HCSS Digest

HCSS Digest | Week 47

November 20th 2020 - 10:55

The latest HCSS Digest takes us from Cyberspace to actual Space, from a galaxy far, far away, to geopolitical hotspots closer to home. Catch up on the scarcity of raw materials, agriculture as a strategic resource, the decline of multilateralism, and much more:

That "Galaxy Far, Far Away" is closer than you think ... In the latest episode of De Strateeg, HCSS Strategic Analyst Patrick Bolder and Joost Carpay, ESA team leader at the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), discuss the future of the space domain and why the great powers of the Earth are increasingly competing against each other there as well.

In an article for a special issue of Security Studies on maritime competition, Senior Strategic Analyst Paul van Hooft argues that insularity – precisely because it ensures US security – leads the US to overextend in other regions or be left with little influence. Read All-In or All-Out: Why Insularity Pushes and Pulls American Grand Strategy to Extremes here.

According to Rob de Wijk, the pioneering role that the Netherlands plays in the field of agriculture and horticulture is insufficiently utilized by Dutch politicians: “The agricultural sector is a strategic resource”, he said at the Digital LLBT Annual Congress 2020. Watch the full webinar here

Couldn’t attend the Mars & Mercury Symposium last week? You can now watch the virtual event, moderated by Han Ten Broeke, on our HCSS YouTube channel. Four speakers, among them HCSS Senior Strategic Analyst Jack Thompson, outline how global trends and developments have been brought into the spotlight and even amplified by the corona crisis, and the – changing – role armed forces have to play.

At the annual NIDV Defence and Security Exhibition (NEDS) 2020, the largest exclusive event for the Defence and Security Industry in the Benelux region, HCSS Deputy Director Michel Rademaker hosted a session on the strategic significance of the scarcity of raw materials.

Do Trump's actions set a precedent for other populist leaders? Rob de Wijk fears that may be the case: politicians like Trump and Baudet are all about sowing doubt, he said on BNR Nieuwsradio, and 'the worrying thing is that a large part of the population seems to go along with this.'

A recent HCSS report on Hybrid Threats and Hybrid War stated that the Royal Netherlands Army will have to play an increasingly important role in internal security policy, while it was previously expected not to interfere there. The intended change of course is not surprising, says columnist Bert Wagendorp in de Volkskrant: cyberspace does not have a foreign or domestic playing field, it is everywhere.

Europe and America are set to become the big losers, since we no longer have a clue what "multilateralism" and "free trade" – concepts we devised ourselves – mean for our prosperity, and our independence from China, writes Rob de Wijk in his weekly column for Trouw.

President Trump is accelerating the withdrawal of 2,000 American soldiers from Afghanistan, leading to disapproval from his allies. Dutch Defense Minster Bijleveld called it another unpleasant surprise, while HCSS Defense specialist Peter Wijninga calls it a 'very, very bad move’ on BNR Nieuwsradio.

Political party D66 wants an inquest into the growing influence of China in our education and economy, including the Port of Rotterdam – something Rob de Wijk already warned about during the 2019 Port Debate, RTV Rijnmond reports.

Job alert: HCSS is looking for a new Management Assistant – the deadline is fast approaching, so send us your resume before Monday morning if you want a shot at joining our amazing Back Office team.

And finally, from all of us: Happy Birthday to Strategic Analyst Dorith Kool – hope you had a wonderful day! – and congratulations to Assistant Analyst Giorgio Berti, who celebrated his birthday last Sunday – Auguri!

Patrick Willemsen is the Communications Officer of HCSS, in charge of all communication, PR, publications, social media and press contacts, as well as special projects such as the BNR podcast De Strateeg, Studio HCSS and the RAS documentary.