The International Spectator, Vol. 51, No. 3, September 2016

The European Union Global Strategy
Interview with Nathalie Tocci on the Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy
Nathalie Tocci
The Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, “Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe”, presented at the European Council on 24 June 2016 by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, was drafted by Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and co-editor of The International Spectator. Given the importance of the document, we asked Nathalie for an interview and 18 foreign policy experts from around the world to comment on it.
Keywords: European Union; Global Strategy; defence; security; principled pragmatism; resilience; strategic autonomy
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Commented by
Jo Coelmont
The EUGS: Realistic, but Not Too Modest, Please
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Heather A. Conley
The Birth of a Global Strategy amid Deep Crisis
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Marta Dassù and Roberto Menotti
A Post-Brexit Global Strategy
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Renato G. Flôres, Jr.
Looking Forward in a Realistic Way: Will the EU Understand?
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Camille Grand
The European Union Global Strategy: Good Ambitions and Harsh Realities
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Peter van Ham
The EU's 'Caoutchouc' Strategy: Something for Everyone
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Jolyon Howorth
The EUGS: New Concepts for New Directions in Foreign and Security Policy
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Bassma Kodmani-Darwish
The EU Should Promote Democracy in its Backyard or Face Long-term Insecurity
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Andrey Kortunov
The Owl of Minerva
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Radha Kumar
The EUGS after Brexit: A View from India
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Hanns W. Maull
Sadly, the EUGS Reads More like a Symptom of the Problem than Part of a Solution for Europe's Deep Crisis
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Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
The EU Global Strategy: More Modest, Equally Challenging
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Loukas Tsoukalis
Ready for Adult Life?
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Michito Tsuruoka
Tokyo Wants a Stronger European Foreign Policy
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Sinan Ülgen
Pitfalls of the Global Strategy
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Thomas Wright
Meeting the American Standard but Falling Short
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Marcin Zaborowski
A Realistic Strategy for Uncertain Times
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Zhou Hong
The EU Global Strategy after Brexit – A Chinese View
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Hydropolitics in the MENA Region and Beyond
The Impending Water Crisis in the MENA Region
George Joffé
In many respects the worsening water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa has become an object-lesson in the water crisis facing the wider world as climate change becomes a reality. Although northern and southern temperate zones are likely to see increases in precipitation, the equatorial region will face increasing desertification as access to water declines in the face of continuing demographic growth. Competition over increasingly scarce resources will have major geopolitical and security implications and the Middle Eastern and North Africa region will act as a paradigm of what happens in a biome of water scarcity.
Keywords: water scarcity; climate change; MENA; desertification; demographic growth
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Changing Hydropolitical Relations in the Nile Basin: A Protracted Transition
Rawia Tawfik
A new hydro-political order is emerging in the Nile Basin. Upstream riparian states have improved their bargaining power vis-à-vis downstream countries by adopting a common position in the negotiations over a new framework agreement to govern the utilisation of the Nile water. Some upstream riparians have unilaterally constructed hydraulic projects that threaten Egypt’s hegemonic position in the basin, the most notable of which is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Whether these developments will lead to a more equitable utilisation of water resources and a more cooperative order will depend on the policies of the riparian states, especially in the Eastern Nile. Respect of the Declaration of Principles on the GERD signed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan could help build trust between the three countries after years of tensions around the project. Beyond that, a basin-wide plan for the utilisation of water resources would not only maximise the benefits from the river and address the common challenges facing the basin, but also reduce the political costs of tensions on future projects.
Keywords: Nile Basin; historical agreements; hydropolitics; GERD; water resources
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The Rebirth of Water as a Weapon: IS in Syria and Iraq
Tobias von Lossow
The so-called Islamic State (IS) has increasingly used water as a weapon in order to further its political and military aims in Syria and Iraq. In this water-scarce region, IS has retained water and cut off crucial supplies, flooded large areas as well as contaminated resources. The capture of large dams in the Euphrates and Tigris basin has made it possible to deploy the water weapon even more effectively and in a frequent, systematic, consistent and flexible manner. Measures to counter this weaponisation effectively have been limited to military means. However, several internal constraints create a dilemma for IS as its state-building ambitions conflict with the consequences of the weaponisation of water. The rebirth of using the water weapon in Syria and Iraq raises questions about protecting water infrastructures in conflict and post-conflict settings.
Keywords: Water; conflict; IS; Syria; Iraq; water as a weapon
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Watershed or Powershed? Critical Hydropolitics, China and the 'Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework'
Carl Middleton and Jeremy Allouche
The countries sharing the Lancang-Mekong River are entering a new era of hydropolitics with a growing number of hydropower dams throughout the basin. Three ‘powersheds’, conceptualised as physical, institutional and political constructs that connect dams to major power markets in China, Thailand and Vietnam, are transforming the nature–society relations of the watershed. In the process, new conditions are produced within which the region’s hydropolitics unfold. This is epitomised by the ‘Lancang-Mekong Cooperation’ framework, a new initiative led by China that proposes programs on both economic and water resource development, and anticipates hydrodiplomacy via China’s dam-engineered control of the headwaters.
Keywords: Powershed; hydropolitics; Lancang-Mekong River
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The Watercourses Convention, Hydro-hegemony and Transboundary Water Issues
Joyeeta Gupta
The 2014 entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention of 1997 could institutionalise water law globally, thereby countering hydrohegemonic approaches. However, since the Convention is out of date; has been ratified by only 36, mostly downstream countries; does not require amendments of pre-existing treaties; and has no Conference of the Parties to ensure that it becomes a living treaty, its actual influence in addressing the evolving problems in transboundary river basins remains minimal. Nevertheless, it is not unimaginable that with an appropriate follow-up to this Convention, it could be converted into a living and relevant framework convention in the future.
Keywords: Transboundary watercourses; UN Watercourses Convention; hydropolitics; hydro-hegemony
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Reshuffling the Middle East: A Historical and Political Perspective
Lorenzo Kamel
The Middle East is experiencing one of the darkest periods in its history and a new regional order is still far from being established. Yet, it appears increasingly clear that few matters will affect its developments more than the ongoing regional demographic dynamics. The region’s history and spatial background provide a framework for approaching these epochal shifts and critically examining the ‘ethnic stabilisation’ thesis, which interprets current demographic movements as a kind of normalisation of the region’s ‘original’ demographics. Instead of this ‘medievalization of the Middle East’, many people in the region are keen on ‘getting back into history’ and ‘regaining possession’ of their multifaceted past: a powerful antidote to the geopolitical reductionism so popular nowadays.
Keywords: Middle East; demographic trends; Sykes-Picot; medievalization; sectarianism; ethnocentrism
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Book Reviews
Ukraine: How Did We Get Here?
Giovanna De Maio
Review of: Frontline Ukraine : crisis in the borderlands, by Richard Sakwa, I.B. Tauris, 2015
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Enlarging Germany and the EU
Fraser Cameron
Review of: How Germany unified and the EU enlarged : negotiating the accession through transplantation and adaptation, by Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge, 2015
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Recent Publications
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