The End of the Carter Doctrine: Part II
In Part II, we discuss the reasons for the breakdown of the order prior to President Trump and follow this discussion with the impact of the current president. We project the likely actions of the nations in the region and, as always, conclude with market ramifications.
Weaponizing the Dollar: The Nuclear Option, Part II
In Part I, we reviewed the U.S. current account problem, examined how the persistent deficit affects the economy, and discussed how the U.S. current account deficit is tied to American hegemony and ways the deficit could be addressed.
Weaponizing the Dollar: The Nuclear Option, Part I
Last month, we wrote a two-part report on weaponizing the dollar. The continued strength of the dollar has become newsworthy recently, prompting us to provide an update to those earlier reports and include an analysis of new legislation introduced in the Senate.
Weaponizing the Dollar: Part II
In Part I, we began our analysis with a discussion of Mundell’s Impossible Trinity. We also covered the gold standard model and Bretton Woods model. In Part II, we examine the Treasury/dollar standard and introduce what could be called Bretton Woods II.
Weaponizing the Dollar: Part I
The Bretton Woods agreement established a system of fixed exchange rates that lasted until Nixon ended foreign dollar holders’ ability to swap for gold. Since 1971, most developed nations have adopted floating exchange rates and open capital accounts.
Reflections on Tiananmen
Thirty years ago, troops descended upon Tiananmen Square to forcibly remove protestors who were agitating for democracy, an end to corruption and a more inclusive political system. Details remain unsettled, but hundreds of students were killed or injured.
When Hegemons Fade
Historians tend to view the shift from one hegemon to another as a clear, abrupt break. But, in reality, faded hegemons tend to cling to elements of former glory. As we watch Brexit unfold, one persistent theme has emerged—much of Brexit is about unresolved issues surrounding the end of the British Empire.
Modern Monetary Theory: Part IV
In Part III, we examined the role of economic paradigms in the equality/efficiency cycle. All the major economic paradigms previously discussed lead to eventual problems. Capital-friendly policies eventually lead to inequality, while policies less friendly to capital eventually become inflationary.
Modern Monetary Theory: Part III
In Part II, we discussed the principles and consequences of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). This week’s installment will be devoted to the importance of paradigms. Next week, we will conclude the series with a discussion on the potential flaws of MMT along with market ramifications.
Modern Monetary Theory: Part II
In Part I of this four-part series, we introduced this report and discussed the origin narratives of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). This week, we will examine the principles and consequences of the theory. MMT begins its analysis with a focus on macroeconomic identities and flows. Assuming MMT does hold, what does it mean for policy and the economy?
Modern Monetary Theory: Part I
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has recently become a hot topic of discussion. In our opinion, the rise of MMT reflects the continued shift in the equality/efficiency cycle. The goal of this report is to describe MMT, examine its key elements and potential policy ramifications, and let the reader decide what to think.
The Irish Question: Part II
Last week, we examined the geopolitics of Britain and offered an abbreviated history of Irish/British relations. This week, we will begin by analyzing the Good Friday Agreement, followed by an analysis of Brexit regarding the Irish question. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
The Irish Question: Part I
As the U.K. continues on its path to withdraw from the EU, a key element that needs to be considered is the border issue in Ireland. The Northern Ireland/Ireland frontier has broader geopolitical implications beyond just a border issue.
What to do with China: Part II
In Part I of this report, we laid out the two narratives that the U.S. and China are using to frame relations between the two countries. This week, we will summarize the two positions and examine the potential for war using the historical examples of British policy toward the U.S. and Germany...
What to do with China: Part I
Over the past few years, we have noted steady changes in American views toward China, and vice versa, that will likely lead to superpower competition and the potential for conflict. In Part I of this report, we will discuss the American and Chinese viewpoints.
Reflections on Inflections: Part II
In Part I, we discussed the issues surrounding predicting inflection points, defined as reversals of long-term trends. This week, we examine two long-term trends that we believe are approaching inflection points and offer guideposts that we think will signal further progress toward inflection.
Reflections on Inflections: Part 1
History seems to move in broad cycles. Beliefs come into and fall out of favor. Despite evidence of these cycles, people tend to assume trends that are in place will remain in place forever, and it can come as a shock to society when trends shift.
The 2019 Geopolitical Outlook
As is our custom, we close out the current year with our geopolitical outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape in the upcoming year.
The Malevolent Hegemon: Part III
This week, we conclude our series by describing what we view as a new model for the superpower role, the Malevolent Hegemon. We will discuss the differences between this model and the previous one. With this analysis in place, we will examine the potential outcomes from this shift and conclude with potential market ramifications.
The Malevolent Hegemon: Part II
In Part I, we examined the basic role of the hegemon and the unique model the U.S. has created, which we dubbed the “Benevolent Hegemon.” This week, we discuss why many Americans have become disenchanted with this model, which is pressuring policymakers to either jettison the superpower role or significantly redefine it.
The Malevolent Hegemon: Part I
Since Trump’s election, there has been much discussion about the demise of the “Liberal International Order” (LIO). The general tenor is that the US is giving up global leadership and the world is in trouble. We’ve been making this argument as well for a long time.
The Dollar Problem: Part I
In May, the Trump administration exited the Iran nuclear deal and implemented new sanctions. Because the US has a tendency to implement financial sanctions against its perceived adversaries, there have been growing calls for an alternative to dollar-based trade.
The Venezuelan Migration Crisis: Part II
Part II begins with a discussion on migration with a focus on emigrant flows. We include an analysis of the problems caused by migration followed by an examination of the possible end to this crisis and the broader geopolitical issues. As always, we conclude with potential market ramifications.
The Venezuelan Migration Crisis: Part I
Venezuela has gone from “bad to worse” in recent years. After Hugo Chavez died in 2013, Nicolas Maduro has been the nation’s chief executive, presiding over an accelerating political and economic disaster. His mismanagement has led to a migration crisis.
The Turkey Crisis: Part II
Last week, we covered Turkey’s geopolitics and history. This week, we complete the series, starting with a discussion on Turkey’s economy with a focus on the changes brought by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by President Erdogan. We also examine how foreign debt affects Turkey’s economy and financial system, highlight the impact of the 2016 coup and analyze the causes of the current crisis in Turkey. From there, we discuss the debt problem and Turkey’s options for resolving the crisis. As always, we conclude with market ramifications.
The Turkey Crisis: Part I
Turkey has become a major topic of interest. A 2017 constitutional referendum gave the president sweeping powers, and President Erdogan won re-election in June 2018. Since then, an economic crisis has developed, with falling financial asset prices and a sharp currency decline.
Iran Sanctions and Potential Responses: Part III
The Trump administration withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal and plans to implement sanctions on the country in two phases. In Part I, we introduced this topic and covered the first two potential responses from Iran, which were restarting the nuclear program and projecting power. Last week, we covered the threat to the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran Sanctions and Potential Responses: Part II
Last week, we introduced the topic of the Trump administration’s decision to implement sanctions on Iran and covered two potential responses from Iran, which were restarting its nuclear program and projecting power. This week, we discuss the threat to the Strait of Hormuz.
The Marshall Plan: A Review
We occasionally run across a book that we deem important enough in the arena of geopolitics to warrant a full report dedicated to its review, The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn Steil. This book details the history of the Marshall Plan, discusses how the plan developed and identifies the major historical figures who created it.
Reflections on Globalization: Part II
Last week, we introduced this topic by discussing the Cold War. This week, we will continue our analysis with a reflection on markets, an examination of hegemony and a discussion of the expansion of globalization and the rise of meritocracy and its discontents.
Reflections on Globalization: Part I
For much of recorded human history, we have seen waves of globalization and deglobalization. Our position has been that we have experienced the apex of globalization and a steady cycle of deglobalization will occur over the next few decades.
The North Korean Summit: Part II
Last week, we discussed the six major nations involved in the North Korean issue and each country’s geopolitical goals, constraints and meeting positions for the recently proposed summit between the U.S. and North Korea. This week, we examine why the talks are being proposed now and offer reasons why they may fail or succeed. We summarize the costs and benefits of the summit meeting and conclude with market ramifications.
The North Korean Summit: Part I
On March 8, officials from South Korea briefed U.S. officials on a recent dinner with Kim Jong-un, which marked the first time South Korean officials had been inside North Korea’s Communist Party headquarters since the Korean War. The South Koreans informed Trump of Kim Jong-un’s desire to have a meeting and Trump agreed.
Emperor Xi: Part II
Last week, we discussed China’s power structure and how the suspension of term limits changes recent precedents. This week, we continue this topic by analyzing China’s challenges while shifting from the world’s high growth/low cost producer to a slower growth, “normal” economy.
The Italian Elections: Part II
In Part I of this report we outlined the geopolitics of Italy and its political economy. This week, we continue the report with an analysis of the upcoming elections and Germany’s impact on the EU, concluding with potential market ramifications.
Trump & Trade: The First Year
Trump campaigned on a populist agenda. His “America First” mantra railed against free trade deals, suggesting they were poorly negotiated, supported immigration restrictions and called on allies to shoulder more of the defense burden. In this report, we focus on trade following his first year in office, beginning with a review of American hegemony and trade.
Thinking the Unthinkable (Again): Part II
Last week, we reviewed the development of nuclear weapons and US deployment policy from the end of WWII to the end of the Cold War. We analyzed how the theory of deterrence developed and introduced events of the post-Cold War era. This week, we discuss how Cold War arrangements have broken down in the post-Cold War world and the ensuing nuclear proliferation.
Thinking the Unthinkable (Again): Part I
Years ago we published a report on nuclear war and civil defense. Since then, we have seen an increase in actual and potential nuclear proliferation. Recent US administrations have reviewed their policies on nuclear weapons and we are seeing a departure from the late Cold War thinking on nuclear policy.
The Iranian Protests
In early December, small protests developed in Iran due to sharp increases in some food prices. By the last week of 2017, the protests had spread across the country and have continued into the New Year. In this report, we discuss the current protests, comparing them to the unrest that developed in the wake of the 2009 elections in Iran.
Moving Fast and Breaking Things: Mohammad bin Salman, Part II
Two weeks ago, we introduced this report and covered the mass arrests that took place in Saudi Arabia over the weekend of November 4, when several princes and notable figures were detained. The official reason given for the arrests was corruption, but many have speculated that the move was a cover for Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) to consolidate power and purge elements of a potential coup.
Moving Fast and Breaking Things: Mohammad bin Salman, Part I
Over the weekend of November 4, there were mass arrests in Saudi Arabia, a missile attack and the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister. Just before that, there was a crackdown on the religious establishment. In this series, we will discuss these events, the broader geopolitics of the region and American foreign policy drift.
North Korea and China: A Difficult History, Part III
This week, Part III covers the controversy surrounding North Korea’s dynastic succession, the end of the Cold War and the ideological issues with Deng Xiaoping. Finally, we recap the key insights from this history and the impact on American policy toward the DPRK, concluding with market ramifications.
North Korea and China: A Difficult History, Part II
Last week, we examined the Minsaengdan Incident and the onset of the Korean War. This week, we continue our series on China and North Korea, discussing the final phase of the Korean War and the ceasefire, the introduction of Juche and the impact of the Cultural Revolution. Next week, we conclude with the controversy surrounding the Kim family’s dynastic succession, the end of the Cold War and the ideological issues with Deng Xiaoping. We will recap the key insights from this history and the impact on American policy toward the DPRK, concluding, as always, with market ramifications.