1. Resistance to Biden is likely
The result of the election made it clear America has not rejected ‘Trumpism’ and remains deeply polarized. Donald Trump remains an important figure within the Republican Party, and perhaps even its leader.
Some senior figures in the party support his efforts to convey the impression the election was ‘stolen’ from them, and analysts such as Max Boot and Timothy Snyder are even comparing this to the Dolchstosslegende (myth of a stab in the back) in Germany after World War I.
Assuming Joe Biden does take over as president on 20 January, the question is what form any ‘resistance’ to his administration takes.… Seguir leyendo »
It was not so long ago that West Africa appeared close to setting a region-wide limit of two consecutive presidential terms of office, as a major testament to its vibrant multi-party political culture, diverse media, and almost universal adherence to the fundamentals of genuine political choice.
As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) became increasingly confident and professional in monitoring electoral registers and the other technical essentials of democracy, the underlying resilience of West African political pluralism came to the fore – but now an outbreak of presidential ‘third-termism’ is putting all that progress at risk.
Through a much-criticised referendum, Guinea’s constitutional rules were successfully changed by its president Alpha Condé so he could seek a third successive stint in power – and with a longer term of six years instead of five.… Seguir leyendo »
The UK government will have to work hard to insert itself into the Biden team’s plans for a renewed transatlantic partnership as many of the new US administration’s priorities, such as sanctions towards Russia, trade relations with China, taxation, and regulation of US technology companies will be US–EU negotiations with the UK excluded.
A US–UK trade deal also now appears less likely in the near term, and any failure to reach a compromise with the EU on the status of Northern Ireland could have severe repercussions for relations with the US, given the warnings from the president-elect.
But opportunities certainly exist, as both governments want to see a successful climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021, both want to bring Iran back into a negotiation over its nuclear programme, and both want to strengthen NATO especially in cybersecurity where the UK is a world leader.… Seguir leyendo »
Algeria’s lowest poll turnout in its history — with no more than 23.7% of Algerians voting on the proposed new constitution — shows the country still faces serious political stalemate more than one year after the Hirak, the pro-democracy movement which galvanised millions of Algerians and was only brought to a halt by the pandemic.
Only 13.7% out of the country’s 24.47 million registered voters supported the new constitution, with the rest either rejecting it or casting invalid votes. But with no minimum turnout required, the constitutional changes have been approved, further deepening the regime’s legitimacy crisis.
Despite much fanfare about the importance of the amended constitution — which the regime claimed would usher in a ‘new Algeria’ — citizens have forcefully expressed their rejection by a massive boycott of a referendum seen by many as merely a manoeuvre to extend the life of an authoritarian and corrupt system.… Seguir leyendo »
The authors of this collection consider the most pressing foreign policy challenges for the next US president, and examine how the outcome of the 2020 election will affect these.
The president will determine how the US’s diplomatic, economic and military resources are invested, and what value the administration will attach to existing alliances and multilateral institutions.
Whoever sits in the White House will shape the trajectory of the US–China relationship and the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as international cooperation on climate action, international trade and technology policy, and health.
- The last four years have confirmed that the choices the US makes are highly consequential for international politics.
… Seguir leyendo »
The opinion poll was conducted using the Computer Assisted Web Interview (CAWI) method and sent to a diverse grouping that corresponds to the general structure of Belarus’ urban population in gender, age, and the size of respondents’ town of residence. The survey was completed by 899 Belarus citizens and the statistical margin of error does not exceed 3.27%.
1. How Belarusians say they voted shows Lukashenka did not win
Although unlikely to be ever proven – given recent allegations of ballots being destroyed – the anecdotal evidence of vote rigging in the election is damning, especially when considering The Central Election Commission in Belarus has claimed Lukashenka secured 80.1 percent of the vote, with Tsikhanouskaya receiving only 10.1 percent.… Seguir leyendo »
Experts across Chatham House shared their views on Trump and Biden’s performance and their key takeaways from the last debate. More than 47 million Americans have already cast their vote and few voters are undecided, but the debates still provide a good lens into these two very different candidates.
Throughout the presidential race, there have been concerns regarding foreign interference in the election. How did candidates respond to this threat?
Leslie Vinjamuri: The candidates deflected the question, but it could not have been more timely. Only two days ago, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, and Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, announced that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data and used this to send threatening emails to voters.… Seguir leyendo »
In over a year since President Zelenskyy embarked on his diplomatic effort to ‘end war with Russia’, there have been some steps forward in releasing prisoners of war and a short-lived ceasefire period. But few have any illusions peace is likely in the near future.
Vladimir Putin’s statement in June that ex-Soviet republics had left the USSR ‘with gifts from the Russian people’ – meaning they had gained supposedly ‘Russian’ lands – shows he has no intention of changing Russia’s policy of revisionism and disruption.
And Russia’s recent engagement in Belarus, which could see Minsk losing sovereignty as the result of any bargain Lukashenka may have struck with Putin to stay in power, further endangers Ukraine’s northern border.… Seguir leyendo »
Ascension Island. Moldova. Morocco. Papua New Guinea. St. Helena. These are some of the far-flung destinations where the British government have considered sending asylum seekers once they have arrived in the UK or have been intercepted on their way here.
Such proposals are emblematic of externalization, a migration management strategy that has won increasing favour among countries in the Global North, denoting measures taken by states beyond their borders to obstruct or deter the arrival of foreign nationals lacking permission to enter their intended destination country.
The interception of asylum seekers travelling by boat, before detaining and processing them in offshore locations, is perhaps the most common form of this strategy.… Seguir leyendo »
The aim of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill to end ‘the cycle of reinvestigation of historic events’ is understandable. This is a problem which needs addressing.
But the Bill’s proposed solution of introducing a ‘presumption against prosecution’ of crimes by British service men and women after five years – unless a case is deemed ‘exceptional’ – is not the way to fix it. The effect of this presumption could put the UK in breach of its existing obligations to bring to justice any persons alleged to have committed serious international crimes.
The Geneva Conventions require the UK to bring before the courts all cases where there is sufficient evidence of the most serious war crimes – such as willful killing and torture – not just exceptional cases.… Seguir leyendo »
What role do the presidential debates serve in encouraging voter turnout?
Leslie Vinjamuri: Going into the debates, 74% of Americans were set to tune in and watch according to a new Monmouth Poll. This is striking since more than 90% have already decided who their candidate will be, and many have already cast their ballots.
During President Donald Trump’s time in office, Americans have been far more politically engaged than in previous periods. A record 49.3% of the voting eligible population turned out to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, according to the United States Election Project. This was the highest voter turnout since 1914, and it also reversed a downward trend.… Seguir leyendo »
The emergence of a multipolar global economy in which the US is no longer the main engine of growth has boosted the role of economic diplomacy, the setting of foreign economic policy. While the EU remains the world’s biggest economic bloc and the US is still an economic powerhouse, it is Asia – China in particular – which has created hundreds of millions of new middle-class consumers, helping to drive global economic growth.
This shift has ignited an era of competition between the US and China and, by implication, a debate about the merits of different political and legal systems. The difficulty for the rest of the world is how best to navigate this highly polarized climate – in recent history, only the Cold War comes close to having matched the adversarial dynamics of such a divided international community.… Seguir leyendo »
The G20 summit in November was to be a moment when the world focused its attention on Saudi Arabia. As the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies came together for the first time in an Arab capital and presided over the world’s greatest challenges and opportunities, King Salman would have taken centre stage with his son and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman not far behind in the spotlight.
However this will now be a virtual summit, and that is probably a blessing in disguise for the kingdom and its leadership which has not enjoyed a good year. It shares responsibility for crashing the price of oil, which, in conjunction with COVID-19, has brought the global economy to its knees.… Seguir leyendo »
Domestic violence has always been a complex issue in Kuwaiti culture, often tied to norms and beliefs relating to family structures and concepts of guardianship, honour and discipline. As with other forms of abuse within the family, it is also considered a private matter and therefore not addressed publicly.
Despite a lack of up to date figures, the problem is widespread, affecting 53.1% of women in Kuwait according to a 2018 study. But Kuwait’s last submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) showed only 447 domestic violence cases had been through the court system in 2016, and only 76 of those resulted in a conviction.… Seguir leyendo »
Does the UK have a foreign policy? The failures in Iraq and Afghanistan curbed our Blairite appetite for intervention. Then the Brexit referendum and the advent of Donald Trump as US president upended the European and Atlantic pillars of our strategy. The UK has been outflanked by Russian opportunism, and on China it is confused about the balance of security risk and economic opportunity. Meanwhile, the world is accelerating into a dangerous, bipolar era of geopolitics.
The claim that leaving the EU would open a highway to British global influence was always hollow. Since 2016, the UK’s influence has declined; our forces are barely present in international theatres of conflict and, as recent days have again shown, the Brexit soap opera undermines our diplomacy and soft power.… Seguir leyendo »
When Chancellor Angela Merkel offered to provide medical care for Navalny in Germany after he fell ill from suspected poisoning in Russia, she could have hardly expected her humanitarian gesture would trigger a crisis in her country’s relations with Russia.
Merkel has used uncharacteristically blunt words to condemn the apparent attempt on Navalny’s life, saying the use of novichok raises serious questions that only the Russian government could answer. She described Navalny as being the ‘victim of a crime’ which was a violation of the ‘basic values and basic rights’ that Germany and its allies were committed to. Her tone and body language certainly showed how strongly she felt about the issue.… Seguir leyendo »
Although there is a long road ahead to achieve sustainable peace and formidable challenges remain, the hope is Sudan can turn the page on decades of war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, particularly in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile).
The peace agreement, between Sudan’s transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a broad alliance of armed and other movements, and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement, is not yet comprehensive as it did not include two other important armed movements.
Expected to be formally signed in early October, the deal has been hailed as a ’historic achievement’ by the UN secretary-general, and the international community also commended the government of South Sudan for its positive role as mediator and urged hold-out groups to join the peace process.… Seguir leyendo »
1. Acknowledge the new reality
A huge number of Belarusians across all levels of society simply no longer recognize Lukashenka as their legitimate president. The unprecedented size and persistence of protests against his regime and the sheer scale of reports of repressive actions, torture, and even murder, mean Belarus will never be the same again.
However, current paralysis in EU policy and the absence of a comprehensive US policy are both serving as a de facto licence for Lukashenka to deepen the political crisis. The sooner policymakers realize this and act with more responsibility and confidence, the quicker the increasing repression can be reversed.… Seguir leyendo »
According to UN Youth, people aged 15-24 make up one-sixth of the world’s population but, in roughly one-third of countries, the eligibility for parliamentarians begins at 25 years old and only 1.6% of parliamentarians are in their twenties. Young people are largely being excluded and overlooked, both as political candidates and even as participants in political processes, giving them limited political control over their own futures.
If politics continues to be regarded as a space for older, more politically experienced individuals from particular backgrounds, young people will continue to be left systematically marginalized, and overall disengagement with politics within societies will continue to grow.… Seguir leyendo »
Whoever occupies the White House after the election, it is evident the emphasis will be on ‘America First’, and that only characteristics and approaches will differ. If Donald Trump is re-elected, his electoral base will support a continuation of isolationist, protectionist policies. If Joe Biden becomes president, he will enjoy some limited popular backing for international re-engagement, but his voters still clearly want him to prioritize domestic issues.
Implications for the foreign policy of the next US administration are evident. America may have a long history of isolationism, but that should not be confused with ignorance of the growing interconnectedness of today’s world.… Seguir leyendo »