[in] focus

Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy in Latin America: A Scorecard

SikhumbuzoWhen Senator Barack Obama was nominated as the 44th and first Afro-American president of the United States on 4 November, 2008, the entire region witnessed a concerted series of celebrations, heralding the birth of a new chapter of engagement in U.S.-Latin America relations. Indeed, on his first appearance at the regional stage in April 2009, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas hosted in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, President Obama effectively improved the mood in U.S.-Latin America relations by unveiling a U.S. policy toward the region that was centred on the idea of multilateralism and equal partnership. He also uttered words that connected well with the region’s leaders when he said:

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International Law under Scrutiny: The Challenges & Impediments of International Courts

RemofiloeThe establishment of international courts came about in order to facilitate the role of the United Nations (UN) in attaining and maintaining international peace and security; achieving international cooperation in solving social, cultural, and humanitarian problems, promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends1. International courts that mediate and preside over matters with legal impacts between states and between states and authorised organs and agencies of the United Nations include the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), with the ICC being the most famous one.

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INDIA-SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS ENHANCING A PRAGMATIC ENGAGEMENT

Sanusha NaiduIndia and South Africa are natural allies. This is exemplified through their independent struggles from colonialism and the anti-apartheid liberation respectively, the pursuit of non-alignment, and the battle for a reformed, just, equitable, and inclusive global system that consolidates South-South Cooperation and reflects the current structures of political and economic power.

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BRICS: A global phenomenon turned into a fad?

Negar FayaziThe grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) was considered a significant moment in time, in which emerging economies began to make their mark on the global stage. South Africa joined this imperative bloc of emerging economies in 2010, in line with the country’s foreign policy to strengthen South-South relations and as a representative for the African continent. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) was essentially considered a geopolitical phenomenon challenging the unipolar order, however in recent years a constant question raised is: Is BRICS still relevant today or was it just a fad and what was the point of South Africa’s inclusion in this group?

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Putting America first may leave it last

trumpYears ago I remember reading Paul Kennedy’s classic, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Changes and Military Conflict (1987). I was most impressed by the statement: “But states apparently at the zenith of their political power are usually already in a condition of comparative economic decline and the United States is no exception. Power can be maintained only by a prudent balance between the creation of wealth and military expenditure, and great powers in decline almost always hasten their demise by shifting expenditure from the former to the latter.”

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