Articles

57 Items

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Great Decisions Cover

Foreign Policy Association

Journal Article - Foreign Policy Association

The State of the State Department and American Diplomacy

| Jan. 03, 2019

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

Vladimir Putin and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping held talks in Beijing, June 25, 2016.

President of Russia

Journal Article - Europe-Asia Studies

Explaining the 2014 Sino–Russian Gas Breakthrough: The Primacy of Domestic Politics

| Jan. 22, 2018

On 21 May 2014, during a state visit by President Vladimir Putin to Beijing, China and Russia signed a $400 billion, 30-year gas deal. Under this agreement, China will import 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom, beginning in 2018. Why, after 15 years of stalemated negotiations, did this breakthrough occur in 2014? Why did a natural, symbiotic gas relationship not develop earlier and more gradually? Most studies explain this by looking at Russia’s international isolation post Ukraine. Based on interviews with both Chinese and Russian officials this article argues the following: domestic incentives, rather than foreign-policy pressures, are the real force behind the timing of Sino–Russian energy breakthroughs in 2014.

Windmills on shore

Flickr

Journal Article - Oxford Energy Forum

U.S. Energy Diplomacy in an Age of Energy Abundance

| November 2017

For decades, fears of energy scarcity drove American energy diplomacy. The dependence of the global economy on oil, and America’s need to secure ever-growing quantities of this commodity, underpinned complex networks of alliances and intensive diplomatic endeavors. An atmosphere of ever-increasing global competition for resources made these labors all the more urgent and highstakes. Today, in an age of energy abundance, many anticipate that the new US energy prowess will render such efforts obsolete and pave the way for US disengagement in the world. Yet a sober look at reality suggests that this should be far from the case.

In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, a man in Seoul, South Korea watches a TV news program showing an image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Dec. 28, 2017

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un trading threats with words like “fire and fury”; Pakistan deploying tactical nuclear weapons to counter Indian conventional threats; Russia enunciating an Orwellian doctrine of “escalate-to-de-escalate” that calls for early use of battlefield nuclear weapons; and major nuclear-weapons states modernizing their arsenals — nukes are back. The cruel irony: This is happening after eight years of a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Gazprom sign in Moscow.

Martin Griffiths

Journal Article - Post-Soviet Affairs

Understanding Russia’s energy turn to China: domestic narratives and national identity priorities

| Dec. 22, 2017

This study investigates whether, as part of a broader “Asian Energy Pivot,” Russia’s energy giant Gazprom refashioned its export strategy away from Europe, and what impact such a reorientation might have on the EU–Russia gas relationship. It uses four empirical cases to emphasize the domestic movers underlying Russia’s eastward shift in energy trade, developing a constructivist theory rooted in the dynamics of Russia’s dominant public narrative and the contours of domestic politics. It argues that Russia’s national interests changed as a result of how Russian policy-makers interpreted and reacted to the stand-off with Europe, in response to what they perceived as Europe’s attempt to isolate it economically and geopolitically. 

Trump Salute

Le Point

Magazine Article - Le Point

Burns : « Il renie soixante-dix and de diplomatie » (Burns: "He rejects seventy years of diplomacy")

| Feb. 02, 2017

In an interview with Amin Arefi of French magazine Le Point, Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns reflects on the first ten days of the Trump administration and the trajectory of American foreign policy going forward. Burns explains the fundamental differences between Donald Trump and George W. Bush, and the  worrying implications of Trump's indifference towards the US-backed system of alliances that has upheld the liberal world order for the past seven decades.