President El-Sisi’s Egypt: Quietly rebuilding economic strength
Following his 2013 coup d’etat that was sternly criticized in Washington and European capitals, Egypt’s former defense minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, was elected the country’s president by an overwhelming margin. After five years in charge of the most populous Arab country, Mr. El-Sisi has accumulated a predictably shoddy record on human rights but a surprisingly strong one as an economic reformer and agent of stability in the turbulent region.
Angola’s new leader reaches out to the West for help
Angola has recently become one of the most stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It now hopes to rebuild its agriculture, education and navy, as well as jump-start investment in the oil sector and broaden its foreign relations base to include Western powers – all before deteriorating living conditions turn the population against the government of Gen. Joao Lourenco.
Saudi Arabia’s key role in the Middle East
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has upset the Middle East’s geopolitical balance in two dimensions: the three-sided rivalry between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and stable monarchies in the region. For the Saudis, the crisis poses an unexpected opportunity to improve governance. For the West, it presents a choice between triggering chaos and a possible radical takeover, or helping the kingdom make a difficult transition.
Brazil’s presidential elections: An omen for Europe?
Europe is more developed and stable than Brazil, but its citizens also have strong reasons to feel let down by the mainstream political forces. An increasing number of voters here may, just like so many Brazilians, support radicals in the hope of opening a path for badly needed reforms.
Uruguay’s uncommon strengths and development dilemmas
Uruguay scores perfect tens on civil liberties and the electoral process in the World Bank’s rule of law index – matching Norway and New Zealand, and far outstripping its larger Latin American neighbors. The country’s internal stability is buttressed by an ambitious social welfare system. However, that presents Uruguay’s leaders with a nasty problem: how to reinvent the economy to keep financing an expensive state.
Saudi Arabia’s royals are readying a revolution from above
The heir to Saudi Arabia’s throne wants to diversify the kingdom’s oil-based economy and make it one of the 15 biggest in the world. As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lines up funding for his project, many wonder if the monarchy is ready for reforms that are nearly certain to upset its social and political order. Can a mostly tribal population and an entrenched religious establishment be dragged into modernity by royal order?
Argentina: Macri yet to score on economic reform
The government of Argentina can chalk up its first modest successes in improving a badly distorted economy. But the peso’s recent bad run against the dollar has signaled there are limitations to President Macri’s play it by ear, gradualist approach to reforms.
Mexico’s future in the balance
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has astutely managed the threats to his country posed by the new administration in Washington. Even so, the progress that he has made on key domestic fronts may prove too modest to defeat the left-wing challenge from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during next year’s elections.
GIS Dossier: Modi’s India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed identity politics to shake up India’s inefficient economy and turn it into a global player. At home and abroad, he has proved an adept operator. Geopolitically, Mr. Modi’s most important move is an increasingly obvious realignment with the U.S., as part of a long-term strategy to counter China’s bid for hegemony in Asia.
A Europe of regions will be essential for the union’s future
At this historic juncture, leaders of the European Union should awaken to the fact that Europe’s strength has always been its common cultural heritage and its diversity. The way out of the EU’s current bind is through expanding regional cooperation and replacing centralistic, market-strangling regulations with robust, friendly competition.