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.

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…


Mark Condos

During times of crisis, states have historically drawn upon ‘exceptional’ or emergency powers in order to govern. These typically involve the assumption of new kinds of dictatorial authority, the curtailment of basic civil rights, and a blurring of the ordinary distinctions between executive, legislative, and judicial forms of power.

Today, we can see this in the deployment of new legal, policing, and military powers in the global ‘War on Terror’, as well as in the imposition of severe restrictions imposed by various governments across the world during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Once the crisis has passed, states are meant to…


Isabel Muttreja

Two people in orange jumpsuits, fake shackles and masks of Boris Johnson and Bill Gates protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
Two people in orange jumpsuits, fake shackles and masks of Boris Johnson and Bill Gates protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
Stand Up X protestors in Trafalgar Square, London wearing Boris Johnson and Bill Gates masks, October 12, 2020. Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash.

This year’s G7 summit — the annual meeting of heads of state from seven global powers and European Union officials — takes place in the UK in June 2021. As the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic and starts to understand its long-term impact, all eyes will be on the summit for concrete answers on vaccine access, economic recovery and other elements of the mess we are in.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to use the UK’s G7 Presidency to focus on trade, the climate, championing shared values and ‘leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening our resilience…


Pablo de Orellana

How do diplomats distinguish friend from foe, and navigate the ambiguous shades in between? This question is vital to understanding key foreign policy shifts, especially those predicated on identifying and categorizing an enemy. For example, the importance of whether US policymakers recognized an actor as a communist during the Cold War, or terrorist during the war on terror is difficult to dispute.

This issue is explored in a chapter of a new collection of essays on diplomacy, which investigates the reasons behind the shift that led to a dramatic turnaround in US policy towards Libya in 2011.

Following an improvement…


Krisztina Csortea

Every issue of International Affairs features a comprehensive book review section which assesses the latest writing in international studies. In this, the latest in our Top 5 Books series, Book Reviews Editor Krisztina Csortea presents her picks from the May 2021 issue. Join the conversation and share your favourite new books on international politics in the response section below.


Jenny Lorentzen

A woman holds a placard reading “No to violence against women” in Bamako on Saturday 26, 2020, during a demonstration against violence against women in Mali.
A woman holds a placard reading “No to violence against women” in Bamako on Saturday 26, 2020, during a demonstration against violence against women in Mali.
A woman holds a placard reading “No to violence against women” in Bamako on Saturday 26, 2020, during a demonstration against violence against women in Mali. Photo by Michele Cattani/AFP via Getty Images.

Women can contribute to preventing and countering violent extremism, but the international community’s understanding of their contributions is lacking. Women are often expected to assume roles as deradicalizing councillors or informants, but depending on context, it may be unsafe and unrealistic to assume that women will take on such roles. If policies designed to combat violent extremism are to be effective, they must be based on the realities of women’s experiences with violent extremism rather than on gender stereotypes.

Since 2000, women’s contributions to conflict prevention and resolution are a key aspect of the UN’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS)…


Inga Kristina Trauthig

The complexities of Libya’s revolution in 2011 and subsequent civil wars have been challenging policy makers and scholars alike, as they get to grips with a decade of transformations and unrest. Often, concepts such as political Islam and the connotations of terrorism it engenders are overly relied upon, redefined and adapted to localized developments, in order to make sense of the violence. But are these helpful lenses through which to view such complex conflicts?

My research contributes to providing a critical assessment of whether the concept of ‘terrorism’ is still a useful analytical category for understanding violent acts committed by…

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