Turkmenistan comes into focus
Long neglected by all but devoted regional specialists, Turkmenistan has recently begun to matter in international politics. The reason is a sharp drop in energy prices, which has turned the gas-rich country into an economic basket case, and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Both developments have Russian and Chinese policymakers concerned about their vital interests in Central Asia.
The global battery race: Europe’s strategic perspectives
Slow at first to pick up on the disruptive nature of battery technology, Europe is now aiming to give the industry a boost. The U.S. and Asia, especially, have a head start. The stakes are high: if Europe loses out, not only could it suffer economically, it could also lose geopolitical influence to China.
Europe’s China policy challenge
As it tries to manage the effects of the trade war with the United States, China is seeking more allies and partners in the West. Europe could benefit greatly – if it could speak with one voice. China is exploiting divisions in the EU, intensifying its relations with cash-strapped member states. But Europe as a whole stands to benefit from constructive engagement with Beijing, especially if it can steer the latter toward continued reform.
2019 Global Outlook: Playing for high stakes in North Korea
Less than a year after the Korean Peninsula appeared poised for war, little on the ground has changed. North Korea appears to be forging ahead with its nuclear program. Yet the public perception is that things are moving ahead on the diplomatic front, and there is even a whiff of détente in the air. When dealing with Pyongyang, however, surprises come with the territory.
2019 Global Outlook: China’s regional impact
China will cast a long shadow in East Asia again this year. 2019, however, is shaping up to be less volatile than 2018. In security matters, expect China to use more “carrot” than “stick” as its neighbors try to balance Beijing against Washington. In economic terms, a stimulus program and a trade understanding with the United States could ameliorate China’s slowdown.
Japan’s new outreach in Asia
China’s rise as an economic and military colossus has transformed the geopolitics of East Asia. Its most powerful neighbor, Japan, has embarked on a more self-reliant course, even as it continues to lean heavily on its alliance with the United States. Tokyo is expanding its contacts, both economic and strategic, with Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
Opinion: India nudges China toward Belt and Road changes
India has long warned of the strategic dangers posed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Today, more and more countries are voicing their suspicions about the BRI’s potential effects. The project also faces difficulties due to financial problems within China. Beijing seems to be recasting the BRI as a smaller, more open project. India and many other countries remain wary.
Tajikistan: A Sino-Russian flashpoint?
The drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and Chinese persecution of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang could turn Central Asia into a hotbed of jihadist terrorism. One country that is particularly vulnerable to such a resurgence is Tajikistan. It is also the area where Russian and Chinese security interests could most easily come into conflict.