The 19th Party Congress
On October 18th, the Communist Party of China (CPC) will meet for the 19th Party Congress. China’s leadership for the next five years will be determined at this meeting. In this report, we offer a background on China’s government, focusing on the difference between de jure (what is the official structure of China’s governance) and de facto(how it really works).
Geopolitical analysis is a multi-disciplined examination that starts with geography and includes economics, sociology and history. The successful use of a historical analog requires selecting one that has the best fit to the current situation. Selecting an inappropriate historical parallel can be seriously misleading.
North Korea: An Update
North Korea has become increasingly belligerent, launching ballistic missiles, testing a hydrogen device and claiming to have miniaturized a warhead; if true, this means it is a nuclear power. Although Trump says “all options are on the table,” a full-scale war would be catastrophic and may be impossible to contain.
Reflections on Nationalism: Part II
Last week began our series on nationalism. We discussed social contract theory before/after the Enlightenment, examining three social contract theorists. This week, we recount Western history from the American and French Revolutions into WWII.
The Qatar Situation: Part II
Last week, we discussed a short history of Qatar and its geopolitical imperatives. This week, we will analyze the events precipitating the blockade, the blockade itself, the GCC’s demands and the impact thus far on Qatar. We will examine how the situation has reached a stalemate and, as always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
The Qatar Situation: Part I
On June 6, several members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced a sweeping blockade of Qatar, also a member of the GCC. The GCC members enforcing the blockade, led by Saudi Arabia, issued a list of 13 demands which Qatar rejected.
A Coup in Riyadh
Saudi Arabian King Salman recently named his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), as the new crown prince, replacing Prince Nayef. The move was momentous but not necessarily unexpected. Initial reports suggested the change was consensual, but recent articles make it clear Prince Nayef was ousted.
The Mid-Year Geopolitical Outlook
We update our geopolitical outlook for the remainder of the year. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape for the rest of the year.
The Second Korean War: Part II
Last week, we offered background on the situation with North Korea, who appears on track to developing a nuclear warhead and a method of delivery that would directly threaten the US. In Part II, we discuss what a war on the peninsula would look like, including the military goals of the US and North Korea.
The Second Korean War: Part I
Tensions with North Korea have been escalating in recent months. The regime has tested missiles and claims to be capable of building nuclear warheads, and thus there is rising concern about an American military response.
Are the Germans Bad?
At last month’s NATO meetings, President Trump called the Germans “bad” for running trade surpluses with the US, causing a minor international incident. Although such incidents come and go, it did generate a more serious question…are German policies causing problems for the world? In this report, we review the saving identity we introduced in last month’s series on trade and discuss how Germany has built a policy designed to create saving. We discuss the Eurozone and the impact that German policy has had on the single currency. Lastly, we address the question posed in the title of this report.
Reflections on Trade: Part IV
This is the final report of our four-part series on trade. This week, our discussion on trade continues with a look at the relationship between trade, employment and inflation. We also conclude the series with market ramifications.
Reflections on Trade: Part II
In this multi-part report, we offer reflections on trade to provide insight into how to use macroeconomics to judge the veracity of certain claims. In Part I, we laid out the basic macroeconomics of trade. In Part II, we discuss the impact of exchange rates and examine the two models of economic development, the Japan Model and American Model.
The EU at 60: Part II
Last week, we began our retrospective on the EU. This week we will examine the post-Cold War expansion of the EU, including a discussion of the creation of the euro and the Eurozone. With this background, we will analyze the difficulties the EU has faced in dealing with the problems caused by the 2008 Financial Crisis.
The EU at 60: Part I
On March 25, EU leaders gathered in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the organization’s founding. The EU’s primary goal was to prevent another world war from being fought on European soil. The key to meeting this goal was to solve the “German problem.”
It’s Tsar, Not Comrade
February 12th was the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Surprisingly, the Kremlin has taken a very low-key stance on the centenary. We believe the government’s decision to downplay this historical event offers an insight into Russian President Putin’s thinking.
The Assassination of Kim Jong Nam
On February 13th, Kim Jong Nam, the older half-brother of Kim Jong Un, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was assassinated at an airport in Malaysia. This event offers insights into the “Hermit Kingdom” and shows the audacious nature of the regime.
In this report, we define nuclear blackmail and differentiate it from blackmail in a nuclear context. We discuss why this didn’t develop during the Cold War but why it could happen now. We also analyze how nuclear blackmail might be used as part of coercive diplomacy as well as part of conventional conflict.
War Gaming: Part I
A key element of global hegemony is the ability of a nation to project power. A nation that faces significant proximate threats will struggle to project power globally. In Part I, we examine American hegemony from a foreign nation’s perspective.
The 2017 Geopolitical Outlook
As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape in the upcoming year.
Losing the Philippines: Part 2
In Part 1 of this report, published on November 21, we discussed the geography of the Philippines and examined the nation’s history, focusing on its relations with the U.S. In Part 2 of this report, we will discuss President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent foreign policy decisions and their impact on U.S. policy in the region.
Losing the Philippines: Part 1
In May, Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines. An unconventional political figure, he is considered populist in the mold of Turkish leader Recep Erdogan or Indian PM Narendra Modi. Perhaps most controversially, Duterte has embraced China and rejected its long-standing ally, the US.
The TTIP and the TPP: An Update
We first discussed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January 2014. Both pacts have moved from obscure trade proposals to highly controversial political issues.