The scale and audacity of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, spurred sweeping changes in the way the United States, its partners, and adversaries used the machinery of state and technology to respond to threats. In this Council of Councils global perspectives, five experts reflect on the legacy of the attacks and offer insights into the biggest changes in counterterrorism, human rights, surveillance, international law of war, and border security.
The Franco-German relationship is more important than ever in order to deal with international crises and to develop a common European foreign and security policy. With elections coming up, William Glucroft discusses the strategic outlook with Ronja Kempin and Paul Maurice.
The Taliban will find a more favourable international environment in Afghanistan today than when they first took power 25 years ago. With support from neighbouring states, they could stabilise their power. Andrea Schmitz and Christian Wagner outline the conditions.
Since 2011 the Islamic Republic of Iran has significantly extended its influence in the Middle East. In Syria, its intervention alongside Russia from 2015 onwards contributed to the Assad regime’s victory in the civil war. In Iraq, Iranian military advisors and Iran-controlled local militias helped in the fight against Islamic State (IS). In Yemen, the Islamic Republic has been extending its support for the Houthi rebels since 2014, to the extent that the Houthis were able to assert themselves in the war against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Russia assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the 12th Ministerial in Reykjavik, on 20 May 2021. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described his first meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken the previous day as “constructive”. Two days before the meeting, however, Lavrov warned the West against encroaching in the Arctic: “It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory.” But what exactly did he mean? The polar region claimed by Russia in its March 2021 submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf? Or the ongoing disputes over the Northern Sea Route? Moscow is working to fortify its positions in the Arctic through a combination of aggressive rhetoric and offers of dialogue, in another example of its ambivalent policy mix of security and cooperation.
From the perspective of policymakers, planning for the many uncertainties that the future brings is a complicated task. Because of the growing complexity of global affairs, more and more information is destined to land on the desks of decision makers. State-of-the-art futures analysis structures information about conceivable events and developments, thus supporting more effective and legitimate anticipatory governance. Forecasting and foresight, the dominant analytical approaches, serve different political functions. Forecasting geopolitical events is primarily relevant for the executive branch, which must act on short-term assessments. Foresight scenarios, on the other hand, significantly contribute to deliberations on the desirability of plausible mid- to long-term developments in consultative bodies such as parliaments. Both approaches should be utilized in EU policymaking.