This authors analyse the background and developments in the Russia-Georgia conflict and outline recommendations on how to prevent wider political fallout
Areas of expertise
Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; China; EU-Russia relations; transatlantic relations; EU politics and institutions; public diplomacy and nation branding; UK foreign policy
English, French, German
Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think tank. His topics of focus include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, EU politics and institutions.
Leonard hosts the weekly podcast “Mark Leonards’s World in 30 Minutes” and writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Project Syndicate. Previously he worked as director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform and as director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank he founded at the age of 24 under the patronage of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the 1990s, Leonard worked for the think tank Demos where his Britain™ report was credited with launching Cool Britannia. Mark has spent time in Washington, D.C. as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and in Beijing as a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences.
He was Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics until 2016.
Honoured as a “Young Global Leader” of the World Economic Forum, he spends a lot of time helping governments, companies, and international organisations make sense of the big geo-political trends of the twenty-first century. He is a regular speaker and prolific writer and commentator on global issues, the future of Europe, China’s internal politics, and the practice of diplomacy and business in a networked world. His essays have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El Pais, Gazeta Wyborcza, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Time, and Newsweek.
As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Leonard is author of two best-selling books. His first book, Why Europe will run the 21st Century, was published in 2005 and translated into 19 languages. Leonard’s second book, What does China think? was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages. He has published an edited volume on Connectivity Wars and is working on a forthcoming book on the same topic.
The EU needs to figure out a way to come together to fight back against Russian aggression. An article published in Newsweek.
For China, the Olympics are no longer a sporting event - they are a battle to define how the country is seen by its citizens and the world
The West could be sleepwalking into a war on the European continent. An article published in the Financial Times.
Spielberg was right to step down but governments should look at China's policies within a historical context, and have a strategy for influencing Beijing beyond the summer of 2008
China is emerging not just as an economic giant, but as a powerhouse of ideas about politics, economics and world order. Its own model of globalisation could re-shape much of the world.
Despite its economic strength and military might, the EU has begun to behave as if it were subordinate to an increasingly assertive Russia
Despite its economic strength and military might, the EU has begun to behave as if it were subordinate to an increasingly assertive Russia. Read ECFR's "Power Audit" of EU-Russia relations.
Russia has emerged as the most divisive issue in the European Union since Donald Rumsfeld split the European club into ?new' and ?old' member states. Read an opinion piece published through Project Syndicate.
A global public opinion survey shows that there is growing public support for a more multi-polar world
The shock of covid-19 in Britain may end the culture-wars politics set off by the Brexit referendum
New research reveals that the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism
Introduction The last five years have not been kind to the European Union’s foreign policy. The EU has been less relevant, less active, and less…
The EU needs to learn to think like a geopolitical power
Europeans can take steps now to enhance their economic power, without advocating increased protectionism or a retreat from globalisation
The results of the European election confront EU leaders with a considerable challenge: navigating a new, more fragmented, and polarised political environment
Support for membership of the European Union is currently high, but so too is pessimism about the future of the European project
The rules-based international order is under threat. The EU should place its defence at the centre of its global strategy.
The context Now is not the moment for either the European Union or the United Kingdom to risk allowing the political tensions around Brexit to…
The EU’s survival depends on protecting its citizens from the forces it has created
Many people in the European Union’s wealthiest states feel powerless to shape its future
Even with a new, far more sympathetic US administration, it will be incumbent on Europe to come to the table as a co-equal power bearing solutions, rather than as a helpless child begging for protection and guidance
The normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (followed quickly by Bahrain) indicates that the Middle East is undergoing a strategic paradigm shift, with the Palestinians left out in the cold. But anyone who thinks that the region’s oldest ongoing conflict has been laid to rest should think again.
The covid-19 pandemic has exposed a gap between European aspirations and actions. If European leaders are serious about defending rules-based multilateralism and securing the European Union’s interests in the twenty-first century, they will need to start coming to terms with today’s geopolitical realities.
Although US President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the election are shameless, they are still more subtle than the outright election rigging that one finds in places like Belarus. Like other authoritarian leaders, Trump is deploying a new anti-democratic politics that has yet to be fully comprehended.
By weaponising immigration and launching new foreign adventures, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is increasingly acting like his Russian counterpart. And though such behaviour speaks to a deteriorating political situation at home, Europeans can no longer assume that Turkey will remain firmly in the Western fold.
The covid-19 crisis has created an opening for stronger collective European action. But policymakers must understand that the demands of voters across the continent for greater cooperation do not reflect an appetite for institution-building, but rather a deeper anxiety about losing control in a perilous world.
After years of pursuing closer bilateral economic ties with China, Europeans have suddenly realised that they have become dangerously dependent on Chinese trade and investment
Like other recent systemic crises, the coronavirus pandemic has confronted us with an inconvenient truth: the risks associated with international openness might very well outweigh the gains. If today’s multilateral frameworks are to have a future, they must be brought back into the service of national sovereignty.
Although the covid-19 pandemic has been compared to the 2008 financial crisis, the two episodes are quite different, not least in their cast of leading characters. Unlike the previous generation, today’s European leaders have been shaped by a decade of austerity, refugee crises, and America's denouement as a global hegemon.
New ECFR/YouGov research reveals huge fluidity in current voting intentions: 70 percent of Europeans certain to vote are yet to make their choice. Nearly 100m swing voters are up for grabs.
Virtual talk on 17 September 2020 with Ibrahim Kalin on Turkey's position in the current Eastern Mediterranean conflict, the risks of military escalation and prospects for a dialogue with Europe
Mark Leonard participates in a debate organised by The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI) in London
Jacqueline Minor, Peter Wilding, Professor Sara Hobolt and ECFR's Mark Leonard analyse which direction the new government may take Britain
The heads of five of our national offices explain their national perspectives on a possible Brexit
Professor Joseph Nye talks to ECFR Director Mark Leonard about his new book "Is the American Century Over?"
A recent ECFR Black Coffee Morning event brought together three authors of reports on the possibility of “Brexit”
The geopolitical grouping known as the “frugal four” — Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands — has emerged as a key power centre in this year’s negotiations over the EU’s next budget and the covid-19 recovery fund. Does “frugality” actually reflect the public sentiment in those countries?
Where do we stand now in building a “strategic partnership” between the European and African continent?
When Biden enters the White House, he will look for a Europe that brings solutions rather than problems. Europeans should show they can be an equal partner & offer him a new transatlantic bargain.
How much impact does the future US president have on the very concept of European sovereignty? Will the idea and initiatives to build more strategic autonomy in Europe be put back to bed with Joe Biden in the White House?
European countries are increasingly coming under threat of economic coercion from great powers, as outlined in the latest ECFR’s policy brief. But what do we…
Europe’s digital transformation and sovereignty has become a question of existential importance. But what does it actually mean to be digital sovereign? Host Mark Leonard…
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the EU’s conception of order and exposed a gap between European aspirations and actions. Firstly, Europeans are confronted with the…
The contested Nagorno-Karabakh region is at the heart of a decades-long armed standoff between neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan. The…
In the eastern Mediterranean, a scramble is under way between countries in the region for access to recently discovered gas fields, often overlapping with wider…
Ursula von der Leyen’s first State of the European Union speech was as long as it was broad in topics and calls for action. Host…