Political Economy

No Fireworks at the Shangri-La Dialogue


The recent 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue focused on China, the United States and maritime security. However, those expecting fireworks in the wake of China’s new Defence White Paper and recent sharply worded speeches by US defence officials were left disappointed.

The Dynamics of World Politics Under the Microscope in 2015


So far, 2015 is an eventful year for major-power politics. The European Union (EU) and China just held their fifth round of strategic dialogue talks. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. German Chancellor Angela Merkel just visited visit Moscow in early May. In addition, the US–China Summit will be held in September in Washington. While the major powers’ diplomatic exchanges roll on, finding common ground for collaboration remains as important as ever.

Oil and Gas Export Reliance Makes a Huge Target for Financial Warfare


In the age of derivatives, swaps, and electronic money transfers, a new form of warfare has emerged, financial warfare.  Recently, the US has passed sanctions on countries such as Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea, but the majority of energy related sanctions passed have been targeted at Iran and Russia.

An estimated 68 percent of Russia's government revenue is derived from oil and gas exports, while 80 percent of Iran's revenue comes from oil exports. That presents a very large target for the use of financial weapons.

Italy's Weekend Election May Reject the Status Quo


There is a specter haunting Europe. A specter that rejects the status quo.  Last weekend, Spain's ruling PP lost majorities in all key municipalities and regional governments.  The opposition itself is fragmented, and nine of the ten major municipalities will be run by what appears to be loose coalitions. One wag said that it was as if Spain got Italian political results with the Italians to manage it. 

Differing Australian Viewpoints on China as a Major Power


What does China’s rise as a major power mean for Australia? The answer depends on whom you ask.

In March 2015, the Sydney Morning Herald’s International Editor, Peter Hartcher, described China as a fascist state that bullies its own citizens and neighbouring countries alike. That about sums up the ‘China threat’ view.

Yet there is also no shortage of CEOs gushing with praise for Chinese government policies that are expected to deliver more than 850 million people into the ranks of the middle class by the end of next decade.

Asian Countries Take Pride in Economic Integration Achievements While Dealing the Past


The 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II offers an opportunity for Northeast Asia to reflect on the lessons learnt from the past and to forge a vision for a peaceful and prosperous future.

The Northeast Asian countries should encourage domestic debate on the facts of history and their moral implications for today. Each nation has its own unique historical experiences that influence reflections on the past, and create heroes and villains in the present. Only free and open discussion of interpretations can give people a full and nuanced understanding of their history.