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"China’s Monopoly on Rare Earth Elements — and Why We Should Care"

Auch June Teufel Dreyer macht auf die sicherheitspolitischen Aspekte des chinesischen Monopols auf dem Markt für Seltene Erden aufmerksam. "Some argue that the concern over rare earth supplies is exaggerated. Stockpiles have surely been added to since 2010, providing at least a short-term hedge against a sudden Chinese embargo. Rare earths can also be recycled, and processes may be devised that will raise the efficiency of existing supplies. The Japanese government’s efforts to find a commercially feasible way to mine the rich deposits in its EEZ may succeed, and research on creating substitutes for rare earths is ongoing. Nor will China’s rare earths necessarily be available in abundance forever. Enhanced environmental concerns in China are also impacting production. (…) Even so, China continues to provide 70 to 77 percent of the world’s REEs, depending on the reporting source. The United States cannot continue to pay attention only when, as in 2010 and 2019, a crisis looms."

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"Why Russia is a Geopolitical Winner in Mali’s Coup"

Samuel Ramani betrachtet Russland als heimlichen Gewinner des Militärputsches im westafrikanischen Mali. "Although there is insufficient evidence to make a conclusive determination about the Kremlin’s role in the coup, Russia is a potential geopolitical beneficiary from Mali’s political transition. In contrast to France, which cultivated close relations with Keita and has seen its political leverage in Mali dwindle as a result of the coup, Russia has immediately established cordial relations with Mali’s transitional government. (…) Russia is also viewed favorably by Malians who view France’s Operation Barkhane counterterrorism initiatives in the Sahel as a guise for neocolonialism. (…) Since Russia possesses a diverse array of partnerships in Mali and Sahel countries are frustrated with the counterterrorism policies of Western powers, Moscow could leverage the Mali coup to secure economic deals and bolster its geopolitical standing in West Africa."

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"The Role of Russian Private Military Contractors in Africa"

Anna Borshchevskaya vom Washington Institute macht auf den vermehrten Einsatz russischer Söldner im Nahen Osten und in Afrika aufmerksam. "It is no secret that Moscow is increasingly utilizing so-called 'private military contractors' (PMCs) to pursue foreign policy objectives across the globe, especially in the Middle East and Africa. What has received less attention is that Moscow’s deployment of PMCs follows a pattern: The Kremlin is exploiting a loophole in international law by securing agreements that allow contractors to provide local assistance. The problem is, however, Russian PMCs are not simply contractors. This pattern of Russian behavior presents a new challenge that Western policymakers should address, as it speaks to broader Russian influence in Africa in the context of great power competition. This challenge is about Moscow’s erosion of broader behavioral norms."

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"India in the Balance"

Marvin C. Ott analysiert den geopolitischen Hintergrund des Konflikts zwischen Indien und China. "The contemporary strategic landscape, viewed from New Delhi, is deeply troubling. Besides China’s military pressure along its border, India sees growing Chinese influence in neighboring states, including Nepal in the north and Sri Lanka in the south, countries that New Delhi has traditionally viewed as within its sphere of influence. Meanwhile, the Chinese navy has established a robust presence in the Indian Ocean while maintaining a military base to the west in Djibouti and building ports for possible military use in Myanmar and Cambodia. Perhaps most troubling, China has long cultivated close ties with India’s archrival, Pakistan. (…) The strategic logic of India’s situation would seem to be rather stark. New Delhi can defer to Chinese preponderance — or it can look for other powers that might partner with it to offset China’s advantage. The list of candidates for such a role is short: Australia, Japan, and the United States. Security dialogues and joint military exercises are well established involving these three and India ('the Quad'). India’s prime minister has had more state visits to Washington over the last two administrations than any other foreign leader."

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"The Swiss Model vs. Swedish Model in Dealing with China"

Aus chinesischer Perspektive bildet die Schweiz den Modellfall für die Beziehungen Pekings zu Europa, schreibt Joseph de Weck. Die Schweiz rücke wirtschaftliche Aspekte in den Vordergrund und hebe chinesische Menschenrechtsverletzungen bewusst nicht hervor. Bis 2015 sei dieses Prinzip weitgehend auch von Schweden vertreten worden. "But everything changed when Gui Minhai, a Swedish book publisher critical of the CCP, was abducted in 2015 while on holiday in Thailand and only resurfaced in mainland China. In February this year, Gui was sentenced to 10 years in prison for 'providing intelligence' to foreigners. Sweden tried in vain to secure his release. (…) The contrast between the Swiss and Swedish case demonstrates that Western countries’ relationships with China remain inherently fragile. A single national vocally criticizing the CCP prompting Beijing to extend its repression beyond its borders can ruin a relationship. Once the conflict has become public, it is difficult for democracies to back down. Seventy percent of Swedes now have a negative view of China, polls show. And for Beijing’s leaders, as for all autocrats, political survival trumps economic considerations. It is a cautionary tale for the leaders of Western nations that continue banking on China for economic salvation."

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"The Enduring Legacy of French and Belgian Islamic State Foreign Fighters"

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Colin P. Clarke und Emelie Chace-Donahue machen auf das anhaltende Bedrohungspotential von IS-Heimkehrern in Frankreich und Belgien aufmerksam. Die Gefahr gehe dabei nicht nur von unmittelbar drohenden Anschlägen, sondern auch von der Propagandatätigkeit der Dschihadisten in und außerhalb von Gefängnissen aus. "In the penitentiary system, interaction between returnees and other criminals could facilitate the spread of violent extremism. The threat of radicalization in prisons is especially pronounced in Belgium, where returnees are dispersed throughout the country’s standard prisons and have the opportunity to indoctrinate fellow prisoners. Belgium’s overcrowded prisons could make it difficult for prison authorities to monitor returnees’ activities. Radicalization will likely occur outside of prison as well. By the end of 2020, most Belgian returnees and many French returnees will be released. While authorities will continue to monitor returnees, there will be people radicalized by returnees who escape authorities’ radar."

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"Through Thick and Thin: Will Danish Military Engagements with the U.S. Endure in the Middle East?"

Helle Malmvig vom Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) hat sich mit den Hintergründen und Perspektiven der engen militärischen Kooperation Dänemarks mit den USA im Nahen Osten beschäftigt. Sie stellt fest, dass der Streit um Grönland zu einer Neubewertung der bisherigen dänischen Position führen könnte. "A newly independent inquiry into Denmark’s military engagements, commissioned by the Danish Parliament, concludes that Denmark’s military engagements in the Middle East have had little to do with any direct threats to Danish national security. Rather, they are results of shifting governments’ eagerness to respond to U.S. demands and proving Denmark’s usefulness. Denmark is a 'super Atlanticist,' meaning that it unequivocally supports U.S. policies and its role in the world, and is willing to pursue even costly and risky policies to maintain its special relationship with the U.S.  In contrast, 'Atlanticist' countries, such as Holland, Belgium, Norway, and Greece, are also closely allied with the U.S., but have at times refrained from supporting or outright condemned U.S. foreign policies and wars. To grasp just how influential the U.S. is on Danish foreign and security policy, it may be useful to compare it with the Cold War period. (...) With Denmark suddenly a target of Trump’s fire and fury, some Danish politicians are questioning what the Danes got out of being so supportive of U.S. policies and interventions. Did we not earn any 'points' in Washington? This may soon have very real policy implications."

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"One Voice, But Whose Voice? Should France Cede Its UN Security Council Seat to the EU?"

Deutschland und Frankreich haben zum ersten Mal in der UN-Geschichte eine Teilung ihres Vorsitzes im UN-Sicherheitsrat vereinbart. Trotz dieser symbolischen Geste bestehe der Dissens in der Frage, ob Frankreich seinen ständigen Sitz im Rat "europäisieren" sollte, weiter fort, schreibt Hajnalka Vincze vom Foreign Policy Research Institute. "The Germans wish to see France’s permanent member status Europeanized — in other words, transferred to the European Union as a whole. Paris continues to respond to such suggestions with a resounding non. At first glance, this disagreement might look like French national 'egoism' standing in the way of Germany’s splendid ambitions for Europe. On closer inspection, however, it is rather the other way around. (...) Europeans are, as a rule, unable to defend the same position on major geopolitical issues. Be it the Iraq war, Russia, Jerusalem, or arms sales, they are virtually never on the same page. (...) Due to this self-inflicted impotence, the idea of an independent and strategically powerful Europe, and the positions that it entails, are most often defended by France (alone, or with some of the other Member States). (...) Seen from this perspective, nothing could be more counterproductive than to sacrifice one of these means, namely the permanent UNSC seat, on the altar of a pseudo-Europeanization made in Germany."

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"Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine’s Candidate of Uncertainty"

Stephanie Petrella bezeichnet Yulia Tymoshenko vor den ukrainischen Präsidentschaftswahlen am 31. März als "Kandidatin der Unsicherheit", deren Sieg Russland gelegen kommen würde. "Campaigning on a 'new course' for Ukraine, Tymoshenko proffers uncertainty that may well jeopardize Ukraine’s interests and benefit its hostile neighbor to the east. (...) It is not just Tymoshenko’s resistance to IMF-mandated reforms that worries Western economic organizations. At the heart of her economic plan are populist policies that threaten macroeconomic stability. While reducing taxes for ordinary Ukrainians by replacing income tax with a profit tax, Tymoshenko wants to increase public expenditures to develop industry, infrastructure, agriculture, and high-tech innovation centers. (...) Regarding the war in the East, Tymoshenko promises to overhaul the current diplomatic process. As an opposition candidate, her best argument for election is that Poroshenko has failed to deliver on his promise to end the war. Recognizing that the Minsk peace agreements helped limit the scope and intensity of the conflict, Tymoshenko asserts that it is time for Ukraine to discuss new strategies. At the center of Tymoshenko’s “new strategy for peace and security” is a proposal to revisit the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia offered Ukraine security assurances in exchange for relinquishing the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons."

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"The Belt, the Road, and Latin America"

China hat sein globales Investitionsprojekt der Neuen Seidenstraße in den vergangenen Jahren nach Lateinamerika ausgeweitet. June Teufel Dreyer erläutert konkrete Fallbeispiele und erkennt die oft genannten Probleme der "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI) wieder. "There is nothing inherently wrong with the BRI: many countries might welcome cooperation with China as an opportunity to play the PRC off against traditional trading partners. BRI is also attractive since it carries potential for gain, both for individual leaders — several have been accused of corruption — and their countries. However, many appear to have given too little thought to the possible disadvantages. (...) at least currently, problems seem to outweigh advantages. To concerns with the lack of transparency in agreements should be added the potential for de-industrialization: concentration on supplying the food and energy demands of the PRC has diverted attention from the industrialization that LAC countries have long pursued. Since Chinese-manufactured goods typically undercut the prices of domestically produced equivalents, there has been de-industrialization in some sectors and a decrease in inter-LAC trade in favor of trade with the PRC. It is also necessary to remember that what the PRC promises does not always materialize. Finally, it has proved impossible for the diverse countries of the LAC to speak with one voice with Beijing: as has been seen with purchases of Argentine soya being switched to Brazil after a trade spat, China can play one LAC state against another."

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"Russian and Iranian 'Victory' in Syria: Does it matter?"

Die These, dass Iran und Russland vom angekündigten US-Truppenabzug aus Syrien profitieren werden, ist nach Ansicht von Christopher J. Bolan richtig und zugleich bedeutungslos, da der "Sieg" beider Mächte in Syrien lange zuvor festgestanden habe. "In the short-term, a U.S. withdrawal from Syria will undoubtedly be perceived as ceding regional influence to leaders in Moscow and Tehran. Nonetheless, this outcome was largely determined at the outset for reasons previously discussed. Moreover, this apparent ‘victory’ will come at strategic costs for both Russia and Iran that will mount over time. (...) The U.S. (...) retains a tremendous amount of prospective leverage over the massive international assistance efforts that will be required to restore Syria to a functioning state. Direct financial assistance would provide U.S. officials with important insights into these programs and serve as a source of leverage in demanding that these projects be fully transparent and effectively monitored by reputable international, regional, or local Syrian organizations. Even in the absence of substantial financial contributions, the U.S. has the technical expertise and political weight to serve as an effective overall coordinator for programs that will be administered by the European Union and other U.S. allied partners who will be likely be essential contributors."

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"Russian-North Korean Relations Factsheet"

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein und Natalia Kopytnik haben eine Infografik über die Beziehungen Russlands zu Nordkorea erstellt. "This infographic gives a brief overview of Russian-North Korean relations and draws on information from two reports published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute on the current crisis on the Korea peninsula. It is part of a larger project evaluating the current state of U.S.-North Korea and Russia-North Korea relations as well as other key actors in the region."

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"The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review: Signaling Restraint with Stipulations"

Paul Bracken hält den Bericht zur neuen Nuklearstrategie des Pentagons auch für ein Dokument der "Zurückhaltung", da trotz der erneuten Betonung der Rivalität zu anderen Großmächten auf die Entwicklung völlig neuer Waffensysteme verzichtet werde. "The first strategic theme in the 2018 NPR is the return to great power rivalry. (...) The second strategic theme in the 2018 NPR is its signaling dimension. It says to other major rivals like Russia and China, 'We see what you’re doing: breaking the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty), a doctrine for tactical nuclear weapons, fielding an autonomous nuclear torpedo with a high yield warhead. And we will respond. But the US has no interest in restarting a nuclear arms race beyond repairing the problems your actions have created.' (...) This signaling by the United States conveys both action and restraint. The action part is made up of proposals for a replacement ICBM, bomber, smaller warhead for the D-5 and replacement submarines, and modern command and control. However, there is also restraint. There is no mention in the Review of new weapons or new capabilities. (...) The omission of new improved weapons is like the Sherlock Holmes story of the dog not barking (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze). It’s a sign of what the United States could do, but has chosen not to do up to this point in time."

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"ISIS Recruiting: It’s Not (Just) Ideological"

Die erfolgreiche Anwerbung neuer Anhänger durch Rekrutierer des "Islamischen Staates" sei nicht nur auf deren technologische Expertise, sondern auch auf die Anwendung von Techniken zurückzuführen, die westlichen Geheimdienstexperten durchaus vertraut wären, stellen Dounia Bouzar und Carol Rollie Flynn in ihrer Analyse für das Foreign Policy Research Institute fest. "The objective of this article is to share current reflections on how jihadist recruiters have begun to study the profiles of their prey so as to better adapt the jihadist ideology to their different emotional, social, and political aspirations. Just as criminology has established that crime is the final outcome of a psychological process that is composed of a series of stages that may be detected, we wish to study the jihadist engagement process so as to better detect instances of such processes. The interviews with the radicalized individuals demonstrate that jihadist recruiters leverage relational, emotional, and ideological dimensions in their recruiting. This strategy is ideally tailored for the young age demographic as people at this age typically search for an ideal, a group to which to belong, and the experiencing of strong emotions."

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"Announcing the Black Sea Initiative at FPRI"

Das Foreign Policy Research Institute weist auf eine neue Forschungsinitiative hin, in der die sicherheitspolitischen Probleme der erweiterten Schwarzmeerregion analysiert werden sollen. "The shock-waves of the Ukraine crisis are still being felt across the Black Sea region, from Moldova to Georgia to Ukraine itself, not only militarily but also on the economic and energy fronts. Furthermore, the region remains volatile as conflicts from Transnistria to Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Nagorno-Karabakh continue to smolder. To tackle the challenges of the greater Black Sea region, the United States needs an approach that takes into account the dynamics and complexities of both the entire region as a whole and each individual country. Through the Black Sea Initiative, FPRI aims to affect policy via cutting-edge research, publications, and public events. We are particularly interested in providing a platform for analysts from the Black Sea region in order to expand the voice that experts from these countries have in Washington and in American public debate more broadly."

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"Why the Black Sea?"

Chris Miller erklärt, warum das Schwarze Meer aus geopolitischer Sicht als zusammenhängende Region analysiert werden sollte. "The geography of the Black Sea matters not only because the region is increasingly at the center of the United States’ foreign policy, but we continue to wrongly see the region as divided into unconnected chunks. Beyond geographic proximity and historical connections, however, there are three main reasons to look at the Black Sea as a coherent region, rather than merely as a medium-sized body of water: security, energy, and European and Eurasian integration. (...) Rarely has a region figured so prominently in American foreign policy without our even realizing it. We treat Turkey as separate from Ukraine, Romania as wholly distinct from Georgia, and Russia as an aggressive 'lone wolf' in the region. These are different countries, of course, with diverse historical traditions and political structures. But from security to energy to the future of Europe, the Black Sea operates as a united region far more than Americans usually realize. We underestimate regional connections and fail to understand the linkages that drive regional politics."

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