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The MENA Region: A Great Power Competition

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The MENA Region: A Great Power Competition
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, October 7, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The MENA Region: A Great Power Competition volume deals with competition among regional and external players for the redistribution of power and international status in the Middle East and North Africa, focusing on Russia’s renewed role and the implications for US interests. Over the last few years, a crisis of legitimacy has beset the liberal international order. In the context of global reassessment, the configuration of regional orders has come into question, illustrated by the current collapse in the Middle East. The idea of a ‘Russian resurgence’ in the Middle East set against a perceived American withdrawal has captured the attention of policymakers and scholars alike, warranting further examination. This volume gathers analysis on the policy choices pursued by Washington and Moscow in the MENA region and develops case studies of the two powers’ policies in the countries beset by major crises. The volume was compiled and edited by Arturo Varvelli, Karim Mezran, and Emily Burchfield and features analysis from Andrey Chuprygin, Abbas Kadhim, Mark N. Katz, Andrey Kortunov, Scott Lasensky, Chiara Lovotti, Vera Michlin-Shapir, Nicola Pedde, Omer Taspinar, Gonul Tol, and William Wechsler.
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Putin’s fourth term - The twilight begins?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The Russian electoral cycle began with parliamentary and partial local elections in September 2016, continued with presidential elections in March 2018, and ended with a series of regional elections in September 2018. The incumbent United Russia (UR) party boosted the number of seats it controls in the lower house of parliament, the Duma, by 105 compared to 2011, and despite a few local defeats in 2018, remained the dominant political force across the country.
Moreover, President Putin not only avoided any weakening of his own position but, on the contrary, arguably grew stronger as he was re-elected by almost 10 million more votes than in 2012.2 There are no serious potential challengers on the horizon and he remains the sole person who takes important domestic and foreign policy decisions. Nevertheless, several factors are gradually undercutting his standing, a process which, in turn, is likely to have future knock-on effects for Russia’s entire political edifice. What vulnerabilities does President Putin face in his fourth term in office? What are the drivers behind them? And how might these play out in the future?
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8
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Challenges and Perspectives for a Sustainable Transformation in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood

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Publication date: 
Monday, February 26, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Since it was launched in May 2009, the Eastern Partnership (hereinafter EaP) aimed to provide for political association and economic integration of the EaP states with the EU, having as its main goal the creation of a stable, prosperous and secure Eastern neighbourhood. The EaP has been a heterogeneous creation since it combined states with different ambitions and was perceived in different ways by the EU and its partners. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, with some exceptions in the case of Armenia at the beginning, have considered the EaP as a practical platform with which to facilitate people-to-people contacts, sectorial and economic cooperation with the EU. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on the contrary have viewed the EaP as an opportunity to advance political and economic ties with the EU, that would later lead to a membership perspective.
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21
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Toward a More Flexible NATO Nuclear Posture

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Publication date: 
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Over the past decade and a half, Russia has placed an increased emphasis on nuclear weapons in its military strategy and doctrine. Moscow’s assertive “escalate-to-de-escalate” nuclear strategy poses a distinguishable threat to NATO nations, and requires greater strategic thinking about NATO’s nuclear posture. After a quarter century of reducing its reliance on nuclear weapons, NATO now lacks a credible deterrent for Russian “de-escalatory” nuclear strikes. To grapple with this possibility, NATO must consider the development of new, more flexible nuclear capabilities of its own.
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14
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Russia’s New State Armament Programme Implications for the Russian Armed Forces and Military Capabilities to 2027

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Thursday, May 10, 2018
Abstract in English: 
In this paper, we consider the main objectives of GPV 2027 (gosudarstvennaia programma vooruzheniia, Russian for "10-year state armament programme") and examine whether Russia’s financial and defence-industrial capabilities are sufficient to meet them. We then consider how the Russian armed forces are likely to be equipped by the mid-2020s, should the main objectives of GPV 2027 be achieved. Although the programme itself is classified, enough details have entered the public domain – for instance, through statements by officials, news reports, federal budgets and draft budgets – for educated inferences to be made as to its broad contours, likely priorities and strategic direction. Such assessments are the basis of this paper.
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42
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Conceivable Surprises

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Russia’s foreign policy has taken numerous unexpected turns since 2013. Developments such as the annexation of Crimea, the military intervention in Syria, the crisis in relations with Turkey and the instrumentalisation of obscure incidents such as the “Lisa F. case” to discredit the German government all took most Western experts and decision-makers by surprise. Moscow appears to be using unpredictability tactically to take the initiative vis-à-vis other actors. In the process, the Kremlin is deliberately taking risks with potentially unforeseeable consequences for European and inter-national security. The lack of transparency in decision-making processes and the absence of open public debate also make Russia’s foreign policy actions difficult to assess. Moreover, with decision making processes in Russia highly centralised and monopolised, the Kremlin is in a position to act rapidly and does not need to consult with international partners or take account of democratic procedures and domestic political reservations.
That does not mean, however, that there is no room for Germany and Europe to be better prepared. This study identifies conceivable surprises in Russian foreign policy that should expand our thinking about the activities of the political leadership in Moscow.
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78
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Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe

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Publication date: 
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Russia is expanding its use of undersea warfare in a broader strategy of coercion aimed at its neighbors, NATO, and the United States. Suspected territorial incursions in the Baltic Sea and provocative patrols in the North Atlantic have not only caused alarm among NATO and partner nations, but have underscored the extent to which U.S. and European antisubmarine warfare capabilities have atrophied since the end of the Cold War.

In this report, the CSIS International Security Program analyzes Russian intentions and capabilities in the near to mid-term and the ability of NATO and partner nations to respond effectively to Russian activities in the undersea domain. The assessment identifies gaps in current Western organizations, capabilities, and posture and offers recommendations as to how NATO and partner nations can meet the Russian challenge in the undersea domain.
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62
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ASEAN and RUSSIA: a Future-Oriented Multidimensional Strategic Partnership

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Publication date: 
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Abstract in English: 
ASEAN-Russia relations have expanded significantly since ties were established in 1991 and upgraded to full dialogue partnership in 1996. The cooperation over the years has contributed to a closer partnership, a common vision on many global issues and a mutual interest in the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
To explore ways to enhance the relationship, the ASEAN-Russian Ministerial Meeting on 5 August 2015 established an ASEAN-Russia Eminent Persons Group (AREPG) to propose recommendations to move this Partnership forward. The AREPG conducted its discussions over four months from January 2016.
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127
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The Future of Capitalist Democracy UK–Japan Perspectives

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, February 1, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Domestic political backlashes against inequality, corporate malfeasance and the stagnation of real incomes over the past decade are being reinforced by uncertainties about the durability of the post-Cold War international order. Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, China’s strategic and territorial claims in the South China and East China seas, the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Syrian civil war, the migrant crisis affecting Europe and the Mediterranean, and evolving threats to cyber security – all constitute serious challenges to the rules of the global game.
A natural, and perhaps inevitable, question that emerges in the light of such concerns is: ‘How can the United Kingdom and Japan work together to deal with these issues?’ This, however, is a question more appealing to diplomats than to scholars or journalists. We are sceptical about the idea that bilateral cooperation can play a significant role in these matters, even if we are not at all opposed to it. Rather, we feel – and our feeling was confirmed by the September discussions – that what is most valuable is to enhance British and Japanese awareness and understanding of each other’s perspectives and, in particular, of the differences in emphasis or priority seen in the two countries, and thereby to help each other promote solutions more effectively in multilateral forums.
This essay aims to contribute to that process. There is plainly a great deal of overlap and agreement between Japan and the UK on many issues. There is always a lot that each country can learn from the other. But it is in the differences – whether of perspective, of experience or of emphasis – that the most important learnings lie. This essay will therefore explore differences more zealously than it seeks similarities.
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30
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Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World

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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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