Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Cleo spoke with John and Gordon about the new agreement for India to help build a port in Iran with assistance from Afghanistan, and possibly Japan. Click here. It starts at 11.35.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Interview: Cleo Paskal on Background Briefing with Ian Masters talking the potential upside of Brexit
Cleo was on Background Briefing with Ian Masters talking about how Brexit may actually turn out to be good for the EU and increase global security. You can hear it here.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
We’ve all seen the short-term downsides of Brexit: the stock market nosedive, the crash of the pound to 30-year-lows and the political earthquakes in the United Kingdom — including the announced resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, the flaring up of civil war in the opposition Labour Party and the threats by the leader of the Scottish National Party to hold another referendum on Scottish independence.
This flux will wax and wane as the U.K. and the European Union soon launch into a two-year period of disengagement that is likely to feature window-rattling Sturm und Drang from both sides. But then the deal will be done, and life will go on. And life post-Brexit might be good, not just for the U.K. but for the United States. Five areas in particular could benefit — and open a path for a new geopolitical order that’s even friendlier to U.S. interests.
1. Intelligence sharing
The U.K. is part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, along with the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This global intelligence-sharing network has the highest penetration in the world. Traditionally, the U.K. and U.S. in particular cooperate very closely. That partnership contributes to the U.K. having the best intelligence capabilities in the EU (though the Germans and French are also very good, they don’t have the global network the U.K. has via Five Eyes).
The EU has been pushing hard for increased intelligence sharing among its 28 members, but at the same time other EU institutions are enacting policies under the rubric of human rights and immigration that undermine security and operations. According to former CIA Director General Michael Hayden: “Because of some of the positions the Euro institutions have taken on surveillance and privacy, the capitals are finding it more difficult to provide for their own citizens’ safety. So to a degree, Brussels, as a Euro institution, keeps pushing these activities at the expense of security.”
Had the U.K. been pulled closer into the EU, it is likely the U.S. would have had increasing concerns about sensitive intelligence cooperation and sharing with the U.K. in case of Brussels interference or leakage to less secure members of the EU. With Brexit, the U.K. and U.S. can continue to deepen their relationship, while the U.K. can continue to work with EU members on well-defined files of mutual interest, without risking compromising Five Eyes partners. Brexit reassures the U.S. that intelligence cooperation with one of its key allies, the U.K. , can not only continue but also grow, securely.
Similarly, there has been a growing push by Brussels for an EU military. The goals of that military risk being very different from the goals of Washington. The cracks have already appeared. Recently, NATO held exercises in Poland and the Baltic states in order to reassure those countries that NATO took their concerns about Russia seriously. Germany’s foreign minister responded by accusing NATO of “warmongering,” thereby showing Russia a NATO-undermining lack of unity in the Western response and discounting the real concerns of EU partners. What would the situation be like if the EU already had a military? Would the NATO exercise have been allowed?
With Brexit, the U.S. can be assured that the U.K. — a permanent member of the UN Security Council — will remain an unconflicted partner in NATO, not subject to divergent EU policies.
3. Trade and finance
During the campaign, President Obama told the British that if they voted for Brexit, a post-EU U.K. would be “in the back of the queue” for negotiating a trade agreement with the U.S. First, the U.S. business sector is unlikely to want to wait to make a deal with the world’s fifth largest economy, especially at a time when it is most adaptable. Second, with the stalling of the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the precarious state of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that queue is getting rather short anyway.
Also, one of the main drivers of the U.K. economy is financial services. The current Conservative U.K. government has a strong relationship with the City, as the home financial sector in London is called, and is likely to work closely with it to ensure that a post-Brexit regulatory regime favors the sector.
The City has a long (if dubious) tradition of working with, and leveraging, political sovereignty to create market exploits, which is why so many of the world’s tax havens are in U.K. possessions, like the Cayman Islands. Stripped of EU oversight, and with a likely compliant national government, the City will actively look to use its new position to try to create adaptable, dynamic and attractive products and services. Wall Street is going to want in.
Overall, the chances of the U.S. being able to do a mutually beneficial, relatively fast, bilateral deal with a close defense partner that has a relatively friendly regulatory regime are much better than the chances of quickly completing a U.S.-EU deal.
4. Geopolitics: The Anglosphere opportunity
The possibility of a reinvigorated U.S.-U.K. relationship creates an opening for the development of a potentially beneficial new geopolitical construct: the Anglosphere. Latticed with English-speaking countries (for example the Five Eyes) and anchored by the U.S., U.K. and India (which has its own accomplished intelligence network), the idea is to facilitate trade, strategic partnerships and more between like-minded nations. It would also act, implicitly, as a competing center of gravity for Chinese influence.
Brexit could fast track the operationalization of an Anglosphere structure. The U.S. is already actively working on developing a strategic relationship with India, and Brexit campaigners have repeatedly said the goal is not to be locked into the anemic growth of Europe, but to go global and build ties with dynamic countries like India. There is a natural compatibility that goes beyond the English language. Already, the U.K. is a favorite destination for well-heeled Indian students, accomplished Indian professionals, Mumbai bankers and more. If the U.K. approaches India like the 21st century power it is, an Anglosphere might take shape, offering the U.S. another set of allies in a time of geopolitical flux.
5. A wake-up call for the EU
There is a (small) chance Brexit might actually help save the EU. The EU is becoming increasingly addicted to an out-of-touch bureaucracy. Brexit may be the intervention it needs to break its habit and become more alert to ground realities. Brexit showed very clearly that, in its current form, the EU is deeply unpopular. Ideally, the concern over exit contagion would spur Eurocrats to get back to the original goals of the union — a mutually beneficial trade zone — and to curb some of its political overreach, creating more popular support. A more stable EU would be a good thing not just for Europe, but for the U.S. and the world. But habits are hard to break.
There is a post-Brexit path for the U.K. to become more economically nimble and geopolitically relevant, both things that would benefit the U.S. It will take leadership and vision. And time. Ignore the sound and fury. It will take at least three years to discover the real meaning of Brexit.
Cleo Paskal is associate fellow, Chatham House, London, and author of Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Report about Cleo's presentation on strategic shifts in Oceania at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada's Trevor Fairlie wrote about the presentation Cleo made at the AFP on geopolitics in Oceania. You can read it here. It starts:
Making the Case for Canada’s Engagement
When Canadians think of the Pacific Islands, or 'Oceania,' we think of beaches and family vacations. What we do not think of is the next sphere of great-power influence. In May 2016, Cleo Paskal  made the case to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada for a change of mindset regarding Oceania. Far from being merely a honeymoon destination, Paskal argued that the region is increasingly critical in geopolitical relations. She argued that some countries, like China, understand the new dynamic in Oceania, while others do not—and Canada is among those countries that are out of the loop on this fast-changing frontier.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Video: Panel discussion on the future of the oil sands with Cleo Paskal, Jeff Rubin, Karel Mayrand, François Delorme (CPAC)
Cleo took part in a panel discussion on the future of Canada's oil sands in the context of today's economic environment with Jeff Rubin (Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governeance Innovation), Karel Mayrand (DG, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, David Suzuki Foundation), Frencois Delorme (Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Sherbroke), moderated by journalist and Laure Waridel. You can see it here.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Cleo was interviewed in Le Devoir on Pacific geopolitics. You can see the article here (and below).
Friday, May 6, 2016
Video: Cleo Paskal on climate change and security at the Forum St-Laurent sur la sécurité internationale
Cleo was on the climate change and security panel at the 2nd, high level Forum St-Laurent sur la sécurité internationale organised by l'Université Laval, l’UQAM et l’Université de Montréal. She covered Indo-Pacific geopolitical implications. You can see it here.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Also in discussion: Frédéric Mérand (Directeur du CÉRIUM), Vincent Arel-Bundock (UdeM), Krzysztof Pelc (McGill), Pierre Marc Johnson (Président du Conseil d'orientation du CÉRIUM)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Cleo did an article for Dialogue Magazine on the political complexity around the proposed Energy East pipeline in Canada. You can see it here.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Date: 6th Dec 2015
By Cleo Paskal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign policy has shown a remarkable deftness of action and cohesion of vision. As a result, the last eighteen months have marked one of the fastest changes in the international profile of a major state in recent years. Whatever the outcome, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the elements that have catapulted India back to the center of global affairs. These lessons learned have relevance for anyone in management.
Consolidate your base
Modi's inauguration was the first indication that there was going to be a major redesign of Indian foreign policy. By inviting SAARC leaders, Modi highlighted the neighbourhood's importance to India, and India's importance to the neighbourhood. The 'peer pressure' component ensured that anyone tempted to not attend would be put on the back foot; Modi would look magnanimous, and they would look out of step with the mood of the times. In the end, all SAARC nations sent top leaders. And so, from his first day in office, Modi not only signaled to the region that 'India is back', he signaled to the wider world India's centrality in the region.
Be clear about your goals
From the beginning, Modi made it clear that his top priority was inclusive growth, and to create that growth he wanted to attract investment, 'make in India' and encourage entrepreneurship. On the international front, that meant doing what anyone expanding their business would do, going forth and selling their product, in this case India. He was always clear, however, that the core goal wasn't just growth, it was inclusive growth, so potential partners would understand from the outset this wasn't about throwing open the doors to all comers. It was about looking for the right partners. In that way, the most unrealistic expectations would be avoided.
Additionally, it meant that at various negotiations, for example at the Paris COP, India's 'red lines' were clear. If the West wanted India to shift away from fossil fuels, it would have to make renewables more affordable because growth would not be sacrificed. Others might not like India's position, but at least it wasn't fuzzy, making negotiations more straightforward. White House spokesman Josh Earnest recently told reporters that Modi "is honest and direct. He is also somebody that has a clear vision for where he wants to take his country. And that makes him not just an effective politician but an effective Prime Minister."
Understand and leverage your partners' priorities
One of the most remarkable moments was Modi's September 2014 Madison Square Garden event. It was his first US trip since he took office, and some media were still roiling with stories about his past visas issues. The Madison Square Garden event steamrolled right through those issues, and set a completely new standard for foreign leaders visiting the US.
Modi understood that the Indo-American community is one of the wealthiest, most engaged and best-educated groups in the US, making it a very desirable demographic for American politicians. As they are not strongly aligned to either political party, Indo-American votes and campaign funding could be seen as 'up for grabs'. That is the reason that over three dozen US congress members from both houses, and both parties, happily shared the stage with Modi at the Garden. They included Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair) and the Republican Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. In one deft move Modi showed US politicians that he held sway over a chunk of their own political system.
Identify overlooked opportunities
Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia, and the first in over three decades to visit the UAE, Fiji, Seychelles and elsewhere. The visits, especially to smaller nations, garnered enormous positive local media coverage that often highlighted linkages with India, reawakening old bonds. By visiting often-overlooked areas so early in his tenure, he showed that India was interested in engaging in a much deeper and more complex way than previously seen.
This dovetailed with a widespread desire, especially in smaller states, to have a 'third option' to supplement the West and China. Both the West and China carry a certain baggage with them that, in many sectors, India doesn't have. For example, Indian pharmaceuticals are often cheaper than Western products and more reliable than Chinese ones. Similarly, Indian education is seen as more affordable than Western education, but more linguistically and culturally compatible than Chinese education.
By spending the time to visit these less obvious parts of the world, Modi is signaling that India seriously wants to engage with all.
However good Modi's foreign policy may be, it will need effective implementation to sustain it and ensure that it accomplishes its goals. And that is something that Modi can't do alone. However sharp the tip of the spear, if the shaft and bow are weak, the target won't be reached.
As of now, follow through on a wide range of foreign policy initiatives has been lackluster. While there are major efforts to reform the bureaucracy, there are still large cracks that can swallow up policies. At the same time, there are those inside and outside the system who would benefit from Modi's failure.
So far, Modi's foreign policy has exhibited intelligence, focus and vision. Time will tell if that vision becomes a reality or stays a mirage.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Interview: Cleo on John Batchelor Show with Gordon Chang talking about India's position at Paris COP
Cleo discusses India's position at the Paris COP21 with John Batchelor and Gordon Chang. You can hear it by clicking here.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
"The Liberal Party likes to think of itself as ‘Canada’s natural governing party’. Though they have been out of power for 10 years, and newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau is relatively inexperienced, the party has deep and old networks across the country. The backroom is full of experienced old hands, including former prime ministers who have known Trudeau since he was a toddler. With a number of bold shifts promised in Canadian foreign policy, and a willingness to be fiscally expansive (Trudeau has said he is willing to run deficits for three years to implement their policies), the change is likely to be dramatic, fast and unrelenting."
To read the full analysis, including possible changes to energy and climate policy, and the implications of the growing role of First Nations in resource management please click here.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Cleo Paskal joined John Batchelor and Gordon Chang to discuss the implications of Chinese President Xi's visit to the UK, as well as what Canada's new government might mean for Canada-China relations.
You can hear the interview by clicking here.
You can hear the interview by clicking here.