Is Washington’s post-Cold War “unipolar moment” over? Some claim that multipolarity has been with us for some time. Others are not so sure, pointing to the United States’ continued economic and military dominance. But even if the U.S. remains the world’s predominant power, it may still well exist in a multipolar world.
The final communique of last weekend’s G-7 summit left no doubt that the West views Russia as a malign global player and enemy, and considers China to be a competitor, rival and potential threat. That is the position among the governments and leaders of the world’s richest democracies. But what about the world’s population at large?
At a recent conference of the U.K.’s self-described National Conservatives, senior Tory MPs and a Cabinet minister espoused views that align with those of European far-right parties. It’s an indication of how strong these factions, which just a decade ago remained at the outer fringes of the Conservative Party, have now become.
Around the world, democracies are suffering from voter apathy, political polarization, anti-establishment sentiment and abuses of majoritarian rule that have facilitated the spread of autocracy. Now countries are increasingly experimenting with a new way forward: citizens’ assemblies put together by random selection.
The liberal European order has been under attack from within and without in recent years. The EU became a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, and centrist political parties are being challenged by a populist wave that may not have yet crested. The work to rebuild trans-Atlantic ties with the U.S. under President Joe Biden has begun, even as Russia’s attempts to destabilize the European order have not abated.
The West Is Finally Listening to the Global South on the War in Ukraine
For the past year, leaders of the Global South have resisted Western pressure to take a tougher position against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by seeking to broaden the discussion to include a global order they see as being built on—and perpetuating—political and economic inequities. It seems that effort may be bearing fruit.
EU officials are still digesting the result of Turkey’s general election, which saw the presidential race head to a second-round runoff. While President Erdogan’s antagonism toward Europe has won him few friends in Brussels, many are also wondering if the runoff might present a case of “better the devil you know.”
Spain’s landmark law on sexual crime made explicit consent—or the lack thereof—the benchmark for determining guilt in rape cases. But the law had an unintended consequence: Hundreds of convicted sex offenders’ sentences were reduced on appeal, leading to public outrage and infighting within the leftist governing coalition.
The aftermath of Romania’s post-communist transition, particularly the struggle to overcome corruption, left a toxic legacy that hampers Bucharest’s ability to exert influence over EU decision-making to this day. But Romania’s reluctance to be proactive in policy debates within both the EU and NATO has now become problematic.
At the annual G-7 summit this week, Western leaders have to decide what vision of global leadership they want to project. Beyond showing unity in opposition to Russia’s war on Ukraine and China’s military and economic assertiveness, it’s unclear what the G-7 will say about resolving the issues currently plaguing non-Western states.
Europe’s eyes are focused on Liverpool in the U.K. this week, as the city hosts the 67th annual Eurovision Song Contest, the most-watched annual live television event in the world. In the past, Eurovision has always tried to keep politics out of the contest. But the war in Ukraine has changed all that.
Greece’s Elections Could Usher in a Period of Political Uncertainty
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis won the country’s 2019 elections promising to stabilize Greece’s economy and enact a law-and-order security agenda. In his own way, Mitsotakis has delivered on those promises. Nevertheless, he and his ruling party face an uphill battle to hold onto power in the upcoming snap elections.
Central and Eastern Europe Are Playing Catchup on Russian Disinformation
The Russia-Ukraine war has had major global implications. Some disruptions appear relatively straightforward to solve, but the realm of information security does not lend itself to quick fixes. Central and Eastern Europe provides several hard-learned lessons in how Russian disinformation is used and how it might be countered.
The European Commission has proposed harmonizing national criminal laws against corruption and increasing anti-corruption penalties across the European Union. But some Eastern European member states, like Hungary, Poland and Romania, have bristled against the EU interfering in their national practices.
Something strange is happening in liberal democracies’ relationship with social media platforms—specifically with TikTok, which is being banned or threatened with bans in democracies around the world. It is commonplace for authoritarian regimes to ban such platforms, but this is relatively new and dangerous territory for democracies.
Boris Johnson finally delivered a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU on Jan. 1, 2021, more than four years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum. But the deep divisions that delivering Brexit opened up have remade the U.K.’s political landscape and show no signs of healing. Meanwhile, the future of the U.K.’s trade relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world, as well as its global role, remain as uncertain now as they did before Brexit.
Few conflicts have been predicted by so many observers, so far in advance, as the fighting that erupted on April 15 in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Almost every external and domestic powerbroker that has exerted influence over Sudan’s development over the past four decades shares in the blame for this devastating cycle of violence.