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The Belt, the Road, and Latin America

Image courtesy of Cancillería del Ecuador/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in January 2019. 

China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project was late in coming to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). First announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, OBOR, later renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), did not arrive in the LAC until 2018, when, at a meeting of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin America and the Caribbean) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that BRI would “inject new energy into the China-CELAC comprehensive cooperative partnership and open up new prospects.” Given the impressive rise of the People’s Republic of China to the world’s second largest economy—first, by some measures—and the difficulties that many LAC countries were experiencing, it is hardly surprising that Wang’s offer was greeted with enthusiasm. If brought to completion, the integration of the LAC region into BRI would comprise 65 percent of the world’s population and 40 percent of global GDP.

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Cold War versus Today

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This graphic shows how the USSR compared to the US in terms of population, real GDP per capita (USD), defense spending (in billion USD) and nuclear weapons in the 1980s, as well as how the US compares to Russia in these key areas today. For an analysis of how different interpretations of the recent past still affect West-Russia relations and what is needed to rebuild trust, see Christian Nünlist’s chapter in Strategic Trends 2017 here. For more CSS charts and graphics, click here.

Crimea 2.0: Will Russia Seek Reunification with Belarus

Image courtesy of Adam Jones/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) on 19 November 2018.

While speculation about whether Russia may repeat the Crimean scenario in Belarus should not be totally dismissed, exaggerated alarmism would not be appropriate either. Rather, Moscow’s policy is aimed at making sure that Belarus and its leadership remain critically dependent on Russia.

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China and the Last of the Multilateralists

Image courtesy of Lekies/pixabay

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 3 October 2018. 

As the trade war between China and the United States heats up, Europeans should think hard about who they turn to for assistance 

In the early years of Xi Jinping’s presidency, China became increasingly assertive. It challenged neighbours and irksome international rules, while painting its behaviour as a measured response to other states’ mischief. Beijing lashed out at what it called Japan’s “militarism”; the “wrongful” deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea; “unfair” international arbitration on territorial claims in the South China Sea; the European Union’s “protectionist” view of China’s market economy status; Indian “provocations” on the Chinese border; and, of course, the United States’ “threatening” presence in East Asia. In reality, China insisted that status quo powers accept policies on its terms, while it became ever more unpredictable in its dealings with them. Europe learned this the hard way – through botched summits, interrupted or delayed dialogues, constant Chinese attempts to divide the EU, and Beijing’s sweeping disregard for implementing joint agendas and addressing European complaints.

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Nuclear Warheads 2018

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This graphic shows the number of nuclear warheads owned by each country known to have nuclear weapons. For more on trends in nuclear arms control, see Oliver Thränert’s recent addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on proliferation, click here.

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