Security Council (SC)

Security Council (SC)

Topic 1: Is remilitarisation inevitable in twenty-first-century Europe?

 

At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO expressed its concerns over what it deemed to be Russian aggression and reiterated its commitment to defending its allies. While member States are increasing their military presence near to the Russian border, Russia sees these actions as a threat. Although experts and scholars talk about an era of “new wars” in which the concept of conventional, symmetric warfare is a thing of the past and non-State actors and internal threats are the security issues of the future, States around the world continue to enhance their military capabilities. This is especially true in Europe. In May 2015, Russia introduced its T-14 Armata tank to the world, creating a new generation of Main Battle Tanks. In response, Germany and France are thought to be working on a new generation of the well-known Leopard tank. In October 2016, Russia moved Iskander missiles into Kaliningrad, which was the first time nuclear-capable missiles have been deployed to the Baltic enclave. The Russian air force has also increased flights near the border with the EU.

Meanwhile, military spending by NATO and European countries has increased. While talks of a joint European army and military exercises between the allied states are becoming more common, thousands of troops from across Europe are being deployed to their eastern border, to serve as a deterrent to Russia and to strengthen their commitment to their allies. Europe is rearming. While the EU, NATO and Russia say they are responding to the other side’s aggression and external threats, millions of people are left wondering whether this seemingly inevitable remilitarisation of the continent in the 21st century could lead to a new Cold War or something else.

 

Topic 2: Ongoing Tensions in the South China Sea

 

The South China Sea (SCS) is one of the main conflict zones in terms of geopolitics in East Asia. Seven nations (China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei) are currently involved in numerous territorial disputes, mainly with China.

The territorial disputes involve existing islands as well as artificial islands or artificial extensions of islands built by China. The issue centres on maritime rights determined by territorial sovereignty (12 nautical miles from a national coast) in Exclusive Economic Zones (200 nautical miles from a national coast), and on who can claim such rights and for what kind of island – artificial or not. The area is of high geopolitical importance due to its strategic position within world trade, suspected oil and gas fields and profitable fish stocks. Recently, the Philippines brought the issue to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which discredited China’s claims. China, however, officially declared that it will not acknowledge the court’s ruling. And yet the ongoing tensions continue to destabilise the area, triggering open disputes and confrontations with all parties involved, including the United States, as well as underlying issues of regional hegemony and global influence.

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