Analysis

Why a sack full of Russian cash won’t change UK Brexit debate

Leave voters have proved highly resistant to a change of heart on Brexit. James Randerson Politico CCTV footage emerges of Vladimir Putin entering the offices of unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU weeks before the 2016 referendum and handing over a sack of cash to figurehead Nigel Farage and main funder Arron Banks. Voters erupt in shock that they were duped and express indignation that a referendum on the most important British political decision in a generation was bought by a foreign ... Read More »

Diplomatic thaw shows Beijing eager for friends, experts say

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne’s crucial visit to Beijing this week shows the Chinese government is eager to get its relationship with Australia back on a friendly footing after a year of diplomatic frostiness, China experts… David Wroe The Age Senator Payne’s planned visit – the first by an Australian foreign minister since Julie Bishop in 2016 – comes as the Trump administration cranks up pressure on Beijing over issues such as… Richard McGregor, a China expert at the Lowy ... Read More »

Uncertainties Deepen in Cameroon after Divisive Election

Cameroon went to the polls on 7 October amid several crises, notably the conflict between the government and Anglophone separatists. ICG Crisis Group’s expert Hans De Marie Heungoup, in Cameroon during the vote, says it has compounded the country’s problems but also offered reason for hope. On 22 October Cameroonian authorities declared incumbent Paul Biya winner of the presidential election with a score of 71 per cent. What happened? The presidential election was held amid the worst insecurity since 1992. ... Read More »

The ordinary people making the world more right-wing

Around the world, conservative groups have been gaining influence, bolstering the power of right-wing leaders. It is a trend driven not only by older generations but also by the young. Prof Richard Youngs Carnegie Europe BBC The rapid rise of Brazil’s new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro may have surprised some observers but it did not come out of thin air. His success follows years of support from powerful social movements. Such groups have increasingly found a voice in countries from ... Read More »

The Arab Winter Is Coming

Gulf states are asserting themselves more than ever, and that’s a problem for the U.S. Hassan Hassan The Atlantic Three years ago, then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter attributed Iran’s growing dominance to its being “in the game, on the ground.” He urged its regional rivals to do the same, thus expressing a widely shared sentiment in policy circles at the time: Arab Gulf states need to rely less on the U.S. and play a greater role in their neighborhood. ... Read More »

George Soros on the new world disorder

His enemies paint him as all-powerful, but the billionaire philanthropist believes his political legacy has never been in greater jeopardy. Michael Steinberger Brisbane Times * On a clammy Tuesday morning in Paris at the end of May, George Soros, the world’s second-most-vilified New York billionaire (but worth many billions more than the other one), is addressing the European Council on Foreign Relations, an organisation he helped found a… Described by the woman who introduces him as a “European at heart”, ... Read More »

Four ‘invisible countries’ that could redraw the world map

No matter where you are on the Earth’s landmass, you are almost certain to be in a country. ABC – RN – By Joey Watson for Saturday Extra But what makes a country a country? Agreed legal definitions are surprisingly loose, but an internationally recognised government, citizens, and the exclusive authority over a piece of land are among the universal ingredients. However, these principles of nationhood, refined over the centuries, are being challenged by war, technology, and climate change. Here are four examples ... Read More »

The Illogic of the U.S. Sanctions Snapback on Iran

The Trump administration believes that ratcheting up economic pressure on Iran will compel the Islamic Republic to curtail its disruptive Middle East policies. IGG History suggests otherwise. Both Washington and Tehran should step off their current escalatory path. What’s new?  A 40-year analysis of Iran’s economic performance and regional policy reveals little to no correlation between the two, as Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its… Why does it matter?  The ... Read More »

Homelessness: how other countries can avoid a US-style crisis

Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK, where the number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010, yet it is dwarfed by the scale of the issue in the US. Andrea Gibbons The Conversation More than 500,000 homeless were found across the US during just one night, compared to the UK’s 2017 count of 4,751. Changes in the definition of homelessness and flawed methodologies suggest that the true number for the US could be anywhere from 2.5 to 10.2 times greater. Millions more live in overcrowded ... Read More »

Understanding and Defeating China’s Maritime Insurgency in the South China Sea

China is treating ocean space in the South China Sea as if it were land territory. How should the United States? Hunter Stires The National Interest The rule of an international system that upholds the legal and philosophical principle of the “freedom of the seas” ranks among America’s most important if uncelebrated national interests. The preservation of a free and open maritime order is imperative for a country whose ability to connect with over 80 percent of the world’s population ... Read More »

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry

The U.S. is pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. Naysan Rafati ICG With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region. The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive ... Read More »

Why Europe still needs Merkel

Even the German leader’s biggest critics are worried about what will happen when she goes. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Europe’s queen is dead! But is she really? And if so, will there be a new queen? Or maybe a king? As if Europe didn’t have enough to worry about at the moment (Italy, Brexit, Poland, Hungary, populism … Italy!), Germany is back on the boil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision this week to step aside from the leadership of her Christian Democrats may ... Read More »

Religion and refugees are deeply entwined in the US

Robert Bowers lashed out at what he believed to be a Jewish plot to bring more refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S. before allegedly murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Stephanie J. Nawyn The Conversation Bowers’s claim that HIAS, a prominent Jewish humanitarian organization, was bringing migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala northward to commit violence was false. But it is true that many religious communities in the U.S., including American Jews, have long supported refugees and asylum-seeking migrants who ... Read More »

Sri Lanka: Stepping Back from a Constitutional Crisis

The return to power of controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s prime minister is unconstitutional and destabilising. ICG International actors should make future security and economic cooperation contingent on parliament reconvening immediately to select a prime minister through legal channels. What’s new? On 26 October, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly dismissed the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and appointed controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the premier’s post, in a move that contravenes the constitution and threatens to destabilise ... Read More »

After a deadly month for domestic violence, the message doesn’t appear to be getting through

On average, at least one woman is killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner in Australia. Silke Meyer The Conversation Last month, the numbers were even more alarming. Nine women were killed in October – sevenallegedly in the context of a current or former intimate relationship, the other two also suspected to have died at the hands of male perpetrators. While these deaths are a disturbing reflection of the pervasive nature of violence against women in Australia, they ... Read More »

Europe’s AI ethics chief: No rules yet, please

Define ethical principles and let the courts correct problems as they come up, says Pekka Ala-Pietilä. Janosch Delcker Politico HELSINKI — In a global race to dominate artificial intelligence technology, Europe needs to keep its urge to regulate under control — at least for now. That’s the main message from Pekka Ala-Pietilä, a former president of Nokia and tech entrepreneur who is overseeing EU efforts to draw up principles that will underpin any future regulation of the technology. At the ... Read More »