Russian aggression

Two interviews about Russian aggression and interference in the Western world. The British government reaction to reports of Russian assassinations in London appear to be too lenient.

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Secrets and lies

Spies, the growing Russian threat, political chaos in Britain and the United States. A less secure world? Discussions on international affairs in Viglínan (the Front Line), a Saturday news show on the Icelandic Channel 2 TV station.

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Masculinity

Few worls on stereotypes in a brilliant new internet TV series on LGBTQ+ rights by the Icelandic National Radio.

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Brexit and small states

Forthcoming chapter (co-authored with Anders Wivel) in the The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Brexit (Routledge, 2019), edited by P. Diamond, P. Nedergaard, and B. Rosamond. The aim of the chapter is to unpack how Brexit influences small states in Europe. The main argument is that while all small states are negatively affected by the British decision to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and thereby to effectuate the outcome of the British 2016-referendum on EU-membership to leave the European Union, some small states are considerably more affected than others. As a result, small states are likely to pursue different strategies to meet the challenges following from Brexit. The most prominent among these strategies are hedging, hiding and seeking shelter.

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Student magazine

The BA students in Political Science at the University of Iceland have published a new issue of their magazine. The issue includes a summary of a new study (published in Global Affairs, co-authored with Pétur Gunnarsson) on Iceland's participation in sanctions on Russia.

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Iceland and Brexit

There is considerable interest in Norway about the position of the Icelandic government on Brexit. A paper on Iceland and Brexit: Island and Brexit: ‘Icexit’ fra söknaden om eu-medlemskap?

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Why is the Icelandic conservative party against membership of the EU?

There is still an ongoing debate in Iceland on whether or not the country should join the European Union. In a new book chapter I make an attempt to examine why the Icelandic centre right party, the largest and most influential political party in the country, is against membership of the EU. The chapter is titled Iceland: The Dominant Party in Thrall to Its Past Discourse. The chapter examines how the party's firm adherence to its belief in the importance of national sovereignty, its Cold War ideological stance and its closeness to the fisheries and agrarian sectors have shaped its European policy and kept Iceland as an awkward partner in the European integration process.

 

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Icexit from the EU membership application?

Our paper on Iceland's approach to Brexit it out. The last Icelandic government and the current sitting government in the country have somewhat had a different take on Brexit than their counterparts in the other EFTA states and in the EU member states. According to prominent Icelandic politicians Brexit presents certain opportunities for Iceland and they have until recently put aside challenges associated with it in the public debate. We claim that the rhetoric in Iceland during and after the Brexit referendum has mainly centred around three topics: (1) how to protect Icelandic interests after Brexit, (2) how to utilize associated opportunities, and (3) what implications Brexit would have on Iceland’s pending EU membership application. The paper is written in Norwegian and titled Island and Brexit: ‘Icexit’ fra söknaden om eu-medlemskap? (Iceland and Brexit: Icexit from the EU membership application?). You will find it in a special issue on the Nordic states and Brexit in Internasjonal Politikk.

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Iceland's relations with its regional powers: Russia, the USA and the EU.

A paper of mine and Pétur Gunnarsson, who is a former student of mine, has just been published online Iceland’s alignment with the EU-US sanctions on Russia: autonomy versus dependence.  It is published in the journal Global Affairs. A printed version will be available soon.  The paper is a part of a number of papers published in a research project constructed and lead by Pernille Rieker and Kristin Haugevik at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). We assessed how a selection of European small states manoeuvre within the field of foreign and security policy, and within EU institutional structures more broadly. The key question of the project was 'Is there a pattern in how small European states adapt and adjust to EU foreign and security policy?'

 

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What is a small state? Why does it matter?

I made an attemp to ‘Define the Small State’ in the Annual Lecture of the Centre of Small States at the Queen Mary University of London. It was also my third Leverhulme lecture at the University.  Caroline Morris, the founder of the Centre and my host at QMUL chaired the event. and Methods for determining whether a state is "small" are almost as many as there are "small states". Smallness has been defined objectively: such as number of inhabitants, geographical area, size of economy and military strength, as well as subjectively: such as domestic and foreign actors' view of the state’s size and capabilities. Some also say that it is the state's own perception of its size that determines whether a state is small. In this way, states such as Monaco and Fiji can been seen as small states, just as Iceland is considered small in comparison with Sweden, while Sweden is seen as small in comparison with Germany. While a universal definition of the small state seems elusive, scholars must, however, take account of the difference in sizes of states/entities in each and every case study. Otherwise they are in danger of overlooking an important explanatory variable, that of smallness.

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