The goal of this rubric is to filter and promote the recent scholarship on the intersection of multiple regions coming from the leading IR and Area Studies journals. The Regional SecurityKnowledge Hub team periodically refreshes the list, in winter, spring, summer and autumn. If you are interested in getting updates on the new content, please subscribe to our newsletter.



“Buffer zones and industrial rivalry: internal and external geographic separation mechanisms”, by Boaz Atzili, Min Jung Kim, International Affairs 99 (2): 645 – 665 (2023).

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has led many commentators to remark that ‘geopolitics is back’. And with geopolitics, the interest in buffer zones is back as well. Yet, International Relations scholarship on buffer zones is confusing and outdated. Scholars disagree on the definition of buffer zones and whether such zones are a vestige of the great power politics of the past or a continuous phenomenon. In this article, we take three steps to reconceptualize buffer zones and their role in international relations. First, we clarify the conceptual confusion by advancing a new definition differentiating between nominal and active buffer zones. Second, we make the case that buffer states and internal buffer zones (i.e., geographic borderlands located within states in rivalry, adjacent to the international borders between the two rivals) share much in common and therefore should be analysed in tandem. Third, we offer a typology of buffer zones with short case-studies based on the dyadic relations of rival states vis-à-vis buffer zones between them. Our goal is to provide a new analytical framework that can serve as a base for a robust research agenda on the role of buffer zones in regional and international stability and security.


“The Link between Libyan Civil War and the Eastern Mediterranean Issue in Turkish Foreign Policy: Balancing the Threat”, by Sami Kiraz, Bilig (104): 95-122 (2023).

This article aims to determine the main motivation behind Türkiye’s involvement in the Libyan Civil War as an active actor since 2019 which can be seen as a deviation from its traditional foreign policy. Türkiye has involved in the Libyan conflict following the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) which it believes threatens its vital interests in the region. In this study, this involvement is described in the context of Stephen M. Walt’s balance of threat theory. It is argued that Türkiye’s Libyan policy is essentially a balancing policy against the threat posed by the alliance against its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It is further argued that maintaining stability in Libya led by the Government of National Accord (GNA).

“The War in Ukraine: Risks and Opportunities For the ‘Post-Soviet South”, by Emil A. Souleimanov, Yury Federov, Middle East Policy (30): 95-106 (2023).

The invasion of Ukraine sent shock waves through the South Caucasus and Central Asia, subjecting the eight countries of the post-Soviet area to economic, political, and social challenges. Refusing to support Russia in circumventing sanctions or taking a stand against the invasion could expose these countries to retaliatory measures. But aligning with Moscow could lead to international isolation and the imposition of secondary sanctions. This article explores the ways these countries are navigating the new geopolitics, with Azerbaijan gaining but Armenia seeking new allies. It then examines the economic benefits to these countries of Russia’s desperation, though this leaves them vulnerable to US and European penalties. It concludes with an analysis of how these states are dealing with the tensions caused by migration out of Russia. In all of these areas, the post-Soviet South must weigh the risks of aligning with the weakening great power or the West


“Beyong ‘Vaccine Nationalism’: China’s Cooperation with the Middle East in the COVID-19 Vaccine”, by Niu Song, Wu Rui, China: An International Journal (21): 114-134 (2023).

The current COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on global health security, and some developed countries have promoted “vaccine nationalism” based on the principle of self-interested supremacy and have adopted the approach of seizing pre-sale opportunities in the procurement of vaccines and competing for the right to distribute vaccines to obstruct fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines worldwide. This article analyses the current situation of and predicament caused by the pandemic in the Middle East which has to bear the brunt of the influence and detrimental impact of vaccine nationalism. By analysing the vaccine cooperation model and mechanism between China and countries in the Middle East, this article investigates how China’s vaccine cooperation in the Middle East has transcended vaccine nationalism. Vaccine nationalism has not only affected the availability of vaccines in countries in the Middle East but also threatened the health and safety of the region. The international vaccine cooperation between China and Middle Eastern countries is therefore an effective hedge against the negative impact of vaccine nationalism, highlighting China’s fundamental stance to safeguard the attributes of vaccines as public goods and also demonstrating to the international community China’s exemplary role in the fight against the pandemic.



“Cyberware and the Weaponization of Information in US-China 21st-Century Geostrategic Rivalry”, by Er-Win Tan, Sofiya Sayankina, Pacific Focus (38): 180-209 (2023).

Sino–US geostrategic rivalry has carried over into cyberspace and is reflected in how both the United States and China view the internet as a battleground for the propagation of information warfare in their bids to increase global influence at the expense of the other. Both the United States and China have harnessed cyberspace in order to propagate their worldview to a global audience, whilst countering and rebutting the other’s information narrative. The flow of information – including the use of cyberspace to inject misinformation, deliberately biased reporting, cover-ups, and fabricated information – can be seen as a weapon of statecraft in pursuit of global influence and geostrategic objectives. Such ability to shape the information narrative marks a refinement of the use of propaganda, to the extent that private individuals with access to social media can be seen as propaganda tools.


“Privatizing security and authoritarian adaptation in the Arab region since the 2010-2011 uprisings”, by Engy Moussa, Contemporary Security Policy 44 (3): 462-490 (2023).

Some Arab countries have since 2011 experienced intense security market diversification with considerable outsourcing of domestic security and guarding services. To date, scholars and security experts predominantly conceive this development within security reform processes or as an inevitable outcome of a chaotic post-uprisings period. Instead, this article situates some Arab states’ increasing reliance on private security actors within the evolving power dynamics and diverse challenges facing ruling elites and populations alike. Addressing how privatizing security contributes to perpetuating authoritarian practices post-2010, the article argues that contemporary security privatization and outsourcing provide alternative agents and strategies for control, while offering new venues to enrich and strengthen ruling elites. Guided by critical security studies and drawing on interviews, fieldwork and official documents, the article advances three ways through which outsourcing security supports practices of authoritarian adaptation: cultivating networks of patronage, diversifying ruling elites’ bases of security, and curbing constant sources of unrest.


“The limits of strategic partnerships: Implications for China’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war”, by Nien-Chung Chang-Liao, Contemporary Security Policy 44 (2): 226-247 (2023).

Will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bring China and Russia closer together or drive them farther apart, or will it be business as usual? This article addresses this question by conceptualizing the main characteristics of the China–Russia strategic partnership. It argues that a strategic partnership, characterized as it is by informality, equality, and inclusivity, is essentially different from an alliance or alignment. These characteristics allow Beijing to distance itself from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This makes it unlikely that China will attempt any simultaneous aggression in East Asia or that it will be able to mediate in the conflict. This effectively rules out the rise of a China–Russia axis. As China strives to balance its close ties with Russia and its economic engagement with the West, Beijing is more likely to maintain, rather than strengthen or weaken, its strategic partnership with Moscow.


“Between EU candidacy and independent diplomacy: third country alignment with EU positions at the OSCE”, by Daniel Schade, Contemporary Security Policy 44 (1): 176-197: 176-197 (2022).

This article considers differentiated cooperation between European Union (EU) member states and third countries in diplomatic statements at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Using a novel dataset on interventions in OSCE Permanent Council meetings, it analyzes when and why third countries align with the EU’s positions. The observed alignment patterns underline the complexity of third country motivations to form part of the EU’s diplomatic alliances, such as their institutional proximity to the organization, or their own involvement in regional conflicts. In so doing the article explores the limits of differentiated diplomatic cooperation with the EU in multilateral security organizations. It also points to the constraints the EU faces when trying to establish itself as a relevant player in European and international security through diplomatic acceptance and amplification of its own views by others.


“Transnationally entangled (in)securities: The UAE, Turkey, and the Saharan political economy of danger”, by Eva Magdalena Stambøl, Tobias Berger, Security Dialogue 54 (5): 493-514 (2023).

Contemporary security interventions in Africa are characterized by an increasing pluralization of external actors, bringing with them new security rationalities, practices, and technologies, sometimes with profound influences on local security dynamics. While studies have focused empirically on East and South Africa, this article explores the roles of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey in the Sahel region of West Africa. To make sense of their engagement, we develop the notion of ‘transnational security entanglements’ by bringing the literature on (in)security assemblages into productive dialogue with scholarship on transnational entanglements in the fields of global history and law. Both literatures depart from relational ontologies, eschew methodological nationalism, and emphasize the interplay between the human and the non-human in the making of the social world. At the same time, we argue, the focus on entanglements adds a specific analytic of South–South connections and transregional circulations to extant scholarship on (in)security assemblages. To illustrate the importance of these transregional connections beyond the North Atlantic, we draw on interviews and media reports about the myriad ways in which connections between the UAE and Turkey with various actors in the Sahel shape current transformations of political orders in the region.


“Principal-agent relations, politics of discretion, and the Africa-EU Partnership on Peace and Security”, by Friedrich Plank, Journal of European Integration 45 (5): 767-783 (2023).

Interregionalism constitutes a main feature of EU external policy and unfolds specifically in Africa-EU-relations. However, research has merely focused on the EU as a coherent actor, although many EU institutions implement cooperation with African partners. Likewise, principal-agent research, a prominent path to unpack the internals of EU policies, on the EU´s interregional relations is nascent. This paper seeks to fill these research gaps by applying a principal-agent framework to internal processes of the EU in its Africa relations. After analyzing acts of delegation, it analyzes the discretion of the agents. Pointing specifically to the EU-Africa Partnership on Peace and Security, the study investigates on principal-agent relations from a non-principal-related perspective that puts forward structure-induced and interest-induced factors for increased agent discretion. The results suggest that agents enjoy substantial discretion enabled by the specific environment and agent actions in a policy field of high importance to the principals.


“The Ruling Group Survival: Why Pakistan and Hungary Move Away from The US-led Order?”, by Ali Balci and Furkan Halit Yolcu, Foreign Policy Analysis 19 (1), (2023).

Why do some smaller states signal to move away from the US-led liberal order? We look at the ruling group survival in smaller allies to answer this pressing puzzle. Despite accepting the merit of systemic explanations, we simply argue that the ruling groups in smaller states engage with revisionist powers in the international system to sustain and enhance their privileged positions in the domestic policy setting. Hungary, a NATO member, and Pakistan, a traditional ally of the United States, have long been showing signs of shifting toward the China/Russia axis. We explain the behavior of Hungary and Pakistan during the 2010s by focusing on the survival strategies of key ruling groups in those countries. We simply argue that relations of competing great powers with the ruling group in smaller states determine the fate of asymmetric alliance.


“Inter-regionalism in the Global South: comparison with extra-, cross-, trans-, and pan- regionalism”, by Shintaro Hamanaka, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 36 (5): 697-719 (2021).

No region exists in isolation. Regions always have some external linkages. Existing studies on regions’ external relations often emphasise inter-regionalism, namely, a project to link two regionalism projects. The majority of these studies deals with the European Union’s (EU) ties with regionalism elsewhere. However, the EU is very unique, because its external policies are centralised in Brussels, and inter-regionalism naturally plays a dominant role in forming the region’s external relations. This study attempts to analyse inter-regionalism in a comparative manner, using the cases of cooperation projects across regions in the Global South. By looking into the web of cooperation projects across Southeast Asia and South Asia as well as that across Southern America and Southern Africa, this study examines whether inter-regionalism is a substitute or complement to other forms of cooperation including extra-, cross-, trans-, and pan-regionalism.




“Not by NPT alone: The future of the global nuclear order” by Jeffrey W. Knopf, Contemporary Security Policy 43(1): 186-212 (2022).

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) constitutes just one component of broader arrangements that provide global nuclear governance. In recent decades, the other props in the global nuclear order beyond its nonproliferation elements have been eroding, thereby putting more weight on the contributions of the NPT and other aspects of the nonproliferation regime. Unfortunately, recent progress in building up the NPT-based nonproliferation regime seems also to have halted. This article outlines the elements of the global nuclear order and identifies signs of erosion in that order. It discusses whether a greater commitment to nuclear disarmament might help counter that erosion and highlights the underlying cognitive dimension of efforts to avoid nuclear war. 


“Prediction and Judgment: Why Artificial Intelligence Increases the Importance of Humans in War” by Avi Goldfarb, Jon R. Lindsay, International Security 46 (3): 7–50 (2022).

Recent scholarship on artificial intelligence (AI) and international security focuses on the political and ethical consequences of replacing human warriors with machines. Yet AI is not a simple substitute for human decision-making. The advances in commercial machine learning that are reducing the costs of statistical prediction are simultaneously increasing the value of data (which enable prediction) and judgment (which determines why prediction matters). But these key complements—quality data and clear judgment—may not be present, or present to the same degree, in the uncertain and conflictual business of war. This has two important strategic implications. First, military organizations that adopt AI will tend to become more complex to accommodate the challenges of data and judgment across a variety of decision-making tasks. Second, data and judgment will tend to become attractive targets in strategic competition. As a result, conflicts involving AI complements are likely to unfold very differently than visions of AI substitution would suggest. Rather than rapid robotic wars and decisive shifts in military power, AI-enabled conflict will likely involve significant uncertainty, organizational friction, and chronic controversy. Greater military reliance on AI will therefore make the human element in war even more important, not less. 


“How Much Risk Should the United States Run in the South China Sea?” by M. Taylor Fravel, Charles L. Glaser International Security 47 (2): 88–134 (2022).

How strenuously, and at what risk, should the United States resist China’s efforts to dominate the South China Sea? An identification of three options along a continuum—from increased resistance to China’s assertive policies on one end to a partial South China Sea retrenchment on the other, with current U.S. policy in the middle—captures the choices facing the United States. An analysis of China’s claims and behavior in the South China Sea and of the threat that China poses to U.S. interests concludes that the United States’ best option is to maintain its current level of resistance to China’s efforts to dominate the South China Sea. China has been cautious in pursuing its goals, which makes the risks of current policy acceptable. Because U.S. security interests are quite limited, a significantly firmer policy, which would generate an increased risk of a high-intensity war with China, is unwarranted. If future China’s actions indicate its determination has significantly increased, the United State should, reluctantly, end its military resistance to Chinese pursuit of peacetime control of the South China Sea and adopt a policy of partial South China Sea retrenchment. 
“Whither the Indo-Pacific? Middle power strategies from Australia, South Korea and Indonesia” by Gabriele Abbondanza, International Affairs, 98 (2) 403–421 (2022).
Against the backdrop of US–China superpower rivalry in the Indo-Pacific, this article assesses the visions and strategies of the region’s middle powers, which remain under-examined at present. First, it briefly traces the boundaries of this research by reviewing the contested nature of the Indo-Pacific concept and the definitional complexities of middle power theory. Second, it provides a novel comparative framework to analyse Australia, South Korea and Indonesia as the region’s major middle powers, exploring their goals and strategies. The framework consists of: 1) middle power categorization; 2) interconnectedness with the two superpowers; 3) vision for the Indo-Pacific; 4) resulting regional posture; and 5) capacity to implement the country’s goals. Third, it assesses the ensuing implications of this analysis for the region’s strategic landscape. It finds that Canberra is now firmly aligned with Washington in balancing against China, as epitomized by the Quad and AUKUS; Seoul is cautiously increasing cooperation with the US, though potentially only to protract its strategic ambiguity; and Jakarta is pursuing strategic autonomy for itself and ASEAN, with the ambitious but precarious goal of creating a ‘third way’ for the Indo-Pacific. Consequently, middle powers seem unlikely to provide an alternative platform for the region’s direction in the near future, due to a number of internal divisions. By shedding light on such understudied aspects, this article addresses a gap in the scholarly literature and provides a novel contribution to the understanding of both the diverse roles of middle powers and the Indo-Pacific’s evolving strategic landscape.
“Testing the limits of international society? Trust, AUKUS and Indo-Pacific security” by Jamal Barnes and Samuel M Makinda, International Affairs, 98 (4): 1307–1325 (2022).

When Australia reneged on a AUD$90 billion submarine contract with France in 2021 as it joined AUKUS, a new trilateral military partnership between Australia, the UK and the US, it was accused of lying and breaching France’s trust. This perceived act of betrayal not only led to a deterioration in the diplomatic relationship between Australia and France, but it also drew attention to the consequences of violating the norm of pacta sunt servanda—agreements must be kept. Although it is recognized that breaches of trust undermine relationships, what has been underexplored is how a violation of norms can also undermine the presumption of trust in international society more broadly. Focusing on how Australia broke its contract with France after it joined AUKUS, this article argues that Australia’s conduct not only harmed its relationship with France, but it also led the European Union (EU) to raise questions about how much to trust AUKUS partners as it engages in the Indo-Pacific region. It posits that adherence to international norms is important for developing trust between states in international society and has the potential to facilitate cooperation and enhance security in the complex Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

“Do Natural Resources Really Cause Civil Conflict? Evidence from the New Global Resources Dataset” by Michael Denly, Michael G. Findley […], and James Igoe Walsh, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 66(3): 387–412 (2022).
Scholars have long examined the relationship between natural resources and conflict at the country level. More recently, researchers have turned to subnational analyses, using either individual countries or subnational data for a small number of resources in sub-Saharan Africa. We introduce a new sub-national dataset of 197 resources that adds many resource types, locations, and countries from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. To demonstrate the value of the new dataset, we examine how conflict incidence varies with the value of the collective set of resources in a given location using world prices. We then introduce new country-specific price data, which are more relevant for conflict dynamics. Since country-specific prices can be endogenous to conflict, we instrument country-specific prices using U.S. and world prices. We find that sub-national resource wealth is associated with higher levels of conflict using some specifications, though the results vary widely by data source and world region. Using an instrumental variables strategy lends the strongest support to this positive relationship, but only for African countries. Notably, across all of our models, we find that resources are negatively associated with conflict in Latin America, suggesting heterogeneity of effects worth future exploration.
“Global health governance through the UN Security Council: health security vs. human rights?” by Sharifah Sekalala, Caitlin R. Williams & Benjamin Mason Meier, Australian Journal of International Affairs 76(1): 27-34 (2022).
This article examines how the ‘health security’ paradigm positions health-related human rights as subordinate to national security concerns. As a consequence, health is viewed instrumentally, shifting the global health response towards maintaining national security rather than upholding human rights. We trace here how both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Security Council have approached global health crises, evolving across infectious disease responses to HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola and COVID-19. While the Security Council has come to address human rights in select public health contexts, we see that the securitisation of human rights in times of crisis can pose severe limits on individual rights, failing to develop global health solidarity through a commitment to broader health objectives such as Universal Health Coverage. We conclude that the Security Council and the WHO should collaborate towards a rights-based response to COVID-19 that prioritises individual human rights alongside national security concerns, addressing underlying inequities in the global response to infectious disease.
“The East Wind Prevails? Russia’s Response to China’s Eurasian Ambitions” by Jeffrey Mankoff, Europe-Asia Studies, 74(9): 1616-1639 (2022).

Deference to Chinese aspirations in Eurasia is integral to Moscow’s pursuit of closer relations with Beijing. Yet China’s pursuit of regional, and ultimately global, influence is at odds with Russia’s longstanding ambition to maintain post-Soviet Eurasia as a strategic glacis and sphere of ‘privileged interests’. Russia has consequently sought to shape and channel Chinese engagement in line with its own interests, with mixed results. Disappointments with the effects of Chinese economic and political influence on Russian equities, limits on Sino–Russian coordination, and the interest of Eurasia’s smaller states contributed to a growing wariness on Russia’s part. The 2022 invasion of Ukraine and attendant confrontation with the West have left Russia more dependent on China, even as China itself has become more realistic about the prospects for Eurasian integration.


“China’s rise in Latin America and the Caribbean 1990–2019: navigating perceptions in the relationship” by Kim Emmanuel, The Pacific Review, 35(5): 946-970 (2022).

To date, perceptions of China’s rise in relation to US hegemony in the international realm has not escaped scholarly scrutiny. For the period 1990–2019, the International Relations literature has made a somewhat copious contribution to the broader debates on the US and China. Within the Sino-Latin America Caribbean (LAC) discourse, the implications of China’s ascent for US interests in the region is an underlying concern. The region is considered salient in broader power configurations as a result of its geostrategic positioning in relation to the US. However, perceptions pertaining to the triad of interests in the space account largely for powerful states in the dynamic. Despite the ambiguous perceptions associated with a rising China in the international realm and the Latin America Caribbean region’s strategic position, rather than being preoccupied with ideas of the ‘China threat’, these states appear to have largely bypassed the more threatening rhetoric associated with China’s rise in the period under scrutiny. In seeking to bring Latin America and Caribbean states into the discourse, the article examines how benign perceptions shaped the region’s relationship with China. The argument is made that Latin America and Caribbean states sought to frame and navigate their relationship with China largely on the premise of economic opportunity amidst a firmly embedded US role inside the region which further repudiated ideas of the ‘China threat’ in the engagement. In unpacking the argument, the discussion seeks to show that more favourable images of China’s economic ascent punctuated LAC states responses to China and that such states have been driven by a high level of economic pragmatism in the relationship. It also illustrates that the underlying hegemonic order has practical effects and more subtle manifestations inside LAC states which mitigated against perceptions of threat in China’s rise in the region.

“Germany in the Indo-Pacific region: strengthening the liberal order and regional security” by Rafał Ulatowski, International Affairs, 98(2): 383–402 (2022).

In the twenty-first century, the Indo-Pacific region became the focal point of great power competition. In 2020, Germany published its ‘Policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific. Germany—Europe—Asia: shaping the twenty-first century together’. The publication of the Indo-Pacific guidelines and the deployment of frigate Bayern to the Indo-Pacific in early August 2021 offer a starting point for a discussion on a German grand strategy in the post-liberal world order. This article argues that the publication of the German Indo-Pacific guidelines and Germany’s increased engagement in the region are a consequence of a change in how Germany perceives China. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the rise of China was seen as an opportunity for Germany, but this has changed, with China now increasingly seen as a threat to Germany’s national interests. Consequently, Germany is strengthening its cooperation with like-minded countries in Asia and is engaging in soft balancing against China. Germany’s Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer stops short of using the word alliance, calling for ‘an international network of like-minded countries’ and also stops short of declaring a containment strategy against China, saying that Germany works together with China where this is possible, but digs its heels in against China where it has to.

Autumn 2021


Pulled East. The rise of China, Europe and French security policy in the Asia-Pacific, by Hugo Meijer, Journal of Strategic Studies, published online 7 September 2021.

Abstract: This article delivers the first post-Cold War history of how France – the European power with the largest political-military footprint in the Asia-Pacific – has responded to the national security challenges posed by the rise of China. Based upon a unique body of primary sources (80 interviews conducted in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the United States; declassified archival documents; and leaked diplomatic cables), it shows that China’s growing assertiveness after 2009 (and national policymakers’ perceptions thereof) has been the key driver of change in French security policy in the region, pulling France strategically into the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, growing threat perceptions of China’s rise – coupled with steadily rising regional economic interests – have led Paris to forge a cohesive policy framework, the Indo-Pacific strategy, and to bolster the political-military dimension of its regional presence. By investigating this key yet neglected dimension of French and European security policies, and by leveraging a unique body of primary written and oral sources, this study fills an important gap in the scholarly literature on both European and Asia-Pacific security dynamics. The findings of this article also shed new light on the political and military assets that France can bring to bear in the formulation of a common EU security policy toward the Asia-Pacific and on the implications thereof for the prospect of a transatlantic strategy vis-à-vis China.


US Strategy and the Rise of Private Maritime Security, by Jan Stockbruegger, Security Studies, published online 20 September 2021.

Abstract: What explains the rise of maritime private military security companies (PMSCs)? How do they differ from land-based PMSCs? I argue that PMSCs have become major providers of security at sea. Yet maritime PMSCs are not hired by states but by the maritime industry. The United States and allied forces do not guarantee merchant vessels’ day-to-day security. Consequently, shipowners rely on PMSCs and war and piracy insurance to operate their vessels in dangerous waters. The United States, however, plays a vital role in regulating PMSCs and creating environments in which PMSCs can operate effectively. This paper shows that order at sea depends not on the United States’ “hard” naval power but on its leadership in global governance and on its ability to create rules and norms for maritime behavior. It also shows that PMSCs can help secure the oceans if regulated and supported by state authorities. I illustrate this logic through three case studies of how the United States has facilitated private security efforts: during the Iran–Iraq Tanker War, in piracy-prone shipping lanes off Somalia, and in the Persian Gulf following attacks there in 2019.


Middle power hedging in the era of security/economic disconnect: Australia, Japan, and the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’, by Thomas Wilkins, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, published online 19 October 2021.

Abstract: Deeping superpower rivalry between the United States and China has created acute strategic dilemmas for secondary powers in the Indo-Pacific such as Australia and Japan. This predicament is exacerbated by their divergent security and economic interests which cut across the superpower divide; a condition dubbed a ‘security/economic disconnect’. These two intimately related dynamics preclude clear-cut implementation of conventional balancing/bandwagoning alignment choices and have led to mixed hedging strategies to cope with this situation. To address these issues, the article presents a refinement of the hedging concept in International Relations (IR) that emphasizes its multi-dimensional nature, within a broader interpretation of alignment itself. It applies this to the case of the Australia and Japan with reference to their Strategic Partnership, which is both emblematic of hedging responses to systemic uncertainty, and an institutional mechanism through which to operationalize joint hedging policies. This provides insights into how middle power strategic partnerships are managing strategic risks across the security, economic, and other, domains.


Climate Change and Security: Filling Remaining Gaps, by Yasuko Kameyama, Yukari Takamura, Politics and Governance, 9 (4), published 22 October 2021.

Abstract: As perception of climate change as a threat to humanity and to ecosystems grows, the rapidly growing literature increasingly refers to the notion of “climate change and security,” for which there is as yet no single agreed definition. Despite the extent of literature already published, there are at least three remaining gaps: (1) Added theoretical value: How does “climate change and security” differ from similar notions such as “climate crisis” and “climate emergency”? What theoretical gains can be made by securing against climate change? (2) Role of non-state actors: The traditional concept of security is tightly bound to the notion of national security, but the climate change and security discourse opens the door to the participation of non-state actors such as the business sector, local government, and citizens. How do they take part in ensuring security? (3) Regional imbalance: Most of the literature on climate change and security published so far comes from Europe and North America. As other regions, such as Asia, are just as affected, more voices should be heard from those regions. This issue aims to address some of these gaps. The nine articles in this issue address the notion of “climate change and security” through empirical work while theoretically contributing to several themes relating to the climate change and security discourse.


Varieties of organised hypocrisy: security privatisation in UN, EU, and NATO crisis management operations, by Eugenio Cusumano, Oldrich Bures, European Security, published online 2 September 2021.

Abstract: International organisations (IOs) have increasingly resorted to private military and security companies (PMSCs) as providers of armed protection, training, intelligence, and logistics. In this article, we argue that IOs, seeking to reconcile conflicting international norms and member states’ growing unwillingness to provide the manpower required for effective crisis management, have decoupled their official policy on and actual use of PMSCs, thereby engaging in organised hypocrisy. Due to its stricter interpretation of norms like the state monopoly of violence, the United Nations (UN) has showcased a more glaring gap between talk and action than the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which display a more pragmatic, but not entirely consistent, approach to the use of PMSCs. By examining the decoupling between UN, EU, and NATO official contractor support doctrines and operational records, this article advances the debate on both security privatisation and organised hypocrisy.


What Shapes Taiwan-Related Legislation in U.S. Congress?, by Gang Lin, Wenxing Zhou, Weixu Wu, Journal of Contemporary China, published online 30 September 2021.

Abstract: Through a quantitative analysis of Taiwan–related legislation between 1979 and 2020, the article finds that the degree of Taiwan–related legislation is significantly correlated with the degree of tension in U.S.—China relations. While a deteriorating cross–Taiwan Strait relationship is clearly associated with the increasing legislative activities for the sake of Taiwan, an improving relationship from the state of fair to good cannot guarantee a decrease of such activities. A unified government and the extent of the Taiwan lobby are both helpful in passing pro–Taiwan acts but statistically insignificant. A content analysis of pro–Taiwan bills approved by the Trump administration suggests a creeping movement to “normalize” U.S–Taiwan relations with congressional activism and the less-restrained White House as a co–engine.


China’s Health Silk Road in the Middle East and North Africa Amidst COVID-19 and a Contested World Order, by Yahia H. Zoubir, Emilie TranJournal of Contemporary China, published online 21 August 2021.

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has offered China a unique opportunity for worldwide deployment of its longstanding health diplomacy, renamed the Health Silk Road (HSR), now an integral part of its Belt and Road Initiative. As a self-proclaimed South-South collaborator and developer, Beijing has assumed a leadership role, grounded in ‘moral realism’, in the world’s health governance. Beijing’s health diplomacy has received acclaim in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, the pandemic has exacerbated preexisting tensions between China, the United States (US) and European Union (EU). Western countries, wary of China’s rising power, reacted resentfully, confirming underlying systemic rivalry. This article argues that the currently disputed, or shifting, world order accounts for the diametrically opposed reactions between the West and the MENA toward China’s Health Silk Road.


Reorganizing the Neighborhood? Power Shifts and Regional Security Organizations in the Post-Soviet Space and Latin America, by Brigitte Weiffen, Andrea Gawrich, Vera Axyonova, Journal of Global Security Studies 6 (1): ogz080, 2021.

Abstract: The article explores how power shifts in world politics and the emergence of regional powers affect regional security governance. We identify the post-Soviet space and Latin America as two regions where a traditional hegemon and Cold War superpower (the United States and Russia, respectively) has recently been challenged by a rising power (Brazil and China). In both regions, an older regional organization shaped by Cold War dynamics exists alongside a newer organization shaped by the rising power. But do similar patterns of power shifts lead to analogous types and trajectories of security governance? We analyze four security organizations from the two regions: the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) from the post-Soviet space, and the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) from Latin America. We show how power shifts are reflected in (1) the factors driving organizational foundation and transformation, (2) the organizations’ security conceptions and practices, and (3) organizational overlap. Responding to the call for more studies in comparative regionalism, this article contributes to the debate on how powers of various kinds shape regions, regional organizations, and their security priorities, and adds new insights to research on overlapping regionalism.



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