Malaysia’s power transition: stormy conditions, steady course
The future of Malaysia’s ruling coalition and its ambitious reforms program hangs on the determination of two iconic leaders, formerly bitter rivals, to set aside their personal grievances and work together for the country’s future. This determination has been put to a test lately.
Mali and Mauritania: Instability in the Sahel
Mali and Mauritania are both politically and economically fragile. In these two countries, social divides and the state’s inability to fully control its own territory has led to the rise of radicalized armed groups. These challenges highlight the instability that threatens the entire Sahel region – a state of affairs ...
GIS Dossier: Monetary policy stood on its head
Unconventional monetary policies saved many financial institutions in the U.S. and Europe after the financial crisis. However, near-zero to negative interest rates and central banks’ massive debt-purchasing programs, which pumped trillions of dollars and euros into economies, failed to restore growth and have had potent, negative and lasting side-effects. Relaxing ...
From decentralized democracy to centralized bureaucracy
Under the guise of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented in 2018, EU governments are collecting and sharing citizens’ financial data in ways that violate democratic privacy rules and go well beyond the legitimate needs of combatting tax evasion and money laundering or terrorism. This overreach is part ...
Can Moldova set an example for Ukraine?
An unexpected alliance between Russia, the United States and the European Union helped broker a political breakthrough in Moldova – sending corrupt local oligarchs packing. There is no reason to discount the latest developments in Chisinau, which could prove a new dawn for Europe’s poorest country. Yet the West has ...
Looking for the best tax code
Ballooning modern governments collect an increasing proportion of their countries’ output in taxes, which spreads inefficiency and economic stagnation. The drivers of this process can be neutralized, and the economy-distorting impact of taxation mitigated, with better tax-system design. Among OECD member states, there are examples of sound solutions to emulate.
The U.S. and the new great power paradigm
According to the U.S.’s National Security Strategy, great power competition is back. That this is the geopolitical reality is a rare conclusion that both Republicans and Democrats agree on. The paradigm is therefore likely to outlast President Trump and shape American foreign policy for the foreseeable future.
Foreign policy during Modi’s second term
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who currently enjoys high levels of trust among world leaders, wants to make the most of this advantageous situation by simultaneously engaging with the U.S., China and other strategic geopolitical partners, in addition to fostering better relations with smaller South Asian neighbors.
Is the German coalition condemned to stay?
Election results in Saxony and Brandenburg show the Christian Democrats and the Social Democratic Party are losing ground. Unless voter concerns like migration, safety and a credible approach against pollution are addressed, both parties will fare poorly in the federal elections.
Opinion: A possible scenario for Hong Kong
The turmoil in Hong Kong does not pose a direct threat to the power and survival of the party-state in China. Beijing must be frustrated by the Hong Kong government’s inability to pacify the protesters and has issued some dire warnings to them. Using the Hong Kong garrison of the People’s ...
Political and economic freedom in Africa
Development performance throughout the African continent reflects global trends. Free regimes tend to go hand in hand with economic freedom, resulting in growth and increased human development. With sound economic reforms, this virtuous circle could intensify.
GIS Dossier: The U.S.-China trade ‘war’
For years, the U.S.-China rivalry has been the main driver of geopolitical developments. When President Donald Trump entered office, the countries’ trade relationship became the central focus of that competition. His aggressive moves to implement tariffs have made geopolitical waves, but also opened up some opportunities. This Dossier reviews GIS ...
Greenland and Washington’s offer
President Donald Trump’s offer to buy Greenland was dismissed as a joke, but it reflects both American practice and a legitimate strategic concern.
Political culture and constitutional reform in Mongolia
Mongolia appears poised to amend its constitution. A draft reform has already been submitted by two-thirds of the parliament, and President Khaltmaa Battulga has joined the discussion with proposed amendments of his own.
Essay: Why Russia’s political regime is not changing, and how it can
Predictions of systemic transformation in Russia have invariably proved wrong. Sooner or later, however, fundamental changes in the current political regime must occur. Recent events suggest that they may start with a crucial yet often unappreciated element of the power structure.
Modi changes India’s Kashmir policy
For decades, India’s posture on the contested state of Jammu and Kashmir has been relatively stable, allowing autonomy in the region and seeking an agreement with Islamabad. Relations with Sunni Kashmiris have increasingly frayed, however, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun to shift its policy radically. India has ended ...
The EU presses pause on Western Balkans enlargement
French President Emmanuel Macron wants to put EU expansion on hold while the bloc reforms itself and the European Commission has downplayed any potential for Western Balkans countries to join the bloc soon. Meanwhile, the region languishes in limbo – the continuous delays make tackling corruption less urgent for their ...
Indo-Pacific elections: China in the public eye
Recent elections in the Indo-Pacific confirmed regional trends in balancing China and other regional centers of power, including most prominently, the U.S. Electoral outcomes in Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand indicate all will seek to maintain positive relations with Beijing with minimum impact on their ties to others.
Jammu and Kashmir and Hong Kong: Autonomies violated
The world is rightly concerned about China’s violation of Hong Kong’s autonomy – but such moves are not limited to authoritarian regimes. India, the world’s largest democracy, has recently abolished autonomy for the region of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation there deserves even more attention since the region is at ...
GIS Dossier: Algeria’s ‘system’ teeters
Long before Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced to step down in April 2019, it was clear that the crony oligarchy he fronted for – known to ordinary Algerians as “the system” – could not last. If the wheelchair-bound leader looked moribund after a series of strokes, so did the country's ...
Opinion: Few prospects for an end to the war in Yemen
Iran and Saudi Arabia have taken advantage of a conflict fueled by regional and religious rivalries to fight a proxy war in Yemen. United Nations attempts to broker a cease-fire after years of bloodshed have failed, and everyday Yemenis are suffering tremendously. Yet both sides have powerful motives to keep ...
Namibia faces political and economic uncertainty
Namibia has been hailed as a success story of democratic transition in Africa, enjoying relative stability and economic growth for years. But after general elections this November, the country may face a turning point. Growth has stagnated, and political polarization has weakened the ruling SWAPO party. Even if he holds ...
Japan’s mercantilism in the spotlight again
With his focus on the trade dispute with China and several other fronts opened, U.S. President Donald Trump has been lenient in his criticism of Japan’s mercantilism. If he wins a second term in office, however, he may change tack and slap tariffs on, for example, Japanese cars – a ...
The euro and the German constitution
Two legal challenges to the EU central bank’s most controversial policies have been working their way through Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, the country’s supreme court equivalent. In one of the cases, the justices in Karlsruhe already ruled that the authority of the EU Banking Union ought to be limited. ...