Opinion: Defense is essential
Every state above a certain size needs armed forces to defend itself. Methods for their use vary, ranging from the Swiss model of territorial defense to the blue-water navies, foreign alliances and overseas bases deployed by superpowers. The one common element – essential to any sort of effective deterrence – is the political will to fight.
The technological revolution in Oman’s oil and gas industry
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies, “cracking” methods for extracting oil and gas from rock formations and reasonable policies toward foreign investors have enabled the Sultanate of Oman to increase its hydrocarbons production remarkably – despite small proven reserves and difficult geology.
Four implications of electric mobility
China is doubly dominant in electric vehicles (EV), as the world’s biggest market and largest battery maker, with 55 percent of global production. EV makers also increasingly depend on critical raw materials from China such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earths. This growing dependency, along with production bottlenecks and the environmental costs of EV production, may limit its impact on the global energy mix.
China’s expanding space program
China started its manned space program four decades after the United States, but it is making great strides while the American effort stagnates. Beijing has long-term plans for a manned lunar base and is testing antisatellite weapons at record altitudes. There appears to be little will in Washington to commit to a multi-decade program needed to stay ahead of the Chinese, and no other country appears able to compete on equal terms.
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.
Cloudy skies for China’s aviation industry
China's commercial aircraft market will soon be the world's largest, but its domestic industry is not well positioned to take advantage. Engine technology is lagging, while safety, maintenance and other performance issues have set back the development of new aircraft. The outlook for military aviation is even worse unless endemic corruption can be stamped out.
The greening of China’s auto industry
Chinese car ownership and production have shot up spectacularly in recent years. The country has joined the push for driverless electric cars as part of an environmental strategy that also stresses greatly expanded public transport. Depending on which strategy Beijing selects, carmakers could be headed for boom years or hard times.
Shale energy shows the power of markets
The cutting edge of energy is often seen in the government-subsidized renewables sector, especially solar and wind power. But if you want to know the truly disruptive, market-rattling technology of our era, look no further than shale oil and gas.
India’s push for land reform needs people power
Poor property records have proven a major obstacle to economic development in India. Their slipshod quality leads to property disputes, corruption and social problems. Numerous Indian government initiatives to digitize these records have had mixed results. But authorities will have to look beyond IT solutions – empowering citizens and eliminating high transaction costs will be necessary.