Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

Latin America has reached an inflection point. Recent developments suggest that parts of the region will make significant economic strides over the next few years. However, its two biggest economies – Brazil and Mexico – are stuck in the doldrums, and their politics may be in even worse shape. read


IMF puts itself in a fix as it bends rules to bail out Ukraine

Professor Stefan Hedlund

February 3, 2016

IMF puts itself in a fix as it bends rules to bail out Ukraine

Professor Stefan Hedlund

On December 18, 2015, the government of Ukraine announced it had no intention of honoring a $3 billion Eurobond loan owed to Russia that would mature on December 20. Given the cross-default clause written into that bond, under British law, this was a momentous decision. It gave the Kremlin the right to have Ukraine declared in sovereign default, which would have precluded further financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This, in turn, would have led to state failure. read


Noel Maurer

February 2, 2016

Argentina weighs up energy price adjustment

Noel Maurer

Argentine President Mauricio Macri must cope with an energy sector in dire straits. Policy over the past decade has been inconsistent and often counterproductive. Subsidies weigh heavily on public finances. However, reforming the hydrocarbon extraction and refining industries should prove far easier politically than solving the country’s challenges in electricity production and distribution. read


Geopolitics
Global trends: Ukraine fatigue may force bargain with Russia

Dr Uwe Nerlich

January 28, 2016

Global trends: Ukraine fatigue may force bargain with Russia

Dr Uwe Nerlich

Since Ukraine gained independence in 1991, its relations with Russia have never been normal. Major crises are always liable to break out. The present one has lasted for almost two years and is entering a new phase that can make or break Ukraine. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

January 27, 2016

Global trends: 2016 and 2017 will set Putin’s future

Professor Stefan Hedlund

The outlook for Russia this year is more complex and harder to predict than at any point since President Vladimir Putin took power 16 years ago. Mr. Putin has ruthlessly ratcheted up the stakes in his drive to ensure that Russia is once again recognized as a great power with a voice in global affairs that cannot be ignored. The coming 12 to 18 months will be decisive in determining whether he will succeed, and if so, at what price. read


Economics
Political split could put Mozambique’s gas boom on hold

February 1, 2016

Political split could put Mozambique’s gas boom on hold

Even with the collapse of energy prices, Mozambique’s economy appears poised for explosive growth thanks to discoveries of huge offshore natural gas fields. President Filipe Nyusi’s government has committed to much-needed economic and financial reforms. Yet cracks in Mozambique’s political system, especially the failure to incorporate the opposition Renamo party, could yet split the country and delay the eagerly awaited energy boom. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

January 29, 2016

Global trends: Europe’s weak spots ready to become new crises

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Europe’s leaders have failed to solve the structural problems revealed by the crisis of 2008. Nor have they grappled with issues that have emerged in recent years. Examples include high public debt, the stock market bubble and distorted risk perceptions caused by the eurozone’s artificially low interest rates. For now, the situation has stabilized. Financial markets are headed into a period of high volatility, but panic has been averted. The question is whether this calm will last or if Europe's unfinished business will erupt into a full-blown crisis. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

January 20, 2016

Cameron’s ‘blackmail’ offers a way out of migrant welfare bind

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Immigration is one of the many pressing issues that European policymakers failed to resolve in 2015. Not only were they unable to arrive at a common view; they could not even agree to a consistent road map. Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands to limit welfare benefits and the threat of Brexit may be giving Brussels an unexpected chance to put things right. read


Defence & Security
Let’s play make-believe: Hollande and France’s ‘security pact’

Dr Emmanuel Martin

December 22, 2015

Let’s play make-believe: Hollande and France’s ‘security pact’

Dr Emmanuel Martin

After the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, French President Francois Hollande was quick to announce that his new centrepiece policy would be a ‘security pact,’ which will take priority over the European ‘stability pact.’ The strategy’s prospects of success for creating greater security in France look bleak. However, there may also have been political motivations at play. read


Professor Dr Blerim Reka

December 17, 2015

Tiny Montenegro may tip strategic balance in the Balkans

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Montenegro is a small country with a big geopolitical impact. It was once in a union with Serbia and was pro-Russian in its foreign policy, but in 2006, after a stormy referendum, it divorced the Serbian ally. Its economic ties with Russia deteriorated after Podgorica began accession negotiations with the European Union in 2012. Two years later, Montenegro made another big step towards changing its alignment when it announced a bid to join Nato. Since December 2, 2015, the day when the formal invitation from the North Atlantic alliance was made, the country finds itself tantalisingly close to realising that goal. Both its success or, less likely, its failure, will have far-reaching strategic consequences for global powers. read


Walter Lohman

December 14, 2015

Rift between US and Europe may pose security risk in Asia

Walter Lohman

The United States and Europe are major stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region. As the centre of global influence continues to shift eastward, both of these powers share compelling interests. These include security for the massive amount of international trade in goods transiting the region and the development of a rules-based regional order. The differences between the US and Europe revolve around their geopolitical outlooks and how they go about furthering these interests. Closer alignment of strategic thinking and greater European commitment to the region’s security needs would help the transatlantic allies better secure their positions. Failure on this score would force the US to make its own arrangements with regional allies and leave European interests vulnerable. read


General Professor Stanislaw Koziej

November 5, 2015

Nato still needs an answer as Russia tests thresholds in east

General Professor Stanislaw Koziej

Next year’s Nato summit in Warsaw will address a serious question: how should the alliance follow through on the measures initiated at Newport (September 4-5, 2014), which were its first response to serious changes in the security environment of Europe brought about by Russia? Despite differences of opinion among member states on the wisdom of moving some Nato troops to the east, indications are that the alliance will continue firming up its eastern flank. read


Energy
Global trends: low oil prices today may not mean low investment tomorrow

Dr Carole Nakhle

January 22, 2016

Global trends: low oil prices today may not mean low investment tomorrow

Dr Carole Nakhle

Today’s relatively low price of oil seems to have reconciled the otherwise conflicting interests of the world’s largest producers and consumers. Organizations representing these two groups have warned of negative repercussions, including a price spike that could follow from lower investment. However, the relationship between oil prices, investment and future supply is not so straightforward. read


Péter Juhasz

January 5, 2016

EU faces dilemmas over Hungary’s nuclear deal with Russia

Péter Juhasz

Hungary is officially upbeat about its agreement with Russia to expand the Paks-2 nuclear plant. But behind the hurrah-optimism of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and government officials, the 12 billion euro contract with Rosatom is encountering stiff resistance at home and abroad, writes GIS guest expert Peter Juhasz. read


Dr Frank Umbach

January 4, 2016

Coal to remain king in China, despite ambitious climate policies

Dr Frank Umbach

The success of the recent COP21 climate deal will depend on efforts by China to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s largest consumer of coal and emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) recently introduced a set of initiatives aimed at a “green energy” transformation. These measures, however, conflict with China’s more basic economic imperatives and the realities of the country’s energy sector. As Chinese leaders seek to protect their legitimacy, they will probably prioritize economic growth, even if that means shelving the most far-reaching energy reforms. read


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