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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Can Countries Make Themselves Great Again?

Is Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again” mere campaign rhetoric in the tradition of Barack Obama’s “hope and change,” George H. W. Bush’s “a kinder, gentler nation,” and Ronald Reagan’s “It’s morning in America again”? Or do such renaissances really occur in history? The Roman Republic and Empire together lasted for more than 1,000 years. Yet at various times throughout this period, Rome was declared finished—like during the Punic Wars (264-146 BC), the Civil Wars of the late Republic (49-31 BC), and the coups and cruelty of the 12 Caesars (49 BC-AD 96), especially during the reigns of Caligula, Nero, and Domitian.

Read Here – Defining Ideas

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When The Soviet Union Paid Pepsi In Warships

In April 9, 1990, American newspapers reported on an unusual deal. Pepsi had come to a three billion dollar agreement with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had long traded Stolichnaya vodka in return for Pepsi concentrate. But this time, Pepsi got 10 Soviet ships. This wasn’t the first time that Pepsi sold soft drinks in return for a flotilla. The previous year, the company even received warships. This situation—a soft drink conglomerate briefly owning a fairly large navy—was the unusual result of an unusual situation: a communist government buying a product of capitalism from the country it considered its greatest rival.

Read Here – Atlas Obscura

The ‘Indo-Pacific’: Redrawing The Map To Counter China

The shift reflects the Trump administration’s acknowledgement of several key factors: It treats India as a regional power and not just an isolated country on the southern tip of the continent. It emphasises the contiguous maritime nature of this vast space, which spans two of the world’s three largest oceans, four of the of world’s seven largest economies, and the world’s five most populous countries.

Read Here – The Cipher Brief

How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms

More than a decade after they were created, Confucius Institutes have sprouted up at more than 500 college campuses worldwide, with more than 100 of them in the United States—including at The George Washington University, the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. Overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known colloquially as Hanban, the institutes are part of a broader propaganda initiative that the Chinese government is pumping an estimated $10 billion into annually, and they have only been bolstered by growing interest in China among American college students.

Read Here – Politico

A Year After Trump, Davos Elite Fear Cyberattacks And War

The threat of large-scale cyberattacks and a “deteriorating geopolitical landscape” since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump have jumped to the top of the global elite’s list of concerns, the World Economic Forum said ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Read Here – Bloomberg

Beyond Modi-Netanyahu Bonhomie: India, Israel Struggle To Add Heft To Ties

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi on January 14, 2018. Photo/PIB

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu praised one another for “revolutionising” the bilateral relationship, the nine agreements signed – on subjects ranging from cyber security to homeopathic research – suggest the two countries are finding it hard to match the heady rhetoric with concrete outcomes in areas that matter.

Read Here – Business Standard

Nations Are Wielding Their Sovereign Wealth Funds As Tools of Power

According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, the funds of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait have a combined $2.8 trillion in assets under management. These governments are using their national wealth as a strategic tool of power projection as never before and blurring the line between economic and political decision-making.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

China Pledges More Investment In Cambodia, But Is Phnom Penh Selling Itself Short?

Road signs and advertising boards in Phnom Penh were traditionally written in two languages: Khmer and English. But things are changing in Cambodia’s colourful capital. Dotted around the city these days are signs, both literal and metaphorical, of China’s growing influence in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest nations.

Read Here – South China Morning Post

Five Decades Of White Backlash

Many of the major policies created to end the era of de jure white supremacy and address King’s campaigns against segregation and for voting rights have become entrenched in law, bureaucracy, and the courts. Overt racism and bigotry have acquired the stink of faux pas, integrated spaces persist in some places, and there’s even been a black president. But in this Pax Americana, the seed of resistance to those ideas and policies that King championed also germinated across generations. Now that the man who made his name flouting the spirit of King is president, the tree has borne its most ripe fruit.

Read Here – The Atlantic

The United States And Pakistan: Best Frenemies Forever?

The United States is once again ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan to fall in line with U.S. policy in Afghanistan by ending the Afghan Taliban’s enjoyment of safe haven. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan is once again pushing back. Amid the mistrust, mutual recrimination, and stale narratives that have increasingly characterised the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in recent years, there is one Pakistani talking point heard routinely from officials that should be taken at face value: Pakistan does not intend to fight the Afghan war on Pakistani soil.

Read Here – The National Interest

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