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.
Brazil’s presidential elections: An omen for Europe?
Europe is more developed and stable than Brazil, but its citizens also have strong reasons to feel let down by the mainstream political forces. An increasing number of voters here may, just like so many Brazilians, support radicals in the hope of opening a path for badly needed reforms.
The next EU elections: Justified concerns, but for the wrong reasons
Europe’s dysfunctional political system has created a deep rift between centralized governments and their citizens. Trying to marginalize new parties that express this discontent will only make the problem worse.
Brexit: holding out hope for pragmatism, and a miracle
Last week’s Salzburg negotiations were embarrassing for anyone holding out hope that European leaders might take a practical approach to Brexit negotiations. Even though maintaining the free movement of goods, services and capital, while losing the free movement of people is preferable to none of the above, EU decision makers are blindly sticking to bureaucratic dogma. Such attitudes are a detriment to European business and indeed the European spirit.
Shifting alliances in South Asia
For decades, tensions have run high in South Asia, where the interests of China, India and Pakistan clash. Lately, Beijing and Islamabad have stepped up cooperation, while India and the United States have grown closer. The many unsettled conflicts in the region make the situation extremely volatile. For now, nuclear deterrence is stabilizing the situation – but as pressure builds, its efficacy could weaken.
Redressing the European position
In urging Europe to become stronger, politicians like French President Emmanuel Macron and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas are right. But their statements sound more like expressions of defiance toward Washington than serious declarations of intent.
Shortsightedness and stubbornness are holding Europe back
As European leaders rail against “populism,” many of them are taking on populist positions themselves: they are taking a hard line on Brexit, refuse to implement commonsense solutions on public debt, and are bowing to pressure against GMOs. All this will hurt Europe in the long term and diminish its global position. It desperately needs leaders who are willing to follow a more pragmatic strategy.
The sense and nonsense of economic sanctions
Economic sanctions are occasionally useful in trade conflicts, but they work poorly when employed as a political tool. The United States and the EU would have accomplished more had they responded to Russia’s 2014 aggression against Ukraine with immediate increases in defense spending and kept their military options open.
Elections in Zimbabwe: An African tragedy
A richly endowed country, Africa’s former breadbasket Zimbabwe, has become a basket case of a state due to idiosyncratic policies, systemic plundering and violence after 1980, when alleged “liberation” forces, in fact terror groups, took power. The nonagenarian dictator Robert Mugabe was finally removed in a palace coup, but the problematic election on July 30, 2018 shows that Zimbabwe’s plight is far from over.
Thank you, Mr. Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump is right that both the EU and China use unfair trade practices. Now, his threats to impose tariffs on European goods – hypocritically branded “protectionist” by many countries with higher trade barriers – have brought EU officials to the negotiating table. Perhaps the EU will finally engage in freer trade, to the benefit of Europe and the world.