Andrew Monaghan to give the Erikson lecture at University of Edinburgh

Dr Andrew Monaghan will give the 2019 Erikson Lecture in for the University of Edinburgh.

Friday 8 March 2019, 5:30pm

Playfair Library Hall
Old College
South Bridge

“Russian Views of War in the Twenty First Century”

The strong sense of competition between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia, often characterised as a “new Cold War”, has generated much discussion about the nature of the threat that Russia poses and the need for enhanced deterrence. But what is to be deterred? What is the nature of the military threat posed by Russia?

To be sure, the Russian military has, within a decade, been transformed through a major re-equipment programme, combined with reforms and thousands of exercises, and the establishment of the National Defence Management Centre. The results of this transformation are clear, not only in the fighting in Ukraine and Russia’s campaign in Syria, and the emphasis by the Russian leadership on increased combat readiness, but also in the increasingly obvious presence of the Russian military in the Arctic and Central Asia, and yet further afield in the Pacific and Africa. 

This lecture will explore the concepts the Russian defence community uses when discussing contemporary warfare, and how they compare and contrast to Western debates and understandings of Russian thinking. It will underscore the importance of geostrategy in Russian military thinking, and use this lens to sketch out how Moscow sees  the shifting international landscape and threats, and it will look at the strong influence of history on Russian contemporary military thinking, and reflect on the debates underway about the changing character of war. 

This event is free to attend but ticketed. To book spaces at the event please visit our Eventbrite page:

Book tickets for the event

Dr Robert Johnson contributes to Parliamentary inquiry

Dr Robert Johnson, Director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre, has contributed to an inquiry by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence.

The UK Response to Hybrid Threats inquiry is investigating the ‘danger posed by hybrid threats to the UK and how the UK Government is preparing its response’.

Dr Johnson’s report, ‘Hybrid War and its Counter-Measures: A Strategic Approach’, focuses on the strategic dimensions of Hybrid Warfare, and analyses Russian strategy and how the UK can employ new ideas to counter such actions. His full report has been published on the UK Parliament website, alongside submissions from the Ministry of Defence and other researchers.

The Great War in the Middle East

Dr Rob Johnson’s latest book is now available to purchase.

The Great War in the Middle East: A Clash of Empires
Edited by Robert Johnson and James E Kitchen
Published: Routledge, February 2019

Traditionally, in general studies of the First World War, the Middle East is an arena of combat that has been portrayed in romanticised terms, in stark contrast to the mud, blood, and presumed futility of the Western Front. Battles fought in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Arabia offered a different narrative on the Great War, one in which the agency of individual figures was less neutered by heavy artillery.

As with the historiography of the Western Front, which has been the focus of sustained inquiry since the mid-1960s, such assumptions about the Middle East have come under revision in the last two decades – a reflection of an emerging ‘global turn’ in the history of the First World War. The ‘sideshow’ theatres of the Great War – Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Pacific – have come under much greater scrutiny from historians.

The fifteen chapters in this volume cover a broad range of perspectives on the First World War in the Middle East, from strategic planning issues wrestled with by statesmen through to the experience of religious communities trying to survive in war zones. The chapter authors look at their specific topics through a global lens, relating their areas of research to wider arguments on the history of the First World War.

Booking open for UNSSC course on Understanding Non-state Armed Groups

The inter-agency programme in collaboration with United nations Systems Staff College (UNSSC) equips UN personnel and partners with theoretical and practical skills to analyse and understand the genesis and evolution of unconventional armed groups in violence-affected countries.

15-18 April 2019
Venue: Istanbul, Turkey
Fee: USD 2000
Enrolment deadline: 8 April 2019

Latest articles and book reviews for our Russia Project

Latest Russia Brief published

The fourth issue of the CCW Russia Brief is now online

Michael Kofman              
Rethinking the Structure and Role of Russia’s Airborne Forces

Nazrin Mehdiyeva           
Rosatom Set for Rapid Global Expansion

Richard Connolly             
The Russian Economy – Performance and Prospects

Julian Cooper                  
Some Aspects of Russia-China Military Cooperation

Henry Plater-Zyberk       
Review of Russia and China. The New Rapprochement. By Alexander Lukin. Polity Press, 2018.

Dr Andrew Monaghan has also updated the CCW Russia Reading list

VRF Mikael Wigell publishes book on Geo Economics and Power Politics

CCW Visiting Research Fellow, Mikael Wigell, has published a new book, “Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century: The Revival of Economic Statecraft”

Edited by Mikael Wigell, Sören Scholvin, Mika Aaltola; Published by Routledge.

Starting from the key concept of geo-economics, this book investigates the new power politics and argues that the changing structural features of the contemporary international system are recasting the strategic imperatives of foreign policy practice.

States increasingly practice power politics by economic means. Whether it is about Iran’s nuclear programme or Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Western states prefer economic sanctions to military force. Most rising powers have also become cunning agents of economic statecraft. China, for instance, is using finance, investment and trade as means to gain strategic influence and embed its global rise. Yet the way states use economic power to pursue strategic aims remains an understudied topic in International Political Economy and International Relations. The contributions to this volume assess geo-economics as a form of power politics. They show how power and security are no longer simply coupled to the physical control of territory by military means, but also to commanding and manipulating the economic binds that are decisive in today’s globalised and highly interconnected world. Indeed, as the volume shows, the ability to wield economic power forms an essential means in the foreign policies of major powers. In so doing, the book challenges simplistic accounts of a return to traditional, military-driven geopolitics, while not succumbing to any unfounded idealism based on the supposedly stabilising effects of interdependence on international relations. As such, it advances our understanding of geo-economics as a strategic practice and as an innovative and timely analytical approach.

This book will be of much interest to students of security studies, international political economy, foreign policy and International Relations in general.

House of Lords and Speakers Festival appearances for Andrew Monaghan

Dr Andrew Monaghan will give a lecture at the House of Lords on Wednesday 21st November, 4pm. Andrew will talk on: “Strategy and Mobilisation - Moscow's global view and what it means for UK national security”. The lecture is organised by the Oxford Centre for Resolution for Intractable Conflict (CRIC)

Does Russia have a Grand Strategy? Is President Putin a strategist or just a tactician, making things up from day to day? Strategy is about the creation of power, and with Russia increasingly assertive on the world stage, at war in Syria and challenging the Euro-Atlantic community, and UK-Russia relations at another low, it is essential to understand what Russian power in the 21st Century means. This session will discuss Russian power, the nature and implications of Russian mobilisation, and how Russian domestic and foreign policies are linked.

The lecture is free but registration is essential:

Andrew will also be appearing at the Chichester Speakers Festival on Friday 16th November. He will speak with LTG (ret) Ben Hodges on the question “What does Russia’s resurgence mean for Euro-Atlantic security?” Tickets are available to purchase online.

Lecture by Dr Andrew Monaghan.jpg

Annette Idler's Borderlands Battles published

Dr Annette Idler’s first book, Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia's War, has been published with Oxford University Press and is now available for pre-order.

The post-cold war era has seen an unmistakable trend toward the proliferation of violent non-state groups -variously labelled terrorists, rebels, paramilitaries, gangs, and criminals- near borders in unstable regions especially. In Borderland Battles, Annette Idler examines the micro-dynamics among violent non-state groups and finds striking patterns: borderland spaces consistently intensify the security impacts of how these groups compete for territorial control, cooperate in illicit cross-border activities, and replace the state in exerting governance functions. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with more than 600 interviews in and on the shared borderlands of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, where conflict is ripe and crime thriving, Idler reveals how dynamic interactions among violent non-state groups produce a complex security landscape with ramifications for order and governance, both locally and beyond. A deep examination of how violent non-state groups actually operate with and against one another on the ground, Borderland Battles will be essential reading for anyone involved in reducing organized crime and armed conflict-some of our era's most pressing and seemingly intractable problems.


Global Illicit Trade Summit report

Annette Idler spoke at the Global Illicit Trade Summit, hosted by the Economist in Abu Dhabi on 30th October.

The event was reviewed in UAE national Newspaper.

In Colombia, the cocaine trade has helped fuel conflict, as has opium in Myanmar. Sierra Leone has endured years of conflict funded by the diamond trade. The lines between legitimate trade and the illicit markets are often blurred, and there is a Robin Hood image of some of these warlords operating in combat zones.
— Annette Idler

New edited book from Rob Johnson: "The United Kingdom’s Defence After Brexit"

The United Kingdom’s Defence After Brexit: Britain’s Alliances, Coalitions, and Partnerships, Johnson, Robert, Matlary, Janne Haaland (Eds.) has been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

It includes a chapter from Rob Johnson on UK Defence Policy: The ‘New Canada’ and ‘International by Design’

Co-editor Professor Janne Matlary is a former visiting fellow of CCW. The book includes a chapter form Matlary as well as other former CWW visiting fellows, Dr Tormod Heier and Dr Jeffrey Michaels.

Russian response to CCW article