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SnapshotsOct 8, 2020 | 19:04 GMT
The United Kingdom’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost (center) arrives at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Sept. 17, 2020.
Brexit Talks Make Progress as Deadline Looms
Progress between EU and U.K. negotiators on contentious issues such as state aid and fishing rights is increasing the probability of a limited trade agreement by the end of the year. However, London’s ongoing attempts to circumvent certain aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement that it reached with Brussels last year could still thwart such a deal. The European Union is worried that the United Kingdom will use state aid to increase the competitiveness of its companies vis-a-vis their continental rivals, while London has pledged to restrict EU access to its fishing waters. Both issues have been obstacles to a deal since the beginning of trade talks in March, but in recent days there have been signs of potential compromises.
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ReflectionsOct 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People wearing masks walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in lower Manhattan on Oct. 5, 2020, in New York City.
Renewed COVID-19 Concerns Put U.S. Economic Growth in Doubt
New data shows the U.S. economic rebound remains underway but is running out of steam amid the country’s ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as acutely illuminated by President Donald Trump’s own diagnosis and recent hospitalization. What John Maynard Keynes described as “animal spirits” in 1936, today’s economists define as “sentiment,” “confidence,” or just plain “certainty” and “trust.” But regardless of what you call it, it appears Americans’ economic decisions are still being constrained by the course of the virus in their communities, and now their government -- underlining that the biggest threat to the United States and other global economies remains the continued, heightened uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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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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On GeopoliticsSep 24, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A model of a customs road sign is seen at the mock U.K.-EU border, with a mock Big Ben in the background, at the Mini-Europe theme park in Brussels, Belgium, on May 20, 2020.
Why EU-U.K. Trade Talks Feel Like Brexit Deja Vu
If the current tensions in the trade talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union feel like a repetition of the 2019 disputes, when Britain negotiated its exit from the bloc, it’s because they are. Once more, a no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon, because unless Brussels and London reach an agreement, bilateral trade will happen under World Trade Organization tariffs starting next year. Like last year, both sides are exchanging threats and accusing each other of acting in bad faith. And, in the most notable deja vu from 2019, the status of Northern Ireland has reemerged as an obstacle to a deal. The explanation for this situation is simple: there are fundamental issues that the arrangements of 2019 left unresolved and have come back to jeopardize the negotiations in 2020. 
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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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On GeopoliticsSep 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 2: The China Challenge
The United States is in the midst of a strategic refocus from counterterrorism and rogue nation control, to so-called great power competition. While Russia, the Cold War counterpart, remains a concern, China has emerged as the primary near-peer threat. This is reawakening a key element that has long shaped U.S. foreign policy and strategic assessment -- the major power of the Eurasian continent. But U.S. culture is split over the best way to deal with a Eurasian competitor, and domestic political and economic divisions will make it difficult for the United States to maintain a consistent strategy. 
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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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On GeopoliticsAug 21, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Pedestrians stand on top of a world map at a monument commemorating the Age of Exploration in Lisbon, Portugal.
China, the U.S., and the Geography of the 21st Century
The geographical perspective of the 21st century is just now being formed. And at its heart is a rivalry between China and the United States to succeed Europe’s 500-year centrality in the international system, which will be framed by a shift in global economic activity and trade, new energy resource competition, a weakening Europe and Russia, and a technological battle to control information. The new map of the next century will extend to the ocean floor for resources and subsea cables, to space where low-Earth orbit satellites drive communications, and into the ill-defined domain of cyberspace. 
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On GeopoliticsAug 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A U.S. soldier (left) stands guard next to a South Korean soldier (right) in Panmunjom, South Korea, on July 27, 2019, during a ceremony commemorating the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement.
With the Drawdown of U.S. Forces in Germany, Is South Korea Next?
With the drawdown of U.S. forces in Germany underway, a reduction of U.S. forces in South Korea is now more likely than ever, given evolving U.S. defense priorities and longstanding trends on the Korean Peninsula. Rumors of an imminent U.S. force drawdown in Korea have been circulating since at least 2019, and President Donald Trump has made it clear he wants to reduce large overseas basing. South Korea, however, is a particularly contentious case, as any changes to the size and structure of U.S. forces must take into consideration both the local mission of deterring against North Korea, as well as the broader U.S. strategic mission of refocusing on great power competition, particularly with China. And that will require reassessing South Korea's own national defense capabilities, the benefits and risks of having a large forward force based on the Asian mainland, and the impact of any shift in forces on
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On GeopoliticsJul 24, 2020 | 15:53 GMT
A skyline view of Anchorage, Alaska, and the Chugach Mountains at dusk.
Remapping the American Arctic
Maps play an important role in shaping national policy, and in shaping society’s consciousness and support. But they can also reinforce ideas of relative unimportance by leaving key areas off, or having areas appear as mere incidental inclusions, which can subconsciously constrain developments in foreign policy. Indeed, it’s perhaps no surprise that many Americans still fail to recognize the United States as an Arctic nation when the majority of U.S. maps place Alaska in a small inset box, relegating the state to a secondary geographic status. The United States, however, maintains a strong interest in a secure and stable Arctic, for its Alaska citizens, for economic reasons, and for core national security. So long as the American Arctic is considered something distant and separate from the United States, it risks being sidelined in the national narrative, and thus sidelined in national priorities and attention. The United States is already playing
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AssessmentsApr 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pumpjack outside the Russian city of Surgut.
The Golden Age of Russian Oil Nears an End
Russia's easily accessible oil reserves have long been the cornerstone of its economy. But these conventional fields are depleting, leading to the need to invest and expand into more untapped sources. This transformation will not be easy or cheap, as various factors have led to a poorly optimized oil sector that's ill-equipped to soften the blow of rising costs. The key to maintaining a strong energy market, and securing the capital needed to develop new and expensive fields, will instead rest on whether Moscow can secure its foothold in China's increasingly oil-hungry market. In any case, Russia may have little choice but to accept that its glory days of oil dominance and high profit margins are nearing an end. 
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SnapshotsApr 13, 2020 | 17:17 GMT
Understanding the EU’s New COVID-19 Relief Efforts
The European Union is slowly making progress in its efforts to pump money into the Continent's pandemic-riddled economy. But political infighting within the bloc will nonetheless remain a challenge in mitigating the expected dire financial fallout from the COVID-19 crisis in the coming weeks and months.  As part of a new package of fiscal stimulus measures announced on April 9, the finance ministers of the eurozone have pledged to use the bloc's permanent bailout fund to grant loans to countries in distress. EU governments will be able to obtain loans representing up to 2 percent of their GDP from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which will come with no strings attached as long as the money is used to support their healthcare systems. But just a day after the measures were announced, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that Rome is not interested in the ESM loans and that his government
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AssessmentsMar 6, 2020 | 19:28 GMT
A photo of refugees and migrants waiting in line to receive blankets and food near the Greek border in Edirne, Turkey, on March 5, 2020.
Is Europe on the Cusp of Another Migration Crisis?
On March 1, Turkey announced it would no longer enforce an agreement with the European Union to prevent migrants from entering the Continental bloc. Since then, tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to enter Greece from Turkey, fueling fears of another looming migration crisis in Europe. In response, the Greek government has increased security at its borders and announced that no asylum requests would be accepted for a month -- though it's far from certain whether Greece will be able to contain a continued flood of migrants at its doorstep. Unless Turkey changes its position in the coming weeks, there's a good chance Greece's sea and land borders will once again become the hottest access point for Europe-bound migrants. But unlike the crisis in 2015, Athens will find even fewer EU countries willing to help lift the load this time around.
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SnapshotsFeb 7, 2020 | 20:54 GMT
Breaking Ranks, Kenya Enters Bilateral Trade Talks With Washington
The United States continues to try to break down plurilateral trade agreements into bilateral deals, and Kenya appears to be the first sub-Saharan African country on its list. During his visit with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States intends to open formal trade negotiations with the East African nation. The Trump administration will try to use any deal with Kenya as a model for talks with other African countries as the United States moves away from multilateral trade deals.
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SnapshotsFeb 3, 2020 | 18:23 GMT
The EU's Regional Blocs Butt Heads on the Budget
The European Union's multiyear budget sets spending priorities and limits in the Continental bloc for seven-year periods. It pays for multiple EU initiatives, including aid to farmers and investments in infrastructure. But without the now-departed United Kingdom's contributions, spending cuts could endanger several EU programs, while reductions in transfers to countries in Central and Eastern Europe could hurt their economies.
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