HCSS Digest

HCSS Digest | Week 1

January 8th 2021 - 11:00
HCSS Digest Week 1

Another year, another Digest. From everyone here at HCSS, we’d like to wish all of our partners, friends and clients a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

If you thought 2021 would start out slow, this week’s events in DC will definitely make you reconsider. The Chaos in the Capitol, the Rumble in the Rotunda, the Hassle on the Hill – we haven’t quite figured out yet what to call it, though Defilement of Democracy comes close… anyway, enough content for a fresh HCSS Digest!

Well, 2020 was definitely a year to remember. We don’t pretend to know the future at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, but our Annual Report contains food for thought, as we focus on some of the 2020 highlights and on future developments in the world.

Environmental terrorism is on the rise and MENA-countries are particularly susceptible to and suitable for the use of this hybrid tactic. In a new HCSS snapshot, assistant analyst Femke Remmits and strategic analyst Bianca Torossian discuss the use of environmental resources and analyze the risk of environmental terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa.

To explore how future conflicts might unfold, an edited volume from the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) combines vivid imagination with thorough analysis of conflict trends in 15 fictionalized scenarios, including one by HCSS strategic analyst Lotje Boswinkel on China’s BRI activities in the Middle East. Directly download the PDF here.

What are the geo-political consequences of the surreal storming of the Capitol? EenVandaag Radio discussed the issue with Rob de Wijk and former Dutch ambassador Henne Schuwer. What right does the United States now have to point out democratic values to other countries? And is this a very nasty final twitch of the Trump presidency, or is this violence the start of a troubled period for the USA?

“The Republican Party has been too loyal to Trump for too long," expert on US politics and HCSS data scientist Paul Verhagen said in VPRO's Nooit Meer Slapen on NPO Radio 1, following the chaos in Washington. "These intruders are people who benefit from creating unrest and using violence. To divide the land.”

The decline of American democracy is now complete, Han ten Broeke commented on WNL’s Goedemorgen Nederland. “The sad conclusion is that the weakness of that US, the enormous divisions and polarization that has grown enormously under Trump, will be exploited by opponents.”

Trump now promises an orderly transfer of power, but Europeans who hope we can resume our old relationship with the US are deeply mistaken, commented HCSS strategic analyst Paul van Hooft on the ANP Expert Network: Reinventing the transatlantic relationship will be mostly symbolic.

Trump hoped that things got out of hand to such an extent that he could declare martial law and put democratic institutions out of action, Rob de Wijk wrote in his first column for Trouw this year. There was a lack of support within the White House, but as long as Trumpism has a strong appeal to the disenchanted and alienated, that revolution can still succeed.

Rumors of impeachment have been circulating immediately after the riots. On BNR Nieuwsradio, data scientist Paul Verhagen explained the various options to take power away from Trump, such as the 25th Amendment.

Job alert: in collaboration with the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), HCSS is offering a paid PhD position. The PhD candidate will work on the development, validation and deployment of a set of predictive models of violent conflict that enable the optimization of the efficacy of causal interventions under a range of causal, strategic, and political constraints using real world data.

HCSS is also looking for an enthusiastic PR, Marketing & Communications intern, to start February 1st. Are you a social media wizard? Is creating fresh online content your passion? Then what are you waiting for? Apply now to become part of our team and work on topics such as global trends, international security, cyber security and resource scarcity.

Last but not least: even though we’re sad to say goodbye to Angelica Francisco, we’re very happy to have Karlijn Velthuis join our team as the new Management Assistant. Welcome to HCSS, Karlijn!

Patrick Willemsen is the Communications Officer of HCSS, in charge of all communication, PR, publications, social media and press contacts, as well as special projects such as the BNR podcast De Strateeg.