Global Military Spending Soars

A new report shows that global military spending reached a new post-Cold War high last year.

Population Density of Canada

May 28, 2016 Canada is one of those countries where a vast land mass obscures the fact that the country has a relatively small population. While Canada is the second largest country in the world, its 35 million inhabitants make Canada only the 39th most populated country.

In this way, Canada is similar to countries like Egypt, Russia and Australia. Egypt is a country of over 80 million people and its size is formidable on a map, yet most of its inhabitants are located on a thin strip of land about the size of the state of Maryland on either bank of the Nile River. For Russia, the world’s largest country by land mass, its population centers are located in the west, close to Europe, while the vast and desolate Siberian region is sparsely populated and not connected to Russian infrastructure. Australia – the world’s sixth largest country by land mass and a continent in its own right – has even fewer people than Canada (around 23 million), all living in cities along the coast. The interior of the country is unforgiving and inhospitable.

Colonial Powers in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 4, 2016 European powers strongly shaped the geopolitics of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. In the colonial era, they saw sub-Saharan Africa as a means to an end, initially encountering the continent as they looked for sea trading routes to India and East Asia. France, Great Britain, Portugal, Germany and Belgium had the largest presence.

From the 16th century through the 18th century, major European governments established ports to support long voyages to the East Indies. When we look at the location of former colonies, we can observe how each location served as a resting and refueling point in the long journey east.

The US Military and the African Front

The U.S. military posture in Africa has often been described as a “light footprint.” Recent revelations tell a different story.

Top Container Ship Trade Routes

Dec. 16, 2016 China has been working on a plan to modernize the legendary Silk Road. The two-part initiative called One Belt, One Road includes both land and sea routes and the opening of multiple economic corridors, spanning an area that covers almost two-thirds of the world’s population and a third of global GDP. Linking Eurasia together will require the construction of roads, railways, ports and other elements across vast distances in some of the harshest terrain and least populated areas in the world.

China’s Exports to the US

Dec. 9, 2016 The sheer number of products for which the United States depends on imports from China is striking, as shown in the chart below. In 2015, 21.8 percent of U.S. imports came from China. The U.S. pushed for China to join the World Trade Organization in 2001, the year U.S. imports of Chinese goods took off in earnest. Through trade with China, U.S. consumers gained access to cheaper goods because it cost less to make them in China than in the U.S. China became a convenient one-stop shop for building and selling products of all sorts, and an especially strong electronics supply chain emerged in Asia, centered around China.

China also is exposed to the U.S. markets. With the exception of 2013, the U.S. has been the top destination for Chinese exports for over 15 years (in 2013 the U.S. was a close second to Hong Kong). In that period, the size of the Chinese economy, measured in terms of GDP, has increased by a factor of 10, from $1.3 trillion in 2001 to $10.9 trillion in 2015. Last year, 18 percent of China’s exports went to the U.S., a percentage three times bigger than the percentage of exports received by China’s second-largest importer by country, Japan.

Coups in Africa Since 1950

A recent failed coup in Gabon is just the latest attempt to overthrow an African government.

Why Korea Can’t Replicate Germany’s Reunification

It has made geopolitical sense since their establishment in 1948 for North and South Korea to find a way to get along and tap into their joint potential, and yet they haven’t, because peaceful reunification is exceedingly difficult to achieve.

The UK’s Shifting Economic Structure

March 31, 2017 Joining the European Union dramatically changed the structure of the United Kingdom’s economy because it had to respond to different market needs. Three sectors define the structure of the British economy. The primary sector includes activities related to natural resources; the secondary one includes all goods produced by the industrial sector; the tertiary sector includes services such as banking and finance.

In the first half of the 20th century, the primary sector was the core of the British economy while manufacturing spurred industrial growth. The role of both of these sectors in the British economy drastically declined after the U.K. gained access to the EU free trade area in the mid-1960s and became a member of the EU in 1973.

Mexico, Drug Trafficking and US Relations

Violence in Mexico is on the rise, particularly homicides, kidnappings and extortion by drug trafficking organizations and other organized crime groups. This trend raises the issue of the potential for spillover into the United States. A significant increase in spillover violence would likely lead to a redefinition of the bilateral relationship. While other places in the world have higher rates of violence than Mexico, greater scrutiny is placed on Mexico because of its proximity to the U.S. and the impact violence may have on Mexico’s emergence as an economic power.