The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago have done a fine job of harnessing their oil and gas wealth in recent decades, avoiding the ‘resource curse’ and using them as a base to develop related industries. Today’s challenge is to find similarly wise solutions to two potential threats. One, domestic: the underemployment of urban Afro-Trinidadians. The other, external: the continued – although waning – attempt of Venezuela to become a regional power, writes GIS guest expert Professor Anthony Maingot. read


Conflict in Donbass inches toward settlement despite ceasefire violations

Dr Uwe Nerlich

August 28, 2015

Conflict in Donbass inches toward settlement despite ceasefire violations

Dr Uwe Nerlich

Ukrainian leaders have claimed that Europe and its values are at stake in Donbass, and, more recently, that their country has been drawn into a ‘real’ interstate war with Russia. This rhetoric is harmful. It aims at extorting Western military support, which both United States' President Barack Obama and Nato at large have ruled out. It also makes the positions of Russia and the self-proclaimed Donbass republics more difficult when the time comes to start talks building on the Minsk ceasefire agreements. read


Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

August 27, 2015

Energy: Reactor restarts but storage solution still needed

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Four years after the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and two years after the last operating reactor was shut down, Japan has ended the nuclear-free era by restarting the No. 1 reactor of the Sendai nuclear power station in Kagoshima on August 11 2015. But the government remains nervous about public reaction. read


Geopolitics
Poland takes steps to limit its dependence on natural gas from Russia but misses out on shale gas

August 19, 2015

Poland takes steps to limit its dependence on natural gas from Russia but misses out on shale gas

As a historical legacy, Poland and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe are heavily dependent on natural gas supplied by the Russian energy monopoly Gazprom. This reliance on a single supplier carries a geopolitical risk and, indeed, the region has experienced politically motivated gas supply disruptions in recent years. The spectre of energy insecurity has risen in the area. The protracted conflict in Ukraine has further increased the plausibility of gas supply interruptions, writes GIS guest expert Dr Lucja Cannon. read


August 14, 2015

Somalia at a turning point but full elections remain out of reach

Following the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, it has taken the country more than 20 years to return to a semblance of order and function as a normal society. However, due to ongoing political rifts, institutional weakness and security issues, it may not be possible to hold the full elections scheduled for 2016, writes GIS guest expert. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

August 11, 2015

Russia’s food sanctions - Do they make any sense?

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Just over a year has now passed since the tragic downing, on July 17, 2014, of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. The atrocity triggered a war of sanctions and counter-sanctions between Russia and the West that has since wrought much damage, on trade and on political relations. From a Russian perspective, imposing sanctions may be counter-productive. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

August 6, 2015

Beyond US declinism: President Obama’s final showdown with Congress

Dr Uwe Nerlich

Presidents of the United States, late in their second terms, are usually viewed as lame ducks. Yet Mr Barack Obama, with only 18 months remaining in office, has regained the initiative. read


Economics
Bleak chance of gold rebounding

Professor Enrico Colombatto

August 17, 2015

Bleak chance of gold rebounding

Professor Enrico Colombatto

At the end of July, gold dropped below US$1,100 per ounce and many experts predict that the fall will not stop until US$800 or US$600 is reached. Yet, at first blush, the economic environment would seem ideal for a bull market: low inflation, low interest rates and overpriced stock markets have always been the perfect mix to support gold. read


Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

August 12, 2015

India: set to grow faster than China but needs to stimulate internal investment

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

Over the past seven years, India has quietly added a second trillion dollars to its Gross Domestic Product. Its growth rate is beginning to exceed China’s. To maintain fast expansion, however, India’s political and business leaders need structural reforms to revive the country's investment cycle. read


Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

August 10, 2015

Cash is no longer king as fiscal and monetary interests converge

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

Will banknotes and coins soon disappear? Modern technology and private convenience support this trend, but monetary policy and political coercion play a less innocuous role. A ‘war on cash’ is underway that aims at enforcing negative interest rates on private savings, expropriating savers for the sake of a demand-driven stimulus. Governments favour cashless transactions because their transparency makes it harder to evade taxes. read


Defence & Security
Iran’s growing influence in the South Caucasus adds to already complex tensions

Luke Coffey

August 26, 2015

Iran’s growing influence in the South Caucasus adds to already complex tensions

Luke Coffey

The South Caucasus, consisting of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, sits at a crucial geographical and cultural crossroads. The area has proven to be strategically important, both militarily and economically, for centuries, and Iran’s return to the world stage after decades of isolation looks set to put the region back on the front pages. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

August 24, 2015

Nato responds vigourously to Russian aggression - but is it the right approach?

Professor Stefan Hedlund

It is a contrast of striking dimensions. August 1, 2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki Accords, arguably one of the most important steps towards the creation of a new security order in Europe. Instead of celebration, however, the eve of that anniversary marked the conclusion of a set of large Nato military exercises held in Ukraine’s westernmost Lviv region. Russia was not pleased. read


General Professor Stanislaw Koziej

August 21, 2015

Putin’s strategic dilemmas: how Russia got itself in a bear trap in Ukraine

General Professor Stanislaw Koziej

Russia made a strategic about turn in the international arena, through its annexation of Crimea and asymmetric aggression in eastern Ukraine. The post-Cold War setup in international relations, based on the idea of building a cooperative system of security in Europe, thus ended in 2014 – writes GIS guest expert General Professor Stanisław Koziej. read


Energy
China’s clean energy drive may veer off course as global energy prices plunge

August 25, 2015

China’s clean energy drive may veer off course as global energy prices plunge

China stands to benefit economically from lower global energy prices. The country became the world’s top energy consumer in 2010 and has since overtaken the US as the biggest petroleum importer. However, significantly cheaper fossil fuels come at an awkward time for the government, which has redoubled its efforts to shift to cleaner energy sources and reduce dependence on coal and oil. Market forces, and increased consumption, are working against this long-term policy. As pollution becomes an increasingly sensitive political issue in China, the outcome of Beijing’s push for cleaner energy will have dramatic effects throughout the country, writes GIS guest expert Brendan O’Reilly. read


Dr Carole Nakhle

August 20, 2015

Iran nuclear deal: unlocking oil and gas investment opportunities

Dr Carole Nakhle

After several years of negotiations, Iran and six world powers reached a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme on 14 July 2015. The deal, if respected, will create exciting dynamics in the oil and gas markets. Investing in Iran, however, will require confident planning and strong nerves. read


Regional Reports
Statements
Recommended Reports

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

Imagining the EU without the UK free access

Professor Colleen Graffy

US tax law has unintended global consequences free access