Sino-US Financial Decoupling: a series of bad decisions?

Shresth Goel

Over the last decade, the involvement of Chinese enterprises in American primary markets has aggregated to a combined market capitalisation of $2.1tn. In light of this, the ongoing financial decoupling measures being taken by both countries calls into question the fate of capital movement across the two biggest economies in the world. 

These concerns have become more pressing following the decision of the Chinese group Didi Chuxing (second-biggest IPO – $4.4bn – by a Chinese company in New York since Alibaba in 2014) to delist from the New York Stock Exchange and go public in Hong Kong. Although the decision may seem coerced due to intense pressure from Chinese cyber security watchdogs, it opens up the possibility of more companies following suit to avoid legal troubles with the Chinese government. On the other hand, Chinese state-run telecom groups (namely China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicorn) were booted from the New York Stock Exchange in early 2021 due to an executive order from the Trump administration that prohibited American investments in businesses with alleged ties to the Chinese military. 

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Are we living in a world of de-globalisation? 

Alainah Amer 

Recent trends are expecting the global economy to move away from interdependence between nations to weaker interconnectivity, localised policies, and enhanced border controls, a phenomenon also referred to as ‘de-globalisation’. With the catastrophic impact of the global financial crisis, the rise of protectionism, exemplified by the US and China engaging in a trade war, and the implementation of Brexit, there are widespread concerns amongst economists that de-globalisation is a force that is here to stay. COVID-19 has further exacerbated these concerns. The ongoing pandemic has uncovered the vulnerable roots of globalisation illustrated by a sharp fall in global GDP, plunging levels in international trade, the decline of foreign direct investment, the vast disruptions of global value chains and lastly, higher unemployment rates. These trajectories seem to prove that globalisation comes with severe risks – which have the tendency to spread like wildfire. This begs the question of whether globalisation might actually be a ‘bad’ thing.

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The Cyber Dimension in the Russia-Ukraine War

Maria Makurat

The crisis between Ukraine and Russia has been showing us actively how a hybrid war is taking place in Europe. Since Thursday, the 24th of February 2022, we have been hearing daily reports of the invasion as well as an increased activity in the cyber domain. Government officials as well as private actors are increasingly engaging in cyberspace. Anonymous, the international hacker group, has launched multiple cyberattacks on the Kremlin’s official websites and state media in an effort to disrupt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and raise awareness of its implications among the Russian public.

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Alexander Lukashenko: A Threat to EU Security.

Pasha Wilson

Since August 2020, the EU has imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to the ‘neither free, nor fair’ presidential election of Alexander Lukashenko, as well as his military’s violent suppression of peaceful protestors and journalists opposing the party in power. In retaliation, Lukashenko’s regime has aimed to destabilise the EU through fuelling illegal movement of migrants into the EU. Lukashenko is exploiting the desperation of migrants travelling from war-torn countries in the Middle East and using them as pawns in his political warfare with the EU. Belarusian soldiers are actively encouraging migrants to travel freely through Belarus, with the false promise of open borders into the EU bloc via Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Free travel is advertised through the ‘tourist’ packages being sold to migrants, which reportedly cost between $3,000 and $4,000 and include a Belarusian visa and flight tickets to Minsk.

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A ‘Green New Deal’: politics and prospects 

Samuel Teale Chadwick 

Inflation in the price of natural gas is set to increase the average household energy bill by hundreds of pounds in the spring. A ‘Green New Deal’ has the potential to increase domestic energy capacity and affordability, as well as achieving the government’s target of sourcing all electricity from renewable and nuclear sources by 2035. However, a long term plan appears absent from the political agenda.

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History Repeating Itself: The Consequences of Poland’s De Facto Abortion Ban

The consequences of Poland’s recent near-total abortion ban are becoming increasingly clear after a 30-year-old pregnant woman, named Izabela, died in a hospital in Pszczyna in southern Poland after being denied a possibly life-saving abortion. In October 2020, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions will only be legal in cases of rape, incest, and when a mother’s life is endangered, while terminating a pregnancy with fetal defects is against the Polish Constitution. Izabela’s is the first death publicly linked to the ban. Although Izabela died in September 2021, the story was only made public in early November.

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Germany’s New Government: hope or old concerns for Eastern Europe?

The 2021 Federal Election brings substantial political changes for Germany. After 15 years, Angela Merkel will no longer be the chancellor, as her party, the center-right Christian Democrat Union (CDU), has suffered their worst ever result, with just 24.1% of the vote. The Voters favoured the center-left Social Democratic Party for Germany (SPD), which received their best result since 2005, the even further left Green party, and the classical liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). These three winners of the election are forecast to constitute the most likely ruling coalition, aptly dubbed the “traffic light” coalition after their party colours. While negotiations are ongoing and an alternative party arrangement remains possible, if unlikely, Eastern European (EE) states are already able to anticipate their strategies for interaction with Berlin.

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Antony Blinken: The New Face of U.S. Diplomacy

Since January 2017, the world has suffered a State Department that treated foreign policy more like a yo-yo than a strategy. Whilst he was a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly mulled pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate AccordsIran nuclear deal, and even NATO. As President, he went two for three on those agreements, putting peace in the Middle East and America’s commitment to fighting climate change into jeopardy as a result.

At Foggy Bottom – a colloquialism originating from the State Department’s headquarters in Washington’s north-west quadrant – things were little better. From Rex Tillerson reportedly calling Trump a “f****** moron” to Mike Pompeo allegedly ordering staffers to walk his dog, these have not been easy years for America’s allies, or even State Department officials for that matter.

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The Rassemblement National: mainstreaming far-right ideas in French politics

The Rassemblement National (RN) is a populist right-wing party that plays a prominent role not only in French society, but also in politics. The party was founded in 1972 on the premise of uniting dispersed far-right movements in France and continues to maintain a very strong nativist ideology and discourse. This can be summed up by the idea of a préférence nationale (national preference) which seeks to stop the inflow of immigrants who compete with French workers and ensure that only French people benefit from social welfare. Although the RN has never been in office, they have had a significant amount of influence on French politics. In order to understand the continued success of the RN, it is important to look at the factors that have enabled this.

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From anti-mask to anti-state: Anti-lockdown protests, conspiracy thinking and the risk of radicalization

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared the attempt at violently occupying the Reichstag, the German parliament building, by far-right activists on 29 August 2020, as a direct attack on Germany’s very “heart of democracy,”. Demonstrations against state-imposed Covid-19 measures have been on the rise in many countries throughout the pandemic. Observers are now worried that extremist hate groups are using pandemic-related protests to advance their political goals – violently if necessary. Since December 2020, members of the Querdenken 711 group, the main organizer of nationwide anti-Covid restriction protests in Germany, are on an intelligence  “watch-list due to its increasing radicalisation”

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