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Global Challenges
Issue no. 1 | February 2017
South China Sea:
War on the Horizon?
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Articles for this issue
Global Challenges
Issue no. 1 | February 2017
South China Sea: War on the Horizon?

While the global balance of power, under the impetus of the steady rise of China, is shifting towards the Asia-Pacific, and because the future of US policy is uncertain after the election of Donald Trump, tensions in the South China Sea have once again become a major strategic concern. The South China Sea is witnessing a series of sovereignty disputes between littoral states defending rivalling claims to maritime rights and boundaries. Adding weight and urgency to the disputes are the significant natural resources found in the coveted archipelagos and sea beds as well as the rising national sentiments in many of the claimant states. The geostrategic dimension of these quarrels is largely transcending the region and the involvement of external powers such as the United States further complicates the equation. The recent legal victory of the Philippines over China can be seen as a supplementary cause for anxiety in a latent conflict that may at any time escalate into a regional or global confrontation. Henceforth the search for a negotiated solution becomes crucial as military budgets continue to soar in the region.

Articles for this issue

South China Sea:
War on the Horizon?
  • I
     
    Philippine and US marines take their positions during a beach assault exercise facing the South China sea in San Antonio town, Zambales province on 9 May 2014.

    Multiplying Hotbeds of Tension

  • 1
     
    Ships moored in Singapore harbor.

    Antagonisms in the South China Sea:
    The Regional Perspective

    Reading time: 5 min
  • O
     
    China unveils its new submarine fleet.

    Uncertainty in the South China Sea in the Wake of Trump’s Inauguration:
    The Risk of Escalating Rhetoric

  • 2
     
    Protesters hold anti-China placards and shout slogans during a rally in front of the building housing Chinese consular offices in Manila on 2 April  2014, amidst the Philippines at the weekend asking a UN tribunal to declare Beijing's claims over most of the strategically significant South China Sea illegal.

    A Sea at the Heart of Chinese National Interest

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 3
     
    On 1 May 1898, at Manila Bay in the Philippines, the US Asiatic Squadron destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first major battle of the Spanish-American War (April–August 1898).

    The US Pivot Strategy:
    A Change of Paradigm in the South China Sea?

    Reading time: 3 min
  • 4
     
    Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in a meeting with Richard Nixon, President of the United States, in February 1972. The second from left was the interpreter Tang Wensheng.

    China and the United States:
    The Evolution of a Relationship

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 5
     
    Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    Legal Victory for the Philippines against China:
    A Case Study

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 6
     
    A Chinese Navy submarine attends an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

    Arms Race in the South China Sea:
    What Threshold?

    Reading time: 5 min
Other Issues
Issue no. 2 | September 2017
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Democracy at Risk
Global Challenges
Issue no. 2 | September 2017
Democracy at Risk

While the 20th century has been characterised by the generalisation of democratisation processes, the 21st century seems to have started with the reverse trend. An authoritarian-populist nexus is threatening liberal democracy on a global scale, including in its American and European heartlands. Charismatic leaders – thriving on electoral majorities and popular referenda – methodically undermine the rule of law and constitutional safeguards in order to consolidate their own power basis. Coupling inflammatory rhetoric with modern communication technologies, they short-circuit traditional elites and refuse to abide by international norms. Agitating contemporary scourges such as insecurity, loss of identity, mass migration and corrupt elites, they put in place new laws and mechanisms to harness civil society and political opponents. In order to better understand the novelty, permanence and global reach of “illiberal democracy”, this second issue of Global Challenges proposes seven case studies (Russia, Hungary, Turkey, the Middle East, Uganda, Venezuela and the United States) complemented by a series of expert interviews, maps and infographics.

Issue no. 4 | October 2018
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Epidemia of Walls in an (Un)free World
Global Challenges
Issue no. 4 | October 2018
Epidemia of Walls in an (Un)free World

We currently face a baffling paradox. While since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 a seemingly inexorable process of globalisation has been foreshadowing a peaceful and frontierless world, the number of walls across the world has been rising at a steady pace. Liberal and open societies buttressed by trade, international law and technological progress were supposed to implacably contribute to the erosion of frontiers and walls between nations. However, in a context of surging populist discourses, securitarian anxieties and identitarian politics as well as concomitant flows of migration alimented by climate change, conflict and poverty, nations have recently started to barricade themselves behind new walls.