Richard Gowan

A memo to Ban Ki-moon

Dear Secretary-General, contratulations on winning a second five year term at the United Nations. Here are the issues that you will have to concentrate on, beginning with the immediate concerns of Libya, the wider Middle East and Sudan.  

The EU and Libya: Missing in action in Misrata

The European Union needs to learn the lessons from the past as it wrestles with using military support to underpin its humanitarian assistance in Libya. This will allow it to develop more credible intervention forces for future crisis – ones that might actually work.  

South Sudan & Palestine could heat up the UN’s summer

The reputation of the UN and Ban Ki-moon may hinge upon the outcome in two of the world's trouble spots – South Sudan and Palestine. South Sudan in particular remains a crucial test of the institution's ability to handle weak states.  

Will the EU win glory on the shores of Tripoli?

Western military planners are examining options for deposing Gaddafi. But somebody also needs to think about an international peace operation to stabilise Libya, whether to oversee the dictator's negotiated exit or clean up afterwards. Could this be a role for a UN-mandated EU?

Rebuilding Libya

Libya is in chaos, and Colonel Gaddafi seems determined to hang on to power at any expense. But he has already lost control of large swathes of the country, the security forces and bureaucracy, and it is not premature to start planning for a post-Gaddafi Libya

Who Lost the Eastern Mediterranean?

For all the talk of a 'global Europe', the EU struggles to influence its neighbours in the Eastern Mediterranean. Its uncertainty over Egypt is indicative of a wider loss of direction in the EU's regional policies. 

India and Europe still need each other

A shift in the power balance between the EU and India has changed the two powers' attitudes to each other, but there will still be plenty to talk about at their summit this week. Concluding a free trade agreement, and greater strategic cooperation on a range of security issues, is in the interests of both

No more heroes?

David Cameron, the British prime minister, says that the G20 has passed its “heroic phase.” Certainly the last leaders’ meeting in Seoul lacked the high drama of those during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. But perhaps we need to redefine heroic leadership: what the world needs now is politicians who are ready to make complex multilateral compromises for the common good

Why Europe’s military cutbacks will hurt Africa

Rampant defence cuts throughout the EU will probably spell the end of European countries’ little-known but important interventions in African conflicts. This invites humanitarian disasters on parts of the map that increasingly small numbers of European citizens could identify

Why the EU should stand by Obama

Following President Obama?s mauling in this week?s midterm elections, European diplomats will doubtless be working on memos to their ministers with titles like ?The Transatlantic Alliance and the Tea Party?. Richard Gowan suggests what they should say