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Investing in international infrastructure development, a $60 trillion dollar industry, is not only about dollars and cents, it is also a strategic imperative. Yet the United States has failed to become a significant player in the field. American companies need Washington’s help to get into the game.
Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago.
Conventional wisdom sees banking crises as apolitical, the result of unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances. In reality, the same politics that influence other aspects of society also help explain why some countries, such as the United States, suffer repeated banking crises, while others, such as Canada, avoid them altogether.
The former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve asks how so many experts, including him, failed to see the 2008 financial crisis approaching. An important part of the answer to that question is a very old idea: Keynesian “animal spirits,” the irrational elements of decisionmaking that have been left out of economic forecasting for too long.
Forget the hype about cyberwar. The cyber era has been defined by the opposite trend: a computer-enabled reduction of political violence, which hacking diminishes by making it easier to engage in sabotage and espionage, two kinds of aggression that fall short of war.
Instead of hoping that a political miracle will spare the Pentagon from the budget ax, American defense officials need to start preparing for the inevitable. That means bringing personnel costs under control, getting on with strategic planning, and reshaping the forces for today’s missions.
Cutting-edge scientific research such as synthetic biology has brought extraordinary advancements for society, but also terrifying dangers. A global policing strategy for synthetic biology should expand awareness of the potential threats but must not impede scientific discovery.
All the key barriers to the artificial synthesis of viruses and bacteria have been overcome, spawning a dizzying array of perils and promises. But as the scientific community forges ahead, the biosecurity establishment remains behind the curve.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consequences of past U.S. defense cuts were not all bad. In fact, history shows that austerity forces Washington to think strategically, something it rarely does when times are flush.
Much of the debate about China’s rise has focused on the potential dangers China could pose as a peer competitor bent on challenging the existing international order. But another issue is far more pressing. For at least the next decade, while China remains relatively weak compared to the United States, there is a real danger that Beijing and Washington will find themselves in a crisis that could quickly escalate to military conflict.
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