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This Week at ISN
07 – 11 April 2014

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup
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//    Air Power vs. Sea Power?
With the appetite for future land wars at a low ebb, proponents of air and sea power have an opportunity they really haven't had since the late 1990s – i.e., to promote their respective 'brands' as the most effective instrument of a state's military and geopolitical power. But is there really a debate to be had over which 'brand' is most useful, especially given that one of the most formidable instruments of state power – the aircraft carrier– effectively blends them together? The answer isn't clear, particularly given the impact shrinking defense budgets and a changing security landscape are having on the world's navies, and on the US's carrier fleet. Yet, as Washington and its allies grapple with these problems, they might nevertheless be encouraged by reports that the technological challenge posed by "carrier killers" appears to remain – for the time being – overstated. » More

The Ever-Increasing Importance of Sea Power
07 April 2014

It's simple, says Eric Grove. If a state wants to influence global events from a distance, then it must be an acknowledged sea power. Today, he explains why navies remain the most formidable demonstration of a state's geopolitical and security prowess. » More

Saving NATO with Airpower
08 April 2014

According to Panayotis Yannakogeorgos and Adam Lowther, NATO's 2011 air campaign in Libya confirmed the decisive role airpower can play in modern war. In their view, that's good news for an alliance that is trying to maintain its relevance in a shifting and unstable world. » More

The Enduring Utility of the Aircraft Carrier
09 April 2014

While aircraft carriers remain attractive to established and emerging powers, do they actually represent good value for money? Not according to the CSS' Prem Mahadevan. As he sees it, the perceived benefits of blue-water flattops are overrated. » More

The Carrier Air Wing of the Future
10 April 2014

What does the US Navy need to do in order to maintain its Carrier Air Wing as the foundation of its power projection capabilities? According to David Barno and others, there are four options that an increasingly cash-strapped Pentagon might want to consider. » More

China's Carrier Killer: Threat and Theatrics
11 April 2014

China's DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is being touted as the greatest challenge yet to the United States' dominance of the high seas. Otto Kreisher doesn't agree. To him, the jury's still out on whether Beijing has deployed a weapon system that genuinely changes the maritime balance of power. » More

//    Security Watch
US Releases New Arms Transfer Policy
07 April 2014

The United States' new arms transfer policy appears to be working at cross-purposes, argues Rachel Stohl. Washington will perform transfers that safeguard its national security, but it's also prepared to reject requests that might destabilize the broader international order. » More

"Mongolian Foreign Relations Surge Indicates New Activist Agenda for 2014"
08 April 2014

Mongolia used 2013 to burnish its foreign policy credentials, particularly when it came to promoting security cooperation across Northeast Asia. So what should we expect for the rest of 2014? Even greater activism in Asia and beyond, says Alicia Campi. » More

The Caucasus Emirate: From Anti-Colonialist Roots to Salafi-Jihad
09 April 2014

Islamist militants in the North Caucasus previously struggled to free themselves from Moscow's yoke, but that narrow focus no longer applies. According to Derek Henry Flood, establishing a Salafist emirate is now the core objective for most of the region's extremists. » More

China's Ambitious African Railways Plan: Reviving Imperial Dreams?
10 April 2014

China is committed to rehabilitating the railway infrastructure in some of the most fragile parts of Africa. In doing so, Beijing is reviving the most ambitious projects ever conceived by the continent's former colonial masters, or so thinks Loro Horta. » More

Are the UK and France on the Same Page?
11 April 2014

Do London and Paris remain in sync since signing the Lancaster House defense and security treaties of 2010? When it comes to closer cooperation between their armed forces, the answer is yes, says Benoît Gomis. But that hasn't stopped the agreements from being buffeted about by domestic politics. » More

//    Blog
India: Jostling for Geopolitical Control in Afghanistan
07 April 2014

Will Pakistan immediately become the most influential player in Afghanistan after 2014? Not according to Shahzad Ali. India's extensive economic, political and security relations with Kabul also means that it will have a major say in the future of South Asia's most fragile state. » More

Review – Visual Politics and North Korea
08 April 2014

Does David Shim's new book help us get any closer to understanding the 'real' North Korea? Virginie Grzelczyk isn't so sure. Nevertheless, she finds his attempts to demonstrate how the West often uses images to construct a particular narrative for this secretive state rather appealing. » More

Is the DoD Innovating? How the New Budget Stacks Up
09 April 2014

Has the DoD's Quadrennial Defense Review made the right call by making 'innovation' its core theme and protecting cyber-operations, special forces and the new long-range bomber from budgetary constraints? Paul Scharre thinks so, but resources are needed to back them up. » More

The Eclipse of Europe: Italy, Libya, and the Surveillance of Borders
10 April 2014

The European Union currently lacks a common foreign policy to tackle the challenges posed by migration, observes Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo. That means migrants and border surveillance are often handled by domestic foreign policies and bilateral agreements, such as Italy's controversial arrangements with Libya. » More

Elections Not Enough to Bring Stability to Troubled Guinea-Bissau
11 April 2014

Will this month's legislative and presidential elections help restore security and stability in Guinea-Bissau? Evan Hoffman has his doubts. As he sees it, the impoverished nation's elites will continue their power struggles long after the votes are cast. » More

//    Video
Reducing Maritime Security Risks with Yuriko Koike
In this video, Yuriko Koike, who is a member of Japan's House of Representatives, speaks on the maritime security issues facing the country, including the dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, and Tokyo's relations with the US and ASEAN. » More

The Emergence of Anti-Liberal Politics in Central Europe
In this video, Jiri Pehe, who is the director of New York University in Prague, talks about the challenges of the democratization process in Central Europe following the end of Soviet rule and the importance of the development of the culture of citizenship and the formation of civil society in such processes. » More

Emerging Uses of UAV Technology
In this video, a mix of experts and practitioners discuss the growing use of drones in a variety of non-military settings, including the policies that guide their use. » More

Coming Up
Next week's theme: Piracy and Maritime Security

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