What does the end of the Merkel era mean for Europe? How do we successfully apply climate adaptation? Should the Netherlands boycott the Winter Olympics? Could the escalating situation in Ukraine lead to a gascrisis in the EU? Find out in the new HCSS Digest.
Since Winter is Coming and Christmas is right around the corner, it’s time to cozy up by the fireplace with our analysts and a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate. Or at least, with their book recommendations… This year we’ve got you covered again with the HCSS Christmas Bookshelf – offering you the finest reading recommendations from our experts.
Defense & Security
European states are facing an increasing threat from missiles and aircraft. Interacting geopolitical and technological trends have both made these weapons more effective and increased the scenarios in which aggressors could find use for them. This underlines the need for better and more integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), conclude Lotje Boswinkel and Paul van Hooft in their latest report: Surviving The Deadly Skies.
For the second time in two weeks, US intelligence agencies warned of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia keeps repeating that the troops are purely intended for military exercises on its own territory. But Moscow, Washington and Kiev are playing a geopolitical chess game, HCSS defense expert Peter Wijninga explained on NOS nieuws: “All parties have underlying goals for what information they release”.
Russian pressure on Ukraine’s border is mounting, but how realistic is another war between the neighboring countries? What will be the consequences? HCSS director of political affairs Han ten Broeke spoke about it on talkshow Op1: “Putin will achieve the opposite of what he wants.”
May the Force be with us: in a new episode of the podcast ‘Delta Tango’, HCSS defense specialist Patrick Bolder discusses how the Dutch armed forces are preparing for a possible arms race in space: “The Netherlands is not prepared for space war.”
According to China analyst Joris Teer, there isn’t enough attention yet for European investments in and collaborations with China. “Foreign investments being looked at now,” he responded to an investigation by Argos and Datenna. “But how do European governments prevent unwanted technology transfer, for example in the military domain, from taking place through joint venture structures or university collaborations?”
HCSS subject matter expert Patrick Bolder was one of the advisors consulted for the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV)’s new report “Autonomous weapon systems: The importance of regulating and investing”.
Geopolitics & International Relations
Sanctions against Russia are difficult, Rob de Wijk explained on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland: “Putin mainly wants to enforce a kind of neutral ‘buffer zone’ around Russia. The big question is what America can do”.
More and more countries are boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in China because of human rights violations. Should the Netherlands join in? “You can only do that in a EU context,” Rob de Wijk said on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland: “It’s just a symbolic measure anyway, because it will have no effect whatsoever on Xi Jinping’s policy towards Uyghurs.”
On NPO 1’s talkshow M, Rob de Wijk repeated the sentiment: “If you want to boycott the Olympics, and make a statement to China about its treatment of the Uyghurs, it can only be done in a broader EU context. A small country like the Netherlands will leave absolutely no impression.”
Russia and the West are turning red, screaming and cursing at each other like in a bad Netflix Christmas with the Neighbors movie. How can we mend the relationship? Do eternal optimists Boekestijn & De Wijk have an answer? Or should we listen to their guest on this week’s podcast, former NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer?
Crown princess Amalia joined the Council of State this week, the highest body that advises the Dutch government and parliament in the field of legislation. A special and historic moment, Han ten Broeke commented on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland: “If those two come together, it’s a very nice moment, a very special moment for us as a country.”
We haven’t made much progress since the end of the Cold War. Putin still cannot bear the loss of Ukraine and continues to regard the country as part of Russia. It is therefore time to think about a new European security order, writes Rob de Wijk in his weekly column for Trouw.
Schaffen Wir Das Ohne Mutti?
She ruled as Chancellor for 16 years and was the figurehead of Germany – and the EU. What does the end of Angela Merkel’s era mean for Europe? HCSS director of political affairs Han ten Broeke discussed her heritage and the future for Germany and the EU on BNR Nieuwsradio.
“Merkel has actually been a crisis chancellor,” HCSS director of political affairs Han ten Broeke commented on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland. “Not only for Germany, but especially for Europe: the financial crisis, the banking crisis, Greece.” Merkel got a lot done. But the question is whether Germany, now led by Scholz, can continue to invest generously in Europe.”
Climate, Energy & Resources
How do we put the fine words of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference into action? How do we successfully apply climate adaptation? You can hear it in the new episode of our podcast De Strateeg on BNR Nieuwsradio, with HCSS strategic analyst Laura Birkman and water envoy Henk Ovink, in conversation with Paul van Liempt.
The development of hydrogen is happening at lightning speed and is certainly no longer a futuristic topic. The new book “Hydrogen Rocks” tells you all about what is currenty possible and feasible with hydrogen solutions. HCSS experts Lucia van Geuns and Michel Rademaker contributed a chapter on “Energy and Geopolitics”. The book is now available for free (PDF).
Could the escalating situation in Ukraine lead to a gascrisis in the EU? Europe currently really has no alternatives to Russian gas, HCSS energy expert Jilles van den Beukel explained in Financieele Dagblad. Russia exported about 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe in 2019. This year it will come out at about 185 billion cubic meters. “If you see that 15 billion less already has such an impact on the market, then it’s clear what would happen if the entire transit through Ukraine were to stop.”
According to Rob de Wijk, a bad image is spread of the agricultural sector, he commented in an interview for VanColland magazine: “We need to stop just debating about nitrogen levels and environmental regulations, and start with a strategic vision of the agricultural sector and look at the untapped opportunities that lie ahead.
This week, the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership turned 2-years old. It was launched at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva on 5 December 2019 to mitigate and address water crisis. To celebrate this milestone, WPS introduced a restyle and new functionalities to the website, as well as launching the free WPS E-learning course, open to anyone interested.
In the Netherlands, insufficient thought is given to the consequences of policy and legislation, Rob de Wijk mused on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland. The problems with Schiphol Airport and environmental regulations is another prime example of that : “We have never had a fundamental discussion about the future of agriculture and the energy transition, for instance. That is gross negligence.”
Cyber Policy & Resilience
Curious about the new challenges to cyberstability? Want to know more about international cyber initiatives? The edited volume of the GCSC Cyberstability Paper Series “New Conditions and Constellations in Cyber” is finally here – including 6 new papers:
- The Pro and Contra of an Incidents at Sea Agreement for Cyberspace: Benjamin Bahney, Jonathan Reiber and Brandon Williams argue that The Incidents at Sea Agreement is a Poor Model for Cyberspace, while Alexander Klimburg transposes the Incidents at Sea Agreement to cyberspace as a thought experiment.
- Anriette Esterhuysen and Wim Degezelle explore the future of the IGF. Having provided the largest, most diverse and inclusive platform for open dialogue on internet-related policy issues for over fifteen years, it now faces new proposals. Should the IGF mandate be reviewed? Are current efforts to evolve it going in the right direction? Should the IGF continue to diversity or consolidate?
- As we concluded our IGF event on the public core of the Internet, Danny McPherson explores one of its core components: the Internet’s routing system, the threats, vulnerabilities and mitigating mechanisms. Can Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) be a solution? What would be the challenges to its implementation?
- Christopher Painter believes that “despite the growing number of cyber capacity-building projects, the field is still chronically under-resourced and under prioritized.” He offers recommendations for promoting it as a global priority, both within and outside of the UN, to increase resources and link it to the SDGs and OECD DAC, and finally to strengthen coordination mechanisms through the GFCE and by leveraging regional efforts.
- Estonian Ambassador for Cyber Diplomacy Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar shares unique insights into the UN Group of Governmental Expert process since its very start and expands on internal and external events that transformed this group into a principal norm-making vehicle for responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
- As the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Cyber reconvenes again this week, Wolfgang Kleinwächteroffers recommendations on what “appropriate involvement of non-governmental stakeholders” can look like in this process. Informed by Internet-related policy, three options are considered: informal consultations, speaking rights in regular sessions, and the establishment of a non-state advisory committee.