The CSS Blog Network

ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar

Photo: wokka/flickr

Photo: wokka/flickr


Nebulous at best, incomprehensible at worst: International norms surrounding cybersecurity have left some countries trailing in their efforts to secure their data and networks. We’re focusing on these issues and more in the ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar.

And as always, feel free to follow us on Twitter.

British Defense Policy at a Crossroads

CSS Analysis in Security Policy no 64

CSS Analysis in Security Policy no 64

Is British defense policy experiencing an East-of-Suez flashback?

In a new policy brief, CSS researcher Aleksandra Dier looks at whether Britain might have to scale back its global ambitions.

The current situation has been compared to 1968 when, largely as a result of lacking resources, Britain had to adopt a more modest international role.

According to her, the future of the country’s defense role depends on its relation to Europe:

“Strengthening its European commitment could help Britain to align its global ambitions with the resources it needs to project a credible international role.

Pursuing European ways to achieve global ends however remains a domestically disputed strategic option.

You can download the paper here.

Want to know more about British defense policy? Check out our publication holdings on the topic.

Justice and Hope for Afghanistan?

Lone girl in Afghanistan, photo: Papyrrari/flickr

Lone girl in Afghanistan, photo: Papyrrari/flickr

As the world anticipates Obama’s long-awaited strategy review for Afghanistan, the debate around the war intensifies with politicians, experts and laymen weighing in on the desired course of Afghan policy.

A war that has lasted eight years, and that costs the US $3.6 billion a month, has become a source of intense historical and strategic debates about the nature of conflict in South Asia, the region’s geopolitical significance, and the role of US power in the modern era. With America’s Vietnam legacy in mind the pressure to deliver something positive is immense.

But in these debates about strategy- how to quell the Taliban insurgency; how to address the region as a whole, particularly with Pakistan’s shortcomings in mind, and how to strengthen the Afghan government without giving Karzai carte blanche, etc – the humanitarian focus is exactly what seems to be missing.

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Conference Marathon: Follow Up

Mujahiden/Photo: Erwin Lux/Wikipedia

Mujahiden/Photo: Erwin Lux/Wikipedia

As I told you in my last blog post, last week I went to two conferences in Switzerland: swisspeace and UNO-Academia.

The swisspeace conference focused non-state actors and featured brilliant speakers with first-hand experience with the topic. We listened to a former IRA fighter and various academics that had conducted dialogue between non-state armed groups (NSAG) and governmental forces.
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Celebrating 15 Years of Dedicated Service to the IR and Security Community

ISN AnniversaryThe year is 1992. The Cold War has ended and the tensions between East and West are starting to ease. In Zurich, a group of students and scholars, led by Professor Kurt Spillmann, developed a vision of how the internet could be used to support IR and security professionals.

Conscious of how the free flow of information could be used to support the world’s fledgling democracies, they set off to create an online information network that would bring together the best minds and the best ideas.

On both sides of the Iron Curtain, people were eager to learn from each other, whether through dialogue and collaboration, or by accessing each other’s libraries and archives. What better way to foster greater openness, transparency and knowledge sharing than by hosting their research findings and discussions on an open access research network for all to see?

In 1994, this network was officially launched as the “Defence and Security Network” (DefSecNet). A year later it was renamed as the “International Relations and Security Network” (ISN) in lieu of its rapidly growing areas of interest and expertise.

Sponsored and supported by the Swiss government, the ISN soon became the country’s official contribution to the newly established Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative and a key enabler of dialogue and collaboration between scholars and policy professionals.

Looking back, the ISN’s history has mirrored the evolution of the global agenda. Since our launch, our dedicated staff of editors, researchers, developers and educators have created websites for Russian research institutes, developed search engines for NATO, established an extensive portfolio of news and information services, created e-Learning courses and technologies, and founded one of the largest online networks of IR and security policy professionals, all of whom are committed to our core principle of encouraging greater knowledge sharing and learning in our community. And these are just some of our achievements.

Today, the ISN is the world’s leading open access information service for international relations and security professionals. We are proud to celebrate 15 years of dedicated service to you.

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