New publication: Political risk and the commercial sector – Aligning theory and practice
In a new article in Journal of Risk Management I try discuss connection between political risk analysis in the commercial sector and political science. How well equipped are modern firms to navigate the turbulent political world? And what can they learn from the study of politics?
The Arab Spring and the euro crisis have shown that political factors and events can make or break markets overnight, making them of increasing importance to commercial actors when investing abroad. Expropriation, sovereign default, societal unrest and terrorism are examples of political risks that have considerable implications for business conditions. They are also societal acts that political scientists have long been analyzing using a diverse toolbox of models, theories and methods. However, with a few exceptions, political risk management within commercial entities – in as far as it takes place at all – seems to rest on either anecdotal knowledge or crude quantitative macroeconomic data. This article tries to bridge the gap between risk management and the study of politics. It starts by analyzing the concepts and methods underpinning commercial risk management and continues with an investigation of contributions from relevant fields of political science. The aim is to contribute to the craft of risk management and the conceptual understanding of political risk.
The article can be downloaded for free here.
Sweden and the UN Security Council
The Swedish government is working hard to secure a seat at the UN Security Council 2017-2018. I argue that the campaign – emphasising Sweden’s independent voice in international affairs – might risk years of investments in the EU: s foreign and security policy.
18 March 2015
A letter from Stockholm
“The governing coalition of Social Democrats and Greens that entered office in October 2014 has presented a foreign policy agenda with a level of ambition rivaled only by the cost of its possible failure.”
I review Swedish foreign policy at Carnegie’s Strategic Europe blog. Read it here!
12 March 2015
The European Union and the Paris attacks
With some time passing following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, focus is being directed to the EU and its role in counter-terrorism. Typical suggestions coming from Brussels nowadays are 1) member states must send more and better intelligence to relevant EU agencies, 2) EU agencies must work better together and 3) EU agencies must cooperate better with actors in 3rd countries. Interestingly, these are the very same arguments that was heard in Europe following the 9/11 attacks, after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and again after the London attacks. Decision-makers in Brussels clearly are not getting what they ask for. Why? Because the practitioners (for several reasons) are less enthusiastic and because some member states are hesitant. I discussed this issue in an article (here) for Intelligence and National Security in 2010, but the problem is the same today.
Together with some colleagues, I also discussed what the EU could do in a resent piece, available here
New article : The Implications of the Euro Crisis for European Foreign Policy – Lessons from Crisis Management and International Trade
In a new article in European Foreign Affairs Review, I investigate the foreign policy consequences of the euro crisis. Two distinctive foreign policy areas are investigated: crisis management in North Africa and the negotiation of free trade agreements with the US and India.
The article employs an analytical framework that focuses on three key aspects shaping EU policy: capabilities, cohesion and context. The results suggest considerable changes in each, but not only in one direction: there are mechanisms driving policy in different directions which suggest a nuanced conclusion is required.
The overarching findings of the article, however, are that the foreign policy machinery of the EU has been rather resilient to the financial crisis but that great variation exists both between different foreign policy areas and between the different components that make up the EU as an international actor.
The article is published in European Foreign Affairs Review 19, no. 4 (2014): 483–502
Discussing the European Council and EU top jobs
Varför har medlemsländerna så svårt att enas om kandidater och vad säger det om EUs utveckling? Och vad har Sverige för chanser i det stora spelet om portföljer?
Essay on the EU’s global role (in Swedish)
Vilket EU vill vi ha? Det är titeln på en ny forskningsantologi som nyligen släppts av forskningsinstitutet Ratio. Jag har bidragit med en essä om vilka möjligheter och vägval Europa står inför som en utrikespolitisk aktör: Hur ska man bäst spela på sina styrkor? Hur kan man enas om intressen och värderingar? Vilken roll spelar samarbetet med USA? Och vad betyder detta för t.ex. förmågan att påverka utvecklingen i Ukraina?
Hela mitt kapitel finns att läsa här: <a href=”http://bjornfagersten.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Kap-4-Vilket-EU-vill-vi-ha.pdf” target=”_blank”>Kap 4 Vilket EU vill vi ha</a>
En debattartikel baserat på kapitlet publicerades i <a href=”http://www.di.se/artiklar/2014/4/10/debatt-eu-maste-enas-mot-putin/” target=”_blank”>Dagens Industri den 10 Mars</a>
Mer info om boken och möjlighet att beställa <a href=”http://ratio.se/sv/media/aktuellt/2014/ny-bok-vilket-eu-vill-vi-ha.aspx” target=”_blank”>finns här</a>
New book on the future of intelligence
On 23 March an edited volume is released on Routledge with the title The Future of Intelligence – Challenges in the 21st century.
In the words of the editors, “the book analyses the different activities that make up the intelligence process, or the ‘intelligence cycle’, with a focus on changes brought about by external developments in the international arena, such as technology and security threats. Drawing together a range of key thinkers in the field, The Future of Intelligence examines possible scenarios for future developments, including estimations about their plausibility, and the possible consequences for the functioning of intelligence and security services.”
I was happy to contribute a chapter titled European Intelligence Cooperation. My chapter offers general insights into the incentives and disincentives of international intelligence cooperation as well as an analysis of current cooperation structures in Europe and their background and challenges.
Read more about the book here