When Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping meet in Beijing this week, they will try to reverse the downward spiral in relations between their two countries. There is a growing sense that a promising partnership, one that was captured by the agreement to forge a “new type of major country relations,” has lost its momentum and threatens to run off the rails.
President Obama has recently announced his long-awaited decision about the American military presence in Afghanistan after the end of ISAF. 9.800 American soldiers will remain in the country in 2015 and a few thousands troops from other NATO members will be part of the new NATO mission (Resolute Support). In 2016 the American troops will be reduced by a half and the following year the U.S. will withdraw the remaining soldiers. European countries will apparently do nearly the same. In the meantime the new afghan president, elected in June, is expected to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. and then the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. Both will allow an international military presence in Afghanistan after ISAF’s departure. It is hard to predict if this light military commitment will be suitable to preserve the current situation in Afghanistan and hold back the Taliban insurgency. The process of Transition began in 2010, aimed at training and preparing the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF) to lead military operations in all the provinces by the end of 2014, although in part successful, cannot ensure a good security environment. Thus, the future of Afghanistan in the coming years is still uncertain. This ISPI study tries to shed some light on this uncertainty. The overall aim of the project is to offer an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and to consider the possible scenarios after the end of ISAF mission, focusing on some relevant aspects. First of all, starting from the essential challenge to the stability in Afghanistan, it offers an assessment of the
Taliban insurgency. Second, it deals with the major consequences for NATO of the end of ISAF and a failing Afghanistan. Third, it looks at the Security Sector Reform carried out in Afghanistan and the concerns about the ANSF’s ability to cope with security in the light of the international military disengagement. Fourth, it explores the effects of withdrawal on humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan. And finally, it looks at the regional context assessing the impact of NATO’s departure on Central Asia security architecture in general and on Uzbekistan in particular.
Recent events in Ukraine have been depicted in many ways depending on who is narrating the story of the Euromaidan and what is his perception of the symbolic meaning of the actions under scrutiny: as a revolution against a corrupt political system, as a civil war, as a genuine proof of the Euro-dream for change of Ukrainian people who are ready to die defending their ideals, as a coup d’état and so on.
Executive branches of governments have always enjoyed a primacy in managing foreign policy and waging war. However, in several contemporary constitutional systems this trend has been offset through (more or less effective) parliamentary powers. When looking at recent developments concerning the Syrian crisis, could it be that parliamentary prerogatives in matters of foreign and defense policy are gaining new momentum?
A mezzo secolo dalla scomparsa di John F. Kennedy, qual è la "Nuova Frontiera" per gli Stati Uniti? Traendo spunto dalla ricorrenza del 50° Anniversario dell’assassinio del Presidente Kennedy, questa conferenza ha analizzato l’eredità da lui lasciata all'America di oggi e, in particolare, le sfide che pone all’attuale Presidenza Obama.
As governments become increasingly involved in cyberspace for military purposes, they tend to consider the cyber domain as critical part of their security strategies. This growing reliance on cyber assets calls for deeper investigation on the features of cyberspace as well as their impact on state rivalry. The paper draws from the insights of Offence/Defense Balance (ODB) theory to discuss whether competition in cyberspace may become an incentive to the use of force. In particular, ODB theory postulates that whenever defense is (or is held to be) more expensive relative do offense, states will have an incentive to act aggressively. Unfortunately, three features of cyberspace give offense an advantage over defense: the central place of vulnerabilities, the different pace of improvements for defense and offense technologies, the difficulty in attribution. The main conclusion of this argument is that the cyber-attacks in the future are likely to become more and more common.
Can the United States rely on cyber-deterrence – the threat to retaliate in kind if attacked in cyberspace in very damaging ways? The difficulties in attribution were thought decisive until DoD leaders argued that attribution was actually good. Perhaps the attribution of those who repeatedly penetrate systems, haul away copious information, and fear no consequences (e.g., Chinese hackers) is good (it never gets tested). But attribution for cyberwarriors who need only penetrate once, need not haul away large amounts of information, and may well bear consequences is a different thing entirely. The paper also moots how deterrence measures may be applied to stop Chinese hacking when their activity (espionage) is sanctioned by international norms and carried out by other countries (albeit for different reasons), and where the harm done is hard to quantify.