Articles and analysis

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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Olivier GuittaDuring his French presidential campaign in 2017, then candidate Emmanuel Macron had promised that if elected he would tackle the fight against Islamism in his first 100 days in office. It took him actually three and a half years to deliver a landmark speech and a plan to deal with that thorny issue. While Macron said all the right things, including calling a spade a spade, the measures are not going far enough and some are likely not to be implemented, wrote Olivier Guitta in the Levant News.

President Macron wants to defend secularism against Islamist separatism and his government will present a law by the end of the year. That law will supposedly allow the dissolution of religious groups that 'attack the dignity of people, using psychological or physical pressure, and break the values of France'. Macron insisted 'no concessions' would be made in a new drive to push religion out of education and the public sector. An important measure is to stop foreign imams from coming to France: about 300 imams come each year from Turkey, Algeria, Morocco to preach in French mosques. Macron emphasized that it was necessary to 'liberate Islam in France from foreign influences,' naming countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. He announced that all French imams will be trained in France and would have to be certified from now on and could be kicked out at any time. In the past, the school that was training imams was controlled by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

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