Renewing the fight for human rights and the spirit of 2 George Yard (Part 1)
In 1787, a group of British thinkers opposing the transatlantic slave trade set in place what would later be described as the first contemporary human rights campaign. But, over two centuries later, the evils they decried very much remain a reality. Lord David Alton reflects on the state of activism ...
The energy transition: Some inconvenient truths
Fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, should be integrated into the transition to a cleaner energy future. Otherwise, the ambitious climate targets promoted in the richer world will only be virtue signaling.
Biden’s ‘Build Back Better World’: Opportunities, pitfalls and hot air
G7 leaders have agreed to President Biden’s plan to counter China. The initiative to build infrastructure in the developing world has some merit, but is undermined by vague value pronouncements and a worrying drive toward a tax quasi-cartel
Recovery economics: Optimism or overheating?
Economists Larry Summers and Olivier Blanchard have long urged governments to engage in more stimulus but now have become critical of President Biden's spending plans. Though they are right that economic overheating and higher interest rates would be disastrous, at least the U.S. has an optimistic outlook – something that ...
The problem with patents
Governments around the world are proposing removing patent protections from vaccines and subsidizing the companies that lose out. But if it hadn't been for patents restricting free markets in the first place, we would likely have more, cheaper vaccines than we do today. Professor Enrico Colombatto explains why patent protection ...
Opinion: Covid-19 deepens Nordic disharmony
Many expected the Nordic region to weather the Covid-19 pandemic with relatively little damage. However, Sweden’s lax response to the health crisis not only took a heavy toll on the population, it also exposed a deep divergence in values between the authorities in Stockholm and neighboring countries.
Managing China: Scenarios for U.S.-Europe cooperation
The West has awakened to the challenge from China, but how far will it go in coordinating its response to Beijing’s combative policies? This depends on a reconciliation of diverging priorities of the leading Western countries.
El Salvador: Bukele consolidates power
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has trampled over democratic norms, but he has also drastically reduced violence and brought stability to the troubled Central American country. Now that recent elections have solidified his power, the Biden administration will have to decide how to deal with him.
Rising food prices: A harbinger of inflation
Food prices have been rising rapidly in recent weeks. While this trend is caused by a wide range of factors, it is yet another worrisome sign that economic trouble lies ahead in Western societies. Soon, countries saddled with crippling debt could have to deal with an inflation surge as well
Corruption and the future of democracy in Portugal
A judge’s ruling to dismiss most of the corruption charges against a former Prime Minister have gutted faith in the judicial system in Portugal. GIS examines the scandal that brought the country to this point and analyzes the political implications that could benefit right-wing populists.
Oil market outlook: Bulls and bears
With average oil prices reaching pre-Covid levels, most financial institutions have adjusted their forecasts and Wall Street bulls are now hoping for levels above $100 per barrel. However, the pandemic has not yet been fully brought under control and renewed lockdowns could take investors by surprise.
Mongolia faces a challenge to its democratic development
A recent constitutional amendment bars Mongolia’s sitting president from running for a second term in the June 2021 elections. In response, he has moved to delegalize the country’s ruling political party. The crisis threatens the country’s democratic transition and may undermine its geopolitical standing.
Myanmar: Prospects for civil war and regional instability
Ongoing conflict in Myanmar has raised the specter of a full-blown civil war, with the Myanmar military cracking down on protesters internally and on armed ethnic groups in border regions. As the country’s neighbors watch the instability unfold and consider whether to get involved, the potential for a larger, more ...
Biden’s immigration policies: The impact on U.S. politics
The new administration has done an about-face on immigration compared with its predecessor. As if on cue, illegal immigration and asylum applications have rocketed. So far, the president shows no sign of changing course, but as the public wearies of the problems illegal immigration causes, President Biden could find himself ...
Supranational bodies and the lack of democratic accountability
Supranational bureaucracies are expanding their influence by promoting global tax harmonization. In cahoots with politicians, they covertly advocate for systems that ramp up the tax burden and weaken the very foundation of democracy
Russia places its hopes on fossil fuels
As the world’s largest fossil fuel exporter, in the long term, Russia could face a serious oversupply and decreasing profits because of a continuous drop in global demand. Accelerating decarbonization worldwide could threaten Moscow’s energy superpower status, potentially destabilizing the Putin regime and its symbiotic relationship with the oil and ...
The United States falls behind in Central Asia
With Moscow, Beijing and Ankara jockeying for influence in Central Asia, the Biden administration could be tempted to compete alongside them. However, the U.S. is unlikely to get very far ahead. With American soft power at its nadir, Washington will have a hard time to convince regional partners that it ...
Malta under pressure
Frustrated at the lack of European solidarity during both the migrant crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maltese have grown increasingly disillusioned with the European Union. The government has adopted new populist rhetoric highly critical of Brussels, and the country appears to be seeking ties beyond the European continent.
Biden and the Abraham Accords: Attempt to disengage
The united front against Iran, led by the Gulf states and Israel with a strong push from former President Donald Trump, is crumbling. His successor Joe Biden prefers to restore the nuclear deal with Iran over advancing the promising realignment process spurred in the region by the Abraham Accords. The ...
Fighting Covid and the loss of local improvisation
National governments and supranational organizations like the WHO continue to push for more power to head off the next big crisis. But they cannot provide safety from unpredictable catastrophes like Covid-19. Instead, the real solutions will come from local bodies, as long as they remain adaptable and prepared
Will Indonesia’s Jokowi last another full term?
As Indonesian President Joko Widodo goes through his final term, new challenges have surfaced. Although he remains popular, some have begun to question whether he will be able to remain in power for the entire duration of his second tenure, which ends in 2024, and several possible contenders are now ...
Russian exports in focus
GIS Guest Expert Dr. Evgeny Gontmakher takes a deep dive into the structure of Russia’s exports, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses. Can the Russian economy make the transition away from its dependence on fossil fuels to meet the challenges of the future?
India’s growing interest in Taiwan
Until recently, Taiwan barely appeared on India’s geopolitical radar. Yet with the recent rise of Taiwanese companies, the subcontinent has become a great beneficiary of the island’s trade and investment. New Delhi’s growing partnership with the U.S. also strengthens ties with Taipei. But if a cross-strait conflict were to erupt, ...
The Biden Doctrine: A work in progress
While President Joe Biden has changed the tone of U.S. foreign policy, his actual positions are a mix of those from the Trump and Obama eras. The hodgepodge is the result of a focus on domestic legislation that could make America vulnerable and force the administration to come up with ...