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Giudizio storico

Geostrategic environment (september 6, 2022)

WORLDS

Afghanistan

  • September 6, 2022. Heather Barr, HRW. The US “Afghanistan War Commission,” created in December 2021 to examine “key strategic, diplomatic, and operational decisions” the US made in Afghanistan, and to develop “lessons learned and recommendations for the way forward,” is beginning its work. One priority should be to examine US government pledges on women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan. The problem: none of the 14 men and 2 women appointed as commissioners are experts on women’s rights, and none are Afghan or from the Afghan diaspora. Afghan War Commission Should Examine US Role on Women’s Rights
  • September 6, 2022. HRW. The Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Islamic State’s (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan, has repeatedly attacked Hazaras and other religious minorities at their mosques, schools, and workplaces, Human Rights Watch said today. The Taliban authorities have done little to protect these communities from suicide bombings and other unlawful attacks or to provide necessary medical care and other assistance to victims and their families. Afghanistan: ISIS Group Targets Religious Minorities

Africa

Bangladesh – India

  • September 5, 2022. Sreeradha Datta, VIF. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is arriving in India today (5 September 2022) on a 4 day visit. A much anticipated reciprocal visit possibly also a last one before Bangladesh holds its 12th Jatiya Sangsad (parliamentary ) election in 2023. While the two neighbours are likely to agree to conclude at the earliest the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, it is also likely to sign a water sharing agreement on river water sharing of Khusiara. The Joint River Commission which met recently indeed after a long break, has identified seven common rivers for developing a framework for water sharing, a long standing demand from Bangladesh. Undoubtedly, water sharing is the most emotive issue for Bangladesh vis-à-vis India and it alludes to the strength of this bilateral partnership that the lack of any water sharing agreement over the past decade has not derailed the neighbours from engaging on a broad based framework of cooperation that has increasingly added more projects and proposals to the large basket of joint collaboration that is ongoing between them. Sheikh Hasina India visit: Reiteration of Tested Ties

Bay of Bengal

  • September 5, 2022. Shivanshi Bhadouria, VIF. Countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal include India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar; besides there are two landlocked countries – Nepal and Bhutan. These countries depend on the Bay of Bengal for several reasons such as marine and natural resources, energy trade, etcetera. The region also hosts vital shipping routes linking the littoral and hinterland to each other and to the rest of the Indian Ocean littorals. Lying at the crossroads between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, it also serves as the key transit point between the two waters. Emerging Synthetic Drug Market in the Bay of Bengal A Case Study of Amphetamine-Type Substances

Cambodia – Southeast Asia

  • September 5, 2022. Abdul Rahman Yaacob, East Asia Forum. Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base — a facility in the Gulf of Thailand — has in recent years been the subject of interest from major powers competing for influence in Southeast Asia. China’s efforts to access the base first surfaced in July 2019 after the Wall Street Journal reported an alleged agreement allowing the Chinese military to use the base. The Cambodian government facilitated a visit to the naval base for 70 local and foreign journalists to counter the findings of the report. Cambodia’s Ream naval base attracts competing patrons

China

  • September 5, 2022. Ayjaz Wani, ORF. Before leaving her office, on 31 August, Michelle Bachelet, the outgoing United Nations Human Rights Chief, released the much-awaited report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.  The OHCHR report: Exposing atrocities in Xinjiang

China – Europe

  • September 1, 2022. Noah Barkin, GMF. Watching China in Europe, a monthly update from GMF’s Asia Program. Now more than ever, the transatlantic partners need clarity and cohesion when it comes to China policy. In this monthly newsletter, Noah Barkin—a senior visiting fellow at GMF and managing editor at Rhodium Group—provides his personal observations and analysis on the most pressing China-related developments and activities throughout Europe. Watching China in Europe – September 2022

China – Russia – North Korea

  • September 6, 2022. Mateo Szlapek-Sewillo, The Interpreter. In Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, in north-east Saint Petersburg, there stands a statue of Matushka Rossiya – Mother Russia. She grieves the sons and daughters who perished protecting her from Nazi invasion. Carved on the granite wall behind her are the words of poet Olga Bergholz. “No one is forgotten,” begins the couplet, which ends the first stanza. “Nothing is forgotten.” It is deeply moving. However, as Katie Stallard shows in her excellent book Dancing on Bones, it is also deeply misleading. History, in the hands of the calculating, is subject to constant revision. People and their causes are often forgotten. China, Russia and North Korea: the wars that never end

Europe

  • September 6, 2022. Ben McWilliams, Giovanni Sgaravatti, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann, Bruegel. Europe’s energy system faces unprecedented physical and institutional stress. The policy response so far has been excessively nationally focussed and could undermine the goals of calming energy markets over the next 18 months and achieving ambitious decarbonisation targets. At the basis of the crisis is a post-COVID-19 global energy imbalance. While demand bounced back quickly as economies re-opened, supply did not. A particular challenge is that the reducing supply of fossil fuels in line with climate targets has not been matched by a commensurate reduction of fossil-fuel demand.  A grand bargain to steer through the European Union’s energy crisis

IPEF – India

  • September 5, 2022. Jhanvi Tripathi, ORF. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), adopted by  14 countries including India, will have its first in-person trade ministers meeting in the first week of September 2022. The meeting will likely lay the first contours of an agreement as formal negotiations take place. The framework lays great emphasis on the harmonisation of digital trade and standards. Of the four pillars, the ‘connected economy’ pillar, widely viewed as the trade pillar, heavily references the digital economy, AI, and e-commerce. While non-binding in terms of market access and tariff reduction, it could greatly influence cooperation on and reduction of non-tariff barriers in the digital trade space. However, India’s fierce protectionist policies may not work on this platform. IPEF and India’s digital trade dilemma

Iran – Hamas

  • September 6, 2022. FDD. Iran would receive approximately $275 billion in sanctions relief during the first year of a new nuclear deal and more than $1 trillion by 2030, according to an FDD analysis. If past is prologue, a significant portion of these funds would likely flow to Iranian-supported terror organizations in the region, including Hamas. In the year after the implementation of the original 2015 nuclear accord, Tehran’s military budget increased by 90 percent, enabling the regime to shower Iran-aligned terror organizations, including Hamas, with additional resources. A New Iran Deal Would Empower Hamas

Iran – Russia

Iraq

  • September 6, 2022. Anil Trigunayat, VIF. Iraq’s problems do not seem to go away. Any effort for a domestic stabilization always meets with an unequal and more intense opposing force. Politico- religious leaders hold the sway. External powers play their own games in keeping their stables always charged. People are totally dissatisfied and disgruntled by the political dispensation at least since 2003. Removal of Saddam Hussein should have led to some stability and a way forward to meet the democratic aspirations of the ordinary Iraqi but that precisely is not the case. In the last two decades situation in this oil rich country has continued to worsen. US intervention to remove Saddam on a fabricated pretext has unleashed the unforeseen instability in Iraq and the forces of radical extremism in the region and beyond burgeoning into the ultra-radical ISIL (Daesh) that has become a global challenge and nemesis. The Iraqi Political Conundrum

Japan

Libya

  • September 2, 2022. Tarek Megerisi, ECFR. Libya is trapped in a degenerative cycle of war. Yet Europeans could use the current stalemate in the country to restart an electoral process that would end the cycle. Infinity war: Libya’s reoccurring conflict

Russia – Balkans

  • September 1, 2022. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Could the Western Balkans region become a ‘second front’ in the Russia’s conflict with the West? Tim Judah and Ilva Tare join Deep Dish to discuss. Russian Efforts to Undermine Peace in the Balkans

Russia – Ukraine

  • September 5, 2022.  IAEA. Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that a back-up power line between the country’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and a nearby thermal power station was deliberately disconnected today in order to extinguish a fire, but the line itself was not damaged. The ZNPP continues to receive the electricity it needs for safety from its sole operating reactor. Update 98 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine
  • September 5, 2022. Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Angela Howard, and Mason Clark, ISW. The Ukrainian counteroffensive is tangibly degrading Russian logistics and administrative capabilities in occupied southern Ukraine.As ISW has previously reported, Ukrainian officials explicitly confirmed that Ukrainian troops seek to attrit Russian logistical capabilities in the south through precision strikes on manpower and equipment concentrations, command centers, and logistics nodes. These counteroffensive actions also have intentional radiating effects on Russian occupation authorities. The head of the Kherson Oblast occupation regime, Kirill Stremousov, told Russian media outlet TASS that his administration has paused annexation referendum plans in Kherson Oblast due to “security” concerns. The Ukrainian Resistance Center similarly reported that Russian occupation authorities are abandoning plans for referenda due to the ongoing counteroffensive. Shortly after TASS published his comment, Stremousov posted on Telegram denying he called for a pause because his administration had never set an official date for the referendum. Both of Stremousov’s statements indicate a high level of disorganization within occupation regimes that is likely being exacerbated by the effects of the counteroffensive. Ukrainian forces intend to slowly chip away at both Russian tactical and operational level capabilities in Kherson Oblast, and in doing so will likely have significant impacts on the administrative and bureaucratic capabilities of occupation officials. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, September 5

Timor Leste – Australia

  • September 6, 2022. Parker Novak, The Interpreter. It’s been hard to miss José Ramos-Horta, the President of Timor-Leste, in the news over the past couple of weeks. He’s been doing the rounds with major media outlets, including the ABC and Guardian Australia. He’s also been garnering headlines for touting the prospect of Chinese investment in his country’s nascent oil and gas industry in an effort to force Australia and other like-minded nations towards his country’s position on where to process liquefied natural gas from the Greater Sunrise field. José Ramos-Horta’s Australian visit: a checklist

UK

  • September 6, 2022. Harsh V. Pant, ORF. Power is a strange beast; it allows extraordinary leeway when you possess it, but the moment it deserts you, you are relegated to the footnotes. The moment Boris Johnson decided to step down in July after quitting as the leader of the Conservative Party, saying it was “clearly now the will” of his party MPs that there should be a new leader, he became almost invisible. Though he stayed on as the prime minister until a successor was chosen, his power had dissipated. He was a needless distraction for a nation that was keen to move on. The void was filled by the drama of his succession that ended today when Liz Truss was finally announced as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest after weeks of a closely fought and often bitter competition. Liz Truss takes charge of a divided party and a UK badly in need of direction
  • September 6, 2022. Rana Mitter, East Asia Forum. On 5 September 2022, members of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party chose the next prime minister. Liz Truss defeated her rival Rishi Sunak in a vote of 160,000 or so party members. For years, China was a near irrelevance in UK politics. That changed when a range of crises raised China’s profile in a highly negative light in 2020. These included fears that China was holding back the truth about COVID-19, concerns about Huawei providing key parts of the telecom network and mounting public anger over the Hong Kong National Security Law and political ‘re-education’ camps in China’s Xinjiang province. The Tories talk the talk on China
  • September 5, 2022. Atlantic Council. On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was selected as her country’s newest prime minister, after triumphing over former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in a vote by some 160,000 members of the Conservative Party. Experts react: The United Kingdom has a new prime minister. What should the world expect from Liz Truss?

USA

  • September 1, 2022. Justin Schweitzer, Rose Khattar, American Progress. The United States—much like the rest of the world—is currently experiencing high inflation, due to a range of factors including COVID-19-related supply disruptions and Russia’s war in Ukraine. As low- and middle-income households struggle with recent inflation on top of the decadeslong affordability crisis fueled by stagnant and low wages, policies to strengthen supply and shore up households’ financial stability should take precedence over a strategy that proposes sacrificing employment to lower inflation. Wages and Employment Do Not Have To Decline To Bring Down Inflation
  • September 1, 2022. Mark Haggerty, Nicole Gentile, American Progress. Over the past decade, the changing U.S. energy mix—notably cheap natural gas—forced hundreds of coal-fired power plant closures and drove more than 50 U.S. coal mining and power companies into bankruptcy. Communities that rely heavily on coal revenue from mining to fund schools, roads, and other public services risk being left behind if they cannot maintain these essential services or find resources to invest in the infrastructure and assets central to success in a changing economy. Quitting Fossil Fuels and Reviving Rural America
  • September 2, 2022. Maureen Coffey, Rose Khattar, American Progress. As the U.S. labor market continues its historic and remarkable recovery from the depths of the pandemic-induced recession, the child care workforce stands out in stark contrast, struggling to regain its significant pandemic-related job losses. More than two years after the start of the pandemic, the child care workforce—mostly employing women and, disproportionately, women of color—continues to operate below pre-pandemic levels. This not only harms the sector but also precludes workers with caregiving responsibilities, primarily mothers, from fully participating in the labor force. The Child Care Sector Will Continue To Struggle Hiring Staff Unless It Creates Good Jobs

USA – Europe

TOPICS

Mikhail Gorbachev

  • September 6, 2022. Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Change and hope. Such was the atmosphere when Mikhail Gorbachev visited the Romanian capital in May 1987. Back then, once dubbed the Paris of the Balkans, Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu had built gigantic party and government complexes. Gorbachev’s Legacies
  • September 5, 2022. Arvind Gupta, VIF. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and the last president of the Soviet Union, passed away in Moscow on 30 August 2022 at the age of 91. He was no ordinary leader. He was the principal architect of the end of the cold war who, through his liberal reformist policy of perestroika, unwittingly presided over the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The forces of change, unleashed by perestroika, became uncontrollable. Gorbachev wanted to make the socialist system, of which he had been an inseparable part, more ‘democratic’ and humane’. No one had predicted that the USSR would be gone in a jiffy once the cold war ended. But, with the benefit of hindsight, one can say that a system which had become brittle and hollow had to go one day. Gorbachev got the blame. Gorbachev’s Legacy: A Reformer Who Lost the Game

Commodity prices

Cybersecurity

Defense – Military – Security

Digital & tech

Global trade order

Health & digital

Nuclear weapons

Social mobility – Sustainable development

  • September 5, 2022. Soumya Bhowmick, ORF. The current “Decade of Action” has gained massive relevance in the journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), therefore, there needs to be a galvanisation of efforts to meet the 2030 deadline. While the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled economies worldwide, it has also directly and indirectly impacted a host of developmental parameters ranging from poverty and unemployment to gender equality and climate change, further widening the divergences in domestic socio-economic inequalities between advanced and developing societies. Importance of social mobility for sustainable development

Strategic thinking

  • September 6, 2022. Beatrice Heuser and Paul O’Neill, RUSI. Dr Jeannie Johnson, Director of the Center for Anticipatory Intelligence at Utah State University, joins us to discuss the legacy of Colin S Gray. Most notable for originating Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’ through his tetrarchy of enquiry, Gray’s thinking on strategic culture remains influential today. Episode 9: Colin S Gray, Strategic Culture, and What is Good Enough