The Right-wing Terrorism Threat in Europe

The Right-wing Terrorism Threat in Europe. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Seth G. Jones, Catrina Doxsee, Nicholas Harrington. March 24, 2020

Amid growing concern about a rise in right-wing terrorism in Europe and worldwide, there is an ongoing debate about the severity of this threat. Analysis of a CSIS data set of over 2,200 terrorist incidents in Europe between 2009 and 2020 found that 69.3 percent of fatalities were from jihadists, compared to only 21.8 percent from right-wing individuals or networks, 6.9 percent from ethno-nationalists, and 2.0 percent from left-wing actors. This suggests that despite a notable increase in the number of right-wing terrorist incidents during the past five years, jihadist terrorism continues to be the most lethal threat to Europe.
Despite this data, the threat from right-wing extremists in Europe is still serious. Most individuals are motivated by the spread of Islam in Europe, concerns about immigration, and a desire for a “white only” society. An increasing number of European extremists have developed relations with far-right networks in the United States, Ukraine, and other countries—making it a global challenge. The internet and social media platforms will likely continue to play a major role in allowing these individuals and networks to spread information and coordinate action. Terrorism—whether from right-wing individuals, jihadists, or others—will remain a persistent challenge, necessitating continued counterterrorism cooperation among Western governments. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 35 pages].

Detecting Malign or Subversive Information Efforts over Social Media: Scalable Analytics for Early Warning

Detecting Malign or Subversive Information Efforts over Social Media: Scalable Analytics for Early Warning. RAND Corporation. William Marcellino et al. March 16, 2020.

The United States has a capability gap in detecting malign or subversive information campaigns before these campaigns substantially influence the attitudes and behaviors of large audiences. Although there is ongoing research into detecting parts of such campaigns (e.g., compromised accounts and “fake news” stories), this report addresses a novel method to detect whole efforts. The authors adapted an existing social media analysis method, combining network analysis and text analysis to map, visualize, and understand the communities interacting on social media. As a case study, they examined whether Russia and its agents might have used Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup as a launching point for malign and subversive information efforts. The authors analyzed approximately 69 million tweets, in three languages, about the World Cup in the month before and the month after the event, and they identified what appear to be two distinct Russian information efforts, one aimed at Russian-speaking and one at French-speaking audiences. Notably, the latter specifically targeted the populist gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement; detecting this effort months before it made headlines illustrates the value of this method. To help others use and develop the method, the authors detail the specifics of their analysis and share lessons learned. Outside entities should be able to replicate the analysis in new contexts with new data sets. Given the importance of detecting malign information efforts on social media, it is hoped that the U.S. government can efficiently and quickly implement this or a similar method. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 66 pages].

NATO Seen Favorably Across Member States

NATO Seen Favorably Across Member States. Pew Research Center. Moira Fagan and Jacob Poushter. February 9, 2020

NATO is generally seen in a positive light across publics within the alliance, despite lingering tensions between the leaders of individual member countries. A median of 53% across 16 member countries surveyed have a favorable view of the organization, with only 27% expressing a negative view. But opinions of NATO and related issues vary widely across the countries surveyed, especially regarding the obligations of Article 5 of the 75-year-old treaty, which declares that an attack against one member nation is considered an attack against all members. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 29 pages].

Re-Creation: A Global Strategy for Revitalizing, Adapting, and Defending a Rules-Based International System

Re-Creation: A Global Strategy for Revitalizing, Adapting, and Defending a Rules-Based International System.  Atlantic Council. Ash Jain and Matthew Kroenig. October 30, 2019.

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the United States and other leading democracies built an international system that ushered in an almost 70-year period of remarkable peace and prosperity. Founded on democratic and open-market principles, its institutions and rules have promoted global economic growth and development, lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, and advanced the cause of freedom. After three decades of largely uncontested primacy, however, this rules-based system is now under unprecedented challenge, both from within and without. In March 2018, we launched an initiative under the auspices of the Atlantic Council aimed at revitalizing the rules-based international system and reinvigorating support for its core tenets. We were joined by a distinguished group of former officials and strategists in creating a Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Peace, and Prosperity—offering seven statements that we believe are foundational for a revitalized international system and reflect the common aspirations of the human spirit. The principles are intended to provide a clear and compelling statement of values—a “north star”—around which political leaders and the broader public can rally in demonstrating their support for the rules-based system. But principles alone are not enough. We need a new strategy—one ambitious enough to meet the moment, and one innovative enough to fit the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. In this paper, Present at the Re-Creation, Ash Jain and Matthew Kroenig propose a visionary but actionable global strategy for revitalizing, adapting, and defending the rules-based international system. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 76 pages].

Vision on Defence-Related Skills for Europe Today and Tomorrow

Vision on Defence-Related Skills for Europe Today and Tomorrow. RAND Corporation.  Katerina Galai et al. October 30, 2019.

This report presents the European defence industrial skills landscape as part of a 12-month project on developing a common skills strategy for the European defence sector. It identifies the skills requirements of the European defence sector, and highlights the skills that will be needed in future, while also identifying the defence market dynamics and technological development trends shaping these requirements. These factors help highlight the drivers of changes in skills needs and scarcity levels, also captured here. The report then identifies defence-related skills gaps and shortages and highlights challenges with different sets of skills, in different defence domains (air, naval, land, space, cyber, complex weapons) and across the stages of the defence equipment life cycle (e.g. design engineering, manufacture, maintenance, disposal). The report also presents the general features of the European defence industrial skills supply, mapping the existing and planned EU, national, regional and industry-led policies, programmes and initiatives aimed at the sustainment and development of defence-related skills. Strengths and gaps in existing education and training initiatives are also identified. The report concludes by drawing out the implications of the industrial skills landscape for the European sectoral skills strategy to be developed in the second phase of the project. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 156 pages].

Trends in Forced Migration

Trends in Forced Migration. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Erol Yayboke. November 5, 2019

Global forced migration has important security, environmental, economic, political, and human rights implications that could lead to future global instability. Future trends in forced migration show increasing and deepening issues with significant global consequences. Although this phenomenon is disproportionately challenging the developing world, its implications are global. CSIS explored these implications in detail in its May 2018 report “Confronting the Global Forced Migration Crisis.” Building off its previous findings, CSIS releases this backgrounder, where it explores trends in forced migration and identifies innovative solutions to address future crises. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 50 pages].

Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security Strategy: Regional Perspectives from a 2019 Workshop

Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security Strategy: Regional Perspectives from a 2019 Workshop. RAND Corporation. Stephen J. Flanagan, Irina A. Chindea. September 25, 2019.

The Black Sea region is a central locus of the competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe. The region experienced two decades of simmering conflicts even before Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and Russia has used military force against other countries in the region four times since 2008. As participants at a March 2019 workshop in Bucharest, Romania, discussed, Russia is also using informational, economic, energy, and clandestine instruments to advance its goals of transforming the Black Sea, along with the Sea of Azov, into virtual internal waterways, where Russia can have the kind of freedom of action it has achieved in the Caspian Sea. While the Black Sea littoral countries want to protect themselves from Russian hostile interference, domestic political factors as well as the countries’ membership in or level of association with the European Union and NATO influence the degree of overlap and divergence in their interests. Under the circumstances, it is difficult for Western countries to craft and implement a coherent, sustainable strategy to protect common interests and counter malign Russian influence and intimidation, even as it is critical that they do so. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages].

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare: Social Manipulation in a Changing Information Environment

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare: Social Manipulation in a Changing Information Environment. RAND Corporation.  Michael J. Mazarr et al. October 9, 2019.

The evolution of advanced information environments is rapidly creating a new category of possible cyberaggression that involves efforts to manipulate or disrupt the information foundations of the effective functioning of economic and social systems. RAND researchers are calling this growing threat virtual societal warfare in an analysis of its characteristics and implications for the future.

To understand the risk of virtual societal warfare, the authors surveyed evidence in a range of categories to sketch out some initial contours of how these techniques might evolve in the future. They grounded the assessment in (1) detailed research on trends in the changing character of the information environment in the United States and other advanced democracies; (2) the insights of social science research on attitudes and beliefs; and (3) developments in relevant emerging technologies that bear on the practices of hostile social manipulation and its more elaborate and dangerous cousin, virtual societal warfare. The authors then provide three scenarios for how social manipulation could affect advanced societies over the next decade. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 215 pages].

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Heather A. Conley, Jonathan E. Hillman, Matthew Melino. July 30, 2019

In 2012, China and 11 EU countries from Central and Southern Europe and 5 non-EU members from the Western Balkans met in Warsaw, Poland for the first time in a “16+1” format to deepen economic cooperation in the areas of infrastructure as well as information and green technological development. The occasion was marked by the signing of “China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries” and the official launch of the 16+1. Seven years later in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the format has now grown to “17+1” with the inclusion of Greece. Nearly 40 bilateral deals were announced between China and partner countries, which included the opening of credit lines between the China Development Bank and Hungary worth €500 million, Croatia worth €300 million, Romania worth €100 million, Bulgaria worth €300 million, and Serbia worth €25 million.

It could be suggested that this region was in fact an early test case for the Chinese government’s 2013 announcement of its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions land and maritime transportation corridors stretching across and around the Eurasian landmass to Europe. Certainly, there was a strong infrastructure demand signal emanating from the region, which grew frustrated when its needs for new roads, modern ports, and high-speed rail went unmet by Western investment. Having developed the unique, mixed EU and non-EU 16+1 structure, Beijing could claim to be helping to “bridge” the EU and non-EU divide. It also gained a high-profile vehicle to channel a portion of the BRI’s $1 trillion in promised infrastructure investment. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Human Rights in a Shifting Landscape: Recommendations for Congress

Human Rights in a Shifting Landscape: Recommendations for Congress. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Amy K. Lehr et al. September 9, 2019

Human Rights are part of the American DNA. Congress has long advocated for human rights to play an integral role in U.S. foreign policy, with significant success. However, rising authoritarianism and the gross human rights violations taking place around the world call for immediate and stronger U.S. leadership and Congressional action. To that end, the Human Rights Initiative of CSIS worked with CSIS scholars, who developed recommendations relevant to their expertise that identify how Congress can build on its past human rights leadership to meet today’s challenges. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 59 pages].