Cup of News – July 2nd, 2017
Greetings Ramen Readers! Following the upcoming G-20 summit, RamenIR will have a special G-20 week. We will run one article for each major themes of the summit written by our staff and some new contributors. Mark your calendars for a great week of analysis!
– Charles Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
In a comprehensive new report on the modernization of the Russian Military, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency explains how Russia is using direct and indirect action within a new doctrine of power projections around the world. In this report, one will find a detailed description of the kinetic capabilities of Russia, but also descriptions of their capabilities for cyber warfare and more subtle influence campaigns.
Despite years of a strong positive trade balance, China has an increasing load of sovereign debt. The country’s total Corporate debt is now larger than their GDP and Moody’s downgraded their sovereign credit rating. Yu argues that “In an ideal world, China’s government could respond by stimulating household consumption. But, in the absence of further reforms in areas like social security, growth in consumer spending is bound to be slow. In the meantime, the government must rely on an expansionary fiscal policy to encourage infrastructure investment, even if it means raising the debt-to-GDP ratio.”
Regardless of the bellicose rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign, the young administration of President Trump has yet to prove it has an overriding doctrine in its foreign policy. Yoni Applebaum quotes noted commentator Richard Haas who defines this “adhocracy” by stating, “Virtually no one in the administration has any interagency experience. Some of them have never been in government before, including the president and the secretary of state. … If you know that going in, this ought to be the most tightly structured administration in history to compensate for it. Instead, it’s the most loosely structured I’ve seen.”
In a controversial premise, the authors argue that, after the defeat of ISIS and the cessation of hostilities at some indeterminate time, Syria’s borders should be redrawn. By giving autonomy to key demographics of the region, future or reinflamed conflicts could be prevented, even if it creates tension in the region. However, the notion of redrawing borders in 2017 is controversial and does not come to fruition without creating hitherto unforeseen conflicts.
Two of development scholars’ favorite topics, labor market development, and innovation, are at odds in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before certain industries reach the region, their technologies could have evolved beyond the need for its manpower thanks to automation and evolving efficiencies in the supply chains of light and medium industry. Brahima writes, “African policymakers should keep these demographic and economic trends in mind as they formulate their national development plans. The region can still harness its demographic dividend, but it is now in a race against the machines.”