Twenty-one years ago, Western powers led by the US started to engage in Afghanistan militarily and politically to reform the country according to "Westernised" ideals. After the Bonn Agreement, two realities were created: whereas on the one hand Afghan society received aid from third countries which were actively working on the ground, on the other hand, the Taliban formed a parallel structure that matured over the years and eventually ended up regaining control of the country. Whilst one could think that systematic errors were the result of inefficiencies perpetrated over time, they were already present from the beginning and grew larger. In fact, the failure of nation-building started much earlier than the summer of 2021. As for the EU, it has never been the protagonist behind the short-lived democratisation of Afghanistan, but it targeted the country mainly with humanitarian missions. To understand the reasons why these missions were not successful and how they fostered a sequence of miscalculations and mistakes that developed either inside the Union or as a consequence of exogenous hurdles, it is fundamental to learn the social, ethnic, religious, geographical, and political context of Afghanistan.
Since February 24, 2022, the first day of Russian aggression against Ukraine, European countries across the continent have devoted themselves to being faithful allies of Ukraine. Some countries pledged significant financial aid, many donated necessary weapons, and nearly all have drafted sanctions against Russia. However, as war rages on in Ukraine it has all but left the front pages of newspapers in Europe in favour of the recent energy crisis, public tensions between the German and French heads of state, and the sudden resignation of Liz Truss. As a result, many civilians risk losing sight of the ongoing events in Ukraine despite their intensifying nature. Simultaneously, European countries have made fewer pledges of support and delivered less on their promises than they did at the start of the war (Ukraine Support Tracker - a Database of Military, Financial and Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine, 3/10/22). This report presents the recent forms of support that European countries have successfully delivered to Ukraine and the pledged support to create a conclusive summary of European military aid to Ukraine in the month of October. For full transparency, this article was finalised on November 3, 2022.
Western Balkans is a term that refers to eight countries in the Southern and Eastern Europe: Republic of Albania, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of North Macedonia, Croatia, and Republic of Serbia (Bugajski, 2019). This report aims to analyse Russian and EU influence on Western European countries, also taking into account China's growing engagement in the region and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Lastly, in light of these considerations, the paper provides some insights into the strategy the EU adopts in the Western Balkans.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping and revolutionising several sectors of civil society by improving efficiency and reducing costs, with the military and defence fields also joining in this AI revolution (Richemond-Barak, 2022). AI can be defined as a system that solves complex tasks through adopting human approaches, including learning, creating, cognitive thinking, adapting and communicating (Nadikattu, 2020). Much of the discussion about AI is focused on its negative aspects, ignoring the positive implications that it can have for military affairs and decision-making processes, especially in order to protect civilians and reduce casualties, as well as in organizing counter-terrorism operations (Richemond-Barak, 2022).
The desire to access the Arctic's vast mineral reserves has always been a major driver of international attention towards the region. The Arctic is believed to contain 1,699 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and various other fuels, equal to the entirety of Russia’s oil reserves and three times those of the US (U.S Geological Survey, 2008). On top of this, by 2050, it is believed that the region above the Polar Circle may be completely ice-free, considering the rate at which the ice sheet is shrinking and the multiplier effect of warming seas and surface temperatures (La Rocca, 2022). This potential development could further increase the international race for Arctic raw materials.