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Foreign affairs

No End of History: A Chinese Alternative Concept of International Order?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Abstract in English: 
There is no end of history. Francis Fukuyama’s famous claim has turned into quite the opposite. Today, liberal democracies and the Western concept of international order are being permanently challenged by an increase in political and economic crises, global and local dissent with established mechanisms of international affairs, and other political ideologies. These challenges increase the leverage of newly emerging actors such as China to push forward alternative ideas of international order.

Among all the different Chinese foreign policy initiatives announced by President Xi Jinping, China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative clearly stands out. It is by far the most comprehensive and visible Chinese initiative of the last three years. China’s OBOR initiative is regarded as a vision for building up a comprehensive cultural, economic, and political network that promotes connectivity and cooperation between countries, regions, and cities along the Silk Road. Furthermore, the OBOR initiative is flexible, inclusive, and open. OBOR has the potential to grow into an alternative idea showing how the common space of international politics could be organized in the future. Consequently, OBOR challenges the still dominating Western vision of the international system and could effectively transform the existing structure of the current international order.

For this reason, this study aims to conceptualize China’s OBOR initiative in a broader context. Instead of only focusing on specific mechanisms linked to OBOR, such as, for example, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, it develops an analytical approach that also highlights the various dimensions of China’s OBOR initiative.
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24
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Defense Modernization Plans through the 2020s

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Since the enactment of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, much attention has been paid to the near-term effects of budgetary constraints on national defense. What has received less attention are the looming budgetary challenges defense faces beyond the BCA budget caps and the Defense Department’s five-year budget planning horizon. Many weapons programs will be at or near their peak years of funding requirements at roughly the same time in the 2020s, creating a modernization bow wave. Just as a large bow wave slows a ship by diverting its energy, carrying a large modernization bow wave is a drag on defense because it leads to program instability and inefficient procurement practices that weaken the buying power of defense dollars.

This report details the plans for major acquisition programs over the next fifteen years and explores the complicating factors that may make the situation more problematic for policymakers. It analyzes a range of options to mitigate the bow wave, including increasing the budget, cutting additional force structure, and making trades among major acquisition programs. The report finds that while none of the choices available are easy, it provides an opportunity for the new administration taking office in 2017 to better align modernization plans with defense strategy.
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42
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Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Abstract in English: 
In 2015, Congress tasked the Department of Defense to commission an independent assessment of U.S. military strategy and force posture in the Asia-Pacific, as well as that of U.S. allies and partners, over the next decade. This CSIS study fulfills that congressional requirement. The authors assess U.S. progress to date and recommend initiatives necessary to protect U.S. interests in the Pacific Command area of responsibility through 2025. Four lines of effort are highlighted: (1) Washington needs to continue aligning Asia strategy within the U.S. government and with allies and partners; (2) U.S. leaders should accelerate efforts to strengthen ally and partner capability, capacity, resilience, and interoperability; (3) the United States should sustain and expand U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region; and (4) the United States should accelerate development of innovative capabilities and concepts for U.S. forces.
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290
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Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Abstract in English: 
This report is the third in RAND's ongoing Strategic Rethink series, in which RAND experts explore the elements of a national strategy for the conduct of U.S. foreign and security policy in this administration and the next. The report evaluates three broad strategies for dealing with U.S. partners and adversaries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in a time of diminishing defense budgets and an American public preference for a domestic focus. The three strategies are to be more assertive, to be more collaborative, or to retrench from international commitments. All three of these alternative approaches are constrained and a balance will need to be struck among them — that balance may differ from region to region. In general, however, the United States may need to follow a more collaborative approach in which it seeks greater collaboration and burden sharing from strong partners who have until now not been pulling their weight. To further reduce risk, the United States should seek to prevent deeper security ties from developing between China and Russia. It should work closely with its most vulnerable partners not only to reassure them, but to coordinate crisis management with them to limit the risk of unwanted escalation of incidents. And it should sponsor new trilateral efforts to draw together partners in both Europe and Asia that face similar security, political, economic, societal, and environmental problems. Only by working together across regions can many of these challenges be effectively managed. Trilateralism might serve as a useful follow-on strategy to the pivot to Asia.
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184
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Noopolitics: The Power of Knowledge

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 27, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Geopolitics is the interaction between power and land. Noopolitics is the interaction between power and knowledge. This interaction is both reflexive and disruptive. It implies a profound change to geopolitics and the art of governance, because it is concerned with the art of allowing knowledge to reign over power. Above all, it aims to avoid the current situation whereby power reigns over knowledge, which has resulted in our most brilliant minds handing over their sciences to States, sciences that should be put at the service of humankind and peace. Noopolitics recognises the existence of a noosphere, which is an ocean of knowledge with which all States share a coastline and which they can use to make up for any deficiencies in their kinesphere, the sphere of their freedom of movement. As such, it is restricted States that are forced to innovate; all States are cognitive but their cognitive immaturity nevertheless results in them waiting to be restricted before they innovate – as with the example of China today. States, like individuals, are also unaware of their best interests, acting in accordance with a very limited rationale. While traditional geopolitics asserts that States are motivated by the acquisition of power over others, for its part noopolitics asserts that the only source of power is power over the self. This is the basis for state stoicism. Ultimately, wars can only exist due to the coexistence of knowledge and ignorance: knowledge is needed to cause the enemy harm, and ignorance to harm the conflict itself. Faced with absolute knowledge, wars can no longer exist.
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56
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Europe: What to watch out for in 2016-2017

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, January 15, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The European Union seems to be moving from one emergency to the next. Europe’s leaders are in crisis-fighting mode: reactive, improvising, often uncoordinated – but ultimately modestly successful.
The Eurozone has not splintered; Russia is smarting under Western sanctions; some burden-sharing on refugees has been agreed. Busy with short-term problems, however, Europeans have taken their eyes off more profound, long-term challenges. How the European Union copes with its immediate problems in the next couple of years will determine how the continent will fare in decades to come.
In this White Paper, we – the Global Agenda Council on Europe – are analysing some of the most pressing issues confronting the EU in 2016-2017. We present the choices that European leaders must make in the years ahead and explain how these could shape the Union’s medium to long-term development. To illustrate how different policy choices interact, we have drawn up two fictitious scenarios of how the EU could evolve in the next 10 years.
The immediate economic concerns that dominated the European agenda in 2008-2014 are lessening. The cyclical upswing in the European economy, however, must not make governments complacent about the need for reforms. Faced with stagnating or shrinking working-age populations, European countries simply must fix their productivity problem to generate long-term growth. In innovation and digitization, Europeans often seem obsessed with data privacy and protection rather than grasping new opportunities. The European Commission’s laudable attempts to integrate and improve EU markets – for example, for energy and capital – have so far been slow to get off the ground. The arrival of millions of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees is a great opportunity for an ageing Europe, but only if governments, together with the private sector, act swiftly to help the new arrivals find jobs.
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17
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South Africa’s Second Term at the UN Security Council: Managing Expectations, ISS Situation Report

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Abstract in English: 
The re-election of the Republic of South Africa as a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council for 2011 to 2012 follows shortly after its previous tenure from 2007 to 2008, and has attracted attention from a variety of quarters. Much of this attention is the result of selective interpretations in the West of the country’s conduct during its previous tenure.1 This is unfortunate because the associated caricature of Africa’s largest economy, the only African member of the G20 and which aspires to membership of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and to permanent membership of the UN Security Council, prevents a serious interrogation of its potential role on the Council during the next two years.
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23
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African futures 2050- the next forty years, ISS monograph

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Abstract in English: 
In this monograph the Institute for Security Studies and the Pardee Center for International Futures provide an extensive analysis of the projected course of African development to 2050. Combining the deep and wide knowledge of Africa within the ISS with extensive use of the IFs modelling system, this discussion goes beyond past work in a number of ways. It looks across most major issue arenas: demographics, economics, sociopolitical change, the environment and human development itself, including health and education. It explores further into our future than perhaps any other extensive study of African futures has ever done. While not pushing forward specific policy initiatives, it provides a context within which those who pursue sustainable human development can consider policies.
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66
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The future of intrastate conflict in Africa More violence or greater peace?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Abstract in English: 
This paper analyses future trends for intrastate conflict in Africa up to 2050 using the International Futures (IFs) model. After reviewing the main post-Cold War patterns of conflict and instability on the continent, the paper discusses seven key correlations associated with intrastate conflict in Africa. It then points to a number of reasons for the changing outlook, including the continued salience of various ‘structural’ conditions that drive intrastate violence even during rapid economic growth, recent improvements in human development alongside a strengthened regional and international conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding regime. Finally, the paper explores how multipolarity may impact on stability and forecasts trends for intrastate conflict in West, Southern, Horn/East and Central Africa. The authors expect large-scale violence to continue its steady decline, although the risk of instability and violence is likely to persist, and even increase in some instances.
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24
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Prospects for Africa's 26 Fragile Countries

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Abstract in English: 
This policy paper provides an overview of a longer monograph that provides long-term forecasts of fragility in Africa. Using the International Futures system (IFs) data-analysis and forecasting tool, the paper provides a long-term forecast of 26 fragile African countries. They are chosen on the basis of comparative lists of fragile countries based on indicators that reflect the fragility syndrome. In conducting the forecast, the authors argue that fragility should be understood as a syndrome, or set of related conditions, that operates in a system that is mutually reinforcing.
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12
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