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


Ecuador’s shrewd oil deals disprove ‘Chinese colony’ claims

Noel Maurer

Ecuador’s shrewd oil deals disprove ‘Chinese colony’ claims

Noel Maurer

Far from being turned into a neo-colony, Ecuador has used oil deals with China to earn cheap credit, which has enabled it to re-enter international markets on favourable terms. Its sovereignty has not been compromised; Beijing’s loans look more like an attempt to buy goodwill from Quito than any form of economic imperialism. Ecuador has skilfully exploited what Beijing is offering. . read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Politics and the ramifications of Iran’s nuclear deal for Israel and the Middle East

Dr Uwe Nerlich

The outcomes of Israel’s elections on March 17, 2015, and negotiations between the six leading world powers and Iran can make differences in the short run and invite more tension or open new options. But in the absence of a ‘military solution’ there will be two nuclear-capable nations in the region. Both will need to prepare for difficult formative stages within a region in transition. Politics in the US, Israel and Iran may continue to delay diplomatic outcomes which are commensurate with the need for regional reconstruction. But the requirements for economic competitiveness will sooner or later prevail. read


Geopolitics
Chile’s Michelle Bachelet pushes through catalogue of reforms

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

Chile’s Michelle Bachelet pushes through catalogue of reforms

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet has wasted no time since being elected in a virtual landslide a year ago to push through a catalogue of reforms. The socialist president promised in her election campaign to reduce inequality and to be more responsive to the popular will. And she is ramming through a change agenda against opposition calling for greater compromise and in the face of two debilitating financial scandals which threaten to undermine her leadership. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Matteo Renzi ignores Italy’s economic realities

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Italian politics is dominated by the party in power as its rivals fail to make any impression on national politics. But Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has failed to capitalise on his strength and introduce much-needed economic reforms. As he enjoys his power, Italy continues to drift and could be in deep trouble if the days of cheap money end in Europe. read


Russia comes between Kim Jong-un and Chinese patron

North Korea is one of the least familiar and most notorious countries in the world, existing for decades behind its ideological principle of juche - ‘self-sufficiency’. Yet geopolitical patterns are shifting, threatening a change in East Asia’s strategic balance. GIS guest expert Cameron Frecklington looks behind the creaking facade of Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom, and at how its increasingly strained relationship with China could be further undermined by nascent overtures from Russia. read


Economics
Tunisia struggles along the path of reform and democracy

Dr Emmanuel Martin

Tunisia struggles along the path of reform and democracy

Dr Emmanuel Martin

Tunisia appears to have emerged from four years of instability following the world’s first Arab Spring protests. A new constitution and now a new coalition government could place the country on the road to democracy and economic reforms. But change is difficult after 23 years of autocratic rule and there is a danger of further unrest unless social problems and poverty are erased. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine inches towards endgame

Professor Stefan Hedlund

With billions of dollars of foreign aid coming its way, Ukraine's government can now stay afloat – for the time being. However, it now relies on the cash-strapped West to turn around its tattered economy, rebuild what has been destroyed, and restructure what remains. Critics question how long this can last and if the aid to Ukraine just plays into Russia’s hands - especially when Ukraine’s finance minister says the IMF’s billions is not enough. read


Defence & Security
India-US defence cooperation could transform global arms industry

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


Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

India moves to ‘reclaim’ its ocean after Chinese pressure

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

China’s greater assertiveness towards its Asian neighbours has spurred India into action. It is taking a wider strategic view and embracing countries bordering the Indian Ocean in defensive alliances as it builds a larger navy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has developed a joint vision with the US and will undertake a wider tour of island states in a move to shore up ‘India’s Ocean'. 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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