Globalization’s Geopolical Future February 18, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
Tags: China, EU, Geopolitics, India, United States
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Essay by a prescient Geo-strategist, whose work I follow.
Today’s globalization is suffering a populist blowback on a nearly global scale. Indeed, the only places not suffering such blowback are Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, frontiers where globalization’s widespread wealth creation is still resulting in very positive outcomes. Just about everywhere else, whether in the old West, the rising East or the Arab world, we’re seeing a build-up of social anger at globalization’s inequities and excesses that is stunning in its scope and persistence. In short, the world seems destined to either re-balkanize itself over these tensions or enter into a lengthy progressive era that corrects these imbalances and cleans up these corrupting trends.
Here’s where the value of the trans-Atlantic bond comes back in. For, remember, the old West has already processed the very same sort of mega-cycle back at the turn of the 20th century, when the world’s first version of a middle class initially came into its own as a potent political force. In that scary millenarian maelstrom, as today, terrorists, revolutionaries and radical fundamentalists abounded. In the end, both extremes of the ideological spectrum reached their catastrophically evil expression in the form of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany.
But not everybody in that old West got it wrong. Indeed, America and, to a lesser extent, Britain got it spectacularly right. Their shared Progressive Era was a classic example of co-evolution, in that both sides of “the pond” fed off each other’s experiments and successes — the women’s suffrage movement, social welfare, modern police departments, sanitation, mass transit, labor reforms, food and drug safety — while learning from their mistakes. But through it all, an economic landscape was substantially re-graded, leveled out, as it were, in a “fair deal” to the workingman that tamed all that raging populist anger. The leadership that was seen during the Progressive Era, embodied by the career of Theodore Roosevelt, is the same sort of leadership that America, and the world, needs today.Getting back to my “C-I-A” world of tomorrow, these three superpowers — two in the making, one actual — are currently in a race to see which can process its own domestic populist rage faster and more effectively.
Nasty, Short and Brutish January 28, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Geopolitics.
Tags: Anthropology, Darwin, Rousseau, war
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Conventional cultural anthropology’s thinking was that tribal people were peaceful, that Darwinism had nothing to say about human behavior and culture, and that material resources were the cause of conflict.
Current Science is refuting all 3 assumptions. Mortality from violence is very common in small-scale societies today and in the past. Almost one-third of such people die in raids and fights, and the death rate is twice as high among men as among women. This is a far higher death rate than experienced even in countries worst hit by World War II. Thomas Hobbes’s “war of each against all” looks more accurate for humanity in a state of nature than Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “noble savage,” though anthropologists today prefer to see a continuum between these extremes.
A Darwinian explanation of warfare would imply that similar kinds of violence might have evolved in other group-living animals. In recent years, Richard Wrangham of Harvard University has described chronic intergroup violence among chimpanzees.
But what is the motive for such killing? Robert Walker of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Drew Bailey of Carnegie Mellon University last year published a survey of “Body Counts in Lowland South American Violence” and concluded that motives include revenge for previous killings, jealousy over women, capture of women and children and, less often, theft of material goods. Come to think of it, sounds just like the Trojan War
Predicting 2013 – Opportunities and Threats January 14, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Geopolitics, Iran, Middle East
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This report is the synthesis of a 48-hour crowdsourced brainstorming exercise, where over 60 Wikistrat analysts from around the world collaboratively explored the issues that will dominate the foreign policy agenda in 2013..
The year 2012 helped bring answers to a few of the questions that loomed large for foreign observers when the year began. We now know who will lead the United States for the next four years. We have confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated branches across the Arab Middle East remain the dominant, if often struggling, political force in the countries where revolutions have toppled dictators. And we have learned, to little surprise, that the much-touted efforts by Washington to pivot towards Asia will remain constrained by the pullback from continuing crises in the Middle East, where major long-standing unresolved conflicts—notably the stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian tensions—still occupy the front burner.
The distinction between threats and opportunities was not always clear, particularly because a well-managed threat can turn into an opportunity, just as the reverse is true. As expected, the ongoing developments in the turbulent Middle East occupied much of the analysts’ thoughts, suggesting numerous possible outcomes. But other areas of the world and other supranational trends also made the cut.
Here are some of the top negative & positive scenarios from Wikistrat’s simulation.
The Overlooked Big Stories of 2012 December 29, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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Andres Oppenheimer is a Miami Herald syndicated columnist and a member of The Miami Herald team that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, has a nifty list of 5 important, but overlooked stories that will have big implications in the years ahead.
- In 2017, US becomes World’s biggest oil producer
- Corruption’s threat to China’s Leadership’s legitimacy
- The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership
- Secessionist movements shaking Europe
Tags: Economy & Business, Plutocrats, Wealth
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Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness. Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish.
Several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising.
Economists point out that the woes of the middle class are in large part a consequence of globalization and technological change. Culture may also play a role. In his recent book on the white working class, the libertarian writer Charles Murray blames the hollowed-out middle for straying from the traditional family values and old-fashioned work ethic that he says prevail among the rich (whom he castigates, but only for allowing cultural relativism to prevail).
The crony capitalism of today’s oligarchs is far subtler than Venice’s. It works in two main ways.
The first is to channel the state’s scarce resources in their own direction. This is the absurdity of Mitt Romney’s comment about the “47 percent” who are “dependent upon government.” The reality is that it is those at the top, particularly the tippy-top, of the economic pyramid who have been most effective at capturing government support — and at getting others to pay for it.
Exhibit A is the bipartisan, $700 billion rescue of Wall Street in 2008. Exhibit B is the crony recovery. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that 93 percent of the income gains from the 2009-10 recovery went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The top 0.01 percent captured 37 percent of these additional earnings, gaining an average of $4.2 million per household.
Ouracing Enemy Missles in the World’s Fastest Plane October 12, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Geopolitics, Technology.
Tags: Cold War, Spy Plane, SR-71
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Excerpts from Sled Driver, the amazing book by one of the SR-71 pilots, Major Brian Shul:
In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi’s terrorist camps in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111′s had inflicted. Qaddafi had established a ‘line of death,’ a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra , swearing to shoot down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph.
I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world’s fastest jet, accompanied by Maj Walter Watson, the aircraft’s reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). We had crossed into Libya and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape when Walter informed me that he was receiving missile launch signals. I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons-most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles capable of Mach 5 – to reach our altitude. I estimated that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane’s performance
The Dirty Solar Panel Fight Over Clean Energy October 10, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Environment, Renewable Energy, Solar, Solyndra
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Chinese technocrats set out to create an industry that would dominate the world, and they succeeded. They aided solar cell manufacturers with easy credit from state banks—perhaps as much as $18 billion of cheap loans—and, some say, subsidies. As a result of central and local government support, Chinese manufacturers began to expand rapidly. Chinese competitors now own 70% of the world’s wafer-producing capacity.
Make that overcapacity. “Massive subsidies and state intervention have stimulated overcapacity more than 20 times total Chinese consumption and close to double total global demand,” said Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun, in a statement released late last month. The company alleges that 90% of Chinese production had to be exported and that Beijing used subsidies to keep its manufacturers in business.
The powerful Chinese National Development and Reform Commission wants to see two-thirds of panel makers go out of business. Only the largest producers, which are presently nonviable, will survive.
In short, central government technocrats, to salvage their industrial policy, will now have to destroy what they worked so hard to create.
Tags: Economy & Business, Financial Crisis
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The analysis links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions (IR’s), that is, IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830; IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900; and IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present. It provides evidence that IR #2 was more important than the others and was largely responsible for 80 years of relatively rapid productivity growth between 1890 and 1972. Once the spin-off inventions from IR #2 (airplanes, air conditioning, interstate highways) had run their course, productivity growth during 1972-96 was much slower than before. In contrast, IR #3 created only a short-lived growth revival between 1996 and 2004. Many of the original and spin-off inventions of IR #2 could happen only once – urbanization, transportation speed, the freedom of females from the drudgery of carrying tons of water per year, and the role of central heating and air conditioning in achieving a year-round constant temperature.
Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative “exercise in subtraction” suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades.
Rise of the Asian Welfare State September 22, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, health, Lifestyle.
Tags: Asia, China, Geopolitics, Welfare
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Although poorer countries still limit themselves to ad hoc welfare offerings, fitting the spending level to revenues one budget at a time, there is an increasing trend towards entitlements served by statutory institutions that will outlive the budgetary cycle. As these systems mature, welfare provision will be demand-led, not supply-driven; welfare will become integral to the state. Asia’s tigerish economies are turning marsupial, carrying their dependants along with them as they prowl.
Some of the national leaders who unleashed those tiger economies would be shocked and disturbed by the development. To them the welfare state was a Western aberration that would serve only to undermine thrift, industry and filial duty.
It seems that every country that can afford to build a welfare state will come under mounting pressure to do so. And much of Asia has hit the relevant level of prosperity (see chart 1). Indonesia is now almost as developed as America was in 1935 when it passed the landmark Social Security Act, according to figures compiled by the late Angus Maddison, an economic historian. China is already richer than Britain was in 1948, when it inaugurated the National Health Service (NHS) which, to judge by political ructions—and Olympic opening ceremonies—has become crucial to its sense of national identity.
Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science September 15, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion, Science & Technology.
Tags: History, Islam, Religion, Science
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From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. Click on this link to see 20 of the their greatest discoveries. How Islamic inventors changed the world – Science – News – The Independent.
Today Muslims are a fifth of the world’s population, yet contribute only 7% of the world’s GDP. Arabs comprise 5 percent of the world’s population, but publish just 1.1 percent of its books, according to the U.N.’s 2003 Arab Human Development Report. Between 1980 and 2000, Korea granted 16,328 patents, while nine Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., granted a combined total of only 370, many of them registered by foreigners.
What went wrong?
The Islamic turn away from scholarship actually preceded the civilization’s geopolitical decline — it can be traced back to the rise of the anti-philosophical Ash’arism school among Sunni Muslims, who comprise the vast majority of the Muslim world.
While the Mu’tazilites had contended that the Koran was created and so God’s purpose for man must be interpreted through reason, the Ash’arites believed the Koran to be coeval with God — and therefore unchallengeable. At the heart of Ash’ari metaphysics is the idea of occasionalism, a doctrine that denies natural causality. Put simply, it suggests natural necessity cannot exist because God’s will is completely free. Ash’arites believed that God is the only cause, so that the world is a series of discrete physical events each willed by God.
The Ash’ari view has endured to this day. Its most extreme form can be seen in some sects of Islamists. For example, Mohammed Yusuf, the late leader of a group called the Nigerian Taliban, explained why “Western education is a sin” by explaining its view on rain: “We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.” As Robert R. Reilly argues in The Closing of the Muslim Mind (2010), “the fatal disconnect between the creator and the mind of his creature is the source of Sunni Islam’s most profound woes.”
Inquiry into the history of Arabic science, and the recovery and research of manuscripts of the era, may have a beneficial effect — so long as it is pursued in an analytical spirit. That would mean that Muslims would use it as a resource within their own tradition to critically engage with their philosophical, political, and founding flaws. If that occurs, it will not arise from any Western outreach efforts, but will be a consequence of Muslims’ own determination, creativity, and wisdom — in short, those very traits that Westerners rightly ascribe to the Muslims of the Golden Age
The New Atlantis » Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science.
Everything You Think You Know About China Is Wrong September 1, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Financial Crisis, Geopolitics
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For the last 40 years, Americans have lagged in recognizing the declining fortunes of their foreign rivals. In the 1970s they thought the Soviet Union was 10 feet tall — ascendant even though corruption and inefficiency were destroying the vital organs of a decaying communist regime. In the late 1980s, they feared that Japan was going to economically overtake the United States, yet the crony capitalism, speculative madness, and political corruption evident throughout the 1980s led to the collapse of the Japanese economy in 1991.
Could the same malady have struck Americans when it comes to China? The latest news from Beijing is indicative of Chinese weakness: a persistent slowdown of economic growth, a glut of unsold goods, rising bad bank loans, a bursting real estate bubble, and a vicious power struggle at the top, coupled with unending political scandals. Many factors that have powered China’s rise, such as the demographic dividend, disregard for the environment, supercheap labor, and virtually unlimited access to external markets, are either receding or disappearing.
The current economic slowdown in Beijing is neither cyclical nor the result of weak external demand for Chinese goods. China’s economic ills are far more deeply rooted: an overbearing state squandering capital and squeezing out the private sector, systemic inefficiency and lack of innovation, a rapacious ruling elite interested solely in self-enrichment and the perpetuation of its privileges, a woefully underdeveloped financial sector, and mounting ecological and demographic pressures.
How Our 1% Compares August 25, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: 1%, China, Economy & Business, United States
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It’s right out of 1880s America:
In China, less than 1% of households control more than 70% of private financial wealth.
In the US today, we’re talking somewhere between 40 and 45 percent.
Globally, says, John Bussey in the WSJ, the number is “nearly 40%,” so America’s not much off the norm.
China’s Cash Crunch August 20, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Financial Crisis
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At first glance, that proposition seems preposterous. After all, the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, held $3.24 trillion of foreign currency reserves at the end of the first half of this year. Yet foreign currency, no matter how plentiful, has limited usefulness in a local currency crisis. In any event, the PBOC’s foreign currency holdings are almost evenly matched with renminbi-denominated liabilities that were incurred to acquire all those dollars, pounds, euros, and yen. As a result, the central bank cannot use the reserves without driving itself deep—actually, deeper—into insolvency.
When shops close to avoid predatory officials, we know China’s coffers are almost empty. And to make matters worse, the country’s financial problems will be harder to solve now that the country’s balance of payments has turned negative. The net outflow in the second quarter of this year was the first since 1998. The country’s reserves also dropped in Q2. We should not be surprised: there was perhaps $110 billion of capital flight during that period, and the gusher outflow looks like it continued in June. Chinese citizens are losing confidence fast.
No developing country has ever escaped a major financial crisis. The People’s Republic of China is about to have its first one now
The Empire Strikes Back August 11, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
Tags: China, European Union, Geopolitics, History, United States
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Yale Prof. Charles Hill sees two very different kinds of challenges to the liberal, state-based world order. One, the aggressive kind, is exemplified by China. The other, very different, can be seen in the European Union.
“The way the world through almost all of history has been ordered is through empires. The empire was the normal unit of rule. So it was the Chinese empire, the Mughal empire, the Persian empire, and the Roman empire, the Mayan empire.”
What changed this was the Thirty Years War in Europe in the 17th century. “That was a war between the Holy Roman Empire and states, and states were new. They had come forward in northern Italy in the Renaissance and now they were taking hold in what we think of as a state-sized entity. The Netherlands and Sweden and France were among these. . . . France was both an empire and a state—and the key was when [Cardinal] Richelieu took France to the side of the states, which was shocking because France was Catholic and the empire was Catholic and the states were Protestant.”
“My view is that every major modern war has been waged against this international system. That is, the empire strikes back. World War I is a war of empires which comes to its culmination point when a state gets into it. That’s the United States.” And then we get something very interesting added: “That’s Woodrow Wilson and [the promotion of] democracy.”
“World War II, and I think this is uncomprehended although it’s perfectly clear, . . . World War II is a war of empires against the state system. It’s Hitler’s Third Reich. It’s Imperial Japan.” The Axis goal “is to establish an empire. The Nazi empire would be Europe going eastward into the Slavic lands. The Japanese empire in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, as they called it.”
Return of the disparaged “Limits to Growth” Prediction August 4, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Geopolitics.
Tags: Drought, Environment, Geopolitics, Global Warming
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Carlton Palmer shares this gem with these comments:
Thoughtful, analysis and personal take from a Financial realist . Civilized not a Rant! Long, Worth the effort. Ex Pat Brit.Jeremy Granthams take on the ongoing food crisis plus the Game changer implications for the Human condition. Of note “the ethanol/gas” idiocy.
Click on the link to download the .pdf file and take the time to read this 22 page analysis
Afghanistan to Resume Civil War? July 13, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
Tags: Afghanistan, Taliban, war
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A long sobering look at the strong possibility of a return to Civil War in Afghanistan, after we leave.
Nasir celebrated the American invasion in 2001, and, in the decade that followed, he prospered, and fathered six children. But now, with the United States planning its withdrawal by the end of 2014, Nasir blames the Americans for a string of catastrophic errors. “The Americans have failed to build a single sustainable institution here,” he said. “All they have done is make a small group of people very rich. And now they are getting ready to go.”
These days, Nasir said, the nineties are very much on his mind. The announced departure of American and NATO combat troops has convinced him and his friends that the civil war, suspended but never settled, is on the verge of resuming. “Everyone is preparing,” he said. “It will be bloodier and longer than before, street to street. This time, everyone has more guns, more to lose. It will be the same groups, the same commanders.” Hezb-e-Wahdat and Jamiat-e-Islami and Hezb-e-Islami and Junbish—all now political parties—are rearming. The Afghan Army is unlikely to be able to restore order as it did in the time of Najibullah. “It’s a joke,” Nasir said. “I’ve worked with the Afghan Army. They get tired making TV commercials!”
Europe’s Other Crisis – Immigration May 13, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: European Union, Geopolitics, Immigration, Islam, Jihad
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The EU is a project pursued with unstinting energy by a generation of utopians, to replace accountable national governments with a more distant authority that manages to be simultaneously sinister and naïve. For Laqueur a good symbol of its modus operandi came in late 2010, when the European Commission printed millions of calendar diaries to hand out to schoolchildren: they had the dates for Ramadan and for Hindu and Sikh feast days, but not for Christmas.
ALL WESTERN EUROPEAN countries have some version of this problem, which involves immigration, Islam, dissent from established European culture, and organized violence. Although it has been temporarily overshadowed by budgetary and currency woes, it is Europe’s most significant chronic problem. What to do about it depends on where one thinks the problem lies.
Trends In The Spread of Civilization May 3, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, European Union, Financial Crisis, South America, United States
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In his latest book, Civilization, The West and the Rest, the economic and financial historian Niall Ferguson argues that Western civilization’s rise to global dominance over the past 500 years was due mainly to six killer apps, as he calls them: competition, science, rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic.
While “the Rest” lacked these concepts, they might not for much longer, as emerging markets are quickly catching up. Someday, they could even surpass the West. (On May 22 and 29, PBS will air a program based on Civilization.)
What made the West unusual was that risk takers were not only rewarded but honored, whether in science, exploration, or in trade. Spreading across the Atlantic from Europe is an anti-risk culture that manifests itself in two ways. One is the welfare state, designed to remove risk from your life by guaranteeing you an income from the cradle to the grave. That’s great because it means that nobody is starving in the streets for want of work. But it isn’t great if you create poverty traps and disincentives, so that people in the bottom quintile never work, which is the case in much of Europe.
The other way in which the anti-risk culture manifests itself is with the manic regulatory mentality that tries to prescribe rules for every eventuality, including the tiny, tiny risk that an asteroid will hit this building. Regulations that protect from every eventuality end up being paralyzing because the more things are proscribed, the more the ordinary entrepreneur has to be afraid that if he doesn’t comply, he will get sued.
U.S.-China Relations or Rivalry? April 12, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Geopolitics
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America has simply reached the historical limit of its credit, a limit represented not by the federal debt ceiling, but by the widespread global perception that our best days are behind us absent significant restructuring across our economy and government. By and large, neither U.S. political party wants to hear this, much less act upon it. Instead, we Americans either assume that our next “exceptional” rebound will unfold naturally or believe that it can somehow be achieved by sabotaging China’s rise. Our truly unimaginative political leaders in both parties reach for both straws simultaneously, a combination of hubris and fear that is both odd and depressing.
Any expert familiar with China’s current situation recognizes its precariousness: a vast nation of more than 1 billion souls, with more than half of them still living in incredible poverty, attempting to shift — simultaneously! — from extensive to intensive growth and from centralized political authority to something necessarily more federalized and democratized. Amid these combined evolutions, the Chinese Communist Party is most definitely doomed, and it knows it. Already, senior party officials, especially those in retirement, admit this looming reality.
We can only hope that the world will play the Sino-American rivalry more intelligently that either of its combatants do, until generational change on both sides eventually works its political magic. (more…)
After a 1000 Years – The Arab Spring April 8, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Democracy, Geopolitics, Islam, Religion
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The Arab world’s so-called “democracy deficit” is not tied to the Islamic religion but rather to the Arab world’s history and the institutions introduced following conquest by Arab armies over 1000 years ago, according to a new paper presented today at the Spring 2012 Conference on the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity BPEA. (more…)
Tags: Energy, peak oil
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Which Countries Have Profited the Most from Globalization February 22, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Economy & Business, Globalization
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Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China January 29, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Debt, Financial Crisis
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Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:
- Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
- Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
- Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
- Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
- Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
- Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
- Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
- State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
- Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
- United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
- Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
- State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
- Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
- U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
- China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
- The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
- Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)
So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion
Identity Wars -Coming to the Developing World? November 8, 2011Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
Tags: Africa, Asia, Europe, Geopolitics
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The identity wars started in early modern Europe around the time of the Protestant Reformation. After a century of genocidal violence that left most of Germany ruined and depopulated, those wars subsided until the French Revolution set off an even greater and more devastating wave. Closely connected to the industrial revolution and the rise of democracy, nationalism emerged as a dominant political force in 19th century Europe, spreading from northwestern Europe toward the south and east. Over the next 100 years, more than a hundred million people died in wars as multinational empires in Europe and the Middle East ripped themselves apart in paroxysms of war, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
One of the biggest questions in world politics today is whether identity wars (conflicts between groups with different cultural, religious and/or ethnic backgrounds who inhabit the same stretch of land) were a special feature of modern European and Middle Eastern history or whether these conflicts will appear in more of Africa and Asia in the 21st century as development spreads.
Nigeria and Kyrgyzstan are just two of several examples of recent and ongoing ethnic conflict; others include the Sri Lankan civil war that ended brutally in 2009 — as many as 100,000 people may have died. Pakistan, China, India, and various African and Pacific island nations are all struggling with ethnic violence, demands for independence, and conflicts between different groups
Our Emerging Energy Independence October 29, 2011Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Geopolitics.
Tags: Energy, Oil, peak oil
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For more than five decades, the world’s oil map has centered on the Middle East. No matter what new energy resources were discovered and developed elsewhere, virtually all forecasts indicated that U.S. reliance on Mideast oil supplies was destined to grow. This seemingly irreversible reality has shaped not only U.S. energy policy and economic policy, but also geopolitics and the entire global economy.
But today, what appeared irreversible is being reversed. The outline of a new world oil map is emerging, and it is centered not on the Middle East but on the Western Hemisphere. The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore oil deposits found near Brazil.
For the United States, these new sources of supply add to energy security in ways that were not anticipated. There is only one world oil market, so the United States — like other countries — will still be vulnerable to disruptions, and the sheer size of the oil resources in the Persian Gulf will continue to make the region strategically important for the world economy. But the new sources closer to home will make our supply system more resilient. For the Western Hemisphere, the shift means that more oil will flow north to south and south to north, rather than east to west. All this demonstrates how innovation is redrawing the map of world oil — and remaking our energy future.