The International Monetary Fund has released its World Economic Outlook October 2020: A Long and Difficult Ascent, calling for global carbon emissions to decline to zero by mid-century, and setting out a model of what might be achieved.Read more
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.Read more
Volker Perthes contemplates what might be the legacy of Donald Trump if he were to lose the November election. Should Joe Biden win the election, Perthes suggests, he will not be able to turn the wheel of history back to the Obama era. Instead, he would have to deal with – and have his presidency shaped by – a lingering Trump legacy.Read more
An atmosphere of unreality is building in advance of the virtual meeting of world leaders on 21 September 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN). Nothing demonstrates this more than the proposed draft declaration. Rather than reaffirming the UN’s centrality, the draft declaration’s faux earnestness jars amid the current international reality. Additionally, it ignores the biggest challenge to multilateralism.Read more
The current European Commission has set the defence and reform of multilateralism as one of its key priorities. In this ideas paper from the EU Parliament’s Research Service, Elena Lazarou tackles the question of how to achieve the EU’s objective in an environment where coronavirus has exacerbated the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition.Read more
Xi Jinping’s Leninist calculus has contributed to China exhibiting both reformist and positionalist forms of revisionism simultaneously, both of which contain pathways toward revolutionary revisionism. The combination of reformist and positionalist forms of revisionism has significant implications for thinking about the future trajectory of Sino-US competition.Read more
Revisionism as a strategy in international politics, and China’s revisionism in particular, however is not the “all-or-nothing” proposition portrayed by US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. A more accurate understanding of the factors that have driven Beijing’s transition between different types of revisionist behaviour suggests that rhetoric such as Pompeo’s will merely reinforce China’s move toward more problematic revisionist behaviours.Read more
Conceptual confusion in thinking about foreign policy is evident as the post World War II era’s structured international arrangements of durable institutions and agreed norms – designed to facilitate peaceful dispute resolution and cooperation on security, economic and social matters between nations – is challenged by the United States and others.
The indeterminacy over whether a gradual transition from the rules-based order to a degree of anarchy is taking place is generating a certain dissonance in the speechmaking of leading Australian political figures.Read more
Realism is sometimes regarded as the foundational international relations theory. In this thoughtful piece, Seth A Johnston notes that realist scholars of international relations see the coronavirus pandemic as helping to validate the realist school of thought. But, asks Johnston, has the pandemic also exposed realism’s shortcomings as a source for successful policy?Read more
In the past, presidents used the potency of the American liberal democratic ideal to rally like-minded nations and to rein in and chasten the world’s miscreants. The liberty and justice rhetoric appealed to and generated hope among peoples suffering under autocracy and oppression. The ideal inspired and could be leveraged for influence. While US society was never perfect, American leaders always claimed to be progressively moving towards its ideal and that was the basis of US claims for world leadership.
But under President Trump, the important institutions of constitutional democracy and international law have recently suffered serious damage. The long-term prospects for peace and stability have been undercut as a result.Read more