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International Relations and Security Network    www.isn.ethz.ch  ///   

This Week at ISN
27 – 31 January 2014

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup
JUMP TO » Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

//    After Sovereignty?
With the end of the Cold War, those who equated the nation-state with selfish parochialism looked forward to its relative decline, to include the weakening of state sovereignty. The latter development, as we know, hasn’t happened in a largescale way. Free market economics, illicit networks, and free-play domains such as international finance and cyberspace have seen to that, and not always for obvious or expected reasons. But is this turn of events truly deplorable or not? Opinions are divided on this question, but we now see proponents of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine arguing that state sovereignty is indeed a good thing, given that it can be made conditional on governments meeting a minimum set of behavioral standards.

International Law, Sovereignty, and World Order Revisited
27 January 2014

According to Thomas McShane, bold predictions that a new world order would eventually replace the ‘certainties’ of the Cold War were overstated. In his view, that’s a testimony to both the resilience and stubbornness of an international system still based on state sovereignty.» More

Sovereignty – at What Price?
28 January 2014

Sail Tripathi believes that state sovereignty still matters. But then again, preventing atrocities akin to those happening in Syria is just as important. That means the international community does indeed have a duty to overlook the historical inviolability of sovereignty and intervene in failing or fragile states.» More

How Illicit Networks Impact Sovereignty
29 January 2014

State sovereignty may be durable but it hasn’t stopped illicit networks from trying to overcome the obstacles it throws in their way. Today, John Sullivan looks at how these forces try to circumvent and erode the overarching power of the state.» More

Cyberspace, Sovereignty and International Order
30 January 2014

Is cyberspace beyond the reach of state sovereignty? Quite the contrary, argues Andrew Liaropoulos. He believes that it is an extension of the international system. It is a place, in other words, where national interests, geopolitical ambitions and ideologies already clash. » More

The G-20 and the Dilemma of Asymmetric Sovereignty – Why Multilateralism Is Failing in Crisis Prevention
31 January 2014

Despite the G-20’s best efforts, most states retain only marginal influence over international financial markets. At the same time, write Heribert Dieter and Maria Krummenacher, they remain liable for economic crises. Yes, it’s a lose-lose dynamic that has resulted in the re-nationalization of financial policies.» More

//    Security Watch
The Global Terrorist Threat: Set to Grow in 2014
27 January 2014

Rohan Gunaratna is convinced that we will experience a dramatic upsurge in global terrorism in 2014. In response, governments should continue honing their counterterrorism capabilities and pursuing whole-of-government/community initiatives that will deprive terrorists of their needed local support.» More

Charter Cities in Honduras?
28 January 2014

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Asia could be in for a turbulent 2014. Today, Evan Feigenbaum outlines the ten key factors – both positive and negative – that will shape the region's politics and security over the coming year.
» More

The Biohacker: A Threat to National Security
29 January 2014

The ability of non-scientists to create and deploy biological weapons represents the emergence of a new threat – the "biohacker." As John Wikswo and others see it, it’s time to improve our detection and disruption capabilities if we hope to keep this next-step nemesis in check.
» More

US, Iran and China: An Emerging Strategic Triangle
30 January 2014

According to Hassan Rouhani, moderation and common sense will guide Iran's foreign and domestic policies throughout 2014. The Iranian President also hopes that the international community is prepared to take advantage of his country's more constructive approach to diplomatic relations. » More

Kimberley's Illicit Process
31 January 2014

With ISAF's withdrawal from Afghanistan on the horizon, 2014 promises to be a pivotal year for transatlantic security cooperation. Today, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs identifies three 'drivers' that it believes will shape the nature of this cooperation over the coming years. » More

//    Blog
1914 Revisited?
27 January 2014

The 100th anniversary of WWI has prompted some to wonder if history will repeat itself, with China and the United States as the next protagonists. Joseph Nye thinks it's unlikely. Among other factors, the gap in power between the two countries is greater than that between Germany and Great Britain a century ago. » More

Japan’s Obama Problem
28 January 2014

Why did Shinzo Abe recently pay a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine? According to Brahma Chellany, to convey Japan's displeasure with Barack Obama's measured response to China's new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), and with Beijing's increasingly assertive presence throughout Asia. » More

Turkey’s Failed Bureaucratic Coup
29 January 2014

Beyond bureaucratic corruption, what does Recep Erdoğan's recent assault on the judiciary and police tell us about the nature of politics in Turkey? Ertan Aydin believes it also reflects the widening rift between Erdoğan's government and its former backers in the Gülen movement.  » More

The Enigma of European Defense
30 January 2014

While many Europeans support the idea of a common security and defense policy, their elected representatives have their doubts. According to Zaki Laidi, that's because they disagree on the nature of the policy and because Europe's 'big three' continue to dominate the conversation.  » More

Is North Korea Opening for Business?
31 January 2014

If recent speeches are to be believed, Kim Jong-un is serious about opening up and reforming his country's ailing economy. That's promising news, argues Lee Jong-Wha, but he might also want to take a page out of China's and Vietnam's playbooks and complement economic reform with bureaucratic change.  » More

// Video
French Foreign Policy: A New Interventionism?
In this video, Christian Lequesne and Bruno Le Maire discuss the recent uptick in France's foreign interventions, particularly in its traditional spheres of influence. In doing so, they also focus on how the country's proactive policies are being promoted and perceived within the European Union.  » More

The Federated Defense Project Launch
In this video, a mix of practitioners and experts ponder the possibility of the US and its key allies building federated defense and security architectures across the globe. This approach, unlike an integrated one, would respect the sovereignty of its participants, or so the discussants claim. » More

Sovereignty Redefined: Citizenship, Subjectivity, and Freedom
How do movements that seek to alter political culture and institutions also accommodate or relate to radical notions of freedom? In what ways do 'subjective actors' intersect with and redefine national and global sovereignty today? The participants in this video grapple with these questions while also focusing on the issues of citizenship, autonomy, and radical politics, as illustrated by recent political developments in Greece, Latin America, and the Middle East. » More

Coming Up
Next week's theme: The New World (dis)Order

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