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  • Author: Richard McGregor, Jude Blanchette
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: After more than eight years in office, Xi Jinping has made himself into China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping, but in doing so, Xi has destabilised elite politics and demolished the power sharing norms that evolved since the 1980s. By removing de jure and de facto term limits on the most senior position of power, and thus far refusing to nominate his successor, Xi has solidified his own leadership position but potentially pushed the country towards a destabilising succession crisis. There are various scenarios for what happens after Xi, ranging from a peaceful transfer of power to a split at the top if he is forced out of office in a coup or by illness or death.
  • Topic: Leadership, Domestic politics, Xi Jinping
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The continuing crisis in government has led to the dissolution of the Knesset and early parliamentary elections in Israel, the fourth in the last two years. Polls do not reveal any possible coalition variants, which increases the possibility for further elections in autumn. This scenario favours Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose position is strengthened by the effective vaccination campaign against COVID-19 and the normalisation of relations with Gulf states.
  • Topic: Elections, Domestic politics, Benjamin Netanyahu, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Sadyr Japarov, the leader of the autumn protests that led to the removal from power of the previous president, Soronbai Jeenbekov, won the early presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan on 10 January. In a parallel consultative referendum, voters supported the change of the state system to the presidential system proposed by Japarov, which includes the liquidation of parliament. One consequence may be the evolution of the political system of Kyrgyzstan towards an authoritarian model similar to those in other Central Asian countries. That would have a negative impact on relations with the EU, which supports democratic reforms in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Authoritarianism, Reform, Democracy, Domestic politics, Referendum
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Giorgio Fruscione, Michael L. Giffoni, Gentiola Madhi, Chiara Milan, Jovana Marovic, Giorgio Fruscione, Nikolaos Tzifakis
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: One year after it landed in Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has left a deep mark on the Western Balkans. On the one hand, it has exacerbated geopolitical dynamics that had been ongoing for decades, especially with regards to the activity of external actors. And while the EU has continued to be inconclusive, proceeding at a snail’s pace with its carrot-and-stick approach, China has seized on the opportunity and expanded its footprint. On the other hand, the pandemic has had deep consequences on domestic politics, too. The two keywords explaining local trends are continuity and new hopes. They are both shaping the speed and direction of democratic transitions or consolidations, which remain far from complete. How has the geopolitical competition among big powers evolved in the Balkans over the last year? What have been the effects of the pandemic on local democratic standards? Is there room for new hopes in terms of regime change and citizen participation?
  • Topic: Democracy, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Aldo Ferrari, Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, Maxim Matusevich, Marianne Belenkaya, Andrei Kolesnikov, Alicja Curanović, Alexander Graef, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: What drives Russia’s foreign policy in Vladimir Putin’s times? Why did the Kremlin decide to annex Crimea, occupy South Ossetia, intervene in Syria, or give its blessing to Nord Stream II? When explaining Russia’s foreign policy, the consolidation of Putin’s autocratic tendencies and his apparent stability despite many economic and political challenges have contributed – at least in the West – to an excessive “Putin-centrism” and the relative neglect of other agents of domestic politics. As a result, many facets of the country’s foreign policy decisions are misunderstood or shrouded under a thin veil of vagueness and secrecy. This Report attempts to fill this gap, exploring the evolving distribution of political and economic power under the surface of Putin’s leadership to assess the influence of different “lobbies” on Russia’s foreign policy. Who decides what in Moscow? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not always “Vladimir Putin”. All of the contributions in the volume underline the complexity of Russia’s decision-making process beneath the surface of a monolithic and increasingly personalistic government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics, Authoritarianism, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • 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: Theresa Reidy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage through a national referendum vote. The decision to introduce equal marriage received a great deal of attention, and not just because it was the first positive referendum decision on this issue; the vote was also preceded by a citizens’ assembly which recommended the referendum and endorsed a “yes” vote. The resounding victory for the liberal position provided definitive evidence of Ireland’s shift from a conservative, inward-looking European periphery state to a modern, liberal, and inclusive republic.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture, Domestic politics, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland, European Union
  • Author: Lidia Gibadło
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Until recently, links between the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and right-wing extremist organizations have not weakened the party’s record. Yet, after anti-Semitic and racist attacks, its image as a radical party is becoming an increasingly serious obstacle in attracting new voters and overcoming political isolation. Lack of prospects for participation in government and the fact that some of the grouping are under the surveillance of counter-intelligence may lead to a loss of votes and gradual marginalisation of the AfD.
  • Topic: Security, Domestic politics, Far Right, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Cheol Hee Park
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korean views of Japan are neither uniform nor unified. Considering that national strategic identities are competing even within a single country, it is not strange at all that South Koreans have complex and fragmented views of Japan. Depending on their ideological and dispositional orientations, South Koreans hold varying perceptions about Japan. It is much more so in the age of ideological polarization. Not only in the United States, but also in South Korea, identity politics more and more dominate. Widespread social networking service communications made tribal communications, instead of mass communications, permeate the society, which strengthened the trend of polarization. Increasingly people do not cross over ideological divides or social cleavage lines, creating islands of tribes to convince themselves in a particular way. The combination of ideological divide and tribal communications opens an unexplored political domain of contending views in a society. This chapter aims to delineate the development of complex and divided South Korean views of Japan, especially under the Moon administration. It shows South Korea divided within. Then it analyzes the rise of anti-Japanese elements in Moon’s handling of Japan affairs after 2017. Careful analysis of the Moon government’s posture toward Japan reveals that such aspects can be visibly identified. I also analyze the political background of rising anti- Japanese elements within the ruling party of South Korea, while attempting to show that alternative views of Japan are widely available despite the Moon government’s generally negative posture toward Japan. Based on a review of newspaper columns and civic initiatives for reconciling with Japan, this study further illustrates the existence of modest alternative views that are different from the government position. This clearly reflects that South Korea’s discursive space remains relatively democratic and plural. Finally, I address the question of whether political and diplomatic tensions would increase or decrease in the process of South Korean and Japanese interactions. Prescriptions are highly conditional in a sense that the level of tensions will be determined by the way interactions address the issues in contention. I take the position that there is not a single view but multiple and divided views of Japan in South Korea, particularly under the Moon administration. Although the Moon government contains a strong anti-Japanese and nationalist orientation, conservative intellectuals keep a moderate, cooperative stance toward Japan. One can find increasing diversity despite intense bilateral controversies over contemporary and past issues. I conclude that tensions between South Korea and Japan originate from political elites, rather than the general populace. Narrowing the perception gap between political leaders may be easier to do in bettering the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Daniel Szeligowski, Veronika Jóźwiak
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The dispute over the rights of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia is based on a fundamental difference of interests. While Ukraine aims to strengthen its citizens’ sense of belonging to the country, Hungary strives to extend the rights of the minority, which means there are no prospects for easing the tensions in the short term. What is more, further escalation is likely, since both parties use the dispute in domestic politics. The difference in Hungary’s and Poland’s approach to Ukraine will weigh on Polish-Hungarian relations.
  • Topic: Education, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Minorities, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Hungary
  • Author: Andrzej Dąbrowski
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Democratic Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the U.S. “midterm” elections, although the Republican Party retained its majority in the Senate. The Republicans’ defeat will weaken President Donald Trump, who will have to seek common ground with the Democrats, for example, on the budget. The Democrats will try to undermine Trump administration policy using the powers of Congressional oversight and by obstructing legislation sent to the House by the Republican majority in the Senate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Elections, Domestic politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Diamond, George Zodrow
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The potential for utilizing a federal carbon tax to address the risks of climate change has been discussed in U.S. policy debates on both sides of the aisle. Under a carbon tax, consumers and producers would account for the costs of climate change in their decision making. The policy would reduce greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing the efficiency of private markets.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Affairs, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Nicolas Papanastasopoulos
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The field of crisis management in public policy (both in its internal and external aspect) is currently facing a number of essential and important challenges with theoretical, institutional and political dimensions. This paper aims at deconstructing existing limitations by bringing together the necessary inter-disciplinary elements. The paper attempts to analyze Greek public policy and the government’s capacities to cope with a turbulent (geo)political environment. At the same time, an effort is made to analyze the way the Greek political personnel managed the debt crisis. In this context, the discussion combines both theoretical and empirical approaches.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Greece