GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – looking east
Europe is politically diffuse and poorly armed for a great power at a geopolitical crossroads. Yet it has proved deceptively capable of leveraging the NATO alliance and its enormous economic “soft power” to expand eastward. Now its mettle is being tested as Russia – and, to a lesser extent, Turkey – push back.
Border conflicts in the Balkans
Nearly three decades after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the borders in the Balkans are still up for debate. Eight unresolved border disputes are dividing countries in the region, pitting European Union and NATO members against each other and threatening the integration of several EU candidates. Some of these disputes will likely last for years to come, as the enmity of past conflicts gets in the way of negotiations.
The impact of the Greece-Macedonia accord
The deal between Greece and what may soon be called the Republic of North Macedonia is about much more than a name. The bilateral agreement finally opens the door for North Macedonia’s integration into the EU and NATO, and could make Greece a serious regional player. However, political challenges could easily derail or delay the two-year implementation process.
Sino-Indian relations after the Wuhan summit
In late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an “informal summit” during which they reached a tacit understanding to turn down the heat on their countries’ contentious relationship. Both leaders have many more urgent issues on their plates, and need room to maneuver. But without any concrete steps taken to solve the Asian giants’ big disagreements, renewed confrontation is only a matter of time.
A sad centennial: Unfinished peace in the Balkans
The approaching anniversary of the end of World War I is a reminder that the place where that conflict started, the Western Balkans, has still not achieved a lasting peace. Three big political, legal and financial processes must still be carried through – reconciliation of former enemies, settlement of war reparations, and division of the former Yugoslavia’s assets among its successor states. It is unlikely any of the three will be completed in the next decade.
The economics and geopolitics of global fisheries
About 90 percent of global ocean fishing stocks are fully exploited or overfished. Competition to exploit this declining resource has led to geopolitical conflicts and social ills such as piracy and pollution, while regulation and subsidies only exacerbate the problem. Economics offers some institutional solutions that give the fishing industry incentives to manage stocks for the long term.
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.
Tension in the India-China relationship
Though the standoff on the Doklam Plateau between India and China seems to have been resolved, the countries’ Himalayan border will continue to be a source of tension. As emerging world powers with aspirations for hegemony, both are jockeying for influence in other countries in the region, such as Nepal and Bhutan.
Doklam standoff reflects changing China-India relationship
The military showdown between unarmed Chinese and Indian troops on the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas is different than previous border tiffs in the region between these two Asian giants. The new dimensions reflect a changing relationship between Beijing and New Delhi, as both gain international clout. The current crisis is unlikely to get out of hand, but China and India will continue to butt heads.
Opinion: Crimea as a freehold
What to do with Crimea is a seemingly insoluble problem. With patriotic Russian opinion firmly set in the “Crimean consensus,” returning the territory to Ukraine is out of the question. Letting it remain as part of Russia is equally unacceptable to Ukraine and the West. Perhaps the best place to start is with Crimea’s real owners – the peninsula’s 2.34 million residents.