Download PDF In the December–January issue, Hal Brands argues that Donald Trump is damaging the core values that constitute effective US global leadership; Erik Jones examines the threat posed to democracy by identity politics following the Catalan referendum; Richard G. Whitman discusses the potential impact of a ‘hard Brexit’ on foreign policy; Nelly Lahoud considers the future of the Islamic State as a non-territorial entity; Ian Anthony warns that abandoning the INF Treaty could lead to destabilisation; Jeffrey Lewis and Bruno Tertrais examine the response to the 2013 Syrian chemical-weapons attack and its impact on transatlantic relations; Alex Grigsby analyses the difficulties...
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  • The Unexceptional Superpower: American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump

    Prediction is a perilous endeavour in international politics; world events often make fools of those who claim to foresee them.1 It seems certain, though, that historians will someday view Donald Trump’s presidency as an inflection point in the trajectory of American grand strategy and the US-led international system. To be sure, ‘grand strategic’ may not be the first phrase that comes to mind regarding Trump, whose indiscipline and outbursts, unfamiliarity...
  • Catalonia and the Problem of Identity Politics

    The 1 October Catalan referendum on independence was a trap for Madrid. Spain’s political leaders were bound to be criticised whether they ignored the vote or tried to stop it. Shunting responsibility for dealing with the crisis onto the courts and the police was no way out. The voters in Catalonia know that. Now the Spanish government will be held to account. Political leaders everywhere should pay attention. Let us start...
  • Avoiding a Hard Brexit in Foreign Policy

    The current public image of the Brexit process is of a British government negotiating with itself while simultaneously making little progress in Article 50 talks with the EU. It is perhaps inevitable that disputes over money, borders, citizens and a future trading relationship should overshadow other areas where the EU and UK could develop an effective post-Brexit partnership. Foreign, security and defence policy are areas where a departure from the...
  • How Will the Islamic State Endure?

    It is reasonable to ask whether the Islamic State can survive as a non-territorial entity. The group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has distinguished itself from other jihadi factions by virtue of its success in capturing and governing territory. ISIS claimed that its territorial strength (tamkin) showed it to be the legitimate Islamic state, promised by God in the Koran (24:55). Indeed, in April 2014, two months before the proclamation...
  • Noteworthy

    In the December–January issue, Hal Brands argues that Donald Trump is damaging the core values that constitute effective US global leadership; Erik Jones examines the threat posed to democracy by identity politics following the Catalan referendum; Richard G. Whitman discusses the potential impact of a ‘hard Brexit’ on foreign policy; Nelly Lahoud considers the future of the Islamic State as a non-territorial entity; Ian Anthony warns that abandoning the INF...
  • European Security after the INF Treaty

    If the disagreements between Russia and the United States over compliance with the 1987 Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty) cannot be resolved, there is a risk that it will be abandoned. While the agreement is of indefinite duration, the parties to it have the right to withdraw if they decide that extraordinary events related to its subject matter jeopardise key national interests. The notice period prior to withdrawal...
  • The Thick Red Line: Implications of the 2013 Chemical-Weapons Crisis for Deterrence and Transatlantic Relations

    In summer 2013, the Syrian regime launched a large-scale chemical-weapons attack against its own people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, an event that left many people dead, disturbed France–US relations and reverberated around the world with potentially profound consequences for deterrence. In the years leading up to the gassing of Ghouta, the United States, France and the United Kingdom had attempted to coordinate their policies toward the civil war that...
  • The End of Cyber Norms

    This summer, a nearly seven-year process to write the rules that should guide state activity in cyberspace came to a halt. Since 2010, the United States had successfully corralled the world’s main cyber powers at the United Nations to agree to a set of increasingly prescriptive norms of what they could and could not do in cyberspace. The process broke down over the United States’ desire to have states explicitly...
  • Russia’s Lasting Influence in Central Asia

    Conventional wisdom holds that China and Russia have managed to reach a tacit understanding over their respective roles in Central Asia. Some argue that, with Beijing effectively conceding to Russia the leading role in an emerging security architecture, the threat of a renewed Great Game in the region has been deferred.1 Others concur that, to many observers’ surprise, Central Asia’s independent states have not become objects of rivalry between Moscow...
  • War in Ukraine: Is This the Way It Ends?

    Russia, Ukraine and the West may finally be groping for a way to dial down the violence in Ukraine’s eastern tip that has claimed more than 10,000 Ukrainian lives and generated some 1.5 million displaced persons in the past 46 months.1 If it succeeds, the modus vivendi will be messy, brought about by a convergence of Russian failure to reclaim Catherine the Great’s ‘Novorossiya’ from Ukraine, Moscow’s budget squeeze from...
  • When Americans Loved Simón Bolívar

    Sometime in the 1820s, the brilliant, decorated Mexican general Manuel de Mier y Terán wrote of his deep worry about the ‘unceasing’ arrival of new Anglo-American settlers in Texas. America, he lamented, was ‘the most avid nation in the world. The North Americans have conquered whatever territory adjoins them’ (p. 240). On 3 July 1832, dressed in his most elegant service garb, the 43-year-old Mexican patriot stabbed himself. Penned the...
  • From the End of History to the Retreat of Liberalism

    When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, Edward Luce and his college friends drove to Berlin from Oxford to take part in the massive party that ushered in the end of communism. The communist world had been under strain at least since the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981; the process accelerated rapidly when first Poland and then Hungary began to experiment with power-sharing arrangements. But the...
  • Book Reviews

    Counter-terrorism and Intelligence Jonathan Stevenson Disorder (film) Alice Winocour, director. Alice Winocour and Jean-Stéphane Bron, screenwriters. Distributed by Mars Distribution, 2015. Disorder, directed by Alice Winocour, artfully imparts some unsettling insights about a world in which transnational terrorism has become a pervasive worry and war a persistently looming prospect. The fine Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts plays Vincent, a French soldier afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – hence the punning title – from...
  • Brief Notices

    Counter-terrorism and Intelligence Al-Qaeda’s Revenge: The 2004 Madrid Train Bombings Fernando Reinares. New York and Washington DC: Columbia University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2016. $50.00. 231 pp. Intended to help both experts and non-experts understand the ways in which terrorist organisations operate, this analysis of the 11 March 2004 train bombings in Madrid seeks to make connections between the attack and the senior leadership of al-Qaedea, as well as to identify...
  • Cold War in East Asia?

    I The Cold War, to use Raymond Aron’s famous definition, was a contest for supremacy in which war – all-out war – was improbable, but peace was impossible. All-out war was improbable because of the fear that it would become a nuclear war that no one could win. Instead, the United States and the Soviet Union used means other than military force to undermine the other: economic war, propaganda and psychological war...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

December 2017–January 2018

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Table of Contents

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