The Turkish Enigma

By George Friedman In my "Net Assessment of the World," I argued that four major segments of the European and Asian landmass were in crisis: Europe, Russia, the Middle East (from the Levant to Iran) and China. Each crisis was different; each was at a different stage of development. Collectively the crises threatened to destabilize … Continue reading The Turkish Enigma

An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

By George Friedman A desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that … Continue reading An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

Beyond the Greek Impasse

By George Friedman The Greek situation — having perhaps outlived the term "crisis," now that it has taken so long to unfold — appears to have finally reached its terminal point. This is, of course, an illusion: It has been at its terminal point for a long time. The terminal point is the juncture where neither … Continue reading Beyond the Greek Impasse

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

By George Friedman Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to … Continue reading The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

What Brazil needs to really grow

By Solange Monteiro Resilience and flexibility seem to be core beliefs of moderate optimist Paulo Stark, CEO of Siemens Brazil, when he talks about his business and Brazil’s economy. Stark, an engineer who began his career with Siemens more than two decades ago, sees investment intentions being rethought as a result of the escalation of … Continue reading What Brazil needs to really grow

Where does Rio go next?

By Solange Monteiro Rio de Janeiro city celebrates its 450th birthday this month amid questions about what permanent gifts the World Cup, Olympics, and discovery of deep-sea oil will leave for the city. Between announcements of huge investments and ambitious revitalization plans on the one hand and inflation above the national average eroding the purchasing … Continue reading Where does Rio go next?

Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says

The United Kingdom’s economy is projected to expand this year and next, but challenges remain to boost productivity and make future growth more inclusive, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey. The Survey, presented in London by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and UK Chancellor George Osborne, says that annual growth in the UK rose 2.6% … Continue reading Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says

Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls

The Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI) - developed in partnership between the German Ifo Institute and the FGV taking as a data source the Ifo World Economic Survey (WES) – decreased by 6.3%, going to 75 points in January 2015 from 80 in October 2014. The decline stems from worsening of both … Continue reading Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls

Germany Emerges

By George Friedman German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece … Continue reading Germany Emerges

Rotterdam still largest European port for China

In 2014, Rotterdam became the first European since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, port to handle more than 3 million TEU (20-foot container units) going to or coming from China. Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein announced this during the first quarterly meeting of the Rotterdam Port Promotion Council (RPPC). At the … Continue reading Rotterdam still largest European port for China

Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

By Sim Tack Last week, the Cuban government declared that for the United States and Cuba to normalize relations, the United States would have to return the territory occupied by a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Washington clearly responded that returning the base is not on the table right now. This response makes sense, since … Continue reading Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

How to slim your brand portfolio wisely

The world’s largest consumer products companies such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble have recently announced shedding up to hundreds of brands, keeping only the strongest alive to make more profit. But when it comes to brand portfolio, is less really more? While most companies are convinced these big clean-ups result into increased firm value, … Continue reading How to slim your brand portfolio wisely

Brazil’s 2015 economic outlook: Rebalancing will not be easy

By Solange Monteiro Dramatic events in the second half of 2014 transformed the scenario at the turn of the year in Brazil into a big question mark. The fierce presidential race, the deterioration of economic indicators, and allegations of corruption at state-owned oil company Petrobras heightened the already anxious expectations about 2015. Can the course … Continue reading Brazil’s 2015 economic outlook: Rebalancing will not be easy

The Biggest Money Player In Politics Is The Fed

By Ralph Benko Washington finally shows signs of coming to grips with the importance of money to politics. This is not about mere campaign finance. Recently there was a breakthrough in bringing the money policy issue out of the shadows and to center stage … where it belongs. The real issue of money in politics … Continue reading The Biggest Money Player In Politics Is The Fed

The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

By George Friedman For the past two weeks, I have focused on the growing fragmentation of Europe. Two weeks ago, the murders in Paris prompted me to write about the fault line between Europe and the Islamic world. Last week, I wrote about the nationalism that is rising in individual European countries after the European Central … Continue reading The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

The Unsung X-Factor That Could Upend The Next Presidential Election

By Ralph Benko One, and only one, candidate, Barack Obama, caught the X-factor and improbably got himself nominated and elected, and re-elected, president.  Another improbable candidate could catch it again. What is that X-factor?  How does it upend things? Peace and personal security continued to flourish in 2014 and are likely to continue into 2015 … Continue reading The Unsung X-Factor That Could Upend The Next Presidential Election

George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

By George Friedman 'Tis the season to make lists, and a list shall be made. We tend to see each year as extraordinary, and in some senses, each year is. But in a broader sense, 2014 was merely another year in a long chain of human triumph and misery. Wars have been waged, marvelous things … Continue reading George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

By George Friedman Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to an exchange of prisoners being held on espionage charges. In addition, Washington and Havana agreed to hold discussions with the goal of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. No agreement was reached on ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba, … Continue reading The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Brazil Inflation: Nowhere to go but up?

By Thais Thimoteo If in 2013 producers and consumers split the cost of price increases evenly, in 2014 the cost of inflation has fallen squarely on the consumer. Through November 2013 12-month inflation went up to 5.6% as measured by the General Price Index 10 (IGP-10) calculated by the Brazilian Institute of Economics, Getulio Vargas … Continue reading Brazil Inflation: Nowhere to go but up?

Viewing Russia from the inside

By George Friedman Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn't rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the … Continue reading Viewing Russia from the inside

What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

By George Friedman Twenty-five years ago, a crowd filled with an uneasy mixture of joy and rage tore down the Berlin Wall. There was joy for the end of Germany's partition and the end of tyranny. There was rage against generations of fear. One fear was of communist oppression. The other fear was of the threat … Continue reading What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1

by Ralph Benko AEI’s James Pethokoukis and National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru — among many others — appear to have fallen victim to what I have called “the Eichengreen Fallacy,” the demonstrably incorrect proposition that the gold standard caused the Great Depression.  This fallacy is at the root of much confusion in the discourse. Both these … Continue reading The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1

OECD urges Brazil to tackle foreign bribery

Brazil must build on the positive momentum started with its new Corporate Liability Law and its first indictments in one foreign bribery case to investigate and prosecute more proactively foreign bribery. Since Brazil joined the Convention in 2000, of the 14 allegations identified in the report, only five have been investigated and three investigations are … Continue reading OECD urges Brazil to tackle foreign bribery

Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy

By George Friedman U.S. President Barack Obama has come under intense criticism for his foreign policy, along with many other things. This is not unprecedented. Former President George W. Bush was similarly attacked. Stratfor has always maintained that the behavior of nations has much to do with the impersonal forces driving it, and little to … Continue reading Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy

Janet Yellen, Politicizing the Fed?

By Ralph Benko Janet Yellen gave a widely noted speech, Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity from the Survey of Consumer Finances, at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality held  by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on October 17th. The speech presented as a if ghostwritten for her by Quincy Magoo, that beloved cartoon character described … Continue reading Janet Yellen, Politicizing the Fed?

A glimpse of Brazil after the elections

By João Augusto de Castro Neves of the Eurasia Group Brazil is witnessing one of the most competitive and thrilling presidential elections in nearly a quarter of a century. In the last three months, polls had the three candidates alternating in the lead. Now, with the second-round runoff between President Dilma Rousseff (Workers’ Party, PT) … Continue reading A glimpse of Brazil after the elections

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries that have available data decreased by 23% during the first half of 2014 with respect to the same period last year, reaching a total of $84.071 billion dollars, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported. On a global level, … Continue reading Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014

The Similarities Between Germany and China

By George Friedman I returned last weekend from a monthlong trip to both East Asia and Europe. I discovered three things: First, the Europeans were obsessed with Germany and concerned about Russia. Second, the Asians were obsessed with China and concerned about Japan. Third, visiting seven countries from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 29 … Continue reading The Similarities Between Germany and China

Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

By Adriano Bosoni and Mark Fleming-Williams The European Court of Justice announced Sept. 22 that hearings in the case against the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond-buying scheme known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) will begin Oct. 14. Though the process is likely to be lengthy, with a judgment not due until mid-2015, the ruling will … Continue reading Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

End the Fed’s War on Paychecks

By Ralph Benko The Democratic Party has made “income inequality” a signature issue for the 2014 (and, presumably, 2016) election cycle.  Democrats, en masse, shout “J’accuse!” at Republicans. There is a very different story to tell. “Income inequality” is a crude, and twisted, heuristic for stagnant median family income.   “Income inequality” does not really resonate … Continue reading End the Fed’s War on Paychecks

OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

The OECD released its first recommendations for a co-ordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project designed to create a single set of international tax rules to end the erosion of tax bases and the artificial shifting of profits to jurisdictions to avoid paying … Continue reading OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

By George Friedman The idea of Scottish independence has moved from the implausible to the very possible. Whether or not it actually happens, the idea that the union of England and Scotland, which has existed for more than 300 years, could be dissolved has enormous implications in its own right, and significant implications for Europe and … Continue reading The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

Global growth continuing at a moderate pace

A moderate expansion is underway in most major advanced and emerging economies, but growth remains weak in the euro area, which runs the risk of prolonged stagnation if further steps are not taken to boost demand, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Assessment. While the global recovery continues at a moderate rate, the outlook … Continue reading Global growth continuing at a moderate pace

A Money Revolt is needed: Fix The Dollar With Gold

By Ralph Benko The Tax Revolt has run its course. A Money Revolt is needed. Steve Forbes, with Elizabeth Ames, in Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy—and What We Can Do About It has thought the issues through. So has, among others, Lewis E. Lehrman (founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute, … Continue reading A Money Revolt is needed: Fix The Dollar With Gold

Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

Spain is emerging from a protracted recession, marked by a return to moderate growth and rising international competitiveness. Decisive banking and fiscal reforms, coupled with supportive monetary policy from the European Central Bank, have reduced financial tensions and improved public finance. But to ensure that the recovery is sustained and unemployment returns to much lower … Continue reading Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

By George Friedman U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that he had no strategy as yet toward the Islamic State but that he would present a plan on Wednesday. It is important for a president to know when he has no strategy. It is not necessarily wise to announce it, as friends will be frightened … Continue reading The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

By George Friedman The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the … Continue reading Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

Who is Rand Paul?

by Ralph Benko For starters, Rand is short for Randal, not an allusion to Ayn Rand, after whom Sen. Paul was not named by his libertarian (not Objectivist) father Ron Paul. Reportedly, growing up he was called Randy … until his wife shortened the diminutive to Rand. Washington, ordinarily, is committed to maintaining the status … Continue reading Who is Rand Paul?

Terrorism as Theater

By Robert D. Kaplan The beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was much more than an altogether gruesome and tragic affair: rather, it was a very sophisticated and professional film production deliberately punctuated with powerful symbols. Foley was dressed in an orange jumpsuit reminiscent of the Muslim prisoners … Continue reading Terrorism as Theater

Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?

By George FriedmanRussia and Ukraine continue to confront each other along their border. Iraq has splintered, leading to unabated internal warfare. And the situation in Gaza remains dire. These events should be enough to constitute the sum total of our global crises, but they're not. On top of everything, the German economy contracted by 0.2 percent … Continue reading Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?