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This Week at ISN
3 – 7 February 2014

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup
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//    The New World (dis)Order?
Despite a growing tendency to deal with transnational threats outside of existing international institutions, opinion remains divided over whether the world's security challenges can be met in informal and decentralized ways. On one side of the debate, many believe that flexible 'institutions' such as the BRICS represent the future of global governance and security. For others, the future lies in the hands of an emerging constellation of regional and still formal organizations.» More

The Unruled World
3 February 2014

Collective responses to transnational security threats are increasingly occurring outside formal international institutions, including the UN. Although they are quite often messy, writes Stewart Patrick, these responses nevertheless have one clear advantage – they work.» More

Is 'Good-Enough' Global Governance Good Enough?
4 February 2014

While informal and ad hoc approaches have contributed to global problem-solving, they're not effective at managing the spread of advanced weaponry and other security-related problems, or so argues Thomas Weiss. To deal with these issues, he believes that we still need international institutions 'with teeth'.» More

The BRICS and the Future of 'Informal' IGOs
5 February 2014

Are informal intergovernmental organizations such as the BRICS the answer to our future security problems? Felicity Vabulas believes that states are beginning to see their value, which includes diplomatic flexibility, rapid crisis response, and an unquestioning respect for national interests.» More

The United Nations, Peacekeeping and Power Politics
6 February 2014

Reaching consensus in the UN Security Council on such issues as human rights remains unlikely for now, observes Mats Berdal. This problem reflects the determination of Russia and China to reassert their great power status, and the growing inability of the West to impose its own vision on emerging powers. » More

The Global Regime for Armed Conflict
7 February 2014

Regional organizations such as the African Union are increasingly becoming the 'first responders' to instability and violence. Nevertheless, the CFR believes that their skill sets need to be enhanced and better coordinated if they are going to fulfill their conflict management responsibilities.» More

//    Security Watch
The Central African Republic - A History of a Collapse Foretold?
3 February 2014

Morten Bøås believes that the plight of the Central African Republic is finally getting the attention it deserves. However, he also warns against trying to impose quick fix solutions that don't account for the ongoing turmoil between the country's religious communities.» More

The Role of the Paramilitary in Mexican Security
4 February 2014

Mexican communities are turning to paramilitary and vigilante groups in order to help them battle the country's drugs cartels. That's wise, right? Not according to Robert Valencia. He remembers how Colombia's battle against drug-related violence was compromised by paramilitarism.» More

Trains, Terrain and Terrorism
5 February 2014

Why has India experienced more terrorist attacks since 1970 than almost any other country? Andrea Malji identifies two "unevens" as the problems – the uneven development of the country's political system and infrastructure, and the uneven terrain of the sub-continent.
» More

The Other Sochi Security Stories
6 February 2014

Media coverage leading up to the Sochi Winter Olympics has preoccupied itself with terrorist threats from the North Caucasus region. Such fears are justified, writes Mark Galeotti, but they shouldn't overshadow a number of equally pressing and interrelated security concerns. » More

Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014
7 February 2014

To a large degree, Libya's economy continues to sputter because of attacks on its oil industry. Without reaching an overarching political settlement anytime soon, warn Mohsin Khan and Svetlana Milbert, rebel groups and corrupt labor organizations will continue their crippling attacks throughout 2014. » More

//    Blog
Kerry's Middle-East Peace Push and Bibi's 'No-State' Solution
3 February 2014

It's unlikely that John Kerry's proposed framework agreement will provide a long-lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. So what's next? According to Hugh Lovatt, the US Secretary of State might want to tap Europe to help moderate Israeli behavior. » More

Reducing the Risk of War with Water
4 February 2014

Our partners at the Strategic Foresight Group have published a report on the relationship between inter-state cooperation over access to water and violence. The findings speak for themselves – nations that engage in this type of cooperation do not go to war with each other. » More

What Analysts are Saying about South Sudan's Crisis
5 February 2014

Political violence in South Sudan has left thousands dead and an estimated 740,000 people internally displaced. Today, IRIN reviews the roots of this bitter conflict and explores possible ways to end it.  » More

Mediation Perspectives: Localizing Peace Processes in DR Congo
6 February 2014

While the M23's recent decision to end its armed struggle in the DRC is welcome news, it reminds Sara Hellmüller of an inconvenient truth. Peace negotiations in this fragile part of Africa prioritize discussions between the 'noisiest' belligerents over less attention-grabbing ones.  » More

The Rise of China – A View from Singapore
7 February 2014

Kym Bergmann recently spoke to Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen about China's increasingly aggressive behavior in Asia. Despite his country's close ties with its neighbors and the US, Hen sees no need for it to take sides in the region's territorial disputes. » More

//    Video
A Crisis in Global Governance?
In this video, John Ravenhill, who heads the Balsillie School of International Affairs, looks at the mixed record of global governance in general, and of international organizations in particular. As he sees it, both the project and the institutions may be lagging, but they are not in a state of crisis.  » More

Defense Industries Triptych
In this video, the authors of "The Defense Industrial Triptych" elaborate on the defense industries and procurement practices of the UK, USA and Germany. They also explore the complex relationships that exist between the private defense sector and government, which in the latter case is both a sponsor and customer of 'hard power'. » More

Governing in a Borderless World: Meeting the Challenge of Instability
In this video, three experts discuss how a mixture of globalization, economic inequality and political conflict is undermining global stability and the traditional power of the nation-state. » More

Coming Up
Next week's theme: Europe's Geopolitical Future

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