“An Ideal and Patriotic Interest”: Strategy in the South Pacific

The South Pacific has once again become a strategic theater for Great Power competition, and the US is falling behind. Still, it is not too late to win the day and cement American primacy in a critical region.


What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “South Pacific”? For most, it likely conjures up images of white sandy beaches, lush tropical forests, and incredibly expensive vacations. Others may think of the musical of the same name, or the hard-fought WWII campaign pitting the Americans against the Japanese. For a small number of us, it brings to mind one thing above all else: strategic competition. The region has been a hotbed of imperial rivalry for at least the past 150 years, ebbing and flowing in its importance as various world powers have risen and fallen. Now, its strategic role has returned with a vengeance, as China vies with the United States and its regional allies for local primacy. New developments in the China-US competition over these myriad islands have brought the issue into sharper focus, called to mind important historical parallels, and led to a key question: what should the US do to claim the upper hand in this struggle for power and influence?

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A Brief Note on Gamestop

There have been opinions galore on the most fascinating financial news of the week (and possibly far longer): the Gamestop/Reddit investing drama. Pundits and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum have been weighing in on the saga all week, but I have not yet seen any of these accounts which perfectly captures my feelings on the issue. First off, I’ll do my best to quickly explain what actually happened before diving into my thoughts.

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Tax Talk: Does Full Expensing Make Sense?

As you may know, the Republican leadership along with the Trump administration have recently put out the general outlines of their planned tax reform package, which will focus on lowering rates for businesses and individuals, as well as incentivizing business growth and investment through a number of different mechanics, including ‘loophole’ reduction and alteration of some tax treatments. I will have far more to say with respect to this plan as it moves through Congress, but this article is only focused on one specific proposal within the basic GOP plan that is not getting a lot of coverage outside of the business-oriented press (and not even much there). The proposal is known as ‘full expensing’ and allows businesses to treat investments in physical property, intellectual property, and other long-lived assets as expenses that only last one year versus the current treatment which maintains that those expenses must be spread out over multiple years (this is known as ‘depreciation’). Why focus on this seemingly minor proposed change, when there are big rate changes and other important proposals within the plan? As a former auditor and licensed CPA with plenty of experience in reviewing financial statements of large public companies, as well as smaller private firms, I see this proposal, said to boost growth by its backers in the Republican party, as one that will throw the accounting system and financial statements into a world of chaos.Read More »