Economics & Global Affairs

2014 Items

Chinese President Xi Jinping smiles at the audience after concluding his speech at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,  January 17, 2017.

Michel Euler (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

A Better Way to Deal With Beijing

| May 14, 2019

China isn’t a monolith, former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick writes, and in order to make headway with China, the United States should also pressure the country’s leadership with non-economic means. A deal that opens up trade would be useful, but the U.S. needs a multifront strategy and continuing engagement with China, not a single transaction. America should coordinate with partners—including reformers in China—to change China’s behavior.

Analysis & Opinions - Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship

Ambassador Romana Vlahutin: The EU's Connectivity Strategy

| May 10, 2019

As part of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship’s (PETR) event series, Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, Ambassador at Large for Connectivity in the European External Action Service, addressed the EU’s new Connectivity Strategy in conversation with Philippe Le Corre, PETR affiliate and senior fellow with Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center on Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks on the prospect of continued negotiations with North Korea at the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 9, 2019.

Dmitri Lovetsky (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Policing Terror Finance in an Era of Great Competition

| May 07, 2019

America’s sanctions strategy is increasingly burdened by the involvement of systemically important financial institutions and sovereign investors in global financial statecraft. In the post-9/11 world, Washington’s strategy was highly effective in pursuing non-state actors like al-Qaeda or ISIS, as well as small, rogue nations like Iran. Yet in addressing larger sovereigns like the Kremlin, US strategy has struggled to maintain the same effectiveness given the cross-border financial connections linking these entities to Western markets. As an era of great power competition among Washington, Moscow, and Beijing sets in, these foes will crowd out smaller, non-state actors, thus demanding an adequate response from the Treasury.

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

AP/Donna Fenn Heintzen

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

| May 07, 2019

As part of a high profile tour of China in February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has overseen a range of multi-billion dollar pledges and MOUs with Beijing. This partly reflects Riyadh’s desire to diversify sources for investments and technology following the mass withdrawal of major Western business leaders from the Future Investment Initiative in October 2018, after the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. Yet cooperation with China on renewable energy, if successful, would realize a significant first step towards Saudi Arabia’s lofty ambitions for solar and wind power.

A traditional Iranian bazaar in the city of Kashan

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Can Iran Weather the Trump Storm?

| May 03, 2019

In the past 10 years, oil exports have averaged about $67 billion in Iran. Last year, they dropped by two-thirds, and they are expected to drop below $30 billion this year.  There are reasons to believe that, with appropriate policies, the country can live with this level of oil exports, albeit at a reduced standard of living, and even do itself some good in the long run by reducing its dependence on oil.

Iran has been there before. In 2012, when President Obama ratcheted up U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil exports dropped by 27.5 percent, and GDP fell by 6.2 percent. In 2015, sanctions and the collapse of oil prices further reduced oil exports to $32 billion, a decade-long low, and GDP declined by 1.6 percent. If Iran’s leadership is to successfully resist U.S. demands, it must do more than find ways to evade sanctions. A lot depends on its ability to adopt a plan that reduces the economy’s dependence on oil, while distributing the burden of restructuring equitably across social groups.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Moore on Gold and Commodities

| May 01, 2019

A century ago, the gold standard was considered a guarantor of monetary stability.  That golden era is long-gone.  (If it every really existed at all.  The general price level fell 53% in US and 45% in the UK during 1873-1896 due to a dearth of gold deposit discoveries.)

Continuing my thoughts on the Fed candidacy of Stephen Moore: he has said several times that he favors a return to gold.  In true Trumpian fashion, he recently denied having said it despite the clear video evidence.

Brexit protest opposite the Palace of Westminster, London.

ChiralJon

Analysis & Opinions - METRO U.N.

What Brexit Means for the World

| May 01, 2019

When contemplating Brexit, particularly a ”hard” Brexit without agreements with the EU, the outside world is deeply puzzled how Britain could produce such a calamitous act of self-harm, severely hurting its economy, undermining its international standing, and possibly threatening its national integrity. While Brexit will hurt the EU economically, it will not undermine the EU’s global role as the world’s second largest economy. Brexit has also had some unexpected effects that strengthen the EU.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Moore Troubles for the Fed

Apr. 30, 2019

Of the two men whom Donald Trump had intended to nominate to empty seats on the Federal Reserve Board, Herman Cain has now withdrawn his name.  This leaves the other one, Stephen Moore.

The Senate would have to decide whether to confirm Moore. He has some problems roughly analogous to Cain’s:  he is considered to be under an ethical cloud and he often gets his economic facts wrong.  Cynics might respond that he would thereby fit right in with the roster of Trump nominees throughout the government.  But Trump’s earlier appointments to the Fed have been people of ability and integrity and have been doing a good job, Chair Jerome Powell in particular. Perhaps Trump did not start paying attention to Fed appointments until recently.

 

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures warmly to the local residents of Simferopol, Crimea, Monday, March 18, 2019.

Yuri Kadobnov (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Key to Putin’s Passport Offers to Ukrainians? Russia’s Shrinking Labor Force

| Apr. 30, 2019

While Putin’s hopes of integrating Ukraine into the Eurasian Economic Union were dashed by the 2014 revolution, the Russian leadership has refused to yield in its battle with the EU over Ukraine’s shrinking labor force, Simon Saradzhyan writes.