Christian Bueger


New Commentary on subsea data cables

Together with Tobias Liebetrau I have just published a new commentary titled Beyond Triple Invisibility: Do Submarine Data Cables Require Better Security?

We investigate the question of whether we pay enough attention to the security of subsea data cables. Cables are the core infrastructure of the digital age, but they often do not feature prominently in security debates on national, regional or international levels. We argue that it’s time to go beyond this invisibility and raise in particular the need to consider this infrastructure in the development and peacebuilding debates, paying attention to vulnerable countries. The commentary draws on an article recently published in Contemporary Security Policy.


New article on the security of submarine data cables

More then 90 per cent of the worlds communication travels through the global submarine data cable network. Although this is a vital infrastructure we know relatively little about how the network works, how cables are protected and what forms of global politics they are part of. In a new article co-authored with Tobias Liebetrau forthcoming with the journal Contemporary Security Policy, we explore the current state of research and what political questions the network raises, ranging from hybrid threats and accidents to global governance, geopolitical contestation and digital sovereignty.

The article titled “Protecting hidden infrastructure: The security politics of the global submarine data cable network” is available as a pre-print on Academia. The published version is available here.


New article presents a model for changes in governance

In a new article authored with Tim Edmunds (University of Bristol), we develop a novel model to study change in international orders. We show the value of the model of pragmatic ordering by studying transformations in ocean governance. The article is available as a first view with Review of International Studies. Contact me to receive a free copy.

We advance pragmatist and practice-theoretical assumptions that invite us to emphasize ordering processes, everyday and informal activities, as well as experimental forms of governance. On this basis we develop a five-stage model of change:

Model of Pragmatic Ordering

The model integrates philosophical ideas with recent evidence from global governance research on the rise of informality and experimentalism. We then use this model to study the oceans, first zooming in on the changes induced by the arrival of maritime security and then second on the developments in the Western Indian Ocean.

As we show the oceans are not facing an emerging state of anarchy or disorder but are subject to a substantial re-ordering process. The model of pragmatic ordering is highly valuable to investigate the consequences of other recently recognized problems, such as extremism, climate change or cyber security.


New edited volume on maritime security

Our book Capacity Building for Maritime Security. The Western Indian Ocean Experience is now out. The volume, co-edited with Tim Edmunds and Robert McCabe is one of the outcomes of our British Academy funded research project.

In the chapters 14 authors, many of which are from the Western Indian Ocean region investigate the challenges linked to maritime security in general, but also in particular countries.

The book starts with an overview of the challenges linked to maritime security capacity building. It offers a framework for evaluating and studying gaps, needs and progress in developing maritime security responses. Seven countries are studied in detail: Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, Djibouti, and Somalia.

The book complements the best practice toolkit for maritime security capacity building published earlier. It is a must read for anyone interested in maritime security, how to best organize responses, and how to deliver capacity building. It is a major new source for those engaged in improving maritime security, ocean governance, but also provides new analytical thinking for the scholarly debate.

The book is available via the Publisher’s website. You can also contact the SafeSeas team or me directly to obtain sample chapters.


Oil spill in Mauritius

The oil spill that occurred in Mauritius this week is an environmental tragedy. Having been to the island a number of times. I was shocked to see the pictures of these stunning waters destroyed by 1.000 tonnes of oil.

Based on a detailed reconstruction of the unfolding of the disaster and our work on capacity building, I wrote a number of short comments. I also gave a range of interviews to international and regional news outlets, including with BBC Radio, Reuters and Deutsche Welle TV.

The MV Wakashio sinking, photo credits: Matt Tse.

In an article in The Diplomat I argue that in particular governments in small states need to see oil spills as national priorities. They need to undertake reviews of the national response plans in the light of the disaster. Read the article The Mauritius Disaster: Overlooked Dimensions of Maritime Security, published on August, 12th.

The Mauritius Times printed an interview with me on August, 14th. Read the interview in which I discuss the importance of learning the lessons from the disaster here.

On the same day, Today in Seychelles published a commentary titled Mauritius oil spill: Seychelles must protect its natural beauty and industry. I argue that Seychelles should urgently review its own contingency plans.

In addition, we published the a more detailed analysis of the response, whether and how the government was prepared and what questions need to be addressed on the same day as SafeSeas Commentary.

The comments were widely picked up in international news, Mauritius Times published further follow ups as did other media in Mauritius.

ISS Today publish a comment coauthored with Timothy Walker on Monday. The piece republished across African newspapers, focuses on the particular consequences for Africa.

The Conversation published a further comment that shows the weakness of the responses of the government and the industry. I argue for a public and transparent investigation of the issue.

A further contribution that addresses the regional consequences for the security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean, co-authored with Tim Edmunds was published by the Observer Research Foundation.


Commentaries on Beirut port disaster

In the afternoon of August 4th, a major explosion in the port of Beirut killed over 100 people and left thousands wounded. Given the importance of the port for Lebanon’s economy, the consequences will be felt for years.

Together with Scott Edwards I have written a series of commentaries that aim at contextualising the disaster and analysing its consequences for global trade and port management. We particular highlight the link to abandoned ships and containers, as well as the broader challenges posed by the trade in hazardous materials.

Our first general analysis was published by The Conversation, the day after the disaster. Read the piece titled “Beirut explosion: the disaster was exceptional but events leading up to it were not – researchers.” We argue to interpret the event in the light of the broader problem of abandoned ships and container.

Our second comment focuses on Africa. Recognising that African ports are particularly vulnerable, we argue for dedicated capacity building work to address the handling of hazardous material and waste crimes. The article titled “African ports need to learn the lessons of Beirut” was published by African Business Magazine on August 6th.

A third comment published with The Diplomat on August 7th, investigates the consequences for Southeast Asia, arguing that ports in the region have struggled in the past and now need to step up there game. Read “The Beirut Disaster Is a Wake-up Call for Southeast Asia. The devastating explosion in Beirut reminds us how vulnerable Southeast Asian ports might be.”


New article on blue crimes

Much confusion surrounds the question what kind of crimes at sea do need attention. The UN Security Council struggled with this question, as does the larger maritime security discourse. To offer new foundations, we offer in a new article a matrix for how to organise the debate. We propose the concept of blue crime as a way of thinking and organising the discussion on transnational organised crime at sea in a new article published with Marine Policy. It is one of the outcome of our TOCAS project and co-authored with Tim Edmunds. Read it here.


What are the peace and security challenges of the maritime?

A new handbook chapter that I co-authored with Dr. Jessica Larsen from the Danish Institute of International Studies in Copenhagen, provides an overview and synthesis of the challenges that security, development and peace policies face at sea.

Published in a new handbook on Peace, Security and Development the chapter discusses different manifestations of blue crime, the responses to it, and emerging topic areas, such as port security, critical infrastructures at sea or environmental crime. The chapter makes a strong claim for paying more attention to the intersections of blue crimes and calls for more interdisciplinary connections. The Chapter is available here. For a free copy please contact me.


Is field work the answer? New pre-print on methodology

A couple of years back I wrote a paper about ‘field work’. It was written for a workshop on political ethnography and was a reflection on my then ongoing research on counter-piracy governance. Arguing that ‘field work’ is not the right term for what I as well as many others are engaged in, the paper explores problems such as multi-sitedness, time, proximity and experimentation. The edition of the workshop that contains the chapter is now forthcoming. Read it as pre-print here.