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Quarterly ForecastsSep 28, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
2020 Fourth-Quarter Forecast
The last quarter of 2020 will be a waiting game -- waiting for the results of the U.S. election in November, waiting on economic numbers, and waiting to see how the COVID-19 crisis plays out.
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On GeopoliticsSep 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A damaged EU flag is seen in Brenzone, Italy, on Aug. 14, 2019. 
The Quest for European Unity: No End of History
Europe faces a challenge of identity and international role over the next decade. For nearly 500 years, Europe sat at the center of the international system, its internal competitions rippling out across the globe. But the relative balance of global power and influence has shifted. And rather than being the driving force of global dynamics, Europe is increasingly caught between major powers: the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and now the United States and China. Internally, Europe still strives for the creation of a continental union, though those dreams have been eroded by financial crises, Brexit and a resurgence of nationalism in recent years. Externally, Europe remains fragmented in its foreign policy and prioritization. The shifting patterns of global competition will compel Europe to rethink its internal structures and to come to grips with defining its interests abroad. Otherwise, it will find itself drifting further
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AssessmentsSep 22, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An Indian fighter jet flies over Ladakh, the disputed Himalayan region near the Chinese border, on June 26, 2020.
A Military Drive Spells Out China's Intent Along the Indian Border
China's intensified development of military infrastructure on the Indian border suggests a shift in Beijing's approach to territorial disputes, forcing New Delhi to rethink its national security posture. China is expanding and upgrading a large number of military facilities along its entire border with India as tensions continue to run high in the wake of the bloody clash between Indian and Chinese forces in June, followed by the reported exchange of gunfire in late August. New Delhi has struggled to come to terms with these recent escalations, but the new strategic reality created by Beijing's permanent infrastructure drive will nonetheless force New Delhi to shape its future defense posture around long-term outlooks of China's growing capabilities in its border regions. 
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SITUATION REPORTSep 14, 2020 | 21:13 GMT
Israel: Cabinet Approves Three-Week Lockdown Starting Sept. 18
The Israeli Cabinet approved a three-week lockdown that will bar Israelis from traveling more than 500 meters from home except for essentials, closing schools and limiting the private sector in a repeat of the country's strict April lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, The Times of Israel reported Sept. 13.
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SnapshotsSep 14, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
New U.S. Sanctions Against Hezbollah Risk Thwarting Lebanon's Progress
New U.S. Sanctions against Hezbollah risk extending Lebanon's economic and political crises by undercutting French efforts to broker Lebanese domestic political and economic reforms, which require the Iran-backed militant group and political party's support. On Sept. 8, the United States issued sanctions against two Lebanese politicians for engaging in corruption and providing "material support" to Hezbollah. The policy change appears to expand U.S. actions in recent years against the group, which has long been a target of Washington's efforts to counter Iranian proxies and allies throughout the Middle East. This is the first time the United States has targeted individuals with second-order connections to the group, broadening its scope of sanctions in ways that will impact a larger cross-section of Lebanese politicians across all major factions. The widening net will also create regulatory barriers that are likely to further spook investors and international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund.
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AssessmentsSep 11, 2020 | 15:40 GMT
An external view of the building of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
What the Fading Promise of EU Accession Means for the Balkans
The European Union will not accept any new member states for the foreseeable future, which will erode the promise of EU accession that has made the bloc an influential political and economic force in the Western Balkans. As the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis forces the European Union to remain focused on recovering (and not enlarging) its economy, candidate countries risk veering off from the reforms they had been pursuing to earn their place in the bloc. Non-EU players such as the United States, Russia and China, meanwhile, will likely become more active in the region, seeing European Union's waning presence as an opportunity to assert their own influence in the Balkans.
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SnapshotsSep 9, 2020 | 19:16 GMT
Another Border Clash Heightens China-India Tensions
Renewed altercations between Chinese and Indian forces in the disputed region of Ladakh reflect a growing risk of military escalation as China's growing presence along the two countries' border prompts India to more assertively defend its claimed territory. China and India have accused each other of firing shots during a Sept. 7 incident south of Pangong Lake, marking the first official claims of small arms fire on the border since 1975. While the situation in Ladakh had calmed down after the deadly June 15 melee in Galwan Valley, a resurgence of tensions is now occurring in a separate area of the disputed territory. Since Aug. 29, Chinese forces have allegedly been trying to cross into Indian controlled territory in the mountainous area between Pangong and Spanggur Lakes. India reportedly deployed troops to block these Chinese incursion attempts in several separate incidents. 
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AssessmentsSep 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Greek vessel patrols the waters surrounding the tiny island of Kastellorizo, which is situated just two kilometers off the south coast of Turkey, on Aug. 28, 2020.
What's Driving Turkish Aggression in the Mediterranean Sea
Turkey is putting its 50-year view on maritime rights into practice through its Blue Homeland Doctrine, growing its naval and commercial presence in Mediterranean waters that it claims are part of its exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Oil and gas exploration is becoming a crucial tool in implementing this strategy. But Ankara's attempts to claim extensive maritime resource rights risk broadening to a wider conflict with Greece and other NATO allies that would bring foreign energy projects, and potentially the United States, into the fray.
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On GeopoliticsSep 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Cadets from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy march in formation before a ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2019.
China’s Amphibian Dilemma: Straddling Land and Sea Ambitions
China borders the largest number of countries by land, and its navy now boasts the largest number of battle force ships by sea. With the pressures and opportunities of both a continental and maritime power, China faces an amphibian’s dilemma, as the characteristics best suited for life at sea and life at land may not always prove complementary. Traditional continental powers are more prone to autocratic leadership to manage their challenges, while traditional maritime powers lean toward democratic systems and more open markets. China’s attempt to straddle both can intensify sectionalism and exacerbate differences between the interior core that remains continental in outlook, and the coastal areas that become more maritime in outlook.  This challenge is also highlighted in China’s attempts to reshape global norms and standards, which themselves largely represent the maritime world order. The apparent global political and economic dissonance is not merely caused by China seeking change, but
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SnapshotsSep 3, 2020 | 16:10 GMT
The Eurozone's Economic Rebound Loses Momentum
Early signs indicate the eurozone's economic rebound from the COVID-19 crisis is already losing steam, which will force governments to introduce new rounds of stimulus that deepen their already problematic fiscal deficits. The eurozone contracted by a record 12.1 percent during the second quarter of 2020 as lockdown measures negatively impacted consumption, investment and trade. The lifting of those measures led to an improvement in economic activity since late May, but recent indicators suggest that this rebound is weakening as the rise in COVID-19 cases forces governments to reintroduce social distancing measures and international travel warnings. 
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On GeopoliticsAug 31, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 1: Setting the Stage
Since its founding, the United States has feared European involvement in North America and the Western Hemisphere. And from this fear arose a continentalist strategic view and an idea of a fortress America secure behind its oceanic moats, loathe to get dragged into internecine European conflicts. Over time, as the United States consolidated its position across North America, a competing concern also arose -- one that began to see Eurasia at the heart of a strategic challenge to U.S. security, and promoted a more internationalist and interventionist policy abroad. These two strands continue to shape U.S. strategic assessments today amid the emerging geography of the 21st century. 
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AssessmentsAug 28, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Legislators attend a plenary session in Tunisia's parliament on June 3, 2020.
Polarized Politics Plagues Tunisia’s Economic Prospects
Tunisia's third attempt to form a government in less than a year is unlikely to resolve the dysfunctional partisan infighting that saw the demise its last two governments, leaving its leaders unable or unwilling to pass the reforms needed to mitigate the country's deepening economic crisis. Following his predecessor Elyes Fakhfakh's July 15 resignation, Tunisia's prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi unveiled a new cabinet of independent technocratic ministers on Aug. 24, which will go to a parliamentary vote on Sept. 1. But even if Mechichi's proposed government is approved by the country's highly divided parliament, Tunisia's deep-rooted party rivalries ensure little actual governing will be done, weakening Tunisia's ability to secure much-needed external funding, as well as serve as a model democracy in the Arab world.
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AssessmentsAug 26, 2020 | 15:13 GMT
A close-up of a five-euro banknote.
The Eurozone's Upcoming Financial Problems
Escalating soverign debt and fiscal deficit levels in eurozone countries due to the COVID-19 crisis will increase the probability of financial and banking crises in the years ahead, as well as surges in social unrest and higher taxes for both large corporations and big earners. Furlough schemes, subsidies and other forms of welfare spending across the eurozone are mitigating the economic fallout from the pandemic by keeping money in people's pockets and helping sustain domestic consumption at a time of deep recessions. But these schemes are financed through sovereign debt, loans from EU institutions and deepening fiscal deficits -- all of which are unsustainable.
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AssessmentsAug 25, 2020 | 18:58 GMT
Army vehicles patrol the roads on the outskirts of a village in northern Mozambique on May 26, 2016.
To Protect Its Energy Projects, Total Joins Mozambique's Counterterrorism Fight
Total's decision to support Mozambique's fight against insurgents may help protect its energy facilities from direct attacks, even as it risks the French oil major's reputation while doing little to reduce escalating militant activity in the country's north. On Aug. 24, Toal signed a security agreement with the Mozambican government to protect the $20 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) project it's developing in the country's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. Under its new pact, Total has agreed to provide logistical support to a newly established joint task force focused guaranteeing the protection of the company’s planned onshore LNG facility, which is located in the Afungi Peninsula near the northern town of Palma. 
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SnapshotsAug 21, 2020 | 18:16 GMT
The U.S. ‘Snaps Back’ at Iran and the U.N. With Restored Sanctions
Iran will wait until after U.S. elections to decide whether to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in response to the United States' move to restore all U.N. sanctions. Europe, China and Russia, meanwhile, will forgo any large arms sales to Iran due to the expanded sanctions risk, despite not officially recognizing the U.S. action. On Aug. 20, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the United Nations that the U.S. government was "snapping back" all sanctions on Iran, citing Tehran's significant non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The letter comes nearly a week after the U.N. Security Council rejected Washington's proposed resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Only the Dominican Republic sided with the United States on extending the arms embargo, which is currently set to expire on Oct. 18.
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SnapshotsAug 20, 2020 | 16:42 GMT
In Mali, a Coup at the Core of the Sahel's Counterterrorism Fight
The overthrow of Mali's president in a military coup casts further doubt over the county's ability to sustain counterterrorism efforts, and while the new junta is promising national elections, longstanding civil-military tensions suggest international pressure will be instrumental in shaping the timeline for government formation. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation around midnight local time on Aug. 19 after being arrested by members of the military earlier in the day along with a number of other officials. Keita's downfall risks undermining French-led efforts to contain jihadist activity in the region by creating more space for international terrorism cooperation among the radical groups, including local al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates. While the most significant risk of increased terrorist activity is in Mali itself, reduced cooperation as a result of the president's forced exit will also undermine counterterrorism efforts in both Burkina Faso and Niger. 
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