China’s delicate balancing act
An economic slowdown, combined with continued protests in Hong Kong, could spell trouble for China. But it could also offer the new leadership a chance to enact promised political reforms.
As protests grow in Hong Kong, issues in addition to that of democratic elections are reminding Beijing that it must proceed cautiously in order not to leave the middle classes behind.
Even though Beijing would like to stifle the protests in Hong Kong, its leaders are wary of sparking protests all over the mainland. Instead, the strategy of accommodation should best serve the CCP’s desire to maintain unity, continuity and stability.
Sowing the seeds of better food policy
Doomsayers have long been predicting famine as a natural result of overpopulation. But studies continue to show that just the opposite has been occurring. Advances in technology have allowed us to feed more of the world as the population increases.
A recent drop in grain prices will have repercussions across the agricultural sector. In the meantime analysts are scrambling to understand what, besides unusually good crops, is behind the dip, and what the risks may be.
Russia has focused the world’s attention on its every move, seemingly overnight. Having eliminated any serious opposition to his power at home, Putin can act rapidly when the occasion arises. But speed magnifies impact – of mistakes as well as successes.
In order to contain Russia, the US and Europe have imposed economic sanctions. But such punishment risks undermining the very ground upon which US power is based.
Who has rights to the Caspian Sea? Littoral states have again failed to find an answer, and Russia is increasing pressure in order to regain leverage over the basin’s oil and gas riches.
Will Germany become an international power on par with countries many times its size? If certain economic indicators are valid, then it seems Berlin’s future will be bright and busy.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini takes her new post with a lot on her agenda. From the tension with Russia to a war in Syria, the neighborhood risks going up in flames. Her ability to work with her counterparts will be crucial.
Nations aspiring to global leadership in the 21st century must be space-faring. Freedom, mobility, quality of life and the ability to do the difficult things that define leadership will be enhanced and discovered on the space frontier.
The need for high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles that can transmit real-time data about a vast area have been best met by the Global Hawk, a cutting edge drone whose eye in the sky soars well above the rest.
The Ebola epidemic could have been largely contained. But Africa’s perennial problems exacerbated the conditions in which the disease was able to spread more freely. Now the whole world is facing a real security risk.
Research into the Ebola virus, now reeking havoc in West Africa, will need to increase, along with the efficiency of health system procedures, if a catastrophe is to be avoided.
Air power will not be enough to defeat IS in Syria. Ground forces will be necessary. Yet among all the nations involved, each have their own reasons to hold back ground forces.
As winter approaches Europeans are again realizing just how vulnerable they are when it comes to fuel supplies. This awareness is pushing the EU to establish a unified Regional Policy in order to protect its fuel sources.