Daily Memo: The US Surpasses China

There are more confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. than in any other country.

Daily Memo: Bad News for Wage Workers and Exporters

Unemployment claims have soared to historic levels.

The Coronavirus and the Rural-Urban Divide

The pandemic will deepen differences between the urban and the rural.

Daily Memo: Some Optimism Amid Lockdowns

Italy recorded its second straight day of reduced cases.

Quarantine and the Supply Chain

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The global medical community appears to have devised a strategy for mitigating the coronavirus that depends largely on quarantine, or limiting contact among the...

Daily Memo: The Limits of the Coronavirus, Global Security Issues, the German Economy

The grimmest estimates can be helpful for policymakers to know what they need to prepare for.

Daily Memo: Idlib Tests Turkey’s Patience, India-Australia Cooperation, North Korea Low on Cash

Turkey accused Russia of failing to live up to its promises, and the Bank of Korea said Pyongyang was running out of cash.

The Geopolitical Consequences of Australia’s Wildfires

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The tragedy has been well documented, but its potential global effects have not.

Geopolitical Futures’ Forecast for 2020

Introduction A year is an arbitrary moment. It is short, its length determined by a planet’s rotation around a sun. It is merely a moment in a longer and more complex tale in which figures who tower for a time pass by unnoticed, when the triumphs and tragedies that rivet us all fade away, all but forgotten. In that sense, forecasting what happens next year is possible only if it is viewed as one frame of a much longer movie. Our annual forecast must therefore be framed as such. For us, the story begins in 1991. Many things happened in and around that year: The Chinese economic miracle began its historic surge; the Japanese economic miracle failed; the Maastricht treaty was signed; Operation Desert Storm was launched; the Soviet Union collapsed. Since 1492, when the first global system emerged, there was always a European power at its head. That changed in 1991. For the first time in 500 years, there was no European global power. The only global power was the United States, native to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the largest economy by far and the only global military power, dominated the international system. At the same time, […]

Forecast Tracker: 2019 Year-End Review

(click to enlarge) Scale: Hit, Partial Hit, Inconclusive, Partial Miss, Miss A Cycle Ends The U.S. and China will reach a deal on trade, but it won’t end the trade war. Hit China and the U.S. were seemingly inches from a deal for nearly the entire year, but they repeatedly struggled to push negotiations across the finish line, with the U.S. escalating tariff pressure on China multiple times instead. This illustrated the stark limitations of U.S. tariffs as a tool with which to force Beijing to agree to any major concessions, as well as the limits of mechanisms to ensure that the Chinese government would fully implement whatever concessions it could stomach. It also illustrated the tight political and economic constraints restricting Beijing’s room for maneuver, with the nationalist fervor playing a role in scuppering a potential deal in April and, more problematic, China’s internal economic problems making major structural concessions a nonstarter. Finally, in the second week of December, we got the deal we forecast. Put simply, it doesn’t deal with the major points of contention between China and the U.S., and heavy tariffs remain in place as a result. The trade war is far from over. A decline […]

Daily Memo: Rising Global Debt, Lebanon’s New Prime Minister, Britain’s Foreign Policy Review

A World Bank study shows staggering levels of global debt, and the Lebanese president appoints a new prime minister.

Forecast Tracker: 2019 November Update

A Cycle Ends The U.S. and China will reach a deal on trade, but it won’t end the trade war. On track Washington’s willingness to settle for a less ambitious trade deal was a major turning point in the trade war. All that’s left now for the two sides is to work out the mechanics on a few thorny issues, including how Beijing will enforce its commitments. This could happen by the end of the year, but the longer it takes to ratify the gains made in negotiations, the higher the risk that political complications will derail it. (Recall that the state of the negotiations now is essentially the same as it was in April, when talks collapsed abruptly.) And even if a “phase one” deal is finalized, the U.S. and China still disagree on the most important issues fueling bilateral tensions, including Beijing’s industrial policies, restrictions on market access to U.S. firms, and its liberal use of subsidies and state-owned enterprises. In other words, there’s nothing in the current deal that would end the mounting “tech cold war.” A decline in living standards will lead to social unrest in Russia. It won’t be enough to effect regime change. On […]