Cuba in transition
Cuba will get a new leader in April, after President Raul Castro hands over the presidency to First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. As the country tentatively introduces decentralizing reforms and embraces globalization, the new leadership will have to answer the question of how much freedom it can allow while retaining a tight political and economic grip over the country.
GIS Dossier: China’s Africa strategy
Beijing’s 1996 Going Out strategy called for trade and investment in developing countries to secure energy and raw materials for its accelerating economy. Two decades later, China’s relationship with Africa is evolving into a mature, balanced system of economic and political interests.
Jokowi’s prospects and Indonesia’s future
Indonesian President Joko Widodo – better known as Jokowi – has run up against tough political resistance. He is learning the hard way that the country’s cumbersome bureaucracy does not react as quickly as the businesses he has run. But despite some mistakes, he still retains public support due to his focus on economic development and infrastructure. If he can see his ambitious initiatives through and make Indonesia a “Global Maritime Fulcrum,” the country would play a pivotal geopolitical role.
In Chile, stagnation and stasis despite shifting politics
The old party coalitions are breaking down in Chile, while new rules could shake up congressional representation. With the economy stuck in low gear, voters are frustrated. But despite all this, the country looks likely to elect a familiar face in November – former President Sebastian Pinera. If he wins, it will mark unprecedented stasis in Chilean politics since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship.
Taiwan’s fate tied to Tsai’s New Southbound Policy
Now that Taiwan has elected a president from a party that has no desire for Chinese unification, Beijing is stepping up pressure on the island, keeping it out of international organizations and stealing away allies. President Tsai Ing-wen’s New Southbound Policy aims to counter those moves by strengthening economic ties and the country’s soft-power tools. Its failure could erode the pillars upon which Taiwan’s independence is built.
Scenarios for the future of the EU-Turkey relationship
The relationship between Turkey and the European Union is on the rocks. Turkey cannot be considered eligible for membership, but the accession process remains officially ongoing. A collapse of the talks seems likely – but that would cause more problems than it would solve. Forging a new kind of partnership would have plenty of benefits, but would require ending accession negotiations. Sticking with the status quo gives both sides what they want, for now.
Economic sanctions are bound to be a long-term failure
Trade is a powerful tool – it is one of the best ways to bring people together for mutual benefit. Limiting trade can be used as a weapon, and it is one the United States and the European Union are wielding against Russia and Iran. And while the goals Western governments aim to achieve are noble, sanctions are likely to backfire. They will strengthen the regimes they are meant to weaken, and will reduce American and European political clout around the globe.
What Russia gains from militarizing the Arctic
Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic continues apace, complete with a state-of-the-art forward base not far from Norway. The moves are meant to protect strategic nuclear submarines and tactical nuclear weapons – and put NATO in a tight spot. The alliance has yet to come up with a clear, decisive response.