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Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog

Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog

The Bigger Picture: China’s Energy Exploration in the East China Sea and Japan’s Security Debate

July 27, 2015 - 6:59am

July 27, 2015

Last week Japan released its annual defense review.  For the first time, it revealed photographs of Chinese offshore drilling rigs operating in the East China Sea.  The images reminded many of the international controversy that China stirred up in May 2014 when it sent the Hai Yang Shi You 981 offshore drilling rig (pictured below) into waters claimed by Vietnam.  The photographs reinforce the narrative that China is intent on pursuing its own interests,... Read more... Tags: China, Japan, East China Sea, South China Sea, Diaoyu, Senkaku, Shinzō Abe, air defense identification zone, ADIZ, energy, natural gas, oil

Why Borders Matter

July 23, 2015 - 2:27pm

July 23, 2015

Events in the Middle East seem to make some commentators and officials forget the fact that borders matter—everywhere, including the Middle East.  Most borders reflect the vagaries and irrationalities of history.  Sometimes they look arbitrary—history does not usually produce straight lines.  Borders frame states, and states are the constituents of the international system and order.  Borders bound sovereignty.  Their recognition implies acceptance of... Read more... Tags: Borders, Sovereignty, international law

The West Should Press for Democracy in Western Ukraine, Leave the East to Putin for Now

July 22, 2015 - 10:49am

July 22, 2015

Ukraine’s democratic transition has not gone as was hoped in 1991. The country has consistently waffled between a 4 and a 5 on Freedom House’s Nations in Transit scores, qualifying it as a transitional government or hybrid regime. It’s been 24 years since independence and the transition never really entered a higher gear, so it’s fair to... Read more... Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Freedom House, Nations in Transit, Crimea, democratic transitions, public opinion, Intern Corner

The Seven Deadly Sins of the Human Terrain System: An Insider’s Perspective

July 13, 2015 - 11:46am

July 13, 2015

The Human Terrain System (HTS) – a U.S. Army program aimed at helping U.S. and allied military forces understand the people around them in Iraq and Afghanistan – is dead. And anthropologists are dancing... Read more... Tags: Human Terrain System, HTS, Failure, iraq, Afghanistan, Counterinsurgency, Social Sciences, Anthropology