The Difficult Case of Taiwan’s Sovereignty

In the wake of rising tensions in the South China Sea, between China and its neighbours, the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty is once again in the spotlight as Beijing clamps down in an attempt to secure its maritime borders and territorial claims in the region. Do recent developments suggest an end to the ambiguous status quo?

The Difficult Case of Taiwan’s Sovereignty
Kyrgyz-Tajik Relations in the Fergana Valley: Trapped in a Soviet-era Labyrinth

Recent border clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik troops, which have thus far claimed the lives of over 50 civilians and military personnel, are the latest skirmishes in what seems to be an eternal pattern of sovereignty-related disputes between the two Central Asian nations. There is a case to be made that the problems in the region, driven predominantly by each states’ respective claims to land and water resources, can be attributed to the legacy of both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan’s historical position within the Soviet Union.

Kyrgyz-Tajik Relations in the Fergana Valley: Trapped in a Soviet-era Labyrinth
Chad – Death of Chad’s President Leaves Vacuum in the Heart of the Sahel

On 20th April Chad’s President, Idriss Déby Itno, was killed inspecting troops fighting a rebel insurgency in the North of the country. A close ally of Western powers, his death has left a vacuum at the center of power in Chad, potentially threatening security in the wider Sahel region. In the wake of a swift military transition, Chad now stands at a crossroads as protesters call for democratic elections and international allies appear to flounder in their policy towards the country.

Chad – Death of Chad’s President Leaves Vacuum in the Heart of the Sahel
Syria’s Decade of War and Russia’s Encouragement of the Ongoing Conflict

As of March 2021, Syria has now been embroiled in civil war for ten years, as both the Syrian interim government and various other rebel factions continue to fight back against Bashar al-Assad and the human rights abuses that have occurred under his presidency. Yet, after an entire decade of war, there still does not appear to be any clear indication of peace in sight. This raises the question as to what has caused the conflict in Syria to last so long, and which state actors or nations might be responsible. 

Syria’s Decade of War and Russia’s Encouragement of the Ongoing Conflict

Politics

On 20th April Chad’s President, Idriss Déby Itno, was killed inspecting troops fighting a rebel insurgency in the North of the country. A close ally of Western powers, his death has left a vacuum at the center of power in Chad, potentially threatening security in the wider Sahel region. In the wake of a swift military transition, Chad now stands at a crossroads as protesters call for democratic elections and international allies appear to flounder in their policy towards the country.

Economics

The risk of Mercosur becoming another failed attempt of regional integration in Latin America has been rising steadily in the last two decades and is likely to increase even more in the current scenario. The tension between leaders on Mercosur’s last summit demonstrates a lack of internal cohesion that will lead the bloc towards failure and irrelevancy.

Finance

Talks of a “K-shaped” recovery after the pandemic crisis started in 2020, predicting that some sectors of the economy will benefit disproportionately by the pandemic, while everyone else bears the costs for it. Big banks and the world of finance are surely to be on the benefiting end. However, policy-makers, shareholders and executives seem to be missing a key lesson of the Great Recession -the risk of an enriching bank system that loses touch of reality may aggravate the schizophrenia of the post-pandemic economies.

Security

Recent border clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik troops, which have thus far claimed the lives of over 50 civilians and military personnel, are the latest skirmishes in what seems to be an eternal pattern of sovereignty-related disputes between the two Central Asian nations. There is a case to be made that the problems in the region, driven predominantly by each states’ respective claims to land and water resources, can be attributed to the legacy of both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan’s historical position within the Soviet Union.

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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The digitalization of the healthcare system brings more challenges than anticipated. One of those challenges are cyberattacks, which have been classified as low priority threats. Now during a worldwide pandemic, the healthcare system has never been so necessary. However, it has also made the healthcare sector more vulnerable, which has attracted cyberattacks in growing numbers. Awareness is needed to attract investments and take actions into creating a more resilient digitalized healthcare sector.