OPINION

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  • 2017: A Year of Yin and Yang Diplomacy, Featuring Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Action

    With the end of the year comes the traditional retrospective of the major events that marked the last months and predictions for the coming year. My retrospective is summarized in two main events revolving around two major actors: Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Each of them has marked the year with his signature. Let’s start with the first major event! Trump effect tsunami-like on the planet: ‘‘Après moi, le déluge!’’ 2016 ended with a major surprise: Trump’s election as ...
  • For Rising Powers, Money is the Path to Influence in Postwar International Institutions

    Whether and how rising powers will find greater influence in postwar international institutions serves as a central question in contemporary international politics. Formal reform efforts, for example, to reallocate influence through the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) quota system, have proven difficult and yielded modest results. Campaigns to expand the UN Security Council to grant permanent membership to the world’s largest democracy (India), or a state from the ...
  • David vs. Goliath: The Korean Peninsula Crisis in Four Questions

    On November 29, North Korea conducted its twelfth (out of fourteen) successful ballistic missile tests in 2017, a test whose range is estimated to be 13,000 km. This last test comes after a very-welcome lull during Trump’s trip to Asia that lasted several weeks. By tacit agreement, Kim Jong-un observed a relative calm, leaving the door open to diplomatic channels. Trump, meanwhile, was reserved and was not as brave during his Asian journey, as he let it be known in his ...
  • Remaking Asia-Pacific Multilateralism at the November Summits

    The recent Asia-Pacific summits could have crucial consequences for international and regional relations. I recently wrote an opinion piece for the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto, contextualizing these summits within the broader shifts in global economic governance analyzed in my new book. The present commentary assesses the results and significance of these gatherings, which also raise key questions about influential scholarly approaches to ...
  • Brazil’s Socio-integrated Model vs. Kurdish Predicament of an “Independent Statehood”

    Brazil a BRICS state enjoys various distinctive qualified popular advantages in short sharp terms: “A democracy with competitive elections and vibrant civil society engagement.” However, in recent years it has confronted serious challenges such as: “a severe economic and political crisis [which] has significantly challenged the functioning of the government.” Admittedly, despite adversity Brazil still benefits from the legacy “Good-Governance” which necessarily may ...
  • The Fate of the Nation-State, Globalization vs. Regionalization: The Catalan Case

    On October 27, 2017, the Catalan Parliament declared unilateral independence from Spain. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed to “restore legality” as reported by AFP. Is Catalonia looking to repeat the tragic events it experienced during the 1930s? Spain is insisting on maintaining a Catholic marriage with Catalonia: Once you are in, there is no way out! Why this reaction? To answer this question, let’s go back to the early 1990s when the breakup of Yugoslavia ...
  • An Enemy of the People: South Africa at the UN Human Rights Council

    The decline of the West and the rise of the rest, to use Fareed Zakaria’s terms, amount to an erosion of the foundation – Western dominance – on which the liberal international order was built. Unlike other post-war American presidents, Donald Trump is keen to tear down this order, but for now his short attention span and general cluelessness have limited the damage. While Trump’s intent is destructive, to many observers Trump is merely bringing forward the end of an ...
  • South Africa’s Perspective of an Independent Kurdish State: Is it a Model to be Reckon with or may Emulate?

    It is difficult to address South Africa’s perspective towards the establishment of an Independent Kurdish State without addressing South Africa’s strategic outlook for the world at large and the Middle Eastern region in particular. However, what of interest to question is how far can the prime parties to the current intra- Iraq conflict benefit from the vision and practices of South Africa in strengthening national unity and national integration. A “new Iraq” is truly ...
  • The Next Economic Crisis? Digital Capitalism and Global Police State

    The transnational capitalist class is pouring billions of dollars into the rapid digitalization of global capitalism as the latest outlet for its surplus accumulated capital and hedging its bets on new investment opportunities in a global police state. But will these ballooning sectors of the global economy allow the world capitalist system to avoid another catastrophic crisis? Reports from international agencies and international economic data indicate a resounding ...
  • Indian Perspective of an Independent Kurdish State: Background and Repercussions

    Indians and Kurds have cultural connections whereby Hindi and the Kurdish languages have some common words. Interestingly the Kurds celebrated Nowruz (The New Year) with the other Asian cultural communities (Persians, Azeri, Afghani, Pakistani etc.). It is informative to note that in the educational field India is a favourable destination for Kurdish students registering for masters and bachelor degrees. Indeed, the region opened its doors for more than 500 Kurdish ...