Montenegro Officials Criticise Commemoration of Chetnik Leader (Balkan Insight)

The Serbian Orthodox Church’s plan to hold a mass for the killed leader of the World War II Chetnik movement, Draza Mihailovic, has been called a “provocation” by the Montenegrin authorities.

Macedonia PM Accuses Pro-Russian Forces of Planning Violence (Balkan Insight)

Greek businessmen allied to Russia are paying troublemakers to stir up violence in the run-up to the crucial ‘name’ referendum, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said in an interview.

Enter the Tempest (Justin Bronk, Royal United Services Institute)

The new £2 billion Tempest programme aims to both keep the UK in the combat aircraft business and secure for it a place in the next major European fighter project. Initial mock-ups unveiled with the announcement give some clues about design priorities, but funding the project long term may be challenging

Kremlin Launches Risky Pension Reform (Janis Kluge, German Institute for International and Security Affairs)

On 14 June, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced proposals to gradually raise the retirement age in Russia from 2019. The Russian leadership wants to use this reform to tighten its budget and boost economic growth. Despite the media distraction caused by the Football World Cup, there is growing protest against the proposal. Trade unions, loyal opposition and Alexei Navalny are planning demonstrations. The Kremlin has framed the unpopular reform as a government project that President Putin has nothing to do with. Nevertheless, confidence in the President has been dented. A clear social response could lead to a weakening of the reform and although the Kremlin has many instruments at its disposal to stem the threat of protests, it lacks the means to regain the trust it has lost.

Battling for Britain: the UK’s Combat Air Strategy (Douglas Barrie, International Institute for Strategic Studies)

The UK begins its search for a successor to the Typhoon with the launch of a new Combat Air Strategy.

What Works: Countering Gray Zone Coercion (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

The United States and its allies increasingly face challenges from state actors seeking to erode and undermine a system that has expanded peace and prosperity for 70 years. These efforts, variously described as hybrid warfare, irregular warfare, asymmetric warfare, or political warfare (and in this brief, gray zone challenges) are “attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.” 1 Drawing on a range of existing research, CSIS convened a half-day conference to identify lessons from previous Western experience with gray zone challenges that can help guide the United States, its allies, and its partners in their current efforts. The result of the conference led the study team to three lessons:

  • Identify competitors’ gray zone tactics quickly, respond boldly, and think ahead to the adversary’s “next move” and corresponding Western strategies.
  • Consider responses across the full range of tools, within and beyond the government. Relying on the military tool is too slow and often creates unnecessary crisis points.
  • Operate in concert with allies and partners to amplify effectiveness, bolster deterrence, and increase resilience of one’s own country when confronting current and future gray zone challenges.

The Afghan War of Attrition: Peace Talks Remain an Extension of War by Other Means (Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies)

If the U.S. has any real strategy in Afghanistan, it seems to be fighting a war of attrition long enough and well enough for the threat to drop to a level that Afghan forces can handle or accept a peace settlement credible enough for the U.S. to leave. After seventeen years of combat, no one at any level is claiming that enough military progress has been made in strengthening the ANSF enough for it to win. The most favorable claims seem to be that the ANSF are not losing, may someday become able to win with U.S. support.

The Future of Oil Demand: Peak, Plateau, or Plummet? (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Projecting oil demand several decades from now is a formidable challenge. Competitively priced alternatives, emerging technologies, policy prerogatives, and societal choices can all have significant impacts on the trajectory of demand over time.