Europe

Members of Border Angels and migrants demonstrate at the US-Mexico border as part of International Migrants Day in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on 18 December 2023. (Guillermo Arias/AFP)

Populism and anti-immigration fervour surges in the West

Taiwanese commentator Chen Kuohsiang notes that populist fervour and anti-immigration sentiments in the US and Europe embolden each other and form a vicious circle, dominating major political issues. This has led to the potential political comeback of former US President Donald Trump and the rise of opposition parties in Europe.
Houthi fighters brandish their weapons as they rally during an anti-Israel and anti-US rally in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, Yemen, on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

[Big read] Global anxiety as Houthis hold Red Sea in chokehold

As the Red Sea crisis goes on, with the Houthis targeting this key shipping route due to various geopolitical factors, logistics companies have to think of alternatives to move goods around the world.
A Houthi policeman takes part in a protest against recent US-led strikes on Houthi targets, near Sanaa, Yemen, on 14 January 2024. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Red Sea shipping chaos puts strain on Chinese exports

Academic Jasper Verschuur points out that the trade route disruptions caused by the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait are having a devastating impact on major shipping countries, not least China.
In this photo taken on 11 September 2023, BYD electric cars waiting to be loaded on a ship are stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port at Suzhou Port, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. China's top electric automaker BYD will build a car factory in Hungary, the company said on 22 December 2023, as it eyes expansion in the European market. (AFP)

[Big read] China's global EV expansion despite trade hurdles from the US and EU

As growth in the sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) slows in China, a growing number of Chinese carmakers are speeding up their entry into foreign markets. While rising trade protectionism in Europe and North America is affecting their pace of expansion, Chinese carmakers are exploring new markets in South America and Southeast Asia, and localising their production to achieve breakthroughs. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim speaks with industry insiders to find out more.
Demonstrators take part in a march in support of Palestinians in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on 17 December 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

How Israel-Hamas war has revived debate on the clash of civilisations

Both Hamas and Israel have framed their war over Palestinian national independence as religious and civilisational, says academic Ma Haiyun. This seems to fit into Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” theory, even though to define Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cultural fault line war is historically, religiously and intellectually untrue. Such rhetoric is dangerous, especially when talk of religious wars is turning into reality, and the US’s “Israel first” policy is undermining US diplomacy, soft power, reputation, and most importantly, international institutions such as the UN that the US has sustained after World War II.
Peter the Great (left) and Emperor Kangxi (right) both wanted to make their countries strong by emulating Europe. (Wikimedia)

Why Peter the Great and Emperor Kangxi failed the modernisation test

Commentator Chip Tsao notes that Russia’s Peter the Great and China’s Emperor Kangxi each wanted to make their countries strong but their efforts fell short. Freedom and democracy were unfamiliar concepts for the Chinese people, while the idea of a social contract did not take root in Russia. In the 21st century, both countries still have to threaten war to prove their greatness.
This pool image distributed by Sputnik agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia on 13 September 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP)

US's 'axis of evil' narrative could escalate tensions on Korean peninsula

With North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia recently, observers worry that North Korea and Russia, together with China, are drawing closer, forming a greater “axis” of nuclear threat. But academic Jin Kai sees the sense of a greater “alliance” forming as all part of the US and its allies’ “geopolitical imagination”, which could see them taking steps that escalate the situation in the Korean peninsula.
Containers are loaded from the railway at the seaport terminal DIT Duisburg Intermodal Terminal at the Duisburg harbour, Germany, on 13 July 2023. With the expansion of rail-bound freight traffic along the "new Silk Road", the port continues to expand its role as a hub or end point of the Silk Road, which connects China and numerous other Asian countries with the Port of Duisburg. (Ina Fassbender/AFP)

Can the US-backed ‘modern spice route’ challenge China’s new Silk Road?

While the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor launched at the recent G20 summit has been touted as a game changer, challenges lie in the way of implementing the plan while China’s ten-year-old BRI continues to be entrenched in global infrastructure networks. EAI senior research fellow Yu Hong shares his views.
People crossing the street in front of the Paramount Global headquarters in Times Square, New York City, 8 August 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/AFP)

The global south and global north: Where does Singapore belong?

Former journalist Goh Choon Kang notes the gap between the global north and global south, with more affluent countries not delivering on promises and commitments made to less developed countries. Is there hope of reconciling the strong and the weak?