Every year, the Center for Security Studies (CSS) of ETH Zurich publishes a concise analysis of major developments in world affairs, with a primary focus on international security. This year's report "Strategic Trends 2010" covers four topics.
Trump and the Weaponization of Trade
Jack Thompson considers the consequences of the Trump administration’s new approach to trade policy. He notes that the current system is, in some respects, unfair to the United States and harmful to millions of Americans. He also observes that the United States is powerful enough to extract trade concessions from all of its trading partners. However, he argues, the long-term consequences of the administration’s attempt to, in effect, partially de-globalize the international economy will be harmful. It will make international trade less about rules and efficiency, and more about power. None of this will make the United States or its allies more prosperous.
Eclipse of Military-Technological Superiority
examines the advantage Western nations have enjoyed in military technology since the 1970s. He argues that this state of affairs is rapidly changing, as competitors embrace new technologies and duplicate or offset Western strengths. In his view, Western policymakers should act on several fronts to slow the process, while also adapting to a world in which they no longer enjoy substantial military-technological superiority.
Russia’s Eurasian Strategy
considers the emergence of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a surprisingly robust multilateral organization of post-Soviet states, which is not a Russian puppet, and which cooperates in economic, political, and military matters. He argues that leadership of the EAEU is a cornerstone of Russia’s strategy to reposition itself as a Central Eurasia great power. This does not signify a break with the West, but rather an attempt to gain more leverage in its dealings with the United States and Europe.
Russia’s Renaissance in the Arab World
looks as Russia’s re-emergence as a power broker in the Middle East and North Africa. Partly by reviving ties from the Soviet era, and by shrewdly embracing a pragmatic, opportunistic approach, Moscow is bolstering its influence in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria. With the possible exception of Syria, Russia is not displacing the United States or European powers. Rather, by increasing its sway in a key region, Russia’s approach to the Arab world is another way of solidifying its status as a great power.