Opinion: No winners in Swedish elections
While the Sweden Democrats did not win as much support as they had hoped during Sweden’s recent elections, their success at the polls was enough to ensure a major seat at the table in coalition talks. Rather than a sign of right-wing fervor, the growing support for the party shows that many Swedes are simply concerned about the future of their country. Sweden has serious social, structural and fiscal problems that cannot be waved away by blaming populism.
Opinion: Will immigration sink the EU?
The EU risks implosion over the issue of immigration. At the root of the problem is its inability to integrate poorly educated, low-skilled individuals into workforces, and to sanction criminal behavior effectively. Introducing measures to help debureaucratize labor markets, reform education and punish criminals would help solve preexisting problems that immigration has only put in the spotlight.
Nationalisms collide in Catalonia
If the situation after the Catalonian government’s declaration of independence were not so serious, it could be likened to a traditional Spanish farsa – a comedy of errors. Two national traditions have collided head-on – the republicanism of Catalonia and the military imperialism of Castile – and in modern-day Europe, it will be very difficult to resolve the conflict by purely legal means. Both sides have already made plenty of miscalculations.
Russia’s five circles of empire
The Soviet Union was regarded by many as a closed historical chapter. But a quarter century later, we are not so sure. The Chechen War saved the Russian empire’s territorial core, while Vladimir Putin and his associates preserved its key institutions – the army and the security services. This old guard is now guiding a re-expansion into the outer circles of empire.
History is back in the Balkans
The great game is afoot once again in the Western Balkans, with some of the usual players (Russia, Turkey) and some surprising new entrants (China, Saudi Arabia). The best chance of preventing a potentially blooding redrawing of borders in the region could depend on political decisions in Belgrade.
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...
After Fed delay, investors consider Chinese elephant in the room
Financial markets did not react well to the Federal Reserve’s decision in September to keep interest rates stable. Presumably, investors were worried that China’s slowdown is more serious than anticipated, and that the Fed has well-founded concerns about the outlook for the American and European economies. <i>While...
Radical Islam, not Russia, is Europe’s real enemy
Europe has much to share with its wild Russian neighbour. It has more in common than just cultural, religious, literary and artistic heritage. Radical Islam is the main enemy for both powers. Europe can become the main negotiating partner in the ‘border regions’ of Ukraine and Belarus, but first it must calm the current ‘paranoid’ tendencies of Moscow, which has b...
Europe’s debate on immigration
Concerns that foreign workers drive down wages and impose pressures on housing, education and health services are leading to a growth in nationalist parties throughout Europe. Switzerland’s referendum to impose immigrant quotas has raised the temperature of the debate. <i>Immigration has become a problem because Eur...
Nationalism stance by Japan’s Shinzo Abe raises stakes in Asia-Pacific
History shows the need for accurate translations and interpretation in international diplomacy. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comments about the risks of war in the Asia Pacific at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are another example of this. But Japan’s revival of nationalism and its denial of its Second World War atrocities are raising ...