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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 19:50 GMT
What to Make of Hong Kong’s First Protests Post-Security Law
The Hong Kong protests carried out in spite of the new national security law showcase the volatile dynamic we expect to continue as authorities work to dishearten demonstrators and the broader pro-democracy camp. Following an official rejection of an application to hold rallies citing COVID-19 and past violent activity, pro-democracy demonstrators turned out by the thousands to mark the July 1 anniversary of the British handover of the city. While authorities arrested a relatively small number of protesters under the new law, how the detentions and trials proceed will indicate the legislation’s ability to truly dissuade protests in the future. There is also the possibility that further arrests will take place based on surveillance of protest activity.
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SnapshotsJun 30, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
China's Security Law Ushers in a New and Uncertain Era in Hong Kong
The passing of China's new Hong Kong national security law marks the start of an uncertain and potentially volatile phase in the city's ongoing political crisis, as pro-democracy forces square-off with newly empowered city authorities backed by Beijing, increasing the risk of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that could also impact foreign institutions. Whether the next period sees tumultuous protests or a stifling of the pro-democracy camp will now depend on how Hong Kong authorities choose to apply their new sweeping powers and how the prosecution of such crimes proceed in the court system. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, for its part, will work to balance the need to maintain public furor against Beijing's ongoing erosion of the city's autonomy with the need to also save its strength for September legislative council elections, where it hopes to gain ground and challenge Beijing-aligned authorities.
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SITUATION REPORTJun 29, 2020 | 22:08 GMT
Hong Kong: Beijing Lawmakers May Consider Life Sentences, Retroactivity for National Security Law 
Hong Kong’s sole representative to China’s National People's Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, said he will inform the committee of public feedback calling for Beijing's proposed national security legislation to carry steeper penalties and be applied retroactively for past transgressions, the South China Morning Post reported June 27. 
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AssessmentsJun 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image depicting the global economy.
Trump’s War Against Taxing Tech Goes Global
With international negotiations stalled, many governments are choosing to unilaterally implement digital services taxes (DSTs). The United States -- which is home to the majority of tech giants that would be subject to such taxes, including Amazon, Apple and Google -- is using the threat of tariffs to both limit the global expansion of DSTs and push international negotiations toward the proposed reforms it backs. But with so many countries against Washington's preferred outcome, which critics say would allow U.S. tech companies to opt out of tax obligations in international markets, the risk of negotiations failing to reach an agreement this year is high, as is the risk of the United States implementing tariffs on its growing number of trade partners implementing DSTs. 
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SITUATION REPORTJun 15, 2020 | 19:01 GMT
Hong Kong: Mainland Will Only Rarely Have Jurisdiction in National Security Cases -- Official
The central government will have jurisdiction over Hong Kong national security cases only "under very special circumstances," and even these cases would be prosecuted according to Hong Kong legal standards and local authorities would have most responsibility for enforcing the measures, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Director Deng Zhonghua said June 15, the South China Morning Post reported.
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On GeopoliticsJun 11, 2020 | 17:44 GMT
A 3D rendering of eastern China and the island of Taiwan lit by city lights from space.
China's Evolving Taiwan Policy: Disrupt, Isolate and Constrain
For China's leadership, the unification of Taiwan is more than a symbol of the final success of the Chinese Communist Party or an emotional appeal to some historic image of a greater China. It is a strategic imperative driven both by Taiwan's strategic location, and by the rising antagonism between the United States and China. Taiwan is the “unsinkable aircraft carrier” off the Chinese coastline, splitting China's near seas, and bridging the arc of islands stretching southwest from Japan with those from the Philippines south through Indonesia. Taiwan is crucial for both any foreign containment strategy, and for China's confidence and security in the East and South China seas -- areas critical to China's national defense, food security and international trade. 
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AssessmentsJun 7, 2020 | 19:41 GMT
Demonstrators protest police brutality and racism on June 6, 2020, in Washington.
Unrest in the United States: Excerpts From Threat Lens
As protests around the United States have expanded and evolved over the course of the last two weeks, we have covered tactical developments for our Threat Lens clients. Though some other readers may have perceived a lack of coverage, we wish to reiterate that we are not ignoring these historic events, but rather taking the time and effort the issue deserves to evaluate the broader geopolitical impacts of the social and political movements underway in the United States. In the interim, we wish to share excerpts of previous Threat Lens coverage with our Worldview and Enterprise subscribers; additional coverage on the topic on Worldview will be forthcoming.
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AssessmentsJun 3, 2020 | 17:02 GMT
Chinese flags and American flags are displayed at a business in Beijing.
Amid Rising Hong Kong Tensions, the U.S.-China Trade Deal Hangs by a Thread
Rising bilateral tensions stemming from Beijing's proposed national security legislation for Hong Kong are increasing the risk that the "phase one" trade deal between the United States and China will collapse before the end of 2020. The deal itself may still officially exist, but tit-for-tat escalation on tariffs and trade measures will render it functionally dead. Further retaliation by the United States over the Hong Kong legislation also risks triggering Chinese countermeasures beyond trade policy.
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AssessmentsJun 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image shows the arrival of Russian fighter jets at an air base in Libya controlled by Khalifa Hifter's rebel army.
Russia Deepens Its Commitment to Libya’s War -- and Political Future
Russia's deepening support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) proves the Kremlin views LNA leader Khalifa Hifter as crucial to its greater North African and Mediterranean strategy, and could grant Moscow the upper hand in shaping the war-torn country's political future. The U.S. military, among others, recently released photos confirming the arrival of a fleet of Russian fighter jets at two LNA-controlled air bases in Libya. The deployment will make it more difficult for the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to make further military gains beyond Tripolitania. But perhaps most importantly, Russia's growing involvement in Libya's civil war -- alongside Turkey's continued support for the GNA -- will leave Moscow and Ankara at the helm of any potential negotiations between Eastern and Western Libya, much to the dismay of those in Europe and the United States. 
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On SecurityMay 19, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image of the Islamic State flag overlays a map of Iraq.
Rumblings of an Islamic State Resurgence in Iraq
The Islamic State may have faded from international headlines, but the group remains a potent threat capable of returning with force in its core territory. Since beginning its initial resurgence in Iraq during 2011, the Islamic State has morphed from a local insurgent group to a global movement, with branches that have continued to launch attacks in areas ranging from West Africa to Afghanistan. And without sustained pressure from its adversaries, including the United States and Iraq, the group is well-positioned to continue its resurgence in its core territory -- a development with potentially grave global consequences.
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AssessmentsMay 12, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image of a gas flare at the Mozyr Oil Refinery in Belarus on Jan. 4, 2020. Russia recently resumed its oil deliveries to Belarus after a pricing dispute prompted Moscow to halt its supplies at the beginning of the year.
By Diversifying Its Oil Imports, Belarus Limits Russia’s Leverage
In recent months, Russia has weaponized its discounted oil deliveries to coerce Belarus into accepting a level of economic and political integration that would essentially guarantee its loyalty. This strategy, however, has only emboldened Minsk’s push to diversify its oil imports. But Belarus’ continued dependence on Russia’s close trade ties and natural gas exports will still leave Moscow armed with other sources of leverage to wield over its smaller neighbor in future negotiations.
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On GeopoliticsMay 10, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A mother takes photos with her baby under cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo, Japan, on March 29, 2015.
The Geopolitics of Postmodern Parenting
During the two months I recently spent away from work to fulfill my demographic duty, I found that most of my conversations with visitors followed the same pattern. The talk quickly turned from the standard cooing over my baby girl to an intensive debate over parental leave: how much time and flexibility to grant new parents in the workforce, how to reconcile career ambitions with the responsibilities of human procreation, how to compensate for the crazy cost of child care and how to boost birthrates. As a white-collar, taxpaying working mother in the United States, I had become one of the statistics I used to pore over as an analyst pondering the implications of aging and shrinking populations. But you don't have to be a parent -- or an analyst, for that matter -- to care about this stuff. In fact, a lot of the global angst today over stagnant economic
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AssessmentsMay 6, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image displays rows of silicon wafers.
The U.S. Weaponizes COVID-19 Anger Against China’s Tech Sector
The United States and China have been locked in a technology cold war for several years. The COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is now pressuring Washington to make even stronger moves against Beijing by fueling anti-China sentiment among U.S. voters and legislators alike. But the White House’s latest attempt to increase export controls on China and limit Beijing's overall access to U.S. technology will come at the cost of further fragmenting the global tech sector’s highly integrated supply chain network. 
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GuidanceApr 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The national flag of Argentina flies above Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the major arteries of Buenos Aires, on Nov. 28, 2018.
By Exiting Trade Talks, Argentina Risks Sealing Mercosur's Fate
Argentina's withdrawal from Mercosur's trade negotiations with South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Canada and India does not mean the immediate demise of the South American common market. It will, however, weaken the bloc's ability to ink future trade deals, and brings an additional level of uncertainty to the ratification of Mercosur's already negotiated deals with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
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On SecurityApr 23, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Shoppers wearing face masks amid concerns over the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak in a market in Seoul, South Korea, on March 14, 2020.
Learning How to Reopen a Country After COVID-19 Shutdowns
As governments around the world explore ways to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, easing the economic pain caused by lockdowns without causing even more damaging public health crises, they will be looking at the experience of other early outbreak countries to guide their actions. While best practices are emerging, recovery strategies will be tailored to the vulnerabilities of specific populations, and to governments' current capabilities. Whether the lessons of South Korea can be applied in the West remains to be seen.
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AssessmentsApr 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A woman wearing a protective mask carries a grocery bag in Dedovsk, Russia, on April 16, 2020. To contain the COVID-19 outbreak, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently extended the government’s national stay-at-home order until May.
Russia's COVID-19 Measures Short-Change Its Economy
Despite the likely dire economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian government has continued to resist significant stimulus spending, which has resulted in limited support measures that are unlikely to protect all of Russia’s businesses. This will ultimately hamper Russia’s long-term economic recovery -- a self-inflicted wound as a result of Moscow’s unwillingness to change its conservative spending practices, even in the face of a historic global crisis. 
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