Dr James Jay Carafano

Assigning and managing domain names and IP addresses has been done by the US-based company ICANN since the Internet became established, but Washington announced in March 2014 that it wanted ‘the global multi-stakeholder community’ to take over the task. The transfer is not straightforward; China and Russia, among others, believe the United Nations should be involved in managing the worldwide web but the US fears undue influence from governments or intergovernmental organisations and the move could be delayed by several years. read


Serbia faces tough choice over Russian project in Balkans geopolitics

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Serbia faces tough choice over Russian project in Balkans geopolitics

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Three river projects in the Balkans have geopolitical importance for the region, its ecosystems, economy, politics and Russia’s role. Serbia remains Russia’s main ally, surrounded by Nato neighbours. But Russian support comes at a price and soon Serbia must choose between the European Union or Russia and between a source of income from the South Stream gas pipeline or turning its back on the project. read


China's military rise - a conflict between ideology and modernisation

China's mounting firepower and military intentions are causing significant concern among its neighbours and the United States. But its political leaders stress that its expansion and rapidly growing military budgets are for peaceful ends, despite increased tensions across the South and East China Seas, writes GIS guest expert Rogier Creemers. However, although China has convinced the world it is a serious military player, its army – the armed wing of the country’s Communist Party - lags behind in experience and professionalism, weakening its strength while raising the risk of conflict. read


Geopolitics
Morocco still lacks economic freedom despite reforms

Dr Emmanuel Martin

Morocco still lacks economic freedom despite reforms

Dr Emmanuel Martin

King Mohammed VI of Morocco introduced constitutional reform three years ago. His country still lacks economic freedom, and any major long-term impact on business and society will be hard to achieve because of the subtle balance of power between monarchy and Islamism in a new democratic context. However, slow processes are probably better than radical ones at securing the stability necessary for a smooth, peaceful evolution. read


Teresa Nogueira Pinto

Clan rivalries threaten fragile Somalia’s prospects of recovery

Teresa Nogueira Pinto

All previous attempts to stabilise Somalia - one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous places - have failed because clan identity and rivalries have prevented state building. Despite recent security improvements and international aid, effective stabilisation of the country depends upon the central government`s ability to strengthen national cohesion and to integrate federal states while maintaining local power networks based on traditional clan identity. read


Economics
China and the Eurasian Union - an ambivalent relationship

China and the Eurasian Union - an ambivalent relationship

Russian President Vladimir Putin sees his grand vision of a Eurasian Economic Union of former Soviet states as guaranteeing his country’s continued relevance in an Asia which looks to be increasingly dominated by China. But far from showing concern, China remains remarkably nonplussed about the nascent organisation, writes GIS guest expert Vaughan Winterbottom. China’s nonchalant response may well be that it stands to gain much from the establishment of the EEU and will lose little. read


Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Shinzo Abe’s ‘third arrow’ set to miss the target of radical reform

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Shinzo Abe promised to ‘drill’ into Japan’s vested interests when he announced his growth strategy. But many of the reforms unveiled in June 2014 are vague announcements, far behind the expectations of those who believed that ‘Abenomics’ meant radical liberalisation, deregulation and decentralisation. It appears that the governing Liberal-Democratic Party is using the policy as an instrument to strengthen the nation’s political and military power as well as winning the 2016 general election. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Investors look for reform and good governance on top of returns

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Investors are facing continued low returns in the West as interest rates remain low in the short-term. This provides an opportunity for developing economies to attract money to invest and develop growth. But investors now want reforms and good governance in these countries as well as a return on their investment. read


Defence & Security
Japan adds military muscle to defend its regional allies and neighbours

Bernard Siman

Japan adds military muscle to defend its regional allies and neighbours

Bernard Siman

A change to Japan’s constitution, giving it the ability to take part in armed conflict, could change the region’s geopolitics through building bilateral alliances. This more aggressive foreign and defence policy approach is likely to have the backing of the US - Japan’s main ally. It can also be seen in conjunction with a number of treaties and alliances Japan is making with its neighbours to counteract China’s growing regional threat and influence. read


Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva

Spy target Dilma Rousseff takes a lead in global internet reform

Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacted angrily when she was spied on by Washington’s National Security Agency. But she has subsequently adopted internet governance as a global issue on which she could appear as a leader. Her poll ratings have been falling, but she is hoping that a successful international web conference in Sao Paulo will help her re-election bid in October. read


ISIS campaign in Iraq poses major threat to Europe

A coalition of disgruntled Iraqi army officers and extreme jihadist terrorists sweeping through Iraq will last for as long as the country has no effective and inclusive government. Their actions will impact regional security and stability as Iraq’s Shia government continues to ignore the force and wishes of its Sunni population. Continued political sectarianism could lead to Iraq splintering and the extremist jihadists transferring their threat to Europe writes a GIS guest expert. read


Energy
Unprecedented oil price stability – but markets still liable to sudden change

Dr Carole Nakhle

Unprecedented oil price stability – but markets still liable to sudden change

Dr Carole Nakhle

The global price of oil has been stable as never before, despite some of the world’s biggest disruptions to supply. The dynamics of oil price movements are important to policymakers, consumers and producers given their significant impact on economic and financial developments. Oil enters into every aspect of modern economies. Fears about spikes in oil price have failed to materialise, but experience shows that oil price movements can quickly change. read


Dr Carole Nakhle

Iran oil and gas: The implications of a possible deal

Dr Carole Nakhle

Iran and six world powers are seeking to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear programme by July 20, 2014. This is the deadline set for Iran to agree to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities. The long-time stand-off, should it be resolved, would not only have significant geopolitical implications but any deal would create exciting dynamics in the oil and gas markets. Global energy markets are closely watching Iran with its massive reserves of natural gas and oil. read


Andrzej Bobinski

Poland’s say in the future of Europe’s energy supply

Andrzej Bobinski

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has proposed a Europe-wide energy union to break Russia's stranglehold over the region's energy market. The union would set up an institution to negotiate energy contracts with Russia. Member states would work closely together to develop energy infrastructure to guarantee supplies and better exploit fossil-fuel resources. But cracks are already appearing in the fledging plan as EU countries fail to support key aspects. read


Dr Frank Umbach

Russia’s gamble over Crimea could deliver major energy rewards and influence

Dr Frank Umbach

Russia’s move on Crimea comes at a huge loss of revenue for its energy giant Gazprom. But Russia’s strategy extends its geopolitical influence and reaps offshore oil and gas potential while disrupting Ukraine’s own energy policy of self-sufficiency. read


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