Horizon Scanning for National Security No101 – Uncertainties: Which alliances and partnerships will hold, which one will fail, which ones will emerge, and for how long? Will the Syrian peace conference occur and will it be successful, at which cost and with which geo-strategic impact? Is the European crisis over or not at all? Will Europeans continue to withstand the pressure, and for how long, and what will be next? Will the mammoth monetary experiment endeavoured by Japan be lethal or was it the right daring move? And what if the global financial and economic crisis was not at all over? Is climate change enhancing the likelihood of mega-tornadoes or not? How will the world face the various environmental pressures and the unintended consequences of the remedies pushed forward? Those rising and spreading uncertainties could show that we are now fully moving on a path fraught with multiple systemic shifts., with more dangers and threats, but also with more space for human liberty, if we are wise enough to take the measure of the challenges ahead.
Horizon Scanning for National Security No100 – Redrawing the global strategic and geopolitical map: From the Syrian civil war and its impact on the region and beyond, with its many uncertainties, moving alliances and dilemmas, to the China-Japan unrelenting tension over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, through the rush for the Arctic, without forgetting the European quagmire and its multi-faceted apparently slow-moving polarization, this is actually the global political and strategic map that is being redrawn. How it will look like is still shrouded in the fog of war … or rather of wars, crises, and battles, present and, unfortunately, to come.
Our own worst enemies – One major lesson that can be learned for the Boston tragedy is that efforts at improving systems and alertness can never stop in times of heightened tension and threats multiplication, at least not as long as problems have not been properly analyzed, causes courageously tackled, and real solutions imagined and […]
Frailties and Contagion: A bug is creating strange phenomena with the editing process this week, but there is still a lot to read, even if it is not always on the front page. The focus for the week is, besides the East Asian rising tensions, on the Middle East and the Syrian conflict increasingly impacting […]
Horizon Scanning for National Security No93 – Are political authorities back? Many high-tech and cyber related signals emerged this week, from the massive DDoS attack to digital arm trade, right to kill hackers, DNA computing, quantum technology or space entrepreneurs, besides the possibility of renewed attacks by “climato-skeptics,” when scientists wonder if the frozen spring could be linked to a slower gulf stream, and when political impacts of natural catastrophes start being studies more consistently. Meanwhile, the Syrian quagmire deepens, progressively dragging the region in, and tensions in Northeast Asia heighten. And at the core…
Horizon Scanning for National Security No92 – Global Experiment and Fog of Transition: Those two labels – the first borrowed from Paul Krugman’s now famous interview, and the second from Global Trends 2030, among others, itself adapted from von Clausewitz’s fog of war – seem to describe most aptly the current period, and the short (to medium?) term future.
Horizon Scanning for National Security No91: The Actors and the System: Powerlessness? If we were to estimate the power of the actors by their ability to stabilize the system, they would not fare very well, and this, in itself, is a signal that tensions will most probably continue to rise and escalate in intensity as well as widen in scope. One of the interesting question would thus be: How long can this system withstand the pressure until it breaks?
Horizon Scanning for National Security No90: Some Light within Darkness – For a change, let us focus on the positive (within the multiple remaining and rising challenges): climate change and environmental factors emerge this week as being increasingly integrated within our understanding of the complex dynamics at work in conflicts and more broadly threats or dangers to national security. Is the painting depicted scarier? Certainly, but understanding is also a crucial step towards solving properly problems… hopefully.
Horizon Scanning for National security No89 – Look East: Indicators are turning red! The possibility of war – between China and Japan… and the US (security treaties can also have an escalating effect) and ? – is now very much on the agenda, despite all wishful thinking and previous disbelief. The dire financial situation of Japan, which everyone tries so hard to ignore, while US potential sequestration shockwaves nears and Europe polarizes, are not the most stabilizing context and factors. We had a window of opportunity, at the beginning of February, it closed. Shall we see another opening up of “the funnel of choices” (Nye, 1993: 68-69)?