Belt And Road Initiative
2018 Global Outlook: World trade
After a surprisingly good 2017, world trade should do even better this year. But that doesn’t mean that Europe and the United States can afford to be passive. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which will turn most of Asia into a privileged trade zone, demands a choice – either join the initiative or promote free trade outside it. For now, the West is doing neither.
Djibouti remains well-positioned, despite uncertainty
Geography is Djibouti’s key asset. Its strategic location in the Horn of Africa has lured global powers to establish military bases there, bolstering its economy and security. How much the country will continue to benefit will depend on regional stability, especially in Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as ethnic tensions domestically.
China’s soft landing in the Balkans
In the next few years China will be opening an investment bridgehead in the Balkans. As other powers such as Russia and Turkey have increased their geopolitical presence in the region, China’s expansion will be even stronger – but different in kind because it will be a “soft,” mostly economic penetration. The push will be all the more powerful if the European Union neglects the region, as seems probable with its decision to delay the next round of accession until 2025.
How domestic instability shapes the power play over Myanmar
Competing forces are pulling Myanmar in different directions. China is deeply involved in the country's politics and economy, while the West is withdrawing after several years of engagement. ASEAN, Japan and India are interested in business opportunities and countering Chinese influence. How these factors affect Myanmar will be determined by the country's internal politics, including the interplay between the military and civilian authorities, and whether it can peacefully resolve its ethnic conflicts.
Debate: What China’s new Silk Road means for Europe
In a debate last month in Warsaw, politicians, bankers and businessmen considered the implications for Europe of China's Belt and Road Initiative – likely to be Eurasia's largest infrastructure project in this century. It is both an economic opportunity and a portent of growing Chinese preeminence on the continent.
Washington poised to become New Delhi’s partner in the Indian Ocean
Not since the Cold War has the United States paid such close attention to the Indian Ocean. Now the competitor attracting Washington’s attention is China, not the Soviet Union, and its closest partner is India – a country with its own concerns about Chinese designs in the region. The consequence will be an abiding U.S. military, economic and diplomatic presence in the region.
Geopolitics drives Japan’s economy
Japanese companies are making a big push overseas. The phenomenon is a result of a shrinking population, but also geopolitical pressure from China. To counter Beijing’s influence, Japan is using its economic heft to expand its reach and protect its interests. Its ties with countries like India and Australia will continue to grow, and it will step into the vacuums left by a withdrawing United States and an overstretched China.
What’s next for the Caspian region
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Caspian Sea region plays an outsized role in geopolitical events. In recent years, global powers have made some significant changes in their policies toward the region. China is stepping up its activity, while the U.S. has backed away. Russia’s influence has greatly increased, while Turkey’s has waned. Now, states in the region face a growing threat from Muslim extremism. How well countries meet these challenges will depend on the strength of their state institutions. In Central Asia, that could mean increased cooperation and peace. In the South Caucasus, conflict could be on the cards.