Editorial - June/July 2018

James Lewis, Director of Content

Welcome to the June/July edition of Global Insight. Our cover feature (‘Did we manage this?’) shines a light on the ongoing migration crisis, largely caused by the sheer volume of asylum seekers from war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The title of the piece refers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s now seemingly somewhat over-confident statement three years ago that the crisis – which saw as many as 1.26 million people arrive at the EU’s borders seeking asylum in 2015 – could and would be managed. The piece considers the wide-ranging responses to what has been described as the ‘palpable panic’ and assesses how effective they’ve been.

We also have an interview with Lord William Hague, who served as UK Foreign Secretary from 2010 until 2014. He was asked to consider what the foreign policy of a responsible liberal democratic state ought to be in these interesting times: with an unpredictable American president; a subversive Russia; an increasingly powerful and outward-looking China; and a fragmenting Europe. ‘We’re still capable of quite a lot of unity and cohesive action and I think a responsible country tries to enlarge that,’ he begins optimistically, before adding a note of realism, ‘of course that is an uphill struggle at the moment. There is a fragmentation of the West going on and I describe it as the most alarming single fact about world affairs.’

The major issues confronting the world in 2018, including migration and terrorism, all require the sort of unity and cohesive action that Lord Hague advocates. Indeed, he points to the fight against terrorism – specifically tackling ISIS in Iraq and Syria – as an area where such an approach is evident and pays dividends. It’s increasingly troubling, however, to witness the extent to which this unity is diminishing on other issues, as countries increasingly look inwards. Our feature ‘Scott Pruitt versus the Environmental Protection Agency’ draws attention to the potentially dire consequences for the global fight against climate change as the Trump administration continues to follow through on the course set when it left the Paris climate accord, adopted by consensus in December 2015.