GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism
For generations, United States policy has been based on the assumption that its adherence to universal principles would help it spread its values abroad. While this link between domestic and foreign policy has been weakening for some time, President Donald Trump has severed it completely. This has created an opening for China, and a difficult choice for Europe.
Opinion: The BRI – China’s road to hegemony
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has generated plenty of excitement for the economic benefits it could bring. But for Beijing, the huge project is a tool to expand its influence throughout Asia and beyond. China is putting on a friendly face, but its main goal is hegemony.
Doklam standoff reflects changing China-India relationship
The military showdown between unarmed Chinese and Indian troops on the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas is different than previous border tiffs in the region between these two Asian giants. The new dimensions reflect a changing relationship between Beijing and New Delhi, as both gain international clout. The current crisis is unlikely to get out of hand, but China and India will continue to butt heads.
Cloudy skies for China’s aviation industry
China's commercial aircraft market will soon be the world's largest, but its domestic industry is not well positioned to take advantage. Engine technology is lagging, while safety, maintenance and other performance issues have set back the development of new aircraft. The outlook for military aviation is even worse unless endemic corruption can be stamped out.
Russia losing the new Great Game
Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow last month brought a raft of investment deals, suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is successfully executing his version of a pivot toward Asia. But appearances deceive. The Sino-Russian "strategic partnership" is not an agreement between equals, and Russia has lost the upper hand in Central Asia.
North Korea crisis reveals true nature of Russia-China relationship
Many people seem to believe that China and Russia have a close relationship and can work together to solve issues the United States struggles with. But Moscow’s failure to inform Beijing of a U.S. strike in Syria and Russia’s energy exports to North Korea tell a different story.
Opinion: Confusing statements on money and trade
Janet Yellen is not worried about another global financial crisis. Mario Draghi and even Warren Buffet bemoan “inequality.” But no one seems to be taking seriously the problems artificially cheap money is causing to the global economy. With such a fragile global financial situation, free trade could be a big help – but protectionism is on the rise. Could the upcoming G20 meeting bring substantive progress on that count?
India and U.S. both look to contain China
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have plenty in common – the most important of which is a desire to counter Beijing’s rising influence. With that in mind, Washington could support Indian policy in Southeast Asia and help New Delhi build its role as a maritime power.
Indian opposition to China’s New Silk Road
India has become the most vocal opponent of China’s massive Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which New Delhi sees as a thinly veiled geopolitical power play by Beijing. So far, China has not pushed back hard, and instead has consistently tried to woo the Indian side. This is because linking the BRI to India could make the project much more profitable. If China could adjust the project to accommodate Indian concerns, it would benefit the continent. But for now, that looks unlikely.