India takes charge of the G20
Plus: European Parliamentarians are arrested for accepting bribes, Turkey takes aim at Athens, and peace in Tigray is taking longer than hoped
Hi there Intriguer. Our minds are blown by ChatGPT, the AI writing software gunning for our jobs. We asked it to write a “humorous 50-word intro to an international news newsletter”. Here’s what it came up with: “Welcome to the International News Extravaganza! We’ve been around the world and back to bring the most outrageous international news. From the ridiculous to the sublime, you’ll never miss a beat when it comes to international news. So grab a seat, buckle up, and get ready for a wild ride.” If you ask us, ChatGPT needs a little work on managing expectations.
Today’s briefing is a ~4.6 min read:
- 🇮🇳 India takes charge of the G20: What’s on the agenda?
- ➕ Plus: European parliamentarians arrested for accepting bribes, Turkey takes aim at the city of Athens, and peace in Tigray is taking longer than hoped.
📰 GLOBAL HEADLINES
🤿 DEEP DIVE
India: the rising multipolar star?
- As the next G20 President, India hopes to cement its status as a world power while improving the forum’s ability to solve the world’s increasingly complex problems.
- Analysts expect a renewed emphasis on multipolarism and a focus on supporting developing economies.
2023: the year of the (Indian) tiger*
Forget ‘frothy and feathery’ summer dresses in 2023, next year will be India’s year. At least that’s what the government will be hoping after taking over the G20 Presidency from Indonesia on 1 December.
- But the presidency handover hasn’t gone all well: critics say the new G20 logo is designed to promote Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own party rather than India as a whole.
Nonetheless, India insists it is determined to organise an “inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented” summit.
The ‘People’s G20’
Here’s what India may hope to achieve during its year-long G20 chairmanship:
1. 📈 Enhance its status
With a rapidly growing population and an increasingly powerful economy and military, India has accumulated significant geopolitical clout in the last few decades – even though it’s not always viewed as a global power.
A successful G20 summit may help India pursue some of its more ambitious global goals, including its longstanding push for a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council.
2. ☀️ Make itself indispensable
One of India’s biggest priorities will be reviving international solidarity at a time of increasing polarisation.
- As a traditionally non-aligned power with working relationships with the West, China, and Russia, India is well-placed to be a bridge between the major geopolitical blocs.
After all, India has remained resolutely neutral during the Russo-Ukraine War. As Indo-Pacific analyst Derek Grossman explains:
3. 🏋️♂️ Advance the interests of developing economies
The combo of Covid-19, Russo-Ukraine War, and the global economic downturn have dented growth outlooks for developing economies.
- According to the IMF, global public debt is the highest it’s been in six decades.
As a self-proclaimed champion of “human-centric globalisation”, Prime Minister Modi has promised to “depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products, so that geopolitical tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises.”
We shall see
India’s 2023 G20 Presidency is a chance to relaunch the forum as an effective multilateral body and promote New Delhi’s multipolar worldview.
- According to India analyst Happymon Jacob, India “views itself as a pole in the international system, and not as a satellite state or a camp follower.”
We wouldn’t be surprised if the next year brings significant changes to the G20 governance.
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🔦 REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT
🇪🇺 European Union
Several current and former members of European Parliament, including one of the body’s sitting vice presidents, have been charged and arrested for accepting bribes from Qatar.
- European lawmakers have stripped members of their duties and are preparing to rebuke Qatar, even though Qatar denies involvement.
Twenty-five members of a far-right German extremist group – including one minor aristocrat – were arrested last week on allegations of planning to overthrow the government.
- German authorities have been increasingly focused on right-wing extremism, which some say has infiltrated the country’s military and police forces.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dragged the Greece-Turkey relationship to a new low on Sunday when he suggested Turkish missiles might be aimed at Athens.
- Erdoğan was responding to what Turkey sees as Greek militarisation of Aegean islands near Turkey’s coastline.
The man who built the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103, which detonated over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, is finally in US custody.
- All 259 passenger on board the London-New York flight were killed, as well as another 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is asking NATO to allow 1,000 Serb soldiers to deploy to North Kosovo.
- NATO is expected to reject the request, and EU officials are accusing Serbia of attempting to derail ongoing normalisation talks between Serbia and Kosovo.
🗞 IN OTHER NEWS…
A tenuous peace takes hold in Tigray
The news: The majority of Tigrayan forces have withdrawn from the frontline of the Ethiopian civil war, according to the top Tigrayan commander.
- Tigray’s capital, Mekele, has been reconnected to the country’s electricity grid after more than a year of power cuts (though much of the region remains offline).
Backtrack: Fighting between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces began in November 2020.
- ~600,000 civilians were killed, and millions more were displaced in the conflict.
A fragile peace: The war halted abruptly in early November after the African Union mediated a permanent ceasefire agreement between the warring parties.
- The agreement promised unrestricted humanitarian aid to Tigray and the unilateral disarmament of Tigrayan forces.
But more than a month later, there are still several implementation challenges.
- UN aid workers’ access to the region is still restricted, leading to food and medicine shortages.
- According to the UN, Eritrean soldiers (who were part of the conflict but not the ceasefire) have yet to withdraw from Tigray and are continuing to kill civilians.
What’s next: The rest of Tigray’s forces are waiting to demobilise until Eritrean troops withdraw from the region.
- Plus, the road to true reconciliation between the government and Tigray will be long and will depend on goodwill from leaders on both sides.
📊 CHART OF THE WEEK
Love it or hate it, ChatGPT is one of the most significant leaps forward in publicly-available AI technology ever.
- The technology will not only impact how writing gets done, but also transform how students learn, how computer code is written, and how search engines operate.
Putting that much computing power in the hands of every human being is equally thrilling and terrifying.
And as Kevin Roose and Casey Newton note in their podcast “Hard Fork”, some entity – either governments or tech companies – will have to step into the void to regulate increasingly powerful AI technologies like ChatGPT.
Who should regulate AI tech?
And tell us why!