- Deepest recession since 1930s persists.
- Due to end of commodities boom, fiscal mismanagement and political infighting hindering reform.
- Political crisis over corruption at state-owned petrol company continues unabated.
- Branch of Sunni Islam - described as "orthodox" and "ultraconservative".
- Saudi Arabia's dominant faith.
- Al Qaeda, the Taliban & ISIS draw on Wahhabism for their ideologies.
- General election June 7 - ruling Justice & Development party (AKP) expected to win.
- If current president Recep Erdogan wins super majority, he will try to shift Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.
- Erdogan's presidency is characterised by a neo-Islamist, intrusive, growing authoritarian rule.
- Seismic shift to the right in presidential poll as Andrzej Duda wins.
- His Law & Justice party = nationalist, eurosceptic, socially conservative.
- He was backed by anti-establishment youth & the elderly - his victory signals bumpy relations with Brussels & Berlin ahead.
- Recent regional & local elections have changed political backdrop from 2-party to 4-party contest.
- Ruling Popular party (PP) lost heavily (but still dominant political force) - traditional Socialist opposition did even worse.
- Political newcomers Podemos & Ciudadanos did well.
- Al-Qaeda: Attack US, long term vision, win hearts & minds, don't alienate fellow Muslims.
- ISIS: Attack anyone, indiscriminate brutality.
- This strategic (medium/long-term) difference also evident from a tactical (short-term) perspective, where ISIS makes al-Qaeda look almost moderate.
- Plus ça change: Petrobras scandal continues, PM Rousseff remains weak, political system seems broken.
- Continued & crippling bickering between PM and Congress - political machine seems to have lost credibility in eyes of voters.
- Best described as awkward cocktail of parliamentarianism and presidentialism.
- Phase 1 = actively repair relations with S-Asian neighbours (progress made).
- Phase 2 = engage with global & Pacific powers, i.e. Japan, US & China (in progress).
- Phase 3 = address rising China military and economic influence by (soft power) wooing of countries on China's periphery (beginning).
- India concerned about rising China military and economic regional influence.
- India economy one fifth the size, and military weaker.
- China has been wooing India's neighbours, now India courting China's neighbours - game of soft power to gain influence.
- Joint announcement to strive to end fossil fuel pollution this century.
- Both announced intention to formalise this by the Dec. UN Paris climate meeting.
- While somewhat vague (no numbers and deadlines announced), could signal a significant policy/mindset milestone.