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GuidanceApr 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The national flag of Argentina flies above Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the major arteries of Buenos Aires, on Nov. 28, 2018.
By Exiting Trade Talks, Argentina Risks Sealing Mercosur's Fate
Argentina's withdrawal from Mercosur's trade negotiations with South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Canada and India does not mean the immediate demise of the South American common market. It will, however, weaken the bloc's ability to ink future trade deals, and brings an additional level of uncertainty to the ratification of Mercosur's already negotiated deals with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
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AssessmentsMar 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (center) addresses the media in Pretoria after concluding a meeting with various business and political leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 22, 2020. 
A Perfect COVID-19 Storm Closes in on South Africa
With only 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 25, South Africa may be lagging a few weeks behind the outbreaks now unfolding in Europe and North America. But when the pandemic does eventually hit the country, it will hit hard. With high rates of people living with HIV or tuberculosis, much of South Africa’s population is immunosuppressed and thus believed to be at risk of dying or in need of significant medical care if they contract the virus. Such a widespread outbreak could, in turn, quickly collapse the country's already fragile health care system and economy, forcing the government to abandon its new austerity budget for expensive relief efforts.
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AssessmentsFeb 27, 2020 | 15:47 GMT
Tradesmen stand on the side of the road in Johannesburg, South Africa, seeking work.
South Africa's Grim Economic Reality Shrinks Its Budget Aspirations
South Africa’s newest budget review paints a bleak picture for the country’s economy over the next three years. The budget plan for the 2020 fiscal year, unveiled Feb. 26, projects economic growth over the next three years of just 0.9 percent, 1.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively – and this may be optimistic, compared with the International Monetary Fund's projections. The new budget dramatically alters South African expectations in terms of fiscal and debt consolidation over the next year, as it no longer views balancing its primary budget by 2022 as possible. The new budget also attempts to curb years of wage and expenditure growth – setting up more confrontations between the government and labor unions.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 31, 2020 | 10:45 GMT
North Koreans rally in support of the Workers' Party at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Jan. 5, 2020.
North Korea's Kim Jong Un Finds Himself in a Bind of His Own Making
There is a long-standing, somewhat cliched view in the community of North Korea experts that Pyongyang always holds the strategic initiative when dealing with the United States. While it may well have been the case in the past, North Korea may no longer have much freedom of action. Pyongyang finds itself in an unenviable position facing a stark and narrow choice: Start real denuclearization as demanded by the United States and lose much, or even all, of its hard-won nuclear and missile potential, or cling to the nukes and accept its rising dependence on China, with existential risks for North Korea's sovereignty.
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On SecurityJan 21, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A police officer wears a bomb suit during a Dec. 6 event hosted by the Hong Kong Police Department's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD).
Are Hong Kong Protesters Turning to Bombs?
During a raid Jan. 14 on an apartment in the Mong Kok neighborhood of Hong Kong, police found protest-related material such as masks, protective gear and, most notably, an 8-inch long pipe bomb filled with 40 grams of low explosive powder. During the raid, the bomb disposal team arrested 10 people -- one of whom led police to another property in northern Hong Kong where they found an additional 100 grams of explosive material.  The Jan. 14 seizure, however, was not an isolated case. Indeed, it was at least the seventh incident involving explosive material since anti-government protests began in June 2019. The police's close monitoring of bomb threats will continue to make it difficult for any single individual or group to make a truly sophisticated device. But that won't keep increasingly desperate protesters from pursuing deadlier weapons as they try to turn up the heat on the city's political leaders.
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AssessmentsDec 9, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Close-up of 500 Argentine peso bills stacked on different value notes.
Argentina's Economic Sins Come Back to Bite
When he takes office on Dec. 10, Argentina's new president, Alberto Fernandez, will quickly find his hands tied, having raised expectations of simultaneously increasing government spending while lowering inflation. But while those campaign promises may have earned Fernandez the seat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the many other foreign creditors who keep Argentina's lights on won't tolerate such visions of grandeur. Without a long-term program to solve the country's economic crisis, or the cash to make good on its heaping pile of IOUs, Buenos Aires will likely be forced to once again default on a large part of its debt next year, sending the already impoverished country even deeper into a tailspin. 
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SnapshotsOct 28, 2019 | 16:53 GMT
Argentina Has Elected a Leftist President. Now What?
Center-left candidate Alberto Fernandez won Argentina's Oct. 27 presidential election with roughly 48 percent of the vote, eliminating the conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri, who received roughly 40 percent. Fernandez defends greater state intervention in the economy and expansionary fiscal policies, as opposed to Macri's business-friendly and deficit-tightening positions. Fernandez's inauguration as president on Dec. 10 will mark a change of direction for Argentina. But with the economy expected to shrink by another 3 percent this year, the harsh realities of Argentina's financial situation risk cutting Fernandez's honeymoon period short once he takes office in December. 
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AssessmentsOct 24, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Palestinians gather during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border on Oct. 4, 2019.
Israel's Pursuit of National Unity Risks Alienating Everyone Else
Israel's two latest elections have left it without a government and, for the first time, any major party committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. For Israel's remaining right-wing and nationalist factions, the path has never been clearer to accomplish their long-sought goal of steadily annexing territory in the West Bank. But doing so will require a permanent policy for the millions of Palestinians who live there. Growing nationalist sentiment at home indicates Israel won't make them citizens. And the state of global migration means it won't find new homes for them elsewhere either. Instead, Israel will most likely opt to relegate Palestinians to a second-class existence. Seizing control of the West Bank without giving its Arab residents political rights, however, will risk not only irking its key allies but emboldening the political and social forces around the world that seek to isolate Israel from the international community.
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On SecurityOct 1, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Favio Gomez, brother of Servando Gomez, also known as "La Tuta," is transported in Mexico City on Feb. 27, 2015, after his capture.
The Case for a Counterinsurgency Approach to Mexico's Cartel Wars
Clearly, the Mexican government can't capture or kill its way out of its cartel problem. Instead, the road to solving the country's profound problems might lie along a different, more holistic, tack: a counterinsurgency model. Thinking of the cartels as criminal insurgents provides a valid blueprint for understanding the problem -- as well as a road map for addressing it.
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