Much has been written about Chinese and Russian attempts to abuse the pandemic to reshape international order in favor of authoritarian regimes. Diplomatic initiatives, staged relief operations, and troll propaganda were rolled out when COVID-19 hit Europe and the USA in early March 2020. These activities meant to insinuate that centralized, illiberal governance models are better prepared to manage the crisis. In contrast, the transatlantic world fights the virus with measures taken in accordance with Rule of Law standards. In a previous paper, the author argued that access to legal remedies makes the difference. In spring and early summer of 2020, courts in Germany decided on a number of cases where claimants challenge lockdown regulations. Some of these decisions deserve a closer look because they deepen the understanding of how constitutional requirements are assessed in lieu of the constraints. The article, therefore, starts with a short summary of the German judicial system to challenge executive decisions. It will then turn to discuss some outstanding court rulings. In the end, the contribution attempts to assess what kind of COVID-19-related case law in Germany emerges. Could the courts balance core constitutional principles, the need to keep a functioning health sector, to allow a number of basic rights untouched, and to prepare a careful economic recovery?
This article presents the reaction of the East-central European (ECE) countries, members of the EU and NATO, to the Coronavirus pandemic. Understandably, there are major similarities as the pandemic—a global challenge—hit every state of the region, by and large, in the same way. The geographical location, size (absence of great powers) and historical traditions led to the exposure of these countries to the pandemic being closely aligned. The points of international reference of these small and medium-sized countries can be seen to align in different directions as to which other states they watch and often follow when deciding about their steps in such a global crisis. This article cannot be fully comprehensive and will, therefore, focus on the reactions of health and emergency services. It raises the question as to whether any similarities are deterministic or whether there are noticeable differences due to the variety of their political systems and current history.
This article analyzes the EU's response to COVID-19 against the backdrop of a changing international environment, which is characterized by globalization and a global shift of power. It raises the question of the implications of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic changes in the international system for the EU's internal and external development. The article argues that the EU can seize the opportunity and gain more influence on the global level if it uses its strength as a manager of interdependencies by rulemaking and rule shaping as well as exercising its influence as a central node in transnational networks. Internal cohesion, the support of human rights and democracy and a strong role in global governance are prerequisites for this particular normative and transformative power of the EU.
At the start of March 2020, roughly two months after its outbreak in the Chinese province of Wuhan, COVID 19 hit Western Europe. Up to 5.7 million people around the world have now tested positive, and more than 350 000 people have died. In Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany alone, more than 135 000 residents have died. At the beginning of the crisis, European countries and the US sealed off their borders and turned inward to slow down the spread of the virus. Schools, universities, retail, and catering sectors were closed. Wherever possible, office staff were sent home to telework and, in varying intensities, laws and decrees were enacted to enforce physical distancing. At first, domestic themes dominated the headlines. The European public witnessed their respective political decision-makers, along with expert virologists and epidemiologists, discussing which steps were needed to keep the infection rates down and to maintain the safety of health sector employees handling patients. Western liberal democracies particularly were caught in the trilemma of trying to save the lives of its inhabitants, to mind the unprecedented restrictions for its citizens’ basic rights, and to ensure economic survival. ...
The purpose of this article is to evaluate how COVID-19 might impact the future threat posed by Salafi-Jihadi groups and to explain how the current crisis might re-shape the Salafi-Jihadi central message and strategy and in turn impact recruitment, tactics, capability, and leadership, and even doctrine. Salafi-Jihadi groups have found themselves in a dilemma as they have to reckon with the fact that Muslims are not spared from infection despite fervent prayer. If the Coronavirus is the wrath of God against the infidels, why is it also killing the Mujahedeen, and how do you explain it while still maintaining credibility to potential recruits? How do you maintain the Jihad during a global lockdown, where movement is curtailed and resources dry up?
To better understand what we should expect from Salafi-Jihadist groups in the future, the analysis explores three challenges that Jihadi groups will most likely have to overcome as a result of the current crisis: First, the challenge to their strategic mission and capabilities, especially relating to the operationalization of motivations for martyrdom and revenge. Second, the challenge to their ideology, faith, and religious interpretation of scriptures, with impacts on the consistency of their doctrine and “brand.” And Third, the challenge to their unity and ability to provide members with a shared group identity, which may influence recruitment. How Jihadi groups and their leaders address these multi-level challenges will impact their cohesion and effectiveness, and the credibility of their message. It may also have repercussions on leadership and control, which could determine the relevance of the group as a future global threat. The analysis suggests that Salafi-Jihadi terrorism remains a threat both in the short and long-term.
The cybersecurity policy of Switzerland is focused on enhancing competencies and knowledge, investing in research and the resilience of critical infrastructures, threat monitoring, supporting innovation, promoting standards, and increasing awareness – all in the framework of public-private, inter-regional, and international cooperation. The armed forces support this policy by developing threat intelligence and attribution capabilities, readiness to undertake active measures in cyberspace, and to ensure operational availability under any circumstances.
Cybersecurity in and of itself is not particularly new. Contemporary opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities, however, make this a challenging field. It is only natural that rivals exploit newly created opportunities. Conflict, in which adversarial relationships have a cyber dimension, is here to stay. Accordingly, societies must devise an appropriate organization to protect themselves from intentional threats. This article surveys Israel’s approach, outlining the origins and the evolution of the national cyber defense, prevailing threats, doctrinal challenges, and the role military services play in cyber defense.
The article reviews the UK military contribution to the national approach to cybersecurity, extending across the continuum of inter-state activity from peace, through cooperation, competition, confrontation, conflict, and war. According to the UK doctrine, the military performs active and passive defensive functions in cyberspace, offensive cyber operations, cyber intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and cyber operational preparation of the environment, and the response actions are not limited to just the cyber domain.
The article presents Austria’s cybersecurity policy, set in a whole-of-government context. It is comprehensive, integrated, proactive, and based on solidarity and cooperation within and beyond the European Union. Transparent governance, the cooperation between public agencies, businesses, research institutes, and the citizens, investments in awareness, research and development are expected to protect effectively vital information and critical infrastructures. The Ministry of Defense and the Austrian Armed Forces contribute to the national policy primarily through the Joint Forces Command, the Communication and Information Systems & Cyber Defense Command, and the two intelligence services.
Current conflicts are increasingly carried out in hybrid forms, including attacks on technical networks and campaigns aimed at influencing public opinion. The Bundeswehr has responded to this development by pooling its capabilities in this field and combining them in the new Cyber and Information Domain Service. On par with the classic service branches—Army, Air Force, and Navy—this service, with its approximately 14,500 members, makes an important contribution to the whole-of-government security provision.
Cyber warfare is a critical component of nation states’ military arsenals, and a cyber arms race has emerged in the absence of international agreements (norms and confidence-building measures) to limit the use of cyber warfare. One key impediment to building consensus on cyber norms and confidence-building measures is a lack of transparency in cyber weapons development and poor attribution of attack perpetrators. Recently, there has been improvement in attribution capabilities based on better data collection and the profiling of known hackers and nation states by intelligence agencies, and this should give impetus to efforts to establish confidence-building measures and cyber norms. This article discusses the need for, and challenges associated with attribution, recent advances that will lead to better attribution, and the collective responsibility of nation states in addressing these challenges. It suggests several initiatives to reduce chances of cyber conflict, as well as to prevent cyber conflicts from escalating such as defining clear processes for attribution, creating neutral bodies for incident analysis, and limiting the scope of retaliation based on the confidence in attribution.
The growth of Internet and innovation that thrived with it was facilitated by an environment relatively free of controls. Regrettably however, with its deep integration into the societal framework, the Internet has become a potent tool for influencing geopolitical conflicts, including interference in internal affairs of other nations, undermining national security, destabilizing financial infrastructure, and attacks on critical infrastructure. While countries are harvesting the social and economic benefits of the Internet, they are frightened of the threats it poses to national security. In response to these threats, countries are starting to tighten their internet borders and developing their cyber weaponry both as a deterrent to, and leverage during conflicts. A potential downside of such state-by-state regulation is inhibition of the rapid innovation that the Internet has traditionally fostered and the curtailing of freedom of speech that has led to the social integration in the society. On the other hand, innovation and freedom cannot thrive in a chaotic environment with rampant crime and lack of rules, norms, and ethics. With this in mind, national policymakers face the challenge of striking a balance between regulation and potential chaos on the Internet while at the same time promoting freedom. In efforts to strike such a balance of national interests, borders in cyberspace have an important role to play along with international efforts to build trust in cyber space and to slow down the fragmentation of the Internet. This article discusses how the cyber conflicts are escalating, how mutual distrust is growing, and how nation states are adapting to the constantly changing cyber domain.
This paper calls for establishing an arms-control regime in the Mediterranean region. It addresses the political determinants of such a regime in terms of regional relations and arms posture, and stands of regional and extra-regional powers. Resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), regulation and reduction of conventional weapons and small arms and light weapons (SALW), combatting illicit arms trade in the region and engagement of all the relevant States are imperative in determining the Mediterranean arms control structure. The main commitment of extra-regional powers should be nonviolation of the prospected Mediterranean arms-control regime, especially the WMD-free status whenever in force. For that sake, confidence-building measures should be adopted in order to build the three pillars of the regime: legal instruments, institutional structure, and monitoring and verification mechanisms. The Mediterranean arms control architecture could be easily crafted if it goes normative through creating a regional identity based on universal values, and supporting that normative transformation with a Mediterranean ‘Marshall Plan’. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) could be revitalized through the foundation of the Conference on Cooperation and Security in the Mediterranean (CSCM) at the governmental level to be the permanent governing organ of the UfM with a view to administrate the arms control regime in the Mediterranean.
This work is the product of a research, conducted in the course of the Master’s Program in International Security Studies and seeks to give cyber deterrence its deserved (non-technical) attention in the academia. It will focus in a first article on the concept of deterrence and its applicability in the cyber domain in general. The second part, in a later article, will scrutinize ways for Germany, as an important player in an ever more digitized international system, to approach a cyber deterrence strategy in order to bolster its national security interests.
Cyber space as the fifth domain is omnipresent and all developed states increasingly realize that international relations and typical domains of statehood change in the face of a global digitization. With the advent of game-changing technologies, traditional tools of statecraft, such as deterrence, seem disregarded as outdated in the national security strategy building process. Advanced states in particular depend heavily on an open and safe cyber domain but at the same time suffer from manifold vulnerabilities. The recent past showed that sophisticated cyber attacks have the potential to disrupt governments, economies and societies significantly and therefore pose a threat to core security interests. Deterrence, as classical tool in international relations, can help to bolster national security interests, even if the cyber domain requires some special considerations.
Therefore, the article explains basic mechanisms of deterrence in the nuclear age and in contemporary international relations, the legal framework of cyber space and possible ways to apply deterrence in the cyber domain. It aims to urge global leaders to thoroughly consider deterrence in the cyber domain as a powerful asset and to provide policymakers with options for action
Cross-domain Coercion as Russia’s Endeavor to Weaken the Eastern Flank of NATO. A Latvian Case Study
Cross-domain coercion is tangible on NATO’s Eastern flank and characterized by the use of derogative propaganda, fake news, financial assets in Latvian banking system, Russian-based organized crime and the military elements. This study on cross-domain coercion, however, concentrated also on the cohesion of Latvian population, existing gaps within the society and its susceptibility to be exploited by Russia. To acquire data for this study, the researcher conducted interviews with representatives of the Eastern flank countries, and conducted an extensive literature study. To determine the root causes of vertical division in the society, “5 WHYs” method was used. This research has proved that the presence of Russian minority and Russian-based organized crime (RBOC) minority can be a good base to create an unrest, and that Russia is able to influence the internal policy of a country when the Russian economic footprint exceeds 12% of GDP. The demographics and the cohesion (including vertical and horizontal divisions) of the society are factors determining the resistance of Latvia. The triumph of the populist parties during the October 2018 parliamentary elections reflect the trend that the nation is tired of the corrupt and ineffective government rather than it is drifting towards Russia. In a broader scope, it is expected that cross-domain coercion will increase and Russia will test the cohesion of NATO.
Deterrence and Defense at the Eastern Flank of NATO and EU: Readiness and Interoperability in the Context of Forward Presence
The paper is based on the discussions at the conference of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria in September 2018, sponsored by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and focusses on the NATO / EU posture in Eastern Europe for defense and deterrence. Special attention is given to the development of the Bucharest Initiative (B9) and its influence on the Western Balkans and Black Sea Region. Based on the defense posture and in the context of the developments in NATO (and EU) for improved readiness and interoperability, including with the partners, the authors propose a Program for Readiness and Interoperability (PRI), oriented to C4ISR area together with enhanced cooperation in education and training for the defined B9+ region as instruments to instrumentalize this cooperation and improve the deterrence and defense capacity on the Eastern Flank of NATO and EU, while at the same time strengthening the resilience to hybrid threats.