What has become of Turkey’s so-called ‘Zero Problems’ foreign policy? What should we think about the country’s evolving role as a regional actor? And when we ask the latter question, which region are we actually talking about? These questions were the focus of a recent discussion, sponsored by the Center for Security Studies, with Dr. Şaban Kardaş, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara.
Dr. Kardaş argued that in order to answer these questions properly, we must understand the notion of Turkey as a ‘central’ country or power. In other words, we must recognize that Turkey’s geography and history seem to demand that Ankara play a leading role in its region. What Dr. Kardaş meant by a ‘region’, however, turned out to be quite expansive indeed. » More
Soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr.
This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 1 January 2015.
“The PLA’s special forces: secrets revealed,” promised Want China Times, a Taiwan-based English-language website. The article describes China’s “10 major special operations forces, each with its own unique characteristics and code names” and was based on a translation of an earlier blog posting on the PLA Daily website with photos and descriptions of several People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) special operations units. » More
The former US embassy in Teheran, Image: Örlygur Hnefill/Flickr.
This article was originally published by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) on 21 December 2014.
“Where you stand depends on where you sit” is an old maxim of politics. Where Iranians sit is on a lot of history that inclines them to resent and mistrust America and Britain, and mistrust in particular anything that would compromise their freedom of action. It’s a history of which we in the West are barely aware, but which determines in large part Iran’s view of the world.
The current talks between Iran and six other powers about Iran and nuclear weapon potential are mostly about technical capabilities. The history is rarely taken into account by the other participants. Yet it is a factor.
Iranians remember with chagrin that for a long time, outside powers decided what policies they should follow and who be their leader. » More
C-130 Hercules prepares for landing during KEEN SWORD 2015 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Image: US Air Force/Flickr.
This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 18 December 2014.
A recent Senate intelligence committee report on the use of torture concluded that the CIA has mislead the American public and by implication the wider world. Although fiercely contested by former members of the George W Bush administration, the report served as a reminder about the extensiveness of torture – or specifically the geographies of torture. The process of finding, transporting, imprisoning, questioning, torturing and archiving the treatment of suspects/illegal combatants/terrorists involved a great deal of labor. » More
Origami Money Gun, Image: Dominik Meissner/flickr
This article was originally published by the International Security Observer on December 17, 2014.
The concept of economic warfare has been traditionally used for addressing the complementary economic tactics of armed conflict. In the near future it could represent a way of conducting war per se.
The balance of forces amongst states is no longer only measured by assessing the strength of conventional armed forces. The years since 1990 are often defined as the “geo-economics’ era”. Following the end of the Cold War, the economic domain has become the main criterion of measuring the state’s power, at both the regional and global level.[i] The current trend sees the balance of forces measured by economic indicators rather than by military capabilities. Hence, the confrontation amongst competitors in a certain region is often played by exploiting the points of weakness and dependencies of the opponent/s as well as putting in place financial measures aimed at damaging it or limiting its influence rather than threatening it with military means. In short, geopolitics seem to be experiencing a renaissance, heavily impacting–at times dominating–the realm of international relations due to a decrease in the likelihood of full-scale military escalations.
In effect, without the constraints of a defined world order, risks of local military escalations have become great at the point that full-scale military actions are very few while more limited interventions and/or wars by proxy have increased. » More