Category: Regions and Powers

Conflict Portrait: Afghanistan

The armed conflict between the Afghan government, along with its international allies, and armed radical Islamist insurgents intensified after 2014. At the end of that year, the mandate of the NATO-led ISAF combat mission expired, and the responsibility for security was officially handed over to the Afghan authorities. ISAF was replaced by a far smaller… Read more »

Totalitarianism Closing in on China

The only drama in the “two sessions” jamboree in Beijing this spring is that there was no drama at all. Each year the Chinese political élite, 5000 men and a few women strong, congregate in the capital for a week of meetings of the legislature, the National People’s Congress, and its advisory body, the Chinese… Read more »

Why a War with North Korea Is Unlikely

Here are three scenarios for the North Korean crisis: The recent flurry of threats between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump has caused much consternation. Threats can indeed be dangerous but only when they are followed up by hostile action. The latest important developments in this crisis have been North Korea’s July 4 and July 28… Read more »

Turkey’s Turn Toward Russia

Despite tensions over Syria, Turkey is increasingly turning to Russia to secure its foreign and domestic policy needs. Though anticipated, the May 9 announcement by the Donald Trump administration that the United States would arm fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in preparation for an advance on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa… Read more »

The East Asian Peace

The 6-year East Asian Peace (EAP) program at Uppsala University led by Stein Tønnesson of PRIO and Uppsala University has been undertaken in a period with increased uncertainty about peace and stability in East Asia. China’s rise and increased rivalry in the region has made stability in East Asia the most important topic in current international… Read more »

The East Asian Peace – Two New Books

Two books were launched earlier this week from the East Asian Peace (EAP) program at Uppsala University, led by Stein Tønnesson of PRIO and Uppsala University. One is a monograph by the program director, Stein Tønnesson, Explaining the East Asian Peace, the other a volume edited by Elin Bjarnegård & Joakim Kreutz, Debating the East Asian… Read more »

Can the East Asian Peace Survive?

Uncertainty concerning President Donald Trump’s China and North Korea policies have instilled new fears of war in East Asia, a region that has enjoyed a surprising level of peace for almost four decades. Yet, if China treats Trump with care, the region may remain peaceful. The text in this post is a slightly modified version… Read more »

Is China helping Trump, or is Trump helping China?

When Chinese president Xi Jinping met US president Donald Trump in Florida on 6–7 April, Xi convinced his host that it is not easy to exert influence on North Korea, but apparently promised to help the United States to the best of his ability. In practice, it may be Trump who helps China. Following the summit at… Read more »

East Asian Peace: Telling Japan to be Proud

To a Tokyo audience of Japanese peace practitioners, academics, journalists and diplomats, I recently chose to address the Japanese as East Asians. I had three important messages to convey: You East Asians have a Peace to Defend The East Asian Peace is at Risk Please overcome your differences and aim for an East Asian Security Community… Read more »

Playing Chinese Whispers with a Megaphone

These days, a press conference at the White House is cringe TV. President Trump greeting world leaders may leave unfortunate viewers squirming in front of the screen. It’s an experience simultaneously entertaining and unpleasant. One thing that already has generated countless internet memes and analyses among the Twitterati is Trump’s handshake. When the American president… Read more »