The CSS Blog Network

“Stabilising” the Middle East: A Historical Perspective

Image courtesy of ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay.

This article was originally published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) on 28 March 2019.

The relevance of “continuities” in relation to the history of the region and its inhabitants has been evident throughout most of its millenary past, and from a wide range of different angles. For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BCE), a literary product of Mesopotamia, encompasses a number of themes and motifs (including, among others, the flood myth adopted in the narrative of Noah’s ark) later included in the Bible and other religious books.

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Ways Out of the Crisis: Recalibrating European Security

Image courtesy of United Nations Photo/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIF) on 23 April 2019.

European Security is in crisis. Like every crisis, this one not only has a prior history, it has also been in the offing for quite some time. 2008 marked a first peak, after the Bush administration offered the NATO Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine: Russia demonstrated in the war with Georgia who sets the tone in the former Soviet Union. A similar pattern emerged in 2014 in the Ukrainian crisis, this time with the EU in charge and Russia reacting even more forcefully. Since then, the crisis has escalated with almost unrestrained momentum. Its most recent expression is the termination of the INF Treaty, which carries with it the acute danger of a new (medium-range) missile crisis on the continent.

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Most Important US Trading Partners by Rank

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This graphic maps and ranks the US’ most important trading partners by trade volume. For an analysis of how this ranking is reflected in the Trump administration’s approach to trade policy, read Jack Thompson’s new Strategic Trends 2019 chapter here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on economics, click here.

China’s ‘New Type of Security Partnership’ in Asia and Beyond: A challenge to the Alliance System and the ‘Indo-pacific’ Strategy

Image courtesy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This analysiswas originally published by the Elcano Royal Institute on 26 March 2019.

Since 2013 China has clearly called for the creation of a new security architecture in Asia. The May 2015 white paper on China’s military strategy explicitly advocates promoting ‘the establishment of a regional framework for security and cooperation’. This call was reaffirmed in October 2016 and detailed further in China’s white paper, published in January 2017, on security cooperation in Asia-Pacific. Since then, Chinese officials have repeatedly declared, one way or another, that the region needs to be restructured. On 16 February 2019, at the 55th Munich Security Conference, Politburo member Yang Jiechi declared that ‘China supports security dialogue among the Asia-Pacific countries and efforts to explore a regional security vision and architecture that fits the reality of this region’. 2

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The US National Defense and International Affairs Budget

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This graphic outlines the US national defense and international affairs budget from 1990-2019. To find out more, click here to read Jack Thompson’s Strategic Trends 2018 chapter on how the US is struggling to manage external challenges as well as domestic constraints, such as the underfunding and mismanagement of the military and diplomatic corps. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.

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