Sustainable Security

Security challenges such as terrorism, crime and weapons proliferation cannot be successfully contained or controlled without understanding and addressing their root causes. ORG’s Sustainable Security concept takes a comprehensive, long-term approach that encompasses climate change, resource scarcity, militarisation, poverty, inequality and marginalisation.

Publication: 28 June 2017

After Mosul: Islamic State’s Asian and African Future

After three years and over 22,000 air strikes, the Levantine ‘Caliphate’ manifestation of the Islamic State seems destined for destruction in 2017. Yet the revolt of radicalised Sunni Arabs is unlikely to abate in Iraq or Syria, with the battlefield shifting to localised guerrilla insurgency, increasing attacks within western states, and the opening of new fronts in the global margins, not least Asia and Africa. Such revolutions of frustrated expectations will be a major part of the geopolitical landscape for decades to come. Read more »

Publication: 28 April 2017

Trump, North Korea and the Risk of War

April has seen the inexperienced Trump Administration further escalate US military activities from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan and Yemen. Attacking Syrian regime targets for the first time sent a clear signal of muscular change from the Obama era and suggested to President Trump a means to reverse his negative domestic approval ratings. However, it is the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear missile programme that has the greatest potential to escalate suddenly and disastrously into a conflict of global significance.  Read more »

Publication: 3 April 2017

Sustainable Security in the Trump Era

Despite considerable disarray continuing into its third month, the new US administration is showing more consistent, if not coherent, signs of how it will try to implement Donald Trump’s campaign proposals. In large part, these may be assessed as antithetical to a more sustainable security agenda, given that they promote military confrontation, undermine attempts to address climate change, and are, at best, incoherent in their response to economic inequality. Little of this translation to reality is likely to endear Trump to voters or his party. Greater policy turbulence, at home and abroad, should be expected ahead of mid-term elections next year. Read more »

Publication: 1 March 2017

The UK and the Terror Threat

Read more »

Publication: 16 December 2016

The Border Security Paradox

With Donald Trump preparing to be inaugurated next month, his election raises the issue of border security to a new height. Much discussion of the issue focuses on Trump’s proposal to erect a strong protective fence right across the border with Mexico. This, though, is just one example of a world-wide trend seen in South-East Europe, the Middle East, South and South East Asia and Australia and now sub-Saharan Africa. While it has considerable implications for international relations, there are also doubts that it is a plausible response to the sense of insecurity that has become so significant in otherwise secure communities. Israel, as probably the best-developed example of intense border protection, is an illustration of how far the desire for security can go. While serving as a profitable marker for new forms of security, it raises many issues around the nature of security. Read more »

Publication: 30 September 2016

Taking Back Control? The UK, Europe and NATO

The briefing argues that Britain’s future international policy should correspond both with the interests and values of the majority and be based on principles such as democracy, human rights and social justice. With a declining US debating how to manage and prioritise its relationships with Europe, the Middle East and a rising China, and NATO stuck in a potentially cataclysmic confrontation with Russia, now is a crucial time to rethink Europe’s key security relationships. Read more »

Publication: 30 August 2016

A World after IS – Part II

As a diverse range of adversaries – from US to Russian, Iranian to Gulf Arab, Turkish to Kurdish – continue to advance into territory formerly controlled by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, the probability of IS reforming as a post-territorial armed movement increases. Evidence from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia and Jordan indicates how extreme Islamist movements have evolved over time in response to geopolitical rivalries as well as the marginalisation of young Arabs within increasingly fragmented and oppressive states. Read more »

Publication: 15 July 2016

Brexit: Whither UK Defence and Foreign Policy?

This briefing considers what the Leave vote and ensuing changes to the British government might mean in the short, medium and long term for the UK’s defence and foreign policy, including decision-making and accountability mechanisms, and the still-urgent need to build sustainable security. It looks in particular at the implications of the constitutional uncertainties over Scotland and Northern Ireland’s place in the Union, the budgetary implications of economic recession, the UK’s likely posture in relation to Europe, the Middle East and the wider world, and environmental issues. It concludes with an assessment of the implications of the Brexit decision, and ensuing political upheaval, for British decision-making on defence and foreign policy. Read more »

Publication: 24 June 2016

ORG, Russia and NATO

Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in 2014, Oxford Research Group has worked to understand what drives the greatest tensions in European security for a generation, not least Russia’s own perception of its place and interests in Europe and the wider world. Our Sustainable Security team has worked with UK analysts, media and decision-makers to encourage a more nuanced and sustainable response to the European security crisis. Read more »