June 2017

US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement could open the door to a new global leadership

On June 1st, 2017, the United States, the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The global deal to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases was ratified last year by almost 200 countries. Although the decision had been previously announced in Donald Trump’s campaign, his decision to follow through on his word came as a shock to the international community. Why did the US leave such a major framework for cooperation?  What are the international effects of the US withdrawal? Will this decision propel American leadership? Or will it bury it?

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Hurdle After Hurdle

On the 17th of May 2017 over 4,000 inmates broke out of Makala prison in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while 70 convicts fled from another prison in south-western DRC a few days later. In the preceding months, the European Union and the United States imposed targeted sanctions, both asset freezes and travel restrictions, on senior Congolese security and intelligence officials, after government violence against civilian protests. An additional nine Congolese officials were then sanctioned on the 29th May 2017 for obstructing the elections and for human rights violations.

With prison breaks, government violence, kidnappings, mass atrocities, human rights violations, a powder keg of disgruntled citizens and suspicions that the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) may have been involved in the killing of two United Nations (UN) investigators just a month ago, it is not surprising that current and prospective investors are fearful of how the situation in the country could develop. Instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become the norm rather than the exception. Recent insecurity has centred on delayed elections – which were due to take place in November 2016 – following President Joseph Kabila’s unwillingness to step down after reaching the constitutional limit.

Aid and Violence in Kashmir

The violence in Kashmir is one of the longest-running and unresolved disputes in contemporary times. It is also at the centre of a nuclear flash point between two arch rivals – India and Pakistan. Both powers have engaged in three wars before nuclear acquisition (1947, 1965, 1971), as well as several military skirmishes (1999, 2001-2002). Relations between the two states are acrimonious at best.  Much of the hostility stems from unfettered terrorist activity in the region that is at times openly backed by Islamabad as means to undermine Indian hegemony. The September 2016 terrorist attacks in Uri attest to this reality, the consequences of which have virtually severed relations between the two states.