Chronicles from the field: COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh

  • COP27: Children and Youth Pavilion 9 Nov 2022 Copyright: . Bouly, C. DesmasuresCOP27: Children and Youth Pavilion 9 Nov 2022 Copyright: . Bouly, C. Desmasures
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  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po
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Why the Ukraine War Caught Europe by Surprise. Right Numbers, Wrong Predictions?

A Datawar paper
  • Quantitative research, photo by Roman Samborskyi for ShutterstockQuantitative research, photo by Roman Samborskyi for Shutterstock

Quantitative reasoning is increasingly used by political authorities, especially at the EU level, to attempt to predict and plan for war. Using the Ukrainian case, this article stresses the limits of such practices and the common misperceptions upon which they rely.

Can international crises – such as the war in Ukraine – be anticipated and possibly even prevented through the use of quantitative data and mathematical models? Traditionally, international crisis management has been considered an “art,” not a “science.” Foreign policy was long considered the preserve of skillful diplomats, navigating the complexity of international relations with empathy and intuition. Even in modern capitalist democracies, diplomacy retains a degree of institutional autonomy from considerations of managerial efficiency, bureaucratic planning, and utilitarian cost-benefit calculations (...)

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Sacralizing Citizenship, Negotiation Surveillance, Imagining the Law: American Islam and Alternative Radicalization
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po
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The Age of Fuzzy Bifurcation: Lessons from the pandemic and the Ukraine War

An article by Simon Reich & Richard Higgott
  • Fuzzy Bifurcation. Photo copyright: ShutterstockFuzzy Bifurcation. Photo copyright: Shutterstock

Global Policy, September 2022, Early view article.

Academics, decision-makers and policy makers have suggested that COVID and the war in Ukraine represent an ‘inflection point’. The consequence will be ‘the end of globalisation’, ‘a bipolar Cold War 2.0’ and a return to Containment. In reality, the emerging world order is much messier. The logics of geoeconomics and geopolitics, largely aligned during the Cold War, are now in tension, ruptured by decades of globalisation, America's decline, and China's ascent. Consequently, US security allies now often wrestle with the fact that their economic ties link them to US rivals, notably China, or adversaries, like Russia. The pandemic and war have wrought geopolitical and economic adjustments, but any resemblance to Cold War blocs is superficial. What is consolidating is an era best described as fuzzy bifurcation. Unlike the Cold War, alliances will be tenuous across policy domains. With this greater latitude, even small and medium-sized states may band-wagon on security but will balance, hedge and even pursue strategic autonomy in others. Terms like ‘allies’, ‘competitors’, ‘rivals’, and even ‘adversaries’ become contingent on the policy issue. It is a world that American and Chinese policy makers will find challenging, indeed frustrating, because of the inconstancy of allied behaviour.

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