Articles and analysis

Euan GrantEuan Grant argues that the question mark is superfluous and a financial NATO (or NATO+) is sorely needed to tackle all aspects of illicit financial flows into, and more importantly through, the UK and particularly the City of London, which is arguably the world's premier financial centre

Dirty Money - a phrase requiring definition and modernisation

The term, and its now grandmother "money laundering" need updating to take account of changes to international financial flows, legitimate or otherwise, since the birth of the Internet, which coincided with the rise of China into a major worldwide trading economy, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent looting of the rents from its huge natural resources. Perhaps this parallels national defence and security establishments, still required to maintain expensive and demanding legacy platforms while preparing for cyber competition and unmanned platforms, all driven by massive increases in computing power and the approach of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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Beijing's ambitions shouldn't be treated as an existential threat to the United States, argues Professor Anatol Lieven

Lieven passport photoA central distinction in Realist international relations thought is that between vital and secondary national interests. Vital interests are threats to a state's survival, and can take the form either of conquest and subjugation from outside, or the promotion of internal subversion aimed at destroying the existing political and ideological order – the strategy followed by the USSR across much of the world during the Cold War, and by the USA against the USSR and allied regimes.
Rivalry between the USA and China is not a battle to the death of this kind, and it is very important that the USA not see it as such. The phrase "a new cold war" is a cheap journalistic formula, but it contains real dangers. The geopolitical competition with China is quite different from that with the USSR, and if the US establishment frames it in the terms of the cold war, it may do great damage to the USA and the world in general. For while the Cold War with the Soviet Union stemmed originally from the Soviet revolutionary threat and the evil nature of Stalin's regime, many of the ways in which this rivalry was imagined and therefore conducted by the USA did terrible damage to America's own politics, culture and public ethics.
When states permanently threaten each other with destruction from without or within, even periods of peace have the character of temporary armed truces requiring permanent military and ideological mobilization. This breeds in turn continual international tension and domestic repression, and a cultural atmosphere of fanaticism, hysteria and conspiratorial thinking in all the countries concerned.
We have learned this again over the past generation. The contemporary Middle East is a tragic example of how an entire region can be crippled by the threat of internal revolutions backed by rival ideological states; but our European ancestors learned it more than 350 years ago, and tried to do something about it. The great achievement of the Peace of Westphalia was to end in Europe – for the space of 144 years – ideologically-driven mass rebellions against existing states supported by other states.
Crucial to the Westphalia settlement was the principle of Cuius Regio, Eius Religio – "Whose Realm, His Religion"; in other words, that the ruler of a country dictated the religion of his or her subjects without interference from other states belonging to the other religion. Rivalries and conflicts would continue, but states and regimes would no longer pose existential threats to each other.
All this changed again with the French Revolution. Once again, states threatened the basic identity of other states, and did so in part by stimulating internal rebellion. Once again, endangered states responded with ferocious mass repression. Assassination and the execution of defeated enemies returned to the European scene. The French Revolution spawned socialist revolution and conservative counter-revolution, which later characterized the Cold War.( More follows on next page)

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kristina new2By Prof Kristina Spohr (March 2018)
As the polar ice caps melt, Russia and China are leading the race to control the lucrative and strategically important shipping lanes and natural resources of the High North.
On 14 December 2017 Vladimir Putin gave his annual end-of-year media conference, which lasted nearly four hours and was televised across Russia. The British and American media focused on Putin's unsurprising announcement that he was going to run for re-election in 2018. A far more interesting story went largely unreported.

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