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Diplomacy & Defense Think Tank News

Bleiben die USA an der Seite der Ukraine?

SWP - Thu, 10/11/2022 - 12:49
US-Präsident Joe Biden hat durch die midterm elections außenpolitischen Einfluss verloren. Was bedeutet das für die Ukrainehilfen?

After the midterms:Could US support for Ukraine wane?

SWP - Thu, 10/11/2022 - 12:38
President Biden stands to lose influence over foreign policy as a result of US midterm elections

The Elsie Initiative and Improving Mission Environments for Women

European Peace Institute / News - Wed, 09/11/2022 - 18:06
Event Video 

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IPI and the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Germany, Mongolia, Uruguay, and Zambia to the UN cohosted a policy forum event on November 9th entitled “When We Know Better, We Do Better: The Elsie Initiative and Improving Mission Environments.”

Since the launch of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations in 2017, research has shown that the mission environment can be a significant barrier to increasing women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations. Specific barriers include the physical environment, the culture of a mission, and the prevalence of sexual harassment in mission environments, with one in three UN staff members having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and one in four women peacekeepers reporting that they personally witnessed sexual abuse while deployed.

This event provided a venue to convene women peacekeepers and key stakeholders from the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries to discuss what receptive environments for women peacekeepers look like, the culture in security institutions, and taboos and stigmas facing women in security institutions.

In her opening remarks, Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, reflected on the continued importance of gender parity in peacekeeping. “Five years ago, the #MeToo movement opened many eyes to widespread gender inequality. Today, we must renew our attention.”

The following panel discussion highlighted a range of topics, including the specific health needs of women peacekeepers, integrated support networks, and financial commitments. Women peacekeepers shared their own experiences working in a mission environment, and the discussion concluded with a resounding call for more inclusive peacekeeping.

Welcoming Remarks:
H.E. Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN
H.E. Carlos Amorin, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the UN
H.E. Thomas Peter Zahneisen, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN
Regina C. Boma Phiri, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the UN
Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Operational Support
Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women

Nkechi Esionye Uzodimma, Capacity Development Officer in Policy, Office of Military Affairs, UN Department of Peace Operations
Véronique Orebi-Deplace, Chief of Mission Management and Support Section, UN Police
Brigadier General Sandra Keijer, Programme Management Officer and Expert on Police Performance, Office of Peacekeeping Strategic Partnership, UN Department of Peace Operations

Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, President and CEO, International Peace Institute

Closing Remarks:
H.E. Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

Die atomare Bedrohung

SWP - Wed, 09/11/2022 - 14:45
Angst vor dem Atomkrieg. Russlands Präsident Putin droht unverhohlen mit dem Einsatz der Bombe. Wie groß ist die Gefahr einer nuklearen Eskalation?

USA: Midterm Wahlen

SWP - Wed, 09/11/2022 - 13:13

China’s Diaspora Policy under Xi Jinping

SWP - Wed, 09/11/2022 - 01:00

China estimates the number of people of Chinese origin outside the People’s Republic to be 60 million. Beijing considers them all to be nationals of China, regardless of their citizenship. Xi Jinping views overseas Chinese as playing an “irreplaceable role” in China’s rise as a world power. Beijing is working hard to harness overseas Chinese resources for its own goals in the fields of economics, science and technology, as well as diplomacy and soft power. Beijing also expects people of Chinese origin in Germany to deepen rela­tions between China and Germany. But not only that: As “unofficial ambassadors”, they are also expected to spread China’s narratives to the German public, defend China’s “core interests”, and help with the trans­fer of knowledge and technology to China. Nevertheless, there are limits to China’s diaspora policy: Chinese migrants’ reactions to China’s ambitions are heterogeneous. They range from wil­lingness to cooperate to disinterest or open rejection. German actors should develop a comprehensive understanding of Chinese diaspora policy and the goals and practices associated with it. Just as in Beijing, diaspora policy should be perceived as an important component of Chinese foreign policy. Only on this basis can answers to China’s ambitions be found wherever German interests, legal principles, or social values are affected – without at the same time exposing people of Chinese origin to general suspicion. German actors should also expand their engagement in communities of people with a Chinese migration background instead of leaving this field to Chinese authorities.

Die deutsch-tschechischen Beziehungen europäisch nutzen

SWP - Wed, 09/11/2022 - 01:00

Die deutsch-tschechischen Beziehungen fanden in den letzten Jahren wenig Auf­merksamkeit, standen sie doch im Schatten der großen europäischen und interna­tionalen Krisen. Nachdem es 2021 in Berlin und Prag zu Regierungswechseln gekommen ist, hat sich das bilaterale Verhältnis spürbar intensiviert, auch weil der Krieg in der Ukraine eine verstärkte Abstimmung erforderlich machte. Deutschland und die Tschechische Republik weichen zwar bei einer Vielzahl europäischer Fragen voneinander ab, etwa in der Debatte über Zukunft, Erweiterung und Reform der EU oder bei der militärischen Unterstützung für die Ukraine. Gleichzeitig aber bestehen zahlreiche Schnittmengen, so dass die Unterschiede keineswegs unüberwindbar sind, zumal beide Länder in der Europapolitik nach wie vor einem pragmatischen Ansatz folgen. Im Gegenteil: Die Spannbreite der Positionen und ein konstruktiver Dialog können die deutsch-tschechischen Beziehungen zu einem der wenigen funktionieren­den Bilateralismen mit europäischem Mehrwert machen.

The “Open Balkan” Initiative Complements the Berlin Process

SWP - Tue, 08/11/2022 - 14:50

Following the Western Balkans Summit with EU leaders in Berlin on 3 November, the leaders of the six Western Balkan states signed three agreements for closer economic cooperation. The meeting took place within the framework of the Berlin Process, which since 2014 has aimed to promote regional integration. The “Open Balkan” initiative was also launched with a similar objective, namely closer regional cooperation.

With the aim of enabling the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital among its members, Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia signed agreements in 2019, initially under the name “Mini-Schengen” and since 2021 under the “Open Balkan” initiative (OBI). It focuses on economic issues that should noticeably improve the everyday lives of citizens in these countries. For example, declared goals include the mutual recognition of degrees and work permits as well as cooperation in disaster prevention and food security.

So far, the initiative, which is strongly supported by the United States, has been limited to intergovernmental formats and does not include an institutional framework, as is the case, for example, with the Regional Cooperation Council of the Western Balkan states in Sarajevo. Moreover, no treaty exists, which makes it difficult to define a clear goal and thus set expectations. Instead, there is an open invitation to all countries in the Western Balkans to participate in all or selected projects. For example, starting in January 2023, many restrictions on customs duties and capital transfers will be eliminated for the three OBI member states. The World Bank estimates that these measures will save 30 million hours of waiting time at the borders and 3.2 billion euros.


Internal and external criticism

Despite this positive momentum, so far only three of the six Western Balkan states are members of the OBI. Kosovo wants to avoid any impression of settling for a “waiting room” rather than full EU membership. Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, categorically rejected the initiative co-founded by Serbia, thereby allowing him to demonstrate domestic political strength. Moreover, calls for cooperation have so far been directed at “the provisional Pristina institutions” to underscore Serbia’s failure to recognise Kosovo, so this important formality alone is grounds for rejection.

The governments of Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the other hand, are divided. In Sarajevo, the Serbian entity in government supports the OBI, which is rejected by the Bosnian and Croatian entities. Thus, the initiative has become a political tool for obstructionist politics and is not necessarily evaluated in terms of its content. Members of the government in Podgorica are also ambivalent. With the argument that the country is furthest along the path to EU membership, no new initiative should jeopardise this trajectory. However, Montenegro recently signalled interest and participated in the “Open Balkan” meeting in Ohrid as an observer.

The OBI receives little active support from the EU. With reference to the Berlin Process, which aims to guide the region towards EU membership, there are fears of duplication, which indeed cannot be ruled out. For example, in October 2022, agreements between all six Western Balkan states were finally negotiated within the framework of a Western Balkans conference, the content of which was also decided by the three countries of the OBI in June 2022. In both cases, the issue was the recognition of personal documents and the mutual recognition of degrees and professional qualifications.

However, this duplication can also be interpreted as intentional. After all, negotiations for these agreements began as early as 2021 within the framework of the Berlin Process. However, due to disagreements between Serbia and Kosovo, no compromise could be found for a long time. Then, in June 2022, the three OBI countries decided to move forward with the suggested agreements, but this became moot when a compromise between Serbia and Kosovo was finally reached in August 2022, and the agreements between all six Balkan States were signed in Berlin on 3 November. Such a sequence of events presumably led Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to the somewhat inflated assessment that the OBI was an “implementation tool” of the Berlin Process.


Positive momentum

Overall, the OBI should be seen as complementary to the Berlin Process. After all, in addition to deeper regional cooperation arranged by the Western Balkan states themselves, it remains important for the countries of the Western Balkans to be closely involved in the EU’s decision-making process, be it in the joint purchase of gas, migration via the so-called Balkan route, the implementation of the green agenda, or the fight against cybercrime.

Moreover, it is of high symbolic importance that after more than 40 regional initiatives in the past 25 years, this one comes from the region itself and is thus associated with the often invoked “local ownership”. The fact that Albania and Serbia, which are by no means natural allies politically, have jointly launched this initiative is remarkable in itself. Beyond its symbolic value, the OBI holds other possibilities. Increased regional economic integration can spur foreign investment and strengthen the countries economically. This in turn can better prepare the countries of the Western Balkans for their integration into the EU single market and, among other things, counteract the “brain drain” from the region.

Krisenbehaftete Transition im Tschad

SWP - Tue, 08/11/2022 - 14:00

Seit dem gewaltsamen Tod von Präsident Idris Déby im April 2021 versucht die herr­schende Elite im Tschad, ihre Macht durch die dynastische Nachfolge seines Sohnes Mahamat zu sichern. Mit dem Beschluss von Oktober 2022, den Übergangsprozess um zwei Jahre zu verlängern und Mahamat Déby einstweilen zum Präsidenten zu ernen­nen, werden die Risiken dieser Bestrebungen deutlicher. Die Taktik, oppositionelle Eliten durch selektive Kooptation zu spalten, stößt mit dem Aufkommen populistischer Kräfte an ihre Grenzen. Sowohl in der Provinz als auch in der Hauptstadt heizen Macht- und Verteilungskämpfe eine Dynamik identitätspolitischer Konflikte an. Die Repression der zivilen Opposition durch das Regime spielt den Befürwortern eines bewaffneten Umsturzes in die Hände. Als Garant für Débys Überlegenheit gegenüber den Rebellen kommt Frankreich eine zunehmend unpopuläre Rolle zu.

Peace Talks Between Russia and Ukraine: Mission Impossible

SWP - Tue, 08/11/2022 - 01:00

President Vladimir Putin escalated Russia’s war on Ukraine in September 2022, announcing a partial mobilisation and repeating his threat to use nuclear weapons. But what really ended efforts to bring about peace – which had continued since the 24 February invasion – was the proclaimed annexation of the Ukrainian oblasts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Cherson. Since his election in 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on Putin to agree to a personal meeting, even in the first weeks of this year’s Russian invasion. But on 4 October 2022, in response to the actions of the Russian side, he signed a decree rejecting direct talks. Ever since the beginning of the Russian aggression in 2014, and all the more so since 24 February 2022, the course of Ukrainian-Russian negotiations has been highly dependent on the situation in the battlefield and the broader political context.

The G20 Must Guarantee Security

SWP - Mon, 07/11/2022 - 12:50
How the War in Ukraine and Big Power Tensions Could Derail the Bali G20 Summit