Political risk must-reads

By Ian Bremmer
February 24, 2014

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.

More Money, More Power for Asian Militaries” — Trefor Moss, Wall Street Journal blog

Last year, Asia Pacific accounted for a quarter of the more than $1.5 trillion spent on defense worldwide (according to a review of annual defense budgets by IHS Jane’s). Global defense spending has been in a five-year slump, but is expected to rise modestly this year. China is leading the charge, with annual defense spending growth of approximately 10 percent. In the early 2000s, Taiwan’s defense budget was half of China’s. Today, at $14.8 billion, it’s one-tenth.

Why It’s a Good Time to Be a Dictator Like Kim Jong-Un” — Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian

The latest report from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in North Korea depicts a regime that systematically engages in barbaric torture, deliberate starvation, and executions in secret prison camps. But in the “post-intervention era” — a G-Zero world where no country or group of countries is willing and able to set the international agenda — will the atrocities drive anyone to act?

Curbs Shut U.S. Drone Makers Out of Export Markets” — Kelvin Chan, Associated Press

By some estimates, the global market for unmanned aerial vehicles is expected to double this year. But even though American companies are the world leaders in the technology, they may be losing out to countries like China and Israel, which don’t have such strict export controls on drones.

Will Helping Muslims Flee Central African Republic Aid ‘Cleansing’?” – Gregory Warner, NPR

Rampant violence in the Central African Republic has sent tens of thousands of Muslims fleeing over the border. But if the U.N. assists them, is it contributing to the “ethno-religious cleansing” that is underway today?

Mortgage Troubles Near Pre-Recession Levels” — Conor Dougherty, the Wall Street Journal

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate has fallen to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008. Many borrowers are no longer “underwater,” with their house’s value now exceeding what they owe: in October, 11.4 percent of loans were “underwater,” down from 19 percent at the beginning of last year. Is the trend sustainable?

 

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Last year, Asia Pacific accounted for a quarter of the more than $1.5 trillion spent on defense worldwide. Global defense spending has been in a five-year slump, but is expected to rise modestly this year. BECAUSE THE WAR MONGERS ARE PUSH THEIR AGENDA. China is leading the charge, with annual defense spending growth of approximately 10 percent. NOW THEY NEED TO FIND REASONS TO USE THEIR MILITARY. RUSSIA IS GOING TO REGRET THE DAY THEY GOT IN BED WITH CHINA.

The latest report from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in North Korea depicts a regime that systematically engages in barbaric torture, deliberate starvation, and executions in secret prison camps. But in the “post-intervention era” — a G-Zero world where no country or group of countries is willing and able to set the international agenda — will the atrocities drive anyone to act? NO BECAUSE CHINA LIKES THE ATROCITIES. IT GETS XI OFF.

By some estimates, the global market for unmanned aerial vehicles is expected to double this year. BOYS DO LIKE THEIR TOYS, ESPICALLY WHEN THEY DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM.

Rampant violence in the Central African Republic has sent tens of thousands of Muslims fleeing over the border. But if the U.N. assists them, is it contributing to the “ethno-religious cleansing” that is underway today? IT DEPENDS ON HOW THEY ARE “HELPED.”

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate has fallen to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008. Many borrowers are no longer “underwater,” with their house’s value now exceeding what they owe: in October, 11.4 percent of loans were “underwater,” down from 19 percent at the beginning of last year. Is the trend sustainable?
I SEE A HOUSING BUBBLE, BUT I HAVE FOR A WHILE, IT WILL BURST IF THE BANKS DON’T OPEN THEIR VAULTS SOON. SHORING UP FANNY AND HAVING BUDDIES COME IN AND BUYING (WHAT WAS IT 10%)”THE NOT A BAIL OUT / BAILOUT” MAY OR MAY NOT WORK. WE SHALL SEE SPIN DOCTORS. BEST WISHES.

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