Knowing The World

Russia and the West. The world food system is imperiled by sanctions which owe more to feeling good than doing good

True to form, the G7, meeting in Bavaria, have just concluded with another sanctions-fest. A majority of the advanced industrialized countries curtailed all Russian gold purchases and are examining a cap on the price of Russian oil. The previous sanctions on the Russian economy have led Moscow to default on its debt for the first … Continue reading Russia and the West. The world food system is imperiled by sanctions which owe more to feeling good than doing good

Goodbye globalization, welcome to the new age of insecurity

The Austrian psychoanalyst Theodor Reik put it best when he said that history never repeated itself, but it did often rhyme. This has become the unofficial mantra of my political risk firm. All of our competitors in the industry tend to assess the same three areas — macroeconomics, military strategy, and politics and geopolitics — … Continue reading Goodbye globalization, welcome to the new age of insecurity

France’s parliamentary election ruins Macron’s coronation

As a historian, I have always found the end of Percy Shelley’s magnificent poem “Ozymandias” almost unbearably moving as it makes plain that even towering greatness has a finite shelf life. Shelley’s conclusion goes like this: “And on the pedestal, these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye … Continue reading France’s parliamentary election ruins Macron’s coronation

New members will strengthen NATO’s raison d’etre

Asked what the purpose of NATO was, the Western military alliance’s first secretary-general Hastings Ismay came up with one of the greatest sound bites of all time: “To keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” These days we would more politely say “integrated” of the Germans, but the British diplomat’s pithy … Continue reading New members will strengthen NATO’s raison d’etre

Due to ‘partygate,’ Johnson is about to run the gauntlet

As a form of military punishment during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618 to 1648, soldiers fighting for the Protestant cause were condemned to “run the gauntlet.” Forced to scamper for their lives between two rows of their colleagues who were armed with clubs and sticks, the punishment only came to an end after they … Continue reading Due to ‘partygate,’ Johnson is about to run the gauntlet

Germany’s bellwether regional election lays bare the coming post-Merkel political order

As the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung put it: “There is no birth of consciousness without pain.” Thus, lost in the jumble of the recent North Rhine-Westphalia regional election, clear, indelible patterns emerge that are likely to shape German politics for the next generation. It is hard to overstate how important NRW is to Germany as a whole, amounting to … Continue reading Germany’s bellwether regional election lays bare the coming post-Merkel political order

The case for a Republican clean sweep in the 2022 midterms

The brutal reality of political risk analysis is that you can never rest on your laurels. However good your predictive call record, there are always more elections to come and more geostrategic risks and opportunities to make sense of. Much as is true with sports, even winning a political risk analytical “championship” just means everyone … Continue reading The case for a Republican clean sweep in the 2022 midterms

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