Saudi Arabia and the West’s Right Wing: A Dubious Alliance (BESA Center)

While purporting to be focused on promoting a more tolerant form of Islam, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is instituting reforms that are designed to centralize power around himself. His moves include embracing European and Western far-right groups that are hardly beacons of tolerance and respect.


Germany’s Role in the Israeli Navy’s Developing Submarine Fleet (BESA Center)

While matters pertaining to Israel’s purchase of German submarines are central to the corruption case involving former senior Israeli officials and officers, the subs themselves are very important to the Jewish state’s military security. As dangerous enemies arm themselves with missiles that can strike anywhere, the strategic value of a submarine fleet continues to rise.


Five for ’19 (CSIS)

It is tempting to start a new year with predictions about events over the next 12 months. Especially at a time of such uncertainty in Washington, we will not be so bold but will instead lay out some “known knowns” about the global economic outlook in the year ahead—i.e., things scheduled or likely to happen—and “known unknowns”—and questions we have as the year begins.

We categorize them in five main buckets.

Turbulence Ahead: The North African Maghreb in 2019 (CSIS)

Turbulence will increase across the North African Maghreb in the year ahead. Elections, public protest, and economic trends all create the potential for crises that will be difficult to solve. Policymaking on critical issues will likely remain stalled in every country, leaving a debilitating governance vacuum. That vacuum will further widen the gap between citizens and elites and fuel radicalization and irregular migration, two trends that will continue across the region this year. A divided Libya will continue undermining regional security, and the geopolitical contest for North Africa will intensify as external actors seek economic and strategic opportunities in the region. This commentary outlines key trends to watch in 2019 that point to uncertainty for the Maghreb in the year ahead.

Haim Malka

Selling Africa’s Good News Stories (Project-Syndicate)

Low pay and precarious work conditions for most African journalists lead many to seek work with Western news outlets. But that leads to other problems, such as an over-emphasis on crises, strife, and other issues viewed as relevant to Western audiences.

Shayera Dark is a freelance writer based in Lagos.

China’s Perilous Taiwan Policy (Project-Syndicate)

China’s tough stance toward Taiwan has so far proved counter-productive, bringing no concessions from the government in Taipei and exacerbating tensions with the US. Unless China changes course, an escalating battle of wills with the US could erupt into direct conflict.

Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and the author of China’s Crony Capitalism, is the inaugural Library of Congress Chair in US-China Relations.

Risks to the Global Economy in 2019 (Project-Syndicate)

Over the course of this year and next, the biggest economic risks will emerge in those areas where investors think recent patterns are unlikely to change. They will include a growth recession in China, a rise in global long-term real interest rates, and a crescendo of populist economic policies.

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, his new book, The Curse of Cash, was released in August 2016.