March, 2016 Strategy

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SELIM KORU
In the first of a two-part series, a Turkish analyst describes his country’s strategic character, and how it is changing through its contact with the Syrian Civil War.

If you follow Iranian foreign policy wonks on Twitter you’ll have come across plenty of photos of Qasim Suleymani. The wiry silver-haired general is often surrounded by a cadre of Shia militants in Iraq, Hezbollah fighters in Syria or Iranian commandos back from special missions. He often has a knowing smile on his lips.


Yossef Bodansky for Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung (ISPSW)
This article was originally published by ISPSW in March 2016.

According to Yossef Bodansky, the mega-trends in the Middle East – namely, the rise of a “Fertile Crescent of Minorities,” the collapse of modern Arab states, and the ascent of tribe-and clan-based local entities in their stead – have reached the point of irreversibility. As a result, he believes Russia will be the big geopolitical winner in the region.

Strategic Engineered Migration as Weapon of War

After reading the title, you may think it is describing the phenomenon that Europe has recently been facing: the hundreds of thousands of refugees, both victims of the hardships of civil wars and opportunists, who are invading the Balkans by land and by sea and then making their way further, trying to reach richer countries like Germany, France and Scandinavia by any means possible.

Alan Schneider, Director, B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem
Over the last two months, B’nai B’rith International has been at the cusp of an important emerging diplomatic development in the turbulent area of the Eastern Mediterranean—the establishment of a regional geopolitical consensus among the only three stable democracies in the area: Israel, Greece and Cyprus.

By Stanley R. Sloan
The next president will have to redesign the U.S. relationship with Europe.
The NATO summit scheduled for July in Warsaw, Poland, will close out the Obama administration’s management of cooperation with America’s transatlantic allies. The president who comes to office in January 2017 will be called on to ensure that this relationship remains a vital support for American interests as well as a touchstone for Western values.


Geopolitical Weekly, By Reva Bhalla
Last October, when Russia had just begun its military intervention in Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama spurned the idea that Russia could challenge U.S. leadership in the Middle East. In a 60 Minutes interview, he said, "Mr. Putin is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally.

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MICHAEL KOFMAN

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hybrid warfare has become conversational short form in the West for describing Moscow’s sneaky ways of fighting war. If there’s one thing you’ve learned over the past two years about Russia, it’s that it uses hybrid warfare, a dangerous Kremlin innovation the West must learn to grapple with.


Mark Leonard, Project Syndicate
MUNICH – The consequences of Russia’s intervention in Syria stretch far beyond the Middle East. The Kremlin’s military campaign has tilted the stalemate in favor of the government and derailed efforts to craft a political compromise to end the war. It also heralds the beginning of a new era in geopolitics, in which large-scale military interventions are not carried out by Western coalitions, but by countries acting in their own narrow self-interest, often in contravention of international law.

 

Project Syndicate, Kent Harrington
ATLANTA – Even as China’s economy slows and its government backslides on reform, President Xi Jinping is trying hard to portray his country as a global power ready to assume a broader international role. It is proving to be a tough sell.


By Nicholas Pugh
This article was originally published by E-International Relations (E-IR) on 20 February 2016.

According to Max Weber, realism ‘recognizes the subjugation of morality’ to the ‘demands of [a] human nature’ in which the ‘insatiable lust for power’ is paramount (Weber in Smith 1982:1). This claim has led many—especially among liberal theorists—to label it as an amoral and bellicose doctrine (Molloy 2009:107).

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BY CHRISTINA Y. LIN
Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war. It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”–the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. Paradoxically, the U.S. eastward pivot is matched by the resurgent Middle Kingdom’s westward pivot across its new Silk Road, and threatens to outflank the citadel of American geo-strategies in the region.