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AssessmentsApr 21, 2021 | 18:15 GMT
A man receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through distribution site in Bogota, Colombia, on April 11, 2021.
South America’s Response to the P1 COVID-19 Threat
To contain the fast-spreading P1 variant of COVID-19, South American countries with politically secure governments like Chile and Uruguay will likely impose stricter lockdowns but experience faster economic rebounds, while countries with upcoming elections like Brazil and Argentina enforce softer restrictions but struggle to fully restart their economies amid ongoing outbreaks. In December 2020, the P1 variant was detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus and eventually spread across the country. The variant now accounts for half of new COVID-19 cases in Brazil. Brazil has subsequently experienced over 3,000 deaths a day for several weeks and is on track to see 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in April. While the variant has primarily affected Brazil, it has been detected in 15 countries across Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. 
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SnapshotsApr 15, 2021 | 17:52 GMT
An F-35 military aircraft participates in a NATO training exercise in the Netherlands.
UAE and Saudi Policy Changes Pave the Way for U.S. Arms Sales
The U.S. decision to authorize the first stage of the most advanced arms sale yet to the United Arab Emirates indicates Washington may be less willing to pressure its Arab Gulf allies, as both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia pivot to less confrontational foreign and domestic policies. The White House could, however, revert to a more hard-line position again if these governments deviate from U.S. regional goals. On April 13, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States would proceed with a controversial $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates after an initial review of the sale. The spokesman said the sale would likely see delivery in 2025 or later, and that reviews of Emirati human rights and usage of weapons would continue, along with consultations with Emirati officials. The sale, which was approved by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2020, includes
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AssessmentsApr 12, 2021 | 18:02 GMT
The U.S. Federal Reserve building is seen on July 1, 2020, in Washington D.C.
The U.S. Fed’s Gamble on Higher Inflation
By saying it will tolerate higher inflation for longer and not move preemptively against potential reignited inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve is conducting a monetary policy experiment with long-term risks to interest rates, exchange rates, wages, investment, financial stability and, ultimately, economic growth. There is no alternative to the current easy monetary policy, given the continued disruptions in the U.S. economy. And, while rekindled inflation is not an immediate threat, political pressures to maintain exceptional monetary support and a broadening central bank mandate, along with large fiscal stimulus, could create a situation that leaves the Fed with too few options, too late. 
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SITUATION REPORTApr 9, 2021 | 20:27 GMT
U.S.: Washington to Provide $10 Million for Colombian Economic Recovery
The U.S. government announced that it will provide Colombia nearly $10 million over the next two years to support the South American country’s economic reactivation, with a focus on creating jobs and “increasing the income of vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic,” Deutsche Welle reported April 8. 
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AssessmentsApr 8, 2021 | 20:44 GMT
A computer monitor with the portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured in Berlin, Germany, on July 9, 2018.
Hard-line U.S. Policies Push China To Up Its Cyber Game
U.S. attempts to build an anti-China coalition will compel Beijing to expand its cyber campaign, leading to more cyberattacks on regional governments and Western corporations, particularly in strategic tech sectors. Cyber industrial espionage and coercive cyberattacks will be essential in limiting the fallout from global tech restrictions against China and undermining U.S. alliance-building. China will flirt with information campaigns in its periphery, but may struggle to weaponize such campaigns with the same success as Russia due to its inexperience and limited cultural overlap with Western countries. 
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SITUATION REPORTMar 31, 2021 | 21:34 GMT
Brazil: Army, Navy and Air Force Chiefs to Be Replaced
The Brazilian Defense Ministry announced March 26 the resignation of the heads of Brazil's Army, Navy, and Air Force, AP reported March 31. While it is unknown if military leadership resigned or were fired, unofficial sources stated that the heads were considering quitting en masse after meeting with the incoming defense minister and being asked to do something that they considered unacceptable.
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SnapshotsMar 26, 2021 | 18:01 GMT
The Suez Canal Blockage and the Risks of Shipping Bottlenecks
Even after the ship blocking the Suez Canal is eventually dislodged, the congestion impacts will ripple through global supply chains for several weeks, underscoring the ever-present risk associated with transiting large amounts of global trade through a small number of key bottlenecks. On the morning of March 23, the Ever Given -- one of the world’s largest class of container ships, with space for over 20,000 containers -- became lodged across the width of one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, the Suez Canal. A combination of high wind and relatively low water levels appear to be what grounded the mega-ship, which, as of March 26, remains stuck in the Egyptian waterway, with estimates ranging from days to weeks for when it will be freed. The blockage has since shut down traffic in both directions, leaving more than 200 other ships stuck in and around the Suez Canal. 
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SITUATION REPORTMar 25, 2021 | 20:41 GMT
Paraguay: Country Offered Chinese Vaccines in Exchange for Breaking Taiwan Ties
Paraguayan Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo said his office was offered doses of China’s SinoVac vaccine in exchange for dropping its recognition of Taiwan, though noted the offers came from third-party individuals “whose legitimacy and ties to the government of the People’s Republic of China are not proven,” Bloomberg reported March 24.
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GuidanceMar 17, 2021 | 21:54 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in South Korea on March 17, 2021.
What to Watch for During the U.S.-China Meeting in Alaska
The first face-to-face meeting between officials from the new U.S. administration and China is unlikely to lead to any breakthroughs; rather it is intended to set the strategic tenor of relations from the U.S. side. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will host Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi in Alaska March 18-19 for the first face-to-face talks between the administrations of Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Expectations are low, at least in regards to any early easing of trade or security frictions. The White House will instead use the meeting to reset Beijing’s expectations while laying out the contours of its evolving policy toward China, which so far appears to be a fairly hard-line stance.
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