In the 1990s, many observers questioned whether Germany, having tackled the challenge of reunification, could become a “normal country” (The Economist). This formulation evoked a Germany willing to pursue its own interests at home and abroad, no longer forced to bury them in multilateral garb or to accompany each assertion with a qualifier about the consistency of its interests with those of Europe and the wider world. By Mark Vail
With some exceptions, most held that the new, post-reunification Germany would behave much like the old, “remain[ing] committed to multilateralism” and, when forced to choose, making its interests subordinate to the trans-Atlantic and European structures to which it owed its post-World-War-II rehabilitation and its successful return to the community of nations. Germany’s reactions to the post-2007 economic crisis, and particularly to the so-called European “sovereign debt crisis,” show that these predictions missed the mark, but not in the ways that some in the 1990s had feared...
At first glance, everyday life seems not to have changed in Istanbul. The streets are congested; people hurry to the ferry or the bus. For weeks, there has been no terror attack. Nevertheless, there are some visible changes. There are much more policemen in the streets. In some days, the Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping street on the European side, seems to be under a state of siege. At every street corner, there is police van with the blue light switched on.
Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The new United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017), is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Trump government signals unequivocally the end of international US hegemony. An international hegemon is able to define rules that find relatively broad acceptance internationally and plays a role in safeguarding international economic stability. The Trump government announced measures that go against the present economic rules while not proposing new ones.
The global deficit in quality jobs and deteriorating economic conditions in a number of regions threatens to undo decades of progress in poverty reduction, warns a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) 2016.
Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.