LABORATORIO DI RICERCA COMPLESSA / COMPLEX RESEARCH LABORATORY
Daily from global think tanks and open sources
(the analyzes here recalled do not necessarily correspond to the geostrategic thinking of The Global Eye)
Angola – OPEC
(Rajneesh Kumar – CAPS) Angola joined OPEC in 2007. As per the details available, for the year 2022, the members of OPEC taken together produce 34 million barrels per day (BPD), whereas Angola produces more than 1.11 million BPD. In the November session of OPEC, Angola, which happens to be the second-largest oil producer on the continent, protested a decision by OPEC to cut its production quota for 2024. Angola holds the considered opinion that remaining in OPEC will not serve its interests as it will be forced to cut its production scales
(Amb Pankaj Saran – Vivekananda International Foundation) Bangladesh’s elections have just been held on January 7. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has returned back to power with a large majority
(Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda, Eliana Johns, Mackenzie Knight – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) The modernization of China’s nuclear arsenal has both accelerated and expanded in recent years. We estimate that China now possesses roughly 500 nuclear warheads, with more in production to arm future delivery systems. China is now believed to have one of the fastest-growing nuclear arsenals among the nine nuclear-armed states
China – Afghanistan – Central Asia – India
(Rajneesh Kumar – CAPS) Assadullah Bilal Karimi-a former spokesman of Taliban was appointed as Afghan Ambassador to China on December 1, 2023. He becomes the first Afghan envoy to be accredited to any country since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. There has also been a noticeable Chinese expansion in Central Asia which has the potential to eventually cast a shadow on the existing security symmetry in the Central Asian region besides being against Indian interests in the region. Considering this, it would be worthwhile to look into the implications of rising Chinese involvement in Afghanistan, especially as it serves as the gateway of India into Central Asia. Also worth exploring is the ramifications thereof for Indian interests in Central Asia
1 – (Samir Saran, Danny Quah – Observer Research Foundation) The recent United Nations climate summit, known as COP28, offered a glimmer of hope for international climate action. Negotiators struck a deal to transition the world away from fossil fuels and formally approved a loss and damage fund to support the countries that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. Yet COP28 fell short in one major area: It did not outline a clear pathway for funding and implementing climate action in the global south
2 – (Heena Samant, PK Khup Hangzo – Vivekananda International Foundation) 2023 was a watershed year for climate change. As record after record was broken that year, experts lamented that the world may have reached an inflection point
Europe – Ukraine
(Max Bergmann – Center for Strategic & International Studies) Europe’s approach to supporting Ukraine’s war effort is no longer fit for purpose
1 – (Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo – Defense News) As Finns get ready to head to the polls, over a dozen Finnish companies have been reported to have evaded sanctions by exporting dual-use goods to Russia, a challenge which experts say will be a key issue to tackle by the next leadership. The upcoming Finnish presidential election will take place on Jan 28., marking the end of President Sauli Niinistö’s time in office after 12 years
2 – (Sari Arho Havrén – RUSI) As Finns prepare to elect a new president, they will be weighing up who is best-placed to protect them against international threats – particularly that of neighbouring Russia. What separates the candidates?
1 – (Peter Engelke, Paul Saffo – Atlantic Council) Voters around the world cast their ballots on the fate of democracy. Ukraine determines whether its struggle against Russian aggression is winnable, China deploys measures just short of war against Taiwan, and broader hostilities engulf the Middle East. Insufficient action on climate change increases the chances of rogue geoengineering. Oceans governance and space exploration leap forward. Artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous
2 – (Elisa Yoshiara, Fabian Villalobos – RAND Corporation) The road to clean energy goes through a historically dirty industry: mining. In the developing world especially, mineral extraction and processing has historically caused not just environmental contamination but also corruption and displacement of local livelihoods. Can it be different as we look to scale up the technology needed to hit net zero?
3 – (Council on Foreign Relations) Panelists discuss potential and ongoing crises that may erupt or escalate in 2024, as well as their global political implications
4 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) By 2050, estimates indicate that the global economy will have doubled in size and will be serving a population of over 10 billion people. In this context, improving energy efficiency is critical to delivering an affordable, secure and climate-aligned future. What can companies and governments do to enable economic growth with less energy?
5 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) From extreme heat to poor air quality, flooding and hazardous weather events, climate change poses threats to health systems while exposing socioeconomic inequities and increasing infectious disease exposure, non-communicable conditions and food insecurity globally. As the human dimension of climate change takes centre stage, what are the most promising approaches, evidence and data needed to mitigate the health impact of the climate crisis today?
6 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) Financial institutions continue to face risks from high interest rates, geopolitical tensions and ongoing price volatility. With persistent inflationary pressures and the possibility of further rate hikes, what policies and tools can protect the financial system from potential headwinds in 2024?
7 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) Persistent conflict, intensifying climate crises, a fragile global economy and the potential risks of new technologies are creating a complex global security environment. What does true collective security look like today and how can leaders strengthen it for the future?
8 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) The potential gains from closing economic gender gaps could unlock a “gender dividend” of $172 trillion for the global economy, while closing the gender investment gap could add $3 trillion to assets under management in the US alone. In a period of economic fragility, what changes need to be implemented to unlock the benefits of greater gender parity?
9 – (World Economic Forum – Davos 2024) Antimicrobial resistance is the third leading cause of death globally. While the global economy loses $36.9 billion a year as a result of super bugs, how can global economic policies continue to embed and accelerate action on urgent health security issues?
(Air Commodore SP Singh – CAPS) The Ministry of Defence, on December 15, 2023, announced that the Defence Research and Development Organisation had successfully completed a flight trial of the autonomous flying wing technology demonstrator from the Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka, bringing India one step closer to developing its own stealth Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle that can fire missiles and drop bombs
India – Russia
(Rajneesh Kumar – CAPS) Indian External Affair Minister S Jaishankar visited Russia from December 25-29, 2023 and held meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Importantly, this visit has taken place at a time when India’s closeness with the West is increasing while also giving impetus upon India’s inevitable strategic need to balance its ties with Russia. In order to objectively understand the implications of the visit, it would be worthwhile to first understand in brief, the historical context of India-Russia relations evolving over the years followed by analysing the visit and the implications thereof on Indo-Russia relationship
1 – (Mark Lattimer – Lawfare) Last week’s hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was widely reported as “one of the most significant ever.” South Africa claimed that a genocide was being committed in Gaza. Israel said that claim was a “blood libel.” The stakes are high; according to counsel for South Africa, they include “the future of international law” itself
2 – (Yossi Mekelberg – Chatham House) In the aftermath of 7 October, the common mantra in Israeli politics is that things can neither go back to how they were the previous day, nor should they. To a large extent this is correct, not only in terms of relations between Israelis and Palestinians, but also regarding the domestic scene in both societies
Japan – ASEAN
(Simran Walia – CAPS) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan celebrated their 50th anniversary of friendship and collaboration in 2023. The relationship between Japan and ASEAN has grown and evolved over the past fifty years. As an equal partner in fostering peace and prosperity in the region, Japan has “made every effort to build up ‘heart to heart’ relations of confidence and trust with the ASEAN Member States”. Amidst the growing complexity of the East Asian strategic environment, Japan’s partnership with ASEAN has become more diverse and multifaceted, leading to an expansion and deepening of cooperation in the security field
(Noah Robertson – Defense News) European and Canadian lawmakers who chair their countries’ foreign affairs committees are visiting Washington D.C. to continue arguing Ukraine’s case. Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chair of the national security and defense committee in Lithuania’s parliament, is part of that delegation, which will meet with think tanks and members of Congress
1 – (Allison Minor – Brookings) Amid the growing promise of a Yemen peace process, on one hand, and the Houthi’s escalating use of force against international actors, on the other, the decisions the Houthis make in 2024 will represent a turning point for their relationship with the international community as well as Yemen’s trajectory
2 – (Daniel Byman, Seth G. Jones – Center for Strategic & International Studies) The U.S. strikes on the Houthi rebels in Yemen show that the war that began after Hamas launched a brutal terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, is now a regional conflict
(Victor Cha, Andy Lim – Center for Strategic & International Studies) Though it appears things could not get any worse with Kim Jong-un, CSIS Korea Chair analysis indicates there will likely be an uptick in North Korean belligerence in 2024. North Korea exhibits a tendency to ramp up provocations during U.S. election years
North Korea – Russia
(Timothy Wright, Joseph Dempsey – IISS) United States National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby confirmed on 4 January 2024 what had been anticipated for several months: North Korea has supplied Russia with ‘several dozen’ short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs). The transfer signals North Korea’s increasing material support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. It furthermore raises the possibility that Pyongyang – and potentially other suppliers such as Iran – may provide Russia with more missiles
(Ward Hayes Wilson – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) In a recent piece in the Bulletin (“Why a nuclear weapons ban would threaten, not save, humanity”), Zachary Kallenborn argued that a ban on nuclear weapons would create serious risks, including unrestrained great power war and a hindering of global cooperation. He asserted that continuing to maintain small nuclear weapons arsenals for the foreseeable future is sensible
1 – (Pavel Luzin – The Jamestown Foundation) At the end of last year, it was becoming increasingly apparent that Russian industry was struggling with flagging production rates and a shortage of technical personnel
2 – (Sergey Sukhankin – The Jamestown Foundation) Western sanctions have severely hurt Kaliningrad’s economy, particularly for cross-border transit, tourism, and fishing. The Kremlin has allocated increased subsidies to the region raising questions regarding the sustainability of Kaliningrad’s growing reliance on Moscow for economic aid. The region’s economy remains highly vulnerable to the West tightening the sanctions regime, which would potentially cut off Kaliningrad from mainland Russia altogether
Russia – Ukraine
1 – (Council on Foreign Relations) Panelists discuss the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, exploring potential outcomes, examining the future of U.S. and EU engagement and support, and assessing the political and economic hurdles confronting both Zelensky and Putin as the war continues
2 – (Pavel K. Baev – The Jamestown Foundation) Stalemate is presently used most often to describe the current state of Russia’s war against Ukraine these days
3 – (Richard Arnold – The Jamestown Foundation) Since becoming ataman of the Cossacks in November 2023, Vitaly Kuznetsov has charted a new direction for the state-registered movement that replicates the Wagner Group model in some ways
4 – (Paul Globe – The Jamestown Foundation) Ukraine’s recent successes at sea have pushed Moscow to consider relocating its vessels to a planned naval base in the Russian-controlled Republic of Abkhazia in Georgia
(Talal Rafi – Observer Research Foundation) The recently passed 2024 Budget has many promises but when judging Sri Lanka by its past, it falls short of the revenue needed to fulfill expenditures for key proposals in the budget. The budget posed a significant dilemma for Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe. He had to balance the needs of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme but at the same time, ward off pressure from his coalition to produce a populist budget as 2024 is an election year
(Brookings) In a closely watched election, Taiwan’s voters elected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate and current Vice President Lai Ching-te over Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang (KMT) and Ko Wen-je of Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) on January 13, 2024. In the legislature, no political party gained an outright majority. Scholars assess the Taiwan election results and what they mean for the island, cross-Strait relations, and the U.S.-China-Taiwan triangle in 2024 and beyond
1 – (Atlantic Council) It’s a title fight. On Wednesday, the United States designated the Yemen-based Houthi rebels, also called Ansar Allah, as a specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) group. Recent attacks by the Iran-backed group on Red Sea shipping “fit the textbook definition of terrorism,” explained National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The Biden administration’s label, which follows US strikes on the group, departs from the approach used by the Trump administration, which additionally listed the group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO)
2 – (Cynthia Cook – Center for Strategic & International Studies) The Department of Defense has just released its first National Defense Industrial Strategy, signed by the deputy secretary of defense and developed by the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale
3 – (Courtney Albon – Defense News) The Pentagon updated its classification policy for space programs to reduce the information-sharing restrictions that make it hard for the Space Force to collaborate with allies, industry partners and other agencies. The policy is itself classified, according to John Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy
Venezuela – Guyana
(Hari Seshasayee – Observer Research Foundation) As tensions rise between Venezuela and Guyana, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva stepped in to mediate the conflict, remarking at a recent conference, “If there is one thing we don’t want here in South America, it’s war.” Although some countries have grappled with domestic conflicts, Latin America has been free from major wars for the entire 20th and 21st centuries. The last multi-country war in the region was the War of the Pacific in 1879
Nuovo Umanesimo per la Pace / New Humanism for Peace (Marco Emanuele)
- Il vincolo, i limiti e il respiro della Storia / The bond, the limits and the breath of History
- Pace nell’inter-in-dipendenza / Peace in inter-in-dependence
- La pace nella complessità / Peace in complexity
- Golfo e Taiwan: stesso mare, stesse turbolenze, stessi pericoli di guerra (Carlo Rebecchi)
- Tra intelligenza umana, ‘senso’ democratico e rivoluzione tecnologica (Marzia Giglioli)
- Disuguaglianze in scenari complessi / Inequalities in complex scenarios (Marco Emanuele)
- Le disuguaglianze crescono. Il rapporto di Oxfam (Marzia Giglioli)
- Intelligenza artificiale e guerra. Riflessione sui limiti (Marzia Giglioli)
- Oltre i confini. Per il dialogo. A colloquio con Domitilla Olivieri (Università di Utrecht) / Beyond borders. For dialogue. In conversation with Domitilla Olivieri (Utrecht University) (Marzia Giglioli)
The Science of Where Magazine (Direttore: Emilio Albertario)