Articles and analysis

Lieven passport photoAmerica's military is the only institution that can break the partisan deadlock on the worst threat the nation faces, Professor Anatol Lieven (pictured) wrote in the January 2018 edition of Foreign Policy magazine.

The precise extent of human-induced climate change is unclear, but the basic science is unequivocal, as is the danger it poses to the United States. This threat comes from the direct impact of climate change on agricultural production and sea levels but equally importantly from the huge waves of migration that climate change is likely to cause, on a scale that even the world's richest states and societies will be unable either to prevent or accommodate.

Yet for two out of the past four U.S. administrations, action on this issue has been frozen due to the refusal of a large section of the political establishment and electorate to accept the clear scientific evidence that this threat exists — and the Trump administration has now decided to remove climate change from the list of security threats to the United States under its new National Security Strategy (NSS).

Mass migration, on the sustained and massive scale that Western Europe is now continuing to experience, is creating tensions not just within but also between them. In particular, Western countries are already beginning to undertake 'migration interventionism' in the affairs of foreign states in order to curb the exodus of people, writes R T Howard.

Lying at the very heart of this new interventionism is the sheer scale of the current migrant crisis. The UNHCR estimates that there are around 65.6 million 'forcibly displaced' people in the world. Most of these are internally displaced within their own countries but around 22.5 million are refugees from their native lands.

The tribes of Central Asia predate the formation of the Soviet Union. They exercised influence in the five Soviet Central Asian Republics throughout the duration of the U.S.S.R. From the rubble of the collapsed Soviet Union, the tribes emerged as the source of power and legitimacy in the newly independent republics of Central Asia, writes Joseph E Fallon..

After Islam, tribes form the primary basis of self-identification for the local population. The tribal system of Central Asia is vertical, and, therefore, fluid. It enables an individual to have four levels of identity. There is the tribe. Above the tribe is the tribal confederation. Below the tribes are the clans of which the tribe is composed. Finally, there is the region of the country, which is the "home" of the clan or tribe.

While kingdoms and empires rose to dominate Central Asia, only to vanish, some within a single generation, the tribes remained. They offered obeisance, often reluctantly, to these various states, then lived as they had for centuries according to their own laws, and customs. The emergence of "the state" transformed tribes into non-state actors living as veritable "states" within the state.

The armies of numerous empire builders have swept across Central Asia. Among the most famous were Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, and Stalin. Each defeated the tribes, but none conquered the tribes.

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