Articles and analysis

Robert Walter president European security and Defence Assembly. Session 2009As we all know, by a relatively small margin and with a simple majority of those voting, the United Kingdom decided in 2016 to leave the European Union, writes Robert Walter. Two parliamentary elections and three prime ministers later, the UK finally withdrew from the EU on 31st January this year.

But Brexit is not done yet, because we are in the "transition period" and still trying to determine the nature of the future relationship. Most of the discussions have centred around the concept of a "level playing field" with the very real complications of Northern Ireland and the desire of what is now a third country seeking to minimise the disruption to existing trade patterns. The UK has appeared to want to "have its cake", freeing itself from the EU, "and eating it", retaining access to the single market.

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USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVERAs China's economic power grew in the 21st Century so did her geopolitical ambitions. But Beijing overreached. And this will have significant consequences for the future of China, says Joseph E Fallon.

By investing between one and eight trillion dollars in the "One Belt, One Road" Initiative (OBOR, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI), Beijing sought to elevate China to the world's leading economy by financing land and sea projects, such as airports, pipelines, roads, railroads, sea ports, and shipping lanes, to link the infrastructures and economies of Asia, Africa, and Europe to China.

Beijing has focused especially on building or buying interest in ports. In "China's Trojan Ports", The American Interest, November 19, 2018, John Lee wrote: "It is estimated that state-backed Chinese investors state own at least 10 percent of all equity in ports in Europe, with deals inked in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium...[including]...a 35 percent stake in the Euromax terminal at Rotterdam, a 20 percent stake in the Port of Antwerp (Europe's two busiest ports)...This is in addition to a growing investment portfolio of at least 40 ports in North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific."

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Noel-Hadjimichael-webFounded after the turmoil and devastation of the Second World War, as part of the initial United Nations response to immediate need, the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) and its many dedicated professionals represent a continuation of the League of Nations and its innovative health commission, writes Noel Hadjimichael.

It is a thought leader and a persuader. But the politics, self-interest and ego of the member states of the UN have plagued the work, focus and integrity of its narrative.
Too easily it has been sidelined by notions of collaboration, coalition building and outright collapse of moral authority in the face of geopolitics. Physician heal thyself could not be more relevant now as we tackle a pandemic of immense impact and worrying resilience.
The novel coronavirus — which, after originating in China, has gone on to wreak havoc around the planet partly because of Beijing's failure to promptly share all the information it had about the initial outbreak — is changing the way the world looks at China.

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