• PerspectiveThe revenge of geography in cyberspace

    In The Revenge of Geography, Robert Kaplan pinpointed the fall of the Berlin Wall as the day when strategists and commentators ceased to believe that physical and national borders mattered to global affairs. Published in 2012, Kaplan urged readers to recover a “sensibility about time and space” he believed lost “in the jet and information ages.” Katherine Mansted writed in The Bridge that as they have since antiquity, geopolitical factors will continue to shape and constrain world affairs in our digital age. Emerging technologies will only up the ante—as underscored by global debates on Huawei’s involvement in the roll-out of 5G, and China-US trade disputes over data localization. Applying a geopolitical lens to events like these will be an essential first step to crafting good strategy to respond.

  • Hemispheric securityTime to oust the Venezuelan dictator

    The four-month effort by the last democratic branch of government in Venezuela - the National Assembly - to peacefully remove the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro, has not succeeded. It is time for the major democratic powers around Venezuela - Colombia, Brazil and the United States - to militarily intervene to end the dictatorship. 

  • PerspectiveVenezuela’s rebellion that wasn’t

    Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaidó took a big gamble last Tuesday when he stood outside La Carlota air base in Caracas at dawn and called on the military to drop its allegiance to dictator Nicolás Maduro. The call to action provoked street demonstrations across the country, but the plan fizzled. Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes in the Wall Street Journal that “The opposition would have more leverage if it could end the occupation of the country by Cuba, Russia, and Iran. When that happens Mr. Maduro loses his godfathers. But thus far the U.S. and its regional allies have given this axis of evil little incentive to withdraw. On Friday President Trump even played down Moscow’s role in Venezuela after a long phone call with Vladimir Putin. That’s good news for Mr. Maduro, who last week was reportedly giving polygraph tests to military officers he suspected of betraying him. Whether he has any real power, or ever did, remains a question.”

  • Hemispheric securityDoD defends U.S. intelligence gathering in Venezuela

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Friday defended U.S. intelligence gathering on Venezuela after U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s effort to inspire mass military defections earlier in the week fell short. Also on Friday, following an hour-long phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump appeared to reject the assessments by the U.S. intelligence community about the Russian role and goals in Venezuela, and the blunt statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton about Russia’s involvement in Venezuela in support of the besieged incumbent Nicolas Maduro.

  • China syndromeAnalysts: China trying to use Belt and Road meeting to counter U.S. influence

    China is getting ready to welcome representatives from 150 nations, including senior leaders of 40 countries, to discuss its international infrastructure program at the second Belt and Road Forum, beginning Thursday and running through Saturday in Beijing. Analysts say it is not merely a conference on infrastructure building, but an attempt by China to display its popularity and power as a political rallying force.

  • China syndromeLasting U.S. preeminence: A review of Michael Beckley’s “Unrivaled”

    By Ali Wyne

    The Economist last year proclaimed that the “Chinese century is well under way,” and that China is on its way to replacing the United States as the new global “hegemon.” Tufts University’s Michael Beckley says: Not so fast. He argues not only that U.S. preeminence is safer than most contemporary commentary would have one believe, but also that it is more resilient: “Unipolarity is not guaranteed to endure,” he concludes, “but present trends strongly suggest that it will last for many decades.”

  • CubaU.S. allows lawsuits against foreign companies using property seized by Cuba

    The U.S. will allow U.S. citizens to sue foreign companies and individuals who use property confiscated from them decades ago by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The decision likely will hinder Cuba’s efforts to encourage foreign investment to the island.

  • Hemispheric securityNew air link evidence of Iran's growing influence in Venezuela

    This month’s re-opening of an air link between Tehran and Caracas as the latest evidence of Iran’s growing role alongside Russia and Cuba in bolstering the multilayered security apparatus keeping Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in power.

  • National security challengesOn rogues and peers: Russian, Chinese challenges to U.S. national security

    Russia and China represent distinct challenges to U.S. national security. Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate.

  • Hemispheric securityGuyana faces "creeping coup"

    Venezuela is not the only country in South America facing political instability and crisis:  After losing a parliamentary vote of non-confidence on December 21st, in the small neighboring country of Guyana, the government of President David Granger has refused to resign or schedule elections, in clear violation of the constitution.

  • Africa watchQatar plays key role for peace in the Horn of Africa

    The past year’s unexpected outbreak of peace between former rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa was the result of a decade of patient diplomacy, investment, and military peacekeeping by several regional states, most notably Qatar. The small, oil-rich Emirate in the Persian Gulf has now emerged as a significant regional power.

  • The gathering stormRussia’s hostile measures threaten Europe: Report

    A new RAND report examines current Russian hostile measures in Europe and forecasts how Russia might threaten Europe using these measures over the next few years. “Whatever the U.S. response, preparation for involvement in a wide range of conflicts can help reduce the risk of mismanagement, miscalculation, and escalation,” the report’s authos say.

  • The Russia connectionKremlin dispatches Russian security personnel to protect Venezuela’s Maduro

    Private Russian military contractors have been dispatched by the Kremlin to Venezuela in the past few days to shore up security for President Nicolas Maduro. The Russian move appears to be in response to the recognition by the United States and most of Latin America’s countries of Juan Guaido, who declares himself as Venezuela’s interm president earlier this week. Russian sources told Reuters that the Russian contingent sent to protect Maduro is about 400 strong.

  • Energy & geopoliticsNew geopolitical power dynamics created by renewables

    Political and business leaders from around the world have outlined the far-reaching geopolitical implications of an energy transformation driven by the rapid growth of renewable energy. In a new report, experts say the geopolitical and socio-economic consequences of a new energy age may be as profound as those which accompanied the shift from biomass to fossil fuels two centuries ago.

  • Sonic weaponsCuban lovelorn crickets, not a sonic weapon, made U.S. diplomats ill: Study

    In late 2016, U.S. diplomats in Havana began to report ear pain, dizziness, confusion – and some showed symptoms of mysteriois brain injury. The diplomats said that their symptoms occurred after they repeatedly heard a high-frequency noise. The State Department withdrew half its embassy staff, and several studies concluded that the high-frequency noise was generated by a sonic weapon. A new study argues that the high-frequency noise was created by local crickets.