China’s Belt and Road Initiative winds its way into Europe including cooperation and projects with 16 Central and Eastern Europe nations. The sixth annual meeting of 16+1 heads of state convened in Hungary to plan investments in technology, finance, agriculture, health, education and more, Michal Romanowski, with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, categorizes four types of Chinese involvement in the region: As connector, China invests in infrastructure, presenting a warning for Brussels not to neglect Central and Eastern Europe. As shaper, China often overlooks diversity and treats the region as a single bloc, which in turn can prompt caution. As investor, China has not made Central and Eastern Europe a priority, and the United States and the European Union are responsible for the bulk of the region’s foreign investment. Still, China with ample resources can be regarded as challenger for enterprises inside the region and beyond. “It should be remembered in Central and Eastern Europe that China has grown into a promoter of globalization not only out of goodwill but due to its own national interests,” Romanowski notes. He urges leaders throughout the region and Europe as a whole to adopt a similar pragmatic attitude. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
An immediate challenge for the international community, one that dominated discussions at the G20 summit in Hamberg, is North Korea. The dogged pursuit of a nuclear weapons by the rogue nation illustrates the repercussions and security dilemma of any nation’s quest for absolute security, heightening anxiety among neighboring states along with hostile rhetoric and buildup of catastrophic weapons. Richard Weitz, director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, suggests that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization formed by China, Russia and other neighbors after the Cold War, may offer some lessons. “Although rarely openly discussed at Eurasian meetings, member states value the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a means of enhancing mutual reassurance among members to reduce regional security dilemmas,” he writes. “SCO documents and statements repeatedly renounce the logic of absolute security, and members overly commit to eschewing actions that could harm other members’ security.” A challenge for the SCO, of course, is balancing relations between Russia and China. Unequivocal pursuit of dominance in security and economic affairs, without concern for neighboring states, is a recipe for disaster. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
This paper addresses the challenges facing retirement systems, including the impact of ageing societies, and quantifies the size of the savings shortfall. It provides recommendations for system design and actions for policy-makers to ensure we can adjust to societies in which living to 100 is commonplace and affordable for all. The paper is accompanied by the Case Studies in Retirement System Reform which presents 12 examples of pension reform from governments, pension funds and companies around the world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Trade is the glue for globalization and without it other connections can subside. But US voters rejected a US leadership role in global trade deals and elected billionaire Donald Trump who has already signaled intent to have the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other nations. Analysts suggest that China could step into the US role, but “The baton of global leadership rarely passes in such a seamless fashion,” cautions Yale professor Stephen S. Roach. The United States has global responsibilities not easily dismissed, and China confronts multiple risks including high debt and other economic imbalances. Roach proposes that Trump could pursue another huge opportunity by concluding the US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty, under negotiation since 2008. China is the third biggest US export market. Roach concludes, “For a growth-starved US economy, there could be no better way of tapping into what promises to be the world’s greatest market expansion in the years ahead.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Almost a decade after the global financial crisis rattled national economies, many in the world feel their respective countries’ economies remain weak.The survey reveals a bleak picture in parts of Europe, with more than eight-in-ten in Greece, France and Spain describing their country’s economic situation as bad. This gloom is not shared by all in the European Union, however – most Swedes, Germans and Dutch say their economy is doing well. And in China, India and Australia, views are mostly positive. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
China’s vision for global order and skill at managing global economic affairs will be on display at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou. Other nations attending may expect answers on pressing concerns, from war in the Middle East and the refugee crisis to territorial disputes in the nearby South and East China Seas. “As the host country, China has engineered impeccable rhetoric and goals that are hard to disagree with, if somewhat distant and abstract,” explains author François Godement. “In other words, the message is to move away from immediate issues and crises, set long-term and somewhat indeterminate goals, separate economics from politics, and achieve convergence at the G20.” He describes China’s steps to influence global institutions, which include avoiding conflict and crises to achieve long-term goals while ensuring its reputation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Overall, global military spending decreased in 2014 from the previous year, reports the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United States spends more than other countries on defense, yet struggles against the skillful use of hybrid tactics by China and Russia, explains Richard Weitz. Weitz explains that “both authoritarian states have applied various military, paramilitary, legal, economic and information tools in the western Pacific and Eurasia to expand their regional influence, divide potential opponents and otherwise seize the strategic initiative.” The West must analyze the various hybrid tactics and develop rapid responses that include technology and counter media-messaging. [Note: contains copyrighted material].