Years ago we published a report on nuclear war and civil defense. Since then, we have seen an increase in actual and potential nuclear proliferation. Recent US administrations have reviewed their policies on nuclear weapons and we are seeing a departure from the late Cold War thinking on nuclear policy.
In early December, small protests developed in Iran due to sharp increases in some food prices. By the last week of 2017, the protests had spread across the country and have continued into the New Year. In this report, we discuss the current protests, comparing them to the unrest that developed in the wake of the 2009 elections in Iran.
Two weeks ago, we introduced this report and covered the mass arrests that took place in Saudi Arabia over the weekend of November 4, when several princes and notable figures were detained. The official reason given for the arrests was corruption, but many have speculated that the move was a cover for Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) to consolidate power and purge elements of a potential coup.
Over the weekend of November 4, there were mass arrests in Saudi Arabia, a missile attack and the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister. Just before that, there was a crackdown on the religious establishment. In this series, we will discuss these events, the broader geopolitics of the region and American foreign policy drift.
This week, Part III covers the controversy surrounding North Korea’s dynastic succession, the end of the Cold War and the ideological issues with Deng Xiaoping. Finally, we recap the key insights from this history and the impact on American policy toward the DPRK, concluding with market ramifications.
Last week, we examined the Minsaengdan Incident and the onset of the Korean War. This week, we continue our series on China and North Korea, discussing the final phase of the Korean War and the ceasefire, the introduction of Juche and the impact of the Cultural Revolution. Next week, we conclude with the controversy surrounding the Kim family’s dynastic succession, the end of the Cold War and the ideological issues with Deng Xiaoping. We will recap the key insights from this history and the impact on American policy toward the DPRK, concluding, as always, with market ramifications.
We begin our study of the historical relationship between North Korea and China, including a review of the Minsaengdan Incident and a broad examination of the Korean War.
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 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.
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.
Over the last decade, the West has seen a series of tumultuous events. As these problems festered, unrest has been expressed through electoral surprises, while Russia has become more aggressive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Park Geun-hye’s ouster as president of South Korea was due to a scandal involving her close confidant accused of seeking bribes from chaebols, a group of family-owned multinational conglomerates that dominate the economy.
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.
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.
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 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 general consensus among economists is that free trade makes the economy more efficient and supports global stability, but the steady erosion of US manufacturing jobs and the shrinking middle class have called this view into question.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Two recent articles caught our attention discussing growing worries in Germany about a post-American Europe. These reports are indicative of rapidly changing views on how the US manages its superpower role.
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.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was a major political figure in Iran and his passing is a significant event for Iran and the region. Analyses of history usually follow one of two lines—the “Great Man” or the “Great Wave.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Donald Trump, the first president in U.S. history to gain the presidency without having been previously elected to office or served in the military, is something of an unknown.
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.
Last week, in Part I of this study, we examined the four imperatives of American policy with an elaboration of each one. This week, we discuss why each is important.
With the elections only about a month away it seems like a good time to review US foreign policy since WWII.