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International Politics

Australia Launches AUKUS Pact: A Masterclass in Diplomacy or a Diplomatic Disaster?

On 15th September, political leaders from Australia, the UK and the US announced their intentions to set up a trilateral security partnership. The deal, known as AUKUS, represents a commitment to combating China’s growing ambitions in the Indo-Pacific. As part of the agreement, Australia will build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in co-operation with the UK and US after scrapping a $90 billion-dollar submarine contract with France. AUKUS represents a revival of historical relations across the Anglosphere and a simultaneous deterioration of relations between members of AUKUS and the EU.   

 

Latin America Politics

Chilean Election Unlikely to Halt New Barriers to Immigration

On 21 November Chileans will go to the ballot box to decide on their next President. The decision will impact whether the status quo persists or a final rupture with the legacy of former dictator Augusto Pinochet follows. With a new Migration Law coming into effect in 2022 and leading candidates standing on starkly contrasting electoral platforms, there are far-reaching implications for migrants coming to the country.

Europe Politics

Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia Leaves Moldova Vulnerable

The global surge in demand for natural gas following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has had a devastating impact on Moldova’s energy security. Chisinau had no choice but to enter into negotiations with the Russian state-owned gas giant, Gazprom, to restore its energy supplies. As Russia is set to increase its share of European gas imports in Nord Stream 2, the EU must find a way to help protect Moldova from further Russian pressure.

Europe Technology and infrastructure

Will Tech Regulations Curb Poland’s Technological Progress?

Poland has been strengthening partnerships with large American tech companies to facilitate cloud adoption in the past few years. However, simultaneously, Polish authorities have been following Brussel’s lead in regulating tech giants and working on adopting proposals intended to curb their market power. Taking the EU’s tech regulation proposals a step further, the Polish government also proposed a bill intended to prevent social media platforms from blocking or deleting certain posts. Stringent tech regulations might create an unfavorable business environment for tech companies who have been expanding their operations in Poland, and may stifle technological innovation.

Europe Politics

Germany’s Recent Election: The Unlikely Power Brokers

The opening of Germany’s 20th legislative period on 26th October 2021 made headlines for many of the reasons most German Bundestag elections do – Germany’s global economic might and political influence in the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc. It also signalled the departure of the country’s longstanding Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as the head of the government, having held the position since 2005. However, aside from the long-anticipated exit of one of Europe’s most familiar political figures, this election also marks the consolidation of political trends set in motion long before voters cast their ballots this September.

Africa Politics

The Coup in Sudan: can democratisation still be achieved?

Following last month’s coup, which dissolved the power-sharing agreement established between the military and civilian forces, protestors took to the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, demanding the reestablishment of the civilian government. After years of division in leadership, economic hardship and isolation from the international community, this comes as another stumbling block on Sudan’s road to democracy. Nevertheless, military General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, now the head of government, maintains that the military aims to oversee Sudan’s democratic transition by June 2023. Whether this will be possible remains to be seen. 

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Iran – Taliban Relations: What to Expect

On October 4, less than two months since the Taliban takeover of Kabul, leaders of the group met with members of the Iranian delegation in order to discuss trade and business relations. The Iranian embassy in Kabul was one of few to remain operational. Historically, Iran has been considered among the Taliban’s bitter enemies. However, the current developments are indicative of Iran’s commitment to realpolitik.

Europe Security

Ukraine: In the Middle of Great Power Politics

Under pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine has made substantial progress in its drive for EU and NATO membership. However, domestic successes have been overshadowed by the increasingly difficult international position Kiev finds itself in. Russia remains a security threat as the frozen conflict in the Donbass persists; yet the US appears to be pulling support, most notably by lifting sanctions concerning Nord Stream 2. China, a major trading partner and vital vaccine supplier, is offering a hand to Ukraine. But at what cost?  

International Southeast Asia

Transnational Transparency: Southeast Asian Think Tanks Collaborate for Belt and Road Accountability

The Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) development throughout Southeast Asia is expected to contribute significantly to the economic and infrastructural development of the region. However, a perceived lack of transparency in China’s initiative compounds existing fears around rising debt and sovereignty over projects. Several Southeast Asian and Pacific think tanks have collaborated on a BRI monitor, aiming at evaluating levels of transparency and holding projects accountable. If successful, this could minimise issues of governance and implementation associated with the BRI to the benefit of recipient countries. Whether this success extends to other social and political issues associated with the initiative is unclear.

Security South and Central Asia

Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan: The World’s Next Narco-State?

Shortly after capturing Kabul, the Taliban announced that it would crack down on opium production in Afghanistan, threatening a blow to one of the country’s most profitable industries. While the group was somewhat successful at drug interdiction during its previous stint in power two decades ago, a number of factors, including the need for popular support, international pariah-hood, and ongoing economic collapse, render it unlikely that the Taliban will truly follow through on its promise.