Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 80: COP 21

The post-Cold War era has been deeply characterized by multidimensional and non-military threats: from terrorism to climate change. Last week we looked at the war against ISIL, therefore this week our Top-5 is mainly focused on the UN climate change conference in Paris – COP 21.

Here you’ll find a (dramatic) list to the most polluted cities in the world. Dehli is at the top. According to The Guardian, 1.6 million Chinese are killed by breathing bad air every year.

Der Spiegel International offers an insightful comment on “the most important event of the year”. Simply in Paris “the global community will be deciding on the fate of our planet, our future and the basis of life for all of humanity”. 

If you are more interested in the negotiations, here you’ll find some useful elements that you need to know to better assess the UN conference. In summary, climate change is a “collective action problem“.

Words, rhetoric and narratives and crucial in international relations. Here you’ll find the “best metaphors” used during the Paris climate talks (Is the planet really a patient??).

Finally, the speech by President Obama helps in finding a connection between climate change to the fight against ISIL. In other words, the conference in Paris is an “act of defiance” against the terrorists who attacked the city just weeks ago. (Probably is true but we are still waiting for a better strategy against ISIL…)

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 62

Terrorism came back in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. The Independent provides useful maps that illustrate how far and fast ISIL has spread in the last years.

The debate on China rising is still lively and controversial. The National Interest wonders “How George Kennan Would Contend with China’s Rise“.

Over the past years, India has been one of the largest arms importers. Here you’ll find a detailed analysis of India’s weapons imports and regional balance.

Sanctions have become “the defining feature of the Western response to several geopolitical challenges”. If you are interested in sanctions, we warmly recommend this article by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Finally, the crisis in the Eurozone. There are a lot of  analyses regarding Grexit, referendum, Germany, debt, and euro. We only wish a positive solution for the current situation. In this way

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 29

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. That emerges quite clearly from a series of reports in the past few weeks that have been uncovering the nature of the opposition to IS influence in Iraq. Besides nominal allies in the region allegedly buying “IS oil”, the Shi’a Badr militias, once a staunch enemy, are now fighting against IS in Northern Iraq. No “formal” alliance in sight, but a lot of questions on who sides with whom.

In the meanwhile, President Obama is not the only one struggling with polls. Gordon Lubold reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s rating among national security workers dropped to 26 %, according to a survey commissioned by DefenseOne.

Remaining in the US, former Undersecretary of Defense  William Lind, now leading Finmeccanica North America and DRS Technologies, argues that the “market for defense systems” is changing rapidly, and at the global level, and thus the Pentagon should adapt to the new realities: More attention to companies such as Google and Apple and less to the traditional military-industrial complex.

Asia-Pacific has been set to become the most relevant region of action for the foreign policy of quite a few US Administration by now, before chaos in the Middle East brought the focus back. Nonetheless, President Obama is reportedly re-pivoting to Asia. Carnegie Endownent’s Douglas Paal responds to key questions on how to interpret, and what to expect from, this (re) positioning.

Remaining in Asia, India is sometimes overlooked as attention mostly focuses on the Pacific.  And still, India has been long searching for international cooperation in defense matters. Russia has been once a key partner, the US has signed a military pact, and most recently Israel has been developing important ties in key sectors such as missiles and UAVs among others.

 

 

 

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Abe, Modi e il nuclear deal tra India e Giappone.

Guest Post di Matteo Dian*

I rapporti tra India e Giappone sono decisamente migliorati negli ultimi anni, in particolare dopo l’elezione di Narendra Modi a Primo Ministro Indiano. Le cause sono molteplici: da un lato ci sono “fattori strutturali”, ovvero il miglioramento dei rapporti indo-giapponesi è una conseguenza dell’ascesa cinese . Le altre due grandi potenze asiatiche si stanno progressivamente avvicinando per contrastare un potenziale prossima egemonia cinese. Dall’altro, i due leader stanno sviluppando un intesa basata su alcune caratteristiche e obiettivi comuni. Entrambi sono conservatori di destra ed entrambi stanno promuovendo il rilancio economico dei loro paesi, attraverso un processo di liberalizzazione  e promozione del libero mercato.

Alcuni risultati recenti della special relationship tra Abe e Modi sono gli investimenti gipponesi (28 miliardi di dollari) destinati alla costruzione di ferrovie ad alta velocità in India o il fatto che l’India sia diventati il primo fornitore di minerali rari per il Giappone. Inoltre,  il Giappone ha approfittato del recente ammorbidimento dei Tre Principi di esportazione di armi per esportare gli aerei anfibi US-2. 

Il prossimo passo previsto è la vendita di tecnologie nucleri all’India da parte del Giappone.

Oggi una cooperazione in ambito nucleare è nell’interesse di entrambi. New Delhi vuole sostenere il proprio sviluppo economico e limitare la propria dipendenza dal petrolio, diventando uno dei maggiori consumatori al mondo di energia nucleare.

Il governo indiano ha in programma di costruire 18 nuove centrali entro il 2020. Il Giappone è all’avanguardia nel settore del nucleare civile.  Industrie come Toshiba, Hitachi e Mitsubishi riuscirebbero a compesare le perdite e subite dopo la revisione dei piani energetici giapponesi, con il ridimensionamento del ruolo del nucleare dopo la tragedia di Fukushima nel marzo 2011.

Il progetto di cooperazione con l’India costituirebbe il compenente più significativo di un programma più vasto di esportazione di tecnologie nucleari mirato a rilanciare il settore dopo il ridimensionamento successivo a Fukushima. Questo programma comprende anche cooperazione con Turchia, Vietnam, Brasile ed Emirati Arabi. 

L’accordo sul nucleare avrebbe anche un importante valore politico: il governo Abe riconoscerebbe all’India lo status di grande potenza di un possibile prossimo sistema multipolare in cui India e Giappone possono rappresentare un contrappeso alla Cina in ascesa.

Questo rappresenta un elemento di discontinuità netta verso il passato. Mentre il Giappone è sempre stato alla testa del movimento anti-proliferazione, l’India ha fatto della bomba atomica, soprattutto durante la Guerra Fredda, uno di simboli della sua politica di neutralismo e terzo mondismo. Ancora oggi l’India non è tra i firmatari del trattato di Non proliferazione nucleare.

Questo accordo, infatti, è sotto attacco in Giappone per diversi motivi: in primo luogo i gruppi anti-nucleari si oppongono al fatto che il governo Abe promuova la diffusione dell’energia atomica nel mondo. Inoltre, il fatto che l’India non sia firmatario del NPT rende l’accordo ancora più controverso, visto il tradizionale ruolo giapponese nel contrasto alla proliferazione.

In conclusione, il possibile “nucler deal” tra Tokyo e New Delhi rappresenterebbe un progresso notevole per il Giappone sia in termini geopolitici sia dal punto di vista economico. Come accaduto molto spesso dopo la fine della guerra fredda, la tutela degli interessi giapponesi passa per l’erosione di alcuni dei principi del pacifismo post bellico, quali la promozione del regime di anti proliferazione.

 

 

*Matteo Dian è professore a contratto di Relazioni Internazionali dell’Asia Orientale presso l’Univesità di Bologna. Si occupa di teoria delle relazioni internazionali,  Asia orientale, politica estera giapponese e ruolo degli Stati Uniti in Asia.
E’ autore di The Evolution of the US-Japan alliance. The Eagle and the Chrysanthemum, Chandos Books, Oxford (UK).

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 19

After long holiday, Venus in Arms is back. The summer has been intense, if not for Venus, at least for its creators (who tried to finish a book manuscript). And it was a very eventful – to say the least – August indeed in international politics. With clashes in Gaza stopping, attention remained directed to two major fronts. The first is Ukraine, where signs of unfreezing seem to emerge as this post is being published. The last days were still pretty tough, and with the President of the European Council in pectore, Polish PM Donald Tusk, calling for Europe not to fall into the traps that led to the Nazi invasion (of Poland) in September 1939 and Vladimir Putin sending “humanitarian aid” in Eastern Ukraine, the situation is still very uncertain. One of the constitutive elements of this uncertainty is “how far will Putin go”: Royal United Services Institute’s experts examine possible military strategies of Russia towards Ukraine.

In the meanwhile, Iraq and Syria are still on fire. The Islamic State’s fast appearance on the geopolitical map has been striking and left most observers as well as policy-makers pretty unsettled. President Obama’s prudence also surprised (and/or annoyed) those who wanted decisive action by the US. An article of a couple of weeks ago, however, sheds light on the domestic constraints to a more forceful US approach against ISIL.

NATO’s role in the two crises is still uncertain, and NATO troops moving eastwards these days are not (yet?) a clear clue of the alliance’s intentions.  Foreign Policy magazine’s David Francis reports on the troubles of the Alliance. A good read-ahead for the NATO Summit that will take place in Wales later this week.

The inevitable focus on Ukraine and the Middle But should not obscure that other events are unfolding. The Guardian reports on US action in Somalia to disrupt the al-Shabab network organization, which is far from being defeated according to the same report.

Finally, (the return of ?) power politics in Asia. New Indian PM Narendra Modi visited Tokyo and called for close cooperation between the two countries so that they can better cope with the growing Chinese presence in the region. More than twenty years  after the end of the Cold War, is it really time for the realization for an extended version of John Mearsheimer’s “back to the future”?

 

 

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