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Government Security Technology Coronavirus CSS Blog

Strategic Foresight: Can Prediction Challenges Be a New Tool for Governments?

Hindsight is 2020, foresight is 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed the lives of almost everyone on the planet, causing more than four million recorded deaths, changing the way we travel, work, and socialize, as well as reducing the global economic output by trillions of dollars. As such, the pandemic has reinforced the willingness to engage in strategic foresight and to «think about the unthinkable».

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Foreign policy

How the Coronavirus Impacts China and its Foreign Policy

Image courtesy of Macau Photo Agency/Unsplash.

This article was originally published by the United States Institute of Peace on 13 February 2020.

The U.S. and China have a mutual interest in containing the outbreak, but exchanges over the virus have not been without friction.


China hit a grim landmark earlier this week when the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed 1,000 with over 40,000 recorded cases of infection—and those numbers are rising every day. The outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has rattled global markets and catalyzed concern over a widespread epidemic beyond China’s borders. The suffering has been immense, and people in China and those with family or friends there are frightened about what’s next. Meanwhile, there are shortages of masks and supplies and hospitals are overrun, with rising anxiety due to travel restrictions and quarantine policies.

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Government Security Defense CSS Blog

New Joint Tasks Require a Great Deal of Coordination

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This graphic outlines the multi-level stakeholder coordination utilized by Switzerland to address security threats- both physical and cyber. For more on subsidiarity and the evolution of Swiss security policy, see Matthias Bieri and Andreas Wenger’s newest addition to the CSS’ Analyses in Security Policy here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics, click here.

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Government Regional Stability

Iran’s Elections: What You Need to Know

Courtesy of orientalizing/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 12 May 2017.

On May 19, the Islamic Republic of Iran holds presidential elections, the first following the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement. Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is running against five other candidates, approved by Iran’s Guardian Council to compete in the election. The race has centred heavily on economic policies for tackling high unemployment and growing inequality, together with how to reintegrate the country into global financial platforms following the rollback of sanctions in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.

Policy decisions in Iran are largely devised through consensus among the various leadership figures represented in the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).  The SNSC is headed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is the final arbiter on matters of national security, but the presidential role has proven capable of steering decisions towards moderate or radical positions. For European governments and businesses that have long dealt with the Islamic Republic, there is a clear distinction between the administrations of former presidents Mohammad Khatami, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Rouhani.

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Politics

Democracy and Democracies in Crisis

Political Process
Courtesy of Amir Jina / Flickr.CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This article was originally published by World Affairs on 22 November 2016.

Democracy today is facing greater challenges than at any time since the fall of communism a quarter of a century ago; greater than at any time, in fact, since the dark days of the 1970s when Daniel Patrick Moynihan, writing on the occasion of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976, said that “democracy is where the world was, not where the world is going.”

In retrospect, we know something that Moynihan couldn’t have known at the time—that the fall of the military government in Portugal in 1974 and Franco’s death in Spain the following year had initiated what Samuel Huntington was later to call “the third wave of democratization,” which was the most far-reaching process of democratic transition in the history of the world.

It’s always possible that the current moment of democratic gloom conceals factors that could give rise to dramatic democratic progress in the years ahead. But we are now faced with a crisis of democracy of grave proportions, and it remains to be seen if our country can rise to the challenge. This crisis has three dimensions.