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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 14:52 GMT
Canada
Canada
Located on the North American continent, Canada is the world’s second-largest country. Most of Canada is uninhabited wilderness, and Arctic temperatures make the northern territories inhospitable to large population centers. Canada became independent from the United Kingdom in 1867. The country is made up of 10 provinces and three territories. A majority of Canada’s 35 million people reside within 100 kilometers of the U.S. border, where the climate and topography support meaningful populations. However this population is spread across a distance of roughly 7,000 kilometers, from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Canada's primary geographic challenge is maintaining unity across its diverse population cores, which include Toronto and Montreal in the Great Lakes watershed; the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta; and Vancouver on the Pacific coast. The economies of these population cores are geared toward external trade as they try to meet demand for their services, manufactured goods and natural resources like oil. Heavy crude oil found largely in the province of Alberta is exported to U.S. and international markets, making Canada the world’s sixth-largest oil producer. Distance and climate are perennial challenges for Canada. The Trans-Canada Railway was Ottawa’s first effort, completed in 1886, to link Montreal, Toronto, the prairies and Vancouver. Redistribution payments, collected from resource-rich provinces and disbursed to resource-poor provinces and territories, is a contemporary policy aimed to unify and equalize provincial and territorial finances. Because of its location, Canada is well within the U.S. sphere of influence and the country's freedom to act is constrained by U.S. interests.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 00:34 GMT
Argentina
Argentina
Argentina is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world and faces few immediate external threats. The South American country is bound in the north by the rivers of the Rio de la Plata drainage basin, in the west by the Andes Mountains, and in the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Its core territory is the fertile Humid Pampas region, which includes the populous capital city of Buenos Aires. This area is the heart of Argentina’s large agricultural sector, supported by soybeans, wheat, corn and yerba mate. The areas west and south of this core area much more arid and rural but are rich in oil and natural gas. The Andes Mountains, towering to nearly 7,000 meters (23,000 feet), form a natural barrier between Argentina and Chile and protect Argentina's western flank. This protection adds to the natural protection afforded all of South America by its geographic isolation. The only local threat to Argentina is Brazil's growth, which poses a risk to Argentina's control over the all-important Rio de la Plata drainage basin. Argentina's biggest security concern has always been any possible blockade of this basin or of the Port of Buenos Aires, located at the mouth of the river. However, South America's relative isolation and Brazil’s historical weakness have protected post-Colonial Argentina. From its secure position, Argentina has been able to develop the strong agriculture and energy export markets that have made the country wealthy. However, its intrinsic security has also allowed Argentina to become overly focused on domestic issues and has contributed to its failure to develop stable institutions.
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Senior Analyst for Global EconomicsJan 17, 2020 | 13:08 GMT
Michael Monderer
Michael Monderer

Michael Monderer is Stratfor’s senior analyst for global economics focusing on the intersection between macroeconomics and geopolitics. Mr. Monderer covers issues related to country and political risk, including fiscal and monetary policies, balance of payments and capital flows, international debt, and currencies and exchange rates. Before joining Stratfor he was managing director at the G7 Group, Inc. and subsequently the G20 Group, LLC.  Previously, Mr. Monderer was U.S. Treasury Department's director for international debt policy and senior advisor to the undersecretary for international affairs, roles in which he negotiated international debt restructuring agreements with more than 60 countries.

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