Jacob L. Shapiro


About Jacob L. Shapiro - Distinguished Geopolitical Analyst and Speaker on International Affairs:

Jacob Shapiro is Partner and Director of Geopolitical Analysis at Cognitive Investments. Jacob oversees geopolitical analysis at CI, working with the CI research team to integrate geopolitics into CI’s investment strategies. He also authors the “Global Situation Report,” a weekly intelligence brief on the world’s most important developments.

Jacob hosts CI's podcast series, "Cognitive Dissidents," which features interviews with a diverse array of foreign policy, technology, and global business experts. Jacob is a prolific writer and frequent keynote speaker at conferences and events, known for challenging consensus views whilst retaining a healthy sense of irony.

In addition to CI, Jacob is the founder and Chief Strategist of Perch Perspectives. Perch is a business and political risk consulting firm that works directly with global businesses, helping them to identify and plan for key global risks to their supply chains, with special focus on the technology, agriculture, energy, and apparel industries.

Prior to joining CI, Jacob was Director of Analysis at Geopolitical Futures, which he co-founded with famed geopolitical strategist George Friedman. Before co-founding GPF, Jacob was Director of the Operations Center at Stratfor, the geopolitical intelligence firm. He received a master’s degree with distinction from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Near Eastern studies.

When he doesn’t have his head buried in a book, you can find Jacob at a random pick-up basketball game somewhere in New Orleans doing his best Larry Bird impersonation.

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What Jacob L. Shapiro Talks About:

A sample of customized, wide-ranging Keynote topics that Shapiro has presented over the past year, include the following:

The World After the Pandemic
COVID-19 is a geopolitical accelerant. It is speeding up processes that were already underway and reducing the chance for compromise between the world’s most powerful countries, especially between the United States and China. As a result, globalization and free commerce will recede from their respective high-water marks; zero-sum geopolitical competition, protectionism, and rival blocs of influence will replace them. Major economies will decouple from each other and global supply chains will transform at a rapid pace as the risks of political stability come to outweigh the benefits of comparative advantage. Governments will assert their power in key industries inextricably linked with national security, like biotechnology, space, and agribusiness. Looming above it all is climate change and lurking behind it all is the rapid aging of the developed world. Eventually, there will be toilet paper and hand sanitizer aplenty in stores again but make no mistake, the world will never be the same after COVID-19, and the world that is already emerging in its wake will look quite different than the one we thought we were living in before.

Technology, Media, and the State: How the U.S. China Rivalry Will Shape the Future of Tech
Technology has become the key battleground in the emerging geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China. China’s perspective is shaped by its experiences in the 19th and 20th centuries, and its strategic goals are to unite the Eurasian continent into a Chinese-led geopolitical unit – and wean itself off of dependence on Western markets. The U.S.’ perspective is also rooted in history, based in part on aversion to rising continental Eurasian powers – and increasingly divisive domestic political issues. By way of the Korean War (really, the first U.S.-China War), the rise of the microchip, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, we will examine the root of the U.S.-China rivalry before diving into a close look at the Huawei issue – specifically, why the U.S. and its allies are so threatened by Chinese-built 5G, and why the emerging diplomatic spat over 5G is a precursor to far more serious competition and decoupling to come.

Iran and the Future of the Middle East
Since 1945, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been defined by two key goals: preventing the region from falling into the hands of the Soviet Union and guaranteeing U.S. access to the region’s vast energy supplies. Now, the Soviet Union is gone, and the shale revolution means the U.S. has all the oil it needs – and yet, the U.S. remains mired in conflict in the most unstable region in the world. As the Arab world tears itself apart, Iran and Turkey have reemerged as the two dominant powers in the region. The U.S. has a long and tortured history of involvement with Iran in particular – in 1953, the U.S. helped overthrow a popular secular and democratic Iranian Prime Minister, which continues today with a “maximum pressure” campaign designed to force regime change again. Meanwhile, Turkey is becoming stronger and more ambitious – a new Ottoman Empire in the making, while India and China’s dependence on the region is deepening. The future of the Middle East will not be defined by America – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Geopolitical Forces Shaping the World
Geopolitics is back. After a 27-year interregnum following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the international political system is in a state of flux – featuring rising and falling great powers, zero-sum political competition, and heightened risk of global conflict. Climate change and population increase are threatening food and water security in Eurasia and Africa – while the appetites of rising powers like China and India are fundamentally reshaping global food markets. As the Islamic world continues to battle its demons and as the U.S. withdraws from the international order it helped build, there are tremendous opportunities ahead – but also pressing risks.

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