Reforming the African Union
Bucking the world trend, Africa in 2018 was marked by important advances toward free movement, free trade and closer cooperation between states. The main advances were on the economic front, with the agreement to create a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). While trade liberalization has the potential to be transformative for Africa, disparate stages of development, protectionist impulses and political tensions may prevent meaningful advances.
Brazil’s embattled president is still not in the clear
Brazilian President Michel Temer beat a corruption indictment by using federal funds and political favors to by off Congress. But the price of his political survival may have been the sacrifice of his fiscal reform program. And Mr. Temer is not out of the woods yet.
Erdogan’s ‘new Turkey’ resembles an old stereotype
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now unleashed, having consolidated full power over Turkey’s ruling party, parliament and the judiciary. After sweeping away the remnants of democracy and the Kemalist state, he has reached the point of no return. Which raises a simple question: what happened to the “new Turkey” – the assertive, prosperous Islamic powerhouse – that he promised?
The conflict over Qatar adds to Middle East quagmire
Aside the war in Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula has been a relatively calm part of the Middle East. A sharp conflict over Qatar’s alleged sponsorship of terrorism threatens to add it to the long list of dangerously unstable countries in North Africa, Sahel zone, Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Europe and the United States have big stakes in avoiding this scenario.
Global Outlook 2017: Sub-Saharan Africa
Political instability will be the norm for sub-Saharan Africa in 2017. Crises will range from rocky political transitions to mass protests, electoral violence and – in the worst case – even genocide. The region faces these challenges at a time when realpolitik is replacing liberalism.
Global Outlook 2017: Venezuela
Venezuela is back from the brink. Over the past six months, Nicolas Maduro has outsmarted the opposition, used a bond swap to stave off default, and coopted the top military brass to prevent a coup. If the president can only find a way to revive oil output, he may be a good bet to stay in office through 2018.
Belarus on the brink
The signs are accumulating that President Alexander Lukashenko's days as the ruler of Belarus are numbered. His present pro-Western tilt is a desperate attempt to rescue an economy in free fall. Since the opposition is too weak to bring him down, the main question is whether Mr. Lukashenko will be done in by Russia – or by his own associates.
Focus on Mongolia: walking the foreign policy tightrope (Part 2)
Over the past 25 years Mongolia has benefited substantially from its ‘multi-pillar’ foreign policy. The country prioritised relations with its two powerful neighbours – Russia and China – creating a geopolitical context that has enhanced its security and economic growth. At the same time, Mongolia developed the concept of ‘third neighbours’ – large, global powers w...