Sunday, April 21, 2019

Helsinki 2.0: We need new multilateral formats, including a new permanent conference on European security with Russian participation

Helsinki 2.0: We need new multilateral formats, including a new permanent conference on European security with Russian participation
By Alexey Gromyko

In the long and complicated history of the Cold War, tensions and détente had their peaks and troughs. One profound achievement of peacemaking was the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed in Helsinki in 1975. It was the embodiment of a new modus vivendi, above all in the relationship …

Cold hard fact: Peace is only possible with Moscow on board

By Rolf Mützenich and Achim Post

When Social Democrats make the case for new initiatives in Germany’s official Russia policy, they are usually dismissed for being “naïve Russophiles.” So let’s get the following out of the way before we go any further: Yes, the Russian state has broken international law and continues to undertake obvious attempts to destabilize the EU and …

From Brussels with love. To a more assertive EU in a volatile world

By Helga Maria Schmid

As we meet in Munich this year, the prediction made in last year’s edition of this paper with regard to the growing importance of great power rivalries still rings in our ears. Geopolitics is back and likely to stay.

What is more, our strategic environment is growing ever more unpredictable. Today, major powers openly challenge …

This year’s EU elections could become an unlikely battleground for the future of the liberal world order

By Mark Leonard

The Munich Security Conference has grown accustomed to ranking the security threats to the West: Islamist terrorists, Russian revisionism or the global ambitions of China’s big data dictatorship. But today, the most critical challenges come not from outside the West but from the political dynamics within.

In 2019, they actually derive from one of the …

Are the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia preparing for regime change in Iran?

By Michael Lüders

As The New York Times reported in November 2018, the United States and Saudi Arabia have apparently reached a framework agreement for the sale of nuclear power stations to the Kingdom. The deal is said to be worth up to $80 billion. However, Riyadh is insisting on creating its own nuclear fuel, despite it being …

The EU and its members will have to come up with their own policy for the new reality in Syria

By Volker Perthes

For the past eight years, Syriahas been the place where almost all the geopolitical, political, ideological and sectarian conflicts of the Middle East have converged as if under a burning magnifying glass. Syria is not at peace today, but the government of Bashar al-Assad – with more than a little help from Russia and Iran …

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too

The Israeli defense. Military success in the age of terrorist armies hinges on public education, too
By Rafael L. Bardají and Davis Lewin

Democratic nations constrain their militaries in line with a moral code developed over centuries, forged in the face of the horrors of war and enshrined in the Law of Armed Conflict. However, recent history has shown that much of the fighting Western armies and their democratic allies have had to engage in has been against …

As long as civil war in Syria continues, neither Israel nor Iran can have an interest in escalating the conflict between their two countries. And yet, the conflict has already taken on a sinister tone

By Gisela Dachs

It’s nothing new for Iran and Israel to find themselves on a collision course. In the past, confrontations between these two countries – including cyberattacks, Israeli intelligence operations and Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks abroad – were often spectacular, but almost always covert. At the moment, however, we are seeing confrontations increasingly carried out in the open, …

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood

What Libya tells us about Europe’s role in its unstable neighborhood
By Wolfram Lacher

For the past four years, US and European policymakers have thrown up their hands in despair at their inability to influence the course of the war in Syria. Russia, Iran and Turkey, they complain, have relegated them to secondary roles. But the West’s failure to contain the conflicts in Libya since 2014 tells a different …

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse

When it comes to Iraq, it is easy to expect the worst, but the country refuses to collapse
By Andrea Böhm

During the past 15 years, Iraq has been the subject of numerous obituaries written by foreign policy experts and journalists – including myself. After the United States and its allies brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country seemed constantly on the verge of collapse. Lately, however, it has become a source of better news. …

The clear winners in Syria are Assad, Iran and Russia – with the Kurds caught between a rock and hard place

The clear winners in Syria are Assad, Iran and Russia – with the Kurds caught between a rock and hard place
By Frank Nordhausen

It is not often that something leaves Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speechless. Yet following his visit to Moscow in late January, Erdoğan needed several days to return to his old rhetorical form. His meeting with the Kremlin leadership was the latest in a series of talks on resolving the drama in northern Syria. US …

Afghanistan is again the world’s deadliest conflict

By Thomas Ruttig

Reports of a “breakthrough” in US-Taliban talks have returned Afghanistan to the international limelight. Although both sides have reached consensus about a “framework” to deal with two key issues – a US troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees about preventing a return of Al Qaedatype terrorist groups to the country – this still needs to be …

The war IS not over: Pulling out would lead to more conflict on the ground and more instability overall

By Behnam Said

Shortly before the holidays, on Dec. 19, 2018, US President Donald Trump claimed victory over the Islamic State (IS) and ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from the northeast of Syria. Experts and observers mostly agreed that the true beneficiaries of this decision were Turkey on the one side and the current Syrian government …

US-North Korean talks continue, but can Kim Jong-un’s pledge to give up his nuclear program be taken at face value?

By Hanns G. Hilpert

The White House has announced that US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un will hold their second summit meeting at the end of February. Optimists expect that Kim Jong-un will follow through with his stated willingness to denuclearize and commit to a verifiable, irreversible nuclear dismantling. Pessimists are afraid that we …

Russia’s aggression in the Black Sea shows how little it worries about a strong response from the West

By Ann-Dorit Boy

For the first ten months of 2018, the war in Ukraine continued to simmer without making front-page news abroad. Neither the Russianbacked separatists nor Ukrainian forces escalated the fighting beyond limited but often deadly violations of the Minsk II agreement along the Eastern Ukrainian frontline. The situation changed on Nov. 25, when Russian coast guard …