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Expert Comments

22 Apr. 2015: US leadership in the Arctic Council: What choices does the USA have?

Ekaterina Klimenko


On 24–25 April 2015, the United States will assume the next two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the Council’s next ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. These are difficult times for the Arctic region—and the Arctic Council in particular. After five years of dynamic development, cooperation in the Arctic region is at risk of stumbling on the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.

Death of the CFE Treaty: The need to move arms control back to the centre of security policy

Dr Ian Anthony

Russia's termination of its participation in the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) is a blow to the integrated system of arms control and confidence- and security-building measures that was put in place to reduce the risk of major armed conflict, even if its practica

The European Union’s response to the terrorist attacks in Paris: combining targeted and comprehensive approaches

Dr Lars-Erik Lundin

In the wake of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, the European Union and its member states face growing public calls to address internal and external threats, and particularly terrorism. The EU, through its High Representative, should promote political dialogue on comprehensive approaches to conflict and crisis prevention, which can deal with both the symptoms and the causes of these threats.

Afghanistan: The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more attention

Richard Ghiasy

On 30–31 October China hosted the postponed fourth ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference in the framework of the Istanbul Process. Inaugurated in 2011, the Process is the only multilateral vehicle led by Afghanistan, thus permitting the country a greater say in its own affairs. Its objective is to facilitate Afghanistan’s reconstruction through interregional collaboration. To this end, and in a short period of time, the Process has successfully managed to commit 14 participating members, some of which previously had difficulty coming together, to cooperate. However, the Process is beset by a number of internal and external challenges that necessitate attention. Newly elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his administration will have to designate ample human resources and diplomacy efforts to guarantee the process’ effectiveness and sustainability.

The implications of the Ebola outbreak for public health and security

Dr Peter Clevestig

The first case of Ebola outside of West Africa was confirmed in Dallas, Texas, which may be the tipping point for properly mobilizing the international community to act.

China’s protection of its overseas interests is becoming increasingly complex

Mathieu Duchâtel, Oliver Bräuner and Zhou Hang

The evacuation of Chinese citizens from Viet Nam in May 2014 and a possible new evacuation from Iraq in the next few days are just two recent examples which demonstrate that, for China, protecting its overseas interests is becoming an increasingly complex challenge.

From ending nuclear testing to detecting tsunamis and missing aircraft: the wider applications of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Tariq Rauf

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibits all nuclear explosions anywhere as an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation but is yet to come into force.

4 Apr. 2014: Guns or butter? The economics of nuclear construction workforces in Iran and South Carolina

Robert Kelley

Iran is facing increasing difficulties completing its IR-40 pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) near the town of Arak. Fortunately, Iran has agreed to suspend most construction work as part of a plan arranged with the EU3+3 negotiators. On the one hand, this means welcome cost savings for the Iranian Government. On the other hand, it could be an emergency for the local population.

Looking beyond the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

Tariq Rauf

Some 50 heads of state and government are meeting today at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague, the Netherlands, to highlight their commitment to strengthening nuclear security, and to agree on measures to prevent and combat nuclear terrorism.

3 Mar. 2014: Preventing a new division of Europe

Dr Neil John Melvin

The crisis in Ukraine poses the most serious challenge to European security since the end of the cold war, and highlights the urgent need to refashion European security so that it is capable of managing the new environment that has developed in the region. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the only actor capable of bringing the current crisis to an end and of building long-term peace and stability in Ukraine and the wider region.