Two penguins at the shore with a ship in the background and a boat that has people with orange jackets on it.
Danco Island, Antarctica: The small island is a landing spot for tourists and home to a Gentoo penguin colony. | Photo: Derek Oyen via Unsplash

Is Antarctica Still Exceptional? The Case for “Co-opetition” at the South Pole

Antarctic diplomacy has famously shielded the continent of peace, science, and environmental protection from outside conflict and war. This “exceptionalism” is now being tested by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the belief that international strategic competition between great powers is spilling over into the Antarctic. In order to keep the Antarctic exceptional, however, it would be wise to refocus on what has made Antarctic diplomacy so successful in the first place: cooperation in order to compete, or “co-opetition.”


City hall of Agadez: On the building there are signs reading “Mairie Agadez” as well as a flag of Niger. Motorcycles are parked outside.
Agadez, Niger is the Sahel region’s major transit hub. | Photo: © picture alliance / dpa | Kristin Palitza

The Externalization of EU Borders: The Case of Agadez

While the externalization of border enforcement to African states may have contributed to a decline in arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, Nigerien and European Union (EU) authorities have neglected the immense negative impacts of these migration policies on local communities, refugees, and migrants. This spotlight provides an overview of the local implications of the EU’s strategy of externalizing its borders towards transit states in Africa. It focuses on the case of Agadez in Niger, which has been the primary transit city within the Sahel region for migrants and refugees in transit to Europe.


Russian Ambassador sits at the Security Council, holding a printed page with images up in the air.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia speaks at Security Council meeting in New York, accusing Ukraine of developing biological weapons under the tutelage of the United States. | Photo: © picture alliance / Pacific Press | Lev Radin

Muddying the Waters: Official Russian Disinformation on Chemical and Biologial Weapons

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, chemical and biological weapons have once again attracted international attention due to disinformation efforts on the part of Russian officials. International forums which oversee the ban on these weapons are being used to accuse Ukraine and its allies of violating their legal obligations. Many of Russia’s accusations regarding chemical weapons resemble the patterns of deception observed in the past, while disinformation on biological weapons is displaying somewhat novel characteristics. Yet, there are tangible ways of counteracting such disinformation, thereby protecting the ban on chemical and biological weapons.


Man standing on a stage in front of an audience. The Wall behind him reads “The Global Security Initiative: Chinas proposal for So...”
A Chinese blueprint for security: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang presents the Global Security Initiative at the Lanting Forum on February 21st, 2023 | Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | Andy Wong

China’s new Global Security Initiative: a rising power spreads its wings

On 21st February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released its concept for a “Global Security Initiative”, a white paper outlining the country’s proposed solution to challenges across traditional and non-traditional security issues. While the content mostly amounts to a restatement of long-standing principles and pooling of existing activities under a new label, its packaging as a “global initiative” should be seen as a statement of intent, claiming a much greater role in international politics. The sketched Chinese security agenda differs significantly from that of Western powers in both its principles and practices, making this field a new arena of competition between both sides.


Lützerath, 10. Januar 2023: Polizei und Klimaaktivist:innen stehen sich gegenüber. | Foto: Lützi Lebt via flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Ungehorsamer Klimaprotest: Proteste werden intensiver – eine Radikalisierung in die Gewalt ist nicht in Sicht

Wie mit dem Klimawandel umgehen, das wird aktuell intensiv diskutiert. Die Klimabewegung betont die Notwendigkeit einer globalen, sozialen und ökologischen Transformation, dafür intensiviert sie den Protest auch in Deutschland. Zunehmend stehen Aktionen des zivilen Ungehorsams im Zentrum. Im Raum steht der Vorwurf der Radikalisierung in die Gewalt, aktuell ist dieser allerdings unbegründet: Die Bewegung entfaltet sich auf dem Terrain des Demokratischen, verleiht der legitimierten Forderung nach Einhaltung des 1,5-Grad-Ziels von Paris Nachdruck und skizziert Visionen aus der Krise heraus.


Redwan Hussien Rameto, Representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda, Representative of the TPLF, sign the peace agreement “Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” in Pretoria on November 2, 2022.
Redwan Hussien Rameto, Representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda, Representative of the TPLF, sign the peace agreement “Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” in Pretoria on November 2, 2022. | Photo: © picture alliance / EPA | Alet Pretorius

Prospects for Peace in Tigray. An assessment of the peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF

On November 2, 2022, the Ethiopian federal government and representatives of the Tigrayan rebels concluded an agreement intended to end the devastating civil war in the region. What some consider to be the world’s deadliest active conflict has caused tens of thousands battle-related fatalities and even more civilian victims due to famine and lack of medical service during the last two years. This Spotlight discusses the prospects of the current peace agreement and potential pitfalls that may undermine its stability.


Kenya's new president William Ruto shakes hands with outgoing President Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. In the other hand, Ruto holds a box. Fireworks can be seen.
Kenya’s new president Ruto shakes hands with his predecessor Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Brian Inganga

Have the Tables Turned? What to Expect from Kenya’s New “Hustler” President William Ruto

Kenya had awaited the presidential elections held on August 9, 2022 with bated breath. The elections were won by William Ruto, who defeated opponent Raila Odinga by just a few percentage points. Ruto succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who leaves office having served his two permitted terms. This Spotlight analyzes the reasons for Ruto’s success, and, reflecting on his political career, discusses what can be expected from his presidency. We argue that both his success and his career have been strongly influenced by Kenya’s political history and the power structures of political alliances—especially in the context of previous elections.


Public square in Istanbul with election banners signifiyng different political parties.
Election banners signifying different political parties in Istanbul. | Photo: Aris Gionis via flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

The 2023 Elections in Turkey. Can the Opposition Challenge Erdoğan and the AKP?

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 18, 2023, will be a notable juncture point. These elections will determine the country’s future and direction, and are therefore not only significant for domestic politics, but also at the international level as regards Turkey’s capacity to serve as a global actor. During these elections, the opposition will take on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to gain political power after two decades of AKP rule. They will only have a chance of success if they propose a strong candidate to challenge Erdoğan.


Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current President Jair Bolsonaro, left, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil
Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Eraldo Peres

Democracy on the Razor’s Edge: The 2022 Presidential Elections in Brazil

Brazil’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 2, 2022. The confrontation between the extreme-right incumbent president Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Lula Da Silva provides a rare setting. The election places Brazil at a crossroads and will set the stage for either a comprehensive commitment to democracy under Lula or a continuation along the path to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the most likely scenario is a win for Lula. Nevertheless, Brazil’s democratic institutions are continuously under attack. Currently, the possibility of the elections being preemptively cancelled or the final results being contested cannot be fully dismissed.


Vor einem großen Plakat über das Erzgebirge stehen Polizisten.
Freiberg in Alarmbereitschaft: Polizist:innen aus Nordrhein-Westfalen postieren sich am 13.12.2021 am Rande eines „Spaziergangs“ gegen die Corona-Maßnahmen | Foto: © dpa /dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

Eine polarisierte Stadt. Die Corona-Proteste, Demokratieverdruss und die Rolle der Lokalpolitik in Freiberg

Seit 2021 fanden im mittelsächsischen Freiberg über 60 „Spaziergänge“ gegen die Coronapolitik statt. Wie im ganzen Freistaat wurden die Proteste von den extrem rechten „Freien Sachsen“ dominiert. Auch Mandatsträger:innen von Parteien unterstützten sie. Die Kommunalpolitik reagierte nur zögerlich. Erst ein Appell der Zivilgesellschaft veränderte die Situation: Der Oberbürgermeister distanzierte sich deutlich und wurde wiedergewählt. Nun braucht es politische Antworten auf anhaltende Polarisierung und Demokratieverdruss in der Region.