconnected economy. The broader concerns of the movement have resonated across the globe with people from all walks of life, and were reinforced through conversations over Facebook and Twitter. Every continent but Antarctica has seen its own version of the Occupy protests. Even recent protests that did not adopt the Occupy “brand,” such as the anti-Putin protests surrounding Russia’s elections, can point to it for both tactical inspiration and motivation, even if their specific goals may differ.

From Greece to Chile to the U.S., protesters spoke out against government policies such as austerity cuts, education policies, bank bailouts, and restrictions on internet freedom. With each step, the movement expanded the boundaries of what was acceptable criticism in our civic dialogue. Before Occupy Wall Street, there was little discussion of income inequality, underemployment, and living wages in U.S. dialogue about the economy. In Hungary, India, and Russia, corruption is under the microscope like never before. Protesters in Italy, Canada, and the United Kingdom are forcing a reexamination of the role of the state in support of the arts and university education. » More

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