What is geopolitics?
Geopolitics has two related but distinct meanings * International politics, the relationship between states, is complicated. What are a nation’s interests? Determined by who? How do national politics affect foreign policy? Can technology transcend geography? How do culture and “national … Continued
Avoiding another Cold War
A child’s enquiry about the Cold War brings back memories and raises concerns for the future * The other day a friend’s child asked me, what was the Cold War? Children ask about history all the time, but perhaps in … Continued
The paradox of Chinese Communist ideology
A country with several thousand years of distinctive cultural history is governed through European ideology * It is often said that China is one of the world’s oldest civilisations, tracing a history back to around 2,200BCE. Of course there were … Continued
The beginning of the end of the oil age
Some people who know me don’t believe it, but as a child I wasn’t interested in international politics. But, like most people in Britain in the 1970s, I knew the name of the Saudi oil minister, because he was a … Continued
The case for bitcoin
People are often surprised when they ask economists, what is money, and the reply is, well, anything that fulfills the functions of money is money: money is as money does. The classic definition of money is anything that is: i) … Continued
Ten years after Fukushima
What happened? At 14.46 on 11 March 2011, the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan started in the Pacific Ocean about 72km (45 miles) from the Japanese coast. Occurring in fairly shallow waters, the earthquake caused a tsunami with a … Continued
The importance of infrastructure
People paid to worry about bad stuff happening concluded long ago that one way to destroy the USA as a functioning state would be to explode a high altitude nuclear weapon above the country; the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would … Continued
Has the US “lost” China a second time?
The shift of US attitudes on China owes as much to American disappointments as it does to changes in China’s behaviour * After the revolution that brought the Chinese Communist Party to power in 1949, a shocked US foreign policy … Continued
Should oil companies invest in renewable electricity?
Oil and gas companies have few skills that are transferable to electricity generation and risk wasting a lot of their shareholders’ money. * “Peak oil” used to refer to supply but in recent years has come to mean the year … Continued
India and China
Recent news of increasingly lethal clashes on the long and disputed border between India and China raises a question, how have the two most populous nations on Earth previously mostly kept the peace? * “Good fences make good neighbours” Robert … Continued