The limited global impact of Trump’s ‘America First’ energy policies
Coal is back in the U.S., with production and exports rising. This has coincided with a President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies in the energy sector. But coal’s comeback is more a function of market forces than politics. And it could be short-lived. Despite all the sound and fury, Mr. Trump's initiatives to support fossil fuels will have far less of an impact on energy markets and global efforts to reduce climate change than his critics claim. Europe, however, could still benefit.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
Opinion: The perfect tax (other than zero)
Tax systems are coming under increasing scrutiny in Western countries. Because governments do not like simple rules and transparency, they are most likely to support measures imposing more progressivity, including substantial levies on wealth, or adding value-added taxes on top of personal income taxes. But the simplest and fairest proposals would focus taxation on one activity – consumption – while keeping social solidarity on the expenditure side.
GIS Dossier: Iran’s rise
Iran has methodically built up its influence in the Middle East to become one of the most important powers in the region. It has a growing foothold in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar. Its rise has inflamed tensions with Saudi Arabia, while a nascent rapprochement with the U.S. has withered under President Donald Trump. It is stepping up military interventions abroad, but remains deeply divided at home. This edition of our Dossier series reviews how Iran got here and our experts’ predictions about what this means for the region and the world.
Too much oil?
Oil prices were supposed to stabilize in 2017, but instead they dropped by about 20 percent. The reason appears to be more technological progress in the shale industry and the ineffectiveness of OPEC’s production cuts. In response, the oil cartel may decide to reverse its strategy and punish high-cost competitors by increasing supply – sending prices even lower.
Germany votes: another four years of Merkel – but which Merkel?
Angela Merkel looks nearly certain to win another term as chancellor of Germany in September. The big question is what her next moves will be. Much of that will depend on her coalition partners in government, but one thing is sure: she will continue to be flexible and outsmart her opponents. She will also begin to shore up her legacy: making Germany relevant again, as a reliable, rational, and stable nation.
Opinion: Peace in Europe and the importance of NATO
Tensions are rising as global power shifts toward China and Russia. Europe’s security is at risk. The countries on this northwestern edge of the Eurasian-African landmass must understand their special position in limiting incursions from the east toward the North Atlantic. This means providing for a robust defense and establishing a credible deterrent. If Europe fails to do this, it could become the battlefield in the next great global war.
Surprising evolution in U.S. policy toward Ukraine
In no time, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was elevated from Donald Trump’s doghouse to the status of an honored guest at the White House. The U.S. president has discovered reasons to demonstrate to his NATO allies, and the world, his tough stand on Russia. As East-West tension mounts, the conflict over Donbas, a portion of eastern Ukraine captured by Moscow-backed secessionists, may quickly degenerate into a U.S.-Russia proxy war.
GIS Dossier: Nuclear energy
The 2011 Fukushima disaster brought nuclear energy development programs around the world to a screeching halt – temporarily. Though Germany plans to fully phase out nuclear power production, Japan has brought several reactors back online, and other countries have restarted construction on nuclear plants. These developments have had huge geopolitical effects: Germany’s fossil fuel imports from Russia have grown, while China has found an opening to increase its sway on four continents by financing nuclear projects.