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Diplomacy CSS Blog

Why China Will Support Russia in Belarus

Image courtesy of Andrew Keymaster/Unsplash.

This article was originally published by The Diplomat on 31 August 2020.

The political crisis in Belarus that erupted following the August 9 presidential election continues to evolve unpredictably, posing a daunting challenge for Russia in fashioning a response. President Alexander Lukashenko faces mass demonstrations by protesters alleging that the official election results, which showed the president winning a landslide re-election victory, were fraudulent. The outcome of the crisis remains uncertain. As Russia observes the volatile situation, weighing its options for shaping the future of the country, it can expect to receive support from China, which has rapidly expanded its own interests in Belarus.

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Technology Diplomacy

Diplomacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Elcano Royal Institute on 11 October 2019.

Theme

The key question on the mind of policymakers now is whether Artificial Intelligence would be able to deliver on its promises instead of entering another season of scepticism and stagnation.

Summary

The quest for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has travelled through multiple “seasons of hope and despair” since the 1950s. The introduction of neural networks and deep learning in late 1990s has generated a new wave of interest in AI and growing optimism in the possibility of applying it to a wide range of activities, including diplomacy. The key question on the mind of policymakers now is whether AI would be able to deliver on its promises instead of entering another season of scepticism and stagnation. This paper evaluates the potential of AI to provide reliable assistance in areas of diplomatic interest such as in consular services, crisis management, public diplomacy and international negotiations, as well as the ratio between costs and contributions of AI applications to diplomatic work.

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Conflict Diplomacy CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Temptations of a Mediator II

Image courtesy of Wiros/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

This is the second blog on temptations of a mediator. The first blog looked at temptations mediators need to resist that pull the mediator in one direction. This second blog looks at temptations that pull you in different directions, thus all the topics have an “or” in the title.

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Conflict Diplomacy CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Temptations of a Mediator I

Image courtesy of Wiros/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

As mediators, we need to be highly flexible and context oriented. It is therefore sometimes easier to focus on what we should not do than what we should do. This focus on the “not” provides more than just parameters in which one can move freely, it also increases an awareness of ‘orange zones’ where we have to be careful as we may end up in a red zone where one can do more harm than good. Lakhdar Bramhimi and Salman Ahmed provide a fantastic write up of this kind of approach in “Seven Deadly Sins of a Mediator.” In particular, the sins Brahimi and Ahmed describe are ignorance, arrogance, partiality, impotence, haste, inflexibility and false promises.

Categories
International Relations Diplomacy

France, Italy and the Reawakening of Historical Rivalries

Image courtesy of M Woods.

This article was originally published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) on 28 August 2017.

The leaders of France, Italy, Spain and Germany met in Paris on 28 August for a summit hosted by President Emmanuel Macron in the latest indication of France’s efforts to assume a key leadership role in the post-Brexit EU. Yet, the event is also an occasion for the French president to smooth ruffled feathers among EU partners, particularly in Rome, after a series of diplomatic spats led to a plummeting of relations and the resurrection of old grievances between the two countries. A second, and arguably more important bilateral summit between France and Italy is also scheduled for 27 September in Lyon, another indication of the need to patch up relations and promote an outward image of cooperation between the two EU neighbours.

Tensions between France and Italy soared in July following the French government’s decision to nationalise shipbuilder Stx/Chantier de l’Atlantique rather than give Italy’s Fincantieri a majority stake, thus reneging on an agreement between Italy and France’s previous government. Diplomatic relations had already been tested earlier that week when President Macron organised a peace conference on Libya without inviting the Italian government that considers itself a key player on the Libyan dossier. The two events, which are unrelated, created a perfect storm among Italians, resulting in some public spats and a queue of French ministers flying to Rome to patch up relations. Joint declarations and photo ops have not healed the wound, however, and tensions persist.