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    John Drennan: Myanmar’s navy gets a second wind

    30 September 2013.  By John Drennan, Research Assistant Myanmar’s military is undergoing a shift. The army has traditionally been more central to the country’s affairs. However, realising the importance of protecting its maritime interests as it slowly reintegrates itself into the global economy, Myanmar is attempting to strengthen the navy’s role. Bilateral and multilateral exchanges over the past year have sought to improve its outreach and capabilities. In early September, the country’s naval commander-in-chief, Vice Admiral...

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    Sanjaya Baru: The return of Russia

    27 September 2013.  By Sanjaya Baru, Director for Geo-economics and Strategy The Syria crisis has given Russia a chance to shine on the political stage at a time that its geo-economic influence is waning, argues Sanjaya Baru, IISS Director for Geo-economics and Strategy, in the Indian Express. Even if Russia managed to achieve all of its geo-economic goals at the G20 in St Petersburg this month – included but not limited to the reform of...

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    Dina Esfandiary: Hope in Rouhani and Obama speeches

    26 September 2013.  A much-anticipated handshake between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barack Obama failed to materialise at the UN General Assembly this week, but ‘the handshake was just symbolism’, writes IISS Research Associate Dina Esfandiary in the Lowy Interpreter.  Behind #handshakegate, as some on Twitter dubbed the incident, lies the real need for both countries to strike a deal over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme. Esfandiary says that finding a mutually acceptable...

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    Mark Fitzpatrick: Can the US and Iran strike a nuke deal?

    26 September 2013.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme If Iran's nuclear programme were entirely for peaceful purposes, then it would not be hard to find a solution. But unfortunately, that is not the case. The nuclear problem involves a fundamental clash of goals: Iran wants nuclear weapons capability, and the US and its allies don't want Iran to have it. Neither side will totally capitulate, so the best that can...

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    Samuel Charap: A good time for conventional arms control

    25 September 2013.  By Samuel Charap, Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia ‘What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.’- Dwight Eisenhower When raising the topic of European conventional arms control (CAC) these days in Washington, one should be prepared for quizzical expressions from interlocutors. With crises in Syria and Iran, the ‘rebalancing’ to the Asia-Pacific, and Europe’s own pressing economic troubles, the response to expect goes something like...

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    Jun Jie Woo and Suvi Dogra: China’s big currency strategy

    24 September 2013.  By Jun Jie Woo and Suvi Dogra, Research and Liaison Officer, Geo-economics and Strategy Programme A Bank of International Settlements survey released on 5 September reveals that the renminbi (RMB) is now among the 10 most actively traded currencies in the world. This comes on the heels of China’s recent draft plans to allow full convertibility of the RMB within the newly approved Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Both events are intricately linked, and connected...

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    Sarah Raine: Merkel’s big win

    23 September 2013.  By Sarah Raine, IISS Consulting Fellow; Non-Resident Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States It may have been a dull election campaign, but Germany’s election night was anything but. That the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU)  was returned to government was, of course, no shock. But the strength of its performance – its best in more than 20 years with a preliminary result of 41.5% – suggested for a...

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    US and India: ‘Rice and Kerry’ diplomacy?

    19 September 2013.  Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet US President Barack Obama later this month to try to boost the India–US relationship. But what can realistically be achieved, with Indian elections and critical regional security challenges, and new interlocutors on the US side in the form of National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel? To explore this question, Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, IISS Senior Fellow...

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    Syria dominates at 'Strategic Survey' launch

    17 September 2013.  In 2013, the ‘failure of leadership and absence of grand strategy’ prevented longer-term solutions to security issues in international affairs, according to Dr John Chipman, Chief Executive and Director-General of the IISS. Speaking on Thursday at the launch of Strategic Survey 2013, Chipman observed that ‘the abiding impression of international affairs in 2013 was of a constant flow of events that political leaders, governments, international organisations, opinion-formers and people of all...

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    The new geo-economics of global trade: the WTO's perspective

    13 September 2013.  By Braz Baracuhy The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recently published its 2013 World Trade Report: Factors Shaping the Future of World Trade (2013 WTR), offering an assessment of the changing balance of power in the multilateral trading system. The 2013 WTR encompasses a tour d'horizon of the forces affecting trade relations and economic globalisation, as well as a thorough examination of the new conditions and prospects for global trade. To...

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IISS Voices

The IISS Voices blog features timely comment and analysis on international affairs and security from IISS experts and guest writers.