Biden’s ‘Build Back Better World’: Opportunities, pitfalls and hot air
G7 leaders have agreed to President Biden’s plan to counter China. The initiative to build infrastructure in the developing world has some merit, but is undermined by vague value pronouncements and a worrying drive toward a tax quasi-cartel
Rising food prices: A harbinger of inflation
Food prices have been rising rapidly in recent weeks. While this trend is caused by a wide range of factors, it is yet another worrisome sign that economic trouble lies ahead in Western societies. Soon, countries saddled with crippling debt could have to deal with an inflation surge as well
Supranational bodies and the lack of democratic accountability
Supranational bureaucracies are expanding their influence by promoting global tax harmonization. In cahoots with politicians, they covertly advocate for systems that ramp up the tax burden and weaken the very foundation of democracy
Fighting Covid and the loss of local improvisation
National governments and supranational organizations like the WHO continue to push for more power to head off the next big crisis. But they cannot provide safety from unpredictable catastrophes like Covid-19. Instead, the real solutions will come from local bodies, as long as they remain adaptable and prepared
Terrorism is incompatible with peaceful solutions
The renewed fighting between the Palestinian territories and Israel is not, as some have argued, the root cause of instability in the Middle East. Rather, it is the manifestation of a broader turmoil that has been made worse by the international community’s tolerance of terrorist warfare, preventing local actors from ...
Violating rights under the pretext of Covid-19
As if shackling economies, putting people under lockdown and running mind-boggling deficits were not damaging enough, Western governments are now discussing the suspension of the pharmaceutical industry’s patent rights, allegedly to help vaccinate poorer countries. This is the worst imaginable strategy, as damaging research would leave humankind exposed to future ...
A new bipolar world
The recent G7 meeting shows how global politics is fragmenting into two camps. It confirms that geopolitical polarization is occurring. The trend is a fact that we will have to face
The demise of liberal democracy
Big government, high taxes, massive debt, political polarization and social crises have become the norm throughout Western Europe and North America. But it is high time for leaders and citizens to take a look at the lessons history has to offer. Only then could the region avoid going down the ...
Europe needs more realpolitik, experience and skill in foreign and security policy
Europe cannot afford a foreign policy that is poorly conceived, ill-targeted and amateurish in execution. There is a pressing need to add a pragmatic institution, probably outside the EU governance architecture, to improve Europe’s international standing, room for maneuver and security prospects
Feel-good immigration policies in the U.S. and Europe
The U.S. and Europe face a flood of migrants. In both cases, leaders have signaled that immigrants would be welcome, spurring a wave of foreigners hoping to enter. But in Europe especially, a misplaced attempt at humanitarianism has made it easier for immigrants to abuse the system. On the other ...
Iran talks: Adding fuel to the fire in the Middle East
The 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, canceled in 2018 by the Trump administration, failed to address Tehran’s disruptive interventions in the Middle East. A new round of negotiations has begun, but without a sound strategy, Western powers could once again conclude a hurried deal that would leave several countries at ...
The gorilla and orangutan, or how freedom could be lost
As in the dystopian “Planet of the Apes” films, people in the developed, democratic world may find themselves stripped of their freedom and wealth if they continue turning a blind eye to the autocratic tendencies of expanding governments. Another big leap in this expansion is taking place during the coronavirus ...
The West needs to recognize Russia’s significance
The Biden administration is being much tougher on Russia than on China. This makes little sense. China is engaged in activities that strongly threaten U.S. and European interests, while Russia and the West can find common interests. A firm, but a more open and respectful stance toward Moscow could benefit ...
Sleepwalking into a healthcare and retirement crisis
While there is no shortage of debate over future risks in the public sphere, little is said about the dangers of collapsing health and retirement systems – a near-inevitable reality given the demographic situation in many Western states. The current pandemic provided governments with the opportunity to engage in a ...
Freedom and innovation are keys to Europe’s success
Unleashing free-market force and entrepreneurship is the only way forward for Europe. Instead of mimicking China’s central planning, the West needs to return to the values that initially made it powerful and prosperous: innovation, freedom and entrepreneurship. Only then will it revive its mismanaged economies and boost its global relevance
Redressing policies in the Middle East
The Biden White House may be repeating old mistakes by turning its back on Saudi Arabia, an ally, and offering leverage to Tehran, a foe. Undermining the powers that be in Riyadh – just as progress on reforms is being made – could have disastrous consequences
Even before Covid-19 struck, many governments had dangerously high debt levels. Now that they have been given a new excuse to spend, the public sector is becoming even more bloated. Such a strategy will prove unsustainable in the long run, and inflation will inevitably appear. But meanwhile, states keep on ...
Europe’s partners: The United States, Russia and Turkey
In their dealings with Washington, Moscow and Ankara, European powers and also Brussels make little attempt to understand the other side. Behaving as if they were morally superior, shortsighted leaders ignore geopolitical realities and put Europe’s vital interests at longer-term risk
Europe’s tragic vaccine saga
The slow start to Europe’s vaccination program has set off a round of unhelpful political finger-pointing. A levelheaded analysis shows the EU should prioritize testing and vaccine procurement, while empowering local governments to decide more on health policy. It should also allow businesses to open and encourage innovation in developing ...
Renewed relations with Iran could come at a cost
In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Now it appears the United States is planning to enter a new nuclear deal with Iran. Doing so will require a careful risk assessment, especially for the sake of Middle Eastern countries that could fall prey to ...
America’s choice: Healing and competing, or punishing
The vengefulness behind the latest attempt at impeaching the former president stands at odds with President Joe Biden’s pledge to heal and reunify the country, and to focus on its many serious challenges. This exercise also can be seen as a sign of the Democrats’ weakness: it betrays a fear ...
Covid-19, the ‘white knight’ for irresponsible policies
Though a quick injection of funds was necessary to keep businesses running and to avoid suffering, governments have taken the crisis brought on by Covid-19 as an opportunity to further increase their grip on economies. The enormous amounts of spending are financed through money creation. The result of such processes ...
The end does not justify the means
In Western democracies, leaders have given up on promoting the common good and would rather chase supporters by paying lip service to utopian goals. As a result, voters are feeling increasingly alienated and distrustful, turning toward conspiracy theories. To regain the trust of citizens, elites will need to abandon the ...
New economic deals and their geopolitical implications for Europe
The EU has agreed on trade investment deals with the U.K. and China, while African countries launched an enormous free-trade zone. While each of these developments comes with some risks, they also offer opportunities for Europe to increase its global competitiveness. But it must remain both vigilant and open.