Global Spectator

«Global Spectator» is a weekly contribution on current international affairs by Andrés Ortega for the Elcano Blog.

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Social media in China: the regime is more concerned about what people do than what they say

The Internet is essential to a country like China, riding high on the great wave of technology. But it gives the regime the headache of control. Apart from its Great Firewall, the Chinese state runs an elaborate system of censorship and manipulation of social media. It has just proved [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Crisis in Social Democracy, crisis in Europe?

The construction of Europe in the post-war world was, as Jacques Delors used to say, “the offspring of the virtuos love affair between Christian Democracy and Social Democracy”. The former has changed a great deal, although in Germany it remains strong, albeit diminished. But in the EU’s two central [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Will there be a Kurdish state?

The Kurds have been scourged by history (as well as by British and French designs, with their 1920s ‘peace to end all peace’, as David Fromkin termed it in his remarkable book). In drawing up the borders that followed World War One and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Merkel is Germany

Angela Merkel is not only German, she is Germany. She is European, but she is not Europe, even though some outsiders view her as such. And she is not Europe precisely because she is Germany. Her latest victory in the elections on Sunday, while expected, heralds a new phase [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Catalonia: the external dimension to the fore

The attempt to hold an independence referendum in Catalonia has been the focus of a good deal of Spanish foreign policy in recent months. The external dimension of the conflict –and what it could bring in its wake– is something that its proponents have tried to exploit, without any [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega ‘Dictabasura’ in Venezuela

Chavism, now in its advanced (or retrograde?) phase of ‘Maduroism’, has destroyed a country. It attained power through the ballot box (preceded by Hugo Chávez’s attempted coup) with a mandate to ensure a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth and to do away with the corruption of the previous [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega The painful coexistence with Jihadi terrorism

It cannot be defeated in the sense that the terrorism of ETA has been defeated, or the way the IRA and others have been beaten. Even in these cases the fight was protracted. With the Jihadists the struggle might take decades, or longer still since they refuse to entertain [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Europe has missed the boat as far as major Internet platforms are concerned; other opportunities remain

Europe has missed a vitally important boat, namely the major technology platforms that started to emerge in the 1990s. But it is still well-placed to launch some of their successors. Haydn Shaughnessy, author of Platform Disruption Wave: A New Theory of Disruption and the Eclipse of American Power, argues [...]
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