Pointing to the Future

The U.S. can no Longer Ignore China as a Global Internet Player.  The U.S. government will have more ability to influence Chinese behaviour, push back against Chinese actions that challenge U.S. values, and ultimately shape the terms of the debate on global technology developments by being a part of the conversation than by standing apart from it.

China at the Gates.  A requirement for reciprocal opening has entered European policy statements on China. Not a turn to protectionism, Europe seeks engagement rather than confrontation, but must also gear up for a China that is presently unresponsive to its requests.

China’s “New Era” with Xi Jinping Characteristics.  In many ways the 19th party congress solidified Xi’s domestic and foreign policy trajectory of the past five years. The key question arising from the congress, however, appears to be whether Xi is also changing China in a more thoroughgoing way.

Continuing Crack down in Hong Kong Risks China’s International Reputation.  Officials not used to opposition in Beijing bridle at criticism further from home. But instead of attempting to stifle dissent in Hong Kong, they should channel criticism to more productive ends, while demonstrating why the PRC is an attractive overlord. Confrontation will benefit no one.

Why China Plans to Invade Taiwan.  Given the gravity of the threat facing Taiwan, it is important that the international community understands China’s intentions and plans. Americans need to understand why their country might one day find itself locked in deadly embrace with China over this island nation, and allies need to know what parts they might be asked to play.

Will Xi Jinping’s Charm Offensive Win Over China’s Wary Neighbours?  Being the self-referential behemoth that it is, China could fail again with the latest charm offensive. The issues that have infected China’s relations with its neighbours for decades will not disappear. It will behove observers to watch how China manages those issues and disputes.

Belt and Road to Where?  Setting aside the shortcomings of the Belt and Road concept, the ‘OBOR hype’ around the world points to a real and fundamental trend — the ascent of China as a truly global economic and military power.

Is a “China Model” Gaining International Traction?  Certain aspects of the emergent China model are already being adopted by developing economies. Saudi Arabia, for example, has emerged as a rather unlikely candidate. Many of its development pushes have a resemblance to Chinese initiatives and fit in with Beijing’s infrastructure plan.

India’s Culture War Comes to Bollywood.  The Bollywood film Padmavati has inspired heated debate, hysterical threats of violence, and a ban in four states governed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – all before even being released. The tolerance and acceptance of difference that once accompanied India’s remarkable diversity, are wearing thin these days.

Transforming Indo-Japan Relations Through Robots.  With a stagnating domestic market, Japanese companies also have a vested interest in building technological relations with India. Leveraging Japanese expertise in robotic manufacturing and channelling local software talent would allow India to come to terms with a fast changing global economic scenario, where automation will rule the roost.

A Strong US-India Partnership Is in the Strategic Interest of US.  The U.S.-India relationship doesn’t fit well into either the category of friend or ally. What is driving strategic convergence between Washington and Delhi is Beijing and what is required is a regional structure to manage China’s disruptive influence in the region.

Unshackle Indian Agriculture.  Agriculture is an arena where policy-induced distortion is the rule, not an exception. The story of pulses from last year is a stark illustration of what ails agriculture policy. India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and importer of pulses. That may sound contradictory, but isn’t, because domestic production is unable to meet the large and growing domestic demand.

Perils of Going Cashless.  The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI), enabling the government to confiscate the deposits to save troubled public sector banks, has led to worries about the safety of bank deposits. Yet, a larger threat to the deposits of ordinary citizens has slipped under the radar. It is the push by governments towards a cashless society.

An Uncertain Energy Future.  In the absence of incentives and the creation of a domestic industry for polysilicon, PV modules, and lithium-ion batteries, India would have to tie its “energy future” inextricably to the policies of China. Can it afford to do that?

The Hard Math Behind BitCoin’s Global Warming Problem.  A recent study has estimated that BitCoin currently uses more energy than the country of Serbia and at current growth rates will use more than the US by July 2019, raising questions about both the environmental footprint of cryptocurrencies and their sustainability.