The coronavirus pandemic seems to be strengthening China and its leader Xi Jinping, while weakening the United States. If an autocracy gains strength on the international stage, while at the same time fear and uncertainty are spreading among the global population, this may provide fertile ground for a new wave of democratic decline.
On April 1 the European External Action Service (EEA) released a report alleging China and Russia had carried out a coordinated disinformation campaign around the origin and the spread of COVID-19 to sway public opinion abroad and create divisions among EU members. The report claims that China and Russia are spreading targeted disinformation through their… Read more »
It is easy to become fascinated by the images from Wuhan.
A tweet landed a global brand in a clash of politics and cultural demands. It was a tough week for U.S. companies doing business in China. Tiffany canceled an ad campaign because the model had a hand over her right eye, prompting critics in China to complain it looked like she was supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Blizzard… Read more »
The Taliban have, for the first time, been presented with a comprehensive peace initiative. This is an invitation they can not turn down. President Ashraf Ghani’s proposal at the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation was as bold as it was surprising. The package contains many new… Read more »
May the shifting superpower dynamics bring hope for Afghanistan? Both Moscow and Beijing are displaying increasing interest in Afghanistan, after a decade and a half of domination by Washington. This shift is having effects in both Afghanistan and among its neighbours. the international power play surrounding Afghanistan is changing Recent news from Afghanistan has been… Read more »
The only drama in the “two sessions” jamboree in Beijing this spring is that there was no drama at all. Each year the Chinese political élite, 5000 men and a few women strong, congregate in the capital for a week of meetings of the legislature, the National People’s Congress, and its advisory body, the Chinese… Read more »
Uncertainty concerning President Donald Trump’s China and North Korea policies have instilled new fears of war in East Asia, a region that has enjoyed a surprising level of peace for almost four decades. Yet, if China treats Trump with care, the region may remain peaceful. The text in this post is a slightly modified version… Read more »
When Chinese president Xi Jinping met US president Donald Trump in Florida on 6–7 April, Xi convinced his host that it is not easy to exert influence on North Korea, but apparently promised to help the United States to the best of his ability. In practice, it may be Trump who helps China. Following the summit at… Read more »
Stein Tønnesson delivered this year’s The Fjord Memorial Lecture at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer. The lecture discusses Trump’s team of advisors, calls for fighting the increasing use of lies in political campaigning, sees Trump’s election as having weakened democracy worldwide, and perceives a major risk to world peace. Tønnesson ends the lecture… Read more »