The CSS Blog Network

The EU’s Challenge with the End of the Syrian War

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

This article was originally published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) on 4 September 2018.

The war in Syria has entered its final stage, one in which diplomacy will dominate military action. The most likely scenario for the end to this conflict—the Syrian government’s victory—creates a set of political risks to the EU: legitimisation of the undemocratic regime in Syria, engagement in highly politicized reconstruction projects that do not contribute to the improvement in living standards of Syrians, and granting Russia political gains without it also accepting adequate responsibility for the fate of Syrian returnees.

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China and Russia in Global Governance: Long-Term Obstacles to Cooperation

Image courtesy of Kremlin.ru. (CC BY 4.0)

This article was originally published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) on 22 August 2018.

  • Russia and China play dissimilar roles in global governance and define their interests in this sphere in divergent ways. While the two states agree on certain international principles and norms, their engagement with global governance differs significantly. These differences pose the most serious long-term obstacle to closer cooperation between Moscow and Beijing.
  • China’s growing participation in global governance is tightly linked to the increasing scope of its interests. China supports economic globalization and market openness and is interested in political and economic stability on a global scale. Beijing also aspires to have a greater say in international institutions.
  • In comparison to China, Russia’s participation in global governance is significantly lower due to narrower interests on a global scale, fewer financial resources, and less advanced integration into the global economy. As a result, global political and economic stability is not crucially important for the current Russian leadership. On the contrary, uncertainty and volatility help Moscow broaden its influence.

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SCO Members, Observers and Dialogue Partners

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This graphic provides an overview of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) members, observers and dialogue partners. For more on the SCO, including how Europe and Switzerland could engage with the organization, see Linda Maduz’s new comprehensive study Flexibility by Design. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics, click here. Click image to enlarge.

The Gas Transmission System in Russia’s East

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This graphic maps current and proposed Russian gas pipeline projects, including the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline which traverses the Russian-Chinese border. For more on the Sino-Russia relationship, see Brian Carlson’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on natural resources, click here.

Global Military Spending Remains High at $1.7 Trillion

Image courtesy of the Ignacio D. Perez/US Navy/Flickr. US government work.

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 2 May 2018.

Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

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