For years, academics, political leaders and thinkers had argued that the world was fusing into one single entity. “Globalisation” became the most important word on the lips of our thought leaders. Yet the last few years have shown increased resistance to it. Whether he re-enters the White House or not, Trump’s 2016 election was symbolic of a growing scepticism towards the very idea of global integration.
And it wasn’t only an American phenomenon. Across the globe, there seemed a new wave of thinkers and politicians who professed a newly found suspicion of globalisation.
Whether this is merely a hiccup towards humanity’s endpoint as a globalised species is debatable, but at the start of the year, one of the world’s most important financial institutions released a report in which they gave their answer. …
As one power begins to wane and another starts its ascent, is war always going to happen?
This is the question pondered by the ancient Greek historian Thucydides who is most famous for his tract The History of the Peloponnesian War which depicted one of the ancient world’s most famous rivalries.
The ‘trap’ that bears his name refers to the idea that competition between a rising power and a falling one will always end in armed conflict. …
It’s become common to hear that democracy is under threat across the world. The dreams of people in the early 90s that democracy would spread throughout the globe after the fall of communism, as best exemplified by the ‘end of history’ thesis by Francis Fukuyama, now seem hopelessly naïve. Instead, we have begun to see the ‘democratic recession,’ where tyrants, strongmen and dictators have arisen in countries which had previously been solid democracies.
Across the Middle East, the early ambitions of the Arab Spring have died as the region’s largest country has seen its brief experiment with democracy ended by a core of military officers. …
The current incumbent in the White House may deny the facts of climate change, but his leading generals do not have that luxury. The highest people within the US military are under no illusions about what is in store for humanity should the Earth continue its current trajectory.
A report from the Pentagon, the heart of the American military establishment, has predicted that the changing climate and global warming could completely destroy the US military’s ability to operate on a global level.
The report, originally released in early 2019, is uncompromising in the language it uses. It predicts a world in which climate change and the various alterations to the natural world it will create — rising sea levels, crop failure and desertification — will leave the US unable to project its power. …
Water has always defined the story of human civilisations. When you look at the map, it’s no coincidence that mankind’s major cities are located near rivers or other water sources.
The distinguished cultures of ancient Egypt, Babylon, or the Indus Valley all exceeded because of access to the bountiful rivers of the Nile, Tigris and Euphratus and Sarasvati.
The pandemic will end, and its aftermath could bring waves of revolutions across the globe.
As the West appears to be approaching the peak of the new pandemic, and some countries have begun the first tentative steps to re-open their societies, the global south is now seeing the first waves of the virus reaching their shores.
Parts of Asia, Africa and South America have begun to report a steady increasing rate of infection. Many of these nations are copying the model set by China and the West and have begun to implement full-scale lock downs to curtail the virus’ spread.
Now, a leading investment firm have released a report stating that the aftermath of the virus will herald widespread food shortages across some of the world’s most fragile states. …
A world in which every media story was not so intensely focused upon the COVID-19 may seem like a distant memory at the moment, yet it was only some weeks ago when the United States announced something that, had it not be drowned out by the emergence of this pandemic, could have become one of the major stories of the year.
This story was that the Pentagon had conducted a war game which simulated a nuclear exchange with Russia.
Whereas something like this would normally be kept secret for only the eyes of the US’ highest military and political leaders, the Pentagon took the unique position of being completely open about the simulation and American action taken within. …
The previous decade saw a notable trend emerge in its closing years. The system of global capitalism which had been unquestionably dominant since the 1990’s came under fire not just from the activists or dissidents that one would expect, but also from men who stood at the very top of the economic pyramid.
One by one, the world’s wealthiest people began to make public statements in which they raised alarm about the entrenched societal inequality that the system had created.
This debate could have been ignored if it was coming from activists or those who had failed to acquire any wealth throughout their life and could be dismissed as ignorant or envious but its coming from the very top of the capitalist pyramid. …
The Western public is sick of war. Close to two decades of fighting across the greater Middle East, in Afghanistan and Iraq mainly, alongside military action in Libya, Somalia and Syria have contributed to a war-weariness among the American public which is shared by nations throughout the West who have acted to assist the US in its conflicts.
This war-weariness and rising skepticism towards foreign adventure was a large part of the nationalist surge which began in the latter half of the previous decade.
However, this has also occurred at a time in history when the United States’ supremacy, and by extension Western supremacy, is under renewed challenge by a variety of different powers. This challenge has come in the form of states, such as China or Russia, or in the form of networks or guerrilla movements, such as the Islamic State. …
The city stands as the embodiment of mankind’s taming of nature, it is the imposition of humanity’s will upon the very physical structure of the Earth.
Their presence has been one of the things which denoted whether a civilisation would stand the test of time and indeed ancient forms of rule have often been proceeded by the building of cities who, through a mix of conflict and trade links, came to unify into proto-political units.
Ancient Mesopotamia sprung out of the numerous cities which straddled the banks of the Tigris and Euphratis. …