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On GeopoliticsJul 17, 2020 | 09:30 GMT
Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on April 21, 2017.
In the South China Sea, Washington Tries to Balance Support and Entanglement
In the recently released U.S. Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea, Washington continues to walk a delicate balance between supporting its allies and partners in the region and avoiding entanglement in regional territorial conflicts. The test will come when the United States is called to act upon its more clearly articulated position on Chinese expansionist behavior.
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.
AssessmentsMay 25, 2020 | 12:48 GMT
Remembering America's Allies on Memorial Day
Remembering America's Allies on Memorial Day
This year on Memorial Day, Stratfor would like to consider the countless individuals from across the globe who have worked and fought alongside the U.S. military, with this reflection originally penned in 2016. Memorial Day in the United States is dedicated to remembering the men and women who served and who died in service to country and mission. Yet these dedicated personnel are not alone; they are assisted by other foreign nations and by the security forces and civilian residents of the country in which the U.S. military is operating. Many brave individuals continue to partner with the United States and its allies. Many have returned to their normal lives in some semblance of peace. Some have left their homeland through choice or coercion, and still more have laid down their lives in pursuit of a better tomorrow.
SnapshotsFeb 25, 2020 | 22:07 GMT
Saudi Arabia Arms Its Vision 2030 With an Investment Ministry
On Feb. 25, Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued eight royal orders designed to jump-start the country's Vision 2030 program after nearly four years of mixed results. The most notable of these orders included converting the General Investment Authority into a full Ministry of Investment and creating tourism and sports ministries. The former energy minister and Saudi Aramco CEO, Khalid al-Falih, will serve as the first investment minister. Al-Falih's appointment may indicate that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman realizes the greater pitfalls of chasing such big, high-profile announcements. It will thus be important to track whether Saudi Arabia starts winding down its pursuit of megaprojects at home and abroad, including the country's large investments into companies such as Uber and Tesla, which have been criticized as having more to do with prestige than profit.
AssessmentsJan 14, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Kohelet Policy Forum conference in Jerusalem on Jan. 8, 2020.
Israel Lets the U.S. Take the Lead Against Iran
A more aggressive U.S. strategy against Iran is allowing Israel to dial back its own threats against its regional archnemesis. Israel's unusually subdued response to the recent U.S. killing of the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, as well as Tehran's subsequent declaration that it would no longer adhere to the stipulations on uranium enrichment in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, represents a temporary tactical shift. For now, Israel will allow current U.S.-Iran tensions to play out while letting Washington take the brunt of the risk of regional conflict. But there's a limit to how long Israel will stand idly by. If a lack of U.S. action allows Iran to close in on building a nuclear weapon, or if it looks as if U.S. President Donald Trump may lose his reelection bid to a successor less willing to stridently back Israel's anti-Iran strategy, Israel will quickly retake its
AssessmentsNov 11, 2019 | 11:00 GMT
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (bottom image) and King Salman (left) look out from a billboard promoting Vision 2030 in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 16, 2018.
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 Remains a Hard Sell
Saudi Arabia's "Davos in the Desert" has come and gone, producing $20 billion in newly signed deals. And while the Future Investment Initiative -- as the event is officially known -- also reduced the threat of U.S. sanctions over Saudi Arabia's human rights record, investors are nevertheless weighing the pros and cons of pouring money into a kingdom where returns are far from guaranteed. Investors remain wary of major geopolitical risks, like a war with Iran and another human rights outrage that could reignite an international push to isolate Saudi Arabia, as well as domestic considerations, like the consistency of Saudi Arabia's policies amid lower oil prices and the personality politics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Such factors will ultimately weigh down the Saudi investment strategy -- and make the 10-year drive toward Vision 2030 all the more difficult to achieve.
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