An Isolated Russia? Think Again!

Since March 2014, the Russian “dispatch of troops to Crimea”, and the contested referendum in Crimea followed by its incorporation into the Russian Federation, “The West”* rhetoric is that Russia is isolated, and that the U.S. and its allies will work to further isolate it (e.g. Zeke J Miller, “Obama: U.S. Working To ‘Isolate Russia’“, Time, 3 March 2014). As the war in Eastern Ukraine seems to be perceived mainly through “Crimean lenses”, this Western policy, added to rounds of sanctions, aim at seeing an increasingly isolated Russian Federation bend to a “Western” vision of what the international order should be. The soon ex-General Secretary of Nato Rasmussen’s statement on Estonian TV according to which “Russia is globally isolated due to its actions in Ukraine” is only one example of similar comments made […]

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Actors Labelling and Factors In Future Threats Analysis (2) – The Crisis in Ukraine

This post is the second of a series that deals with the core of the foresight and warning analytical process. The first post explained the mapping process and how to move from factors to variables. Here we focus on the second challenge analysts and participants to workshops face: how to include actors relevant to the question as objectively as possible. The process we use to map an issue or a foresight and warning question seems simple enough, especially once one understands what is a variable and how to specify it, as we saw and explained in detail previously. However, when done, notably within a workshop setting, when different participants brainstorm to map as well and as quickly as possible variables […]

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Actors and Factors In Future Security Threats Analysis (1) – the Crisis in Ukraine

This series of posts deals with the core and basis of the foresight and warning analytical process, explaining it while stressing three most common challenges analysts and participants to workshops face: identifying factors correctly (this post); specifying actors objectively (2-); overcoming an inadequate mix of “actors and factors” (3-). Practical ways forward will be suggested. The example that will be used as case study throughout those three posts is the 2013-2014 crisis in Ukraine, with, as corresponding strategic foresight and warning (SF&W) question, “What are the possible futures for the Ukrainian crisis over the next two years?” Compared with our previous methodological series, these posts may seem to address more basic problems. However, as workshop after workshop, participants, be they […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 144, Geopolitics also matters for businesses

Editorial – Geopolitics also matters for businesses – Among the big changes that the “Ukraine and Crimea crisis” are bringing or catalyzing, we may be seeing the end of the hegemonic belief that economics, and “business” only matter. Now that the E.U., its European members and the U.S. could be moving towards sanctions against Russia […]

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 142 – Beyond Ukraine, towards Change in the World Order?

Editorial – Beyond Ukraine, towards change in the world order? What if behind the tension in Ukraine and Crimea there was something more and larger at stake? What if it were not just one more serious international crisis, but also a moment when some underlying dynamics that were so far only hardly perceptible, or still in the making were crystallized and becoming quite obvious? It is most likely that it is indeed what is happening as underlined, for example, by Ivan Krastev in his article in Foreign Affairs, when he writes: “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine should not be understood as an opportunistic power grab. Rather, it is an attempt to politically, culturally, and militarily resist the West. Russia resorted to military […]

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