Rapid changes across the world will oblige European nations to work in concert more than ever – especially in the area of defense.
Back to square one
The recent coup in Egypt presents a conundrum for democratic aspirations. Elections brought an illiberal democracy. Then popular will, with a little help from the “deep state,” toppled the elected government. Absent attempts at reconciliation, this may be the start of a vicious circle.
The nascent democracies in the Arab world are having a difficult time. What happens to Egypt now that President Morsi has been deposed will affect the entire region along with our very notion of a democratic government.
With the ouster of President Morsi, Egypt’s military has for all intents and purposes consigned the Muslim Brotherhood to where it has long been most effective – in the opposition. But it may be too late to go back.
With discreetly obstinate diplomacy, John Kerry has managed to convince Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace negotiations. Is he a man with a viable plan, or merely a romantic Don Quixote chasing a legacy as fleeting as the wind?
The technology of hydraulic fracturing is changing the geopolitical landscape. As the US becomes energy independent, and possibly even a gas exporter, the Middle East and Russia will lose a lot of their leverage.
The shale gas revolution bodes well for the US and other countries determined to exploit their resources. But in Europe the situation is not as conducive, and the Old Continent’s industries are already scrambling to adapt.
Between the shale revolution and Iraq’s ramping up of oil production, the Middle East is facing a new balance of power among producers. Whatever happens, though, Middle Eastern oil will remain a key factor in global security.
The shale gas revolution has brought energy issues closer to the top of the global diplomatic agenda. Foreign ministries are increasingly concerned with the risks and opportunities that come with the energy sector’s dynamic changes.
Cold War redux
With Russia and the US engaging in tit-for-tat sniping, Cold War posturing is back in vogue. But in light of the more substantial common goals between them, another push of the reset button is badly needed.
Disagreements between Russia and the US may smack of a renewed Cold War, but the reality is that neither country has the inclination or wherewithal to resume such gelid relations.
When antagonistic powers can’t seem to agree on the big issues, it might help to look at how they manage the smaller problems and then build from there. The US, Russia and Iran now need to engage with each other despite themselves.
Canada’s banking system could be a good model for the eurozone as it gears up for a banking union. Certain features could be easily adapted, while others would require too much loss of sovereignty.
It took a long time and the threat of disaster, but Europeans have finally gotten around to considering a banking union. As they iron out details, questions will inevitably arise.
Times of protest
Despite its growing middle class and the general anticipation before the World Cup and Olympics, or perhaps because of them, Brazil has seen its population take to the streets in protest, seizing the opportunity to set things straighter in a country long skewed by corruption.
There have been many attempts to explain the spate of protests over the past few years, but no single theory seems to cover them all – except, perhaps, the tried and true notion of a domino effect.
The redistribution of wealth brought on by globalization is raising the expectations of the new middle classes in emerging economies. Amplified by social networks, they are driving the dynamism of social change in a wave of protests throughout the world.
Brazil’s time to engage in modern politics has finally come. The economic expansion it has enjoyed in recent years is converging with a political consciousness that demands an end to corruption.
The water in the Pearl River Delta is so polluted that the population of pink dolphins, which had become a symbol of Hong Kong, is now at risk. Efforts are currently under way to mitigate the danger.