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  • Author: Sara Nowacka
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of March, Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected a proposal by designated Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri regarding the composition of the new government. The breakdown of the negotiations shows that despite the deepening socio-economic crisis, political groups are unable to develop a common vision for the reconstruction of the state. The EU, UN, and the World Bank engaged in initiatives aiming to improve Lebanon’s situation. However, the political deadlock threatens the implementation of their co-created “3RF” reform plan.
  • Topic: United Nations, World Bank, European Union, Economy, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU intends to implement a new model of relations with Turkey based on phased, proportional, and reversible engagement. The Union’s plans are a consequence of a dilemma: although Turkey often acts like an adversary, EU members want to maintain close relations with it due to the convergence of interests in areas such as migration and the economy. The Union’s new approach creates the opportunity to strengthen its influence on Turkey. Yet, different expectations about the future shape of relations will keep EU-Turkey relations tense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In the few months that have passed since the signing of the historical Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE have opened embassies and exchanged ambassadors, launched direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, hosted dozens of businesses, cultural and academic delegations (among them a high-ranking Emirati delegation led by the UAE ministers of finance and economy), and facilitated visits of thousands of Israeli tourists to Dubai. Universities and think tanks from both countries have established connections, and news outlets have launched different forms of cooperation. Israel, the UAE, and the US set an investment fund worth 3 billion USD (the fund is not operational yet) and banks on both sides established agreements on financial services. The scope of activity between the two countries is impressive, and it seems that in case of Israel and the UAE, the seeds of peace have fallen on fertile ground, mainly due to high level of economic development and mutual geopolitical interests and concerns, such as the Iranian threat (although both sides evaluate and treat it differently).Today, it is almost impossible to imagine that just a few years ago Israeli athletes were only allowed to compete in the UAE if they agreed to participate without their national flag or national anthem sung at the closing ceremony. Why is it that the peace between Israel and the UAE appears to be such a stark contrast from previous peace agreements that Israel has signed with other Arab countries? Several factors have facilitated the newly established relationship: the positive image of the UAE in Israel; the lack of past hostilities, casualties, and territorial demands between the two countries; the unofficial ties forged long before the official recognition; the many mutual interests that seem to be aligned together; and the right timing that allowed for this bold and important development. Will the parties be able to maintain a similar level of enthusiasm also when the honeymoon stage passes? How will the two countries deal with various regional and international challenges? This paper presents an Israeli perspective on the first months of the relationship between Israel and UAE, and looks at prospects for the near future of these relations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Peace, Abraham Accords
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, UAE
  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacob Wallis, Ariel Bogle, Albert Zhang, Hillary Mansour, Tim Niven, Elena Yi-Ching, Jason Liu, Jonathan Corpus Ong, Ross Tapsell
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: It’s not just nation-states that interfere in elections and manipulate political discourse. A range of commercial services increasingly engage in such activities, operating in a shadow online influence-for-hire economy that spans from content farms through to high-end PR agencies. There’s growing evidence of states using commercial influence-for-hire networks. The Oxford Internet Institute found 48 instances of states working with influence-for-hire firms in 2019–20, an increase from 21 in 2017–18 and nine in 2016–17.1 There’s a distinction between legitimate, disclosed political campaigning and government advertising campaigns, on the one hand, and efforts by state actors to covertly manipulate the public opinion of domestic populations or citizens of other countries using inauthentic social media activity, on the other. The use of covert, inauthentic, outsourced online influence is also problematic as it degrades the quality of the public sphere in which citizens must make informed political choices and decisions.
  • Topic: Elections, Internet, Social Media, Economy
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: Brexit is done. The formal negotiations are over — even though the Trade and Cooperation Agreement paves the way to many further negotiations between the UK and the EU. Our understanding of what Brexit does mean in practice is just beginning. Now the UK is finally able to embark on its new course, we believe that the need for social science to play a role in informing public and political debates is as great if not greater than ever. The contributions that follow underline the scale and scope of the agenda that confronts the United Kingdom. It is meant both as a guide to the issues that will loom large of the months and years to come and as a signal that we intend to deploy the best social science research in order to understand and address them.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Society
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Allison Gelman, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Jill O'Donnell, Daniel M. Price, David Rosenbaum, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Eric Thompson, Janell C. Walther, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy has not come up often in the 2020 presidential campaign. But when it has, candidates on both sides of the aisle frequently have stressed that U.S. foreign policy should not only keep the American people safe but also deliver more tangible economic benefits for the country’s middle class. The debate among the presidential contenders is not if that should happen but how to make it happen. All too often, this debate takes place within relatively small circles within Washington, DC, without the benefit of input from state and local officials, small business owners, community leaders, local labor representatives, and others on the front lines of addressing the challenges facing middle-class households. That is why the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a bipartisan task force in late 2017 to lift up such voices and inject them into the ongoing debate. The task force partnered with university researchers to study the perceived and measurable economic effects of U.S. foreign policy on three politically and economically different states in the nation’s heartland—Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio. The first two reports on Ohio and Colorado were published in December 2018 and November 2019, respectively. This third report on Nebraska has been prepared in partnership with a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). To gauge perceptions of how Nebraska’s middle class is faring and the ways in which U.S. foreign policy might fit in, the Carnegie and UNL research teams reviewed household surveys and conducted individual interviews and focus groups, between July and August 2019, with over 130 Nebraskans in Columbus, Scottsbluff/Gering, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, and Omaha.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Immigration, Economy, Domestic politics, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Daniel M. Price, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: If there ever was a truism among the U.S. foreign policy community—across parties, administrations, and ideologies—it is that the United States must be strong at home to be strong abroad. Hawks and doves and isolationists and neoconservatives alike all agree that a critical pillar of U.S. power lies in its middle class—its dynamism, its productivity, its political and economic participation, and, most importantly, its magnetic promise of progress and possibility to the rest of the world. And yet, after three decades of U.S. primacy on the world stage, America’s middle class finds itself in a precarious state. The economic challenges presented by globalization, technological change, financial imbalances, and fiscal strains have gone largely unmet. And that was before the novel coronavirus plunged the country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, exposed and exacerbated deep inequities across American society, led long-simmering tensions over racial injustice to boil over, and launched a level of societal unrest that the United States has not seen since the height of the civil rights movement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Trafficking – a catch-all term for illicit movement of goods and people – has long sustained livelihoods in northern Niger. But conflicts are emerging due to heightened competition and European pressure to curb migration. Authorities should persevere in managing the extralegal exchange to contain violence. What’s new? Niger’s informal systems for managing violence related to drug, gold and people trafficking in the country’s north are under strain – due in part to European pressure to curb migration and in part to increased competition over drug transport routes. The discovery of gold could bring new challenges. Why does it matter? Tacit understandings between the authorities and traffickers pose dangers, namely the state’s criminalisation as illicit trade and politics become more intertwined. But the collapse of those understandings would be still more perilous: if trafficking disputes descend into strife, they could destabilise Niger as they have neighbouring Mali. What should be done? Niger should reinforce its conflict management systems. Action against traffickers should focus on those who are heavily armed or engage in violence. Niamey and external actors should reinvigorate the north’s formal economy. European leaders should ensure that their policies avoid upsetting practices that have allowed Niger to escape major bloodshed.
  • Topic: Economy, Trafficking , Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Niger
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese investment and construction around the world contracted in 2019, regardless of Beijing’s claims to the contrary. However, the decline is concentrated in large, headline-winning deals, and Chinese firms remain active on a smaller scale. A contraction in acquisitions in rich economies has boosted the relative importance of greenfield spending. The number of countries in the Belt and Road continues to expand, and power plant and transport construction continues to be preeminent. American policymakers were initially spurred to act by intense Chinese investment in 2016. This has dropped sharply, but there are challenges related to investment review that are more important, starting with strengthening export controls.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: C. Anthony Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Security cooperation with Iraq remains a critical component of the US-Iraq relationship. Despite neighboring Iran’s ability to limit US political and economic engagement, Iraq still seeks US assistance to develop its military and to combat resurgent terrorist organizations. This monograph provides a historical and cultural basis from which to understand the limitations and potential for US cooperation with Iraq’s armed forces.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Islamic State, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Fiona Mangan, Igor Acko, Manal Taha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Coffee production is a fairly small part of the Central African Republic's economy, but it plays an outsize role in the country's ongoing conflict. Armed militia groups that hold sway over the country's main coffee growing regions and trade routes reap millions of dollars in funding to sustain their operations. This report discusses how understanding the political economy of conflict in the Central African Republic can help national and international stakeholders break the cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economy, Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: China’s fast-paced economic rise and defiance of globally accepted market rules—along with the growing and yet unknown economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19)—are driving the next phase of US-China trade negations to the top of the nation’s post-election agenda. While the Phase I US-China trade deal has eased tension, it also set the stage for discussions on other important economic disputes, including forced technology transfer, cyber theft of intellectual property (IP), industrial policies, state subsidies, and new technology, according to a new Solutions Brief, The China Trade Challenge: Phase II, by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED).
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Global Markets, Economy, Global Political Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hiba Itani
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board estimates the Gulf region’s GDP growth to fall at -5.7 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. The slight improvement in oil prices in Q3 along with the easing of production cuts as of August will give oil GDP a small boost. As worries of a possible second wave of coronavirus in Q4 mount, consumer demand will weaken further, netting the rise in oil GDP.
  • Topic: Oil, GDP, Economy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bart van Ark, Rebecca L. Ray, Charles Mitchell, Ilaria Maselli
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Japanese regional edition of this year’s C-Suite Challenge™ survey focuses on internal and external stress points faced by businesses, the objectives, barriers and benefits of successful collaboration initiatives, and the importance of data privacy and cyber security. Emphasis is also given on the business strategies Japanese CEOs focus on in order to enhance productivity growth. The shifting priorities between now and in the future reveals CEO awareness to improve productivity as technology evolves and customer demands change.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy, Economy, Business
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Bart van Ark
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board and ERT have established a collaboration to create a new measure of CEO Confidence for Europe. The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence™ for Europe by ERT for the first half of 2020 is 34 (on a scale from 0 to 100). The report examines the survey results including CEO views about business and economic conditions now, conditions in six months, and the prospects for their own industry. The negative sentiment among business leaders resulted from the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 crisis which delivered a severe supply shock to the economy in Europe and around the world.
  • Topic: Economy, Business , COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hiba Itani
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Gulf countries face a somber outlook, with the GDP of the region expected to contract by 5.9% in 2020 compared to 2019. The Gulf countries whose economies remain highly dependent on hydrocarbon are ahead of “perfect storm” like scenario: a humanitarian crisis, that morphed into a global demand shock and pushed oil prices into a free-fall. A historical oil production cut agreement barely managed to improve prices.
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, GDP, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and efforts to suppress it (the Great Lockdown) will lead to the collapse of the global economy. In the short term, the reduction in production and consumption in the countries most affected by the pandemic will lead to a global recession. In the long run, the crisis may result in a partial retreat from globalisation, higher indebtedness, and narrowing the differences in economic potential between the EU and the U.S., and China. A positive side effect may be the acceleration of the development of the digital economy, including the services market.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Global Financial Crisis, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Szeligowski
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Ukrainian economy will face a recession in 2020, the scale of which will depend on the fluid pandemic situation at home and abroad. Macro-financial assistance from the IMF and the EU will be crucial to stabilise the economy. To begin a rapid economic recovery, Ukraine needs structural reforms, but implementation of them is unlikely.
  • Topic: Reform, Finance, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the government’s restrictive preventive measures, India has emerged as one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, and it has yet to reach the peak of infections. The pandemic has ignited the most serious economic crisis in the country’s history, worsened India’s investment attractiveness, and constrained resources that would otherwise help it pursue a greater international role. The economic crisis also undermines the country’s international image, boosted by the quick and decisive response to the pandemic in its initial phase. At the same time, the economic problems and the continued fight against the pandemic will encourage the authorities to deepen cooperation with the EU in public health, the economy, and security.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Surveillance of society is one of the main tools of power in China. The COVID-19 pandemic gave the government an excuse to intensify oversight, including through the solutions previously used mainly against Uighurs in Xinjiang. The effectiveness of surveillance is important to the Chinese authorities because of possible unrest arising from economic problems connected with COVID-19. The importance of surveillance in managing the virus in China has also led to demand in democratic countries to introduce similar practices.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Economy, Surveillance, COVID-19, Uyghurs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Maciej Pawłowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Greece aims to strengthen its political and economic position in the Eastern Mediterranean, which was weakened after the economic crisis of 2008–2013. Among the ways to regain this stature are through access to natural resources and participation in regional alliances. The Greeks perceive Turkey as the main threat to achieving these goals. It is in the EU’s interest to foster better relations between the two countries and to find compromise in disputes between them.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Alliance, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Greece, Mediterranean
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Overdependence on cheap Russian energy resources, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lack of reform are the biggest challenges that could lead to the collapse of the Belarusian economy. Russia may use economic problems to make Belarus more dependent on it. Poland, other EU countries and the U.S. can support the Belarusian authorities in diversifying sources of crude oil supplies, negotiations on joining the World Trade Organisation, and possible efforts to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
  • Topic: Debt, Economy, Crisis Management, Trade, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Poland, Belarus, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report will concentrate on select examples of the growing US vulnerability to global competitors due to shortages of key mineral resources in our domestic supply base. Dependence on China for raw materials and competition with its manufacturing firms is also a key focus. Shortages do not always indicate a problem because our close allies in mineral-rich countries like Australia and Canada can mitigate gaps in domestic supply. However, China’s growing control over many basic materials, and its history of using that control as leverage for its own economic and political goals, makes this a cause of concern for the continued strength of the US manufacturing economy.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Economy, COVID-19, Minerals
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aparna Pande, Husain Haqqani
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Since February of 2020, the eight countries of South Asia have been contending with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The region has seen the third-highest death rate in the world from the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and brought long-term health impacts the medical community is only beginning to recognize. The economic consequences of COVID-19 on South Asia are proving to be even greater than the healthcare challenges in the region. Different South Asian countries have dealt with the pandemic in various ways, but the economic costs overall seem to be higher than the healthcare consequences. A lot has happened in the world’s most populous region since the “Crisis from Kolkata to Kabul: COVID-19’s Impact on South Asia” report was published in May 2020. This document serves as an update on the progression of the pandemic in South Asia.
  • Topic: Economy, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Mark Linscott
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced nearly all public policy questions to be seen through the lens of how to detect and respond to the disease as it spreads rapidly across the globe. These include obvious questions of national health care policy and whether there is a place for international efforts to coordinate their national responses. Trade policy has come to the fore as a growing number of countries restrict exports of critical medical supplies to ensure sufficient availability for patients in-country. In this crisis, international collaboration to keep trade flowing has been limited and has not prevented many countries from imposing new trade restrictions. The importance of digital policies has grown as countries seek to harness the tools of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and vital infrastructure to trace outbreaks of the virus and assist efforts to find cures and vaccines. While digital tools are proving vital in efforts to track outbreaks and trace contacts, legitimate concerns are growing about potentially invasive government surveillance even after the virus retreats. These policy areas—health, trade, and digital—overlap in the international, national, and local efforts to reduce the duration of the pandemic and mitigate its effects with respect to human lives and economic well-being. The analysis in this paper, while initially conducted before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, has been impacted by its sudden emergence and will likely require updating to assess the experiences of this ongoing crisis. The paper, which focuses on the U.S.-India bilateral relationship, concludes with a series of questions, as opposed to policy recommendations. This is due partly to the very complexity that all governments confront in mapping out digital policies given the ubiquitous role digital networks and devices play in our daily lives. But these questions may have even more tangible relevance now that COVID-19 is forcing a reckoning with a severe interruption in global economic growth, which could be on the scale of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Ultimately, the governments of India, the United States, and other nations will determine for themselves what answers are relevant to their individual circumstances.
  • Topic: Economy, Business , Trade, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abrão Neto, Ken Hyatt, Daniel Godinho, Lisa Schineller, Roberta Braga
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The year 2020 marks the turning of a page for the Western Hemisphere, a region that in 2019 saw uncertainty dominate headlines as new governments came in and out of office, trade tensions grew, and citizens took to the streets to voice their concerns with the status quo. For years, the opportunities that could come with a stronger bilateral relationship between the United States and Brazil have been underestimated. Significant potential exists to produce sizeable benefits for both societies. That potential must be maximized. While US and Brazilian governments and businesses have begun to seize the benefits of the synergies the two countries share, hurdles remain that prevent a full and successful commercial reality. The United States and Brazil would benefit from a closer and stronger trade and foreign-direct-investment-relationship that would amplify growth and prosperity, in both the short and long terms. Deepening the economic relationship would pay dividends in other areas as well, translating into greater opportunities for strategic bilateral cooperation. This paper recognizes that the moment is now and that 2020 is a pivotal year to substantively advance bilateral economic ties. Building upon the successes and progress made over the years, this paper incorporates the input and expertise of the US and Brazilian private sectors and policymakers to offer a renewed vision and new momentum for strengthening US-Brazil trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), supporting concrete steps toward deepening the commercial relationship, and laying the foundation for a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Brazil. As the global balance of power shifts, as the world faces new hurdles that could slow growth, and as Latin America must contend with more uncertainty amid new external shocks, the two countries strategically and economically have countless reasons to deepen commercial relations. Stronger ties will ultimately provide additional certainty at this critical time.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Global Markets, Economy, Business
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Alessia Melcangi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: In the last days of September 2020, Libya’s oil industry seemed to be on the verge of restarting its production after Gen. Khalifa Haftar announced the reopening of the oil fields and terminals that he had occupied and closed in the course of his offensive against Tripoli. The main damage caused by Haftar’s blockade is the dramatic plummet of oil production to less than 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the previous 1.2 million. The importance of the oil and gas industry in Libya cannot be underestimated since it is the main driver of the Libyan economy and accounts for about 60% of the country’s GDP. Oil production revenues and the dividends from oil sales are one of the main causes of the conflict that has been continuously ravaging the country since the fall of Muammar Qadhafi in 2011. The announced reopening represents good news that bodes well not only for a real resumption of political talks between the warring parties, but also for a more general improvement of the economic and social condition in the country, which is now on the verge of collapse. After the January 2020 blockade, the quick shutdown of oil sales led to a budget collapse: In April 2020, oil production data showed a drop of more than 80% with a loss of more than $10 billion in oil revenues. The economic impact of this stoppage directly hit the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC), preventing the company from fulfilling contracts with international oil companies. After so many years of civil war, it has become evident that competition among various actors is principally over the country’s resources and control of its financial institutions. According to the 2015 UN-backed Libyan Political Agreement, the Tripoli government headed by Fayez Sarraj retains control of the Tripoli-based NOC and oversees the allocation of state funds deposited in the Tripoli-based Central Bank — these are the two channels through which oil revenues can flow legally and the only two institutions recognized by the UN Security Council. Haftar and the Eastern government accuse Tripoli of mismanaging hydrocarbon revenues and state funds, using them to fund militias backing the Government of National Accord (GNA), and failing to carry out reforms to stabilize the economy. For this reason, the Eastern authorities demand a change of leadership in both institutions: The Central Bank and the NOC. Indeed, the problem for Haftar has always been that he controlled oil production, but not oil revenues. After almost a year locked in a stalemate, the situation on the battlefield was reversed in April 2020. Thanks to Turkey’s military support, the GNA was able to counterattack and defeat the Haftar-controlled Libyan National Army (LNA) and push them back to the gates of the city of Sirte near the “oil crescent,” a coastal area home to most of Libya’s oil export terminals. The ceasefire proposed by the GNA at the end of August 2020 and accepted by the Tobruk parliament and its spokesman, Aguila Saleh, has restarted the political dialogue between the conflicting parties. Meanwhile, the malcontent of the population in both Tripoli and Benghazi, due to the deterioration of living conditions and lack of economic reforms, led to protests and demonstrations in both cities.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Conflict, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Paula J. Dobriansky, Adam Szubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers will continue to intensively use a growing array of coercive economic tools, including tariffs, sanctions, trade controls, and investment restrictions. The growing use reflects a desire by policymakers to use coercive economic tools in support of a growing range of policy objectives. Diplomacy around these tools has long been challenging and can require hard choices. To use these tools effectively, policymakers should focus on articulating clear objectives and measuring effectiveness and costs. U.S.-China competition raises the stakes for getting the use of coercive economic statecraft right. Policymakers in the next presidential administration and Congress would be well-served to spend at least as much effort focusing on the positive tools of statecraft. These include domestic economic renewal, international finance and development incentives, and positive trade measures, among others.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abigail Eineman
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The June edition of “Sanctions by the Numbers” illustrated a decade of U.S. sanctions policy by using heat maps to show the countries with the largest number of designations. Across both the Trump and Obama administrations, Iran was always at the top of the list. This edition of Sanctions by the Numbers explores Iran sanctions further, tracking how designations and delistings have evolved over time, the dozens of countries affected by Iran-related sanctions programs, and the top types of U.S. designations. The data add to the existing consensus that sanctions have an inverse relationship with Iran’s economic health, and designations have far outpaced delistings in the last three years as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Ashley Feng
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and China have long used coercive economic measures to advance both economic and foreign policy objectives. In recent years, however, both countries have turned to coercive economic measures as mainstream instruments of foreign policy and national security policy, and increasingly have deployed coercive economic measures against each other. For the United States, China’s economic scale and global interconnections make it a fundamentally different type of target for coercive economic measures than the comparatively smaller and less sophisticated economies that have been primary targets of U.S. economic coercion in the past. The United States cannot simply isolate China from the global economy. Instead, it must adopt a more strategic focus on limiting Chinese actions in areas significant to U.S. national security and shoring up economic and technology arenas where the United States maintains lasting leverage. Over the past several years, the United States has deployed an array of coercive economic measures against China. The most prominent of these have been the tariffs on approximately two-thirds of U.S. imports from China. The tariffs remain largely in place despite implementation of the Phase One trade deal that the United States and China signed in January 2020. But the United States also has developed and deployed an increasingly sophisticated set of other coercive economic tools that will play a prominent role in U.S.-China relations over the years ahead, regardless of whether the United States and China fully implement the Phase One deal and reach a broader Phase Two trade agreement. Those other coercive economic tools include export controls, restrictions on U.S. imports to secure U.S. supply chains, heightened scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States, sanctions, and stepped-up law enforcement measures against Chinese intellectual property (IP) theft and other Chinese activities in the United States. This expanding set of measures serves a broadening array of U.S. policy goals, including economic objectives, foreign policy goals, and the maintenance of America’s technological edge. The U.S. record of success in the use of these coercive economic measures has been mixed. While tariffs and other measures have succeeded in putting some macroeconomic pressure on China, they have not extracted fundamental concessions from Beijing. Targeted sanctions and law enforcement measures similarly have had economic impacts on some Chinese companies, but other Chinese companies have demonstrated an ability to weather U.S. economic coercion. To be effective in translating economic coercion into policy change by China, the United States needs to better integrate its coercive measures with each other and with other policies, better signal intentions and escalation, more rigorously assess impacts and costs, and galvanize allied support and coordinated action. For its part, China appears to recognize a balancing act between limiting economic ties with foreign partners in some domains and maintaining them in others. China has sought to distance certain Chinese economic sectors, particularly high-tech manufacturing, from the United States in some areas, investing heavily in domestic capacity development. In other areas where China must rely on foreign partners for technology, IP, or manufacturing, or where China does not appear to see a clear interest in severing trade, Beijing has sought to keep trade and investment flows moving in an unencumbered fashion. As for the United States, this is a dynamic policy environment.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Ben Fitzgerald, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: This report presents a blueprint for a community of technology innovation and protection anchored by America and its allies. Unless the United States builds this community—an “alliance innovation base”—it will steadily lose ground in the contest with China to ascend the commanding technological heights of the 21st century. Given that technology will increasingly determine future military advantage, underpin economic prosperity, and function as a tool for promoting liberal and illiberal visions of domestic governance, the stakes could not be higher. To compete, China is leveraging its formidable scale—whether measured in terms of research and development (R&D) expenditures, data sets, scientists and engineers, venture capital, or the reach of its leading technology companies. The only way for the United States to tip the scale back in its favor is to deepen cooperation with allies. The global diffusion of innovation also places a premium on aligning U.S. and ally efforts to protect technology. Unless coordinated with allies, tougher U.S. investment screening and export control policies, for example, will feature major seams that Beijing can exploit. America’s current approach to allies on technology innovation and protection remains a work in progress. In recent years, animated by concerns about China, the United States has made a concerted effort to step up engagement with allies in both areas. Existing mechanisms for deepening innovation with allies include technology scouting programs, multilateral cooperative frameworks, rapid innovation initiatives, and bilateral projects. However, these mechanisms at times lack sufficient resourcing, move too slowly, or feature rigid constraints on participation. U.S. instruments for working with allies on technology protection also contain major points of weakness. Multilateral export control regimes, though inclusive, are ponderous. The extraterritorial reach of U.S. export control laws can generate unintended obstacles to technology collaboration with allies. Bilateral and minilateral consultations on protection lack positive incentives to motivate allies to incur immediate costs such as forgoing technology sector investments from China.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Economy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin, Ryan Neuhard
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: China’s bid for ascendancy remains anchored in the South China Sea and surrounding Southeast Asian countries. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems it economically and militarily vital to dominate the resources and sea lines of communication of a body of water twice the size of Alaska. Achieving this goal requires tethering neighboring countries into Beijing’s ambit while making the existing ruleset more favorable to China and displacing the dominant power behind the existing regional order. Some may find comfort in describing the scenario underway as a return to a “China-centered” rather than “Sino-centric” region.1 However, an authoritarian China’s coercive attempts to wield hegemonic control of the South China Sea threatens the sovereignty of Southeast Asian states and international freedom of the seas, both of which are of fundamental national interest to the United States. Yet the South China Sea and Southeast remain the least defended and most bountiful region susceptible to Chinese predations and inducements. The CCP leadership is obsessed with the idea that outside forces intend to contain China’s development, foment internal unrest, and prevent it from retaking what it considers to be its rightful place center stage in regional and global affairs. In partial response to deep-seated insecurities and renewed great-power ambitions, Xi Jinping and the CCP are in the process of attempting to exercise control over the entire nine-dash line claim covering the vast majority of the South China Sea and to turn Southeast Asia into a latter-day tributary system. CCP propaganda casts China’s quest for control over maritime Asia as an inexorable outcome of China’s rise and America’s decline. Curiously, the only government speaking seriously about “stopping” China is Beijing, suggesting that its policies are influenced more by subjective internal fears than by objective external realities. China wants nothing to stop it from consolidating its maximalist historic claims, from denying the United States the ability to intervene in regional conflicts, and from dismantling America’s postwar alliance system.
  • Topic: Leadership, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US Experts Anticipate Future Decline for Russia Among the Great Powers OCTOBER 6, 2020 By: Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Brendan Helm, Research Assistant Although President Trump initially hoped for improved relations between the United States and Russia, during his tenure the US government has overtly declared Russia a top threat to US national security. Congress and the administration widened Obama-era sanctions against Russia after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Data from a recent survey of American experts on Russia, conducted by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs paints Russia as a declining power. The results show that while experts anticipate changes in the global balance of power in the next 20 years, with China overtaking the United States, they do not expect Russia to come out stronger over that time frame. Experts draw attention to Russia’s cracked economic and political foundation in the present and its likely decline over the next two decades due to economic mismanagement and faltering soft power. Now there are the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to add to this list.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Green COVID-19 Recovery and Transatlantic Leadership: What Are the Prospects? OCTOBER 20, 2020 By: Paul Hofhuis, Senior Research Associate, Clingendael Institute As the US presidential election rapidly approaches, an important question is the prospects for (renewed) transatlantic cooperation, especially in the areas of green recovery to the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, tackling climate change, and addressing these issues through multilateral approaches. In analyzing ambitions and initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic in three connected policy arenas, this brief argues that while a Democratic victory provides greater opportunity for collaboration, underlying structures for cooperation among societal stakeholders in the United States need to be reinvigorated to diminish polarization in society, which could continue to block the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Leadership, Economy, Green Technology, Transatlantic Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Jordan’s stability is severely challenged by socio-economic hardship. The country is plagued by high un-employment rates, an alarming debt-to-GDP ratio of around 94 percent, corruption, and dismal social ser-vices. The fight against terrorism has also resulted in further infringement of rights such as freedom of expression. These grievances have led to a series of protests and strikes in the past two years; the latest strike by teachers has had a far-reaching impact on the public.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Terrorism, Employment, Economy, Freedom of Expression, Protests, Unemployment, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer, Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The recent ruling of the German Constitutional Court on the ECB was an economic and political bombshell. The deep controversy that resulted – within Germany and on a European scale – illustrates that the ambiguity surrounding the euro area’s legal order and architecture may have reached its limit. The ruling, combined with the plan to build a fiscal capacity to address the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis, presents the EU with an important opportunity to complete and solidify the euro area.
  • Topic: European Union, Constitution, Economy, Fiscal Policy, Judiciary
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Ali Akbar Dareini
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Coronavirus is killing Iranians, so does Trump by waging a campaign of economic and medical terrorism. Its refusal to lift the sanctions exacerbates the already-tense relations between Tehran and Washington and pushes Iran to redefine its foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Sanctions, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Brandon Friedman, Joshua Krasna, Uzi Rabi, Michael Milshtein, Arik Rudnitzky, Liora Hendelman-Baavur, Joel D. Parker, Cohen Yanarocak, Hay Eytan, Michael Barak, Adam Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of essays, published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with the Moshe Dayan Center (MDC), focuses on how states and societies absorbed the coronavirus shock as the first wave spread through the Middle East, from February through April 2020. It offers a critical examination of how several different Middle East countries have coped with the crisis. This publication is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, but rather representative and preliminary. Each of these essays draw on some combination of official government data, traditional local and international media, as well as social media, to provide a provisional picture of the interplay between state and society in the initial response to the crisis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Economy, Crisis Management, Sunni, Jihad, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Yuri Yakymenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Ukraine 2019–2020: Broad Opportunities, Contradictory Results
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economy, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Agustín Barrios Gómez, Henry Cuellar, Juan Carlos Baker, Kenneth Smith
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI)
  • Abstract: North America started 2020 as a bloc of three democratic countries with shared values that trade freely in the context of regional peace and cooperation. We are nearly 500 million North American citizens who came together to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994 and its successor, the United StatesMexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) of 2018, providing a legal framework for commercial freedom on our continent. The world often conducts its affairs with a zero-sum game mentality, meaning that one country’s gain is another’s loss. This is why agreements like NAFTA, in 1994, and the USMCA, today, are particularly valuable. It is also the reason that we must not take them for granted. The effort invested in creating the USMCA was born precisely from the understanding of a fundamental idea: restricting the liberty of our people to trade freely is a mistake. It was not an easy case to make. The current U.S. president based his political campaign on animosity towards Mexico, in particular, and against exchange with the world, in general. However, he was led to a position of saving free trade in North America by the millions of his fellow citizens who saw their economic livelihood threatened by protectionism and the possibility of severing close economic ties with their neighbors. At the same time, a sector of Mexican society that has always been antagonistic to two pillars of trade in our continent: integration with the United States, and economic freedom, came to power in Mexico. This raised the specter of a challenge to free trade from Mexican socialists. However, the overwhelmingly positive results and obvious benefits of NAFTA for Mexico were of such magnitude, that protectionism was not an issue in the return to power of the nationalist Left. It now looks like a given, but both in the case of the U.S. and in the case of Mexico, the survival of the framework of openness born on January 1, 1994, is a testament to enormous political and economic success. In a world that increasingly favors the Pyrrhic victories of political symbolism, the triumph of reason over nativist fervor is well worth highlighting. For each of the three countries, the USMCA was the way to protect these gains, but each country placed its own emphasis on their priorities. Canada, currently the most politically stable country of the three, clearly sought to uphold a system that provides the country with access to its main market, as well as to another market (Mexico) in which it has fewer interests, but which is still important. The United States, the former architect of the world order that promoted economic freedoms for 71 years (1945-2016), was set to become its spoiler. Fortunately for the general interest, despite the rhetoric, with the USMCA it was possible to find a compromise that safeguarded the gains made from economic integration since 1994. Sectors of society, such as farmers and border communities which had never organized to defend their markets, got together to successfully make their case directly to the Administration. Mexico’s interests were clearer: manufactured exports are the most dynamic and competitive part of its economy. They not only provide a major source of hard currency, but in conjunction with the imports made possible by income from exports, they support the internal market, as well. For Mexico, even more than for Canada, protecting free trade of North America was imperative. The result was an Agreement that protected the benefits of North American commercial freedom, at the same time as it brought certain aspects up to date. It also addressed a number of the concerns that had been raised by blue collar workers in the United States, particularly pertaining to the automotive sector. This document helps us understand these changes and provides perspective from three authors who were directly involved in making the USMCA a reality.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Economy, NAFTA, Free Trade, Trade, USMCA
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: John Coyne
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: North of 26° south and the security of Australia Volume 2’, is a new report by ASPI’s The North and Australia’s Security Program. The report builds on Volume 1 by presenting an all new series of articles by a range of trusted and up and coming authors exploring the continued importance of Northern Australia to national security and defence strategy. Northern Australia had become key political, military and economic terrain in a new era of major-power competition. Despite those developments, Australian policymakers have struggled to develop a cohesive northern Australia strategy. While Australia has a long-term defence capability plan, we need to continue to test our assumptions about the defence of northern Australia and the north’s significance to national security. In December 2019, Defence had finished the first draft of its internal review of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper. The review was meant to test the White Paper’s underlying assumptions. Arguably, the economic, social and geopolitical changes driven by Covid-19 will be historically significant, and that will require all-new thinking about northern Australia. This report provides much needed contemporary analysis of the criticality of the North to Australia’s national security and defence.
  • Topic: National Security, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Fergus Hanson, Emilia Currey, Tracy Beattie
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is increasingly deploying coercive diplomacy against foreign governments and companies. Coercive diplomacy isn’t well understood, and countries and companies have struggled to develop an effective toolkit to push back against and resist it. This report tracks the CCP’s use of coercive diplomacy over the past 10 years, recording 152 cases of coercive diplomacy affecting 27 countries as well as the European Union. The data shows that there’s been a sharp escalation in these tactics since 2018. The regions and countries that recorded the most instances of coercive diplomacy over the last decade include Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and East Asia. The CCP’s coercive tactics can include economic measures (such as trade sanctions, investment restrictions, tourism bans and popular boycotts) and non-economic measures (such as arbitrary detention, restrictions on official travel and state-issued threats). These efforts seek to punish undesired behaviour and focus on issues including securing territorial claims, deploying Huawei’s 5G technology, suppressing minorities in Xinjiang, blocking the reception of the Dalai Lama and obscuring the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. China is the largest trading partner for nearly two-thirds of the world’s countries, and its global economic importance gives it significant leverage. The impacts of coercive diplomacy are exacerbated by the growing dependency of foreign governments and companies on the Chinese market. The economic, business and security risks of that dependency are likely to increase if the CCP can continue to successfully use this form of coercion.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: David Uren
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This report argues that the growing use of economic coercion by both China and the United States is an emerging risk for business and undermines the world trading system. Australian businesses that have in good faith taken up the opportunities offered by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2015, now find themselves facing the potential loss of market access as the Chinese administration retaliates over Australian government policies on a coronavirus inquiry and the next generation internet network. Australian businesses are not the targets of US sanctions, but US extra-territorial reach means they are at risk of serious collateral damage if they even inadvertently transact with any individual or organisation that is. The report traces the growing use of trade as an economic weapon, particularly over the last three years as the global trade environment has become increasingly fractious amid rising protectionism. The World Trade Organisation has successfully been used in the past to push back against economic coercion and the report argues the Australian government should be ready to use the disputes mechanism of the World Trade Organisation to tackle Chinese trade barriers. Multilateral forums, including APEC, the G20, the OECD and the WTO should recognise the growing threat which economic coercion represents to the freedom of commerce.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Economy, Trade Wars, Free Trade, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, United States of America
  • Author: Andrzej Halesiak, Andrzej Rzońca
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Forecasting during a strong shock is burdened with exceptionally high uncertainty. This gives rise to the temptation to formulate alarmist forecasts. Experiences from earlier pandemics, particularly those from the 20th century, for which we have the most data, don’t provide a basis for this. The mildest of them weakened growth by less than 1 percentage point, and the worst, the Spanish Flu, by 6 percentage points. Still, even the Spanish Flu never caused losses on the order of 20% of GDP – not even where it turned out to be a humanitarian disaster, costing the lives of 3-5% of the population. History suggests that if pandemics lead to such deep losses at all, it’s only in particular quarters and not over a whole year, as economic activity rebounds. The strength of that rebound is largely determined by economic policy. The purpose of this work is to describe possible scenarios for a rebound in Polish economic growth after the epidemic. A separate issue, no less important, is what world will emerge from the current crisis. In the face of the 2008 financial crisis, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” Such changes can make the economy and society function better than before the crisis. Unfortunately, the opportunities created by the global financial crisis were squandered. Today’s task is more difficult; the scale of various problems has expanded even more. Without deep structural and institutional changes, the world will be facing enduring social and economic problems, accompanied by long-term stagnation.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Economy, Economic Growth, Crisis Management, Fiscal Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew A. Michta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Andrew A. Michta argues that the governments of Central and Eastern European countries will need to weigh the benefit to them of continued economic engagement with China, especially in the area of 5G.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economy, Transatlantic Relations, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tomas Jermalavicius, Priit Mändmaa, Emma Hakala, Tomas Janeliūnas, Juris Ozoliņš, Krystian Kowalewski
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: By coincidence perhaps more than design, the ‘winds of change’ in the twelve months between autumn 2018 and 2019 ushered in new governments—whether through national elections or through coalition reshuffling—in five Baltic Sea littoral states: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Yet, amidst sometimes rather turbulent domestic political debates, one key cluster of topics was virtually absent: energy security and climate policy. With the vital exception of Finland—a state with a relatively strong Green movement and long tradition of climate and environmental activism—no country saw climate or energy security targets raised as key campaign issues. To the extent that energy security and climate topics were mentioned at all, they either were minimized due to parties’ fear of alienating key voting blocs (as with the coal mining sector in Poland), confined to energy stakeholders and technical audiences due their complexity (as with electricity desynchronisation in the Baltic countries) or completely assimilated into a cross-party foreign policy consensus (as in the universal opposition in Lithuania to the Astravyets nuclear power plant project in Belarus). While domestic factors—including perceived national interests in ensuring energy self-sufficiency—contributed to a serious case of policy inertia, small and interconnected countries do not of course exist in a vacuum. Accordingly, international factors—from the continuing use of energy policy as an instrument of geopolitical power by Russia, to the growing consensus in the EU in favor of more ambitious climate targets—have done more to raise the salience of these issues, especially after the von der Leyen Commission took office in Brussels at the end of 2019 and put forward the so-called European Green Deal. These exogenous factors have finally, for instance, triggered a broader reassessment in Estonia of that country’s rather leisurely planned phase-out of oil shale power generation, while pushing political leaders in all five countries at least rhetorically to embrace the goal of a carbon-neutral future (albeit with considerable differences in timelines and methodology). Amidst a volatile international economic and geopolitical context that—since the time work began on this report—now includes a major global pandemic and a dramatic fall in fossil fuel demand and prices, the region’s political and economic leaders clearly cannot count on being able to make their policy selections in a vacuum. While the goal of an integrated regional energy market is closer than ever to being achieved, regional cooperation still has much to be desired; differing attitudes to issues both technical (e.g. harmonising natural gas regulations, which has left Lithuania outside a new regional market) or fundamental (importing third-country electricity generated without regard to EU climate or pollution standards) leave all five countries less able to respond to challenges ahead. While the region’s countries have largely relied on Brussels to broker compromises (often with the help of considerable funding), in a post-pandemic world, both the political bandwidth and financial resources will likely be constrained. In its country sections, this report captures a valuable snapshot of the relative inertia as well as the degree of evolution of the energy and climate policies of the five countries in the face of that year’s fairly calm international context. Given the significant economic, human, and political changes underway as a result of the pandemic, however, it is an open question to what extent the region can weather the far more turbulent times ahead. The political and societal willingness to pursue the energy transition to a carbon-neutral future through new—more ambitious and certainly more expensive—energy and climate policies as a response to the climate emergency will very much depend on how the impact of the pandemic plays out globally, in Europe and in the Baltic area. It will also require strong leadership from a new generation of political, business and societal leaders able to see green recovery as a major opportunity for their nations in terms of economic development, social welfare and national security.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Environment, Politics, Governance, European Union, Economy, Sustainability, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Baltic States