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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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SnapshotsMar 20, 2020 | 21:01 GMT
Despite Falling Oil Prices, U.S. Production Cuts Remain Unlikely
In response to collapsing global oil prices, there are signs that U.S. President Donald Trump -- and now, the agency overseeing Texas' massive energy industry -- is mulling a potential production cut deal with Russia and Saudi Arabia. But doing so would mean overcoming political hurdles in the United States, divisions over proposed production cuts in the U.S. oil industry, and the challenges associated with negotiating an agreement between the world’s largest oil producers. 
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AssessmentsFeb 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An employee sits in the showroom of an Apple store in Beijing after it closed for the day on Feb. 1, 2020.
The Coronavirus Spreads Fears of a Shutdown in China's Tech Sector
Without question, the new coronavirus has taken a toll on China and many other places in the world, infecting at least 30,600 people and killing 633 as of Feb. 7. But only now, as the Lunar New Year holiday draws to a close, is Beijing preparing to assess just how much economic damage the coronavirus outbreak has wrought, especially as China is central to the global electronics and information technology sector. Ultimately, the breadth of the impact depends on how far the virus spreads beyond its current location. Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, are not critical nodes for the vast majority of China's electronics sector. But neighboring provinces, including Shaanxi, Henan and Jiangxi, are home to cities that are prominent in the global technology sector, while the provinces with the second and third most confirmed cases so far, Zhejiang and Guangdong, are arguably China's two most critical areas for tech.
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AssessmentsJan 31, 2020 | 18:47 GMT
This photo shows a masked vendor and customers of his wares in an alley in Wuhan, China, on January 31, 2020.
Measuring the Economic Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak that has killed scores and sickened thousands is set to deliver a significant blow to China's already-weakening economy. Quarantines and travel bans put into place to limit the spread of the illness already have disrupted one of the country's busiest travel and spending periods of the year, the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Jan. 25. The lockdowns have created major supply chain disruptions in Hubei province, the key Chinese transit hub and major manufacturing center for automobiles, fiber optic cable and machinery where the outbreak started. Public transportation, including trains, planes and ferries in and out Hubei -- whose provincial capital, Wuhan, was the epicenter of the outbreak -- have been suspended, with the freedom of movement curtailed for some 60 million people. The disruptions are not limited to the province, however, as business and industrial activities across the nation, already substantially slowed or even suspended
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AssessmentsJan 23, 2020 | 00:41 GMT
Authorities in Wuhan, China, check the temperature of a passenger at a wharf on the Yangtze River on Jan. 22, 2020.
Questions of Risk Follow the Spread of a New Virus out of China
Over the past three days, the reported spread of a deadly strain of coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, both within and beyond Chinese borders has raised concerns of a wider outbreak that would increase the risks of significant economic and social impacts both in China and the wider world. The coronavirus, which is the same type of virus that led to a disruptive global outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003, was first reported in Wuhan in November. Notably, however, compared with the apparent cover-up and scarcity of information released by Chinese officials during the first three months of the SARS outbreak, which first arose in Guangdong province, greater transparency about the current viral outbreak on the part of local and national officials has mobilized an earlier official response and raised public awareness, which could mitigate the extent of its spread.
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AssessmentsJan 8, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This Dec. 26, 2019, photo shows a damaged vehicle in the wake of an airstrike in Zawiya, 45 kilometers west of Tripoli.
Turkey's Help Won't Win Its Allies the Libyan War
Squeezed by an army on the advance, Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) has reached for a lifeline across the Mediterranean in Ankara, which is planning to send special forces, drones and other assistance to Tripoli. But while Turkey's military support will help keep the GNA afloat in Tripoli with an eye to ensuring it remains part of any future Libyan political system, it's unlikely to move the needle enough to halt the opposing Libyan National Army's (LNA) offensive on the city entirely. More to the point, LNA leader Khalifa Hifter's foreign backers are likely to respond to Turkey's move by increasing support for the field marshal -- meaning that, in the long run, Ankara's involvement in Libya runs a high risk of encountering mission creep.
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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.
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 22, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This file photo taken around 1930 shows New York's George Washington Bridge during its construction.
Great Powers Invest in Infrastructure. The West Was the Prime Example.
For the past 250 years, Western Europe and North America have led the way not just in inventing new technologies of transport and communication, but also -- and equally importantly -- in building the infrastructure without which these technologies would be useless. The West has sunk astonishing amounts of energy and capital into updating and replacing its infrastructure, over and over again, as new technologies have emerged. Having the best infrastructure has been a key to global dominance since the 18th century, but in the early 21st, there are alarming signs the West is losing its strategic lead. Everywhere, infrastructure is creaking and crumbling. Every part of the system seems to be getting old at the same time. How the West deals with this challenge -- or, perhaps, opportunity -- will do much to shape the geoeconomics and geopolitics of the 21st century.
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Partner PerspectivesAug 16, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Beyond 5G networks like the one Huawei is helping build in Cambodia with partner Smart Axiata, Chinese companies are aggressively building cloud computing and ecommerce businesses to serve markets in Southeast Asia.
Follow the Digital Silk Road
China’s tech prowess offers business opportunities – but also security concerns – for Southeast Asian nations. So how will the United States respond?
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AssessmentsJul 26, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Protesters rally in front of Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul on July 18, 2019, in support of Canan Kaftancioglu, a local opposition party leader who faces up to 17 years in prison for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
As Opposition Builds, Turkey's Erdogan Grasps at Straws
Even for the wiles of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the task of governing Turkey is becoming increasingly daunting. The economy is languishing in recession as the United States and Europe mull sanctions against Ankara, while a volatile southern border with Syria and Iraq is posing problems for Turkey's relations with Russia, Syria, Iran and, once more, the United States. Worse for Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) he leads, the once seemingly unassailable political machine he's built since the turn of the century seems to have run out of gas after shock defeats in Ankara and Istanbul's mayoral contests this year. Although it forced a rerun of the Istanbul vote, the AKP's political machine failed to beat the resurgent candidate of the Republican People's Party; in fact, its loss the second time around was close to 60 times worse than its initial reverse on March 31. And now,
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AssessmentsApr 19, 2019 | 11:37 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) walks with Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering during a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on Dec. 28, 2018.
Why the Belt and Road Fuels India's Fears of Encirclement
India might be a large trading partner in its own right, but the designs of the even-larger power on its doorstep are fueling its fears of encirclement. The Belt and Road Initiative, the cornerstone of Chinese President Xi Jinping's foreign policy to blaze a trail of trade across Asia and Europe, includes five of India's neighbors: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal. But worried that the initiative will grant Beijing undue political influence in neighboring capitals -- and that new ports and highways could one day aid China in a military conflict -- New Delhi is searching for ways to remain a step ahead of China's activities in South Asia. For one, India has sought to promote its influence by dangling the prospect of greater investment. In so doing, India has scored a few important victories, but its quest for unrivaled dominance in the subcontinent is ultimately a
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On GeopoliticsApr 11, 2019 | 05:00 GMT
 A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle returns from a mission to an air base in the Persian Gulf region on Jan. 7, 2016.
Sensor Proliferation Is Changing How We Wage War
When imagining the future of warfare, we often envision newly developed weapons systems and anticipate their impact on the actual conduct of warfare. Not all warfare evolutions, however, can be encapsulated by individual weapon systems. The most radical changes in the conduct of war often result from particularly extensive technological revolutions that apply across multiple weapons systems and alter the very nature of the constraints and imperatives that drive combat decision-making. One such revolution currently underway is the proliferation of sensors.
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AssessmentsApr 8, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The skyline of the Inner Mongolian city of Baotou is blackened by pollution from factories processing rare earth elements, which are essential for the production of mobile phones and computers.
The Geopolitics of Rare Earth Elements
Tucked into the sixth row of the periodic table, often represented by a single square expanded like a footnote at the bottom of the table, are the 15 lanthanides. When combined with yttrium and scandium, these materials are better known as the rare earth elements. Though they are used in very small amounts, their significance to the U.S. defense sector and to emerging and potentially disruptive technologies, combined with China's control over the majority of the market, has given the rare earth elements outsized geopolitical relevance.
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Contributor PerspectivesDec 7, 2018 | 06:00 GMT
Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to speak during a May 2017 Belt and Road Initiative forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
For China: One Belt, One Road, No Plan?
On Sept. 7, 2013, in a speech at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of the One Belt One Road initiative, now widely referred to as the Belt and Road Initiative. This massive connectivity project, Xi said, would revive for the 21st century the ancient Silk Roads linking China to the wider world. The initiative commits a staggering $4-8 trillion (depending on how broadly the project is defined) to fill Asia's infrastructure gap. Few dispute that this is one of the biggest geoeconomic developments of the early 21st century, but there is less agreement on what it means. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency calls the Belt and Road Initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future." Critics from Malaysia and India to the United States, however, have seen in it everything from neocolonialism and debt bondage to a cunning way to
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Partner PerspectivesOct 19, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
Investors watch stock price movements at a securities company in Beijing on Oct. 12.
The 8 Major Forces Shaping the Future of the Global Economy
The world is changing faster than ever before. With billions of people hyper-connected to each other in an unprecedented global network, it allows for an almost instantaneous and frictionless spread of new ideas and innovations. Combine this connectedness with rapidly changing demographics, shifting values and attitudes, growing political uncertainty, and exponential advances in technology, and it's clear the next decade is setting up to be one of historic transformation. But where do all of these big picture trends intersect, and how can we make sense of a world engulfed in complexity and nuance? Furthermore, how do we set our sails to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this sea of change?
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