Earlier this year, the global economy experienced an important milestone that, though it went largely unnoticed, scholars may look back on as a marker of the beginning of a new era, with economic but also geopolitical significance: For the first four months of 2023, Mexico surpassed China as the top trade partner of the United States.
In the two decades before invading Ukraine, as Russia attempted to project power around the globe, Moscow quietly boosted its military ties and diplomatic engagement in Southeast Asia. Now, however, that influence seems to be dramatically fading, largely cutting Moscow out of a critical region in global politics.
In 2021, Xi Jinping called for “Common Prosperity” as a new key goal of Chinese-style modernization. Observers speculated he was launching a populist, left-wing agenda that would spread wealth in China more equitably. But Common Prosperity was never intended to be a Robin Hood-like intervention to take from the rich to help the poor.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump upended what was once a relatively staid global economic and trade system. For all of the upheaval he created, though, Trump left office with only one clear-cut accomplishment: an updated NAFTA deal. And even as Trump sowed chaos in America’s trade relationships, most of the world reinforced its commitment to trade liberalization.
With China’s economy slowing rapidly, many analysts around the world worry that a continued contraction in Chinese growth could potentially have an adverse global impact. Without China acting as the global engine of growth, they say, growth around the world could stall. But the story is more complicated than that.
Even as regular climate diplomacy has resumed between the U.S. and China, officials and observers of both countries have become markedly more pessimistic about the feasibility of carving out a separate lane for climate progress amid rising tensions. That may imperil our chances of a timely energy transition.
Last week’s ASEAN Summit comes at a time of rising geopolitical tensions in the region, including between member states and China. Nevertheless, paralyzed by its commitment to unanimity-based decision-making, ASEAN is either unwilling or unable to check Beijing’s worst instincts. The result is a deepening fragmentation within the bloc.
Rumors of a conspiracy behind the April 2019 Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka have swirled since the attacks took place, even after the Islamic State took responsibility. Now, a documentary claiming that people close to Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa family were involved in the bombings is turning up the temperature on the accusations.
A group of five will soon be a concert of eleven. At last week’s summit of the BRICS nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa agreed to invite Ethiopia, Argentina, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to officially join the group on Jan. 1, 2024. The expanded BRICS shows its members’ dissatisfaction with the Western-led economic and political order.