Opinion | Democracy in The 21st Century

In the United States, like much of the Western world, people are losing faith in Democracy. To many people, Democracy is as they have experienced it. What is absent from our societal conceptions of Democracy — and therefore our faith in it — is Democracy as we haven’t experienced it. Yet to the keen observer, the failures of Western democracies are not inherent to Democracy itself, but rather to our implementations of it.

Analysis | Virtual Currencies are Handing North Korea an Economic Lifeline

North Korea's foundational ideology, 'Juche', is often loosely translated to 'self reliance', the commitment that North Koreans harvest their own collective success as a means of immunising the state from foreign pressure. Born from Juche, North Korea's wholesale rejection of international engagement has resulted in an inverted, seemingly impenetrable economy bolstered by illicit money and goods.

Analysis | Gantz’s Gamble vs. the Netanyahu Narrative: Israel Elects

The April 9th election will not only decide who will lead Israel as Prime Minister, but it also has the potential to make drastic changes to Israeli policies towards the Palestinian Territories. Netanyahu’s victory may strike the deathblow to the two-state solution. His defeat could herald the rebirth of the Palestinian peace process. Israeli voters must now decide: to gamble on Gantz’s promise of diplomacy under fresh leadership or to defend Netanyahu’s narrative of an Israel under siege.

Analysis | Why they won’t stop protesting in Cauca

While the government insists on communities ending their blockade of the highway to meet, locals contend that they want President Duque himself to set a date to meet communities before they end their blockade. The standoff between the government and local indigenous communities is in its 18th day. The current situation is a result of the tremendous inequality in Cauca, longstanding indigenous complaints and unmet government promises – which threatens to spark a broader national movement. The government can end this protest, but doing so may invite future unrest.

Analysis | Russia Faces Rising Costs 5 Years After Crimea’s Annexation

The Crimean Peninsula may have strategic significance for the Russian military, but Russian President Vladimir Putin can no longer play the Crimea card at home for political gain. Even though the 2014 annexation of Crimea resulted in a sharp increase in the Russian president’s approval ratings, five years on the matter has been overshadowed by widespread economic hardship.

Analysis | A Cocktail for Catastrophe: India and Pakistan Clash over Kashmir

Despite major conflicts between India and Pakistan, the one constant rule has been the sanctity of the de facto borders in the contested territory of Kashmir. Such an understanding has ensured that both nations, while heavily active on the border, dare not violate it whatsoever, to the extent that individuals meeting in border crossings into the region usually maintain cordial relations. However, India and Pakistan’s de facto policy on the Kashmir region has changed dramatically over the last few years, perhaps irrevocably.

Analysis | Outbidding in Times of Uncertainty: Post-Conflict Transitions and Competitive Violence

Large bombings, only days apart, in Bogota and Derry/Londonderry have put paid to any notions of a simple peace process in either country. The Irish and Colombian peace processes face increasing uncertainty as the FARC deal remains delicately balanced against social tension and the Good Friday Agreement hangs under threat from the Brexit process. In both Colombia and Northern Ireland this situation incentivizes outbidding and conspicuous displays of force as armed groups jockey for power in anticipation of a breakdown in social order. 

Commentary | A Tale of Two Summits: Washington and Moscow Advance Opposing Visions for the Middle East

On the 14th of February, two conferences took place on the Middle East. One, featuring representatives from over 60 countries, took place in Warsaw under the leadership of the United States, with generous support from Poland. The other one was a trilateral summit at Sochi, featuring the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Turkey, and organized by Russia. These two summits provide a perfect example of the two approaches that major powers currently employ towards the region, as well as the sharp contrasts in the leadership and effectiveness of Russia and America in the region.

Commentary | Jupiter, meet the mob: Macron and the gilets jaunes

The media’s coverage of the Gilet Jaune movement in France gives the false impression that the French openly challenging Macron’s government through protest and strike is anything new. Alghough France desperately needs Macron’s reforms, the President must lean slowly and deliberately into them, accounting for those that will need help and time to adjust. For Macron’s marathon of reforms, only slow and steady will win the race.

Analysis | China is not a Monolith; Neither is the Belt and Road Initiative

There is a growing tide of opinion in the U.S. that treats China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a grand strategy of epic economic and geopolitical proportions. It holds that China is “methodically assembling a network of client governments in hock to Beijing and advancing its military ambitions.” But China is not a monolith, and neither is the Belt and Road Initiative. BRI, in reality, is a brand — a grab-bag of initiatives and projects that numerous Chinese institutions independently design and advance.

Analysis | How European Foreign Policy is Crafted towards Venezuela

The European response to recent developments of the crisis in Venezuela is a strong example of how European common foreign policy is made and implemented in practice. In areas of policy where EU governments can compellingly argue that they have a better understanding of the situation they can carry real authority. Fellow EU states who may not be invested in a situation at all will be willing to listen and follow their lead.

Analysis | Trust But Verify: The Demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty

The United States has officially announced that it is withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty in response to what it deems a “material breach” of the Treaty by the Russian Federation. Although the announcement marks the official loss of the Treaty, the unraveling of the INF has been years in the making. Although neither the United States nor Russia are yet able to agree upon who is to blame for the demise of the INF Treaty, there is no doubt that the next move is Moscow’s to make. 

Commentary | The Threat of Ochlocracy and Democracy’s Ace

In the last decade, we witnessed many stable Western democracies degenerate into populist rancor and anti-establishment upheaval. Yet, it is the capacity of the people to learn and adapt that has always proven Democracy’s ace. Perhaps now more than ever, Democracy needs a course-correct.

Analysis | What is Security? Everything.

With a return to great power competition, national security priorities are shifting. States, rather than non-state actors like terrorist groups or insurgencies, are the primary security threat. The idea that security encompasses more than military and defense issues alone has returned. The security paradigm of the twenty-first century has expanded to nearly every facet of human life.

Commentary | Is a Bad Peace better than a Good War?

Benjamin Franklin, remarking on the coming end of the American Revolutionary War, opined that “there was never a good War, or a bad Peace.” But not all peace is equal, and not all ceasefires lead to peace. The consequences of decisions made during negotiations will continue to reverberate long after the ink has dried. Policymakers must now reconcile the disparities created during the peace process that have benefited national security at the expense of the most vulnerable communities.

Analysis | Trial by Fire: Guaidó calls on Venezuela to Oust Maduro

As public and military support continue to mount, Guaidó is preparing to challenge Maduro and has called for a change of power. At Guaidó’s behest, the first public rally for Maduro to resign will take place today, January 23rd, with a massive protest against the Maduro government. The opposition must demonstrate to the Venezuelan people and the international community that they can — and will — bring about a peaceful democratic transition. The time is now, or never.

Analysis | Geopolitics in the Era of Connectivity: Beijing and Brussels Compete for Central Asia

Both Europe and China recognize the potential for economic growth at home and abroad by bringing the two ends of Eurasia closer together. Yet Beijing and Brussels have diverging views for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and are poised to compete for infrastructure investment. Connectivity — and the means to control it — is the new currency of geopolitics.

Analysis | Refining Strategic Autonomy: A Call for European Grand Strategy

Terms like strategic autonomy and defense union have become commonplace in the face of wavering American commitments to NATO and the transatlantic alliance. The shift in the discussion hints at a move towards greater European collective action on the world stage. With the resurgence of China, the return of Russia, the retreat of the United States, and the rise of the rest, Europe needs to define its own grand strategy.

Analysis | Russia's Tightening Grip on European Energy Supply

The Kremlin often wields access to its oil and natural gas supplies as deft foreign policy tools to pressure nations into political and economic action beneficial for Russia. In the interest of U.S. national security, we should respond with new policies in response to Russian energy weaponization.