Comments written by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein himself provide an informed viewpoint on crucial geopolitical issues. Sometimes challenging and always thought-provoking, these brief commentaries take a stance that stimulate debate.
Is the North Atlantic partnership in danger?
Over the past couple of decades, Europe has been quick to criticize the United States – especially when the man in the White House was not someone to European leaders’ liking. Nevertheless, Europe has not shied away from accepting U.S. protection. This hypocrisy is taking a toll on the Western alliance and undermining European and American interests around the globe.
EU budget plan offers progress and pitfalls
The European Commission is finally taking steps to trim unproductive spending in areas like agriculture in its budget framework for 2021-2027. But while the new emphasis on fighting waste is promising, the fiscal plan also contains troubling proposals. One of the most disturbing is to reduce cohesion payments to countries that violate European "values," based on the arbitrary interpretations of the Commission and a few powerful member states.
What to expect of North Korea?
Faced with an assertive U.S. military and diplomatic response to his latest tests of nuclear weapons systems, the North Korean ruler has changed his tack. Kim Jong-un now says he is ready to give up his nuclear deterrence and make peace with South Korea. Seoul and Washington are happy to explore this opening, but Beijing and Moscow, both interested in maintaining status quo in the Korean Peninsula, are more apprehensive. There is also the question of Mr. Kim’s true intentions.
The fragile German-French axis heads toward isolation
Germany and France want to lead the European Union, but their leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron, have adopted policies that endanger the bloc. Calls for greater centralization will alienate other member states, while hypocritical criticism of the U.S. and Russia will leave the Union isolated.
War or peace for Syria: A humanitarian and geopolitical predicament
The United States, France and the United Kingdom were forced to attack Syrian government forces for using chemical weapons against rebels. But that cannot disguise the unpleasant fact that the only road to peace in Syria leads to Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad.
Big data and the right to privacy
Big internet companies are on solid ground when they defend their right to collect and process data on consumers to improve their services. The problem begins when individual privacy is not sufficiently guarded or technology giants such as Amazon acquire so much sway both in the market and in the political sphere that they may become able to distort competition.
Turkey, Iran and the potential for peace in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted a summit in Ankara with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on April 4. The focus of the meeting was Syria. The move showed how Turkey is renewing efforts to overcome past rivalries and improve relations with its neighbors to solve one of the biggest threats to its interests. If these three regional powers can manage to use realpolitik, there may be hope for a resolution to the Syria conflict – at least in the short term.
Brunei, a case of missing an opportunity
As its oil and natural gas reserves near depletion, Brunei is searching for ways to diversify its economy, but thus far the only country willing to invest in the strategically located sultanate is China. Europe, the United States and Japan are missing on an important business and geopolitical opportunity in Southeast Asia.
Western leadership leaves much to be desired
Huge economic imbalances are weighing on Western economies, while global power shifts threaten the world order. But those are not the problems that leaders in Europe and many politicians in the U.S. have chosen to focus on. Instead, they continue deficit spending to pay for handouts to their supporters and marginalize outsiders who think outside the box. This lack of visionary leadership is a major source of weakness.