GIS Dossier: Trumponomics
Eighteen months into his presidency, Donald Trump has already implemented several major economic initiatives, including big tax cuts and rewriting American trade policy. Neither the disaster foreseen by his critics nor the miracle envisioned by his supporters has materialized. Instead, there has been a mix of positives and negatives for the U.S. economy, just as GIS experts had predicted since the election. This GIS Dossier reviews the unexpected consequences of “Trumponomics” and the impact it is likely to have in the future.
Where the United States and global trade are heading
The U.S. is the world’s largest open economy and pillar of the global trading system. Yet its economic challenges today – government debt, wealth inequality, and labor force participation – cannot be reliably addressed through more open trade. One should therefore expect more U.S. steps to change the terms of trade and pressure leading exporters over the next two years.
The effects of U.S. trade policy in the Pacific
The Trump administration has made a big splash with its trade policy. The effects are already being seen in the Pacific region, after Washington’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Whether President Trump’s aggressive approach remains intact or if it is softened by free traders in the administration, the U.S. is likely to be marginalized while China will benefit.
GIS Dossier: China dominates the rare earths supply chain
The unique chemical and physical properties of rare earth elements make many cutting-edge technologies possible. China is richly endowed with the resource and once attempted to corner the REEs market. Beijing’s predatory policy was thwarted by the WHO and the global economic slowdown, but the West’s efforts to develop alternative supply sources have come up short.
2018 Global Outlook: The Euro-Atlantic relationship
The transatlantic relationship can be described as a family matter – with the United States as the mostly benevolent patriarch and Europe as the dependent relatives. Relations had been cooling for at least a decade, but this process is being expedited by the presidency of Donald Trump. Both sides seem to agree that Europe needs to grow up and take charge of its own destiny. If so, we could be headed for a stormy late adolescence.
China’s soft landing in the Balkans
In the next few years China will be opening an investment bridgehead in the Balkans. As other powers such as Russia and Turkey have increased their geopolitical presence in the region, China’s expansion will be even stronger – but different in kind because it will be a “soft,” mostly economic penetration. The push will be all the more powerful if the European Union neglects the region, as seems probable with its decision to delay the next round of accession until 2025.
What’s next for the Caspian region
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Caspian Sea region plays an outsized role in geopolitical events. In recent years, global powers have made some significant changes in their policies toward the region. China is stepping up its activity, while the U.S. has backed away. Russia’s influence has greatly increased, while Turkey’s has waned. Now, states in the region face a growing threat from Muslim extremism. How well countries meet these challenges will depend on the strength of their state institutions. In Central Asia, that could mean increased cooperation and peace. In the South Caucasus, conflict could be on the cards.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
Computing China’s future
China has long played catch-up in many industries, but it no longer needs to chase in high-performance computing. The country now has the two fastest supercomputers in the world, and has put itself in the forefront of a wave that will one day overwhelm binary digital technology – quantum computing. If China establishes leadership in this field, it could close the military technology gap with the United States and shift the geopolitical balance.
India and Germany draw closer
India and Germany may seem like an odd couple. But a recent flurry of diplomatic consultations suggest that the two countries may be beginning to form a strategic relationship. What animates them is a belief that second-tier powers need to work more closely together to shore up an international order threatened by an assertive China and a whimsical United States.