Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts

28 January 2020

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020

By Robert Malley

Friends and foes alike no longer know where the United States stands. As Washington overpromises and underdelivers, regional powers are seeking solutions on their own – both through violence and diplomacy.

Local conflicts serve as mirrors for global trends. The ways they ignite, unfold, persist, and are resolved reflect shifts in great powers’ relations, the intensity of their competition, and the breadth of regional actors’ ambitions. They highlight issues with which the international system is obsessed and those toward which it is indifferent. Today these wars tell the story of a global system caught in the early swell of sweeping change, of regional leaders both emboldened and frightened by the opportunities such a transition presents.

Only time will tell how much of the U.S.’s transactional unilateralism, contempt for traditional allies, and dalliance with traditional rivals will endure – and how much will vanish with Donald Trump’s presidency. Still, it would be hard to deny that something is afoot. The understandings and balance of power on which the global order had once been predicated – imperfect, unfair, and problematic as they were – are no longer operative. Washington is both eager to retain the benefits of its leadership and unwilling to shoulder the burdens of carrying it. As a consequence, it is guilty of the cardinal sin of any great power: allowing the gap between ends and means to grow. These days, neither friend nor foe knows quite where America stands.

Tor Hidden Services Are a Failed Technology, Harming Children, Dissidents and Journalists

By Brian Levine, Brian Lynn 

A recent series of New York Times articles reported on the deeply disturbing amount of child sexual exploitation material that is available on the Internet. The articles discuss personal accounts of children who have been targeted, how tech companies have provided platforms for perpetrators of what is commonly called child pornography and how law enforcement has gone underfunded for years. In October 2019, Alan Rozenshtein commented on Lawfare that law enforcement’s efforts to combat this issue will become increasingly complicated when Facebook and other platforms roll out end-to-end encryption.

But the New York Times articles give just passing mention to the troublesome role already played by darknets in crimes against children. Darknets were created by computer scientists with the intention of increasing privacy and free speech. Unfortunately, even after decades of research, darknets are causing much more harm than good in practice. They have allowed perpetrators of many crimes, not just child sexual abuse, to organize like never before. And they have placed those who need free speech most—whistleblowers, dissidents and journalists—in danger. These are concerns that projects supporting darknets fail to acknowledge, and these organizations need to change their ways.

Protecting Trade

RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

CHICAGO – Toward the end of the last decade, globalization – the lowering of barriers to cross-border flows of goods, services, investment, and information – came under severe pressure. Populist politicians in many countries accused others of various economic wrongs, and pushed to rewrite trade agreements. Developing countries have argued for decades that the rules governing international trade are profoundly unfair. But why are similar complaints now emanating from the developed countries that established most of those rules?

Open societies have not always needed defending in the determined way that they do today. But the tide turned against them after the 2008 global financial crisis, and, more than a decade later, the threat posed by authoritarian nationalism continues to rise. 

A simple but inadequate explanation is “competition.” In the 1960s and 1970s, industrialized countries focused on opening foreign markets for their goods and set the rules accordingly. Since then, the tide has turned. Emerging economies, especially China, got a lot better at producing goods; and the old rules dictate that developed countries must keep their markets open to the now-more-productive producers from elsewhere.

26 January 2020

The world in 2020: ten issues that will shape the global agenda


* Text finalised on December 16th 2019. This Nota Internacional is the result of the collective reflection of the CIDOB research teamin collaboration with EsadeGeo. Coordinated and edited by Eduard Soler i Lecha, it has benefited from the contributions of Hannah Abdullah, Anna Ayuso, Jordi Bacaria, Ana Ballesteros, Pol Bargués, Moussa Bourekba, Carmen Claudín, Carme Colomina, Anna Estrada, Francesc Fàbregues, Oriol Farrés, Agustí Fernández de Losada, Blanca Garcés, Eva Garcia, Francis Ghilès, Sean Golden, Rafael Martínez, Óscar Mateos, Sergio Maydeu, Pol Morillas, Diego Muro, Yolanda Onghena, Francesco Pasetti, Enrique Rueda, Olatz Ribera, Jordi Quero, Héctor Sánchez, Ángel Saz, Cristina Serrano, Marie Vandendriessche and Lorenzo Vidal. 

As well as immediate challenges, 2020 will encourage us to think about those in the medium and long term. A new year begins and so does a new decade. We leave 2019 behind with public protests on half of the world's streets, with the economic crisis so many have warned of still to surface, new examples of Donald Trump's erratic foreign policy at the helm of what remains the leading global power and growing awareness of the climate emergency and gender gap. 

So what will the world look like in 2020? Which major challenges will shape the decade that is just beginning? It may be summed up as disoriented, unequal and desynchronised. The world we face is disoriented by a lack of stable reference points: institutions that are failing or contested often prove unable to channel the frustrations of wide swathes of the population, to alleviate their fears and buttress their hopes. This disorientation causes perplexity, or even, an inability to take timely decisions. 

This is also an unequal world in more ways than one: inequality exists between countries but above all within societies, between the few that have a lot and the many who have little. There is a huge gender gap, about which awareness and mobilisation levels are rising, but progress is too slow and hampered by the rise of regressive political or social forces. Inequality is also territorial, whether that be within a single city or between the parts of a country that are well connected and those that have been forgotten. The fifth inequality is generational, which is not only material but also one of expectations. 

25 January 2020

Global Risks Report 2020


The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality. The challenges before us demand immediate collective action, but fractures within the global community appear to only be widening. Stakeholders need to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape.



19 January 2020

The World’s Next Energy Bonanza

BY ALEX GILBERT, MORGAN D. BAZILIAN, STERLING LOZA
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The fracking of shale gas may have substantially shifted the global energy landscape, but another hydrocarbon resource—oceanic methane hydrates—has the possibility to do even more to change the picture. Formed only under the unusual combination of low temperatures and high pressure under the ocean subsurface and in permafrost regions at high latitudes, the potential of these hydrates is truly extraordinary. Depending on economics and technology, they could potentially supply the world with more than 1 million exajoules of energy, equivalent to thousands of years of current global energy demand. And they are nearing commercial production, with some ventures looking to be only half a decade away. That’s why it is time now to think about how to govern their use.

Ocean hydrates consist of methane—essentially natural gas—trapped in icelike cages called clathrates on the ocean floor. Originally discovered in the mid-20th century, the hydrates have long been a focus of national energy research programs. Recently, key demonstration projects have shown that producing natural gas for energy use from hydrates is technically feasible. And Canada, China, Japan, and the United States have all begun testing extraction processes. The race is on.

17 January 2020

The World’s Next Energy Bonanza

BY ALEX GILBERT, MORGAN D. BAZILIAN, STERLING LOZA
Source Link

The fracking of shale gas may have substantially shifted the global energy landscape, but another hydrocarbon resource—oceanic methane hydrates—has the possibility to do even more to change the picture. Formed only under the unusual combination of low temperatures and high pressure under the ocean subsurface and in permafrost regions at high latitudes, the potential of these hydrates is truly extraordinary. Depending on economics and technology, they could potentially supply the world with more than 1 million exajoules of energy, equivalent to thousands of years of current global energy demand. And they are nearing commercial production, with some ventures looking to be only half a decade away. That’s why it is time now to think about how to govern their use.

Ocean hydrates consist of methane—essentially natural gas—trapped in icelike cages called clathrates on the ocean floor. Originally discovered in the mid-20th century, the hydrates have long been a focus of national energy research programs. Recently, key demonstration projects have shown that producing natural gas for energy use from hydrates is technically feasible. And Canada, China, Japan, and the United States have all begun testing extraction processes. The race is on.

9 January 2020

Global Energy Perspective 2019


Energy systems around the world are going through rapid transitions that affect many aspects of our lives. The continuation and acceleration of these shifts will bring important changes to the way we fuel our cars, heat our homes, and power our industries in the coming decades. Our Reference Case provides our consensus view on how energy demand will evolve.

5 January 2020

The Decline of Global Value Chains

ERIK BERGLÖF

LONDON – For more than a decade, China has been haunted by the prospect of getting stuck at an income level below that of the developed world (the “middle-income trap”). But the country’s economy is well on its way to eliminating this fear: growth has been faster, and driven by more innovation, than in most other middle-income countries. And yet, a key aspect of China’s growth model, the economy’s integration into global value chains, is now being undermined from several directions. How China responds to this challenge will shape the speed and nature of its own growth and that of the global economy.

In the period leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, global value chains expanded rapidly, eventually accounting for around 70% of international trade. But in the years since, GVCs have stagnated and declined slightly in importance. Most of this change has actually been driven by China, which has radically reduced its use of foreign inputs, by producing more of these domestically, and exported more intermediate goods.

As a result, Asia, previously an important supplier of intermediate goods to China, now accounts for a smaller share of GVCs than it once did. At the same time, European dependence on China has increased at the expense of value chains within Europe. And the United States has absorbed some of the increase in Chinese intermediate exports, reducing its share of GVCs. The net effect of all this, notes Bruegel’s Alicia García-Herrero, is that China has become less dependent on the world, and the world more dependent on China.

4 January 2020

Reimagining a Global Europe

LIZZA BOMASSI, PIERRE VIMONT

INTRODUCTION

The idea of a global Europe is on the rise again in some European quarters—a feeling that the time is ripe for the European Union to have another try at acting as a global power. The most recent statements by the new European leaders who entered office in late 2019 underscore the need for Europe to assert itself as a genuine geopolitical player. The new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has promised a new geopolitical role for her institution. The high representative for foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell, has prioritized the need for Europe to learn “to use the language of power.” And French President Emmanuel Macron has been speaking for some time of the urgency for the EU to build up “European sovereignty.”

It is tempting to see in these statements a new incarnation of an old and repetitive narrative. This story dates to the early days of the European venture, when the European Community—the EU’s forerunner—was struggling to broaden its economic realm. Years later, Europe started to see itself as a credible global player: the union was buoyed by a consolidated single market, a new single currency, and a promising diplomacy; it was comforted by a fresh wave of enlargement; and it had bounced back from the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s and the deep internal divisions after the 2003 U.S.-led intervention in Iraq.

3 January 2020

The world in 2020: ten issues that will shape the global agenda


* Text finalised on December 16th 2019. This Nota Internacional is the result of the collective reflection of the CIDOB research teamin collaboration with EsadeGeo. Coordinated and edited by Eduard Soler i Lecha, it has benefited from the contributions of Hannah Abdullah, Anna Ayuso, Jordi Bacaria, Ana Ballesteros, Pol Bargués, Moussa Bourekba, Carmen Claudín, Carme Colomina, Anna Estrada, Francesc Fàbregues, Oriol Farrés, Agustí Fernández de Losada, Blanca Garcés, Eva Garcia, Francis Ghilès, Sean Golden, Rafael Martínez, Óscar Mateos, Sergio Maydeu, Pol Morillas, Diego Muro, Yolanda Onghena, Francesco Pasetti, Enrique Rueda, Olatz Ribera, Jordi Quero, Héctor Sánchez, Ángel Saz, Cristina Serrano, Marie Vandendriessche and Lorenzo Vidal. 

As well as immediate challenges, 2020 will encourage us to think about those in the medium and long term. A new year begins and so does a new decade. We leave 2019 behind with public protests on half of the world's streets, with the economic crisis so many have warned of still to surface, new examples of Donald Trump's erratic foreign policy at the helm of what remains the leading global power and growing awareness of the climate emergency and gender gap. 

2 January 2020

The Three Global Crises the World Faces in 2020

Stewart M. Patrick 

2020 dawns with the multilateral system in crisis. The next 12 months will determine whether the world is capable of controlling nuclear proliferation, arresting runaway climate change and restoring faith in the United Nations. Some pivotal events will shape success or failure in the coming year.

Preserving the Nuclear Regime. Of the several potential catastrophic risks confronting humanity, the specter of nuclear war remains the most terrifying. Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the world has escaped the horror of nuclear weapons. Much of the credit, beyond deterrence and plain dumb luck, goes to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, known as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or NPT. Yet 50 years after the NPT came into force, nuclear anxieties are increasing. ...

30 December 2019

Infographic Of The Day: 10 Global Insights Into A Transforming World



Today's infographic presents a snapshot of 10 insights into how the world is changing, based on its research work from 2019.



26 December 2019

Infographic Of The Day: Mapping A Changing Arctic


Today's infographic shows the location of major oil and gas fields in the Arctic and the possible new trade routes through this frontier.



24 December 2019

Chained to Globalization

By Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman 

In 1999, the columnist Thomas Friedman pronounced the Cold War geopolitical system dead. The world, he wrote, had “gone from a system built around walls to a system increasingly built around networks.” As businesses chased efficiency and profits, maneuvering among great powers was falling away. An era of harmony was at hand, in which states’ main worries would be how to manage market forces rather than one another.

Friedman was right that a globalized world had arrived but wrong about what that world would look like. Instead of liberating governments and businesses, globalization entangled them. As digital networks, financial flows, and supply chains stretched across the globe, states—especially the United States—started treating them as webs in which to trap one another. Today, the U.S. National Security Agency lurks at the heart of the Internet, listening in on all kinds of communications. The U.S. Department of the Treasury uses the international financial system to punish rogue states and errant financial institutions. In service of its trade war with China, Washington has tied down massive firms and entire national economies by targeting vulnerable points in global supply chains. Other countries are in on the game, too: Japan has used its control over key industrial chemicals to hold South Korea’s electronics industry for ransom, and Beijing might eventually be able to infiltrate the world’s 5G communications system through its access to the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

23 December 2019

The Illusion of a Rules-Based Global Order

BRAHMA CHELLANEY

BANGKOK – When the Cold War ended, many pundits anticipated a new era in which geo-economics would determine geopolitics. As economic integration progressed, they predicted, the rules-based order would take root globally. Countries would comply with international law or incur high costs.

If artificial intelligence and other labor-saving technologies come anywhere close to fulfilling the promises of today's techno-utopians and pessimists, we will have to rethink our most basic assumptions about human nature and the good life. We should welcome the challenge as an unprecedented opportunity.7Add to Bookmarks
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Today, such optimism looks more than a little naive. Even as the international legal system has ostensibly grown increasingly robust – underpinned, for example, by United Nations conventions, global accords like the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and the International Criminal Court – the rule of force has continued to trump the rule of law. Perhaps no country has taken more advantage of this state of affairs than China.

21 December 2019

Red Sea Geopolitics: Six Plotlines to Watch

By Zach Vertin 

Editor’s Note: Many of the countries bordering the Red Sea suffer a mix of violence, corruption, instability and tyranny. Compounding the problem, outside states are meddling more in an attempt to increase their influence while the Trump administration stands by. My Brookings Institution colleague Zach Vertin offers six areas to watch in the months and years to come, ranging from potential great power competition to the growing role of Gulf states in African politics.

The Red Sea has long represented a critical link in a network of global waterways stretching from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean to the Pacific—a strategic and economic thoroughfare one U.S. defense official dubbed the “Interstate-95 of the planet.” Prized by conquerors from Alexander to Napoleon, the Red Sea’s centrality to maritime trade and its chokepoints have for centuries made it a subject of keen geopolitical interest. But a new kind of rivalry has emerged in recent years, sparking a season of unprecedented geopolitical competition astride the Red Sea, as the boundaries of the two regions it enjoins—the Arabian Gulf and the Horn of Africa—are fast disappearing.

19 December 2019

Chained to Globalization

By Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman 

In 1999, the columnist Thomas Friedman pronounced the Cold War geopolitical system dead. The world, he wrote, had “gone from a system built around walls to a system increasingly built around networks.” As businesses chased efficiency and profits, maneuvering among great powers was falling away. An era of harmony was at hand, in which states’ main worries would be how to manage market forces rather than one another.

Friedman was right that a globalized world had arrived but wrong about what that world would look like. Instead of liberating governments and businesses, globalization entangled them. As digital networks, financial flows, and supply chains stretched across the globe, states—especially the United States—started treating them as webs in which to trap one another. Today, the U.S. National Security Agency lurks at the heart of the Internet, listening in on all kinds of communications. The U.S. Department of the Treasury uses the international financial system to punish rogue states and errant financial institutions. In service of its trade war with China, Washington has tied down massive firms and entire national economies by targeting vulnerable points in global supply chains. Other countries are in on the game, too: Japan has used its control over key industrial chemicals to hold South Korea’s electronics industry for ransom, and Beijing might eventually be able to infiltrate the world’s 5G communications system through its access to the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

18 December 2019

The Popular Backlash Against Global Migration Is Making the Problem Worse


Around the world, the popular backlash against global migration has fueled the rise of far-right populist parties and driven some centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration. But with short-term strategies dominating the debate, many of the persistent drivers of migration go unaddressed, even as efforts to craft a global consensus on migration are hobbled by demands for quick solutions.

Around the world, migration continues to figure prominently in political debates. In Europe, far-right populist parties have used the Migrant Crisis of 2015 and latent fears of immigrants to fuel their rise and introduce increasingly restrictive border policies in countries, like Italy, where they have entered government. The popular backlash against immigrants has also pushed centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration at home, while working with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration, whether through improving border controls or strengthening economic incentives for potential emigres to stay in their home countries.

A Final Chapter for the WTO? Five Experts Give Their Assessments

James Bacchus
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Council of Councils global perspectives roundups gather opinions from experts on major international developments. In this edition, members of five leading global think tanks offer their perspectives on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body losing its quorum this week, and where the WTO can go from here.

The Trump Administration’s Appalling Lack of Judgment

In 1995, I accepted an appointment as one of the seven founding members of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body. I did so for two reasons. First, I hoped that by helping to uphold WTO treaty obligations, I could help establish the rule of law in international trade. Second, by proving that the rule of law could be upheld in trade, I hoped to help inspire the thought that we could find ways to uphold the international rule of law generally. In the quarter of a century since, my colleagues and successors have consistently upheld the rule of law in trade, in keeping with their mandate in the WTO treaty. The Appellate Body is not perfect, nor have all its rulings been perfect. No human institution is ever perfect. Yet, in its brief time, the Appellate Body has become the most significant and most successful international tribunal in the history of the world.