Mohammed Bin Salman is deftly playing a chess game aimed at positioning the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a foreign policy leader both regionally and internationally, exploiting each of the great powers’ primary weaknesses (and desires): energy prices in the US, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and China’s desperation to assert its regional dominance. His sudden rise to the head of the desert kingdom was consolidated recently with his appointment as Prime Minister and heir apparent to his aging father, securing his untouchability and immunity when it comes to human rights violations, putting partners like the United States in the particular quandry of not being able to use their traditional soft power levers and leaving evermore domestic dissidents at risk.
- In recent decades the world has gradually understood the importance of transitioning to a clean energy economy, buoyed by the prospective of catastrophic environmental collapse. However, few know that this transition largely rests on the employment of a few critical minerals whose global demand is set to skyrocket in the near future. Of particular importance in this case are the so called “rare earth” minerals, which have been at the center of US-China tensions on trade and technology in the recent decade. This article will give a brief account of the current situation regarding the rare earth elements supply chain and how it has been at the center of Us-China competition.
- A reflection on the changing international scenario after the pandemic by former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, building on the legacy of this year’s Venice Seminars.
- Populism is not really a concept and the recent wave all over the world should be called maybe “neopopulism”. Neopopulism is not in itself extremism, nationalism, radicalization. But due to its mythical structure, it may lead to these phenomena.
- Populist claim that traditional cultures today are under threat. There are three cases were majority rights claims are plausible as a principle of liberal democracy, says Alan Patten.
- The extraordinary national unity stemmed by General Soleimani’s assassination has suddenly turned into fresh, heated protests against Teheran’s regime. Will it cope?
- People in America once again engage strongly in politics. They have enough of anti-government, anti-immigration and polarization extremism that blocks democratic governance.
- Torrential rains have caused massive floods in Iran, causing huge devastation. But is it the only flood that the Iranian government has to be worried about?
- A power struggle between local oligarchies and a variable element in the “Great Game” being played out in Central Asia between America, Russia and China. This is the opinion expressed by Tiberio Graziani, editor-in-chief of the geopolitical magazine Eurasia, on the recent political turbulence in Kirghizstan. At the beginning of April President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was removed from power following a series of revolts and street clashes marked by violence with at least 80 people killed and over 500 wounded. Five years ago it had been Bakiyev himself, who has now taken refuge in Minsk under the protection of the Byelorussian head of state Aleksander Lukashenko, who had come to power using street protests in which a number of people were killed, removing his predecessor Askar Akayev after what was renamed the “Tulip Revolution.”Interview by Matteo Tacconi.
- Without tacit approval from the Soviet Union, 1989 would never have happened. There would have been no peaceful and democratic mass revolts that resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is thus to Moscow, at the centre of the communist empire, that one must look, if wishing to examine the now two-decade-old epoch-making changes. An unexpected, sudden and phenomenal change that led the Eastern regimes to collapse one after the other. Two years later the Soviet Union also imploded and Mikhail Gorbachev lost his battle. We discuss these events with Andrea Graziosi, Professor of Contemporary History at the Federico II University in Naples, President of the Italian Society for the Study of Contemporary History and author of two scholarly books on Soviet history published by Il Mulino; Lenin and Stalin’s USSR and The USSR from triumph to collapse. An interview by Matteo Tacconi.