RUSSIA’S GEOPOLITICAL AWAKENING – GAME CHANGER
Russia is back in the game on global chessboard and it is more than ready to set some new rules. Past events such as those in Georgia (2008), the ongoing Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s most recent intervention in Syria – clearly demonstrate that while the West thought Russia was eliminated from the world scene, it has re-emerged on the global political and security scene. This included economic security scene, demonstrated in the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute which had negative impact on several other European states. What will be the longer-term global political consequences of the Russia’s awakening? Can Russia sustain this policy over the medium to long term knowing what damage the Russian economy is facing, not to mention the demographic challenges Russia is facing. These are just some questions, but one thing is certain - “The world will never be the same again”, as the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy stated after Crimea.
CONFRONTING ISIL – ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES ISIL
is considered one of the biggest threats for security and inner stability of every state ISIL picks as its target. The view on how to combat this terrorist and criminal organization differs from West to East. It seems that it will be impossible to tackle this global threat over the short term. Do the powers engaged in addressing this threat have a common goal and agenda? To what extent is East-West collaboration crucial in confronting this new global threat? What strategy and endeavors must be undertaken in order to restore peace and stability? Can these endeavors be external or should the focus more on internal stabilization mechanisms? To what extent are European countries taking this threat seriously, considering the fact that policy has largely stayed the same over the past 2-3 years?
EU & SE EUROPE: FAILURE TO PROTECT BORDERS?
The 2015 migration crisis threw a sharp reminder to most EU member states that they are not ready for all security challenges of the 21st century, despite all the warnings over the past decade or more. Many would add that the EU has yet to awaken to most post-Cold War security challenges. The utter disorganization and policy confusion among key EU member states, as well as those on the periphery such as the Western Balkans, is only testament to this observation. Security budgets remain low as the EU countries rather focus on convenient and low cost measures rather than those deemed necessary. What is the role of SE Europe in all this? Is SEE a hostage to this state of affairs and how will it exit this issues, which many have predicted could lead to a worsening of neighborhood relations among SE European states at the very best, and a possible resumption of conflict or “cold war in the region?
FROM WALES TO WARSAW: HELMING NATO ON THE HIGH SEAS OF TRANSATLANTIC SECURITY
After the Wales Summit, the Heads of State and Government of Member Countries, will meet in Warsaw this July. The summit is important because it is happening at a crucial time for the Alliance, as the tectonic plates of Euro-Atlantic security have shifted both in the East and the South. What has changed since since the last summit and are we moving in the right direction considering the new security environment, if there is one? Are other countries finally ready to meet the new security threats and/or NATO accession criteria in order to receive the invitation to join the Alliance and what will the accession of Montenegro bring both to the country’s security and prosperity as well as to the stability of the Balkans?
US ELECTIONS – CAN WE EXPECT A SHIFT IN US EXTERNAL POLICY?
President Obama has cut defense spending over his terms in office by almost 20%. While this follows an attempt to shift focus back to US domestic problems and limit foreign engagements, the US has not really managed to fully disengage. Some argue that this policy has in fact led not only to increased violence, new terrorism and a major migration crisis, but has also endangered US interests, which countries such as China are increasingly more ready to test. Will the new US president, no matter Democrat or Republican, be forced to reverse this policy back to a more engaged US, a more resolute US and a more daring US foreign policy? How will this impact Allies such as France, Japan or the UK, which have witnessed similar swings in foreign policy. Will this make the world a better place?