Professor Stefan Hedlund

With Russia’s economy heading for recession and isolation from markets in the West, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is cultivating alternative friendships in and around Europe. Although the rewards may be meagre, what is likely to be achieved is mischief. The European powers’ efforts to maintain a common EU policy on Russia is already shaky with several governments questioning the wisdom of sanctions. The Kremlin is playing into whatever cracks it can find. read


Hopes for cautious reconciliation between east Asia’s key economies

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Hopes for cautious reconciliation between east Asia’s key economies

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

The appointment of new leaders in the three key east Asian economies of China, Japan and South Korea have not led to improved relations between them. The overall geopolitical theme of east Asia for the next five years is a cautious, step-by-step reconciliation of the three powers, driven by commercial interests including the launch of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) - China's first initiative into international financial institutions. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Iran nuclear deal promises brighter future for Middle East

Dr Uwe Nerlich

The interim agreement between the P5+1 group of the world’s leading powers and Iran spells hope for a new era of cooperation throughout the wider Middle East. This could also lead to a significant and four-fold increase in trade for the European Union with Iran and a broader agenda for change supported by the West, Russia and China. read


Geopolitics
China’s economic and political controls are pulling in opposite directions

China’s economic and political controls are pulling in opposite directions

President Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on China. Some in the West have presumed that a second Cultural Revolution is under way. But the correct analysis would be that Mr Xi is simply increasing the socialist rhetoric and centralising power so as to concentrate decision-making authority. He is taking control in a way not seen since Chairman Mao, but that does not make it a Cultural Revolution, writes GIS guest expert Cameron Frecklington. read


Economics
China’s AIIB attracts 47 global members to challenge for opportunities

Professor Enrico Colombatto

China’s AIIB attracts 47 global members to challenge for opportunities

Professor Enrico Colombatto

China is leading a new initiative to compete against the IMF and the World Bank which seem to have outgrown their original creation 71 years ago. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - a minnow in finance compared with the World Bank - has had 47 countries applying to join, including major global economies, and will target financial help for infrastructure. read


China targets exports and cleaner air to counter steel demand slowdown

China’s boom years saw huge increases in steel production, particularly for housing, cars and infrastructure projects. The nation’s current economic slowdown has encouraged producers to concentrate on exports, sparking accusations of steel ‘dumping’ and leading to tariffs in some countries, writes GIS guest expert Brendan O’Reilly. Beijing has attempted to use the fall in domestic consumption to its advantage, claiming it will reduce air pollution which is at its worst in steel-producing Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing. read


Dr Emmanuel Martin

Algeria’s challenge is to reform and diversify its economy

Dr Emmanuel Martin

Algeria has experienced development problems since its independence from France in 1962, despite its wealth of natural resources. Oil and gas have turned into a 'resource curse' which has enabled a closed, crony system in power to extract rents at the expense of the majority of the population, who are denied economic freedom and opportunities. Many see the current fall of oil prices, and its impact on the rent economy, as an opportunity to finally open up the country and diversify its economy. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Undeveloped African economies’ dollar trap offers opportunities for Europe

Professor Enrico Colombatto

The US Federal Reserve’s remarks in March 2015 on potential interest rate rises took money markets by surprise. Nothing will happen in the short term. But the strong dollar could spell danger for undeveloped economies and Europe may be called on to help. This could offer an opportunity to build long-term economic and political ties. read


Defence & Security
Russia 'unprepared' for modern war pushes forward nuclear option

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia 'unprepared' for modern war pushes forward nuclear option

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s handling of recent security challenges demonstrates its military capabilities are in no state to cope with invasion and sustained warfare, despite the Kremlin’s huge spending on upgrading its forces. This reflects poorly on the outcome of the military reform designed to create modern ‘permanent readiness’ units. Russia may be a force to be reckoned with against Ukraine, but as a military threat to Nato, it is no match – making the use of nuclear as a deterrent increasingly likely. read


Dr James Jay Carafano

India-US defence cooperation could transform global arms industry

Dr James Jay Carafano

India, one of the world’s largest arms buyers, has recently forged deals with the United States as the Southeast Asian nation looks to upgrade its Soviet-era military hardware and takes steps to turn India into a global arms manufacturing hub. This link with the US could see India on the path to become a significant exporter of military equipment. read


Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Threats emerge of new Balkans Cold War split between the West and Russia

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Fears are growing that a new Cold War could affect the Balkans following the escalating crisis in Ukraine. An East- West divide has returned to the region harking back 25 years to the end of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Russia is developing its interests and its sphere of influence with some Balkans countries and raising the stakes over security and energy. read


Energy
India energy: The world’s wildest card

Dr Carole Nakhle

India energy: The world’s wildest card

Dr Carole Nakhle

India, the world’s largest democracy, is increasingly asserting its influence on global energy and climate change discussions. With an expanding economy, a growing population and an increasing dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal, India’s energy policies and consumption are being watched closely by world leaders and energy experts. read


Dr Frank Umbach

Ukraine pressured on price in gas deal with Russia and the EU

Dr Frank Umbach

A short-term deal over gas supplies between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, has ensured European gas supplies during the winter. But it falls far short of what Ukraine negotiators wanted. And longer-term decisions over Ukraine’s gas prices, outstanding debts and agreements with Russian energy giant Gazprom will be determined by an arbitration court only at the end of 2015 read


China’s energy strategy in the 'New Normal' economy

China’s energy strategy is entering a transition phase caught up in President Xi Jinping’s ‘New Normal’. The coming years will see China pull back from its world-wide hunt for energy as the government emphasises consumer consumption over polluting industry – already suffering from overcapacity. A new Action Plan focuses on domestic energy production, control of energy use, and a series of policies aimed at limiting carbon emissions as part of an aggressive environmental agenda, writes GIS guest expert Yuge Ma. read


Dr Frank Umbach

Ukraine‘s future energy security lies in Europe and the EU

Dr Frank Umbach

Ukraine’s energy security lies in it integrating into the European Union’s common energy market. In the short-term, Ukraine’s gas supply security depends on increasing gas reverse-flows from Europe. But the old-pipeline network is controlled and influenced by Russian energy giant Gazprom even in EU member states. The main Russian transit pipelines to Slovakia have enough spare capacity for reverse-flows from west to east for Ukraine to replace all Russian gas imports. But it is not just the commercial and political strength of Gazprom and the Kremlin which is blocking the reverse-flow, as a failure to implement the EU’s TEP in some of its member states. read


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Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

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