Category: Politics

Brazil blues continue?

  • 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.

What is Wahhabism?

  • 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.

Macrosnap Turkey politics?

  • 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.

Macrosnap Poland politics?

  • 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.

Macrosnap Spain politics?

  • 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.

Different strategies of al-Qaeda and ISIS to establish an Islamic state?

  • 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.

Brazil’s political quagmire?

  • 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.

Modi’s 3-phased Indian foreign policy?

  • 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’s China concerns?

  • 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.

France and Germany to decarbonise?

  • 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.
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