Contemporary Security Policy will publish a special issue on Reclaiming the local in EU peacebuilding edited by Filip Ejdus and Ana E. Juncos.
Since the early 2000s, the “local turn” has thoroughly transformed the field of peacebuilding. The EU policy discourse on peacebuilding has also aligned with this trend, with an increasing number of EU policy statements insisting on the importance of “the local.” However, most studies on EU peacebuilding still adopt a top-down approach and focus on institutions, capabilities, and decision-making at the EU level. This special issue contributes to the literature by focusing on bottom-up and local dynamics of EU peacebuilding.
Military rapid response mechanisms are generally understood as troops that are on standby, ready to be deployed to a crisis within a short time frame. Yet, the overall track record of the existing multinational rapid response mechanisms within the European Union, the African Union, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization remains disappointing, and the United Nations does not even have a rapidly deployable capacity anymore. Meanwhile, despite that calls for the further development of these mechanisms are still being voiced politically, scholarly literature remains fragmented. This is problematic as many of the obstacles faced by these organizations are similar. This forum uniquely compares experiences from the four aforementioned organizations.
African security, particularly conflict-related political violence, is a key concern in international relations. This forum seeks to advance existing research agendas by addressing four key themes: domestic politics and peacekeeping; security sector reform programs; peace enforcement; and the protection of civilians. Each of the articles in this forum makes a case for analyzing African agency when it comes to African security.
In September 2016, Stephan Frühling and Andrew O’Neil submitted a manuscript to Contemporary Security Policy entitled “Nuclear weapons, the United States and alliances in Europe and Asia: Toward an institutional perspective” (see also shorter blog post). This article argues that nuclear bargaining between the United States and allies in Europe and Asia cannot be seen independent from the wider institutional context in which alliance politics plays out. As such the article challenges the prism of “extended nuclear deterrence,” which provides too much a US-centred approach.
On the very morning of 9 November that the proofs of the Frühling/O’Neil article arrived, we woke up to the surprise news of a Donald Trump presidency. This immediately raised the important academic and policy question whether the findings of Frühling and O’Neil, on the importance of the institutional context, would continue to have relevance. After all, Trump had proposed during the campaign a “transactional approach” to foreign policy suggesting that European allies would only benefit from U.S. protection if they pay up, and that Asian allies might need to develop their own nuclear weapons. To assess the impact of the Trump presidency, and to foster academic debate, Jeffrey Knopf, Van Jackson, and Alexander Lanoszka have written responses to the Frühling/O’Neil article. Frühling and O’Neil have written a conclusion.
Debate: nuclear weapons, U.S. alliances, and Donald Trump
Contemporary Security Policy seeks to publish research on issues of contemporary importance, that have a security implication, and are relevant in terms of policy. The recent European Union Global Strategy (EUGS), presented by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to the European Council in June 2016, ticks all these boxes. For Europe–encircled by security crises–it is difficult to think of something more important than collective action with the aim of weathering the storm. This is precisely what the EUGS is supposed to be about. Defining common ends and identifying means to achieve them.
So what do we make of the EUGS? What does the EUGS tell us about the current role of the European Union (EU) in global affairs? And how will the withdrawal of the UK from the EU affect foreign and security policy? The seven articles in this forum reflect on these questions from different perspectives. Rather than dissecting the EUGS paragraph-by-paragraph, the authors use the EUGS as an opportunity to reflect on EU foreign and security policy. Without giving any of their conclusions away, the authors are reasonably positive about the EUGS, but they worry whether the EU can deliver in an increasingly ‘connected, contested and complex world’.
Trine Flockhart from the University of Kent, United Kingdom has just published an article entitled “The coming multi-order world”.
Abstract: The article shows that the current international system is changing towards a completely new form of international system, conceptualized as a multi-order system. The suggestion for a multi-order world stands in contrast to three current narratives about the future global order expressed through a multipolar narrative; a multi-partner narrative and a multi-culture narrative. The article demonstrates that although each narrative points to a plausible future, neither fully captures what lies ahead. Using English School concepts such as order, international society, international system and primary and secondary institutions, the article reveals a conception of the coming international system as a system consisting of several different ‘orders’ (or international societies) nested within an overall international system. In the coming ‘multi-order world’, the liberal order will continue, and may even be strengthened internally, but its global reach will be a thing of the past. Moreover, the challenge in a multi-order world will be to forge new forms of relationships between composite and diverse actors across complex lines of division and convergence. Scholars and policy-makers should note that the coming multi-order world will be radically different, requiring new thinking and new institutions and the acceptance of diversity in both power and principle.
Shaohua Hu from the Department of Government and Politics, Wagner College NY, has just published an article entitled “A framework for analysis of national interest: United States policy toward Taiwan”.
Abstract: The rise of China in the 21st century has generated a new round of debates on American policy toward Taiwan. Generally speaking, one side suggests that Washington should adjust its Taiwan policy to improve its relations with China, while the other argues against downgrading the relations with Taiwan. Both sides invoke the concept of national interest, but the concept is not unproblematic, and cherry-picking different facts and arguments is far from convincing. This article has two purposes: using the concept of national interest to examine the Taiwan policy, and using this case to illuminate the concept itself. After reviewing the concept, I propose what I call ‘four Ps’ framework to facilitate policy-making and analysis. The framework comprises four factors that help determine which policy is in national interest. They are players (decision makers), preferences (foreign policy goals), prospects (possible outcomes), and power (the capability of achieving goals).