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Contributor PerspectivesDec 25, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself.
The Geopolitics of Christmas
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself. The contemporary, increasingly international version of Christmas is less a religious festival than a celebration of affluence, modernity, and above all Westernness. Without anyone willing it, Christmas has become part of a package of Western soft power.
Contributor PerspectivesNov 13, 2019 | 16:40 GMT
An illustration of an aged world map.
Lessons From the Past for Trump's Transactional Foreign Policy
One of the Trump administration's hallmarks has been its transactional approach to foreign policy. Writing in Foreign Policy magazine shortly before the 2016 presidential election, the strategist Rosa Brooks suggested that "To Trump, U.S. alliances, like potential business partners in a real-estate transaction, should always be asked: 'What have you done for me lately?'" Since entering office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to walk away from alliances that no longer seem to be paying dividends, regardless of old friendships or cultural affinities. The U-turn in American foreign policy seems to have baffled many observers. However, the Trump administration is anything but the first to pursue a transactional foreign policy. It might be worth taking a look at the experience of the most important comparison case, 18th century Britain.
Contributor PerspectivesNov 12, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This Aug. 7, 2018, photo shows a Google office building in Beijing.
Google's AI Work in China Stirs Questions of Allegiance and National Security
China is zealously protective of its national interests and is stealing as much intellectual property as possible from the United States, quickly catching up with decades of incredible innovation and investment in advanced technologies at a fraction of the time and cost. Some of these technologies, such as artificial intelligence, could be game-changers in the balance of world power. What does this ultimately mean for American tech giants like Google that are working cooperatively with Beijing while avoiding military contracts at home, and how should the United States protect its own disruptive innovation and technological advancement from exploitation by the Chinese military through replication and fusion between public and private entities?
ReflectionsSep 19, 2019 | 21:35 GMT
A satellite image from April 18, 2012, shows Abqaiq in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Short on Options, Iran Calls Trump's Bluff
Iranian protestations of innocence notwithstanding, the arrows following last week's massive drone and missile strikes on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia all point toward Tehran. In this, there's one key question that's on everybody's mind: What is Iran after? While Tehran's aggression has made the probability of a U.S. or Saudi military strike on Iran higher in the short term, the Islamic republic does not necessarily intend to trigger such a strike and the ramifications it would entail. On the contrary, Iran is hoping to force an end to the United States' maximum pressure campaign sooner, rather than later -- even if that requires riling up the world's superpower even further.
Contributor PerspectivesSep 18, 2019 | 18:02 GMT
A sticker at a bus stop during a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong on Sept. 15, 2019.
Hong Kong and the Appeasement of China
Concern over mainland China's intentions has been mounting in Hong Kong since well before the 2014 "Umbrella Revolution," as it has in capitals around the world. One of the few issues that regularly receives bipartisan support in Washington is the need to confront China over its trade policies, and there is a growing sentiment that after becoming a valued contributor to the international system in the 1990s-2000s, China is now turning into a threat to it. But is this correct? Should Hong Kongers really want the British back?
Contributor PerspectivesAug 21, 2019 | 19:28 GMT
A visual representation of bitcoin on display on April 3, 2019, in Paris.
The Future of Cryptocurrencies
More than 10 years since the first bitcoin transaction in January 2009, and almost two years since a speculative spike pushed the price per bitcoin to almost $20,000, cryptocurrencies are moving beyond cypherpunks and anti-government culture into the world of governments and traditional institutions. The transition is impossible to ignore. While some governments, central banks and financial companies see cryptocurrencies as a threat, others want to harness the advantages they offer. And some governments see cryptocurrencies as a way to save their own struggling economies. To understand whether nonsovereign currencies can serve as a default currency and what threat they pose to governments or how beneficial they might become, it's useful to examine some of the most interesting geopolitical and corporate use cases available.
AssessmentsAug 13, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Col. Saeed Salmeen, the Emirati commander of the Saudi-backed coalition on Yemen's west coast frontline, is pictured at a military base in Khokha, 100 kilometers south of the flashpoint Red Sea port city of al-Hudaydah, on Jan. 21, 2019.
The UAE Revisits Its Foreign Policy Goals With New Tactics
The goals haven't changed, but the methods of achieving them have, at least as far as the United Arab Emirates is concerned regarding foreign policy. In recent weeks, Abu Dhabi has raised eyebrows by conducting a partial pullout from its war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, while at the same time pursuing low-level maritime talks with Tehran to manage its relations with its great regional nemesis. For some time, Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of the anti-Iran campaign, lobbying for stronger sanctions to not only permanently end the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb but also roll back the Islamic republic's ballistic missile program and influence throughout the Middle East, which the United Arab Emirates views as a threat to itself. In part, that campaign propelled the country into the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, but international pressure -- particularly from a U.S. Congress that has threatened to
PodcastsJul 17, 2019 | 16:12 GMT
Wind turbines tower over agricultural fields in eastern Washington state.
Superpower! With Author Russell Gold
Wall Street Journal energy reporter Russell Gold recently sat down with Stratfor Vice President of Global Analysis Reva Goujon to talk about his new book, SuperPower! One Man's Quest to Transform American Energy, which explores the fundamental shifts underway in the U.S. energy sector. Their discussion also touches on the future of energy in the United States.
Contributor PerspectivesJul 1, 2019 | 09:15 GMT
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele is seen during his inauguration ceremony in San Salvador, El Salvador, on June 1, 2019.
El Salvador's Combative New President Faces a Perilous Balancing Act
With a style and pedigree different from that of his modern predecessors, El Salvador's new president came out swinging against the status quo almost as soon as his inauguration ended on June 1. Nayib Bukele's supporters see his willingness to break with politics as usual as a sign that El Salvador may finally shake off the lingering vestiges of its 1980-1992 civil war. Until now, every Salvadoran president has been associated with one of the main protagonists in that brutal conflict, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance. Part of Bukele's appeal is that he represents a break with the past, but change will come at a price in one of the world's most violent countries. Unbalancing power dynamics too quickly in El Salvador could provoke a violent and destabilizing response.
AssessmentsJun 13, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
A Huawei logo looms over a street in Barcelona, Spain.
Why Europe Won't Shut the Door on Huawei
The United States and China are in the midst of a tech war, and Europe's caught dead center. In its push to stem Beijing's expanding global influence, Washington has pressured its European allies to sever their ties with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which it accuses of being a Trojan horse for Beijing's government to spy on other countries. But while some members of the European Union have been more receptive to U.S. pressure, none so far have succumbed fully to the United States' plea to ban Huawei from participating in the development of their 5G networks. That's not to say EU countries haven't taken heed of Washington's concerns about the Chinese company, or that U.S. accusations haven't marred Huawei's reputation among European consumers and companies. But Huawei's already sizable presence in EU markets -- combined with its expertise in the 5G space -- will make it a tempting option for European
On GeopoliticsJun 7, 2019 | 05:30 GMT
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in the Kremlin in Moscow on June 5, 2019.
The Ever-Shifting 'Strategic Triangle' Between Russia, China and the U.S.
The U.S. trade war with China and Washington's prolonged standoff with Russia over matters from Iran to Venezuela to arms control are increasingly driving Moscow and Beijing toward each other. Moscow has recently indicated a desire to collaborate with China in the Arctic's Northern Sea Route as part of Beijing's Maritime Silk Road initiative, for example, while the massive Power of Siberia pipeline is completing the final phase of construction and is set to begin pumping ever-larger volumes of Russian natural gas to China by the end of this year. These developments are part of a broader trend of Russia and China strengthening political, economic and security ties. Such developments raise the question of how deep an alignment between Russia and China can go, and to what extent their relationship is forming in direct opposition to and competition with the United States. To begin to answer this question, it is
Contributor PerspectivesMay 21, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
This photo shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The Remarkable Consistency of Canada's Foreign Policy
At the victory rally on election night 2015, the leader of Canada's Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, invoked one of the country's greatest statesmen, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, by promising a future of "Sunny Ways." At the time, Trudeau's epithet seemed appropriate. Following nine years of rule by the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper, during which Canada had suffered a series of setbacks to its usually positive international reputation, Trudeau's upbeat language and media appeal appeared to offer a welcome change of direction. Immediately upon taking office, the new Liberal government set about trying to restore Canada's international image. However, with five months to go before a new general election in October, the shine appears to have come off.
AssessmentsApr 26, 2019 | 05:45 GMT
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during the opening session of the Belt and Road Forum on Legal Cooperation at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 2, 2018.
China Changes Gears on the Belt and Road Initiative
Nearly six years since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative, China's sprawling infrastructure program that spans Eurasia and the maritime sphere, has generated both enthusiasm and alarm in equal measure. The initiative's focus on infrastructure development, as well as Chinese financing options that are more enticing than those of many international institutions, has provided many cash-strapped countries with the only effective means to improve their infrastructure. From landlocked Ethiopia and Laos, to the ports of Piraeus in Greece and Doraleh in Djibouti, China has constructed and financed railways, ports and other facilities, brightening the prospects of the local economy. These undertakings are just a few of the multitude of projects in the BRI, which China is bankrolling with $70 billion in investments and $400 billion in loans. On the flip side of the coin, however, the BRI has triggered local pushback, resulting in setbacks for some projects and resistance
On GeopoliticsApr 25, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
A telecommunications antenna tower stands tall against a blank sky.
The Age of Splinternet: The Inevitable Fracturing of the Internet
In 2001, a young Jeff Bezos -- whose Amazon had yet to turn a quarterly profit -- said in an interview, "I very much believe the internet is indeed all it is cracked up to be." Now, 18 years later, the emphasis should be placed on how "cracked up" the Internet could become. The concept of a "splinternet" or the "balkanization of the Internet" -- in which the global internet would be carved up into smaller internets due to rules and regulations -- has existed for years. But we're now barreling toward a point where concept will become reality.
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