Warfare Outside the Battlefield 

The past week witnessed a whirlpool of warfare developments. The ICJ’s ruling stopped short of a binding ceasefire in Gaza so fighting has continued not only in Palestine but also through drone attacks against US forces in the region, and continued Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. In short, the end of the conflict is not in clear sight.

Warfare this past week- has also come to exhibit its hold over the world through various forms – economic, diplomatic and developmental

Swiss cement giant Holcim announced its plan to list its US business as a local, separate entity, describing its US business as the most profitable globally. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will direct ≈370bn to green industrial projects such as EVs and solar panels. When this prompts new industrial projects and investment in the US, the demand for construction materials such as those produced by Holcim could be ready to meet this demand and enjoy the advantages of the protection measures the IRA can offer local businesses. A European business breaking away from its parent entity to set up independent operations and be listed on the NYSE- is this just business or Lawfare 101? The US election outcome in November could also affect future operations of ‘foreign’ entities, as Donald Trump plans to reshape the tenets of the IRA should he come into power again. 

Where the American IRA seeks to increase support for local sustainable projects, France is experiencing a different government agenda where diesel subsidies for farmers were to eventually face cuts. Facing backlash from farmers, the plan was dropped, however, discontent has fueled a ‘siege’ of Paris. This discontentment is not new- it was Germany two weeks ago whose farmers were protesting against subsidy cuts. The theme across the bloc has been discontentment with the EU’s policies on sustainability and the impact of the war in Ukraine. As the EU Parliament braces itself for elections in June, this discontentment can shift the ideological spectrum of the bloc to the right so that more and more of the elected MEPs can propose changes from within the bloc.

Elsewhere, a spot of diplomatic warfare between China and Taiwan could be reflected in the relations between Taiwan and Tuvalu, one of Taiwan’s remaining allies. Pro-Taiwan leader Kausea Natano lost his seat in the latest round of elections. While the US recently pledged the first submarine cable to connect Tuvalu to global telecommunications, Finance Minister Seve Paeniu has suggested a review of ties with Taiwan and China based on who can help them navigate development and climate change.

But China could even need to review its bandwidth for international financial support as Evergrande, now known as the poster child for China’s economic/real estate crisis, is ordered by a Hong Kong court to liquidate. Its impact on the rest of the economy is to be determined, but the economic resilience of China has repeatedly been questioned.


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