The fires that ripped through the Amazon’s forests in 2019 brought new prominence to the challenge of balancing environmental and economic needs in this contested landscape. Often described as the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon rainforest covers an area of over 7.5 million square kilometers and is a reservoir for biodiversity unmatched by anywhere else on Earth. The world’s largest hydrological system, the Amazon basin holds 20 percent of the world’s freshwater. With climate change picking up pace, there is a risk that the Amazon rainforest’s vast stores of carbon could be released as deforestation advances. Around ninety thousand forest fires were recorded in 2019, the highest figure for over a decade. The sight of the rainforest ablaze was met with international horror, prompting criticisms of the Brazilian government in general and President Jair Bolsonaro in particular. Already, the forest has shrunk by 20 percent in the space of just fifty years, according to figures from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has almost doubled since 2018, with industrial monoculture and mineral extraction making ever-greater inroads into the tropical belt.
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A few weeks after the groundbreaking budget agreement adopted by the European Council on July 21, 2020, it would be tempting to say that COVID-19 changed everything in the European Union (EU), in line with the oft-repeated principle: “It takes a crisis for Europe to act.” Like all clichés, there is some truth in this statement. The EU’s shared debt plan is the most important boost to European integration since the euro, and a step that would have been impossible without this crisis. This major progress owes, in large part, to a less obvious dynamic—the return of a golden triangle, which had not made such an impact since the early 1990s—the French-German partnership and an ambitious European Commission.
This article is the English version of : Thomas Gomart, « Entre concentration et dispersion : le bel avenir de la puissance », published in Politique étrangère, Vol. 84, Issue 1, 2019, for the 40th anniversary of Ifri.
Far from being an absolute, power “is a human relationship”, one conceivable in both theoretical and political terms. Both an analytical concept and a policy principle, power is now understood in all its different forms, and is either celebrated or criticized in the academic on the topic.
This article is the English version of : Raymond Aron, « En marge des combats douteux », initially published in Politique étrangère in 1979, and again in Politique étrangère, Vol. 84, Issue 1, 2019, for the 40th anniversary of Ifri.
The French in 1954 and the Americans in 1973 withdrew from the three countries in the Indochina peninsula, now subject to parties that claim to follow the same ideology. And the wars continue, either between armies, or between an army and guerrilla forces. The withdrawal of the Western powers did not enable the people to decide on self-determination, on their desire for independence or their quarrels. Previously involved in the East-West conflict, here the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians are the subject of the rivalry between the two great Marxist-Leninist powers.