Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer (PMDB) will open the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium Friday, August 5th . His message to the world will be one of confidence in Brazil’s economic and political future and a portrayal of Brazil’s readiness to return to the global stage. Temer is a big market favorite. The Brazilian financial market has rallied tremendously since May, when he assumed the presidency, following the vote to begin the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff.
By James LeGrice of Insight Consulting Group
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Such is the polarized atmosphere in Britain following the EU referendum. The 51.9 percent of Britons who voted to leave the EU see June 23rd as Independence Day and the start of a Great British renaissance. The other 48.1 percent see it as Doomsday and the beginning of irreversible ruin. More accurately, the referendum has brought the UK to a crossroads where either direction is equally possible at this stage. Which way the country goes largely depends on the steps that David Cameron’s successor takes before the exit negotiations begin.
On July 8, 2016 the world’s eyes will turn to Warsaw as the leaders of the world’s largest security alliance gather at the annual NATO summit. One month ahead of the official summit, the Atlantic Council offered a preview of the forthcoming talks with a major conference on “The Future of NATO Enlargement and New Frontiers in European Security.” The conference brought influential politicians, military leaders, and thinkers from across the world to Washington to discuss the state of the NATO alliance and prospects for its future.
Blue Star Strategies COO Sally Painter moderated the first panel of the day focused on the efforts of Montenegro, Georgia, and Ukraine to join NATO. Sally opened by noting that NATO now finds itself at an inflection point, where it can choose to be bold or give in to fear. That calculus will shape the future of the alliance and the fate of each of the three countries on the panel, who each aspire to full NATO membership but find themselves at very different stages in their relationship with the alliance.
The Organization of the American States (OAS) held an emergency meeting on Thursday, June 23 to consider OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s invocation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela. The Democratic Charter was signed by 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere in 2001 to defend democracy. Article 20 allows either the Secretary General or any member state to call an emergency meeting if they there has been “an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state.” Venezuelan Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez opened the permanent OAS session asking for its cancellation, claiming that the democratic charter was a “coup from [Secretary General] Almagro of this organization and of Venezuela.”
On June 22nd Blue Star hosted a round table discussion with Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky as part of Blue Star’s “America in the World 2017” lecture series. Ambassador Dobriansky is a Senior Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. Her comments, on the “Future of Europe,” focused on the major challenges which Europe is facing, particularly from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and the need for the United States to band with Europe and defend the liberal international order.
Whoever takes office as President in January 2017 will face an unpredictable and ever-changing world, where the next foreign policy crisis cannot always be seen from afar. As the United States prepares for a change in leadership, how can the next administration formulate a grand strategy to combat tomorrow’s threats? This was the question discussed at a high-level lunch on April 22, sponsored by Blue Star Strategies as part of its “America in the World 2017” discussion series.
In July 2007 the U.S. changed its visa-waiver program to enhance security and provide an opportunity for all EU member countries to enter the U.S. visa free. Prior to these changes the visa waiver program criteria relied on an evaluation of visa rejection and over stay rates. When the law was changed the new criteria relied instead on shared security measures.
Unfortunately, the Senate imposed a sunset clause that provided insufficient time for all EU countries to achieve the new security criteria.
As part of the regional turn against leftist populism in Latin America, Peru is currently heading towards a presidential run-off election on June 5th between two right-leaning candidates, Keiko Fujimori (40) of the Popular Force (Fuerza Popular) party and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (77) of the Peruvians for Change (Peruanos por el Kambio). Fujimori is perceived as the more conservative of the two, she has promised to crack down on crime and insecurity, while Kuczynski is more socially liberal. Both are committed to free markets and continuing Peru’s integration with the wider global economy; when it was announced that they were the final two candidates the Peruvian stock market jumped by 12 percent reflecting the business community’s concerns about another leftist president.
Fujimori though has a name that evokes negative memories in many Peruvians because Keiko Fujimori’s father Alberto Fujimori was Peru’s president turned authoritarian dictator from 1990 to 2000. Alberto Fujimori was ultimately impeached on charges of corruption and crimes against humanity and is currently less than halfway through a twenty-five year prison sentence for human rights violations, embezzlement and bribery.
Climate change is real.The world has finally come together and acknowledged that we need to preserve our planet. Following the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference in November last year, a historic meeting took place a week ago at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where 155 countries committed to signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The countries pledged to work towards limiting global warming.
In 1993 the UN created World Water Day to focus on water’s critical role in the life of every global citizen and world peace. This year, on March 22, the UN reported that 3 of 4 jobs globally rely on water. Moreover, by 2050 at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of free water.
By James LeGrice of Insight Consulting Group
Ask a Brexit supporter why Britain should leave the European Union and you will get one of a variety of answers. Stemming immigration, cutting red tape on British business, and reasserting Britain’s place on the world stage are amongst the usual answers from the “Leavers” - those campaigning to leave the EU. What you are unlikely to hear are calls for an end to free trade with Europe, or an end to cooperation on common challenges such as terrorism and the refugee crisis.
On March 22 the Newseum played host to a report launch by Handelsblatt, the leading German financial and business daily. Handelsblatt commissioned YouGov to undertake a poll in each G-20 country to ask voters a series of questions about their political outlook and attitudes so as to make educated comparisons between the twenty nations. After the report was presented a lively question and answer session ensued on the study’s methodology and some of the more surprising, at least for a US audience, survey responses.