Endgames: Why Militaries Forsook Bouteflika and Al-Bashir, but Not Maduro

Massive peaceful protests are the ultimate endgame for autocrats: If all other means have failed, the incumbent’s political survival hinges on the loyalty of the military. In 2019, presidents in Algeria, Sudan, and Venezuela learned this the hard way. When Algerian President Bouteflika announced to run for a fifth term, the masses flooded the streets. […]

How China Is Expanding Beyond Western Institutions

The “Boao Forum for Asia”, the region’s answer to Davos, was slated for late March, but has been postponed amid the spread of COVID-19. But even as the coronavirus unsettles the global economy, China’s bid to reshape international relations beyond Western formats is quietly gathering steam. China’s foreign policy should be understood as a large […]

God, Luck and Politics: A Brief History of Graft in Hungary

Corruption is deeply embedded in Hungary, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shielded by a cluster of wealthy bosses with close personal and political ties to the leader. “God, luck and Viktor Orbán certainly played a role in what I’ve achieved so far,” is how Lőrinc Mészáros, the Hungarian Prime Minister’s childhood friend explained his unprecedented […]

Iran before the Elections: Tehran’s Chernobyl Moment

On 21 February, the Islamic Republic will hold elections. Authorities in Tehran claim that thousands of candidates have registered to run in the hope of securing one of the 290 seats in the Majlis, the Iranian parliament. This all sounds very promising, if not democratic – but the reality is something else altogether. Elections in […]

Serbian-Chinese Ties: A Potential Threat for the EU?

While many EU members have been heatedly debating whether the Chinese company Huawei should be banned from their national 5G networks, EU candidate Serbia is beefing up its ties with China. Does this pose a security risk to the European bloc? Since the early 2010s, China has been assertively seeking to increase its clout in […]

Korea’s Anti-Corruption Efforts an Inspiration for Other Countries

South Korea has recently strengthened its anti-corruption policy. The BTI and other international benchmarks note that institutional changes such as the Kim Young-ran Act are now bearing fruit. There has been less success in curbing corruption and influence peddling by big business groups. Anti-corruption is an important pillar for the current South Korean government. This […]

Untold Billions, Too Little Change

Energy policy is a crucial and often underappreciated cause for public discontent. Most severe irregularities occur in opaque upstream deals. The EITI multistakeholder initiative has significant unrealized potential to inform the public about irregularities around energy governance. Failed resource governance remains one of the leading causes of civil unrest in resource-rich countries, exhibited en masse […]

Domestic Divisions Overshadow Climate Prospects

Tackling climate change numbers among the most pressing issues for governments worldwide. But after the United Nations struggled to even find a host for its upcoming international climate meeting, will domestic politics limit its success? Even before global leaders travel to the United Nation’s annual climate conference from December 2-13, domestic politics have already cast […]

Why the Conflict Over Nagorno-Karabakh Could Heat Up Again

The honeymoon is over for Armenia’s popular prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to a series of problems at home, he has no choice but to deal with a perennial headache: the three-decades-old conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which dates back to the last years of the Soviet Union in 1988. […]

New Walls IV: The Developing World and the Rise of Protectionism

The rising use of restrictive trade measures around the world and political incidents like the trade disputes between China and the US show that the world order, which has been predominantly liberal over the last decades, is currently shifting towards protectionism. In this post, we discuss the role of restrictive trade policies and the possible […]