The economics of radical religious terrorism

The Charlie Hebdo attack has led many to claim that – or at least question why – Islam is associated with terrorism. I would reverse the order of causality the question implies. We must first try to answer why there are so many terrorist organizations linked to radical Islam. The attack led me to read, […]

3 Things a Deal With Iran Would Likely Include

By Jofi Joseph: In mid-July, negotiators from the so-called P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union) reached a mutual agreement with Iran to extend an interim six-month agreement for another four months. The agreement extends concrete constraints on Iran’s nuclear program — in particular, a halt to Iran’s […]

Russia’s Nuclear Revival And Its Challenges

Russia is slowly but surely replacing its aging stockpile of Soviet-era nuclear weapons with an arsenal that’s fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. Richard Weitz of ISN Security Watch reminds us, however, that a weakening Russian economy and less-than-favorable international climate may yet derail Moscow’s efforts to revive its nuclear prowess. Although attention is naturally focused […]

Is the West Risking Financial Blowback From Sanctions on Russia?

The spectacle of insanely authoritarian policing in Ferguson, as well as media jitters over ISIS and ongoing reports of action in Gaza and Ukraine, has shifted attention a bit away from simply lousy economic results from Europe. A Financial Times overview: This year was supposed to be the year the eurozone recovery took root – gathering […]

China Has a History of Not Trusting Microsoft on Cybersecurity

Reports of China investigating Microsoft for possible violations of anti-monopoly laws have tied the action to continuing tensions over cybersecurity. In response to the Department of Justice’s indictment of five alleged PLA hackers, as well as revelations in some of the documents released by Edward Snowden that appear to expose the NSA hacking into Chinese targets, Beijing has increased focus on […]

Will the U.S. Oil Boom Make Energy Sanctions Easier?

Ask someone to identify a big geopolitical consequence of the ongoing U.S. oil production boom and odds are high that they’ll invoke Iran. (Every one of the links in that last sentence is an example.) Without surging U.S. oil production, they’ll argue, sanctions on Iranian oil exports would have led to a massive oil price spike. Here is a concrete case of the oil boom yielding greater U.S. freedom of action in […]

Why Oil and Gas in the South China Sea Won’t Be Developed

By Nick Cunningham: The South China Sea has enormous potential for oil and gas reserves but territorial conflict will likely hold it back for years to come. On July 16, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) decided to remove its oil rig from contested waters, stating that its exploration mission was completed after finding “sings of oil […]

Russian Sanctions: The United States Takes the Lead

The United States has taken what, on first read, looks to be a significant step today, extending sanctions ( see also here) to block new debt and equity issuance by a number of energy, financial and military companies.  It is not quite full “sectoral” sanctions–both because it is limited in what it blocks (new debt and equity of […]

Can Abe Build Support for Security Reforms?

Even as regional challenges to Japan’s security have intensified, the domestic debate over security reforms continues to reveal deep divisions in Japan. Since coming into office a year and a half ago, the Shinzo Abe cabinet has sought an overhaul of its security policy, including a revision of the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation guidelines that shape alliance military […]

Reinterpreting Japan’s Constitution

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed a reinterpretation of Japan’s postwar constitution to allow the military to use force alongside other national militaries, a right that postwar Japanese leaders have to date refused their Self-Defense Force (SDF). Japan’s decision will shape the way the SDF cooperates not only with the U.S. military but with other militaries in Asia, where relations […]

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