Azure Forum Strategic Insights


The Azure Forum Strategic Insights provide regular applied policy commentary on timely national and international peace and security issues written by our own analysts or leading experts from the public and private sector. The series aims to focus on issues relevant to Ireland, small states and the international community to navigate an interconnected but increasingly polarised world.

Authors’ views are their own and do not represent the official position of The Azure Forum. These commentaries may be reproduced with prior permission from The Azure Forum and due recognition to the author(s) and The Azure Forum.

Please contact the editorial team at if you would like to pitch an idea and publish a commentary on a timely policy debate.

Latest Insights

Maturing national responses to hybrid influencing and cyber threats: A primer on Finland’s approach | Jarmo Sareva and Liisa Talonpoika | 02 March  2022

Strategic Insight 

The current geopolitical situation has highlighted the need for a comprehensive response to both cyber and hybrid threats. Finland’s model of comprehensive security also supports our overall resilience against these threats. The goal is to protect all of society’s vital functions through a collaborative approach involving authorities, the private sector, civil society organisations, academia, and private citizens. Read more…

Treat ransomware as criminality | Paddy McGuinness | 16 February 2022

Strategic Insight 

Paddy McGuinness lays out four recommendations to combat ransomware attacks. First, treat ransomware as criminality and address it separately from the conflicted and glacial diplomacy to address state cyber action. Read more…

EU CSDP mission reform and Ireland’s contribution | Aonghus Kelly | 28 June 2021

Strategic Insight 

Aonghus Kelly argues that if the EU wishes to become a heavyweight in international diplomacy, it must first focus on CSDP mission reform. Ireland must be forcefully involved in those reforms. Read more…

The EU doesn’t stop at the water’s edge: EU-India and the Indo-Pacific | John Joseph Wilkins | 28 April 2021

Strategic Insight 

This paper examines ways to enhance security cooperation between the European Union and India, with a focus on counter-piracy and cooperation through ASEAN. This piece is the revised version of the original paper produced in March 2021 for the EU India think tanks twinning initiative 2020-22. Read more…

Emerging AI governance for international security: The stakes and stakeholders of responsibility | Zoe Stanley-Lockman | 10 March 2021

Strategic Insight 

Zoe Stanley-Lockman explores the stakes of governing technology for peace, security, and defence, before identifying the stakeholders who have a responsibility to shape the emerging international technology order. Read more…

Identity politics, neutrality and the single European act referendum: Lessons for modern Ireland | Jack McCarthy | 3 March 2021

Strategic Insight 

Jack McCarthy contends that identity politics and extreme nationalism have once again emerged as challenges to modern democracies. He writes that for extreme actors and for the uninformed public, the Irish foreign policy of military neutrality is inextricably linked to a traditional concept of Irish identity. Read more…

Corruption, organised crime and conflict in Mozambique: exploring the role of international donors | Alexander Chance | 17 February 2021

Strategic Insight 

Alexander Chance explores the multilevel dynamics of the ongoing Islamist insurgency in Mozambique, arguing that international donors need to step up and tackle the root causes of the conflict. Read more…

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Critical technologies and the Indo-Pacific: The ‘digital Quad’ | Trisha Ray | 10 February 2021  

Strategic Insight

Trisha Ray examines growing technology cooperation between Quad members India and Australia. Read more…

Malicious cyber activity in the Covid-19 era | Steve Honiss | 3 February 2021

Strategic Insight 

Information security expert Steve Honiss explores the spike in state-sponsored cyberattacks linked to COVID-19. Read more…

Strategic autonomy as anti-protectionism | Jens Hillebrand Pohl | 30 November 2020

Strategic Insight 

Jens Hillebrand Pohl argues that  the pandemic has activated our imagination and helped us realise that there are certain societal interests that prevail over purely economic interests and that the benefits of collective action rely on trust and reciprocity. Read more…

European strategic autonomy: A trojan horse | Michael Murphy | 23 November 2020

Strategic Insight 

Michael Murphy argues that has strategic autonomy has been installed without roadmaps or metrics or justifying evidence bases. Moreover, it will be shaped for national ends and in the context of defence, it is about giving control to national defence champions. Read more… 

Covid and Europe’s strategic awakening | Daniel Fiott | 11 November 2020 

Strategic Insight 

Daniel Fiott writes that the pandemic has encouraged the EU to take its strategic autonomy more seriously and it has led to a wider reflection on what more the Union can do to protect its citizens. Read more… 

European strategic autonomy in the shadow of Covid-19: Three lessons and one conclusion | Ben Tonra | 16 November 2020

Strategic Insight

Ben Tonra writes that the pandemic has underlined the challenges to deeper security and defence cooperation while again highlighting its urgent necessity. He argues that the Union needs to embrace its own nature as a multi-sovereign polity rather than speaking the foreign language of ‘power’. Read more…

Global supply chain security after Covid-19: Potential Outlook | David Ramirez | 7 October 2020

Strategic Insight 

David Ramirez examines the economic and geopolitical difficulties countries face as they attempt to rebalance their economy and decouple from China. Read more…

Securing the common travel area in 2021 | Edward Burke | 2 October 2020

Strategic insight 

Edward Burke examines opportunities for Irish-British bilateral security cooperation in the Common Travel Area. Read more…

Trade and strategic overreliance on global supply chains: A new phase in globalisation? | Gareth Prendergast | 28 September 2020 

Strategic Insight 

Lt. Col. Gareth Prendergast discusses increased dependency on strategic reserves and supply chain redundancies in the wake of a global pandemic like Covid-19, arguing for a need to review the pooling and sharing policy now being advocated at EU level. Read more…

The rise of sovereign funds: Foreign takeovers exacerbated by Covid-19 | Winston Ma | 27 July 2020

Strategic Insight 

Winston Ma writes that the global tensions around foreign takeovers have been on the rise in recent years and are exacerbated by the Covid- 19 crisis. One major driving force is the emergence of a new set of powerful investors – the sovereign investment funds, which have become pivotal players in global financial markets thanks to their enormous capital base.Read more…

Combating low cost foreign takeovers of vulnerable companies in medical and strategic sectors in the wake of Covid-19 | Paddy McGuinness | 10 July 2020

Strategic Insight

Paddy McGuinness  examines the threat of foreign takeovers in strategic sectors. He warns that the use of new regulation to tackle this issue,  requires capacity, capabilities, partnerships and a culture which are not yet in place in EU Member States including Ireland. Read more…