Political risk must-reads

January 11, 2013

Eurasia Group’s weekly selection of essential reading for the political risk junkie – presented in no particular order. As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections @EurasiaGroup or @IanBremmer.


1. “The New Power Map: World Politics After the Boom in Unconventional Energy,” Aviezer Tucker, Foreign Affairs

Unconventional energy plays in North America are fundamentally changing energy markets – and, therefore, international politics. Instead of focusing on the good news for the US and Canada, Tucker makes a compelling case that Russia is in big trouble.

2. “Transatlantic trade talks near lift-off,” Alan Beattie and Joshua Chaffin, Financial Times

A U.S.-E.U. transatlantic trade deal – which some have dubbed an “Economic NATO” – is no longer the negotiating equivalent of “putting an astronaut on Mars.”  But as progress is made, serious obstacles emerge.

3. “Japan Explores War Scenarios with China,” J. Michael Cole, The Diplomat

Of five recent security scenarios explored by Japan’s defense ministry, three focus on threats from China. Consider, for example, how Japan might respond to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

4. “Administration Spends More on Immigration Than all Other Federal Law Enforcement Combined,” Abi Ohlheiser, Slate

The costs of immigration enforcement are staggering – as are deportation figures, which have ballooned from 30,000 in 1990 to almost 400,000 in 2011.  This piece spells out some of the most jaw-dropping statistics and the wider reach that immigration enforcement has within the American system.  The full report from the Migration Policy Institute makes for a compelling (longer) read.

Out of Left Field

5. “Drone-proof clothing shelters from surveillance,” Natasha Lennard, Salon

Who said political risk can’t be chic – and that fashion can’t be deadly?  Check out this designer’s surveillance-proof clothing line. 

6. “The Economics of Smaug,” John Carney, CNBC

(Nerd alert) And who says macroeconomics can’t be fantastical?  Here’s a look at a very odd debate that’s been unfolding in recent weeks. The topic: the macroeconomic impact of a tightening money supply…in the fictional world of J.R.R. Tolkien (due to a dragon hoarding gold for 150 years). Middle Earth macroeconomics is debated with a diligence and creativity that could be of use in assessing Earth’s monetary woes.  Here’s the original thread that sparked the conversation.

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