English: Insignia of the European External Action Service (EAS) Norsk (bokmål)â¬: Emblemet tilhørende Den europeiske avdeling for agering utad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Posted on 26/11/2012
Climate change has until now only received limited attention from national governments, EU policymakers and analysts in the framework of international security. A European Parliament report entitled “The Role of the CSDP in case of climate driven crises and natural disasters” was adopted on 23 October 2012. This is a timely moment to provide some clarification and insight on how climate change can impact international security and to describe the position of the international community, especially the European Union (EU).The present Security Review focuses on the definition of a new challenge for international and regional cooperation, military and civilian, in order to target the main problems and thus, to find adequate political, strategic and institutional responses. The impact of climate change is not a problem the international community has to tackle in the future but today.
Formally introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in January 2009, the mutual assistance and solidarity clauses now enshrined as Article 42(7) of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), have, until now, only received limited attention from national governments, EU policymakers and analysts. As these clauses are currently under discussion at the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, this is a timely moment to provide some clarifications and insight on clauses that arguably challenge Member States’ sovereignty claims and that could potentially constitute a basis for the further development of the Union’s defence cooperation. The present Security Review focuses on the origins, scope, interpretation and technical aspects of the mutual assistance and solidarity clauses and argues that EU and national policymakers should promptly establish operational mechanisms that would give credibility to these clauses, before their symbolic dimension and concrete potential lose their appeal.
The EU neighborhood (Photocredit: European Commission)
The first day of the “Neighbours of the EU’s Neighbours” conference, hosted by the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, focused on rising geopolitical dimensions and challenges in regions adjacent to the European neighbourhood, mainly in the Sahara and Horn of Africa, as well as Western and Central Asia.
The notion of “neighbours of the neighbours” was introduced by the European Commission in 2006 in a Communication on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) stating: “We must also look beyond the Union’s immediate neighbourhood, to work with the ‘neighbours of our neighbours’.” In light of recent changes in the Middle East and the growing instability in the Sahel, one of the key questions addressed on 15 November 2012 was how the EU can create bridges between the different policy frameworks and models of co-operation, in order to elaborate new comprehensive strategies that would facilitate the stabilisation and development of the broader neighbourhood.
Increasing pressure from anti-drug trafficking activities are forcing Colombia‘s illegally armed groups to diversify their traditional income streams. Against this backdrop, revenue generated through other sectors, such as gold mining, could begin to rival the drug trade as a leading driver of regional insecurity.
By Matt Ince, RUSI
24/-6/12 – Attempts to coordinate international policy responses to the global drug trade are underway as foreign ministers gather in Peru this week for a two-day Anti-Drug Summit. This also coincides with the release of the 2012 World Drug Report, the UN’s annual review of global illicit drug trends. However, while both are likely to point to the gains being made in Colombia’s on-going ‘war on drugs’, successes have been accompanied by the growing involvement of illegally armed groups in Colombia’s booming gold mining sector. This trend is fuelling national economic and environmental security concerns in Colombia and is illustrative of attempts by organised crime groups to offset their loss of revenue from the drug trade; by boosting their involvement in lower risk criminal activities. It also exemplifies the increasingly post-ideological nature of Colombia’s current security challenges and the many difficulties associated with bringing an end to the country’s half century long conflict.
Making Gains in the War on Drugs
Colombia has continued to make significant gains in the ‘war on drugs’ in recent years, having succeeded in reducing coca cultivation by 65 per cent over the period 2000-2010. Latest successes also include the announcement that top Colombian drug lord Diego Perez – leader of the criminal group Las Rastrojos and one of the most wanted criminals in the Americas – was arrested by police in neighbouring Venezuela earlier this month. Other recent developments have also included the disbandment of one of Colombia’s largest drug trafficking groups, El Ejército Revolucionario Popular Anticomunista de Colombia (ERPAC), and a number of significant government victories against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); most notable amongst them being the death of legendary FARC commander, Alfonso Canno, in November.
Publication: China Brief Volume: 12 Issue: 12
June 22, 2012 04:46 PM Age: 2 days By: Peter Mattis
The Central Party School‘s Flagship Journal, Red Flag
Political reform in China since Deng Xiaoping’s “Southern Tour” in 1992 has seemed a distant if always tempting narrative for analysts and observers. The cycles of foreign hope and disappointment with Chinese leadership attest to this. The most recent stirrings of political reform discussion may be keeping within strict boundaries that do not challenge the CCP’s right to rule, but recent articles in the official Chinese media suggest this discussion is more than mere rhetoric—or, at least, has political implications for the 18th Party Congress (“Storming the Castle of the Status Quo,” China Brief, April 26). Two contradictory commentaries on anti-corruption—one calling for “acceptable levels” while the other arguing for zero-tolerance—at the end of May suggested growing divides in the leadership over what political reform should accomplish (China Youth Daily, May 31; Global Times, May 29). The China Youth Daily made the more telling point, which seemingly undermines established dogma of socialism with Chinese characteristics: economic development will not resolve the corruption problem, only structural reform can do so. Two recent Central Party School articles suggest these contradictory currents are part of a wider political debate with more significance than diverging propaganda lines.
An article in the latest issue of the school’s journal, Red Flag, posed the question of whether Deng Xiaoping would approve of structural political reform. The answer, unsurprisingly, was “no,” at least as Westerners understand it. The CCP’s rule “suits China’s national conditions and is in accord with the fundamental interests of the people” (Red Flag, June 12). Structural political reform—if it did not include removing the CCP from power or implementing anarchy-causing, Western-style democracy—however, could be understood as China’s adaptation to the structural changes in society as well as dealing with the problems of bureaucracy, excessive concentration of power, corruption and local officials carving out exploitative fiefdoms.
Map of the districts of Cyprus, with English annotations, and showing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas, and United Nations buffer zone. The TRNC section illustrates the current de facto district boundaries following this map as a guide. The northern districts are labelled in Turkish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
June 9, 2012: Turkey announced that it will give the Tunisian government $100 million. The money is for economic and social development projects but will probably be spent very quickly since Tunisia is experiencing a severe economic crunch. Turkey will also loan Tunisia $400 million at a low interest rate. Tunisia’s Ennadha Party is a moderate Islamist party which models its political program on Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Several Tunisian politicians are warning that the country could face another political explosion unless it can revive the stalled economy and put people back to work. The AKP has told the Tunisian government that it strongly favors a secular democracy and that Turkey will try to help the Tunisian people manage the transition from dictatorship to democracy. At the moment that means providing economic aid.
June 8, 2012: Maps stir passions in the Balkans. Bulgaria’s foreign minister and Turkey’s Bulgarian ambassador met to discuss a map that appeared with educational materials published for schools in Istanbul three years ago. The map showed a Greater Turkey of a sort, with parts of Bulgaria (including Sofia) and Greece’s Thessalonica (Salonika) included as Turkish territory. All of Armenia, part of northern Iraq, and part of Georgia were also labeled as Turkish territory. Cyprus was also included as Turkish territory. The government of Turkey has assured Bulgaria that it does not have any territorial claims on any neighboring nations. Turkey has disavowed the map and said the maps, which appeared on a compact disk, were withdrawn from the schools when they were discovered and publicized.
Greece acknowledged that it now faces an energy crisis because it cannot pay its electricity, gas, and oil bills. The government and Greek energy corporations are looking for up to $400 million in emergency bridge loans in order to avoid power cuts during the summer tourist season. Though overall demand for energy has been declining, due to the economic crisis, Greece imports most of its power, including electrical power. Tourism is a major industry in Greece and despite numerous travel and tourist bargains, tourists have been reluctant to visit Greece because of the riots and other social turmoil accompanying the economic crisis.
A B-2 Spirit soars after a refueling mission over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The B-2, from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., is part of a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
June 3, 2012 | Dr. Stephen J. Blank
Today, the United States stands at a strategic crossroads. As troops leave Afghanistan and U.S. policy reorients itself toward emphasizing the Asia-Pacific region, the visible signs of being at an inflection point multiply. Yet, there are some glaring absences in U.S. strategic thinking that could again lead us awry, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, if they are not attended to soon. In pivoting or rebalancing to Asia, the United States has announced a new concept of operations called air-sea battle. Whatever its merits or demerits might be, it cannot fairly be called a strategy, given its absence of a real political dimension that governs the conduct of operations. Moreover, it appears to be premised on the belief that future conflict will be more or less conventional, featuring high-tech, long-range aerial and maritime strike platforms directed against the enemy. Second, despite the turn toward jointness in the last two decades, this operational concept appears to exclude consideration of the necessity of the ground forces to accomplish strategic objectives. This is another reason why the concept cannot be called a strategy; it leaves out the one force that can effectively enforce a strategic conclusion to any future war.
Can we expect our enemies to be so obliging as to allow us to fight the kind of war that we prefer? Such thinking fails to account for the dramatic expansion, over the last generation, of the tools of war and their easy acquisition by any manner of adversary. These new “tools of war” include: asymmetric war, up to and including the threat of nuclear use as, for example, stipulated in Russian doctrine; the massive development of information war, not just cyber-strikes, but the whole issue of exploiting communications media to frame the narrative of contemporary war; “lawfare,” where international law is exploited on behalf of one or more belligerents in any conflict, etc. While war remains a contest of wills as described by Clausewitz, it also remains a chameleon able to assume many forms and manifestations where, as we have seen, the U.S., for all its advantages, still finds strategic success elusive.
If we are to grasp the challenge of the moment, we