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SnapshotsMar 5, 2021 | 21:18 GMT
Riot police approach protesters' barricades in an attempt to disperse a March 4, 2021, demonstration in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, against the military coup.
On Myanmar, Washington Moves Cautiously to Avoid Losing More Ground to China
Without the prospect of international cooperation, the United States is proceeding cautiously with pressure on Myanmar's military government in spite of a week of deadly crackdowns on anti-coup protesters. For now, it is stopping short even from imposing sectoral or deeper country-level trade restrictions, to say nothing of more aggressive financial sanctions, in order to keep Chinese influence in Myanmar from growing.
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SnapshotsMar 5, 2021 | 18:43 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discusses his recent call with Russia’s foreign minister on Feb. 4, 2021. U.S. President Joe Biden stands behind him.
Gauging Russia’s Response to Potential New U.S. and U.K. Sanctions
For Russia, potential new U.S. and U.K. sanctions targeting its economic interests would be seen as a significant escalation and compel a range of responses, calibrated according to the perceived aggressiveness of London and Washington’s actions. On March 4, Bloomberg reported that U.S. and U.K. officials are considering additional sanctions against Russia over the poisoning and subsequent jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Although officials have refused to comment publicly, the options on the table reportedly include sanctioning Russian business elites and imposing restrictions on trading Russia’s sovereign debt. Between these two options, the latter would likely be a last resort, while the former is more likely in the near term.
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SnapshotsMar 4, 2021 | 19:02 GMT
An illustration shows the Chinese flag overlaying stock prices.
Has China’s Economy Hit a Speed Bump?
Recent data suggests China’s economy may be struggling rather than roaring back from a seasonal slump, and that its impressive headline growth numbers in 2020 hid an incomplete and unbalanced recovery. Forward-looking purchasing manager indices (PMI) reported by China after the Lunar New Year were just slightly above 50, which shows a growing economy, but possibly at a slowing rate that could be worrying to Chinese officials. It’s too early to tell if the recent dips are temporary, cyclical or symptomatic of a greater slowdown, but dependence on the old model of credit-fueled investment and exports may not be sustainable. If not, then projected supercharged growth of 8-9% in 2021 could be unattainable and inconsistent with the Chinese government’s official narratives.
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AssessmentsMar 4, 2021 | 11:00 GMT
U.S. Naval Update Map: March 4, 2021
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.
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AssessmentsFeb 26, 2021 | 21:22 GMT
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud walks the halls of the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. after meeting with then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 14, 2020.
Biden Brings More Skepticism Into the U.S.-Saudi Relationship
As the drivers bringing them together weaken, the United States and Saudi Arabia will become more conservative in deepening their strategic ties and more critical of one another’s differences. On Feb. 26, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden released a report publicly blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and imposed visa bans on 76 Saudis associated with the act under a new so-called “Khashoggi Policy.” This, along with other recent public statements and arms freezes, indicates Biden preparing to shift U.S.-Saudi ties away from his predecessor’s close personal relationship with the kingdom. The White House appears ready to press Saudi Arabia to engage in more restrained foreign policy, emphasizing U.S. human rights objectives in its Saudi dialogue. That pressure will undoubtedly clash with several of the kingdom’s own deeply set imperatives, creating pushback from Riyadh and turbulence in long-standing U.S.-Saudi
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AssessmentsFeb 25, 2021 | 22:10 GMT
Chinese and EU flags stand at the chancellery on Jan. 26, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. The two entities recently reached a comprehensive agreement on investment.
The Future of Chinese Investment in Europe
The European Union will remain open to Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coming years, but will limit China’s access to strategic sectors of its economy (such as technology). Brussels will also continue to confront Beijing over political, human rights and security issues. The European Union and the United States are the Continent’s primary sources of FDI, which limits China’s ability to leverage FDI to gain political influence. Investment in European infrastructure, such as ports and railways, offers Chinese exporters greater access to European markets, while the acquisition of high-tech companies and know-how gives Beijing access to sophisticated technology it can use for its domestic industrial plans. Europe sees the Asian giant as a source of funding, but in recent years, most countries have become concerned about the national security implications of rising Chinese investment. The European Union also wants to make the bilateral relationship more reciprocal, as the bloc
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AssessmentsFeb 25, 2021 | 11:00 GMT
U.S. Naval Update Map: Feb. 25, 2021
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.
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AssessmentsFeb 24, 2021 | 22:33 GMT
A picture taken in London on Dec. 18, 2020, shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and laptop screen.
With Democrats in Power, the U.S. Push Against Big Tech Grows
As momentum builds in the United States for landmark antitrust legislation and lawsuits on Big Tech companies, potential changes to U.S. mergers law and limits on growth avenues for large tech firms like Google could impact U.S. dominance in the global tech space, increasing competition with Chinese and European firms. On Feb. 4, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the new chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, introduced a new bill aimed at updating the United States’ antitrust laws. The so-called Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act (CALERA) proposes giving more resources to antitrust investigators, as well as rewriting the way that mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are reviewed over antitrust concerns. Although it has not yet been presented to U.S. President Joe Biden, the draft bill does give hints about how the new Democratic-led government could treat antitrust law reforms and tackle Big Tech.
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SnapshotsFeb 23, 2021 | 21:23 GMT
Norwegian army soldiers use snowmobiles for mobility during a military exercise on March 6, 2013, in Skjold, Norway.
Increased Arctic Activity Sets the Stage for U.S.-Russia Competition
The U.S. military is increasing collaboration with Nordic states in response to expanding Russian military and economic activities in the Arctic, pointing to a future of heightened competition with the potential for both strategic and tactical miscommunication or miscalculation. On Feb. 22, four U.S. B-1 bombers arrived for their first-ever deployment to Norway in a move widely seen as a signal to Russia. Five days earlier, the United States agreed with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to continue its participation in the biennial Arctic Challenge Exercise, one of Europe’s largest tactical air exercises and widely seen as practice to counter potential Russian belligerence, next scheduled for June 2021. The U.S. Army is also preparing to unveil its Arctic strategy in the coming weeks, as the changing climate turns the previously inaccessible region into an increasingly busy zone of military and economic activity -- particularly along the Russian frontier.
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SnapshotsFeb 19, 2021 | 21:36 GMT
A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery for the Volkswagen ID.3 electric car is pictured Feb. 25, 2020, at the Volkswagen car factory in Zwickau, Germany.
A Battery Ruling Complicates Biden's Efforts to Secure the Green Energy Supply Chain
The U.S. International Trade Commission's Feb. 10 ruling that South Korean battery maker SK Innovation had stolen trade secrets from another South Korean battery maker complicates ongoing Biden administration efforts to accelerate the domestic adoption of electric vehicles and U.S. efforts to ensure the accessibility and security of critical resources and technologies like lithium-ion batteries.
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AssessmentsFeb 18, 2021 | 15:35 GMT
U.S. Naval Update Map: Feb. 18, 2021
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.
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