The European Union has always been stronger at reacting to crises than predicting or preventing them. On too many occasions the EU was lacking strategic foresight to anticipate major developments that impacted its internal and external policies. The widespread protests and their repercussions during the Arab Spring or Russia’s annexation of Crimea were as much a surprise to most European leaders and EU institutions as to other international actors, leaving them with no better options than to scramble for crisis management solutions since it was too late for preventive measures that might have had lower costs and better outcomes.
The EU’s Early Warning System ensures higher awareness of structural risks
Aware of these shortcomings, the EU has invested more resources in its early warning and early response capacities.… Seguir leyendo »
Hong Kong’s summer has taken another turn for the worse. While the vast majority of protestors have been peaceful, violence and vandalism have now become the norm — and for some the goal. Clashes with the police have continually escalated. Amid such chaos, is there a way forward for Hong Kong?
The movement has ventured far beyond the original catalyst, the government’s extradition bill, with increasingly radical dynamics abetted by inept government responses. Social media has shaped narratives which allow groups (more than individuals) to create their own reality. De-escalation is sorely needed, but elusive.
Politically speaking, the protestors have achieved a lot.… Seguir leyendo »
A tactical approach to Turkey has failed
The US approach to Turkey under President Donald Trump has been tactical, consisting of a series of mixed signals.
In August 2018, the US imposed sanctions on several Turkish officials to pressure for the release of detained American pastor Andrew Brunson. With the Turkish lira plummeting, Brunson was released in October of that year.
In a separate incident, after squeezing Turkey economically, the US offered to work with Turkey in the investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But later, the White House considered reopening the case of the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, long sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a bid to convince Turkey to reduce pressure on Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi killing.… Seguir leyendo »
The Polish election on 13 October resulted, as expected, in a victory for of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).
But despite again securing a slim majority in parliament, it has not been wholly a triumph for PiS. And though there continue to be concerns about the party’s authoritarian tendencies, the election has illuminated some important nuances to its support and appeal, which hold lessons for politics across Europe.
Even though some opinion polls had suggested PiS were close to winning a supermajority in parliament that would have allowed it to pursue constitutional changes, the party fell short of that target, while it lost its majority in the Senate.… Seguir leyendo »
Currently 73% of all UK agricultural imports come from the EU. That heavy dependence sparked a report (opens in new window) by the British parliament expressing concern about the UK’s food security in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.
Meanwhile, Latin America’s agricultural powerhouses Brazil and Argentina only accounted for a total of 1.6% of the UK’s agricultural market across eight sectors in 2018. A growing relationship would seem to be an obvious fit post-Brexit – but a number of structural issues stand in the way.
There is certainly scope for increasing Latin American agricultural exports to the UK given current trade patterns.… Seguir leyendo »
‘This was one the worst weeks in Iraq’s history. I never thought the government was capable of such crimes,’ exclaimed one civil society activist in Baghdad when describing the protests that ripped through Baghdad and other parts of Iraq from 1 October.
While protests have become frequent events in Baghdad over the past few years, this time was different. For the first time in Baghdad, forces seeking to defend the political system opened fire on demonstrators, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. The same forces, a mixture of official security forces and government-aligned paramilitary groups, also attacked independent media outlets and cut off the internet.… Seguir leyendo »
Among the issues exposed by US President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian president is that of weak rule of law, a key problem of modern governance. This latest scandal has shown how the judiciary is still vulnerable to being exploited for personal political gain, financial enrichment and geopolitical support.
Since independence, Ukraine has suffered from weak rule of law, high-level corruption and selective justice. A major Chatham House report concluded that despite ‘greater success in restricting the opportunities for corruption, reforms of the law enforcement agencies are proceeding slowly because of the deep underlying culture of corruption in the judicial system.’ Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicator for rule of law in Ukraine has remained almost unchanged in the last 10 years.… Seguir leyendo »
In March and April, an extensive opinion poll carried out across Iraq found that the population were only united by very high levels of pessimism about the future of their country. At the centre of their concerns, and the key factor in driving mistrust, is the issue of corruption.
In the poll, 82 per cent of Iraqis were concerned or very concerned about corruption at the highest levels of government; 83 per cent perceived corruption to be getting worse. It appears clear: politically sanctioned corruption among senior politicians and civil servants is systematically undermining popular faith in the Iraqi government and destroying the legitimacy of its leaders in the eyes of the population.… Seguir leyendo »
As the chair of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, I recently hosted an offsite event with some of the organization’s strongest supporters, research staff, and other leaders. I left with a clearer view of three of the biggest issues of our time: slowing productivity growth, anti-establishment politics, and the rise of China.
Generally speaking, the reason that we have so many ‘issues’ is that the international capitalist model has stopped functioning as it should, particularly in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. This has become increasingly apparent to many Western voters, even as experts have struggled to understand the precise nature of the economic and political shifts underway.… Seguir leyendo »
The UK Supreme Court’s ruling last Wednesday has, at least temporarily, scuppered the prime minister’s plans to limit parliamentary debate before the looming Brexit deadline. Some of the prime minister’s allies have attacked the ruling as a ‘constitutional coup’. But a close reading reveals that the court has stayed within its remit to interpret, rather than make, the law.
In a carefully reasoned judgment, the court emphasized that the case was not about Brexit. But the judges certainly did not shy away from the extraordinary nature of the matters before it, noting that such factual situations have ‘never arisen before and are unlikely ever to arise again… But our law is used to rising to such challenges and supplies us with the legal tools to enable us to reason to a solution.’
The key question before the court was whether the prime minister’s decision to seek prorogation was ‘justiciable’ – i.e.… Seguir leyendo »
As Israel’s politicians negotiate what government can take power after the 17 September elections, it is worth noting a historic step taken by ten out of thirteen members of the country’s Joint List of small Arab-Palestinian majority parties. Their recommendation of Blue and White’s chairperson Benny Gantz for prime minister is the first by an Arab-majority party or list for a Zionist party since 1992. That Blue and White is headed by three former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) generals, one of whom campaigned on his heavy-handed treatment of Gaza, makes this doubly ground-breaking.
What explains this reversal? For one, the Joint List’s recent decision to move by majority rather than consensus vote allows it to better reflect the views of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of a whistleblower’s report that alleged Donald Trump linked military aid to Ukraine to the latter’s willingness to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential elections, and his son, Hunter, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated a formal impeachment inquiry. Chatham House experts explore the impact of this latest turn of events.
Questions abound for Congress and for foreign allies
For more than a year, Democrats worked to investigate President Donald Trump’s potential involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now, in the span of a week, they appear to have decided that the subject of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and alleged subsequent efforts by the Trump administration to prevent the release of a related whistleblower report constitute clear, impeachable offences.… Seguir leyendo »
Your report warns that poor people will bear the brunt of climate change and that 120 million more people could be pushed into poverty by 2030, arguing this could potentially undo the last 50 years of progress in development. Why are poorer parts of the world especially vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change?
Well, I think it’s a combination of factors. Global geography means that a lot of developing countries are particularly susceptible to global warming, in other words to extreme temperatures that become normal and the associated flooding that is linked to that.
Estimates are that the total damage done by climate change could fall 75 per cent on developing countries.… Seguir leyendo »
Earlier this year, there was intense speculation in Moscow that the Kremlin was looking at putting flesh on the bones of the Union State as a platform for President Putin to stay in office after 2024 as leader of a Russian-Belarusian confederation. The joint state has only existed on paper since its formal establishment in 1999.
The ‘integration plan’ negotiated by the ministers of the economy of Russia and Belarus falls far short of establishing a single monetary, banking and customs system as foreseen in the original Union State Treaty. The draft agreement focuses on a more modest range of economic integration measures including a single tax code, a single regulator for the energy markets and deepening of common customs policies.… Seguir leyendo »
The Syrian currency depreciated by 11% between mid-August and the first week of September, to reach an unprecedented level of SYP692 to the US dollar. According to the government, the main reasons behind this collapse are the international sanctions imposed on Syria and currency speculation.
Accordingly, the government has forced speculators and local foreign exchange companies to sell the US dollar instead of holding it. Moreover, Syrian security agencies have pressured profiteers with close links to the regime to effectively participate in campaigns that support the local currency. Indeed, the Syrian pound appreciated in value in only a few days to reach an average of SYP615 for $1 in the second week of September.… Seguir leyendo »
As countries move towards the fifth generation of mobile broadband, 5G, the United States has been loudly calling out Huawei as a security threat. It has employed alarmist rhetoric and threatened to limit trade and intelligence sharing with close allies that use Huawei in their 5G infrastructure.
While some countries such as Australia have adopted a hard line against Huawei, others like the UK have been more circumspect, arguing that the risks of using the firm’s technology can be mitigated without forgoing the benefits.
So, who is right, and why have these close allies taken such different approaches?
Long-standing concerns relating to Huawei are plausible.… Seguir leyendo »
England and Australia are considered standard-bearers of universal access to health services, with the former’s National Health Service (NHS) recognized as a global brand and the latter’s Medicare seen as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region. However, through the exclusion of migrant and refugee groups, each is failing to deliver true universality in their health services. These exclusions breach both their own national policies and of international commitments they have made.
While the marginalization of mobile populations is not a new phenomenon, in recent years there has been a global increase in anti-migrant rhetoric, and such health care exclusions reflect a global trend in which undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are denied rights.… Seguir leyendo »
Robert Mugabe’s death at age 95, after nearly 60 years at the helm of Zimbabwe’s liberation and post-independence politics, is a momentous occasion. Mugabe was the founding father of modern Zimbabwe, with all its stunning successes and grievous failures. As he moves into national legend, contestations over his legacy demonstrate that, in death as in life, the man known as Gushungo (from his family lineage) still continues to polarize opinion.
His failings are well known, including the mass murders of more than 30,000 civilians in Matabeleland during the 1980s Gukurahundi campaigns, and the killings and torture of opposition activists in the 2000s and 2010s.… Seguir leyendo »
What examples are there of AI helping to solve some of the world’s problems?
A couple of examples that I find motivating are areas where AI is being used to provide healthcare, where human support might be quite restrictive or not enough. AI can also improve accuracy rates to help more people in a safer manner.
Another example is a product we’ve developed at AI for Good called rAInbow, where we’ve built an AI tool to help detect early signs of domestic violence and abuse. It’s an issue that affects one in three women, whether it’s physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse.… Seguir leyendo »
Since the Euromaidan revolution in the winter of 2013–14, the EU has adopted a significantly more strategic approach to reform in Ukraine, in order to address fundamental weaknesses within Ukrainian state institutions.
The EU Commission of 2014–19 launched a number of major innovations to support Ukraine, which represented a step-change in EU support for domestic reforms in a neighbouring country.
The most significant of these was the creation of the Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA), a special taskforce for delivering assistance and supporting Ukraine, which became operational during Jean-Claude Juncker presidency of the Commission. The SGUA, led by Peter Wagner since 2016, consists of 35-40 officials who have developed an in-depth knowledge of Ukraine and have experimented with new approaches in supporting reforms.… Seguir leyendo »