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Sanctions and Anti-Sanctions

For those tracking the development (and high-level normalization) of ‘the new cold war,’ this week has been a doozy. U.S. President Joe Biden departed for the G7 summit in Cornwall with a rare bipartisan win in his pocket. His U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Sanctions and Anti-Sanctions

For those tracking the development (and high-level normalization) of ‘the new cold war,’ this week has been a doozy. U.S. President Joe Biden departed for the G7 summit in Cornwall with a rare bipartisan win in his pocket. His U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 billion bill aimed at countering Chinese competition in a number of hi-tech areas like semiconductors and robotics, passed with a 68-32 majority. Some predict that it could ...

Can the G7 Imagine a Different Relationship With the World?

This week, the prominent Financial Times commentator Gideon Rachman argued that the upcoming G7 summit in Cornwall could be ‘the west’s last chance to lead.’ He acknowledged that the seven rich democracies that make up the group (the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Canada) have seen ...

Biden’s Chinese Tech Dilemma

This week the Biden administration announced an expansion of a Trump-era ban on U.S. investment in 59 Chinese companies seen as having ties to the Chinese military and surveillance sectors. The announcement is another confirmation of how ex-president Trump’s vision of a U.S.-China rivalry has ...

Diplomatic Fishing Expeditions

This week provides numerous examples of China's complex presence in West Africa. Take Ghana for example:  even as Chinese entities are building multiple vocational training centres across the country, Chinese citizens are being rounded up for illegal gold mining and Ghanaian cocoa farmers are grappling with the implications ...

The Other Side of Agency

Last week I ran into a friend who’s a media studies scholar. We caught up about our work – she’s busy with a paper about the media representation of face masks. What am I working on? A paper on China’s provision of coal-powered electricity in Africa. Oh, ...

Sierra Leone’s Fishing Minister: ‘There Must Be Development’

The deal between the government of Sierra Leone and Chinese entities to build an industrial fishing harbor on 100 hectares of beach and rainforest reads like a textbook example of why China remains so unpopular among many African communities, even as its relationship with African governments goes ...

Commodity Supercycle Blues

The editorial board of Financial Times published an op-ed yesterday announcing a new commodities supercycle. They argued that the global pivot towards climate-friendlier technologies like electric vehicles is pushing demand for metals like cobalt, lithium and palladium (used in catalytic converters.) In addition, the Biden administration’s new commitments ...

The Winding Road of the COVID Crisis

One of the pandemic’s many challenges is how it outflanks our attempts to impose narratives on it. Humans are storytelling creatures – we use narrative to make sense of chaos and to prioritize threats. Each new phase of the pandemic scrambles the stories we used to make ...

When It Comes to Deforestation, There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around

The NGO collective Forests and Finance released a new study today showing that investments by Chinese banks make it the world’s second-largest funder of projects linked to tropical deforestation.   Analyzing data from financial databases and company publications, the study found that between 2016 and 2020, Chinese ...

COVID and the Emerging Global Landscape

This week saw a small, but notable indicator in my corner of the global COVID landscape. South Africa announced that it will import 10 million doses each of China’s Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines. South Africa is hardly the first country in the Global South to ...

Quad Queries

I’ve wondered in the past whether ‘the Quad’ – the alliance among the United States, Japan, Australia and India dedicated as a counterweight to China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region – has taken on such prominence simply because the word is so fun to say. Quad quad ...
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