LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Jonny Hall and Hugh Sandeman

NATO has already done much of the theoretical work around the future character of warfare that will form part of its new Strategic Concept in 2022, the long overdue replacement for the 2010 Strategic Concept that was an immediate casualty of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. NATO is updating its policies for deterrence, elaborating new priorities for war fighting, and is working out how, in principle, the relatively new concept of multi-domain warfare should be integrated into NATO forces and operations.

As discussion within NATO and between its member states converges on the new 2022 Strategic Concept, it will…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Dimitri Zabelin

Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world. The rise of China has been a central issue to policymakers in the United States. Its growing role on the world stage politically and economically signalled that a regional hegemon is challenging the unipolar order of the US. The Asian giant’s influence also began to manifest in third-party institutions that shaped the post-WWII order for decades. …


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Vuk Vuksanovic

In recent years, the partnership between Serbia and China has been elevated to a historically unprecedented level. The initial foundation was set during 2008 when two watershed moments for Serbia happened: the independence of Kosovo and the global financial crisis. For Serbia, China became a suitable partner as Belgrade tried hedging its bets and rising China was valuable leverage with the West.

However, this partnership was upgraded as China became interested in Serbia, as, under the auspice of the Belt and Road Initiative, it saw Serbia as a strategically central country in the Balkans and a potential geopolitical and geoeconomic…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Christopher Coker

President Trump’s last National Security Strategy told us that we are heading into an era of sustained big competition “for which the West collectively is unprepared.” One reason it’s unprepared is that the United States has been so strategically inept for the past thirty years. It told itself a compelling story in 1989 that the fall of communism was a great historical turning point but looking back it was also a point that failed to turn (to quote a British historian writing of another event in the 19th century). Russia was not won for the West; China in crushing opposition…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Chris Alden and Kenddrick Chan

The COVID-19 outbreak has proved to be a critical turning point for China. Facing increasing global criticism over claims that it intentionally misled the world by covering up the true extent of the coronavirus, China has now sought to actively pushback against such criticism. This pushback, termed ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy, has been noted for its propensity to call-out and aggressively hit back against perceived criticism against China. Twitter, the widely used microblogging service, is the platform where this new brand of Chinese diplomacy is most prominent. …


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Rebecca Rattner and Bjorn Whitmore

In February, Joe Biden delivered his first speech to an international forum as US president. His message reaffirmed a longstanding commitment to multilateralism, diplomacy, and dignity. While Biden’s rhetoric may have been predictable — a first step towards rebuilding America’s global reputation — his audience was less so. Rather than start with traditional US allies or significant global powers, Biden chose to make this first address to the African Union (AU) Summit.[1] This symbolic gesture may signal a long-overdue shift in American foreign policy towards Africa.

Whether or not Biden’s timing was serendipitous, increased focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) policy…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Gidon Gautel

On March 18th, 2021, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage fired its four RS-25 engines for more than 8 minutes, burning through enough Hydrolox to create its own rain clouds, and marking a key milestone on the way to bringing American astronauts back to the moon. Just months before, China’s Chang’e 5 (嫦娥五号) probe bounced across Earth’s atmosphere at 11km/s, safely returning 1.7kg of lunar regolith back to Earth after a mere 22 days.

These are the dramatic scenes of the world’s two superpowers pushing scientific and technological boundaries in an endeavour to explore and develop beyond the Kármán…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Valentina Finckenstein

When, if not now, should the international community step in to lessen Lebanon’s suffering?

Prior to the countrywide protests which hit Lebanon in late 2019, the country had long sat on the periphery of the world’s attention. The political uprising and the detonation of 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port on 4 August, however, have brought eyes back onto a nation that has long been in a process of decay. The devastating explosion which killed more than 200 people, injured 7000, and left 300,000 homeless struck at a time when Lebanon was already experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Leon Mangasarian

Stefan Zweig lays bare what Europe lost in two world wars, revolutions and Nazism at the start of his elegiac The World of Yesterday.

“When I attempt to find a simple formula for the period in which I grew up, prior to the First World War, I hope that I convey its fullness by calling it the Golden Age of Security,” Zweig wrote.

His pre-1914 Europe’s set-in-stone permanence was swept away in just 28 years. The book, completed in 1942, was an extended suicide note he mailed to his publisher before he and his wife took their lives.[1]

Without security…


LSE IDEAS Strategic Update by Jonny Hall

This year, Joe Biden wrote in Foreign Affairs that it was ‘past time to end the forever wars, which have cost the United States untold blood and treasure’, and that if elected, he would ‘bring the vast majority of our troops home from the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East and narrowly define our mission as defeating al Qaeda and the Islamic State’.[1] Donald Trump also made an anti-war position a central part of his re-election campaign; as he declared in September 2020, ‘I’m bringing our troops back from Afghanistan. I’m bringing our troops back from Iraq. We’re almost…

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LSE IDEAS is LSE’s foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it.

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