The relationship between Malaysia and China is not without conflict, though an outside observer could be forgiven for not realizing it. That is because Malaysia has long kept its differences with China discreet. One point of contention has been their overlapping maritime claims in the South China Sea. There, despite repeated Chinese provocations—from large-scale fishing off Malaysian-claimed Luconia Shoals to harassing Malaysian energy exploration ships—Malaysia’s response to China has been muted.
As we usher in a new year, what trends in terrorism are likely to dominate the global security landscape in 2020? Geopolitical realignments, emerging technologies, and demographic shifts will all contribute to different manifestations of ideologically and politically motivated violence. Much of this will continue to have a transnational dimension, with once seemingly parochial challenges made even more complex as a result of the globalization of violence. The threat posed by transnational terrorism in 2020 thus presents a complex mosaic.
It has long been a truism in American politics that elections focus almost entirely on issues of domestic policy while foreign policy is barely mentioned. As a result, we elect presidents with hardly a clue as to how they will handle their international portfolio. It is remarkable when you think about it because the US has long had the largest influence, the heaviest responsibilities (and costs), and the most complex policy agenda of any country in the world. There is an obvious risk associated with putting an unknown quantity in charge of the most powerful foreign/security policy apparatus the world has ever known. For most of our history, one could say we have been lucky — many of the strategic amateurs turned out to be quite capable. In the last election, however, our luck ran out — in spades.
On December 4, 2019, the New York Times reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran had exported ballistic missiles to its non-state clients in Iraq. The news is similar to Tehran’s activities in Yemen, where Iranian forces have sent ballistic and cruise missiles to the Houthis, its ally in the conflict, and it also mirrors Iran’s recent use of cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas infrastructure. To discuss Iranian missile proliferation in the Middle East, Aaron Stein, the Director of the Middle East Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, spoke with Fabian Hinz, a Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, about the reports and what this means for Iran’s regional policy.