China’s soft landing in the Balkans
In the next few years China will be opening an investment bridgehead in the Balkans. As other powers such as Russia and Turkey have increased their geopolitical presence in the region, China’s expansion will be even stronger – but different in kind because it will be a “soft,” mostly economic penetration. The push will be all the more powerful if the European Union neglects the region, as seems probable with its decision to delay the next round of accession until 2025.
Serbia prepares to change course on Kosovo
The Serbian-Albanian dispute over Kosovo has kept the Western Balkans unstable for more than a century. Now, President Aleksandar Vucic is preparing the Serbian public for a new opening – recognition of Kosovo’s independence as the price of admission to the European Union. The Serbian public and senior officials are far from convinced this is the right move – some are calling for partitioning the territory and keeping Serbia’s orientation towards Russia.
Debate: What China’s new Silk Road means for Europe
In a debate last month in Warsaw, politicians, bankers and businessmen considered the implications for Europe of China's Belt and Road Initiative – likely to be Eurasia's largest infrastructure project in this century. It is both an economic opportunity and a portent of growing Chinese preeminence on the continent.
Jokowi’s prospects and Indonesia’s future
Indonesian President Joko Widodo – better known as Jokowi – has run up against tough political resistance. He is learning the hard way that the country’s cumbersome bureaucracy does not react as quickly as the businesses he has run. But despite some mistakes, he still retains public support due to his focus on economic development and infrastructure. If he can see his ambitious initiatives through and make Indonesia a “Global Maritime Fulcrum,” the country would play a pivotal geopolitical role.
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.
Russia losing the new Great Game
Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow last month brought a raft of investment deals, suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is successfully executing his version of a pivot toward Asia. But appearances deceive. The Sino-Russian "strategic partnership" is not an agreement between equals, and Russia has lost the upper hand in Central Asia.
Opinion: Control of trade routes is decisive
China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is at once a trading and a political strategy. By securing trade routes and enlisting allies, the Chinese are laying the groundwork for their long-term resurgence as Eurasia’s leading economic and political power. If it continues to stand aside from this process, Europe would be making a historic mistake.
The fog of cybersecurity
A worldwide surge of sophisticated cyberattacks has alarmed business, governments and experts alike. As long as it remains difficult to identify the attackers, while offensive cyber tools become more commonplace and easily available, one can expect such assaults to increase. Disruptive attacks on critical infrastructures have already crossed the “red lines” of past forecasts. Even so, we may still be underestimating the threat.
Indian opposition to China’s New Silk Road
India has become the most vocal opponent of China’s massive Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which New Delhi sees as a thinly veiled geopolitical power play by Beijing. So far, China has not pushed back hard, and instead has consistently tried to woo the Indian side. This is because linking the BRI to India could make the project much more profitable. If China could adjust the project to accommodate Indian concerns, it would benefit the continent. But for now, that looks unlikely.
Opinion: Trumponomics is worth a second look
President Donald Trump’s economic program is perceived by many as a recipe for disaster. But its most questionable, protectionist elements – such as the border adjustment tax – are unlikely to be implemented or could bring completely unexpected benefits. And the new administration’s plans for infrastructure and deregulation should bring positive effects.