Like most years in the 50-year history of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), 2008 saw events that could have significant consequences for international relations and global balances of power. These included the election of Barack Obama as US president; the brief war in Georgia, which caused the West to look at Russia with more watchful eyes; and a cataclysmic crisis in the world’s financial markets that seemed to threaten globalisation and even capitalism, and to herald a period of greater economic austerity.
Even as these events occurred, the security issues and risks that have been the core focus of the work of the IISS during the past half-century continued to loom large, among them nuclear proliferation and the relations between the major powers. In addition to these perennial themes was another set of issues that has in recent times risen higher on the international security agenda, including the security ramifications of natural disasters and environmental dangers such as climate change.
In its anniversary year, the IISS held several high-level conferences around the world. Speeches given at these events addressed all of these issues, and this Adelphi Paper offers a selection of them. The speakers were statesmen, senior military officers, high officials and international security experts. All were concerned first and foremost with the pressing issues of the moment, as their duties required them to be. But the fact that they also addressed recurrent themes testifies to the enduring nature of the strategic challenges faced by policymakers.
Contributors -- Foreword John Chipman -- Introduction Alexander Nicoll and Tim Huxley -- I. Global Security Dynamics -- Carl Bildt Address to the IISS 50th Anniversary Dinner -- William Hague Preventing a New Age of Nuclear Insecurity -- Francesc Vendrell Current Conflicts: Afghanistan -- David Richards European Armies: The Challenge -- Karl Eikenberry Europe and Conflict Resolution: Isolated or Engaged? -- John Chipman Strategic Survey 2008 Launch Address -- Oksana Antonenko The War in the Caucasus: Causes and Strategic Implications -- II. Perspectives on Asian Security -- Lee Hsien Loong Keynote Address to the 7th IISS Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue -- Robert Gates Challenges to Stability in the Asia-Pacific -- Han Seung-soo Charting a New Frontier: 'Global Korea' in the Twenty-First Century -- Ma Xiaotian The Future of East Asian Security -- Shiv Shankar Menon Keynote Address to the 1st IISS—Citi India Global Forum -- Michael McDevitt Asian Military Modernisation: Key Areas of Concern -- Jeffrey Mazo Asian Environmental Concerns -- III. The Widening Security Agenda -- Jakob Kellenberger Restoring Peace in Complex Emergencies -- Ronald Cohen Economics in Conflict Resolution -- Nigel Inkster Assessing Political Risk.