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  • Author: Ryan C. Berg
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: urbulent politics and a deep shakeup in Brasilia have many concerned for the stability of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. The stampede of ministerial exits started early this week with the resignation of foreign minister Ernesto Araújo. The defense minister followed suit shortly thereafter. By day’s end, six ministers had either resigned or moved to new posts — about one-third of Bolsonaro’s cabinet. Perhaps more concerning than the political overhaul was what transpired one day after the ministerial shakeup: the leadership restructuring within Brazil’s armed forces — occurring, no less, one day before the 57th anniversary of the military coup. The heads of all three major branches — the army, the navy, and the air force — resigned en masse, purportedly over concerns for their independence, handing Bolsonaro the opportunity to handpick their successors. Brazil witnessed something analogous only once before — in 1977, under the turbulent rule of military dictator Ernesto Geisel. This has left some Brazil watchers fretting that an insecure Bolsonaro could be laying the foundations “for his own January 6.”
  • Topic: Politics, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Populism, Jair Bolsonaro
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Milan Nič, Julian Rappold
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The next months will show whether Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán can retain his influence in Europe even outside its largest political family. Having left the center-right European People’s Party before his party was finally pushed out, Orbán is now trying to regroup and unite the populist and Euroskeptic forces in European Parliament. What looks like a defeat could still be turned to his advantage if it leads to a lasting reshuffle of political alliances and strengthens illiberal voices.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Populism, European Parliament
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: Didi Kirsten Tatlow, András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: China and Russia want to maintain Germany’s political status quo: Centrist, at times mercantilist policies, have often worked in their favor. Now, with the Green Party ascendant and public opinion shifting, neither Russia nor China can be sure that classic "centrism” will emerge after September. Russia and China will increase their influence and interference efforts in the run-up to the election and beyond, using informational, political, and cyber tactics, and economic and political networks.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Public Opinion, Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Ahmed Abdel-Alim Hassan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The internationally-supported political dialogue forum in Geneva succeeded in selecting a new government, including Abdul Hamid Mohammed al-Dabaib as Prime Minister, and Muhammad Al-Manfi as President of the Presidential Council as well as two other members of the Council. These results were well received internally, regionally and internationally, which raises a key question relevant to the ability of the new government, though temporary, to effect positive accomplishments leading to the general elections in December 2021.
  • Topic: Politics, Conflict, Transition, Khalifa Haftar, Dialogue
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Rania Makram
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Israel and Iran are witnessing significant political changes that affected the ruling elites. The developments came in the wake of early legislative elections held in Israel in March leading to the formation of a new coalition government headed by Naftali Benett, leader of the right-wing party Yamina. In Iran, presidential elections held on June 18, were won by hardline chief justice Ebrahim Raisi. The internal political dynamics in Tel Aviv and Tehran cast a shadow on the whole political landscape in both countries, and are projected to have an impact on the trajectory of the non-traditional conflict between the two sides, which escalated over the past few months.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Abdel Latif Hegazy
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On June 7, 2021, Ali Erbaş, President of Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, and İbrahim Ärän, Director of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), signed a cooperation protocol to establish a religious channel for children, which would be the first of its kind in Turkey. Within this context, Erbaş, said, "We have not been able to present Islamic values to children over the past years, since we used to show them animated cartoons designed by foreign companies." He emphasized the need to exert efforts to sustain children with correct religious knowledge. The government’s establishment of a religious channel for children has raised questions regarding the dimensions and motives of this step currently, particularly since there is a Turkish tendency to politicize and use religion to serve the political and electoral motives of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Children, Islamism, Erdogan
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Muthana Al-Obeidi
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The New Mashriq Plan, which was announced in the Baghdad tripartite summit (which brought together president Abdel-Fattah El-sisi of Egypt, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the Iraqi prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi), stimulated a lot of analyses, which reflected two opposing views. Some analysts seemed to be overly optimistic about the outcomes of this Iraqi-Egyptian-Jordanian project. On the other hand, others adopted a more skeptical, even pessimistic, attitude, believing that it will fail to achieve its purpose, on account of the many challenges it has to face. Despite all the analyses available about the project, questions are still being raised, such as: How did the project develop? What is its economic agenda? What about its political dimensions? And, last but not least, what will its future be like?
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Ahmed Nazif
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On the 64th anniversary of the Republic, President Kais Saied chose to declare ‘state of imminent danger’, invoking the constitution shaped by the Islamist Ennahda movement. On July 25, Saied took exceptional decisions ousting the government led by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, freezing the activities of parliament, and stripping parliament members of legal immunity. He considers the measures necessary for saving the state. The political forces took different stands depending on their position in the political hierarchy as well as their closeness to President Saeid.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Mahmoud Gamal
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Algeria's mediation endeavors are based on a well-established foreign policy of creating stability in the region and maintaining the status quo, for fear of any radical change that could lead to chaos and instability. This rule stems mainly from the political memory that has been lingering since the events of the ‘Black Decade’, which almost destroyed Algeria and its stability. This analysis highlights indications of the growing Algerian mediation endeavors in various recent crises in the region, such as the situation in Tunisia following president Kais Saied's decisions on July 25, 2021, the Libyan crisis and the complex political transition, the crisis of the Renaissance Dam between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand and Ethiopia on the other, as well as the crisis in Mali.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Transition, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Ethiopia, Mali
  • Author: Nawar Samad
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On July 26, 2021, Lebanese President Michel Aoun appointed former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to form a new government, after Saad al-Hariri's apology ending a rough 9 months path of fruitless negotiations with President Aoun. Despite optimism surrounding the formation of the new government by Mikati, highlighted by President Aoun’s statement on August 14 that he hopes "white smoke" will appear soon with regards to the formation of a new government, a key question remains: Will Mikati succeed in dismantling the complications that hindered forming a new government, particularly with the emergence of new domestic and regional dilemmas?
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Military Affairs, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Oleksiy Melnyk
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: The current reaction of the West to provocative threats by Russia is both prompt and concrete, but for political statements to reach the desired effect, they must be supplemented by substantial practical steps.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Natasha Kassam, Richard McGregor
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: China has lost the battle for public opinion in Taiwan. Saturday’s elections are likely to reflect strong anti-Beijing sentiment China is already looking past the elections to weaken the island’s democracy through overt and covert means Whatever the result, Beijing will increase pressure on Taipei to open talks on unification
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Catherine Wilson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: High population growth is driving a rapid increase in the proportion of young people in Pacific Island countries, with half the region's population aged under 23. This 'youth bulge' is particularly acute in Melanesian states and will have a major impact on every area of development in the region in the coming decades. Economic prosperity, political success and social stability in the Pacific Islands region in the future will depend on harnessing this demographic dividend and preventing youth marginalisation and disillusionment. Urgent and coordinated national and regional responses should include addressing pressing health problems, expanding Australia's seasonal worker scheme, increasing migration pathways, and targeted skills and employment programs.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Migration, Politics, Employment, Youth, Population Growth, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Melanesia, Pacific Ocean
  • Author: Elena A. Korosteleva, Irina Petrova
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Resilience has recently emerged as a possible solution to address the increasing dysfunctionality of national and global governance, strengthening its ability to deal with the frequenting crises and the adversity of VUCA – the more vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – world around us.
  • Topic: Politics, International Relations Theory, Institutions, Coronavirus, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Max Paul Friedman
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Columbia University
  • Abstract: Columbia University ILAS panel on Democratic presidential candidates and Latin America. Among leading Democratic candidates some basics are widely shared. They agree that military force should be a last resort and that long-term occupations are damaging. They promise to reinvest in diplomacy and rehabilitate the US image abroad, as well as trying to achieve US policy goals, by rebuilding alliances and recommitting to multilateralism on climate change, on nuclear arms control. They want to use foreign aid and international institutions to improve human security, address the root causes of migration, and seek diplomatic solutions to conflicts. There is a rough division between the mainstream, Obama-style approach represented by Joe Biden and the mayor from South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttegieg, who both believe that US alliances and international institutions are force multipliers for the United States. Together, the so-called moderate candidates have about 40% of the Democratic voter support in surveys. The progressive wing is represented by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who want to reduce US military activity abroad and also reform the global economic order in order to reduce inequality, conflict, and environmental damage. Together, Sanders and Warren have about 40% of the Democratic vote as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: It is not the caliphate that the world’s Muslim powerhouses are fighting about. Instead, they are engaged in a deepening religious soft power struggle for geopolitical influence and dominance. This battle for the soul of Islam pits rival Middle Eastern and Asian powers against one another: Turkey, seat of the Islamic world’s last true caliphate; Saudi Arabia, home to the faith’s holy cities; the United Arab Emirates, propagator of a militantly statist interpretation of Islam; Qatar with its less strict version of Wahhabism and penchant for political Islam; Indonesia, promoting a humanitarian, pluralistic notion of Islam that reaches out to other faiths as well as non-Muslim centre-right forces across the globe; Morocco which uses religion as a way to position itself as the face of moderate Islam; and Shia Iran with its derailed revolution. In the ultimate analysis, no clear winner may emerge. Yet, the course of the battle could determine the degree to which Islam will be defined by either one or more competing stripes of ultra-conservativism—statist forms of the faith that preach absolute obedience to political rulers and/or reduce religious establishments to pawns of the state.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Thomas J. Shattuck
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Once again, the future of Kuomintang (KMT), the political party headed by Chiang Kai-shek for decades and that favors a closer relationship with Mainland China, is in doubt due to the results of the recent presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was reelected in a landslide against her opponent Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang. Tsai received a record 8+ million votes, and the DPP retained its majority in the country’s national legislature by winning 61 seats—though it did lose seven compared to the 2016 election when the party won its first-ever majority. The blowout victory puts the KMT’s future into question—though more senior analysts note that this conversation occurs after every election, particularly the 2016 election, and nothing really changes. Maybe, just maybe, this time will be different.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Reform, History , Kuomintang
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Nadav Tamir, Nimrod Goren, Lior Lehrs, Yonatan Touval, Elie Podeh, Ksenia Svetlova, Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Merav Kahana-Dagan, Barukh Binah, Roee Kibrik
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Following the publication of the Trump plan, Mitvim Institute experts argue that this is not the way to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. This document includes initial commentaries by Nadav Tamir, who claims that Israel needs a real peace plan; Dr. Nimrod Goren, who calls on the international community to say “no” to the Trump plan; Dr. Lior Lehrs, who explains that on the Jerusalem issue, Trump shatters the status quo and previous understandings; Yonatan Touval, who argues that Trump takes problematic diplomatic practices of his predecessors to the extreme; Prof. Elie Podeh, who contends that the Trump plan is not even an opportunity for peace; Former MK Ksenia Svetlova, who warns that the Trump plan might endanger Israel’s warming ties with Arab countries; Dr. Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, who claims that while the EU remains committed to the two-state solution, it struggles to respond to the Trump plan; Merav Kahana-Dagan, who identifies an opportunity to bring the Palestinian issue back to the forefront; Amb. (ret.) Barukh Binah, who calls on Israeli leaders to seek diplomatic, not only security, advice; and Dr. Roee Kibrik, who thinks that Israelis should decide what type of country they want to live in.
  • Topic: Politics, Territorial Disputes, Peace, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In February 2019, Israel Katz was named Israel’s interim foreign minister, and three months later his appointment became permanent. This ended a period of almost four-years without a fulltime foreign minister, during which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) significantly declined. A year into Katz’s term, an assessment can be made as to whether his appointment has strengthened the MFA and left a policy imprint. This, while taking into consideration the turmoil in Israeli politics since early 2019 and the understanding that deeper change requires a ministerial tenure longer than a year. This article sums up Katz’s first year on the job, based on media reports and information published by the MFA. It examines both intra-ministerial and policy aspects, and concludes that Katz is operating in Netanyahu’s heavy shadow, has failed to address the deep budgetary crisis faced by the MFA, and has focused on developing ties with Gulf States and combatting anti-Semitism.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Financial Crisis, Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Li Hao
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: As of March 9, 2020, instances of pneumonia attributable to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have appeared in more than 100 countries; more than 80,000 persons have been infected in China, of whom over 3,000 have died. These infections have spread to Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran and elsewhere, devastating global exchange and economic activity. This paper offers a brief examination of the political and economic impact of this outbreak on China.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Hironori Fushita
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in Russia has been slower than in other European countries, but the number of infected people has surged since late March, especially in Moscow, and has exploded since April. As of April 14, the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in Russia was 201,122 (up 2,774 from the previous day), with 1,694 recovering and 170 dead1. The following article will provide an overview of the spread of the novel coronavirus infection in Russia and the government's countermeasures, as well as the impact of this infection on the future of Russian politics
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Li Hao
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The author released a short paper in early March 2020 on China's reaction to the spread of novel coronavirus infections, but circumstances have since progressed to a new stage. A pandemic of historic proportions has broken out, and the spread of infections has been relentless even in the Western countries that initially looked upon China coolly. The numbers of infections and deaths in the US in particular have significantly surpassed those in China, making the US the most infected country in the world. At the same time, China continues to contain the spread of infections, and appears to be moving toward resuming economic activities. Nevertheless, there are numerous issues that still need to be addressed. This paper will briefly examine the novel coronavirus situation in China since March.
  • Topic: Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Yoshiaki Takayama
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, international interdependence is changing. The current international political situation, characterized by harsh power politics, and the current state of the international economy, in which states with different values ​​are economically connected, are leading to reconsideration of international supply chains. Understanding international supply chains is extremely important in looking at the prospects for the global political economy. The purpose of this comment is to explore the trends and implications of reconsidering supply chains.
  • Topic: Politics, Global Political Economy, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: An important tool in understanding the dynamics of antisemitism is the identification of moments when its boundaries shift. This occurred with the Trump Peace Plan, the antisemitism crisis in the British Labour party, the UN’s first World Conference against Racism, the huge outburst of antisemitism in France in 2000, and the German welcome policy for refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Topic: Politics, Ideology, Peace, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Anne Herzberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: UN treaty bodies are increasingly violating their mandates as part of discriminatory anti-Israel campaigns. In March 2020, the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) embraced this disturbing trend by adopting a BDS agenda after being convinced to do so by the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).
  • Topic: Human Rights, Politics, United Nations, BDS, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Norway, Palestine
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Though analysts tend to portray Russia’s foreign policy as truly global (that is, independent of Europe, the US, and China), the country is plainly tilting toward Asia. The Russian political elite does its best to hide this development, but the country is accumulating more interests and freedom to act in Asia than in Europe or anywhere else.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Gershon Hacohen
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Jordan Valley, in its full scope and broadest definition, is essential to Israel’s national security. Its retention by Israel requires not only military deployment but a comprehensive development plan—i.e., the construction of housing, roads, and infrastructure—that will establish this territory as Israel’s eastern wing.
  • Topic: National Security, Politics, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan Valley
  • Author: Roie Yellinek
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: In 2009, China Radio International (CRI) began broadcasting in Hebrew. This venture has proven a success for the Chinese and a failure for the Israeli media, which uncritically swallow the messages sent out by CRI’s Hebrew team.
  • Topic: Politics, Mass Media, Media, YouTube
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In Moldova, the weakness of the Eastern Partnership has been over-reliance on incentives, rather than a lack thereof. Veto players who hid their true interests by claiming allegiance to the European cause hijacked the EU’s soft power. The EaP’s shortcoming was lack of means and readiness to make these key opponents of political reforms keep their commitments. Its core challenge is how to overcome the resistance of these veto players who have been obstructing transformational goals.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, European Union, Partnerships, Oligarchy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Moldova, Eastern Europe
  • Author: András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The impending presidential election in Belarus on August 9, 2020, is highly likely to result in the smooth victory of incumbent Alexandr Lukashenko. Despite this fact, the unprecedented – and still growing – politicization of Belarusian society constitutes a challenge to the regime that will not fade even after a clear-cut election. The resulting tensions will require more diplomatic attention from Germany and the European Union.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Society, Presidential Elections
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Germany, Belarus
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Brexit talks have entered extra time. If the UK is to leave the EU in an orderly manner, it needs a deal in the next four weeks. The trouble is that, as the prospect of leaving becomes more concrete, the government has finally recognized that it needs to honor the promises it has made to voters. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to reconcile his vague pledges with real world constraints – both internationally and domestically.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Brexit, Negotiation, Boris Johnson
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: British political institutions have shown resilience during the Brexit crisis. London apparently believes it has the scope to put EU talks behind it and recalibrate its position in the world. The British government is carrying out an integrated review of defense, aid, and foreign policy and preparing its presidency of the COP26 climate talks and G7. By contrast, its neighbors are gripped by the notion of Britain’s further constitutional deterioration. Their perceptions could well become self-fulfilling.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Brexit, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: A crisis can bring out the best in Germany’s European policy, resulting in its selfless embrace of deeper integration. But sometimes crises require Germany to lead from the front rather than melt selflessly into the background. On such occasions, Berlin has seemed a little too keen to stress that it is taking action under severe constraints. While Germany’s EU presidency showcased both tendencies, its shift toward crisis-driven realism risks overshadowing its strides for a better Europe.
  • Topic: Politics, Domestic politics, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Elina Noor
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Malaysia’s foreign and security policy faces myriad challenges, but not much is likely to change under Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘New Malaysia’ framework. The return of Mahathir Mohamad to the prime ministership of the country he had previously led for 22 years has raised questions about the direction Malaysia’s foreign and security policy might take. While there may be some course-corrections in foreign and security policy under Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government, it will not stray far from the approach of previous administrations. Continuities will include its non-aligned status, its pragmatic dealings with both the United States and China, its focus on ASEAN centrality and Malaysia’s economic development through trade. Malaysia will revisit its earlier “Look East” policy; it has plans to upgrade its defence capabilities in the South China Sea; and it will take a more consultative approach to foreign policy-making.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: Ben Bland
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: he pressures on Indonesian democracy are not likely to abate under a second-term Jokowi or a Prabowo presidency. Incumbent President Joko Widodo is the front-runner to defeat long-time rival Prabowo Subianto in Indonesia’s fourth direct presidential election on 17 April. Constrained by compromises and knocked off balance by the rise of identity politics, if Jokowi wins a second (and final) term, he is unlikely to make significant progress on much-needed economic, legal, and political reforms. Despite these concerns, there is hope for the future with a new generation of politicians from outside the elite now seeking to follow Jokowi’s path to national office. Indonesia’s future will depend on how far they use their electoral mandates to shake up a defective system.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: James Chin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Malaysia’s momentous regime change, the new government faces a number of challenges to implementing wholesale political reform. Malaysia’s new government will need to deal with several key issues in the next 12 months to establish itself as a ‘change and reform’ administration, namely the Malay/Bumiputra Agenda, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), political Islam, and a clear timetable for transition of power. Each of these issues is crucial to Malaysia’s political stability in the near term and to laying the foundation for long-term institutional reforms. If these reforms are not handled properly, the new Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) administration under Mahathir may be a one-term government and the country could easily revert to the old regime.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Regime Change, Reform, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Stephen Grenville
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Recognition of the need for greater government intervention in the economy is increasingly shaping the US political debate, with this shift paralleled among prominent economists. The surprising success of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign has emboldened Democratic presidential hopefuls to advocate bold platforms involving larger government. Coincidentally, some prominent economists are advocating greater government expenditure to address ‘secular stagnation’. This is unlikely to result in a radical shift away from the post-Reagan small-government policies, but the centre of gravity has shifted towards recognising a role for more government intervention.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Elections, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ferdinando Nelli Feroci
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A few months after the European Parliament elections, and a few weeks before a new European Commission is fully operational, the European Union is facing old and new challenges, both domestic and international. Internally, the EU will soon be testing these new institutions. In the recently elected European Parliament, nationalist and Eurosceptic political forces are a minority, but pro-European mainstream parties, which have the numbers to control the proceedings of the Parliament, have not been able to consolidate a stable and comfortable majority. The new European Commission has encountered setbacks in the confirmation procedure of three of its members and will therefore fully assume its responsibilities with some delay on 1 December.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism, Politics, Elections, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Tamirace Fakhoury
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Last month, an unprecedented protest movement took hold of Lebanon’s streets and public squares. Dubbed as the October uprising, the timing of the movement roughly coincided with important anniversaries, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall or other iconic historical events, including the October Revolution in Russia, leading many to draw comparisons. In the context of the 2011 Arab spring wave, many argued that Lebanon would stay isolated from the protest movements that gripped the region even though the country has witnessed previous protest cycles, such as the socalled 2005 Cedar Uprising. Still, eight years after the Arab protest wave, an unprecedented protest movement has materialised, spreading to various Lebanese cities from Tripoli to Sidon. In the wake of a proposed WhatsApp tax, people have been calling for the sacking of political leaders and the eradication of political sectarianism. Arguably, the protest movement may trace its roots back to a precursor wave of protests over a huge garbage crisis in 2015. Back then, the movement also decried the inept politics of sectarianism and corruption.
  • Topic: Politics, Sectarianism, Domestic politics, Protests, Political Movements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Nicoletta Pirozzi, Francesco Musi
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The civilian dimension of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilisation has long been prominent in EU crisis management missions. From 2000 onwards, the EU has developed its monitoring, capacity-building, strategic advice and training tools, deploying a total of 22 civilian missions beyond its borders. Currently, there are 11 active civilian missions, stretching from the Balkans (EULEX Kosovo) to the Middle East (EUBAM Rafah, EUPOL COPPS, EUAM Iraq), from Eastern Europe and Caucasus (EUAM Ukraine, EUMM Georgia) to Africa (EUBAM Libya, EUCAP Sahel Mali, EUCAP Sahel Niger, EUCAP Somalia). Their main tasks include policy reforms on the rule of law, the fight against organised crime and security sector reform.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Budget, Crisis Management, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Should the EU enforce a containment policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC – or simply China), joining efforts undertaken by US President Donald Trump, who has unleashed a trade and technological war against Beijing with the aim of permanently subordinating the Asian giant to the West? Or should the EU continue its engagement policy towards Beijing – and even seek to maximise Sino-European ties to put limits on those US unilateral policies that are detrimental to Europe’s interests and fundamental values? What would be the best policy mix of engagement and containment for EU–China relations? And to what extent should the EU align its China policy with that of the US?
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Institutions
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Alistair D.B. Cook, Yen Ne Foo
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the recent political turmoil in Papua New Guinea, the new prime minister James Marape signaled a shift in its foreign policy away from traditional partners to re-engage Southeast Asia. How can ASEAN help PNG develop its national capacity, such as in disaster preparedness?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics, Economy, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Rethinking Russia issues its new report on development of parliamentarism in world politics. The modern democratic model derives from parliamentary representation, which has been developing for a number of centuries in search for better coherence between people and political decision-making. The evolution of parliamentarism has been differing from country to country, which however brought nations to similar functions for their representative bodies. What is a parliament of the XXI century? Is it a national or universal phenomenon? How does it relate to global governance? Who represents people (not peoples) outside their sovereign entity? Speaker of the Russian State Duma Viacheslav Volodin raises corresponding questions in order to articulate what Russian view on the development of parliamentarism might be. We consider such a discourse to be quite worth rethinking and propose our ideas on that. Who knows – maybe such a discussion would contribute to better understanding for challenges we are facing.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Democracy, Parliamentarism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Edy Cohen
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Arab politicians blame the Israeli establishment for the rampaging violence in Israeli Arab society, but ignore the underlying problems in their own sociopolitical culture that foster that violence.
  • Topic: Demographics, Politics, Law Enforcement, Violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Berlin has surpassed Malmö as Europe’s antisemitism capital, with a wide variety of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes on display. They include dozens of cases of physical aggression against Jews, including rabbis. Jewish pupils have had to leave public schools. Thirty-five percent of Berliners view Israelis as analogous to Nazis. An Al-Quds Day march takes place annually that calls for the destruction of Israel. Both the municipality and the federal government are two-faced about the problem of antisemitism.
  • Topic: Politics, Judaism, Ideology, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Germany
  • Author: Hillel Frisch
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The lack of a reaction to the death of former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi and the absence of religious demands by protesters in Algeria, Sudan, and Iraq suggest that political Islam is waning after the defeat of ISIS three years ago.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Sudan, Middle East, Algeria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The decision taken by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, on December 30, 2018, to appoint the head of the judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijani, a head of the Expediency Council, to replace Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who died about a week earlier, was not a surprise to the political forces and movements in Iran for several reasons. The most important of them are the regime’s commitments to rotate key positions over the past four decades, coupled with the changes in political power balances ensuing from the internal political crises, which are exacerbated by US sanctions and pressures. These are set to re-entrench the influence of the fundamentalist conservatives close to the Supreme Leader’s establishment, which suggests that the coming period may see further steps aimed at broadening the influence of this movement on the political decision-making process.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Hassan Rouhani
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Tehran
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the current issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin discusses the economic conditions that led to the current protest movement in Lebanon, focusing on the origins and impact of the banking crisis and how it relates to the political system.
  • Topic: Politics, Financial Crisis, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Stewart Firth
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic developments in the Pacific Island states matter more than ever to Australia. The challenges to internal resilience in the Pacific Islands are both structural — in the form of issues arising from population growth, urbanisation, land, immigration, health, and gender relations — and particular to the political situation in each Island nation. The inability of Pacific states to match service provision in cities with their growing populations is a major challenge to resilience. Of all political issues in Papua New Guinea, loss of customary land is the most likely to provoke protest and conflict.
  • Topic: Politics, Political stability, State Formation, Services
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Asia-Pacific, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia
  • Author: Andrew Rosser
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Indonesia’s education system is low in quality and the underlying causes are political. Indonesia’s education system has been a high-volume, low-quality enterprise that has fallen well short of the country’s ambitions for an “internationally competitive” system. This outcome has reflected inadequate funding, human resource deficits, perverse incentive structures, and poor management but has most fundamentally been a matter of politics and power. The political causes of poor education performance include the continued dominance of political, bureaucratic, and corporate elites over the education system under the New Order and the role that progressive NGOs and parent, teacher, and student groups have had in education policymaking since the fall of the New Order, making reform difficult.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Politics, Children, Youth, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Andrea Maccanico
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU is involved in economic diplomacy since the establishment of the Single Market and the ensuing negotiations for trade and economic partnership agreements conducted by the EU’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) for all EU member states (MSs). European economic diplomacy (EED) is a new EU venture that aims to improve the coordination between EU institutions and MSs in an effort to enhance their economic and trade relations and strengthen their ability to compete with major countries such as the US, China and Russia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Governance, Institutions, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Bruno Sergi
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: A lot in the Russian-Italian relations depends on Italy’s next coalition government. The question is whether the Kremlin really benefits, given the EU’s solidarity regarding the Russia sanctions and the accusations of the Kremlin of meddling in the Italian elections.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Italy
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia seems to be gearing for fresh efforts to reach new political arrangements in Syria, after the balance of power has shifted in favor of the Syrian regime. During a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club at Sochi resort on October 18, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country achieved its goals in Syria. He noted that the Russian military intervention was aimed at fighting terrorism and preventing the fragmentation of Syrian territory, invoking the case of Somalia as a model that Russia prevented its recurrence in Syria, adding that the next stage will be devoted to settlement in the United Nations. However, this does not negate the fact that such efforts may encounter many challenges, over the key outstanding issues, foremost among is the position of the Syrian regime itself.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Politics, United Nations, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anna Fichtmüller
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The middle classes have at times been heralded to be a guarantee for democracy. Studies that find a positive correlation (which should not be confused with causation) often use national economic data as a proxy for class and compare it to the current regime type. Beyond the recurrent problem of a lack of a common definition of the term “middle class”, these studies fail to provide insights into how the concerned groups think, and even more so, act, which raises foremost questions: how does “democratic” thinking and acting manifest itself, particularly in a non-democratic regime? Is voting in an authoritarian system an expression of a democratic right or a legitimization of a regime that holds elections as a mere lip service? Is the decision not to participate in a demonstration for free elections, a silent confirmation of the current regime, even if one has to fear violent repercussions? However, studies, which highlight the ambivalent attitude of the middle class towards the regime rely on more ethnographic data and, thus, succeed in painting a more nuanced picture.Scrutinizing the attitudes and behaviors of members of the Ugandan middle class can help shed some light into the black box “middle class”. We can observe that indeed, the middle class has a critical stance on the current regime, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian. However, this does rarely lead to any actions that could give rise to democratic reforms or regime change. Instead, political pragmatism seems to prevail. Fault lines, which do exist, seem to run along with other criteria than class.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, Protests, Class
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa