Political risk must-reads

December 21, 2012

Eurasia Group is posting our favorite political risk articles of the week on Foreign Policy, which I’d like to share here as well.  As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections @EurasiaGroup or @IanBremmer. This is being reprinted from ForeignPolicy.com.


1. “South Korea’s Presidential Election: A Homecoming”

Banyan Asia blog, The Economist

On Wednesday, Park Geun-hye was named president of South Korea by a small margin, making her the first woman to hold the post in the nation’s history. How will her presidency differ from Lee Myung-bak’s? What are the implications for North-South relations?

2. “The Importance of Shinzo Abe”

Sanjaya Baru, The Hindu

A much more momentous Asian election took place this past weekend, as Shinzo Abe and the LDP returned to power. Many are focusing on the possible conflicts that the election could provoke between China and Japan, but this piece asks: Are Japan and India the “natural partners in Asia?” In light of the conflict over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, it seems Japan is pursuing an ABC policy (Anybody But China). Why not India?

3. “Pakistan: Mullahs and Militants Keep Polio Alive”

Sami Yousafzai, The Daily Beast

The eradication of polio has been tantalizingly within reach, as its presence has dwindled to just a handful of countries. But wiping the disease out of Pakistan comes with substantial risks. This piece focuses on the dangers to the anti-polio mission in the wake of Bin Laden’s death and the role that vaccinations played in gathering intelligence for the operation.

4. “Slavery’s Global Comeback”

J.J. Gould, The Atlantic

Another atrocity that hasn’t disappeared: human trafficking and forced labor. These are new terms for what Gould still dubs ‘slavery.’ Even by conservative estimates, there are more people enslaved today than at any point in history. This is an epidemic that needs global attention.

5. “The Putin Show”

Brian Whitmore, Power Vertical Blog

If there were a foreign-policy edition of People magazine, Putin would fill the pages. Why all the hype for his most recent press conference? Consider analysis of his performance as our guilty pleasure political risk story.

Longer Reads

6. “Utopia for Beginners: an amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented”

Joshua Foer, The New Yorker

This piece is not political per se, but the treatment of language as an art — communicable and easily repurposed the world over — has global as well as philosophical implications. Foer follows a man who spent 34 years inventing a language designed to more precisely mirror reality. The story of who ended up co-opting it — for political purposes no less — makes for a fascinating read.

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