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On GeopoliticsSep 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A damaged EU flag is seen in Brenzone, Italy, on Aug. 14, 2019. 
The Quest for European Unity: No End of History
Europe faces a challenge of identity and international role over the next decade. For nearly 500 years, Europe sat at the center of the international system, its internal competitions rippling out across the globe. But the relative balance of global power and influence has shifted. And rather than being the driving force of global dynamics, Europe is increasingly caught between major powers: the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and now the United States and China. Internally, Europe still strives for the creation of a continental union, though those dreams have been eroded by financial crises, Brexit and a resurgence of nationalism in recent years. Externally, Europe remains fragmented in its foreign policy and prioritization. The shifting patterns of global competition will compel Europe to rethink its internal structures and to come to grips with defining its interests abroad. Otherwise, it will find itself drifting further
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On GeopoliticsSep 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Cadets from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy march in formation before a ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2019.
China’s Amphibian Dilemma: Straddling Land and Sea Ambitions
China borders the largest number of countries by land, and its navy now boasts the largest number of battle force ships by sea. With the pressures and opportunities of both a continental and maritime power, China faces an amphibian’s dilemma, as the characteristics best suited for life at sea and life at land may not always prove complementary. Traditional continental powers are more prone to autocratic leadership to manage their challenges, while traditional maritime powers lean toward democratic systems and more open markets. China’s attempt to straddle both can intensify sectionalism and exacerbate differences between the interior core that remains continental in outlook, and the coastal areas that become more maritime in outlook.  This challenge is also highlighted in China’s attempts to reshape global norms and standards, which themselves largely represent the maritime world order. The apparent global political and economic dissonance is not merely caused by China seeking change, but
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On GeopoliticsSep 4, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the Middle East and North Africa. 
A New Brand of Nationalism Takes Root in the Middle East
Once the salve for crushed Middle Eastern empires, Pan-Islamism and its vision of a singular caliphate are now increasingly seen as a threat to stability in the region, with countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia turning toward nationalism to instead define their policies and behavior. Indeed, even the countries that still claim to embody the movement’s ideals, such as Qatar and Turkey, are only doing so as a means to a nationalist end, exploiting its preachings of Islamic unity to project their government’s strength at home and abroad. This trend has most recently been illuminated by the UAE-Israel normalization pact by dealing yet another blow to the idea that a global Muslim community, despite its many differences, could at the very least agree on issues such as the Palestinian question. 
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On GeopoliticsSep 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 2: The China Challenge
The United States is in the midst of a strategic refocus from counterterrorism and rogue nation control, to so-called great power competition. While Russia, the Cold War counterpart, remains a concern, China has emerged as the primary near-peer threat. This is reawakening a key element that has long shaped U.S. foreign policy and strategic assessment -- the major power of the Eurasian continent. But U.S. culture is split over the best way to deal with a Eurasian competitor, and domestic political and economic divisions will make it difficult for the United States to maintain a consistent strategy. 
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On GeopoliticsAug 31, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 1: Setting the Stage
Since its founding, the United States has feared European involvement in North America and the Western Hemisphere. And from this fear arose a continentalist strategic view and an idea of a fortress America secure behind its oceanic moats, loathe to get dragged into internecine European conflicts. Over time, as the United States consolidated its position across North America, a competing concern also arose -- one that began to see Eurasia at the heart of a strategic challenge to U.S. security, and promoted a more internationalist and interventionist policy abroad. These two strands continue to shape U.S. strategic assessments today amid the emerging geography of the 21st century. 
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PodcastsAug 21, 2020 | 11:40 GMT
Pen and Sword: In the Dark of War with Sarah Carlson
This Pen and Sword podcast is a conversation with Sarah Carlson, who served as a CIA Counterterrorism Center analyst in Libya when the United States evacuated its embassy in Tripoli. Her account of that event is entitled, "In the Dark of War: A CIA Officer's Inside Account of the U.S. Evacuation from Libya."
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On GeopoliticsAug 21, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Pedestrians stand on top of a world map at a monument commemorating the Age of Exploration in Lisbon, Portugal.
China, the U.S., and the Geography of the 21st Century
The geographical perspective of the 21st century is just now being formed. And at its heart is a rivalry between China and the United States to succeed Europe’s 500-year centrality in the international system, which will be framed by a shift in global economic activity and trade, new energy resource competition, a weakening Europe and Russia, and a technological battle to control information. The new map of the next century will extend to the ocean floor for resources and subsea cables, to space where low-Earth orbit satellites drive communications, and into the ill-defined domain of cyberspace. 
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MemosJul 2, 2020 | 18:32 GMT
Fred Burton's Summer Reading List
Fred Burton has put together a few books to add to your warm weather reading list. Some are classics and others are brand new — I can’t wait to read Brad Thor’s new thriller NEAR DARK. The Scot Harvath series never disappoints.
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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 19:50 GMT
What to Make of Hong Kong’s First Protests Post-Security Law
The Hong Kong protests carried out in spite of the new national security law showcase the volatile dynamic we expect to continue as authorities work to dishearten demonstrators and the broader pro-democracy camp. Following an official rejection of an application to hold rallies citing COVID-19 and past violent activity, pro-democracy demonstrators turned out by the thousands to mark the July 1 anniversary of the British handover of the city. While authorities arrested a relatively small number of protesters under the new law, how the detentions and trials proceed will indicate the legislation’s ability to truly dissuade protests in the future. There is also the possibility that further arrests will take place based on surveillance of protest activity.
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SnapshotsJun 30, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
China's Security Law Ushers in a New and Uncertain Era in Hong Kong
The passing of China's new Hong Kong national security law marks the start of an uncertain and potentially volatile phase in the city's ongoing political crisis, as pro-democracy forces square-off with newly empowered city authorities backed by Beijing, increasing the risk of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that could also impact foreign institutions. Whether the next period sees tumultuous protests or a stifling of the pro-democracy camp will now depend on how Hong Kong authorities choose to apply their new sweeping powers and how the prosecution of such crimes proceed in the court system. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, for its part, will work to balance the need to maintain public furor against Beijing's ongoing erosion of the city's autonomy with the need to also save its strength for September legislative council elections, where it hopes to gain ground and challenge Beijing-aligned authorities.
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ReflectionsJun 10, 2020 | 17:06 GMT
A woman walks past closed shopfronts in what would be a normally busy fashion district in Los Angeles, California, on May 4, 2020.
Conflicting Data Muddies the U.S. Economic Outlook
The United States and other governments around the world face difficult policy decisions on fiscal stimulus amid great uncertainty regarding the course of their economies in light of the global COVID-19 crisis. But as evidenced by the conflicting data in the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's proving difficult to find numbers and models that are both timely and use reliable data in order to gauge when economies will begin coming out of recovery on their own. Economic forecasts will be increasingly put under the microscope, making it important to understand what these predictions do and don't tell us.
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PodcastsJun 5, 2020 | 03:00 GMT
Pen and Sword: Yellow Bird with Sierra Crane Murdoch
This Pen and Sword podcast is about Lissa Yellow Bird -- a Native American investigator who took on her tribe, the legal system and her family to uncover truth and find justice. The book is Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country and the author is Sierra Crane Murdoch.
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AssessmentsMay 22, 2020 | 20:20 GMT
An anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.
Mainland China's Imposition of Security Laws In Hong Kong Will Spark Protests
The Chinese central government's decision to circumvent the Hong Kong legislature and impose long-delayed national security laws in Hong Kong will provide a major rallying point as protests rebound following COVID-19. In terms of U.S.-China relations, an uptick in demonstrations and the high-profile erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy will provide another trigger that could derail the phase one trade deal, although the White House will be careful not to subordinate its China policy to a single issue such as Hong Kong.
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AssessmentsApr 22, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People wearing masks gather in a granite quarry in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for an Easter celebration while practicing social distancing on April 12, 2020. The capital city has been on lockdown since March 23 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Shakes Up Southern Africa’s Mining Sector
Current COVID-19 disruptions may provide only a short-term challenge for Southern Africa's lucrative mining operations. But they will come just ahead of a longer-term blow to revenue caused by the pandemic-induced global recession and the subsequent drops in demand for mineral resources. After soaring throughout 2019, platinum prices, for example, have already dropped roughly 20 percent since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the world’s largest producer of platinum, South Africa, has been forced to shutter its massive mining sector in the hopes of containing its own fast-evolving outbreak. Some countries such as Tanzania and Namibia have managed to benefit from the new influx of export traffic afforded by South Africa’s COVID-19 crisis. But it may be only a matter of time before widespread outbreaks force more mining firms across the region to choose between securing their profit lines or the safety of their workers. Regardless of the direct health impacts, however, steep losses
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