Category: Articles

At long last NATO has spotted ChinaAt long last NATO has spotted China



By Aleksandar Nacev, Executive Director of the Center for Security Research

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Meeting of Heads of State and Government in London in December 2019, Alliance leaders asked the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to undertake a Forward-Looking Reflection Process to assess ways to strengthen the political dimension of the NATO Alliance. To this end, in April 2020, Secretary General Stoltenberg appointed an independent Reflection Group, and tasked the Group with providing recommendations in several areas that are crucial to NATO and its essence.

After extensive consultations within and outside NATO, including with scholars, leaders from business and the technology sector, parliamentarians, military officials, and government representatives from all thirty Allies, most NATO partner states, and numerous international Organizations, the Group presented its final report, titled NATO 2030: United for a new era, to the Secretary General.

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When an order endsWhen an order ends



By Alessandro Politi, Director of the NATO Defense College Foundation

This article intends to discuss three points: the quest for a new world order, echoing the one established in 1945, is pointless; what should be done when an existing order cannot be adapted, and how the transition to a different order should be presently governed, taking into account also the new US administration.

The solutions proposed are to: adopt a flexible globalisation model where shared responsibilities and decision-making are realistically rebalanced; to refuse a fragmenting multipolarism; to relaunch global sustainability by redressing social imbalances at home and abroad in order to tackle climate change and to phase out an outdated model of consumerist capitalism. The overarching global priorities are essentially two: ensuring human security vis-à-vis climate change (and attendant pandemics) and favouring shared prosperity, which means the transition to a fairer hybrid economic system where economic policies are fully accountable to the taxpayer.

Will the Biden presidency understand these two strategic priorities? In short, the answer is: in word yes, in deed yo, with a strong tendency towards a no. Political handicaps in Congress and American socio-cultural conditions may significantly limit the President’s concrete choices, reducing complex decisions to a zero-sum game with China and risking an economic stalemate that could turn into hot confrontation. (more…)

America’s military still rules the worldAmerica’s military still rules the world



Aleksandar Nacev PhD

Battlefields are constantly evolving, and modern warfare is quickly advancing. In turn, this is causing countries around the world to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into their militaries in the constant race to develop the most advanced training, technology and weaponry. The permanent pressure to have the best armed forces in the world is usually connected to certain geopolitical and geostrategic goals, and military force or the projection of this force is a very important factor in achieving those goals.

But head-to-head comparisons of military strength between countries are extremely hard to come by — which is what makes the Global Firepower annual rankings so noteworthy. Their 2021 Military Strength Rankings draw on more than 55 factors to assign a Power Index score to 139 countries. The ranking assesses the diversity of each country’s weapons and pays particular attention to their available manpower. Geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the size of defines budgets are also considered. The top power index score is 0.0000, which is “realistically unattainable,” according to Global Firepower. The closer a country is to this number, the more powerful its military is. But who are the top five militaries in the world? Let us take a quick glance over the list and the explanation behind the rankings.

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Returning terrorists threaten us allReturning terrorists threaten us all



Aleksandar Nacev PhD

What started in 2011 as a popular uprising against the Syrian regime escalated into an all-out war that engulfed both Syria and Iraq, drew in a suite of regional actors and world powers, and attracted an unprecedented number of volunteer combatants from more than a hundred countries.

Among those countries are many of the nations in the Western Balkans, from which more than a thousand nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, N. Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are estimated to have travelled to the battle­fields of Syria and Iraq since 2012. The significance of this number becomes apparent when you consider the context of the combined population across these small countries, a total population of less than nineteen million. The rates of volunteer mobilisation relative to the population size of the Western Balkans nations are far higher than any other in western European afflicted by volunteer fighters and terrorists. 

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Strategic Trend – In Serbia, the new government is already oldStrategic Trend – In Serbia, the new government is already old



By Matteo Tacconi*

On the 24th of October, the new Serbian government was announced. Led by Ana Brnabic, confirmed as Prime Minister, it is a national alliance between the only three parties that won seats in Parliament at elections on June 21: the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), dominating the political scene for years; the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS), its traditional ally; the Serbian Patriotic Alliance (SPAS), a right-wing, populist party that had never been in Parliament before. 

The government is made of 21 ministers plus 2 ministers without portfolio. With 11 women as ministers, it is the most gender-balanced cabinet ever in the region. But it will have a short life span. Just a few days before it was formed, the Serbian President and SNS leader Aleksandar Vucic announced that there will be snap parliamentary elections in April 2022. Vucic said it makes sense to couple regular presidential elections, scheduled on April 22, with the parliamentary vote. He also added that municipal elections in Belgrade, also planned for 2022, could be arranged for the same date.

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The West cannot ignore Ethiopia’s latest agonyThe West cannot ignore Ethiopia’s latest agony



Aleksandar Nacev

Violence in Ethiopia’s northern state of Tigray has escalated in recent weeks, with hundreds of soldiers and an untold number of civilians killed in a worsening dispute between regional forces and the national government. The long-simmering tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in Addis Ababa and leaders from the country’s northern Tigray region have spilled out into the open and hundreds of people have been reported dead. The escalation in hostilities has spurred a mass exodus from parts of the region, with tens of thousands of people fleeing over the border into Sudan.

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Cybersecurity basics more important than ever in the new normal of remote workCybersecurity basics more important than ever in the new normal of remote work



Blagoja Janakievski

In this new work-from-anywhere environment that we’re all in thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity, trust, and protecting customer data is more important than ever. We saw the largest workforce transmit transformation in history as everyone went remote almost overnight in March 2020.

The best thing that any business can do in securing yourself, especially as adapting to this new environment, this new work from anywhere environment, is to nail the basics. There are a small number of really important cybersecurity hygiene actions, so think about it in the current climate as washing your hands from a cybersecurity perspective, that businesses can do to really eliminate the risk associated with a lot of common cybersecurity threats. So some examples of this are enabling strong multi-factor authentication or ensuring that you’re rapidly patching all of your devices to it to inoculate them against known vulnerabilities, to prevent things like ransomware attacks. And then finally, treating cybersecurity like a team sport, building a culture of awareness in your company so that all the employees in your company can act like security trailblazers.

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War in the Caucasus threatens Europe’s gas lifelineWar in the Caucasus threatens Europe’s gas lifeline



Aleksandar Nacev

International concern is growing over the rapidly escalating turmoil in the South Caucasus, as fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues and is threatening to draw regional powers directly into the conflict, destabilising an area that serves as an important energy corridor for global markets.

The clashes that erupted on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border are threatening to push the countries back to another prolonged war 26 years after the last ceasefire was reached. The last Nagorno-Karabakh War took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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Crime and its Profits from the Corona CrisisCrime and its Profits from the Corona Crisis



Tamara Mitkovska

From December until today, we are facing a disease that took the world by surprise. The pandemic caused an economic and social crisis that diverted the attention of the authorities from crime. Police and the military are being used to implement quarantine, many businesses have collapsed and many jobs have been lost. Hospitals have been, and still are, overflooded with patients for whom there is no cure, and those suffering from other diseases have remained almost neglected. This set of circumstances is ideal for the rise of criminal activity around the world.

In the overall situation we are in, we wonder where are the additional activities of the police during the pandemic? Until now, they have included enforcing curfews, as well as conducting state quarantine,compliance with the orders for self-isolation, supporting the staff from public health facilities in establishing contacts with an infected person, specific tasks and responsibilities of border police officers, and so on. It is more than clear that these additional activities carry an additional, but also a very large burden on the already stretched resources. (more…)

Cyber Espionage and its ImpactsCyber Espionage and its Impacts



Blagoja Janakievski

In the newest operational warfare domain, cyberspace, there are armies of nefarious hackers from around the globe who use cyber warfare for economic, political, or military gain. One aspect of cyber warfare that needs to be looked upon more closely is cyber espionage. Cyber spying is the act of engaging in an attack or series of attacks that let an unauthorized user or users view classified of sensitive material. These attacks are often subtle, amounting to nothing more than an unnoticed bit of code or process running in the background of a mainframe or personal workstation, and the target is usually a corporate or government entity. The goal is typically to acquire intellectual property or government secrets. Attacks can be motivated by greed or profit, and can be used in conjunction with a military operation or as an act of terrorism. Consequences can range from loss of competitive advantage to loss of materials, data, infrastructure, or loss of life. (more…)