Editorial - April/May 2019

James Lewis

This edition of Global Insight covers momentous developments on several continents.

In Latin America, a migration crisis, described as being a humanitarian disaster on the scale of Syria, is unfolding as millions flee a dramatically deteriorating situation in Venezuela.

In America, the Mueller investigation delivered its report on alleged collusion with Russia to the US Attorney-General, William Barr. As the Special Counsel’s 400-page document remains as yet unpublished, the coverage in this edition focuses on one of the most significant outcomes to date: the sentencing of President Trump’s campaign adviser Paul Manafort to over seven years in prison for multiple counts of tax and bank fraud.

Despite this and serious consequences for others close to President Trump – his personal lawyer Michael Cohen faces three years in jail; long-time adviser Roger Stone pleaded not guilty to seven charges, with a trial in November; National Security Adviser Michael Flynn admitted to making ‘fraudulent statements’ to the FBI – the President described the investigation as ‘an illegal take down that failed’. This is just the latest example of the Trump administration seeking to manipulate the public’s initial understanding – in this case regarding one of the most important government investigations in American history. Our column explores in more detail the tendency for the President to play fast and loose with the truth, particularly when referring to the rule of law.

Meanwhile, Brexit has continued to highlight the fragile state of the European project, as China brokered a deal with Italy as part of its burgeoning Belt and Road initiative – the first with an EU member state. The continuing rise and global influence of the Asian superpower is covered in our feature ‘China intensifies tech cold war’. As we went to press, Brexit negotiations were ongoing, despite the initial deadline at the end of March having elapsed. Our column ‘Brexit: the pursuit of common ground’ considers how we got here and emphasises the overriding importance of seeking consensus in the national interest – an unenviable task given an increasingly febrile climate exacerbated by global pressures. These are all developments we will, no doubt, return to in future editions of the magazine and in our ongoing coverage at ibanet.org.

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