In the October–November 2015 issue of Survival, Avis Bohlen, Mark Fitzpatrick, Michael Hanna, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Thomas Moore and Bruno Tertrais discuss the ramifications of the Iranian nuclear deal and the extent of Iran’s regional influence; William Walker and Erik Jones examine dilemmas of nationalism and disunion in Europe; Lawrence Freedman explores the art of exhaustion in strategy; Elinor Sloan outlines the role of robotics at war; Peter Dombrowski and Simon Reich sketch out the strategy of ‘sponsorship’; Christopher Fettweis identifies symptoms of misreading the enemy; Ben Fishman and Alexa van Sickle contribute review essays on Libya and Cuba; Teresita Schaffer, H.R. McMaster, Pierre Hassner and Ray Takeyh contribute book reviews; and Matthew Harries outlines the challenge for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

Volume 57, Numbers 1-6

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  • Trident’s Replacement and the Survival of the United Kingdom

    The decision to replace, like-for-like, the United Kingdom’s fleet of nuclear-armed submarines carrying Trident ballistic missiles was taken in March 2007 – before the financial crisis and the rise to power in Scotland of the Scottish National Party (SNP). Neither event was anticipated then. The recession and budgetary constraints that followed the banking collapses of 2008 had little effect on the project in its preparatory phase, when spending was modest...
  • The Euro: Irreversible or Conditional?

    Europe’s monetary union changed fundamentally on 10 July 2015, when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble tabled a proposal for Greece to leave the euro, temporarily, while it sorted out its public finances and other related economic reforms.1 Until that moment, Europe’s monetary union had been a system of irreversibly fixed exchange rates. Once this proposal was made – by the powerful finance minister of the only country capable of carrying...
  • Iran: A Good Deal

    The more I study the Iran nuclear deal, the more deeply I appreciate its worth. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in Vienna on 14 July is better than all three of its antecedents. It goes beyond the political accord struck in Lausanne on 2 April, walking back from none of the parameters of that accord as described by the United States.1 Among other virtues, the verification procedures of the...
  • Iran: Non-Proliferation Overshadowed

    The world’s major powers once agreed that Iran was no place for uranium enrichment or the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. United after 9/11 and the jarring revelation of the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, they worked to defeat nuclear proliferation and terrorism – and the nexus of the two in Iran – without military force. They launched criteria-of-supply negotiations in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); a moratorium on transfers of...
  • Iran: An Opening for Diplomacy?

    Negotiation is an essential tool of diplomacy, as weapons are of war. The recently concluded Iran deal represents a major diplomatic achievement arrived at by long and patient negotiation. Its significance is likely to go far beyond the terms of the accord itself and must be judged in a broader diplomatic and strategic context. The Iran nuclear deal is important first and foremost for the stringent limits it places on...
  • Iran: An Experiment in Strategic Risk-Taking

    The luxury of being a policy analyst is that one can afford to say what politicians cannot: ‘it’s complicated’. If I had been voting on the 14 July nuclear deal with Iran, I would have had to abstain. American and European diplomats worked hard to close most of the avenues and loopholes that Iran could exploit to advance its nuclear programme. The enriched-uranium stockpile and the number of centrifuges will be...
  • Noteworthy

    ‘The fundamentals of the Chinese economy have not changed, economic growth is still within a reasonable range, and positive factors supporting the real economy are increasing.’ Premier Li Keqiang, speaking on 25 August 2015, attempts to allay concerns over the ongoing Chinese stock-market crash.1 Singapore’s GDP (in Singapore dollars) in 1965, the year it gained independence from Malaysia Singapore’s GDP in 20142 ‘The genie is out of the bottle. And...
  • Ukraine and the Art of Exhaustion

    Russia’s war against Ukraine is now well into its second year. The contested area in eastern Ukraine is still marked by regular exchanges of fire, and equally regular losses of life. The United Nations reported in late July 2015 that at least 6,832 people had perished since April 2014, along with over 17,000 wounded.1 There have been frequent warnings of new Russian offensives, but these have yet to materialise. For...
  • Robotics at War

    The current United States administration’s use of armed drones to target terrorists in places like Pakistan and Yemen is only the most visible move towards the use of robotics in war. Remote-controlled aerial-surveillance technology dates back to at least the mid-1990s, when the well-known Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was deployed in the Balkan wars. But unmanned combat did not appear until the Predator was outfitted with precision missiles in...
  • The Strategy of Sponsorship

    Critics of US President Barack Obama’s grand strategy have alternatively argued that the president has one and it is wrongheaded, or that he has none and needs one. This latter claim extends beyond the predictable array of Republicans jostling to contest the 2016 presidential election to include varied analysts, academics and even members of the president’s own party, notably Hillary Rodham Clinton.1 The substance of the latest National Security Strategy (NSS)...
  • Misreading the Enemy

    In Russia’s strongman president, Chinese autocrats and Iranian clerics, Western leaders face an age-old problem, one that has vexed nearly every leader throughout history: seemingly inscrutable rivals. How much of what others say is the truth, and how much is designed to hide a broader agenda? Can they be trusted? Since leaders never really know just how much danger they face – or where to draw the line between prudence...
  • The Limits of Iranian Power

    Fears of Iranian ambitions predate the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Such anxiety certainly increased after Iran’s early efforts to export its revolution abroad, but fear of Iranian influence has been a constant feature of the modern Middle East. For the United States and its partners, Iran’s role in the region became once again a predominant concern following the 2003 Iraq War, widely perceived to have removed the...
  • Could Libya’s Decline Have Been Predicted?

    The improbable Libyan revolution has undergone several phases in the past four and a half years: a burst of political activity with the discovery of newfound freedoms; a growing period of divisiveness over the pursuit of political power and the spoils of war; an inability to form a cohesive government to establish basic security and provide economic well-being for a resource-rich country; the outbreak of civil war; and the ensuing...
  • Washington and Havana: A New Course?

    If both parties reconstruct their part of the bridge, we can shake hands without winners and losers. – Raúl Castro, 8 April 1977, quoted in Back Channel to Cuba, p. 1. ‘We need to talk about Cuba.’ The date was 15 August 1974 – six days after Richard Nixon resigned as president of the United States. Testing out the waters with the new president Gerald Ford, secretary of state Henry Kissinger floated...
  • Book Reviews

    South Asia Teresita C. Schaffer The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh Sanjaya Baru. New York: Viking, 2014. £16.99/$29.99. 320 pp.  Sanjaya Baru’s account of his time as spokesman and media adviser to former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh came out as Singh’s time in power was drawing to a close. The initial response suggested an unseemly ‘kiss and tell’ book. That is incorrect: Baru paints a sympathetic picture of...
  • Brief Notices

    South Asia The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan Abubakar Siddique. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2014. £30.00/$45.00. 271 pp. Combining eyewitness accounts with detailed research, Siddique traces the roots of instability and conflict in contemporary Pakistan and Afghanistan. He argues that the spate of extremist violence plaguing the region stems from tensions created by the political and economic alienation of the countries’ Pashtun populations. The Pariah...
  • Morons, Losers and Leaders

    I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. – Neil Kinnock, 11 October 1985. I ‘We cannot waste this defeat’, said Harriet Harman, interim Labour leader, after her party’s bitter loss in Britain’s May 2015 general election. ‘We will dare to look over the precipice at what happened.’ Looking over the precipice, Labour saw the smouldering wreckage of an election campaign. The post-mortem has been traumatic, not least because, as late as election night...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October-November 2015

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