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


Turkey switches foreign focus from EU to Russia and Islam

Professor Dr Udo Steinbach

Turkey switches foreign focus from EU to Russia and Islam

Professor Dr Udo Steinbach

More than a quarter of a century after its first bid to join European economic society, Turkey is seeking links with other countries and organisations. As well as the European Union, its foreign policy focus includes the predominantly Islamic Middle East and northern Africa, while Russia is playing a growing role. But there appears to be a lack of cohesion, which will pose problems for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of a ‘New Turkey’. 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


Geopolitics
International Criminal Court: fragile peace but no justice in Kenya

Professor Colleen Graffy

International Criminal Court: fragile peace but no justice in Kenya

Professor Colleen Graffy

The International Criminal Court suffered a major setback when its first case against a sitting head of state collapsed. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was indicted for crimes against humanity but critical evidence and witnesses failed to materialise - government complicity, say prosecutors - and the charges were withdrawn in December 2014. Despite accusations that the court is a vehicle to impose Western justice, African nations are more supportive than might appear. The court can play a useful role, though it may not be delivering what it was meant to achieve. read


Professor Dr Udo Steinbach

President Erdogan seeks polls mandate for ‘New Turkey’ project

Professor Dr Udo Steinbach

The central role of the state and its dominance over society are key factors in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans for a ‘New Turkey’. Mr Erdogan, who became the nation’s first publicly elected president in August 2014, must overcome protests against his autocratic rule, continue negotiations with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and deal with the issues caused by conflicts in neighbouring Syria if he is to complete his project by 2023, when the nation celebrates its centenary. read


Economics
Ebola outbreak leaves its mark on Guinea’s economy

Ebola outbreak leaves its mark on Guinea’s economy

The major outbreak of the Ebola virus has knocked growth prospects for Guinea, one of West Africa’s poorest countries. It could have indirect impact on the country’s stability too. Guinea has vast potential in its mineral reserves including bauxite and iron. Foreign investment and aid to develop infrastructure, along with greater democracy and state institutions, could offer a bright future. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Searching for a face-saving compromise on Greek debt

Professor Enrico Colombatto

The clock is ticking and Greece is getting desperate for a new flow of cash to meet current spending and pay off some its national debts by the February 28 deadline. But it continues to play tough in negotiations with the EU, refusing to accept further austerity measures after an election endorsing a new economic policy. Can the EU save face in the stand-off? read


Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Japan’s voters settle for more of the same

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Shinzo Abe won a resounding victory in a snap poll which appears to legitimise his ‘Abenomics’ growth policy. But he was helped by a weak opposition and a record-low turnout, and his ‘third arrow’ - the promised structural reform – was absent from the election debate. Abenomics has so far created a ‘feel-good economy’ which runs on monetary and fiscal steroids. Critics claim it will begin to falter in 2018, marking the start of Japan’s ‘Argentinisation’ – a long and painful economic decline. read


Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

Beware of false hopes Quantitative Easing can offer Europe

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

The European Central Bank will make monthly purchases of mostly sovereign bonds worth 60 billion euros from March 2015 onwards until at least September 2016 - a total of more than one trillion euros. This was expected and is welcomed by financial markets and many politicians. But will it help boost Europe’s economy and encourage structural reform in the EU, and who benefits most? read


Defence & Security
Ukraine and Russia sliding down road to destruction

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine and Russia sliding down road to destruction

Professor Stefan Hedlund

A renewed rebel offensive in eastern Ukraine has increased the prospect of tougher Western measures against Russia. Separatists, backed by members of President Vladimir Putin’s special forces, have the Kiev government’s troops surrounded on three sides near Debaltseve and in danger of being trapped. Their strategy appears to be aimed at securing an improved defensive perimeter to hold on to their territorial gains. But the outcome of this war of attrition could ultimately bring down both sides. read


Dr James Jay Carafano

White House defence choice puts continuity before change

Dr James Jay Carafano

Ashton Carter goes before a Senate hearing in February 2015 to be confirmed as the new US Defence Secretary, President Barack Obama’s fourth in six years. An experienced Pentagon hand, Ashton Carter first worked there as an analyst when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and is considered more of a team player than his predecessor, Chuck Hagel. He will need to be: the department faces renewed budget pressure and a hostile Congress. 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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