Is the U.S. going back to the Western Balkans?
The United States is increasing its engagement with the Western Balkans on issues including security, energy and good governance. The administration is trying to reduce instability in the region, improve economic development and counter outside influence from countries like Russia and China. If these efforts are successful, U.S. capital investment will increase and the Balkans will move closer toward NATO membership.
Opinion: Can the North Korean leopard change its spots?
The June 12, 2018, Singapore summit between the president of the United States and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was better than the alternative – a potentially catastrophic outcome of belligerent rhetoric between two nuclear-armed states. A great deal will depend on what has been agreed in that other, less reported, North Korean summit – the one between China’s President Xi Jinping and Mr. Kim. For the West, though, the ultimate success hinges on keeping a focus on human rights as an essential part of the process.
A powerful new president in Mexico
Swept into office by an overwhelming electoral victory last month, Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will take office with a degree of power not seen in decades. He has prioritized several issue areas, including poverty, corruption and negotiations over NAFTA, but his specific policy agenda remains unclear. The new Mexican leader's success will depend on balancing decisive action with healthy restraints on presidential power
Kim Watch: ‘Our nukes should be handed to the next generation intact’
U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to a face-to-face summit with North Korea’s dictator because he hoped against hope that Kim Jong-un could somehow be persuaded to give up his stockpile of nuclear weapons and stop ballistic missile development programs. Now, back at home, the dictator is busy assuring his cadre and public that he will not allow any of it.
Regional shifts are marginalizing ASEAN
In the huge geopolitical shifts happening in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been conspicuously absent. Split over Chinese activity in the South China Sea, the organization is unready to face these new challenges. If ASEAN becomes irrelevant, it will impact the big players, such as the U.S. and China, too – they will have lost a major facilitator of peace and stability in the region.
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.
Duterte’s impact at the two-year mark
When President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in the Philippines, his plan to reorient the country’s geopolitics toward Beijing and away from Washington was a shock. But reality has set in – although Manila now takes a more neutral line, the U.S. still plays a crucial role in the Philippines’ security. The public is also wary of China, whose aggressive moves in the South China Sea could cause an uproar and force Mr. Duterte to realign with Washington.
Trade wars: the options for Europe
Although U.S. President Donald Trump maintains that he believes in free trade, his preferred policy tool continues to be protectionism. So far, Europe has relied on cosmetic retaliation and little else. But it could do more. For example, the EU could engage in aggressive free trade or seek bilateral deals, especially with big global partners. President Trump would be left with few justifications for keeping trade barriers in place, and Brussels would acquire prominence on the world stage.
China’s profile is rising in Latin America
As China’s growing economy made it an increasingly important player in Latin America, Beijing kept a low profile. Now, it can no longer avoid the spotlight. In Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and Cuba, its position as a customer, financier and investor is leading to some complicated challenges. The question now is how assertive it will become in imposing its will on these countries – and how they and the U.S. will react.
The Trump-Kim summit: Japan’s perspective
The effects of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in May are still reverberating around the globe, especially in Japan. As the geopolitics in the region shift, it could cause new tensions that the country, with its shrinking population, will be hard-pressed to handle. Its greatest concern is what concessions the Trump administration may be willing to give China for its part in bringing Kim Jong-un to heel, which could have a huge impact on Japan’s security.