• Strategic Comments

    South Africa after Zuma

    25 April 2018. 

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appears committed to purging the corruption of his predecessor Jacob Zuma, and to rebuilding governmental capacity and improving policy execution. But it will take more than a change in the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) to restore South Africa's standing as a model of African democracy and continental leadership.

  • Strategic Comments

    Thailand’s political direction

    19 April 2018. 

    During the current decade, domestic political crisis and the death of its much-beloved king have rendered Thailand introverted. There may now be scope for a return to consensus-based political stability that would allow Thailand to better balance its relations with major powers and resume a more assertive regional role.

  • Strategic Comments

    Rising Israeli–Iranian tensions

    04 April 2018. 

    Tensions between Israel and Iran have increased since 10 February, when Israel shot down an Iranian-made drone launched from Syria and attacked military targets there, including Iranian installations. Policymakers in both Israel and the United States believe that Iran's strategy is to make Syria a platform for war against Israel, and broadly favour rolling back Iran in Syria. In this light, the prospect of a regional war looms larger.

  • Strategic Comments

    Merkel 4.0: not so different after all

    14 March 2018. 

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel will lead a new coalition government that has diluted her power and produced low expectations, amid considerable domestic uncertainty and foreign policy challenges. But Merkel’s instincts for caution, control and compromise will likely continue to make Germany a crucial stabilising force in Europe and a key player in determining the future of the European Union.

  • Strategic Comments

    Zimbabwe after Mugabe

    01 March 2018. 

    Most Western and African leaders – as well as most Zimbabweans – believed it was high time for Robert Mugabe to go when he relinquished the presidency of Zimbabwe last November. But his legacy of authoritarian misrule will be difficult to expunge. Like Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, his successor and long-standing political ally, appears determined to utilise the army to ensure the victory of the ruling Zimbabwean African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) party in elections scheduled for August 2018.

  • Strategic Comments

    The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review

    21 February 2018. 

    The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) apprehends a hostile world due to ‘rapid deterioration of the threat environment since the 2010 NPR’. The new NPR downplays arms control and calls for the modernisation of US nuclear-weapons systems and facilities, as well as expanded nuclear options. The latter would most controversially include low-yield nuclear weapons, which could lower the nuclear threshold.

  • Strategic Comments

    The Russian–Turkish rapprochement

    15 February 2018. 

    Relations between Russia and Turkey have recently swung from comprehensive discord to wide-ranging cooperation, spanning the energy, economic, military and diplomatic spheres. But their rapprochement remains far from a strategic partnership, defined more by tensions and uncertainties than by clearly shared national interests. The pendulum could swing back again.

  • Strategic Comments

    Washington’s incoherent climate policy

    06 February 2018.  US President Donald Trump's reversal of long-standing American climate policy – in particular, his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement – is informed mainly by domestic politics, ideology and short-termism. Even if sub-federal US entities' voluntary adherence to emissions reduction enables the United States to meet its targets, following through on the rejection of the Agreement would intensify perceptions that the United States has abdicated global leadership.

  • Strategic Comments

    Trump’s Jerusalem move

    31 January 2018. 

    The Trump administration's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognise that city as Israel's capital appears to be strongly influenced by US domestic political considerations. Though welcomed by the Israeli right, the move has attracted widespread regional and international condemnation and outraged the Palestinian leadership. It is unlikely to lead to promising Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the final status of the Palestinian territories, and could significantly degrade security in the region.

  • Strategic Comments

    China’s evolving role in African security

    24 January 2018. 

    China’s engagement in Africa is increasingly defined by its role in bolstering peace and security. Beijing has signalled greater political will with peacekeeping deployments on the continent, as well as increasing capabilities with its new naval base in Djibouti. Positive outcomes could include greater Chinese support for African security efforts and increased regional security cooperation with the United States. But these will depend substantially on how China's wider strategic outlook and relationships evolve.

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