The year 2018 will go down as the moment when the United States explicitly shifted from viewing China an awkward counterpart to a strategic competitor.
From the release of the National Security Strategy at the end of 2017 through Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on 4 October, to the administration’s imposition of 10 per cent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports and its global campaign against Chinese tech giant Huawei, the Trump administration has made clear that it sees China as the number one threat to US interests and its longstanding global pre-eminence.
Importantly, their view is widely shared among both Republican and Democratic members of Congress, senior former officials in the Barack Obama and George W Bush administrations, labour unions and much of the US military.… Seguir leyendo »
Robin Niblett talks to Jason Naselli about the key fault lines between the US president and his allies, as President Trump heads to the NATO summit, a visit to the United Kingdom and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Is NATO fit for purpose? This question has been around since the end of the Cold War, but with continuing disagreement over defence spending and burden-sharing, the alliance is appearing increasingly dysfunctional. What is the path forward?
The irony is that NATO is increasingly fit for purpose as a military alliance. But the political alliance it is meant to represent is being called ever more into question.… Seguir leyendo »
US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will severely degrade regional and global security. His decision has increased the risk of war and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and beyond. He has undermined attempts to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons through multilateral diplomacy, as unilateral withdrawal equals non-compliance with a legally-binding UN Security Council resolution. This is a rejection of the UN as arbiter of international peace and security, as well as of international law as a lynchpin of international relations.
The steps that Europeans now take will have serious consequences for their alliance with the US, for security in the Middle East, as well as for their relations vis-à-vis China, Russia and the wider world.… Seguir leyendo »
For many who campaigned for Remain, the UK government’s offer last week to ‘maintain full alignment’ with those EU single market and customs rules that will avoid a hard border in Ireland re-opens the prospect of a ‘soft’ Brexit. The logic is that if Britain cannot remain in the EU, then the next best economic deal is to negotiate a way to remain inside the EU’s single market and customs union.
This may be true from an economic perspective. But a soft Brexit would be a bad political outcome.
Letting go of soft Brexit
A soft Brexit would undercut British sovereignty in ways that membership of the EU currently does not.… Seguir leyendo »
Theresa May’s failure to secure a stable majority on 8 June has deepened uncertainties around the sort of Brexit she will negotiate.
But – like it or not – 8 June 2017 did not invalidate 23 June 2016. The Conservatives campaigned to deliver Brexit and increased their share of the vote. Labour increased its share by an even larger margin, also with a commitment to follow through on Brexit. Part of the reason so many UKIP voters broke in Labour’s favour was because Jeremy Corbyn neutralized the Brexit question, allowing them to support his anti-austerity platform.
The claim that voters rejected May’s hard Brexit in favour of a soft option grossly over-interprets the vote while continuing to sow confusion about what leaving the EU actually means.… Seguir leyendo »
Prelude to a remarkable result
Theresa May was chosen by the Conservative Party last autumn to be the safe pair of hands that would navigate Britain through the difficult waters of Brexit. She had called yesterday’s snap election to seek a popular mandate to conduct the negotiation and to buy time to implement it thereafter. She had laid out the broad outlines of the UK’s negotiating position in her Lancaster House speech on 17 January and in her letter on 29 March to European Council President Donald Tusk.
Having made Brexit the rationale for the election, she nevertheless made no effort during the campaign to explain how she would manage the negotiation or what a successful deal would look like. … Seguir leyendo »
Beyond the negotiations with the EU, what do you think are going to be some of the biggest Brexit-related issues the British government will have to tackle over the next two years? What challenges might they face in Parliament?
The Brexit negotiation is going to unlock a series of internal political debates in the UK that the United Kingdom has not had to focus on since it has been an EU member. This will be part of ‘taking back control’, but taking back control also means reengaging in a domestic debate about potentially contentious issues.
A key element is passing the Great Repeal Bill, to be submitted on 30 March, where thousands of pieces of legislation which currently reside under the European Communities Act 1972 are brought over into domestic law.… Seguir leyendo »
Since the time of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, countries around the world have followed America and Britain’s economic example – privatizing, de-regulating and opening up their economies to foreign trade and investment, sometimes known as the ‘Anglo-Saxon model’.
Now, Britain’s vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States signal the end of Anglo-American leadership of the global economy. Neither country will lead the economic liberalization of their regions or the wider world for the foreseeable future.
At their heart, the American and British votes revealed a powerful popular demand to regain control of their national economies.… Seguir leyendo »
The liberal international order has always depended on the idea of progress. Since 1945, Western policymakers have believed that open markets, democracy and individual human rights would gradually spread across the entire globe. Today, such hopes seem naïve.
In Asia, the rise of China threatens to challenge US military and economic hegemony. In the Middle East, the United States and its European allies have failed to guide the region toward a more liberal and peaceful future in the wake of the Arab Spring. And Russia’s geopolitical influence has reached heights unseen since the Cold War, as it attempts to roll back liberal advances around its periphery.… Seguir leyendo »
When pushed during this EU referendum campaign for a prediction on the result, I tended to conclude, however cautiously, that Remain would win a tight race. But I always ended with the warning that we are living in a ’Trumpy world’. Like most people, including most of those campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, my sense of the likely result turned out to be wrong and my warning correct.
An unexpected majority of British voters have overthrown not just Britain’s relationship with its European neighbours but the established political order in the UK, and, potentially, Europe. This result was as unexpected as Donald Trump taking the Republican presidential nomination.… Seguir leyendo »
The EU referendum debate is about more than the future of British sovereignty. It also concerns Britain’s future place in the world.
Many Britons stand instinctively apart from continental Europe, viewing EU membership as a temporary economic choice rather than as a long-term strategic benefit. Those who want Britain to leave argue that the trade-offs of being in the EU now outweigh the benefits, and that the world beyond Europe promises it a brighter and more secure future. But a stock-take of international developments and perspectives contradicts this narrative on two levels.
First, emerging markets across much of the world are in turmoil, from Brazil and Turkey to Indonesia and South Africa.… Seguir leyendo »
In 120 days, British voters will determine the UK’s European future in a historic referendum. The culmination of Prime Minister David Cameron’s negotiations in Brussels on 18–19 February guarantees an intense debate during the next four months over the merits of the UK remaining or leaving the EU. A first challenge for the ‘remain’ campaign is that it is hard to argue that the negotiations have delivered Cameron’s key objective of Britain inside a ‘reformed EU’. Britain may instead be part of an EU in deepening crisis, as it grapples with the twin challenges of migration and eurozone stabilisation. Nor, assuming the British economy keeps up its current growth rate, will there be any near-term halt to the high levels of EU migration into the UK.… Seguir leyendo »
The last 20 years have witnessed a remarkable rebalancing in the global economy and a commensurate shift in international economic and political power. Fears that these structural changes could lead to major interstate conflicts were prevalent at the last two Munich Security Conferences in 2014 and 2015, at the height of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and as China and Japan engaged in a stand-off over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. A formal outbreak conflict was averted in both cases, even if violence persists in Ukraine and intrastate violence has proliferated across the Middle East and North Africa.… Seguir leyendo »
In a number of areas, 2016 could be the year when international affairs begin at least to stabilise after the rollercoaster ride of unexpected crises seen since 2014.
It is possible that the British people could get a vote as early as June on whether the country should remain in the EU or leave. This will be a seminal moment, not just for the UK, but for the EU as a whole.
For the UK, leaving would entail major diplomatic distraction and economic disruption while it negotiates the terms of its departure, the likely resignation of the prime minister, and steps towards a new referendum on Scottish independence.… Seguir leyendo »
The signing of the ‘Minsk II’ ceasefire agreement in the Belarus capital on Feb. 12 raises the question of whether the United States and Western governments should shelve the idea they have hotly debated over the past few weeks over providing defensive weapons such as radar systems, unarmed surveillance drones and armored transports to Ukrainian forces.
In recent months, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to have concluded that the original Sept. 5, 2014 Minsk agreement would constitute a strategic defeat, as it froze the conflict with only a third of the combined ‘oblasts’ of Donetsk and Lugansk under the separatists’ control.… Seguir leyendo »
Casi dos décadas después de propuesta la idea, la semana pasada Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea acordaron comenzar a negociar un Acuerdo Transatlántico de Comercio e Inversión (ATCI), cuyo lanzamiento (previsto para inicios de 2015) se presentó como un muy necesario “estímulo sin déficit” que ayudará a aumentar un 0,5% anual el PIB conjunto y mejorar el nivel de empleo a ambos lados del Atlántico.
Si bien el objetivo de ambas partes es eliminar todos los aranceles que aún rigen sobre el comercio bilateral, lo que les urge especialmente es reducir la maraña de barreras no arancelarias (formada sobre todo por normas y regulaciones técnicas y sanitarias contrapuestas) que han trabado el desarrollo de la relación económica bilateral.… Seguir leyendo »