Professor Enrico Colombatto

Tumbling oil prices - which have dropped by almost half in recent months - will start hitting Russian government revenues which rely on energy for half their total. This will lead to a change in Russia's economic policies leading to higher inflation and increased taxes. read


Moscow’s military upgrade may force West to rethink strategy

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Moscow’s military upgrade may force West to rethink strategy

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s defence spending is set to rise by 25 per cent in 2015, reaching record levels. This re-equipment and upgrading of its hardware follows the reorganising of its military units into a rapid reaction force, seen to great effect in the seizure of Crimea. The West’s response will require some original thinking, not least about Nato’s common defence policy. read


Dr Friedemann Mueller

Iran gas an option for Europe as Russia leaves energy gap

Dr Friedemann Mueller

The strategic energy ellipse is one of the hottest geopolitical regions in the world - home to vast reserves of oil and gas and stretching from western Siberia to the Arabian Peninsula. Critically, Iran and Iraq are at its centre. As Russia eases out of the picture as the main provider of energy to Europe – several others are looking to take its place. The axing of Russia’s South Stream pipeline could see the start of significant geopolitical manouevering in the region. read


Geopolitics
Balkans countries look outside EU to fund infrastructure

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Balkans countries look outside EU to fund infrastructure

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

The western Balkans is at a geopolitical crossroads. Which way should it go for funding for major infrastructure projects in roads, railways and harbours – the European Union, Russia, Turkey or China? This choice has come into sharper focus since the EU announced in 2014 that there would be no further enlargement until 2020. While the Balkans countries want to integrate with the EU, China is willing to invest and would achieve a foothold in European waters close to the EU markets. read


Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Threat of global conflict between the West, Russia and China is increasing

Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Tensions across the globe have increased to a level where Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks openly of Russia’s nuclear strength. Spending on military budgets is increasing in many countries except the West. And a desperate Russia is looking for new alliances with an emerging China as the West’s sanctions begin to bite. This could lead to a new Russia-China alignment with a common foe in the United States. read


China as a cliché in the making of a modern nation

Westerners have long resorted to stereotypes when referring to China. It is seen as a treasure trove of ancient wisdom and stoicism, or a powerful force ready and waiting to ‘shake the world.’ These clichés colour many people’s understanding of the country. Foreign observers would do well to see Chinese society as a modern, dynamic nation, home to people who want the same things as their Western counterparts, writes GIS guest expert Vaughan Winterbottom. read


Economics
China seeks to change from imitator to innovator

China seeks to change from imitator to innovator

In the world of technological innovation, China is often decried as the great imitator, a maker of cheap fakes and an intellectual property thief. But is this an accurate picture? China’s global impact in research and development is growing and in some areas, such the processes surrounding the building of infrastructure, it is at the cutting edge. GIS guest expert Professor James Woudhuysen assesses the prospects for China to shape the world. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine heads towards sovereign default

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine is fighting for its future, not only to be rid of Russian incursion, but also its existence as a sovereign state. Its economy is shrinking, corruption is endemic and government finances are in such disarray that there is a grave risk it will default on its debt. The consequences for the European Union and its taxpayers are serious should a bailout become necessary. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Eurozone bailout economies vulnerable to interest rates rise

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Any rise in interest rates could tip a number of eurozone countries deeper into trouble. European Union countries involved in bailout programmes are still very vulnerable - with the exceptions of Ireland which is safe and Greece which is hopeless. The key is the cost of debt-servicing. Bailouts will not be enough to ease the cost of debt-servicing, and debt-restructuring will be inevitable if rates rise and growth does not speed up. read


Defence & Security
Ukraine: peace plan fails as eastern region becomes a frozen conflict

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine: peace plan fails as eastern region becomes a frozen conflict

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics within Ukraine has established a de facto new border. This move is seen internationally as similar to Russia’s recognition in 2008 of the ’independence’ of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within Georgia’s borders, creating frozen conflicts and allowing the Kremlin to flout territorial integrity for its own ends. read


Charles Millon

Complacent West fails to realise that religious war has been declared

Charles Millon

The international community has been slow to react to the crimes and massacres committed in Iraq and Syria. Westerners continue to believe that their civilisation is immortal, but the new enemy is shaped by fanaticism and ideology, fighting for twisted convictions and for a faith. It has declared a war of religion and has combatants from all over the world. Nuclear deterrents and heavy weaponry are of little use under these circumstances – new tactics and technology are needed urgently. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Nato’s Nordic weakness raises doubts over Baltic security

Professor Stefan Hedlund

The Russian military is flexing its muscles, and Ukraine is not alone in feeling the heat. For the West, the security of the Baltic states, in particular Estonia and Latvia, is crucial and Nato’s ability to defend these countries is weakened by the fact that Sweden and Finland are not members of the Alliance. In the event of an attack, would Nato be able to come to their rescue, and is its pledge of common defence really credible? read


Energy
Iran gas an option for Europe as Russia leaves energy gap

Dr Friedemann Mueller

Iran gas an option for Europe as Russia leaves energy gap

Dr Friedemann Mueller

The strategic energy ellipse is one of the hottest geopolitical regions in the world - home to vast reserves of oil and gas and stretching from western Siberia to the Arabian Peninsula. Critically, Iran and Iraq are at its centre. As Russia eases out of the picture as the main provider of energy to Europe – several others are looking to take its place. The axing of Russia’s South Stream pipeline could see the start of significant geopolitical manouevering in the region. read


Dr Frank Umbach

Rosneft and Russia pay the price of West’s energy sanctions

Dr Frank Umbach

Sanctions on Russian banks and its energy companies are beginning to have a long-term impact on Russia’s economy. Vital foreign investment and access to sophisticated Western oil industry technology have been cut off. This is beginning to hit Russian energy giant Rosneft and its ambitious exploration plans. Energy companies can hold out for two to three years, but their exploration and export plans will be curtailed and could hit Russia’s social-political stability in the mid and long-term. read


Dr Frank Umbach

The geopolitical impact of falling oil prices

Dr Frank Umbach

Innovations in technology and the shale oil and gas revolution in the United States are one major component for falling oil prices, but the inability of Middle East oil producers in OPEC to reduce their production to maintain higher prices is also critical. And lower prices and revenues will have huge economic and social impacts for oil-producing countries. read


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Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

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