• 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