Beijing’s new activism in the Middle East reflects the evolution of Chinese foreign policy thinking, in line with the country’s rise as an economic superpower. Economic goals rather than ideological considerations have become key criteria in China’s selection of partners in the region, especially those which can provide the energy resources necessary to fuel China’s continued dynamic growth. Although as yet China is not overtly seeking to displace the US as the dominant power in the region, its penetration of the Middle East inevitably has far-reaching foreign policy and security implications.
The global crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has had particularly disruptive consequences for conflict-affected countries around the world. Armed groups have capitalised on the crisis, while the global distraction caused by the pandemic has made it difficult to seize opportunities for peace. This Brief analyses key repercussions in conflict-affected countries in general, and in five countries in particular: Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.
China has sought to demonstrate that its authoritarian political system has been more efficient at dealing with the coronavirus crisis than Western liberal democratic systems. This Brief examines the validity of this hypothesis, and concludes that predispositional factors – notably the demographic and age profile of a country – as well as whether a state had been previously exposed to a pandemic or not, were more important in shaping the authorities’ response than the political system in place.
China is rapidly consolidating its expertise in building smart/safe cities, with the Covid-19 crisis significantly accelerating this trend. The crisis has also seen China step up its activism in the global promotion, donation and export of some of its smart city technologies with dual-use capabilities. What risks does this pose for Europe?
In the three decades after the Cold War, the perception of ‘Arctic exceptionalism’, the sense that the Arctic region is immune from broader geopolitical tensions, prevailed. However, this notion is currently being challenged: climate change is accelerating the opening of new maritime trade routes and exploitation of natural resources in the region, while great power competition between the US, Russia and China in the Arctic is intensifying, changing regional power dynamics.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen is complex and multi-layered, with the involvement of rival regional powers adding a geopolitical dimension to the war. As the national framework has disintegrated, local rivalries have intensified, leaving more room for foreign state interference in the country. In this fragmented political landscape, militias and other armed groups have come to play a prominent role in Yemen’s security governance. This Brief analyses the intertwined layers of conflict in Yemen and their implications for war resolution efforts, arguing that reforming the state on the basis of a decentralisation of power is key to rebuilding national institutions and achieving peace.