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most important part of Europe’s security perimeter in the 21st
century may be its southern rim. The migration crisis of 2015 was only a
foretaste of the demographic, economic and political pressures that are
building up in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the approaches tried by
European powers in this vital and growing region have generally failed. They
need to get it right as new rival enters the neighborhood – China.
Since the collapse of communism, Western powers have kept urging African countries to establish democracies by holding elections. Yet democracy is a complex institution that does not adapt well to multiethnic, impoverished societies – especially when it is imposed from outside. Too often the trappings of centralized democracy have been used to legitimize “elected autocrats,” yet there are signs the import will take if grafted onto native roots.
Dr. Emmanuel Martin
A year after Catalonia’s
botched declaration of independence, pro-independence parties still cling to
power in the regional government but find themselves increasingly at odds with
each other. Political gridlock has taken its toll on the Catalan economy, while
urban dwellers are tilting toward the anti-independence camp. The choice
appears to be between continued stalemate or an accommodation with Madrid,
which would require a political realignment of pro-independence moderates with
Dr. Tomas Dupla del Moral
Russia’s pension reform continues to reverberate in domestic politics. For the first time ever, President Vladimir Putin has assumed full personal responsibility for an unpopular decision that directly infringes on the lives of most Russians. The effects are already visible in his slumping popularity and in the startling results of gubernatorial elections in several regions. Mr. Putin could be looking for an electoral out as he follows the downhill path of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.
Dr. Svyatoslav Kaspe