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David Mdzinarishvili, AA, picture alliance.

A Laboratory of Systemic Rivalry

The South Caucasus between Russia and the European Union

The systemic rivalry between Russia and the EU plays a central role in the South Caucasus. Moscow regards the region as an exclusive zone of influence, while Brussels formulates offers of cooperation. The states of the South Caucasus act differently in this area of tension – also because the room for manoeuvre varies from country to country.

AP, picture alliance.

Climate Action in the Global South

Revitalised Cooperation or Exacerbated Polarisation?

Combining climate protection with economic progress is key if we want to revitalise our cooperation with developing and emerging countries. Sustainability can provide an added value in this context, if and when it makes concrete contributions to partner countries’ development. Its own ambivalent climate policies, as well as geopolitical dynamics should be enough reason for Germany and the EU to choose a pragmatic, flexible and strategic approach to these partnerships.

Paetrick Schmidt


When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disintegrated, it was more than just the final chord of a conflict in power politics between East and West: it was also the end of a clash between two disparate systems, two world views. The concept of the liberal market democracy had prevailed over the utopia of a communist world revolution. In the West in particular, a period of optimism began. Now that this clash of ideologies had dissolved, democracy could triumph across the globe – or so many people thought at the time.

ASSOCIATED PRESS picture alliance.

Many New Alliances

The Middle East and North Africa in the Global “Systemic Rivalry”

There is consensus in the West that the outcome of the war in Ukraine will decide whether authoritarian states such as Russia and China can be countered in their thirst for power so as to defend the rules-based order. Based on this ­interpretation, the war is a global systemic conflict between democracy and autocracy in which the West expects support from the ­countries ­of the so-called Global South as well. The reality is quite different, however: the “Global South” is going its own way. This applies to the states of the Middle East and North Africa, too. While they condemn the Russian attack almost without exception, they have a different ­perspective on what has been called Zeitenwende in Germany – and are becoming increasingly estranged from the West.

Rao Aimin, Xinhua News Agency, picture alliance.

The Courted Bride?

Argentina in the New Global Order

In times of an energy and food crisis triggered by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the countries of the European Union are among those increasingly looking to Argentina again. The South American G20 country is the third largest economy in Latin America and holds enormous potential, especially in the areas of energy and food production.1 Yet Argentina has long been courted intensely by the major powers China and Russia due to its wealth of resources and its strategic location as a gateway to the Antarctic. How is the country positioning itself within the new power structure, and what are the interests and needs that shape Argentina’s foreign policy?

Kabir Jhangiani, NurPhoto, picture alliance.

What Colour Is the Lotus?

India Chooses Not to See a Systemic Conflict

In United Nations votes on Russia’s war against Ukraine, the “world’s largest democracy” regularly abstains, as India continues to cultivate relations with Moscow. Appeals to morality will do nothing to change this. If the Western states want to create stronger ties with India, they must make the country concrete offers that support its economic development and increase its security vis-à-vis China.

abaca, picture alliance.

Arctic Minerals and Sea Routes

An Overview of Resources, Access and Politics

Abundant Arctic mineral resources – hydrocarbons and hard minerals – are attracting attention. But what are the drivers and brakes of industrial development? Are the jurisdictional aspects clear, or is control of the resources subject to dispute? Likewise, Arctic sea lanes are opening up. Could access to them become a source of conflict?

U.S. Air Force, ZUMA Press, picture alliance.


German cartographer August Petermann was one of the greats of his field in the 19th century; his distinctions included receiving the highest award of the Royal Geographical Society in London. It was his firm belief that, thanks to the Gulf Stream, there was ice-free access to the North Pole. Indeed, the theme of the first ever German Cartographers’ Day in 1865, initiated by Petermann, was the organisation of a German expedition to the North. It was not until several failed expeditions and dozens of deaths later that Petermann’s theory was finally abandoned.

Michael Nolan, robertharding, picture alliance.

From No Man’s Land to the Continent of the 21st Century?

On the Future of the Antarctic

Remote and almost uninhabited, yet increasingly significant in international politics: the Antarctic is a crucial factor in the fight against climate change. And given the raw material deposits that are thought to be located there, what was once a no man’s land has the potential to develop into a geopolitical arena in the medium and long term. Germany and Europe should do more to promote stability and sustainability in the region.

David Cheskin, empics, picture alliance.

From Zone of Peace ­to Hotbed of Conflict?

The Geopolitical Importance of the Arctic

The Arctic is increasingly becoming the focus of geopolitical interests. When Mikhail Gorbachev declared the Arctic a “zone of peace” in Murmansk in 1987, it was a sign of hope for constructive cooperation between the Arctic states, but today – especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in violation of international law – a grim picture is emerging of power struggles, mistrust and militarisation.

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About this series

International Reports (IR) is the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's periodical on international politics. It offers political analyses by our experts in Berlin and from more than 100 offices across all regions of the world. Contributions by named authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai) +49 30 26996 3388