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Erdogan Seizes a Strategic Opportunity in Afghanistan

Following the Taliban takeover, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided that Turkey will maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan while its fellow NATO allies complete their evacuation. This development in Turkish foreign policy may be seen as part of a shift in strategic thinking in Ankara. Although Erdogan’s assertive approach to foreign affairs has shored up his political standing at home, it has resulted in Turkey becoming increasingly isolated. With the situation in Afghanistan deteriorating, Erdogan is seizing the opportunity to reinvigorate his country’s strategic regional importance.

Latin America Politics

Colombia’s Tax Reforms: An Overview and Forecast

On 15th April, Colombia’s government presented its latest proposal for fiscal reforms to Congress, the so-called Sustainable Solidarity Bill (Proyecto de ley Solidaridad Sostenible). If made law, the bill will have wide ranging effects on taxation and social spending in Colombia. The bill has proved controversial, prompting criticism from parties on both the political left and right in the context of upcoming elections in 2022.

Economics Europe Politics

The Gatekeeper for PM David Cameron: An Interview with Kate Fall 

GRI’s co-founder Basim Al-Ahmadi sat down via Zoom with Kate Fall to discuss her pivotal role as Deputy Chief of Staff under Prime Minister David Cameron.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

China in a post-US Afghanistan: A paradigm shift in foreign policy?

China’s long-standing policy of non-interference is challenged by the cruel geopolitical realities and developments in the country with which it shares its smallest border. The U.S. military withdrawal, coupled with Afghanistan’s seizure by the Taliban, have marked a major turning point, presenting China with both opportunities and challenges. It seems Beijing can no longer afford to stay away from the region.

Europe Politics

Slow EU Enlargement Affords Hungary Leverage

Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania have agreed to a border-free travel zone between their countries. Although it is an effort to open up their economies following the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional initiative also reflects frustration with the European Union for its slow accession process. Meanwhile, in taking over the Visegrad Group presidency, Hungary has made Balkan EU accession one of its key priorities. This puts Hungary in a strong political position. The risk of a migration crisis in Europe following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan means that the EU has little choice but to intensify its enlargement agenda.

China Politics Technology and infrastructure

Technological pull or competitive drive? China’s rover landing sends a message to the United States

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.

Eurasia Politics

Hungarians protest encroaching Chinese Influence

Recently, Hungary’s President Orban has faced a wave of protests in response to plans to build a Chinese satellite campus at a Budapest University at the cost of $1.8 billion. The Hungarian public have objected on the grounds that the project could undercut the country’s higher education and increase the influence of China’s communist authorities in Hungary and across Europe. If the project goes ahead, there could be benefits for Sino-Hungarian relations but possibly at the cost of Hungary’s relations with its European neighbours and the stability of Orban’s premiership. 

Europe Politics

United Kingdom – Northern Ireland Protocol Complicates Trade Negotiations

The status of Northern Ireland (NI) has consistently been one of the most contentious aspects of Brexit. The tenuous political quagmire, combined with the fact that it hosts the only land border between the UK and the EU, has caused a plethora of economic and sociopolitical problems. In an attempt to prevent the creation of a hard land border in Ireland, the UK elected to let NI remain part of the EU single market. While this has prevented dividing Ireland, it has strained relations between NI and the rest of the UK.

Latin America Politics

A New Left Turn in Latin America? COVID-19, Populism and Polarization

The apparent victory of socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in Peru’s general election this year hints at a leftward political trend in Latin America. COVID-19 has played a role in this, but the key driver of the shift is more fundamental. However, looking beyond the left-right paradigm, recent developments are indicative of worsening populism and political polarization in the region.

Europe Politics

“There Are Such People” in Bulgaria’s Parliament

The new Bulagrian party There are Such People (ITN), led by the former late-night TV show host Slavi Trifonov and his screenwriters, entered the political scene with a bang. It secured more than 17 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, but curiously refused to form a government when given the mandate. The party also did not participate in any traditional media campaigns instead choosing to utilise social media platforms. It is important to understand the rise of ITN as well as what this political phenomenon means for political life in Bulgaria, given the upcoming snap parliamentary elections in July.