Global Voices

John Bruni on Security Jam 2014

Ukrainian Soldier Blocking the Road to Sloviansk. Image: Sasha Maksymenko/Flickr

Did Security Jam 2014 strike the right balance in terms of issues discussed, topics, categories etc.?

I believe that Security Jam 2014 did strike the right balance. Essentially it sought to unpack how Europe (i.e. the EU/NATO) would be able to adapt to new global security challenges. The discussions had were not just about weaponry and streamlining the processes by which EU/NATO constituent states operate, it sought to uncover other interesting elements of the security equation such as civil-military relations and the organizational implications of undertaking security in the 21st Century. And by security, I am using its broadest interpretation i.e. using the military instrument in missions other than war fighting, such as peacekeeping, providing humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and cyber security. Furthermore, the forums on contemporary issues such as Ukraine and Syria, added a sense of urgency to the Jam.

Government Security Foreign policy

Barack Obama, The Peacemaker

Jagland and Obama. Source: Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

This article was originally published April 21 2014 by World Policy Blog.

Less than two weeks after Barack Obama assumed the Presidency of the United States, he was nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Several months later, primarily on the basis of his eloquent speeches rather than his accomplishments, he was awarded that coveted recognition.

In his acceptance speech, Obama said he was “surprised” and “deeply humbled” by the award, but didn’t really feel deserving of the honor.

Now, after nearly six years of pursuing his strategy of reaching out a friendly hand of accommodation to adversaries, rather than what he considered George Bush’s menacing fist, and of disengaging the United States from increasingly unpopular wars and entanglements, has he lived up to the hopes and expectations of the Noble Prize Committee or of American voters?

International Relations Security Foreign policy

What do the Swiss Really Think of Their International Neutrality?

Bundeshaus in Bern
The Swiss ‘Bundeshaus’ in Berne. Photo: Lorenz Ammon/flickr.

Every year the Center for Security Studies and the Military Academy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH) conduct a survey to determine the Swiss electorate’s attitudes toward a variety of Swiss-specific foreign, security and defense policy issues. This year, 1,200 people were surveyed and the results are now available here. Those who are familiar with these types of surveys might wonder whether the Sicherheit 2013 is as potentially dry as other statistics-laden reports. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since Swiss democracy is a uniquely direct and fully consensual form of political self-organization, what the survey actually contains is high drama – i.e., the drama of a people struggling to define their beliefs, values and very identity over time. And although some of these intangibles may wax and wane in importance, others remain at the core of what it means to be a citizen and what obligations citizens owe their country and beyond. In the case of the Swiss, their attitudes toward neutrality, hard power and conscription are indeed at the center of their ‘Swissness’.  In today’s blog, we’d like to provide a thumbnail sketch of how the people of this small multi-lingual country have viewed one of these three areas over time.


The Experts’ IR Roundup in Zurich – Part 2

The MAS ETH SPCM is offered in cooperation with leading academic partner institutions (Photo: ETH Zurich)

Our colleagues at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) recently hosted the “Security and Resources” module of their Master of Advanced Studies in Security Policy and Crisis Management program. Practitioners and scholars from around the world traveled to Zurich to discuss issues such as grand strategy, security policy development, crisis leadership and risk management. Given the fertile nature of these discussions, ISN staff members took the opportunity to speak to the lecturers and a Swiss course participant about five security-related issues currently on their minds. The following podcasts present their personal preoccupations and opinions.

Security Elections Foreign policy

U.S. Presidential Elections: What Role for Foreign and Security Policy?

U.S. presidential elections 2012
President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan – Betting on America. Photo: Anirudh Koul/flickr

On the 9 October, the ISN and the Center for Security Studies (our parent organization) hosted an expert panel organized by the US Embassy in Bern. The panelists, who included Ms. Susan M. Elbow, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy; Professor Antonius Liedhegener; Mr. Claude Longchamp; and Professor Corwin Smidt, provided their observations on how US international relations and security interests are impacting the current American presidential elections, if at all. You can find out more about their perspectives and opinions by watching the following video.