Global Challenges

  • Tensions mount over the South China Sea.

    The Stakes are Rising in the South China Sea

    Since March 2015, the US has hardened its attitude toward China’s activities in the South China Sea. Beijing appears genuinely surprised by the shift in tone and behaviour. In the past, the US has taken a more measured approach. So why has it escalated its language and flagged risky military exercises in the South China Sea? Why does the US risk upsetting the tenor of Sino–American relations over rocks, islets and reefs?

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  • Creating a slippery slope into the South China Sea.

    The South China Sea Issue is Becoming More of a Mess

    The US Secretary of Defense has ordered the US military to develop options for more assertive freedom of navigation (FON) operations around China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea. There are significant legal, operational and political risks involved with these operations.

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  • Leaving rebuilding to the Nepalese government may not be best for Nepal.

    The Nepalese Government May Not Be Up to the Task of Rebuilding Nepal

    After the 25 April 2015 earthquake, and the massive aftershock on 12 May, Nepal is entering the second phase of its recovery and reconstruction. Losses are still being tallied, so it is not yet possible to detail a complete list of the required long-term policies and strategies. However, if the country’s governance were to improve and appropriate policies were adopted, a stronger and more picturesque Nepal could emerge from the crisis.

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  • Japan is hoping to maintain a balance of power as China rises.

    Japan's Hopes for a Peaceful and Cooperative China

    Japan’s most important foreign policy goal is to create an environment under which China’s rise will be peaceful and cooperative. In strategic terms, maintaining the balance of power in the region and creating crisis prevention and management mechanisms are the most effective means of achieving this policy goal.

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  • Indonesia's ethnic minorities have endured a brutal past, but there is hope.

    Can Jokowi's Government Offer Hope for Indonesia's Ethnic Minorities?

    During the past decade, attacks on religious minorities have cast a shadow over Indonesia’s reputation as a tolerant and moderate Muslim-majority nation. Across the archipelago Christian, Buddhist, Ahmadi and Shi’ite communities have been exposed to increasing levels of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and violence, largely at the hands of Sunni hardliners.

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  • Tensions are high in the South China Sea and the U.S. and China are not helping.

    Clearing the Air Over Rights in the South China Sea

    Over the past six years, unilateral and escalatory actions by claimants to territories in the South China Sea have exacerbated tensions in the region.

    China has not been the precipitator of the tensions in these waters — whether it is in initiating resource exploration activities in disputed areas, introducing military vessels to enforce jurisdictional claims, or conducting land reclamation work in the adjoining waters. In each instance, other claimants were the first to roil the waters.

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  • Pacific Islanders in low-lying areas are victims of climate change.

    Are Pacific Islanders Living in Low-Lying Areas Being Persecuted?

    Recently, two very powerful and damaging storms have wreaked havoc in the Western Pacific: Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Maysak. These were two of the most intense storms to impact this region in the past 15 years, by some metrics, the worst ever recorded—, and they occurred about a month apart. Climate change, once again, was said to have added to their intensity, which has many Pacific Islanders extremely worried.

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  • Political power over corporations is waning with globalization.

    Multi-National Corporations Stay Way Ahead of Government Regulation

    We may be delighted or depressed that the UK general election delivered an unexpected Tory majority, but does it really make a difference? Most of the decisions that affect our lives, our environment, our working conditions and the products and services we have access to are devised, controlled and delivered by business.

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  • Regulating child labor requires a local touch.

    The Challenge of Regulating Child Labor

    Images of children working in hazardous and abusive conditions naturally provoke strong emotional reactions. For this reason, measures designed to stop children from working, and make sure they go to school, attract little opposition or debate.

    Yet the reality is that a rigid approach to child labour has a downside. Work is neither all good nor all bad for children. It is often both.

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