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The End Of The Petrodollar?
By James Grant, The National Interest, March 21, 2018
 

In a move that could portend massive shifts in the global oil game, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange will soon unveil an oil-futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars (product symbol: SC). Experts warn that the growing clout of Chinese currency in international financial markets could erode the primacy of the U.S. dollar, a long-term economic trend that should greatly trouble Washington.

 
What Moscow Thinks About When It Thinks About War Robots
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 17, 2018
 

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu made a significant announcement in mid-March 2018 at a domestic technology forum. "The serial production of combat robots for the Russian armed forces may start already this year," he stated.

Shoigu also implied, in response a question about whether remote-controlled unmanned systems would be utilized in the future, that the concept of a combat unmanned system remotely operated by a human has already been implemented in the Russian armed forces.

 
The Limits Of Saudi Reform
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, March 14, 2018
 

Just how far-reaching are Saudi Arabia's reforms? These days, there is unbridled optimism in official Washington over what are widely seen as sweeping social and economic changes taking place in the historically-stagnant Kingdom.

At first glance, Saudi Arabia does indeed appear to be on the march. Since 2016, when he formally unveiled his
National Transformation Plan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman - better known as MbS - has presided over an ambitious initiative to overhaul the national economy and Saudi society.

 
What Iran Can Teach Us About North Korea Summit
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2018
 

You could call it the Iranian negotiating model.

After months of escalating tensions with the United States, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has offered to meet directly with President Trump, engendering cautious optimism from many who see this as a necessary first step to de-escalation in Asia. The White House has tentatively agreed to the meeting. And yet, without deft handling, this dialogue could allow one of the world's worst rogue states to reap enormous dividends as a result of its irresponsible conduct - much as happened with Iran in the not-so-distant past.

 
The Russian Military Wants Students to Design Its New Underwater Drone
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 7, 2018
 

In recent years, Russian Federation borrowed one great idea from the United States — creating a federally funded center for breakthrough and innovating technologies. The Foundation of Advanced Studies — basically the Russian DARPA — launched in 2013.

 
Do Merkel And Germany Have A Future?
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, March 6, 2018
 

Germany has a new grand-coalition government (GROKO) in sight thanks to the decision by Social Democratic Party (SPD) rank and file to agree to another link-up with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU). SPD dues-paying members voted by two-thirds in a postal referendum to play second fiddle once again under Merkel at the national level. Both parties are motivated by palpable fear that failure to agree would provoke new elections in which they could both lose even more votes to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) than they did in the shocking general election last September.

 
Nervous In North Africa
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, February 22, 2018
 

Officials in Morocco are apprehensive. "Africa is approaching a dangerous moment," one of the Kingdom's most senior political figures told me recently in Rabat. His bleak assessment, which I heard in virtually every meeting during my recent visit to the country, stems from what are essentially two factors.

 
Rocketing Toward War?
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 20, 2018
 

Military skirmishes and escalating threats between Iran and Israel of late are raising the risks of a catastrophic regional war, prompting questions about what the United States should do to prevent it.

To date, President Donald Trump has focused more attention on defeating the Islamic State group in Syria than on preventing Iran from filling the resulting void with its own military and proxy forces and, in the process, further implanting itself in Syria as part of its quest for a land corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

 
North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2018
 

Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press.

This week, the American media went on overload in praise of North Korean Minister of Propaganda and Agitation Kim Yo Jong, sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The minister was praised for her poise, her smile, her fashion sense and her handwriting. The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, (which even the New York Times found a bit much). There hadn't been this kind of gushing over a dictator's handmaiden since Leni Reifenstahl was hailed as a genius for her Nazi propaganda film about the 1936 Munich Olympics. And North Korea's propaganda minister can return to her brother claiming a gold medal performance.

 
Germany's Social Democrats Meet Their Day of Reckoning
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, February 10, 2018
 

Government formation in Germany is approaching a crunch point. The main center-right (CDU/CSU) and center-left (SPD) parties have reached an agreement on a new grand-coalition government, similar to that which preceded inconclusive national elections last September. The crunch point will be a referendum on that agreement by the dues-paying, card-carrying membership of the Social Democratic Party.