Elliot Shuwei Ji

President Vladimir Putin watches the launch of the new Avangard hypersonic missile system from Russia’s National Defense Management Center, Moscow, 6 December 2018. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS via Getty Images.

When it comes to weapons, the Olympian phrase ‘citius — altius — fortius’ (faster, higher, stronger) is ironically apt to describe the unsportsmanlike world of military competition. After developing ‘higher’ missiles that can reach the orbit and ‘stronger’ bombs that can obliterate cities, the new round of competition now focuses on getting ‘faster’. Capable of traveling at Mach 5 or above, hypersonic missiles can arrive at their targets within minutes with little or no warning, potentially overwhelming any missile defence system currently deployed. …

Maria-Louise Clausen and Peter Albrecht

A US Marine looks on as two Afghan National Army soldiers stand in the desert on an armoured vehicle and raise the Afghan National flag.
A US Marine looks on as two Afghan National Army soldiers stand in the desert on an armoured vehicle and raise the Afghan National flag.
On August 28, 2017, a US Marine looks on as Afghan National Army soldiers raise the Afghan National flag on an armed vehicle during a training exercise to deal with IEDs (improvised explosive devices) at the Shorab Military Camp in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Western states are increasingly being explicit about their limited faith in the transformative potential of interventions. This reflects their waning belief in the applicability of liberal internationalism since the end of the Cold War. In our recent article in International Affairs we explore how interventions have been gradually reconfigured in response to the West’s unrealized strategy to achieve liberal democratic peace. We argue that the West’s continued drive to shape fragile states through intervention is increasingly conditioned by a desire to introduce distance between intervenor and intervened rather than promote democracy or support the populations they directly effect.

Distancing themselves from the consequences

The West’s…

Janine Natalya Clark

A Ugandan woman looks mournfully to her left, while sitting with a group of people outdoors.
A Ugandan woman looks mournfully to her left, while sitting with a group of people outdoors.
Residents of Lukodi in Uganda react to hearing the court case of Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen is an ex-commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who killed 60 people from Lukodi, and committed acts of rape, murder and mutilation across Uganda and neighbouring countries. Photo by Luke Dray via Getty Images.

In a recent speech delivered to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, UK Ambassador Neil Bush argued: ‘We need to listen to survivors. And put survivor-centred, and survivor-led approaches at the heart of our policies’. A day earlier, the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, and the UN Special Representative on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, Pramila Patten, jointly declared that: ‘The protection of survivors and a survivor-centred approach, including in terms of justice and reparations, is essential, particularly in fragile conflict-affected settings, and when survivors face multiple forms of stigma and discrimination’. …

Nina Miller

Interior of the French Navy attack nuclear submarine ‘Saphir’, during training exercises on 28 February 2009 off Saint-Mandrier, France. Photo: Alexis Rosenfeld via Getty Images.

In 1983, the world came within a phone call of nuclear annihilation. When an alert of incoming ballistic missiles registered at an early warning command centre outside of Moscow, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov had to decide whether or not to confirm the signal to his superior, an action which could have sparked a catastrophic nuclear exchange. Rather than escalate the report up to Soviet leadership, Petrov — who felt he ‘was sitting on a hot frying pan’ — decided the missile alert was a system malfunction.

Later called ‘the man who saved the world’, Petrov demonstrated an astute understanding of…

Krisztina Csortea

There are few better ways to spend the summer, whatever the weather, than engrossed in a good book. If you’re looking for something to read this summer on the events shaping world politics then look no further! These hand-picked suggestions taken form books reviewed in IA over the last year have got you covered. From the politics of data in global health, to the climate crisis and the history of disinformation, these 10 books offer fascinating insights on a wide array of topics.

1)The uncounted: politics of data in global health

Soetkin Verhaegen, Jan Aart Scholte, Jonas Tallberg

The United Nations flag is seen at half mast in memory of the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash at the UN headquarters in New York, United States on March 11, 2019. Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Contemporary society confronts major global transformations and governance challenges, including pandemics, ecological changes, economic restructuring, financial crises, migration, peacebuilding, cybersecurity and so on. Yet, we are commonly told, current prospects for global governance are grim, hampered by institutional shortcomings, dissatisfaction among emerging powers, the rise of economic nationalism and rejection of globalism by populists. But what is the actual situation, if we consider the attitudes of the people who most directly influence whether and how global governance happens, namely elites? Our recent article in International Affairs sought to find out.

We chose to study elites — defined as people in…

Andrew Dorman

The NATO flag — bright blue with a white cross like symbol in the middle — flies in the wind.
The NATO flag — bright blue with a white cross like symbol in the middle — flies in the wind.
NATO flag flying in the wind. Photo: Canva.

This week 30 countries convened in Brussels, Belgium, for the NATO summit, to discuss the security issues facing European and North American countries. Ahead of the meeting major questions loomed about what the meeting meant for world leaders, and whether coordinated action could be taken towards countries such as China. Here you’ll find five key questions that the NATO summit answered on the United States, Russia and China, and the nature of the organisation itself.

1. Is the US back in town?

Much has been made of Donald Trump’s position towards NATO and, as a result, what the new President Joseph Biden will do differently. Biden’s message…

Alison Bell

Insider acts occur when individuals misuse their authorized access to an organization’s assets or data for their own personal gain or to cause harm. Edward Snowden, who used his access to leak classified US government information, committed an insider act, as did Rajib Karim, the British Airways software engineer who passed sensitive data to a terrorist organization. Besides data theft and terrorism, other acts an insider might commit include sabotage, espionage and fraud. Insider acts can cause significant and widespread damage to individuals and organizations.

My research focuses on the insider threat within Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) organizations which provide…

Frank O’Donnell and Mihaela Papa

Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping pose for a group photo prior to their trilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019.
Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping pose for a group photo prior to their trilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a group photo prior to their trilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019 on June 28, 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Photo by photo by Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images.

As India grapples with an acute COVID-19 crisis during its BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) presidency, its foreign policy strategy faces a daunting test. Our recent article in International Affairs analysed India’s attempts to maintain its relationships with numerous different partners. India’s main foreign policy strategy has been ‘multi-alignment’: maintaining relations with diverse countries while being in various international bodies and utilizing these different streams to push Indian policy priorities without committing to binding agreements. In the complicated context of 2021, it is vital to ask whether India can still effectively use this strategy.

India has previously effectively used multi-alignment to advance…

Andrew Dorman

Boris Johnson hosts a virtual meeting of G7 leaders in the Cabinet Room at Number Ten, Downing Street on February 19, 2021 in London, England. Photo: Geoff Pugh — WPA Pool via Getty Images.

Much has already been written about this week’s G7 summit in Cornwall, which brings together ten influential world leaders. It has been advertised by its British hosts as an opportunity to ‘build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.’ Questions remain about what the leaders of some of the world’s richest states should prioritise, and how far they will consider the interests of nations beyond the group.

This meeting also represents a partial changing of the guard and, perhaps uniquely, all seven leaders need to have something to show their publics by the meeting’s end. We can expect a complicated balancing…

International Affairs

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