In the December 2013–January 2014 issue of Survival, Thomas Wright discusses Europe's lost decade, John A. Gans Jr considers the 'soft power' of Bruce Springsteen during the Cold War, and Samuel Charap and Mikhail Troitskiy analyse the integration dilemma facing Russia and the West. Also in the issue: Seyom Brown on Washington's new nuclear guidance; Robert Kahn and Charles Kupchan on resolving European economic weakness; and Mark Fitzpatrick on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Shock and law

‘Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations.’

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on 24 September, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff criticises US surveillance.

‘If the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil.’

Hans-Peter Friedrich, German interior minister, responds to allegations that the US government monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

‘If any foreign leader is talking on a cellphone or communicating on unclassified email, what the U.S. might learn is the least of their problems.’

Dennis C. Blair, former director of national intelligence for the Obama administration.


Percentage of Americans who blamed the Republicans for the US government shutdown in October.


Percentage who blamed the Democrats.


Percentage who blamed both parties equally.

Time to adjust

‘[We] never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so ... In its nuclear programme, this government enters with full power and has complete authority. We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on 19 September, days before Iran made its first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

‘Sometimes a wrestler shows flexibility for technical reasons but he doesn’t forget who his opponent is and what his real goal is.’

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on 18 September.

Hard to seat

‘Saudi Arabia … has no other option but to turn down Security Council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world’s peace and security.’

A press release by Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry explains the country’s refusal of a non-permanent member’s seat on the UN Security Council.

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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

December 2013–January 2014

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