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

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?

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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?

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?

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