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ETH Zurich
International Relations and Security

This Week at the ISN

Our Weekly Content Roundup

7 - 11 March 2016

JUMP TO Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

// Security Watch

This week, our first Security Watch (SW) series focuses on the role of female combatants in Africa and beyond; the
political fortunes of Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov; the complex history of realpolitik; global defense spending in 2015; and
the prospects of a full-scale intervention in Libya. Then, in our second SW series, we look at the geopolitical dimensions of
EU enlargement in the Balkans; Southeast Asia's ageing military arsenals; the rule of law in contemporary Ukraine; the

humanitarian dimension of the War on Drugs; and the status of India and Pakistan's dispute over Kashmir.

Conflict, Peace and Patriarchy: Female Combatants in Africa and Elsewhere

7 March 2016

Are women less violent than men? This problematique needs to be explored more closely, argues Seema Shekhawat.
Given the expanding role of females in violent conflicts across Africa and beyond, we really can't say that warfare today is
exclusively a male bastion and that women are by definition more peaceful. More

Forever on the Periphery? The Return of Geopolitics to EU Enlargement to the Balkans

7 March 2016

Croatia is now a member of the EU; Montenegro is half way there, at best; Serbia has just opened its first negotiation
chapters; and the remaining Western Balkan states have no clear prospect of joining Brussels' club. That's not good,
claims Tomasz ornaczuk, and here are his reasons why. More

Ramazan Kadyrov: Insecure Strongman?

8 March 2016

Why has the "hyper-masculine" Ramzan Kadyrov recently been picking fights with members of Russia's liberal opposition?
As Martin Breitmaier sees it, the Chechen strongman is increasingly uncertain about his standing with Russia's political
elite, which may be provoking him to demonstrate, yet again, his loyalty and indispensability. More

Ageing Arsenals in Southeast Asia: Impact on Military Modernisation

8 March 2016

According to Wu Shang-Su and Eddie Lim, Southeast Asia is going through a period of "unbalanced" military
modernization and it's negatively impacting the foreign policy options of the region's states. Indeed, by mismanaging their
fragmented acquisition cycles, the states are weakening their ability to cope with a rising China. More

Beyond Iron and Blood: The Complex History of Realpolitik

9 March 2016

The history of ideas, argues Iskander Rehman, "can help us inject a greater degree of intellectual and definitional clarity
into some of our own most pressing grand strategic debates." Take the concept of realpolitik, for example. It has had
many evolutions, interpretations and variations, and yet we like to think we know it well. More

The Rule of Law in Contemporary Ukraine

9 March 2016

Why is Ukraine having so much trouble establishing a state governed by the rule of law? According to Susan Stewart,
maintaining a legal vacuum obviously serves the interests of economic and political elites who put personal power and
enrichment above all else. Here's the current status of this critical tug of war. More

Global Defence Spending 2015: The Big Picture

10 March 2016

The big picture is clear enough, says Katharina Wolf. Global defense spending topped $1.53 trillion in 2015. The US,
China, Saudi Arabia and Russia accounted for more than half of the total amount. "EUrope," in turn, reversed its costcutting ways and now accounts for roughly 14.5% of the world's defense spending. More

Is the War on Drugs a "Humanitarian Crisis"?
10 March 2016

The War on Drugs in Latin America has encouraged a highly militarized yet unsuccessful approach to drug control. In
response, humanitarian organizations have begun to characterize the war as a humanitarian crisis. That's not a good idea,
argue Kristin Bergtora Sandvik and Kristian Hoelscher, and here are the four reasons why. More

Intervention in Libya. Why here? Why now? What Next?

11 March 2016

Should outside powers attempt to destroy the Libyan branch of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and what could happen if
they try? Richard Reeve worries such a campaign might 1) rally Libyans to IS' cause; 2) shift the militants to other parts of
the country or the Sahel-Sahara; and 3) aggravate the fight to control the Libyan state and its resources. More

Is the India-Pakistan Conflict Really Intractable?

11 March 2016

Although it's commonly believed that Kashmir remains an intractable problem for both India and Pakistan, Saeed Ahmed
Rid isn't so sure. Impediments to solving the problem certainly exist, including Hindutva hardliners in India and jihadist
networks in Pakistan, but there are options available to keep the peace process alive. More

// Blog

Syria 90-Day Forecast: The Assad Regime and Allies in Northern Syria
7 March 2016

What's in store for Syria in the near-term? According to Genevieve Casagrande, the Assad regime and its allies will retain
their recent battlefield gains provided 1) there is no intervention by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or the UAE,
and 2) Russia and Iran fail to provide much-needed reinforcements. More

Interview Robert Keohane

8 March 2016

Robert Keohane is one of the world's premier political scientists. In today's interview, he talks about 1) the hot debates in
international relations, including those that are receiving too much or too little attention; 2) the relationship between
globalization, democracy and hegemony, 3) existing types of anti-Americanism, etc.

Is the Illegal Trade in Congolese Minerals Financing Terror?

9 March 2016

Sebastian Gatimu reports that terrorist groups are becoming increasingly involved in the illegal acquisition and smuggling
of natural resources from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most prominent examples include alShabaab mercenaries and the ADF-NALU, which is dedicated to "liberating" Uganda. More

Rethinking the Apocalypse: Time for Bold Thinking on the Second Nuclear Age
10 March 2016

According to Andrew Krepinevich and Jacob Cohn, the post-1991 nuclear age has yet to produce the foundational
analyses that guided policymakers through the previous era. That's why it's time to perform scenario-based planning and
deal with new sets of problems, including Russia's reliance on nuclear saber-rattling to deescalate conflicts. More

Uganda's 2016 Elections: Another Setback for Democracy in Africa

11 March 2016

So, how did the elections go? Julius Kaka admits that they were generally peaceful and the most competitive in Uganda's
history. At the same time, the ability to us social media was restricted, Kampala was heavily patrolled by the police and
military, and President Museveni put his nearest competitor under house arrest. More

// Video

The Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror

In today's video, renowned counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen provides a self-critical and unsparingly honest analysis
of how Western counterterrorism efforts collapsed and subsequently led to the rise of the so-called Islamic State. More

Whither France? The Pessimistic Turn in Modern French Thought

In today's video, the University of Oxford's Sudhir Hazareesingh takes stock of current French political thought. Among
other things, he contemplates how conservative and inward-looking intellectual traditions have undermined France's
progressive imagination and wonders if French progressive ideals can be revived. More

Making the Case for Brexit

In today's video, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and current Head of Vote Leave, Lord Lawson, discusses the
dangers the EU poses to British economic sovereignty and fiscal freedom, Brussels' constant instrumentalizing of
monetary policy for political ends, the limited influence the UK actually has in European governance, and more.

// Multimedia Content
Here is a selection of this week's additions to the ISN Digital

Publications More
// Modi's New Foreign Policy Agenda and the Implications for Africa More
// Checks and Balances: Securing Small Arms during Peace Operations
// In This Corner...The Apple v FBI Cage Match More
// Zimbabwe: Stranded in Stasis More
// Connectivity Wars: The Geo-economic Battlegrounds of the Future
// Scenarios for South Sudan in 2020 More

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