Vol. 7 No. 1 (2023): Global interests, polarisation, and territorial challenges
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a polarisation on a global level that is seldom seen in times following the end of the Cold War. Beyond the surface of alleged Russian unity, the dynamics of Russia’s political actions during the invasion, such as the declared independence of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states, has created new life and inspiration to several ethnically defined regions within the Russian Federation - regions which think that if these Ukrainian territories can go independent, why can’t we?
The point here is not to discuss Russia’s political future, but to make the observation that war and armed conflicts, usually taking place on various levels of intensity, do not only affect immediate and proclaimed purposes, but have repercussions on different concerned levels where political actors are formed and active. The global state system is from this point of view never monolithic, stable, or fully predictable. Instead actors are moving between levels, as the day-to-day situation allows for furthering one’s political interests. In brief, whether being a state or a sub-state unit, global politics matters, and sometimes creates issues that are necessary to deal with, being they an imposition from outside or an opportunity seen from inside.
The contributions in this issue of the Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies all give interesting perspectives on the challenges that states and territories inside states are sharing in dealing with the surrounding world. Here we find articles on an interstate, international organisation (ASEAN), on the possibilities of non-state actors in a less organised region, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and finally a reflection on the management of great power competition and meddling into internal state and intra-state territorial interests.
In brief, this issue reminds us about the complexity of this world - something particularly valuable in times when a simplistic polarisation is getting increasingly common in global analyses.
Kjell-Åke Nordquist, Editor-in-chief