WORLD ROUNDUPThe EU Is Taking on Big Tech. It May Be Outmatched | Did Kim Jong-un Really Seek to Denuclearize? | Why Modi Underperformed, and more

Published 10 June 2024

·  How ECOWAS Lost Its Way
An inability to stand up to constitutional coups—most recently in Togo—has undermined the bloc’s credibility

·  Why Modi Underperformed
India’s prime minister will balk at needing allies to stay in power, but coalition rule has proved to have benefits for large democracies

·  The EU Is Taking on Big Tech. It May Be Outmatched
From the Digital Services Act to the AI Act, in five years Europe has created a lot of rules for the digital world. Implementing them, however, isn’t always easy

·  Terrorist Threat Assessment: Boko Haram and ISWAP in Nigeria
The African continent is grappling with a notable increase in terrorist activities, marked by the presence of various ethnonationalist and jihadist groups

·  Joe Biden Is Walking Down the Path to a Nuclear War with Russia
During the Cold War, all sides have studiously avoided supplying lethal aid to proxy forces to attack directly on the territory of their nuclear-armed adversaries. Until now

·  Did Kim Jong-un Really Seek to Denuclearize?
We will never know for sure, but evidence suggests Kim was hardly sincere

How ECOWAS Lost Its Way  (Jessica Moody, Foreign Policy)
ECOWAS’s failure to do more  is likely in part due to its awkward approach to democracy. The bloc is underpinned by the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, adopted in 2001, which includes a mechanism for responding to undemocratic changes of power and requires democratic governance, elections, neutrality of the judiciary, and impartiality of the security forces in member states.
However, once leaders have held elections and can show that they have been chosen as president via the ballot box—however flawed that process may have been—the stringent stipulations of the protocol often go out the window. As such, a leader who undertakes a constitutional amendment or forces the judiciary’s hand to remain in office, or even one who seizes power by force, may subsequently be treated as a democratically mandated leader if he or she wins an election.
The bloc’s rapid reversal in its approach to leaders violating democratic norms once they have held elections is noteworthy. Togo’s Gnassingbé was elected as ECOWAS’s chairperson in 2017 despite presiding over a quasi-coup in 2005, sparking widespread riots and leading to the deaths of nearly 1,000 people. ECOWAS did sanction Togo during this time, but less than a year later, it declared that an election that allowed Gnassingbé to retain his power was free and fair. And there has been a deafening silence from ECOWAS amid the recent outcry that Togo has now become that same leader’s dynasty.
This inaction in the face of constitutional coups stands in stark contrast to ECOWAS’s immediate fierce condemnation of military coups in West Africa in recent years. Coups in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Guinea all saw ECOWAS impose sanctions and call for electoral timetables to be introduced, and the bloc even toyed with the idea of a military intervention in Niger. While these actions have largely been ineffectual, at least ECOWAS appeared interested in doing something to counteract such coups. (Cont.)