Possible Russian Nuclear Deployments to Belarus Could Shift Europe’s Nuclear Balance

Possible Russian Nuclear Deployments to Belarus Could Shift Europe’s Nuclear Balance

Thursday, June 30, 2022

By: John Drennan

During a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart on June 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that “within the next several months,” Russia intends to transfer Iskander-M missiles — which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads — to Belarus and begin upgrading Belarusian Su-25 fighters to carry nuclear weapons. Most of the details of the deal remain unknown or to be determined. But should Putin’s promise turn out to be more than nuclear bluster — something Putin and other Russian officials have resorted to since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine — the deployment could remake the nuclear balance in Europe and increase the risk of a potential NATO-Russia conflict occurring.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

In Africa, Putin’s War on Ukraine Drives Food, Fuel and Finance Crises

In Africa, Putin’s War on Ukraine Drives Food, Fuel and Finance Crises

Thursday, June 30, 2022

By: Edward A. Burrier

Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine has unleashed a wave of destruction and atrocities against its brave people. But the suffering and instability are not contained to Europe. Indeed, a continent away, Putin’s war has unleashed a “three-headed hydra” of food, energy and finance shortages in Africa, further threatening vulnerable Africans and putting dozens of countries at risk of default. Recognizing the need to tackle food insecurity, the Group of Seven (G-7) countries pledged billions more in assistance this week. But will it be enough given the severity of these challenges?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EconomicsGlobal Policy

Back to the Basics: Fixing the Americas’ Polarized Media Landscape

Back to the Basics: Fixing the Americas’ Polarized Media Landscape

Thursday, June 30, 2022

By: John Feeley

The recent Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles underscored that the Western Hemisphere faces several crises. Climate change threatens tens of millions of Americans throughout the hemisphere. Democracy, once the unquestioned standard of regional governance as recently as 1994 when it was celebrated at the inaugural Miami Summit of the Americas, is also in crisis. In fact, it became the unfortunate story of the summit: who was invited and who wasn’t. Regardless of which side of the democratic inclusion summit debate one adopts, democratic backsliding and the rise in autocratic governance like in Mexico, El Salvador and Brazil — to say nothing of the extinction of democracy in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela — represents a worrisome reality that goes beyond the traditional left- versus right-wing paradigm.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Mirna Galic

NATO countries meet this week in Madrid, Spain amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the biggest test the alliance has faced in decades. The summit is expected to focus heavily on demonstrating NATO’s unity, support for Ukraine and the bids of Finland and Sweden — propelled by Russia’s aggressive incursion — to join the alliance. But developments in the Asia-Pacific, chiefly the rise of China, will also be a top item on the agenda, with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea participating at the leader level for the first time at a NATO summit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Tegan Blaine, Ph.D.;  Julia Canney;  Chris Collins;  Jessica Kline;  Rachel Locke

From 2015 to 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double, in part because migrants from rural areas devastated by climate change are being driven to cities in search of economic and social stability. However, many of the world’s fastest-growing cities are already struggling to handle their own climate issues. From rising seas to freshwater scarcity, the complex interplay of climate change, population growth and fragility in cities has made them hotbeds for social and economic inequalities — increasing the risk of violence and having a profound impact on human security in urban centers around the world.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EnvironmentConflict Analysis & Prevention

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.;  Knox Thames

In late June and early July, two global convenings will highlight challenges to international religious freedom and the search for solutions: the IRF Summit for nongovernmental organizations and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These timely gatherings will bring together government representatives, activists and faith leaders from different religious, regional and political backgrounds to discuss a common goal of ending persecution. Two keys for their success will be creating diverse coalitions to advance international religious freedom (IRF) in a nonpartisan manner and linking the issue to broader concerns about peace and stability. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsReligion

Amid Historic Crisis, Has a New Hope Emerged in Lebanon?

Amid Historic Crisis, Has a New Hope Emerged in Lebanon?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: Adam Gallagher

As Lebanon suffers from an historic economic crisis propelled by the venality of its political establishment, the May 15 elections have injected a glimmer of hope amid gloomy prospects for the future. Thirteen independent candidates — part of what is dubbed the “change opposition” — won seats in the 128-member Parliament. “The election of these 13 MPs [members of Parliament] is a very important, gradual first step toward more peaceful political change and reform in Lebanon,” said Mona Yacoubian, a Lebanon expert and senior advisor for the U.S. Institute of Peace. But the road ahead is fraught with internal challenges and external forces that could impede Lebanon’s much-needed reform.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: Mubashar Hasan;  Geoffrey Macdonald

On July 1, 2016, Bangladeshi militants carried out an attack, targeting mostly foreigners and non-Muslims, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka. The Bangladeshi government responded to the attack with a concerted and controversial counterterrorism campaign. Although the number of terrorist incidents has been in steady decline since 2016, Islamist groups continue to operate, recruit, and carry out small-scale attacks while aspiring to perpetrate greater violence. This report examines the dynamics, drivers, and manifestations of extremism in Bangladesh and discusses measures to weaken its appeal.

Type: Special Report

Violent Extremism

Why Have the Wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine Played Out So Differently?

Why Have the Wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine Played Out So Differently?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: William Byrd, Ph.D.

The Taliban insurgency and U.S. troop withdrawal, and Russian incursions culminating in the February 24 invasion, constituted existential “stress tests” for Afghanistan and Ukraine, respectively. Ukraine and its international supporters have succeeded in preventing an outright Russian victory, imposing severe and continuing costs on Russia — ranging from high casualties to financial sanctions. Whatever happens next, the invasion has solidified Ukraine’s national will, status and orientation as an independent, Western-oriented sovereign country. In sharp contrast, Afghanistan’s government and security forces collapsed within a month after U.S. troops left the country, its president and many others fled, and the Taliban rapidly took over.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy