Defusing the Third Space Race
Written by Michael Krepon
WASHINGTON, DC – With China, Russia, and the United States fine-tuning anti-satellite (ASAT) warfare capabilities, the third round of competition to “seize the high ground” of space is well underway. This round is distinctive, because it has three contestants, whereas the first and second rounds, which occurred during the Cold War, had only two. But, like its predecessors, today’s space race poses the risks of quick escalation and intensification of conflict among major powers. A set of common-sense rules could help defuse and prevent conflict in space. Unfortunately, Russia and China seem uninterested in negotiating a code of conduct for responsible space-faring countries.
The Social Investment Revolution
Written by By Juerg Zeltner
ZURICH – In 1972, during Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing, Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, was asked for his view of the impact of the 1789 French Revolution. “It is too soon to say,” he is said to have replied.
The Death Throes of Oil
Written by Harold James
PRINCETON – The price of oil is often regarded as a sort of thermometer to measure the health of the world economy. What is less often noted is that it can also serve as a barometer – warning of approaching geopolitical storms. Indeed, the dramatic plunge in the price of a barrel of crude – from nearly $150 in June 2008 to around $30 today – is likely to fuel continued upheaval far beyond the world’s energy and commodity markets, with particularly worrying implications for the European Union.
Homegrown Energy Security for Europe
Written by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
COPENHAGEN – The European Union is highly dependent on foreign oil. For every 100 liters consumed within the EU, 90 are imported. Meanwhile, domestic oil production is plummeting, down more than 50% over the last decade. Unless the EU changes course and increases its production of alternative energy – including biofuels, an option the EU has long neglected – some 95% of its oil will come from foreign sources by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.
The Great Escape from China
Written by Kenneth Rogoff
CAMBRIDGE – Since 2016 began, the prospect of a major devaluation of China’s renminbi has been hanging over global markets like the Sword of Damocles. No other source of policy uncertainty has been as destabilizing. Few observers doubt that China will have to let the renminbi exchange rate float freely sometime over the next decade. The question is how much drama will take place in the interim, as political and economic imperatives collide.