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Political Economy

The United States, under the Trump administration, has aimed to excite interest in space activities, including through the highly publicised creation of the Space Force and the manned space flight missions with SpaceX. Importantly, the announcement of the Artemis Accords in mid-May is an extension of such an effort. The Accords are envisioned as a set of bilateral agreements with the intent to return astronauts to the moon and beyond. Led by the United States and a series of commercial and international partners, they mark a seminal development in the outer space governance regime. As the United States and its international partners venture to create and strengthen outer space governance, non-space faring nations must be included in future agreements to ensure they are not systematically excluded from accessing lunar resources and development opportunities.   The Artemis Accords program is spearheaded by the National Aeronautics …

While Covid-19 has spurred debate about the need to elevate public health as a security concern, the securitisation of health presents both opportunities and trade-offs that need to be considered if we are to reallocate military spending to prepare for the next pandemic.  The devastating toll of the Coronavirus pandemic has ignited a debate about the intersection of public health and national security. Once recognised as global leaders in pandemic preparedness, the United States and the United Kingdom have struggled to integrate policy responses to Covid-19 into existing security frameworks and to allocate resources accordingly. Indeed, public health spending in both countries pales in comparison to spending on counter-terrorism, even though more American lives have been lost to the pandemic than in all US wars since World War II and the number of Covid-19 deaths in the UK far exceed those attributed to terrorism in the last 50 years. Consequently, some academics and policymakers have questioned whether the prevailing notion of national security—a state’s capacity to defend its territory and …

Even after achieving independence, Belarus is still known as the most ‘Russianised’ of the post-Soviet countries. Its unique retention of Soviet structures even after the breakdown of the USSR demonstrates the lack of cohesive state identity in the country. This has allowed Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s first and only president to date, to concentrate more and more power in his own hands. This article argues that Belarus’ crisis of state identity has enabled Lukashenko’s populist and, subsequently, authoritarian nature. Further, the lack of state identity has allowed him to neglect the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic. Belarus’s independence in the post-Cold War era was not a result of a long struggle, which hampered the formation of national identity. In 1991, …

Flip the script: stop seeing corruption as a problem affecting exclusively, or mostly, developing countries, and instead recognise and investigate the role of Western financial centres as integral in the puzzle – acknowledging corruption as a global issue. This sentiment, in its various nuances, was reiterated by all the participants to the inaugural workshop of the Testing and evidencing compliance with beneficial ownership checks project, carried out in the frame of the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence (GI-ACE) research programme, in Oxford, on 9 October 2019. While this relatively simple message is now widely accepted by all serious commentators, having even received some attention with the wider public because of books such as Treasure Islands, Moneyland and the TV series From Russia with Cash, we are still far …

With Brexit looming over the health of the European economy and Trump imposing $7.5 billion tariffs on European imports to the United States, the Eurozone faces political challenges. Pitted along a spectrum ranging from pro-stimulus to pro-austerity positions, different politicians advocate for distinct economic futures for the Eurozone. The situation is further complicated by trade disputes, macroeconomic pressures, and a slowing European economy. The outcome of fiscal reform in the Eurozone will depend on who ends up controlling European economic and monetary politics. To address the growing threat to the European economy, the European Union (EU) has confirmed Paolo Gentiloni as the new European Commissioner for Economic Affairs. In his confirmation hearing, Gentiloni presented a reform agenda for the Eurozone …

The EU and Australia have been in negotiations over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 18 June 2018. There is wide-spread agreement that closer ties and increased trade would be mutually beneficial. However, a substantial obstacle is impeding progress: The EU has asked Australia to ensure the protection of speciality goods of regional origin denoted by Geographical Indicators (236 spirits and 172 agricultural and other foodstuffs). A Geographical Indicator (GI) is a distinctive certification sign that is utilised to help identify a product whose quality, reputation and other criteria is linked to its geographical origin. Within the EU, GIs are used to protect agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines and spirits. Examples include parmesan, champagne or Kalamata olive oil. Thus, olive …

Without question, the much-debated, mammoth Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a brainchild of China’s President Xi Jinping. Without question, Xi Jinping has further centralised his powers and, in the process, China has turned more authoritarian. Yet, understanding this gigantic infrastructure investment initiative simply as a top-down project, directed by an almighty leadership in Beijing, is more than questionable. The BRI is open, plural and ever-changing, and, to a large degree what interpreters, Chinese or otherwise, public or private, make of it. Following the pragmatic attitude which has characterised China’s leadership since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the 1980s (‘crossing the river by feeling the stones’), Xi Jinping inaugurated the BRI when a great deal of Chinese overseas investments was already …

Crossrail, still trumpeted as the largest construction project in Europe, and once held up as a paragon of a well-run, on-time and on-budget development, is now late and seriously over budget. Praise has been replaced by political infighting as the blame game gets into full swing and warnings that this will further imperil Transport for London’s (TFL) already shaky looking finances. However, hidden beneath the debris of mismanagement is something much worse: the willingness of the British government to plough vast sums into transport in London, whilst simultaneously underfunding transport in the rest of the country. Across the UK public transport has been de-regulated and privatised under policies originating in the 1980s, yet, London is a treated as a special …