Political risk must-reads

By Ian Bremmer
December 11, 2013

Political risk must-reads

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.

Obama thaws U.S.-Cuba relations – DeWayne Wickham, USA Today

Are we witnessing a potential improvement in U.S.-Cuba relations? Was Obama’s handshake with Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service merely an attempt to avoid a diplomatic snub — or did it signal something more substantial to come?

Round Two: EU Grooming Klitschko to Lead Ukraine – Nikolaus Blome, Matthais Gebauer, and Ralf Neukirch, Spiegel Online

The German chancellor who preceded Angela Merkel famously described Vladimir Putin as a “flawless democrat.” Today, Merkel’s views are starkly different. Ukraine’s political turmoil offers fertile ground for an EU-Russia geopolitical proxy spat.

East Africa Takes Step Toward Single Currency – Nicholas Bariyo, Wall Street Journal

East African heads of state have signed a deal that sets a 10-year timeline for establishing a regional single currency. But where does broader regional integration stand? Is Tanzania diverging from the rest of the group? With big oil finds in Kenya and Uganda and natural gas discoveries in Tanzania, can the region avoid the “resource curse” — and is it wise to concede currency autonomy as this new chapter in their economic models takes shape?

China’s True Economic Achilles’ Heel? Oil Dependency – Zhang Huanyu, Worldcrunch

China’s oil import dependency has risen from 32 percent in 2000 to 57 percent last year, and the trend is only moving in one direction. What does it mean for China’s future?

China’s Newest City: We Call It ‘Detroit’ – Gordon Chang, Forbes

Despite Detroit’s bankruptcy filing — or perhaps because of it — it is the fourth most popular U.S. destination for Chinese real estate investors. But are the Chinese more compelled by the bargain prices of Detroit housing, or the urge to safeguard their wealth outside China?

Weekly bonus

Two thousand mice dropped on Guam by parachute — to kill snakes – M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

Who knew that an invasive species of snake is a $4 million+ annual problem in Guam? And who knew that a combination of parachuting mice, data transmission, and Tylenol could be the solution?

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