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  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China has been able to escape from the Covid-19 outbreak relatively quickly compared to other countries. Nevertheless, it still remains greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic across its politics, economy, society, culture, and other areas, which has led to various changes throughout China. Therefore, this study comprehensively examined the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on various aspects of Chinese politics, economy, society, and culture. And in response to these changes in Chinese society, the study explores new strategies toward China in the post-Covid-19 era.
  • Topic: Politics, Culture, Economy, COVID-19, Society
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This study evaluated China's model of “One Country, Two Systems” (一國兩制) 20 years into operation and the bilateral relationship between Taiwan and Mainland China ‒ focusing on Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan ‒ and examined future prospects. The study is meaningful in that it conducts a more objective evaluation than the previous studies by empirically analyzing data accumulated over the past 20 years of implementation of the One Country Two Systems principle from various perspectives. In addition, it is also a timely study in that it analyzes how the One Country Two Systems arrangement is likely to develop in the future, and what impact this would have, making considerations for changes in China's national strategy during the Xi Jinping period and the competition for hegemony between the U.S. and China. The results of the analysis indicate that over the past 20 years China has been experimenting with the possibility of coexisting different systems in one country, and that the One Country Two Systems arrangement, as a new form of unification which has never been attempted in the history of mankind, has actually shown the possibility of success. However, in recent years, various political contradictions have been exposed in the process of implementing the arrangement, mostly in the Hong Kong society, and the resulting conflict has gradually intensified. While maintaining the current capitalist system for 50 years, Macau is expected to gradually progress in its “Sinicization,” with continuing active economic and social exchanges and cooperation with mainland China. As a result, Macau is expected to be fully incorporated into China's socialist system in 2049, 50 years after the return, but it is likely to remain a city of special character considering Macau's region and its economic structure. On the other hand, the One Country Two Systems arrangement with Hong Kong is expected to undergo a difficult process in the future. In the midst of various conflicts surrounding Hong Kong, the guarantee for Hong Kong’s autonomy is expected to end in 2047 amid efforts on the part of the mainland government to sinicize Hong Kong. And China wants to apply the philosophy of “One Country, Two Systems” to its reunification with Taiwan as well, but in reality this remains very low in possibility.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Hegemony, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Recommendations: The US, South Korea, Japan, and the EU can pool resources to level the playing field with China and offer new finance options for developing countries seeking to upgrade their communications and technology infrastructure. The US should look to the India and Vietnam model and help other nations develop domestic capacities that lower dependencies on Huawei and other foreign tech providers over time. Open RAN is no silver bullet to compete with China. Its potential will only be fully realized in the mid and long run, after high integration costs, security gaps, and other problems are worked out.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Politics, Science and Technology, Power Politics, Economy, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The investigations into the Beirut port blast, which took place in August 2020, witnessed significant developments recently. The judicial investigator, Judge Tariq Bitar, issued a series of rulings starting on July 2, stipulating the investigation of former ministers, current representatives as well as security and military leaders, with a demand to lift the immunity of some for the purpose of conducting investigations with them.
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Leadership, Polarization, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Lebanese internal arena is experiencing escalating instability. This is clearly reflected in the influence of political forces, especially Hezbollah, which is under internal and external pressures as a result of the faltering formation of the government. The balance of power is drawing more to be in favor of the Bashar al-Assad regime over the past few years. In addition to its continued involvement in the Syrian conflict, Hezbollah identifies with the Iranian public discourse on many regional and international issues, particularly during the escalation of tensions with the US and Israel.
  • Topic: Politics, Conflict, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Iran, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Christopher Houtkamp, Kars de Bruijne
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael policy brief seeks to explain visible manifestations of Turkish politics in European cities. Why does Turkish politics lead to unrest in Rotterdam and Berlin and what institutional mechanisms facilitate this? The brief highlights various drivers, institutional manifestations and historical changes, but also points out that there are a number of uncertainties and questions about the motivations for, and modus operandi of, Turkey’s influence in European societies. These questions are all the more relevant as European policy-makers increasingly seek to take measures in order to curb this. The main argument developed in this brief is that effective policy ‘at home’ (in Europe) will require better knowledge of socio-political developments ‘abroad’ (in Turkey). The first and second parts of this brief, therefore, show how the drivers of Turkish influence on the diaspora have changed over time. The third section highlights how present-day diaspora politics is institutionally anchored in Western Europe. Most of the practical examples in this brief are drawn from the Dutch context, but the dynamics will be familiar to those observing this phenomenon in other Western European countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Diaspora, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jos Meester, Guido Lanfranchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, the UAE and China have vastly expanded their economic, political and military footprint in the Horn of Africa, and their actions now have the potential to shape developments in the region. Room for cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Beijing exists on issues such as maritime security, regional stability, and economic development. Moreover, the two countries’ interaction could lead to improvements in the Horn’s underdeveloped infrastructure by triggering a race to investment. Yet, development and stability in the region might suffer if the strategic interests of external players take precedence over local ones, or if local elites (mis)use external support for narrow domestic political calculations. The EU and its member states have high stakes in the Horn’s stability. To optimise their engagement, European policymakers should be aware of the implications of the Emirati and Chinese presence, and they should strive to improve cooperation among the wide range of external players active in the Horn.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Politics, Military Affairs, Economic Development , Economic Stability
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Lars Hauch
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the EU’s engagement and relationship with Syria’s main political opposition umbrella, the Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Etilaf), which was founded in late 2012. It discusses the EU’s engagement strategies with the Etilaf and their impact on its development in the context of the Syrian conflict. The brief highlights that the EU did not substantiate the international legitimacy it granted the organisation early on during the conflict with policies that would have allowed it to expand its domestic legitimacy and capabilities. This policy contributed to developments in which the Etilaf rapidly lost its original potential. While the Etilaf today faces a range of structural and operational challenges that need to be addressed, the brief nevertheless recommends EU institutions and Member States to increase their support for the Etilaf and the Interim Government linked with it, if a number of conditions can be met. Such support will help maintain and develop these bodies into a viable centre of political opposition to the Assad regime. Practically speaking, this objective can be pursued by piloting conditional EU support to areas of northwestern and northern Syria that are nominally under the control of the Interim Government. It also requires building a partnership with Turkey to jointly support local Syrian administration(s) in the same areas.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Conflict, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Engin Yüksel
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The strategic objectives of the Turkish military intervention in Libya in 2019–2020 in favour of the Government of National Accord (GNA) were geopolitical (establishing an entry point into Africa in addition to Somalia), geo-economical (related to gas exploration in the Mediterranean) and commercial (facilitating repayment of outstanding business debts and enabling future profits). The deeper drivers of Ankara’s intervention include a mix of more assertive nationalism based on a hegemonic conception of Turkey’s ‘near abroad’, a perceived need to counter the military campaign of the Libyan National Army (LNA)’s to conquer Tripolitania, and Turkey’s exclusion from Mediterranean gas politics. Ankara’s intervention and its institutionalisation proved effective in counterbalancing the LNA and its international backers – chiefly Russia and the UAE, but also France and Egypt – and produced a more stable political situation in the process. While Turkey has achieved its short- to medium-term objectives and is likely to retain a substantial permanent military, commercial and political presence in Libya, it also created tensions with the EU and US as well as antagonizing the LNA’s international backers. In brief, an improvement in Turkey’s geostrategic position might have come at the cost of its regional strategic relations.
  • Topic: Politics, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Military Intervention, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: The Taliban was able to establish control over Afghanistan with surprising speed due to the collapse of solidarity between the forces opposing them. Nonetheless, its leaders were keen to allay the fears of both the Afghans and external forces to gain political legitimacy internally and externally.
  • Topic: Politics, Taliban, Conflict, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, United States of America