This Week in Geopolitics, August 2016

Conspiracy Theories

August 29, 2016

The term “conspiracy theory” has been part of our culture for a very long time. It is often justifiably followed by the word “nut.” It is also a way to stop discussion, or to embarrass others from believing what is being said. The aversion to conspiracy theories flows from a revulsion at the thought that well-known events are caused by a group of people acting in secret.

Europe’s Long War with Islam

August 22, 2016

Any discussion of Islamist terrorism in Europe and the refugee crisis has to be placed in a broader historical context. One way to approach this is to think about the Mediterranean Sea, which was central to the Roman Empire.

The Crises That Could Bring Down Putin

August 15, 2016

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin did three very interesting things. First, he fired his long-time aide and chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, and moved him to a lower position. A few weeks earlier, Putin fired at least three regional governors and replaced them with his personal bodyguards. Removing that many governors is a bit odd. Replacing them with his bodyguards is very odd. Then removing someone as close to him as Ivanov is extremely odd.

Nationalism, Technology, and the Olympics

August 8, 2016

The Olympics have begun in Brazil. The games were greeted by massive demonstrations by Brazilians. With Brazil facing hard economic times, many thought that spending more than $12 billion hosting the games was outrageous. The demonstrators felt there were better uses for the money. Supporters argued it would add to Brazil’s worldly luster.

Free Trade, Politics, and the Wealth of Nations

August 1, 2016

The controversy over the Trans-Pacific Partnership has escalated in the United States. At this point, both presidential candidates oppose it. Donald Trump appears to oppose most multinational agreements, including noneconomic ones. He believes that such treaties do more harm than good. According to some, it puts poor countries at a disadvantageat the mercy of multinational corporations.