Political risk must-reads
Eurasia Group‚Äôs weekly selection of essential reading for the political risk junkie ‚Äď presented in no particular order. As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections by tweeting at us via @EurasiaGroup or @ianbremmer.
The theme of this week‚Äôs must-reads is number crunching‚ÄĒwhether it‚Äôs budgets in China and Iran, record-long filibusters in the US senate, or how much the quality of life has improved in Africa over the last decade. Get out your calculators. Here goes.
Crunching the numbers
‚ÄúIs fracking a ‚Äėbridge‚Äô to a clean-energy future? Ernest Moniz thinks so,‚ÄĚ¬†Brad Plumer, Wonkblog, The Washington Post
In terms of halting climate change, natural gas has been dubbed a ‚Äėbridge fuel‚Äô for its growing role in the energy mix as the world transitions to renewable energy. But just how far into the future can this bridge reach?
‚ÄúChina is spending more on policing its own people than on its defense budget,‚ÄĚ¬†Lily Kuo, Quartz
China announced a 10.7 percent increase in its defense budget for the coming year. But it still spends more on ‚Äúpublic security,‚ÄĚ underscoring Beijing‚Äôs real focus.
‚ÄúThe Curious Case of China‚Äôs GDP Figures,‚ÄĚ¬†Eve Cary, The Diplomat
China‚Äôs reported 2012 GDP: 51.9 trillion yuan. The reported GDP of its 31 provinces: 57.6 trillion yuan.¬† The numbers don‚Äôt add up. Li Keqiang‚Äôs 2007 admission that GDP statistics are ‚Äúman-made‚ÄĚ became public via a Wikileaks cable in 2010.¬†
‚ÄúAhmadinejad‚Äôs Budget is About Iran‚Äôs Elections,‚ÄĚ¬†Mohammad Ali Shabani, Al-Monitor
Ahmadinjead‚Äôs proposed budget has some eye-openers. An 82 percent increase in the executive branch‚Äôs operating budget.¬† Significant cuts for councils run by his rivals, such as Hasemi Rafsanjani. And how does it all add up? Last year the oil price per barrel that balanced the budget was $81.50. This year it‚Äôs $85. The proposed budget? $95.
‚ÄúA hopeful continent,‚ÄĚ¬†The Economist
Correspondent Oliver August outlines how African lives have tangibly improved over the past decade. Real income per person is up more than 30 percent, while malaria deaths in some of the worst-affected countries are down 30 percent ‚Äď and HIV infections are down as much as 74 percent.
‚ÄúLongest filibusters in history,”¬†Bobby Cervantes, Politico
On Wednesday, Rand Paul filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director for nearly 13 hours. How does that rank compared to the all-time longest talking filibusters in the US senate?