In the October–November 2014 issue of Survival, Toby Dodge discusses the origins and consequences of state weakness in Iraq; Christopher J. Fettweis looks at the shortfalls in US strategy that have persisted since the Cold War; and Samuel Charap analyses the Ukraine crisis in light of deadlocked diplomacy between Russia and the West. Also in the issue: Shiloh Fetzek and Jeffrey Mazo on climate change, resources and conflict; Jonathan Holslag on the security implications of China’s growing ambitions; and Mark Gilbert on corruption and reform in Italy.

Volume 56, Numbers 1-6

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  • Can Iraq Be Saved?

    Policymakers, journalists and pundits have struggled to understand the seizure of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on 10 June 2014, the group’s drive south towards Baghdad and the collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of its advance. The way in which this fast-moving crisis is perceived will determine the response of leaders in Iraq, the wider Middle East and across the international system...
  • The Unintended Consequences of European Sanctions on Russia

    On 30 July 2014, the European Union published its ‘third-stage’ sanctions on Russia in response to Russian policy towards Ukraine. These measures, which came into effect the following day, target whole sectors of the economy rather than individuals and companies, as in the previous two stages. Specifically, they take aim at oil exploration, military assistance, sensitive advanced technology and state-owned banks. The sanctions are all forward-looking rather than reactive. Existing agreements...
  • The Survival Strategies of Small Nations

    Milan Kundera, the Czech writer, once suggested that a key difference between big nations and small nations is that the latter cannot take their own survival for granted. ‘The small nation’, he wrote, is one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear and it knows it. A French, a Russian, and an English man is not used to asking questions about the...
  • Noteworthy

    11 Percentage of Ukrainians who had ‘unfavourable’ opinions of Russia in 2011 60 Percentage in 2014 Interesting times ‘We always have a mix of complicated interests. That’s not unusual. What’s unusual is there’s this outbreak of violence and instability everywhere.’ Gary Samore, a former national-security aide in the Obama administration. Fury and dilemma ‘We will drown all of you in blood.’ From a video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in response to US air-strikes against...
  • Threatlessness and US Grand Strategy

    As the Soviet Union was in the process of collapsing, Georgi Arbatov sent a letter to the New York Timesthat contained a warning for the United States. Arbatov, who was one of the Kremlin’s leading ‘Amerikanists’, wrote that the Soviets were unleashing a ‘secret weapon’, one ‘that will work almost regardless of the American response’. It was not the stuff of Cold War nightmares, some sort of last-minutedeus ex machina from the...
  • Mastering the Endgame of War

    In 1941 Japan weighed the merits of attacking the most powerful country in the world: the United States. It was a war of choice, and Tokyo had time to carefully consider the decision. Japanese leaders debated the best date to strike Pearl Harbor. And they also thought through the potential short-term effects. But Tokyo barely considered the military endgame: the final stages of a campaign in which an armistice is...
  • The Smart Revisionist

    In what has become a tradition for new Chinese presidents seeking to confirm their peaceful intentions, Xi Jinping has put forward yet another ostensibly original security concept. Describing the approach as ‘common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable’, Xi has called on countries other than China to align their diverse security interests within a common project; avoid monopolising security affairs; work towards security without exclusive alliances; and tackle the full range of...
  • Germany’s Commercial Realism and the Russia Problem

    Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its attempts to destabilise Ukraine resemble traditional geopolitics and have prompted references to a ‘new Cold War’, but this comparison overlooks the transformation in the nature of international affairs brought about by globalisation, and its implications for Berlin’s relationship with other Western capitals, as well as Moscow. We are in an era of commercial realism, and Germany is the kind of prototypical geo-economic power that...
  • Italy’s Forty Years’ Crisis

    The era of Silvio Berlusconi is over. Italy will never again be represented on the world stage by an ageing businessman with a turbulent private life, a criminal record and pariah status among other European leaders. Power has passed into the hands of a kinetic young man with a pudding-bowl haircut, Matteo Renzi, whose self-proclaimed mission is to rottamare (junk) the old guard in Italian politics and to revive the...
  • Climate, Scarcity and Conflict

    Soon after he took office in 2007, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that there was an urgent need to reframe the debate on climate change from an environmental to a development and security issue, and that it would be one of his top priorities as UN leader. Environmental factors, including land use, water availability, biodiversity loss, soil degradation and acute weather events, have been implicated in at least 73...
  • Wealth and the Good Society

    Capital in the Twenty-First Century Thomas Piketty. Arthur Goldhammer, trans. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. £29.95/$39.95. 696 pp. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has attracted a great deal of attention, and deservedly so. It is a seductive book that soars above the myopia of ordinary economic analysis. It summons rich visions of the past and future and explores their myriad linkages. The result is a...
  • Within the Sacred Walls

    The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church John Thavis. New York: Viking, 2013. $27.95. 336 pp. This volume is a warning to Pope Francis: an engaging, ironic report of 300 pages or so, whose implicit message is that a change of pontiff alone is not enough to change the Vatican. From this perspective, The Vatican Diaries by John Thavis, a...
  • Maxed Out?

    Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama Stephen Sestanovich. New York: Knopf, 2014. $28.95. 416 pp. Hard Choices Hillary Rodham Clinton. London and New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. £20.00/$35.00. 656 pp. Looking back on how decisively the Cold War ended in America’s favour, it is easy to forget how much doubt there was at the start, among Americans and Soviets alike, that the United States was up to the task of...
  • Book Reviews

    Middle East Ray Takeyh The Limits of Détente: The United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1969–1973 Craig Daigle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014. £40.00/$60.00. 448 pp. The recent release of documents from the American archives makes the 1973 Arab–Israeli War a subject of increased historical curiosity. Although long overshadowed by the more spectacular Six-Day War with its conquests and occupations, the Yom Kippur War is emerging from the shadows...
  • Brief Notices

    Middle East Ashes of Hama: The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria Raphaël Lefèvre. London: C. Hurst & Co, 2013. £30.00. 273 pp. Lefèvre analyses the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, from its radicalisation and jihad against the Ba’athist regime, and subsequent exile in 1982, to its emergence as a major actor in the Syrian conflict in 2011. The Dynamics of Sunni–Shia Relationships: Doctrine, Transnationalism, Intellectuals and the Media Brigitte Maréchal and Sami Zemni, eds...
  • The Ukraine Impasse

    On 7 December 1991, the leaders of the Soviet republics of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia met at a hunting lodge in Europe’s last primeval forest, Belavezhskaya Pushcha (Belavezha Woods), near what is today the Belarus–Poland border. In August, the failed coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had significantly strengthened the hand of the republics in their push for greater autonomy. Stanislav Shushkevich, the Belarusian leader, had invited Boris Yeltsin...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October–November 2014

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