Political risk must-reads

By Ian Bremmer
August 9, 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 by tweeting at us via @EurasiaGroup or @ianbremmer.

Must-reads

City chickens and country eggs” – The Economist

China has gone all-in with efforts to spur increased urbanization. Said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, “Urbanization has the greatest potential for boosting domestic demand.” He claims urban residents in China spent 3.6 times as much as their rural peers in 2010. But what if China has it backwards? Does urbanization lead to growth — or does growth lead to urbanization?

Searching Big Data for ‘Digital Smoke Signals’” – Steve Lohr, New York Times

The United Nations is not always known for entrepreneurialism, innovation, or rapidly adaptive techniques. Could big data change that?

The Great Escape” – Raheem Salman and Ned Parker, Foreign Policy

Abu Ghraib, already cemented as a symbol of an American occupation gone awry, has again become synonymous with the deteriorating situation in Iraq. This time, it was in connection with an enormous prison break that has everyone pointing fingers. July was the deadliest month in Iraq since the end of the civil war in 2008: the UN announced that 1,057 Iraqis were killed.

The Dutch and the EU: A founding member’s apostasy” – The Economist

In the early days of the Eurozone crisis, the Netherlands one of the economically sound countries insisting on more stringent austerity measures for the periphery—Prime Minister Mark Rutte viewed the strict 3 percent budget-deficit limit as a personal achievement. Fast-forward to today: the Netherlands has been in recession for six straight quarters. It has missed the 3 percent target it insisted on establishing. Dutch Euroskepticism has exploded: in a June poll, voters were evenly split on whether to exit the EU entirely. So what does all this mean for the Eurozone as a whole?

Iran’s Leader Reduces Posts of Military Elite” – Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal

About half of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 18-person cabinet were Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel. The new president, Hasan Rouhani, will appoint just three; at least ten of his appointments are technocrats. Is this…no pun intended…a changing of the guard? Or do Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei simply share an interest in limiting the IRGC’s influence?

Why energy companies and the military want underwater drones” – Neil Ungerleider, FastCoExist

The various applications for drones are rapidly expanding. Is the ocean the newest frontier?

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