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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Thank Goodness For Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s first year in office seems to have been marked, above all, by his verbal incontinence. America’s tweeter-in-chief kept several continents rapt with his early-morning offerings. In his lack of inhibition and tact, Trump is the opposite of Barack Obama. At the same time, Obama’s decorum managed to conceal many unpleasant realities, which we would have had to confront sooner or later. Trump has expedited this confrontation — and, hopefully, inaugurated a new age of progressivism.

Read Here – BloombergView

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Pakistan’s Perpetual Crisis

Like much else about Pakistan, it’s often infuriatingly difficult to determine whether or not its economy is on the brink of disaster. This week, as the Pakistani rupee lost 5 percent of its value in just three days, it looked like trouble was brewing. And sure, this might be a sign of the economy slipping towards a balance-of-payments crisis. But, then again, it might not. Pakistan doesn’t just live on the edge, it seems altogether nonchalant about being there.

Read Here – BloombergView

What To Do About China’s “Sharp Power”

When a rising power challenges an incumbent one, war often follows. That prospect, known as the Thucydides trap after the Greek historian who first described it, looms over relations between China and the West, particularly America. So, increasingly, does a more insidious confrontation. Even if China does not seek to conquer foreign lands, many people fear that it seeks to conquer foreign minds.

Read Here – The Economist

The Secret History Of The Russian Consulate In San Francisco

The first thing you need to understand about the building that, until very recently, housed the Russian Consulate in San Francisco — a city where topography is destiny, where wealth and power concentrate, quite literally, at the top — is its sense of elevation. Brick-fronted, sentinel-like, and six stories high, it sits on a hill in Pacific Heights, within one of the city’s toniest zip codes.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

Global Arms Industry: First Rise In Arms Sales Since 2010, Says SIPRI

F-16 jet being re-fuelled mid-air. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

Sales of arms and military services by the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies—the SIPRI Top 100—totalled $374.8 billion in 2016. The total for the SIPRI Top 100 in 2016 is 1.9 per cent higher compared with 2015 and represents an increase of 38 per cent since 2002 (when SIPRI began reporting corporate arms sales). This is the first year of growth in SIPRI Top 100 arms sales after five consecutive years of decline.

Read Here – SIPRI

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The Story Behind Putin’s Mistrust Of The West

In many ways, Russia’s current defiant geopolitical stance can be traced to a decisive moment in recent history: the belief that the West broke its promises not to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization eastwards. But experts argue over what exactly was promised, NATO itself calls the story of the broken promise a “myth,” and the former Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, who is critical of NATO expansion, has said the West kept all its binding commitments following from the reunification of Germany.

Read Here – BloombergView

What Team Will Xi Jinping Choose To Steer World’s Second-Largest Economy Into The Future?

President Xi Jinping’s key economic adviser Liu He is likely to be promoted to vice-premier in March, as Xi assembles a new team to steer the world’s second largest economy over the next five years, according to sources with knowledge of the arrangement.

Read Here – South China Morning Post

Why China Won’t Rescue North Korea

Over the last two decades, Chinese relations with North Korea have deteriorated drastically behind the scenes, as China has tired of North Korea’s insolent behaviour and reassessed its own interests on the peninsula. Today, China is no longer wedded to North Korea’s survival. In the event of a conflict or the regime’s collapse, Chinese forces would intervene to a degree not previously expected—not to protect Beijing’s supposed ally but to secure its own interests.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

As Global Power Shifts, U.S. Must Win Beijing’s Cooperation

From 1945 to 2016, the United States used its economic, military and ideological power to build institutions, alliances and regimes that contributed to global economic growth and the avoidance of great-power war. In doing so, it fostered the rise of a new constellation of powers, China notable among them, with which it must now deal. If the U.S. wants to see its interests met, Washington must win Beijing’s cooperation rather than try to compel it.

Read Here – Caixin 

Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan’s Rare Metals

Controversial private security tycoon Erik Prince has famously pitched an audacious plan to the Trump administration: Hire him to privatise the war in Afghanistan using squads of “security contractors.” Prince, who founded the Blackwater security firm and testified last week to the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia investigation, has deep connections into the current White House: He’s friends with former presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, and he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary.

Read Here – Buzzfeed

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