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PISM Bulletin

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Editors: Sławomir Dębski (PISM Director), Bartosz Wiśniewski (Head of Research Office), Rafał Tarnogórski (Managing Editor), Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka, Anna Maria Dyner, Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk, Sebastian Płóciennik, Patrycja Sasnal, Justyna Szczudlik, Marcin Terlikowski, Tomasz Żornaczuk

21 February 2018
no. 32 (1103)
Perspectives on the Development of Renewable Energy Sources in the U.S.
The U.S. administration’s policy on renewable energy sources (RES) is ambivalent. President Donald Trump says he wants to defend American innovation and jobs, but his support of fossil fuels and abandonment of ambitious climate policy hinders the development of the RES sector. The administration’s higher tariffs on foreign solar panels is supposed to protect domestic producers of solar cells and panels but could put a drag on growth of the industry in the U.S. Although further development of renewable energy in the United States is inevitable, China’s dominance in the sector will grow.

Marek Wąsiński
20 February 2018
no. 31 (1102)
Iran after the Protests: A False Stability
The protests in Iran underscored both the requirement for deep economic reforms and the tensions in the Iranian ruling elite. President Hassan Rouhani’s reform proposals may generate further tensions, and the result of reforms may influence the shape of the Iranian political scene in the longer term. Although the protesters criticised Iran’s engagement in Middle Eastern conflicts, it is unlikely that the authorities will decide to limit it. Yet, the Iranian government will strengthen efforts to ensure an EU guarantee for the nuclear deal.

Karol Wasilewski
19 February 2018
no. 30 (1101)
Italy’s Elections: Possible Results and Implications for the EU
On 4 March, parliamentary elections will take place in Italy. According to polls, none of the political parties has a chance to stand alone. What’s more, the likely coalitions would not guarantee a majority sufficient to form a government. The uncertainty on the Italian political scene after these elections will be a challenge for the European Union. The results may delay the EU reform process inaugurated after the Brexit referendum, especially since Eurosceptic parties will play an important role in the Italian elections.

Jolanta Szymańska
16 February 2018
no. 29 (1100)
Results of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review
The U.S. administration sees the current prospects for further reductions in nuclear arms as dim and has broken with efforts to decrease the role of nuclear weapons in American security policy. In turn, it has put more emphasis on deterrence. The U.S. plans to continue modernisation of its strategic forces but also to develop two additional capabilities to counter the potential of limited nuclear attacks. While it seeks strengthening of nuclear deterrence within NATO, changes in U.S. policy will complicate discussions on that matter.

Artur Kacprzyk
15 February 2018
no. 28 (1099)
Lithuania: Ukraine’s Advocate in the International Arena
Lithuania consistently supports Ukraine in the international arena while other European countries’ maintenance of ties with the Ukrainian authorities is gradually decreasing, in part because of the slow pace of reform. Both countries have intensified cooperation in the political, military and energy spheres, facilitated by the lack of contentious issues in bilateral relations. The Lithuanian authorities also expect their commitment to Ukraine will strengthen their country’s international position.

Kinga Raś, Daniel Szeligowski
14 February 2018
no. 27 (1098)
WTO Negotiations: The Crisis and a Path Forward
The XI WTO Ministerial Conference held on 10–13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires confirmed that the World Trade Organisation is in crisis. Representatives of its 164 members did not agree on any of the issues discussed, including the regulation of subsidies for agriculture and fisheries or rules for e-commerce. Some participants, however, announced the creation of working groups on selected issues, including the latter. These groups are to develop solutions that could then be adopted by other members. This could increase the chances of unblocking WTO functions in specific areas.

Damian Wnukowski
13 February 2018
no. 26 (1097)
Ukraine: Naftohaz Restructuring in Question
Ukraine has started reforming its gas sector simultaneous with its struggle against Russian aggression and trying to prevent the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would deprive the country of most of its current gas transit revenues. However, further reforms are hampered by the lack of political will among Ukrainian authorities. The slow pace of the reforms and a dispute between the government and management of Naftohaz have negatively affected Ukraine’s international image. These factors could lead to a situation in which gas transit via Ukraine no longer is considered a viable alternative to the new Gazprom pipelines, which would seriously undermine Poland’s diplomatic efforts in support of Ukraine’s opposition to Nord Stream 2.

Bartosz Bieliszczuk, Daniel Szeligowski
12 February 2018
no. 25 (1096)
Denmark Increases Its Contribution to the Deterrence of Russia
Denmark has announced a significant increase in its combat capabilities for NATO collective defence and deterrence. The Danes’ importance to the security of the Nordic-Baltic region may increase further with the construction of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, which could limit Central Europe’s dependence on Russian energy resources. This creates new opportunities for Poland to deepen security cooperation with Denmark.

Wojciech Lorenz
09 February 2018
no. 24 (1095)
The Political and Military Consequences of Russia’s Involvement in Syria
In December 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of most of the Russian armed forces in Syria, declaring Russia had achieved its main two political and military goals—keeping Bashar al-Assad in power and defeating the Islamic State group. However, because the situation in Syria remains unstable, this decision means only a reduction of the Russian contingent. At the same time, Russian diplomacy will engage in the peace process and activities associated with it, such as the Congress of Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi on 29–30 January.

Anna Maria Dyner
08 February 2018
no. 23 (1094)
Hungary’s Post-2020 EU Budget Negotiations Strategy
Hungary’s main goal during negotiations of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which are to start in May 2018, will be to maintain structural funds at the current level. Poland and other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have a similar position. To accomplish this, Hungary has begun building its negotiating position as a pro-EU country, one that respects the rule of law and is ready to increase its contributions to the EU budget and participate in the future European asylum system.

Veronika Jóźwiak
07 February 2018
no. 22 (1093)
Modifications to U.S. Space Strategy
The Trump administration has modified U.S. space strategy to more widely include the private sector in government-run space programmes, which could result in an acceleration of technological development and revival of the industry. If successful, the U.S. would strengthen its position as the leader of space services, especially in the face of China’s similar ambitions.

Andrzej Dąbrowski
06 February 2018
no. 21 (1092)
The Importance of the Peace Process for Colombia’s International Position
The peace process with the largest guerrilla groups in Colombia is one of the main challenges in its domestic politics. It also has become an important tool to strengthen the country’s international status and ties with foreign partners, which support the process. In this group, the UN plays a prominent role through verification of the peace talks and the results. Since it is a regular issue on the UN Security Council (UNSC) agenda, it provides Poland, a non-permanent member, the opportunity to enhance the Polish-Colombian political dialogue and makes it more attractive as a European partner for Latin American countries.

Bartłomiej Znojek
05 February 2018
no. 20 (1091)
The Future of France’s Defence Policy
During his first months in office, President Emmanuel Macron has been stressing that France’s main goal is to deepen military integration within the EU by establishing an exclusive defence core. Yet, contrary to the French position, the new PESCO cooperation initiative began for 25 EU Member States. Because of that, and due to French strategic ambitions, the need to maintain a large military presence outside the country and sustained economic problems, France will now approach defence cooperation at the EU level selectively. Macron’s priority is likely to be stronger bilateral cooperation with United Kingdom and Germany.

Łukasz Jurczyszyn, Marcin Terlikowski
02 February 2018
no. 19 (1090)
The Re-election of President Miloš Zeman: Consequences for Czech Domestic and Foreign Policy
Miloš Zeman owes his victory to an active electoral campaign, the endorsement of, among others, the largest grouping in the Chamber of Deputies (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens—ANO), and a misinformation campaign against his opponent Jiří Drahoš. The prolonged political deadlock connected with the creation of the Czech government strengthens the position of the president in both domestic and foreign policy. In his second term, Zeman will continue to focus on relations in the region. He will also devote much attention to relations with China and Russia. However, Zeman’s perception of the latter limits cooperation with Poland.

Łukasz Ogrodnik
01 February 2018
no. 18 (1089)
The Change of Power in Zimbabwe: Internal and International Implications
The 15 November 2017 coup that ended Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe raised hopes for a political and economic “new opening.” The first personnel decisions by new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa—nominations of military men into key positions—forecast a continuation of the country’s authoritarian course. Despite positive reactions in Africa, the new government will not be able to change the country’s international position.  

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