Turkey’s Geographical Ambition

By Robert D. Kaplan and Reva Bhalla At a time when Europe and other parts of the world are governed by forgettable mediocrities, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister for a decade now, seethes with ambition. Perhaps the only other leader of a major world nation who emanates such a dynamic force field around him … Continue reading Turkey’s Geographical Ambition

Signs Of The Fed’s Era Of Secrecy Coming To An End

By Ralph Benko The Federal Reserve increasingly is attracting scrutiny across the board.  Now add to that a roller coaster of a thriller, using a miracle of a rare device, shining a light into the operations of the Fed — that contemporary riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: Matthew Quirk’s latest novel, The Directive. “If I’ve … Continue reading Signs Of The Fed’s Era Of Secrecy Coming To An End

Obama checkmate?

By Ralph Benko House Speaker John Boehner’s proposed lawsuit against Barack Obama is causing a great deal of chatter in Washington.  Political stunt, as Obama has called it?  Or, maybe, checkmate, Obama? There is a quiet gap in the U.S. Constitution.  There is no explicit mechanism to discipline a president who fails to carry out his … Continue reading Obama checkmate?

Is Paul Krugman Leaving Princeton In Quiet Disgrace?

By Ralph Benko Professor Paul Krugman is leaving Princeton.  Is he leaving in disgrace? Not long, as these things go, before his departure was announced Krugman thoroughly was indicted and publicly eviscerated for intellectual dishonesty by Harvard’s Niall Ferguson in a hard-hitting three-part series in the Huffington Post, beginning here, and with a coda in … Continue reading Is Paul Krugman Leaving Princeton In Quiet Disgrace?

Can Putin Survive?

By George Friedman There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events. Ukraine and … Continue reading Can Putin Survive?

Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

By George Friedman I am writing this from Budapest, the city in which I was born. I went to the United States so young that all my memories of Hungary were acquired later in life or through my family, whose memories bridged both world wars and the Cold War, all with their attendant horrors. My … Continue reading Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan

By George Friedman I arrive in Azerbaijan as the country celebrates Victory Day, the day successor states of the former Soviet Union celebrate the defeat of Germany in World War II. No one knows how many Soviet citizens died in that war -- perhaps 22 million. The number is staggering and represents both the incompetence … Continue reading Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan

The Middle Class Squeeze: Can The Populist Elizabeth Warren Champion The Little Guy With Big Government?

Who will prove the champion of the little guy and gal?  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — on deck for her party’s presidential nomination should Hillary Rodham Clinton bow out — has become the political leader of choice for those who advocate Big Government as that champion. This columnist is skeptical about Big Government improving the … Continue reading The Middle Class Squeeze: Can The Populist Elizabeth Warren Champion The Little Guy With Big Government?

Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape

By George Friedman I will be leaving this week to visit a string of countries that are now on the front line between Russia and the European Peninsula: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Azerbaijan. A tour like that allows you to look at the details of history. But it is impossible to understand those … Continue reading Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape

Is James Rickards Right About A Coming Monetary Apocalypse?

By Ralph Benko Is a monetary apocalypse imminent? James Rickards, bestselling author of Currency Wars, has a new New York Times bestseller out, about the possible imminent collapse of the dollar: The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System  (Portfolio/Penguin). More interestingly, he writes about what could come next: a golden … Continue reading Is James Rickards Right About A Coming Monetary Apocalypse?

ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates

Latin American and Caribbean countries will grow an average of 2.7% in 2014 due to limited dynamism of the region's principal economies, according to new projections from ECLAC. The regional United Nations organization last week released its UpdatedEconomic Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013, which reviews information on the key economic variables of 2013 … Continue reading ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates

The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

By George Friedman The United States announced new sanctions on seven Russian government officials April 28. A long-used tactic, sanctions can yield unpredictable effects or have no effect at all, depending upon how they are crafted. It is commonly assumed that sanctions are applied when a target country's actions are deemed unacceptable. The sanctioning nation … Continue reading The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

In the “War on Youth” the youth strike back for liberty

By Ralph Benko Politics is no country for old men. The left likes to lampoon the GOP as a party of grumpy old men. Wrong. A new generation is rising. The most striking display at the recent CPAC was a barrage balloon emblazoned with the words War On Youth. It was lofted over one of the most popular … Continue reading In the “War on Youth” the youth strike back for liberty

Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities – 2014 Edition

By Arnout Nuijt 2014 EDITION - Ever heard of Uberlândia, Joinville, Ribeirão Preto, Sorocaba or Londrina? Well, you may soon, as they are among Brazil's next generation of big business cities. No doubt the biggest and most important business centres of Brazil are still the megacities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Further afield, … Continue reading Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities – 2014 Edition

Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II

By Mark Galeotti Are Russia and the West about to revisit the ritualized competition of the Cold War? Not according to Mark Galeotti. A more useful analogy is the Great Game, that freewheeling 19th century struggle between Great Britain and Russia over Central Asia. Suddenly the talk is of a new Cold War between Russia and the … Continue reading Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II

Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy

By Ralph Benko Problems caused by America’s broken immigration system are causing misery to America’s immigrant community (both legal residents and undocumented), and, for good measure, to the president, the GOP and American society. There may be only one person with both the intentionality and the resources to resolve America’s immigration predicament: Mark Zuckerberg, founder … Continue reading Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy

London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!

By Ralph Benko This columnist’s admiration for Senator Rand Paul is driven, in part, by Sen. Paul’s consistent and honorable stand against the “warfare/welfare state.” Rising-star national talk radio host, and columnist, Steve Deace astutely observes in a recent Washington Times op-ed, “he’s the only candidate running that is attempting to introduce an entirely new … Continue reading London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!

Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise

In the United States, capital expenditure is lagging the economy as a whole. Some think this is the ‘new normal’. But Robeco’s strategist Peter van der Welle believes there is a strong case for a rebound in investments later this year.  Capital expenditure has been disappointing in recent years. Corporates drastically reduced investments to cut … Continue reading Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise

U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

By George Friedman Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive … Continue reading U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

by Ralph Benko Should Puerto Rico explore following Crimea into the Russian Federation? Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. … Continue reading A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

Why is Brazilian productivity so low?

For decades low productivity has been responsible for the poor performance of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP). Today, FGV-IBRE's The Brazilian Economy reports, increasing productivity -which rebounded slightly last year but is still far from stellar - is more urgent if the country wants to achieve more robust economic growth without pressure on wages and … Continue reading Why is Brazilian productivity so low?

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

By George Friedman During the Cold War, U.S. secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone's head to … Continue reading Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

Big Government Really Is Over

by Ralph Benko Crimea. Venice. Scotland. Quebec. Catalonia. Colorado. Crimea’s vote, a popular vote of no confidence in Kiev, to leave Ukraine (and rejoin Russia) is in some ways unique. In o ther ways it appears part of an emerging, worldwide, trend.Venice voted last week, in a nonbinding referendum, to secede from Italy.  89% in favor: a popular vote … Continue reading Big Government Really Is Over

U.S. Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wobbly

by Ralph Benko The Republican National Committee recently passed a resolution, by the unanimous vote of its National Committeepeople, calling for the creation of a national Monetary Commission.  This legislation is prime sponsored in the House of Representatives by Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and in the US Senate by Republican whip John … Continue reading U.S. Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wobbly

Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History

By Ralph Benko With his thoughtful restructuring of America’s military, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel — a Republican — has cemented Obama’s signature  legacy: restoring America to a peacetime footing. Obama’s bringing  American troops home from two wars, and, now, reducing the military to a strong, but proportionate, peacetime footing, was not easy. Doing so … Continue reading Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History

What Facebook’s 56 New Genders Mean For Politics

by Ralph Benko Facebook very recently introduced a drop-down menu with 56 gender identity choices to embellish the classic Male and Female.  It includes arcane categories such as “neutrois” amd “two-spirit” and takes one over the 6-colored rainbow Gay Pride flag.  Facebook now takes us somewhere very far over the rainbow. This columnist fully shares … Continue reading What Facebook’s 56 New Genders Mean For Politics

The Asian Status Quo

By Robert D. Kaplan and Matt Gertken Arguably the greatest book on political realism in the 20th century was University of Chicago Professor Hans J. Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, published in 1948. In that seminal work, Morgenthau defines the status quo as "the maintenance of the distribution of power … Continue reading The Asian Status Quo

EU maintained trade surplus with Brazil in 2013

EU28 exports to Brazil in 2012 amounted to 39.7 billion euro and imports to 37.4 bn. The EU28 registered a continuous deficit in trade in goods with Brazil up to 2011, with a peak in 2007, turning to a surplus of 2.3 bn in 2012. The first nine months of 2013 confirm the most recent … Continue reading EU maintained trade surplus with Brazil in 2013

Panama outlook favorable in spite of risks – IMF

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Panama City during February 11-21 to conduct the country’s annual consultations. The delegation concluded that Panama's economic performance remains buoyant, outlook favorable, in spite of certain local and international risks. The IMF therefore thinks a tighter fiscal policy is recommended. Growth averaged about 8.5 percent over the past decade, … Continue reading Panama outlook favorable in spite of risks – IMF

Heritage Drafts Steve Moore, Supply Side Visionary, To Fight Team Obama

By Ralph Benko Will America start prospering again — as it has not prospered for over a decade? Likely yes. But not without a fight.  Now that Jim DeMint has raided Steve Moore from the Wall Street Journal that card might be Heritage Foundation vs. the White House. Could be big. John Holdren, now Obama’s … Continue reading Heritage Drafts Steve Moore, Supply Side Visionary, To Fight Team Obama

The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

By George Friedman Last week, several events took place that were important to their respective regions and potentially to the world. Russian government officials suggested turning Ukraine into a federation, following weeks of renewed demonstrations in Kiev. The Venezuelan government was confronted with violent and deadly protests. Kazakhstan experienced a financial crisis that could have destabilized … Continue reading The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

Has Brazil really entered recession? Then here is what to do

By Arnout Nuijt Positive news about Brazil’s economy is hard to find these days. In fact the bad news is piling up. A recent report by the Financial Times of London, quoting Brazil Central bank figures, suggests the country has entered technical recession more than 7 months ago by shrinking slightly for two consecutive quarters … Continue reading Has Brazil really entered recession? Then here is what to do

Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton: A Radically Transformational Presidential Election Fighting Over Peace and Prosperity?

By Ralph Benko Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton? In a context of emerging peace, prosperity, and human rights? This would be big.  Transformational, even.Peter Bein art, in the Atlantic Monthly (among many, many other political observers), has concluded that “Rand Paul is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner.”  And two of the Washington Post’s top political observers, … Continue reading Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton: A Radically Transformational Presidential Election Fighting Over Peace and Prosperity?

LatAm economic climate improves, Brazil’s worsens

The Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI)  advanced, after having been stable in the last two surveys (July and October 2013). The 8% increase in the ECI (to 95 from 88 points) is explained by both the improvement in assessments of present conditions (PSI) and expectations (EI), but only the latter one went … Continue reading LatAm economic climate improves, Brazil’s worsens

World Bank improving Rio Public Service Delivery

More than 16 million people living in the Rio de Janeiro State will benefit from a new US$48 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The loan will finance a project designed to improve the delivery of public services. The Rio State Strengthening Public Management and Integrated Territorial Development Technical Assistance … Continue reading World Bank improving Rio Public Service Delivery

China is the real threat to emerging markets

It has been a rough time for emerging market equities, but only China has the real power to upset the apple cart for investors this year, says Robeco’s chief economist. Rate hikes in countries such as India and Turkey to try to prop up their currencies and cut capital flows have sent stock prices plummeting. … Continue reading China is the real threat to emerging markets

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

By George Friedman The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world -- a shift that followed intense German interest in … Continue reading New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

Extreme volatility during the global financial crisis complicated economic forecasting, leading to large errors that underline the need for better modelling methods and new approaches for making and presenting projections, according to an OECD report. OECD forecasts during and after the financial crisis: a post-mortem says that the Organisation’s economic projections under-predicted the depth of the collapse … Continue reading OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

Memo To Janet Yellen’s Vice Chair Nominee Stanley Fischer: That Was Then. This Is Now.

By Ralph Benko Dr. Janet Yellen now has taken over the chair of the Fed. And President Obama, to great acclaim, recently nominated Prof. Stanley Fischer as Vice Chairman. Prof. Fischer may be the most distinguished and beloved central banker at work within the world financial system today. It is not often that central bankers … Continue reading Memo To Janet Yellen’s Vice Chair Nominee Stanley Fischer: That Was Then. This Is Now.

Why so much anarchy?

By Robert D. Kaplan Twenty years ago, in February 1994, I published a lengthy cover story in The Atlantic Monthly, "The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Overpopulation, Tribalism, and Disease are Rapidly Destroying the Social Fabric of Our Planet." I argued that the combination of resource depletion (like water), demographic youth bulges and the proliferation … Continue reading Why so much anarchy?