Radical pragmatism: policymaking after COVID (Gertz + Kharas)

Contemplating a world after COVID, some are calling for a reset of existing models of policymaking. In this essay the authors outline shortcomings in existing neoliberal economic models, and argue that the radical pragmatism of effective crisis response—a willingness to try whatever works, guided by an experimental mindset and commitment to empiricism and measuring results —represents a policymaking model that can and should be applied more widely, not only in times of crisis.

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Sustaining an undersea advantage: Hudson Institute anti-submarine warfare report

The spotlight is back on Australia’s future submarine program, SEA1000. The Hudson Institute report Sustaining the Undersea Advantage: Disrupting Anti-Submarine Warfare Using Autonomous Systems is an excellent introduction to the history of anti-submarine warfare, and to some recent transformational developments in its conduct. It will help readers understand the long history of undersea warfare and how past experience has made older concepts hard to shift.

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Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

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More pandemics, more often, and spreading more rapidly, warns major new IPBES report

Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases, warns a major new report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world.

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Economic diplomacy in the era of great powers (Linda Yueh)

The inability of the major powers to set new global rules has had a detrimental impact on an international system under significant strain. Linda Yueh argues for a new approach to economic diplomacy that considers not just economic considerations, but also broader foreign policy aims, greater transparency, and a pluralistic approach to global rules to strengthen the multilateral system.

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How the IMF and World Bank turned a pandemic into a public relations stunt (Walden Bello)

Serious calls for reform at the World Bank and the IMF first emerged 50 years ago. After 50 years, the absence of change in either policy or intellectual paradigm has been paralleled by the glaring lack of reform in the governing structures of the Bretton Woods twins. Perhaps this is the time for developing country governments to begin exploring an exit strategy? The IMF and the Bank would like the global South to believe that they are indispensable. They are not.

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Moving away from the China-America binary (Alan McCormack)

Whether it is the West’s relative decline or the “rise of the rest,” the Eastward shift of geostrategic gravity is a reality. That reality presents major ideational and institutional challenges to the West’s domination of the international order. The challenge for international relations theorists and policy-makers is to demonstrate that Western-framed status quo versus revisionist analysis provides a disinterested assessment of “non-Western” institutional initiatives.

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Increase in climate-related disasters sees number of severe natural disasters double in 20 years (UNDRR)

A new UNDRR report shows that natural disasters caused by climate-related events have doubled in the past twenty years, affecting billions of people and costing trillions of dollars. The report highlights the need for governments to plan to spend more to deal with the impact and consequences of natural disasters.

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Divided we stand: Democrats and Republicans diverge on US foreign policy (Chicago Council)

Based on the results of its 2020 Survey of American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy, this Report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs provides insight into the potential differences in US foreign policy settings depending on the outcome of the presidential election. The Report finds that there are profound differences between Democrats and Republicans on which foreign policy issues matter most today. And that they are even more sharply divided on how the United States should deal with these issues and engage the rest of the world.

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Point of no return: the 2020 election and the crisis of American foreign policy (Thomas Wright)

A victory for the incumbent will represent crossing a “tipping point”, beyond which “alliances may come to an end, the global economy could close, and democracy could go into rapid retreat”, Thomas Wright writes in a comprehensive analysis of the likely future foreign policy direction under either a Joe Biden or Donald Trump presidency. This is an important and informative analysis by a well-credentialled and intelligent observer of the contending camps struggling over foreign policy in the US.

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Global order in the shadow of coronavirus: China, Russia and the West (Lowy)

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the state of global governance. Faced with the greatest emergency since the Second World War, nations have regressed into narrow self-interest. The concept of a rules-based international order has been stripped of meaning, while liberalism faces its greatest crisis in decades. In this Lowy Institute publication, the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI)’s Bobo Lo argues that it’s time to rethink global governance and its priorities.

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