Letter from the Directors
We look back on 2023, a year in which tensions and conflicts captured the strategic space in ISDP’s focus areas, making headlines around the world.
The situation in Asia has been challenging with the growing tensions between China and the U.S. We have also seen increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan, with military provocations becoming the new normal, which could intensify further after the national election in Taiwan in January 2024.
North Korea has slowly emerged out of its selfimposed isolation, and Pyongyang and Moscow have initiated an unprecedented level of cooperation, not least seen in the arms sales from North Korea to Russia, something that will have a detrimental impact on the security of Europe and Ukraine.
Evidence of the use of North Korean weapons by Hamas in their terrorist attack on Israel further reveals North Korea’s capacity to evade sanctions.
The continued Russian invasion of Ukraine and the terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, combined with tensions in Asia and Africa, highlight the volatile and precarious geopolitical situation we face internationally. The international community, and not least the trans-Atlantic partners, must further strengthen their cooperation and ensure stronger cooperation within NATO and democratically based supply chains.
Central Asia and the Caucasus continue to face an increasingly difficult geopolitical environment. These states have distanced themselves as much as possible from Russia’s war and tried to turn to external powers while increasing their cooperation with each other.
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have worked to increase the transportation of energy and goods from Central Asia across the Caspian Sea. In addition, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have rapidly expanded their bilateral relations.
Turkey has also become a player to be reckoned with in security and military matters in the region. Turkish support for Azerbaijan allowed for the restoration of the country’s control over the territories formerly occupied by Armenia in 2020 and the assertion of Azerbaijan’s control over the rest of Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2023.
There is an urgent need for solid analysis, indepth discussions, and dialogue in all these areas.
ISDP has continued to provide timely analysis and platforms for discussion and debate, bridging the gap between academia and policymakers. In 2024, we look forward to deepening our collaboration with sponsors and partners, engaging in constructive dialogues, and staying in touch with our readership, event, and social media audience.
Niklas Swanström &
Svante E. Cornell