Eurasia Group's weekly selection of essential reading for the political risk junkie-presented in no particular order. As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections @EurasiaGroup or @IanBremmer.
1. "Why the Reset Should Be Reset"
Thomas E. Graham and Dmitri Trenin, New York Times
In light of Vladimir Putin's State of the Union address on Wednesday, a speech which signaled more of the same on the home front, it's worth tracking the shifting dynamic between Russia and the United States. With relations deteriorating, is a grander "longer-term strategic framework" out of the question?
2. "For Better Planning, Watch Global
Joseph Chamie, Yale Global
In a world of economic uncertainty, some demographic trends hold predictive power. Here are seven of them.
3. "Saudi Arabia Makes Big Bet On
Danny Kennedy, Forbes
Saudi Arabia's $100 billion investment is merely a launching point for an interesting wider treatment of the viability of solar power from an investment standpoint.
4. "Millions in Ransoms Fuel
Militants' Clout in West Africa"
Adam Nossiter, New York Times
Mali has been all over the news this week, with discussion of the best response to extremist control of the northern part of the country. France put forward a plan, and US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice dismissed it as "crap." Add the lucrative kidnappings that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been conducting over the past decade and we're left with an increasingly toxic mix of problems.
5. "The Insourcing Boom"
Charles Fishman, The Atlantic (December 2012)
"I think the era of inexpensive labor is basically over," said Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. This profound shift is changing business models-and perhaps even outsourcing practices, as we see hints of manufacturing coming back to the United States. After all, if (A) labor is a smaller portion of a product's cost structure, (B) the difference between the cost of labor in China and the US is shrinking, and (C) manufacturing at home brings a slew of synergistic and innovative advantages, perhaps we are witnessing the rebirth of American manufacturing. This piece expertly weaves these global issues into a historical account of GE's Appliance Park in Louisville.
6. "Global Trends 2030: Alternative
The National Intelligence Council (December 2012)
Whether you call it the G-Zero, as we do at Eurasia Group, or "a multipolar world" where the US is no longer the hegemonic power and no one country will take its place, the NIC's new report provides a compelling map of this new global order's significance in shaping the world of tomorrow. ‘Megatrends,' ‘Game-Changers,' ‘Potential Worlds', and everything from the impact of 3D printing to the potential for ‘black swan' events makes for a fascinating read.