In today’s era of unprecedented interconnectedness, cooperation and communication, all occurring under the banner of ‘Globalisation’, fundamental political changes are occurring. The Status Quo of International Relations – the supremacy of nation-states in explaining and conducting International Affairs – fails to fully explain the conditions under which politics is conducted globally in response to new crises. Such occurrences and challenges, caused by the rise and fall of changing ideologies, are already altering the recently established international order and relations between nation states.
The first semester at the Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre will focus on the investigation of the rising tide of populism and its possible impact on the current geopolitical order. A phenomenon in existence ever since the first days of Ancient Greek and Roman civilisation, it has manifested itself as a prominent political force that has the potential to change the current international structure and relations between states.
Although the essence of Populism is ‘simplicity’ when defining a complex political process, Populism is in itself highly difficult to explain. A combination of identity politics and internationalist ideas, it stems from the individual and how he/she chooses to be recognised in relation to others, and as a political force chooses to exploit personal grievances and historical memories to achieve its goals. Populist parties have also hijacked the social debate on many issues – migration, crime fighting, military involvement, foreign aid – and have successfully managed to steer political discourse towards these issues. In relation to International Affairs, Populism may advocate for an isolationist approach of nation-states towards global issues, while maintaining a simplistic, reductionist approach to crises facing countries today.
We aim to explore both historical and contemporary reasons of both the rise of populism itself, as well as its extreme and dangerous nature which threatens to drastically change the political arena in which states currently interact.
Following this, the Policy Centre will switch its focus for the second term to the role of emerging state-powers and their role in handling international crises. The establishment of groupings of cooperation such as the G4 or Group of Five, the success of the P5+1 group over the Iranian Nuclear Deal, and the increasing economic and humanitarian role played by such countries has highlighted the importance of recognising them as significant actors. Such nations wield decisive economic and political powers in their respective regions: be it Germany in the EU or Brazil in Latin America. Their role as both intermediary states and observer states, equipped with substantial resources, allows them to contribute to solving crises that seem deadlocked by conflict between the United States, Russia and China.
As part of our initiative to increase the King’s Think Tank’s connection to the student body, the Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre strives to include more students in the policy writing process, while providing a platform in which everyone can share their opinions and analysis on current issues.
On behalf of the entire Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre, I welcome you to the King’s Think Tank and to our events. If you have any questions or would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to contact me under: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are confident that this year will be the most successful yet for the Policy Centre, and hope that you will be part of it.
Stanislav Dmitrievic Skriabine
President, Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre