International Affairs & Foreign Policy

ICDS

So Far, Yet So Close: Japanese and Estonian Cybersecurity Policy Perspectives and Cooperation

Estonia and Japan are among the leaders in cyber diplomacy and cybersecurity on the global stage, Japan also being a key strategic partner for the EU and NATO. They have many similarities in their approaches to cybersecurity and state behaviour in cyberspace, which has established solid ground for closer bilateral ties. This report, authored by leading Estonian and Japanese researchers of cybersecurity policy, gives a valuable insight into the experiences and perspectives of these two countries, their success stories and challenges in building a secure cyberspace, as well as the potential for cooperation.

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Belarus After the Storm: A Time Bomb

With opposition leaders now either imprisoned or fled, president Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus is facing some tough choices in both the domestic- and foreign-policy theatres. Having lost the support of many Belarusians, infuriating the West and demonstrating weakness to Russia, Lukashenko’s chances of pulling off a peaceful transition of power akin to the “Kazakh scenario” seem challenging.

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The United States Faces a Tangle of Challenges

The first fanfares of Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election and the proclamation of the rebirth of a great friendship were soon followed in Europe by more cautious assessments of the near future of US foreign and security policy. According to experts and observers, Biden must first and foremost address domestic challenges. ICDS Diplomaatia magazine asked Kurt Volker, Susan Glasser and Liisa Past to elaborate on what this actually means and how it will influence Biden’s choices in foreign and security policy.

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Russia Wages Hybrid Warfare and Increases Its Influence in Polarised Georgia

As usual, Russia is trying to benefit from Georgia’s toxic political environment and capitalise on the divisions. It has doubled down on its pressure and blackmail to push the vulnerable country towards formally changing its pro-Western foreign policy course. By undermining its democratic credentials and Western integration, Georgia is naturally sliding towards Russia’s orbit.

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A New World Order, According to Beijing

After seven decades of liberal order and three decades of American unipolarity, it may be difficult to imagine that the current rules-based international system, supported by liberal norms and values and organised around a set of multilateral institutions, could eventually give way to something radically different. But in Beijing, political and intellectual elites have engaged in intense discussions about building a new world order.

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Biden, Nord Stream 2 and EU Energy Security

It is now extremely unlikely that Gazprom owned Nord Stream 2 will ever be operational in the way Moscow envisaged. US sanctions have stopped pipeline construction in its tracks. More US sanctions will be adopted before the end of the year creating further problems for the pipeline.

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Does France Seek Alone European “Strategic Autonomy”?

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, recently gave an interview to Le Grand Continent, a journal published by the Groupe d’études géopolitiques. Macron discusses crises that plagued Europe and the world in 2020, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorism, as well as fundamental long-term transitional processes and challenges such as climate change, digital transformation and various intra- and inter-state inequalities.

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Russia and Karabakh: A Diplomatic Triumph and Dubious Victory

Ever since the oft-violated cease-fire accord of 1994, Russian interests have defined the art of the possible in Karabakh. Whether Russia connived in conflicts, acquiesced in them or prevented them, the protagonists understood that it would be their ultimate arbiter. Even Russia’s titular partners in the OSCE Minsk Group — perhaps the sole format of post-Cold War cooperation to preserve its relevance — never challenged its standing as first amongst equals. Whatever its ups and downs, this was a closed game.

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