On March 23, the historic process of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) enlargement passed a critical milestone as Finnish President Sauli Niinistö signed into law legislation on accession to the Alliance approved by parliament. In response, the Kremlin merely expressed regret about this development and reiterated the absence of any threat from Russia to its… Read more »
Soft Power and Disinformation: The Strategic Role of Media in Wagner’s Expansion in Africa
After its first steps on the African continent in Libya in 2017, the Wagner Group has been deployed in Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, and at the end of 2021 in Mali. This rapid expansion over the years contributes to the instability and insecurity in these regions. The paramilitary Russian group known for… Read more »
Four Complications for the Rushed Putin-Xi Summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Moscow, which started yesterday and is expected to go for three days, is certain to be rich in pomp and ceremony. Yet, its content remains rather uncertain. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in most cordial terms, invited his Chinese counterpart during their video conversation on December 30. But Xi,… Read more »
China Adjusts Limits on Partnership With Russia
The Russian army’s ongoing struggle to capture Bakhmut might appear to be primarily a tactical episode in the larger geo-strategic picture of Russia’s war against Ukraine. However, it also affects the key political interactions shaping this picture, including the formally cordial, but in fact rather uneasy, relations between Moscow and Beijing.
China’s Plan for Ukraine Is No Plan at All
China’s position paper won’t contribute to peace in Ukraine, but it does offer useful insights into how Beijing conceives of its global role. On February 24, one year after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, China released a paper on “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.” In classic Beijing style, the document… Read more »
Renewable Energy, Renewable Conflicts? How a Lithium Rush in Zimbabwe Is Raising Tensions
In October 2022, lithium prices reached an all-time high. Lithium is an essential component for electric vehicle batteries, and with the current high ambitions in electrification of transport, demand for the mineral has been rapidly increasing, hitting a record price of $74,475 per tonne in October 2022. In Zimbabwe, where some of the world’s largest… Read more »
Putin’s War-Mongering Spectacle Reveals War Fatigue
As the one-year mark of President Vladimir Putin’s disastrous war against Ukraine neared, the Russian army failed to score anything resembling even a minor victory to provide the Russian leader with a talking point for his public performances. In his address to the Federal Assembly on February 21, Putin said nothing about the prospects of… Read more »
Before Decisive Battles, Russia’s War Against Ukraine Reaches a Political Culmination
As the one-year mark approaches, the Russo-Ukrainian war shows little movement along the battle lines but plenty of action along the political dimension, which may be approaching a culmination point. First came the meeting of Ukraine’s key supporters in the Ramstein format; then the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defense ministers, to… Read more »
NATO Should Pursue Peace over Victory in Ukraine. Here Is Why and How.
In his foundational book on the causes of war, Kenneth Waltz observed that “[a]sking who won a given war […] is like asking who won the San Francisco earthquake. That in war there is no victory but only varying degrees of defeat is a proposition that has gained increasing acceptance in the twentieth century.” These… Read more »
Towards a Chip-Alliance?
Long-lasting trilateral negotiations between the US, the Netherlands and Japan are expected to result in joint efforts to limit China’s domestic production of chips. The decision represents a symbolic win for the Biden Administration, but further negotiations will determine the scope and significance of the emerging “Chip-Alliance”. On January 27th, news agencies reported that the… Read more »