Strand: Eye on the World

Whatever one’s views on Brexit, having a wider view of the world within and beyond Europe is essential to understand broader political trends. This year's festival puts the spotlight on a selection of key international hotspots. Much has been made of Russia’s changing global role, but is it really returning to superpower status or is there a danger of hyped up rhetoric creating a new Cold War? There is no doubt that China is both powerful and rising, but will it choose to take on a more global role; and with North Korea’s erratic missile launches, will China be able to broker peace where the US stirs tensions? France seemingly bucked this year’s populist trend with the election of Macron, but is he really popular within France, or more a liberal poster-boy beyond? Is Canada a new model of enlightened liberalism, or is Justin Trudeau just a political popstar? Finally, while the geopolitical causes behind Islamist terror are fiercely debated, it is no respecter of borders. Must we learn to live with it?