Alexandru Georgescu
Alexandru Georgescu
Economist, Research Fellow with the EURISC Foundation, studying geopolitics, international security issues and critical infrastructure protection, currently in a Ph.D. research program on the latter subject
Biden Throws His Hat in the Ring

Biden Throws His Hat in the Ring

President Joe Biden recently announced his intention to run for a second term as President. His detractors mocked him for a message that was both alarmist and emotional, as well as for the fact that it had been pre-recorded and scripted, like most of the media appearances of the oldest American leader. However, the Biden Campaign cannot be underestimated. Despite its weaknesses, potential legal hurdles, and questionable performances, the Democratic Party will rally behind him as the only notable candidate capable of defeating Trump or a Trumpist successor like DeSantis. More


The West’s Own Goal on Energy

The West’s Own Goal on Energy

The various World Economic Forum reports speak of poly-crises and perma-crises, which act as powerful stressors on our societies. Their effect has been visible in the area of energy, which is fundamental for the effective functioning of our economic, social and political lives. The effects of the American invasions in the Middle East and the civil wars that broke out after the so-called Arab Spring (including the emergence of Daesh, the so-called Islamic State) have proven that an increasingly integrated global energy system is also prone to cascading effects as a result of crises in demand, supply or risk perception. In recent years, we have seen the effects of the pandemic, resulting in a shrinking and then increase in energy demand, and the war in Ukraine (and sanctions against Russia) had significant effects on perceptions of security of supply and markets. We may soon see an impact from Houthi rebel attacks on energy shipping traffic through the Gulf of Aden, much of it aimed at Europe. Disturbances in the global energy markets increase the prices of almost all products, implicitly also increase inflation, lower living standards, bury companies, especially in energy-intensive fields or with fossil fuels as inputs and often strategic (metallurgy, petrochemicals, arms industry). However, not all of these effects can be attributed to exogenous shocks. They are also the result of a mix of ideology, special interest groups, civil society organizations, which have pushed many Western countries towards counterproductive energy policies, including for the desired reduction of carbon emissions (decarbonization), which have ended up exacerbating energy insecurity in the West. Especially in the case of Europe, the recurring crises in the field of supply, sustainability, and accessibility of energy for large consumers will sharpen trends of Western deindustrialization. There will be four ripple effects – a reduced competitiveness of Europe on the global stage, the economic stagnation of Western Europe after 2008 (with small exceptions such as the Netherlands or the Nordics) becoming chronic, the vulnerability of the Energy Union (resulting in more frequent blackouts) and an inability of Europe to rise to challenges such as the production of munitions and other war materials. From Romania’s perspective, even if we will not face supply crises, we will suffer secondary effects of the economic weakness of our main economic partners. Also, as we have not yet seen a country that becomes developed in conditions of high energy access costs, we can ask the question whether Romania and other Eastern countries will be able to enter the club of the developed after the limits catch-up growth will be reached, and countries will face middle income traps, which can produce long-term economic stagnation. More


The Trump Storm

The Trump Storm

2022 and 2023 saw a large number of suits brought against Trump, some of them legally and others still in the court of public opinion, from where his critics hope they will move into the courthouse. These cover a bewildering array of charges, ranging from rape to defamation to campaign finance fraud, and from improper use and storage of classified materials to insurrection. What are the charges? Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying documents related to payments made to women with whom he had sexual affairs in order to buy their silence. The main woman involved was the porn actress Stormy Daniels, whose case has been discussed since the beginning of Trump's tenure. The payments were made by Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, and were reimbursed from Trump organization funds marked as legal expenses. Normally, such actions, however disgraceful, would constitute a misdemeanor for which Trump would be fined, but Cohen was also well-positioned in Trump's campaign, and a visionary prosecutor made him declare, as part of Cohen's 2018 agreement with authorities regarding his personal financial crimes, that those payments represented a campaign contribution because Stormy Daniels' silence and the silence of the rest of Trump's “harem” facilitated his election as President, not just savi More


Azimuth, Romania

Azimuth, Romania

The political-economic phrase “regional cooperation mechanisms” is dry enough that it brings in tow a serene attitude, which neither Romania’s voluptuous imaginaries, nor its immanent vicinities seem to pan out. Central and Eastern Europe, extruding towards the South East – the softly symbolic geographical notion which includes Romania –, has always possessed a lively geopolitical tectonic, prone to extremely brutal outbursts and worldmaking shifts (i.e., featuring as some hotspot for the two world wars), and a latent geoeconomic magnetism too (i.e., due to its fine resource pools and in spite of its dire infrastructures). These traits have remained somehow unchanged for centuries, only to be recurrently re-evaluated. More


Year 0 A.D. (after Vilnius)

Year 0 A.D. (after Vilnius)

The NATO Summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July 2023 produced some of the expected results. It reaffirmed the Alliance’s support for Ukraine, and continued the work to coordinate investment in the industrial capacity needed to supply Ukraine in this war of attrition and to ensure the Alliance’s ability to defend itself in the event of conflict. However, Ukraine has not received a clear invitation or roadmap to join NATO, following opposition from the US and Germany, who shy away from direct escalation with Russia and the assumption of a territorial defense obligation that would be triggered the second the accession treaty is signed. Most significant was President Erdogan’s surprise announcement of his approval of Sweden’s entry into the Alliance, shortly after the unrealistic demand he made of resuming Turkey’s EU accession talks. President Erdogan’s unpredictability is due both to his own agenda of advancing Turkey’s regional power and specific security interests and to the recent electoral reconfirmation of his mandate to “make Turkey great again.” It remains to be seen whether Sweden will receive confirmation in the autumn, as Erdogan has indicated. Also, the presence for the second year in a row of the AP4 group (Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand) indicates both the Indo-Pacific direction in which the US would prefer to take NATO and the growing role of the group, especially of South Korea, in the military supply of the Alliance, especially its European partners. More


The Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence Regulation

The Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence Regulation

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to be what Edison said about electricity - "it is a field of fields... that holds the secret to reorganizing the life of the world". Artificial intelligence, at all of its levels of complexity, is a technology with a radical impact on the global economy and security. AI solutions can be integrated into industrial robots as well as military robots, can become defenders as well as cyber attackers far more agile than human experts, can analyze information to uncover threats but also to violate the rights and the privacy of individuals, as well as to create discrimination or amplify social and political polarization. More than any other technology, artificial intelligence illustrates the dualism of emerging technologies and the need for cooperation, regulation and sustainable adoption of these technologies while maintaining the resilience and values of their respective societies. More


America – Pirouettes Based on Geopolitical Events of the World

America – Pirouettes Based on Geopolitical Events of the World

On June 10, 2022, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a meeting for over an hour with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, in Singapore on the occasion of the 19th edition of the Shangri-La Dialogue. This meeting follows President Joe Biden's maiden tour of Asia, ending on May 24, 2022, after visits to South Korea and Japan to reassure traditional allies of American support in the face of what they describe as aggressive behavior by China and North Korea. Given the resumption of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022 and the limits of American resources, especially given turbulent domestic economic and social conditions, is the old pivot to Asia still possible?  More


China as a Space Power

China as a Space Power

After the death of the famous admiral Zheng He, whose fleet had explored the Indian Ocean and even reached East Africa, the move of the empire’s capital to Beijing and the threat from the Mongols led to an inward reorientation of China, which completely withdrew funding for new naval expeditions and repressed contacts with the outside world, even with those visiting China from Java, Siam and other kingdoms.This decision had a powerful impact in history, because only 55 years after Zheng He’s seventh and final expedition, Bartolomeo Diaz’s compatriots, the Portuguese, sailed past the Cape of Good Hope and reached the Indian Ocean, bypassing Arab and Ottoman-controlled routes through North Africa and the Middle East. Eventually, European powers came to impose their will on China through military and economic force, embodied in the “unequal treaties” that still dominate Chinese perceptions of the “century of humiliation”. I believe that this is one of the explanations for China’s surge in space. From its first steps in this area, with the launch of the Dong Fang Gong 1 satellite onboard a Long March 1 rocket in 1970, the fifth country in the world to launch a satellite, to Yang Liwei’s flight in 2003, by which China became the third country to send people into space through its own strength, the level of resources devoted to space has been steadily increasing. Now, China has developed an ambitious agenda to reach full parity with the US in space and become a global hub for space development that attracts other countries. More


The American Elections Confirm the Course Will Be Maintained in Foreign Policy

The American Elections Confirm the Course Will Be Maintained in Foreign Policy

During the recent midterm congressional elections, I had the opportunity to observe a polarized nation at the ground level while in Washington, DC. This was a competition in which political affiliation has become an element of identity as strong as, if not stronger than, race or religion. The Republicans talked about inflation and mismanagement of the economy, while the Democrats marched on the emotional message of the democracy under attack. In such a polarized society, there are no strong victories – the party in the White House has a habit of losing in the first midterm elections after the presidential campaign promises of rivers milk and honey fail to materialize; the Republican tsunami did not materialize, either, bypassing the Democrat majority in the Senate and winning a very small majority in the House of Representatives. In practice, the Republicans can only frustrate the Democrats. Any achievement in the next two years will have to come through bipartisan means, at a time of peak political and societal tension. Like the presidential elections, the congressional elections ended up being decided by the skin of one’s teeth, generating precarious and contrary majorities, deepening the political decay of the American state. More


Requiem for the Forever War

Requiem for the Forever War

The Biden Administration, contrary to its partisans’ and detractors’ expectations that it would dither or outright renege on the previous Administration’s plans to exit Afghanistan (overtly), pulled the trigger on a ramshackle retreat that created incredibly bad optics and elicited negative reactions from around the world, especially from allies. The problem of whether to take in Afghan refugees and how many is already starting to rear its head in the domestic politics of Western countries, and will assume center stage once all of the countries have removed their nationals from Afghanistan. The latter is an incredible oversight given the transparent nature of the term for American retreat from Afghanistan, and illustrates both the incredulity, up until the last minute, that the Biden Administration would keep to the deal and the shocking nature of the Taliban’s series of victories over the Kabul Government.  More


On Conspiracy Theories and Theorizing

On Conspiracy Theories and Theorizing

We are inundated with both conspiracy theories and warnings to recognize them as such and ignore them. These instructions come from legitimate elites employing legitimate media sources that feel they are being crowded out by “alternative facts” and other phenomena which have gained new (visible) breadth and scope through the rise of social media. Accompanying it is the individual who is not only a consumer but also a producer of media, if only through his ability to retweet or repackage messages for delivery to his own network. More


Seven Things the Suez Canal Incident Taught Us about Globalization

Seven Things the Suez Canal Incident Taught Us about Globalization

The recently resolved Suez Canal incident was the second high profile crisis in global logistics since the beginning of the pandemic. It underscored the significant vulnerabilities of an interdependent world in which supply and production chains are distributed over vast distances and are reliant on the near perfect and constant functioning of a complex transport apparatus through vulnerable bottlenecks. The Suez incident was caused by a super large container transport vessel becoming lodged in a sandbar and blocking the Suez Canal itself in one of its narrowest points. Until traffic could be restored, hundreds of ships were stationed outside the canal, waiting for their opportunity to cross, while racking up billions of dollars in global economic losses and contractual fines. More than 10% of global container shipping passes through the Suez Canal, which links the important Southeast Asian and East Asian producers to markets in Western Europe. It is also an important highway for energy transport, though land routes have been coming online to diversify these flows. The crisis came at a moment when the Egyptian Government is busy upgrading the Suez Canal, to enable it to accommodate 50% more traffic than it did in 2014. The growth in the intensity of the use of the Suez has several consequences – more traffic tolls for Egypt, greater importance for Egyptian ports and their attendant production and storage capabilities, greater geopolitical importance for the Suez Canal, which was the site of an attempted takeover by British and French forces within living memory.  More


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