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International Politics

The Capitol Riots: How Have America’s Two Biggest Rivals Reacted?

The January 6th storming of the US capitol caused outrage amongst a large number of world leaders. Some of these dissenting world leaders, however, are now using the event as a central tactical argument to shore up their authoritarian regimes. Whilst there was a consistent display of shock and outrage from many governments, two of America’s principal rivals took a particularly different approach to the event. Both Russia and China have used the event as an instrument of propaganda at a time when stirring xenophoic and nationalist sentiment are important tools in Xi and Putin’s tactical arsenal. 

Central America Economics

Nicaragua: Risks to Economic Recovery in 2021

Like most other countries, Nicaragua’s economy slowed in 2020 owing to the international effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nicaragua was also affected by a rough hurricane season, sustaining damage particularly from Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Compounding these challenges, the country’s political environment remains an obstacle to encouraging foreign direct investment and improving the country’s socioeconomic situation. How is Nicaragua’s situation likely to change in 2021?

Politics Technology and infrastructure

The United States, Section 230, and Big Tech

There has been increasing bipartisan scrutiny over how to regulate Big Tech, and one prominent issue is whether to repeal Section 230 which gives social media companies sweeping immunity over the content published on their sites. With growing pressure to mitigate the risks posed by social media, it is worth considering why Section 230 is important, the risks associated with the repeal, and the likelihood something will happen in the new administration.

Europe Politics

Italy’s Five Star Movement: From Rising Star to Shooting Star?

The Five Star Movement’s unclear ideological identity ensured its success in Italy’s 2018 election. Today, the Movement faces dismal regional election results, growing unpopularity, and a government crisis. Will the party acknowledge its mainstream conversion, or will it resume its anti-establishment narrative?

Africa Politics Security

The Political Economy of Sudanese Reform

Since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, the civilian Council of Ministers headed by Abdullah Hamdok has been tasked with realising the aspirations of the Sudanese people who took to the streets to protest for a better future. All the while, they are hindered economically by the legacy of Sudan’s affiliation with transnational terrorism. Meanwhile, the presence and influence of Sudan’s military officers remains significant, especially in the face of myriad security concerns, whose political ambitions are undimmed.

Europe Politics

Can the EU work with Biden in the Balkans?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) signed in December provides access to the Chinese market for European investors while protecting China’s existing rights in EU trade. However, US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, voiced concern over the deal, stating Washington would welcome early consultations with Brussels when addressing Beijing’s economic relations. The lack of coordinated EU-US strategic thinking on China poses a risk to Euro-Atlantic integration in the Western Balkans. 

Europe Politics

The Italian Recovery Plan: Health and Education

With a 9% fall in GDP and one of the highest Covid-19 death records in Europe, Italy has been one of the countries to have struggled the most in 2020. Now, more than 200bn euros are being offered to the country by the EU as part of an ambitious stimulus package. This represents a potentially unique occasion for the “Bel Paese” to reverse its crisis. The question being, is it actually possible?

Europe Politics

Bulgaria’s pre-electoral tensions: From constitutional crisis to institutional trench war

In late summer 2020, people took to the streets of Bulgaria in their thousands to protest against the current cabinet. They shook Bulgaria with demands for the immediate resignation of PM Boyko Borisov and Attorney General Ivan Geshev. Shortly after, the standoff began to slowly but steadily evolve into a constitutional crisis. In 2021, events have morphed even further into an institutional trench war. The upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections hold the keys to the Sofia’s future.

Africa Covid-19

Internet and Social Media Shutdowns on the African Continent

Internet and social media shutdowns have become an increasingly popular method employed by African leaders to stop the flow of information and repress political opinions and information available online. Commonly used during periods of civil unrest and elections, more often than not, the shutdowns do not have the desired effects. Internet and social media shutdowns rather lead to higher levels of unrest, human rights violations, lack of election credibility and great economic loss.

Europe Politics

The Pipeline No One’s Celebrating: Balkan Stream’s Operability and the Future of Europe’s Energy Security

The competition of the ‘Balkan Stream’ (BS) extension to the Turk Stream pipeline has received little attention. This holds true strangely even in the countries through which it runs: Bulgaria and Serbia. Nevertheless, the pipeline has the potentiality to change the geopolitics of natural-gas supply. How will South Eastern Europe exploit this opportunity — if at all?