Today, as the geopolitical tensions are heating up from the West across the East into the Indo-Pacific, the Cold War sentiments and terminology are getting a new lease of life across regions. Even as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) recognizes Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to European security, it is China’s dynamic rise – from quiet to ultra-belligerent – that is challenging the US primacy, which it has held since the end of the Cold War ironically.
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A revived transatlantic relationship stands as the background for NATO’s new Strategic Concept. After four troublesome years during Donald Trump’s presidency, the Biden administration has actively tried to relaunch the US-Europe dialogue, with partial success. The 2021 NATO summit in Brussels on June 14th was generally regarded as a constructive one, confirming the positive impression of the previous G7 summit in Carbis Bay and paving the way for the US-EU summit on June 15th.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aspires to create a single market for goods and services, and to facilitate investment and the movement of persons to deepen economic integration in Africa. Of the 55 African Union (AU) members, 54 have signed the AfCFTA, thereby making it the world’s largest free trade area according to the number of contracting parties.
Since the 1960s, the need to overcome the limitations of individual countries has driven the effort to create African regional institutions capable of managing concerted political processes. The desire to promote regional integration met the difficulties of a set of countries with small and uncompetitive domestic economies, often dependent on external markets, in many cases landlocked, and therefore subject to higher transportation costs for goods.
The year 2022 will be remembered for many things: the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the year that both NATO and the EU published their security strategies. For the European Union, the Strategic Compass represents the willingness of 27 countries with different strategic cultures to better coordinate, invest in capacity building, and partner with international organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations knowing that a secure environment is crucial for European security.
Una tregua e una nuova leadership: dopo sette anni di guerra, lo Yemen attraversa una fase di opportunità politiche. La tregua nazionale, mediata dalle Nazioni Unite fra tutte le parti in conflitto, è in vigore, per due mesi, dal 2 aprile: nonostante alcune violazioni, la buona notizia è che la tregua sta reggendo e il numero di vittime e feriti civili si è dimezzato dal suo inizio.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed insights on the most significant developments in the MENA region, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we focus on Syria, recently back in the spotlight following the sixth edition of the EU-promoted Brussels Conference and Assad’s recent visit to Tehran.
Russia’s lack of a major success in the war against Ukraine and the unexpected scale of Western sanctions have brought uncertainty to Sino-Russian relations. Their power asymmetry as well as Moscow’s dependence on Beijing’s imports is likely to have deepened. The limitations of the ‘alliance in all but name’ have come to the fore, too. While Beijing has continued its incessant political support, echoing and amplifying the Kremlin’s justifications for war, we have not witnessed any substantial economic or military assistance so far.
While the war in Ukraine is a game changer for international and in particular European security, China appears to be marching on. And, in some ways, it is true. Since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, China’s foreign policy has significantly shifted from a defensive to an assertive approach. For decades, Beijing worked to integrate into the liberal international order, presenting itself as a peacefully rising power.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resumed the West and Russia’s intense rivalry, echoing the Cold War era. In this conjuncture, many African countries find themselves in a familiar position of non-alignment, not wanting to be forced to take sides in a conflict in the global North. In particular, some African countries have played an important role in global diplomacy, specifically regarding their votes in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).