A Swiss University Looks At Global Conflicts

English: Main building of the Swiss Institute ...

The Swiss Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Strategic Trends 2012
Andreas Wegner and Daniel Möckli, eds.
Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, 126pp. 

Each year, the Center for Security Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology takes an unselfconsciously Eurocentric look at the major issues in international affairs. For those of us fed on American and Australian security analyses, it is a help to get an occasional viewpoint-check from a transatlantic source.

This year is of particular interest, as China is front-and-center. The first chapter of the work is “China’s Uncertain Peaceful Rise,” written by CSS scholar Prem Mahadevan. While Dr. Mahadevan does not specialize in China, there is some brain-tickling thinking happening here. Specifically, he describes China as being divided betwen the “Core” and the “Frontiers,” and the way he divides the nation is fascinating. According to his analysis, less than half of China – the traditionally Han regions – are part of the nation’s core. There are profound implications of his analysis, and it is worth understanding and debating.

Other issues covered are Europe’s “strategic weakening” (a fascinating read after the NATO success in Libya), regional conflicts in the Horn of Africa, the shifting geopolitics of energy (with a heavy focus on China, naturally), and a fascinating look at how the world of cybersecurity is being taken over by the military.

In all, a superb read with fewer pages than your average issue of Foreign Affairs. Download at the link above.

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