Political risk must-reads

September 20, 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.

China Finds Resistance to Oil Deals in Africa” – Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

Many African governments have begun fighting back against lopsided oil contracts with that Chinese that were often locked in by corrupt former regimes.

Property Prices Keep the Locks on Myanmar” – Shibani Mahtani, Wall Street Journal

Myanmar is the poorest country in Southeast Asia, but presents a glittering opportunity as it begins to open up for investment: it’s the fastest-growing tourism market in the region and the race is on to build out infrastructure. But high quality office space in the commercial capital, Yangon, is scarce: at $78 a square meter, it’s the most expensive in the region.  Compare that to Manhattan, where the average asking rent is $49.95.

The 50 Dirtiest Power Plants In the U.S. Generate More Pollution Than Most Countries” – Ben Schiller, Fast Company

The headline says it all. According to a recent report, if the 50 dirtiest U.S. power plants were their own country, they would be the 7th largest emitter of carbon pollution in the world.

Turkey’s public relations campaign?

Turkey’s Government Forms 6,000-Member Social Media Team” – Ayla Albayrak and Joe Parkinson, Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Erdogan’s AKP party is training young people to volunteer as “social-media representatives,” using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to echo the party platform and monitor online discussion.

The Wisdom of Crisis Prevention” – Mehmet Simsek, Project Syndicate

This article by the Minister of Finance of Turkey speaks to the urgency of preventing economic crises rather than just reacting to them.  Simsek also highlights Turkey’s booming economic success since its own financial crisis in 2001 (although he may have some bias in this department…).

Outer Space bonus

The Rise of Chinese Space Junk” – Wilson VornDick, The Diplomat

NASA estimates that there are over 500,000 pieces of man-made debris orbiting the earth at speeds over 17,500mph.  China’s recent space ambition leaves it on track to become the leading space polluter. In January of this year, a piece of debris from a 2007 Chinese launch collided with and destroyed a Russian satellite.

This week, it was confirmed that NASA Voyager 1 became the first man-made object to pass into interstellar space.  Are you curious what it sounds like beyond the Solar System?

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