The Afghanistan Withdrawal’s Impact on the EU’s Strategic Autonomy

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan throws the NATO alliance’s sustainability into a state of flux.  European policymakers may pursue a more deliberate course toward strategic autonomy if they determine that America is no longer a credible partner.  Some quarters consider  independent European security to be an impractical overcorrection given Europe’s capability deficiencies.  The withdrawal from Afghanistan provides the opportunity for transatlantic policymakers to reassess NATO’s strategic priorities. 

The Afghanistan Withdrawal’s Impact on the EU’s Strategic Autonomy
Japanese Politics Heats Up: the Contest for the Next LDP Leader

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the country’s dominant political party, is set for a leadership election on 29th September. The outcome of the election will be significant as the winner will become Japan’s new Prime Minister and head the party in Japan’s general election, scheduled for late November this year. Competition is likely to be fierce for the LDP’s top spot. Presuming that the LDP wins this year’s general election, the victor of the leadership election will have the opportunity to shape Japan’s national trajectory.

Japanese Politics Heats Up: the Contest for the Next LDP Leader
Stable but stagnant: Transforming Jordan’s economy

After attempts by Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein and other government officials to destabilize the country, King Abdullah of Jordan is eager to bolster his already strong ties with the US. While foreign policy may be high on the agenda, Jordanian policymakers should pay more attention to the pressing economic issues weighing on the country.

Stable but stagnant: Transforming Jordan’s economy
Myanmar: Southeast Asia’s Next Frontline of Jihadism?

In November 2020, Myanmar’s first explicitly Salafi-Jihadist militant group, Katibah al-Mahdi fi Bilad al-Arakan, declared jihad against Naypyidaw to avenge the persecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s military junta. Now, Southeast Asia’s poorest nation grapples with a multidimensional humanitarian catastrophe in the aftermath of the 1 February coup d’état. Myanmar’s spiralling violence and the presence of over a million Rohingya refugees in squalid conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh has created a fertile ground for radicalisation, raising the prospect of a new jihadist front at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia.

Myanmar: Southeast Asia’s Next Frontline of Jihadism?

Politics

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the country’s dominant political party, is set for a leadership election on 29th September. The outcome of the election will be significant as the winner will become Japan’s new Prime Minister and head the party in Japan’s general election, scheduled for late November this year. Competition is likely to be fierce for the LDP’s top spot. Presuming that the LDP wins this year’s general election, the victor of the leadership election will have the opportunity to shape Japan’s national trajectory.

Economics

After attempts by Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein and other government officials to destabilize the country, King Abdullah of Jordan is eager to bolster his already strong ties with the US. While foreign policy may be high on the agenda, Jordanian policymakers should pay more attention to the pressing economic issues weighing on the country.

Finance

On 30 December 2020, the EU and China announced that they had reached an Agreement in Principle on investments. The text is the result of lengthy negotiations, which started in January 2014. The EU-China CAI was met with fierce criticism from political commentators, who believe the treaty is a “strategic victory” for China and may potentially damage transatlantic relations. However, as usual with international affairs, matters are not always as simple as portrayed and deserve thorough consideration.

Security

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan throws the NATO alliance’s sustainability into a state of flux.  European policymakers may pursue a more deliberate course toward strategic autonomy if they determine that America is no longer a credible partner.  Some quarters consider  independent European security to be an impractical overcorrection given Europe’s capability deficiencies.  The withdrawal from Afghanistan provides the opportunity for transatlantic policymakers to reassess NATO’s strategic priorities. 

Natural Resources

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Transition towards low carbon energy systems remains to be a challenge for the European Union. Europe is faced with economic, social and environmental costs of having fragmented national energy markets despite the ambitious “European Green Deal” agenda of Von der Leyen’s Commission, which positions the EU as a leader in global climate action through comprehensive decarbonization policies. A net reduction target of minimum 55% from the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions was  agreed on Wednesday 21st of April by European co-legislators under the framework for European Climate Law. Nonetheless, curbing GHG emissions necessitates regional concerted action for transition from fossil fuel economies to renewable energy based systems in order to face the transboundary effects of climate change. 

Technology

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On Friday 14th May, China’s Zhurong rover landed on Mars, becoming the first Chinese spacecraft to do so and only the second nation, behind the US, to land a spacecraft successfully on Mars. China hopes their Zhurong rover will give them 90 days of service as it studies the surface of the planet, collecting samples and data. This is an historic moment for China, as they demonstrate yet another arena where they can compete against and match the US. This follows their recent launch of the initial part of China’s first permanent space station, as they push to become technological leaders in a world where technology has become sovereign.