Mike Pompeo urges working together to address Turkey, Donald Trump considers a strike on Iran

In Paris on Monday,16 November 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US administration and Europe need to work jointly on addressing recent “aggressive” actions led by Turkey – before continuing his 7-country tour, landing in Istanbul on Monday night. In Washington, a US official confirmed that last week US President Trump considered a strike on Iran’s main nuclear facility.

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After the ice: the Arctic and European security (Paul Taylor)

Friends of Europe have released a comprehensive study on Arctic defence cooperation. The report examines the strategic and political context surrounding Arctic security and defence focusing on the changing Arctic environment – the resurgence of great power competition worldwide against a backdrop of accelerating global warming which is melting the polar ice cap at a record pace.

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The impact of COVID-19 on critical global food supply chains and food security (SIPRI)

By the end of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic risks doubling the number of people who face acute hunger from around 135 million to around 265 million people. The pandemic may have a more severe impact on the number of hungry than the global food crisis of 2007–2008, potentially constituting a ‘hunger pandemic’.

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How COVID-19 will reshape Indo-Pacific security (The Diplomat)

This article is one of a number of pieces circulating that usefully starts to ponder the effect COVID-19 will have on strategic relations in the Indo-Pacific. It presents one of the more comprehensive lists of possible effects. The narrow focus of the article, however, means two major results of the pandemic, a change in the relativities in economic power and a possible change in the US Administration, are not clearly factored into the analysis. With regard to the question of impact of Covid-19 on military readiness, there may be room for greater caution; it is yet to be seen if the worst predictions about a shift in the military balance because of readiness issues will eventuate.

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The weaponisation of the US financial system (Jacque Delors Centre)

Author: Edward Knudsen | Jacque Delors Centre | 4 June 2020 In order to fulfil its ambition to become a credible geopolitical player and to defend its interests and values abroad, it is critical for the EU to be able to withstand extraterritorial sanctions Edward Knudsen argues that European economic autonomy depends on displacing the US from the central role in international finance and recommends a strategy for strengthening the euro as an international currency.

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Predation and predators in the post-alliance era (INSS)

In this interesting article Heisbourg frames his speculation about the transformation taking place the international environment in terms of a shift from a structured system founded on US-sponsored liberal values to a more dog-eat-dog anarchic situation: in this new “post alliance” arrangement dominated by sovereignism, transactionalism, and authoritarianism, the US, China and Russia will be the top predators.

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Historical amnesia: Great power behaviour and criticism of China

Positioning the adversarial relationship with China as one of morally superior western democratic nations in competition with a somehow illegitimate and malevolent China is an exercise in historical amnesia. The democratic United State’s 1890 – 1920 trajectory from western hemisphere state to global power has some economic, military and foreign policy parallels with authoritarian China’s growth in the twenty-first century.

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Eyes wide open, or a blinkered view? The Australia-China relationship in the Antarctic

The recent report ‘Eyes Wide Open: Managing the Australia-China Antarctic Relationship’ contains a lot of information about China’s activities in Antarctica and usefully sets out aspects of the Chinese-Australian relationship.
But are the report’s recommendations a disproportionate reaction to a manufactured crisis regarding China’s presence and activities in Antarctica?

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Australia’s strategic quandary: political leadership and the abandonment of strategy

Strategy, the link between policy and the battlefield, is now more important than ever.

Australia’s strategic quandary emerges from its status as an ally to a great power. If it abrogates its responsibility to set national policy aims by joining in a coalition in which one great power antagonist determines the goals of the war it cannot claim to have a strategy. It cannot claim to be linking Australia’s national priorities to the military actions. Its fate would be in the hands of its great power ally.

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Traps, Trump and Thucydides: challenging Allison’s concept of a ‘Thucydides’ Trap’

Harvard academic Graham Allison finds in Thucydides’ ‘The History of the Peloponnesian War’, some near universal law of international relations where war between established and rising great powers is close to inevitable – the ‘Thucydides’ Trap’. But are there different lessons to be drawn from analysis of the Peloponnesian War?

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Melting arctic ice photographed 2011

Stockholm International Peace Institute: The Geopolitics of a Changing Arctic

SIPRI looks at the geopolitical and security issues in the Arctic region against a backdrop of unprecedented changes in its physical, social, geo-economic and geopolitical realities. The Paper offers a clear account of the challenges facing states bordering the Arctic, as well as others, as global warming causes the sea ice disappear and the polar resources to become available.

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Geopolitics and the re-election of Donald Trump

The biggest question in geopolitics is: will President Trump be re-elected? More than any previous presidential election, the 2020 election could presage a very dangerous era in world politics, making the presidential election the most important geopolitical event this year. However, the American presidential election will be determined by domestic issues that swirl around a collection of policy issues as well as identity and values.

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