US’ withdrawal from the TPP and the Paris Climate Accords, and the recent dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signal the US’ waning influence and reinforce the collective will of the international community to cooperate.
Largely unhindered filibustering results in notably more harm than good being visited on any serious legislative process. Full freedoms to filibuster will lead to regular abuses of process at the expense of making timely progress on significant, legislative proposals.
In a bid to secure reconciliation, the Afghan government continued the Kabul Peace Process with both international and regional involvement. It extended an olive branch to the Taliban by agreeing to hold talks with it “without preconditions.”
On February 27, 2018, South Africa’s National Assembly voted to begin a process to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation, potentially redistributing the 72 percent of farmland currently owned by whites to black ownership.
Bilateral ties between India and Pakistan have been on a consistent downward spiral since 2016. Some recent developments have been important, raising renewed hope that both countries are looking at a revival of engagement.
Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan has drawn much criticism for its inability to accommodate election promises, over-inclusivity of interest groups, and preserving the status quo of cross-Strait relations.
Contrary to Trump’s comments at the World Economic Forum, a trade war remains unlikely despite the ongoing US-China trade deficit, as criticism of China is part of the campaign narrative and making China a scapegoat for things going wrong is old hat.
The Spanish 2017 extradition of 121 Taiwanese suspects to mainland China met with Taipei’s protests. However, it suggests a deep acceptance of Taiwan’s international isolation based on Beijing’s “One China Principle”.
Bhutan and Nepal, categorized as Least Developed Countries, rank second and third best among South Asian countries in the 2017 edition of the SDG Index and Dashboards Report. This points to differences in the way “development” is defined.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited the United Arab Emirates as part of his Middle East trip. Modi also attended the World Government Forum as Guest of Honour, an occasion for those deemed important by the Gulf sheikhdom.