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GuidanceDec 24, 2020 | 16:58 GMT
The EU and British flags in front of the European Commission headquarters on Dec. 9, 2020, in Brussels.
The EU and U.K. Reach a Trade Deal, Ending Brexit. What Now?
Five years of economic uncertainty for households and companies that began with the Brexit referendum of 2016 have come to an end. The European Union and the United Kingdom have reached a free trade agreement that covers most goods, but only a limited number of services. This means that manufacturers in the European Union and the United Kingdom will be able to continue trading with each other from Jan. 1, 2021, without any quotas or tariffs, and the heavily disruptive scenario of trade under World Trade Organization tariffs has been avoided. On the contrary, the services sector (which represents around 80% of the British economy) will have limited access to the EU single market.
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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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On GeopoliticsJul 17, 2020 | 09:30 GMT
Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on April 21, 2017.
In the South China Sea, Washington Tries to Balance Support and Entanglement
In the recently released U.S. Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea, Washington continues to walk a delicate balance between supporting its allies and partners in the region and avoiding entanglement in regional territorial conflicts. The test will come when the United States is called to act upon its more clearly articulated position on Chinese expansionist behavior.
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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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On SecurityApr 14, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
When an Economic Crisis Collides With an Unprecedented Espionage Threat
I've seen a number of news reports discussing how the lockdowns and travel bans resulting from COVID-19 are hindering the ability of intelligence officers to do their jobs by preventing them from being able to conduct in-person source meets. The inability to conduct face-to-face source meets, and to make personal contact with recruitment targets to develop relationships with them, is a valid concern. I would like to suggest, however, that the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 will also provide intelligence officers a golden opportunity to spot and recruit new agents.
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AssessmentsMar 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows a rows of seats on a passenger aircraft.
As Coronavirus Takes Flight, the Airline Industry Takes Cover
The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the airline industry, with the most highly impacted countries of China, South Korea, Italy and Iran accounting for over a quarter of global passenger revenue alone. As panicked consumers continue to cancel or suspend their travel plans for fear of getting sick, and as more governments pursue containment measures and travel bans, an increasing number of airlines will be forced to either consolidate or go out of business. In China, this will likely lead to a market that's even more dominated by the state-backed carriers. Bigger airlines in Europe, meanwhile, will merge as revenue losses deal the final blow to their smaller competitors. But while so much is still unknown about how the outbreak will unfold in the weeks ahead, what remains certain is that the airline industry is headed for even more unexpected turbulence.
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AssessmentsFeb 11, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
Employees of PetroChina Southwest Oil & Gasfield Co., a CNPC subsidiary, work at a natural gas purification plant in Suining in southwest China's Sichuan province on Jan. 15, 2020.
In Response to Coronavirus, Russia Will Back Only Modest Action by OPEC+
It is now clear that the impact of the new coronavirus on the world oil market will be substantial, but much uncertainty remains about the total impact on demand in 2020. The most probable scenario is a "sharp but short" hit to demand, but a wider spread could deepen and lengthen the impact. OPEC and other producers will attempt to at least partially mitigate the impact on oil prices, but Russia will likely insist on a cautious approach that does not last long.
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AssessmentsJan 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of the Persian Gulf region.
Gulf Arab States Brace for a New Normal of U.S.-Iran Confrontation
As the U.S.-Iran confrontation heats up, Iran's regional neighbors are assessing where they stand in the event of a serious escalation. Washington and Tehran have stepped back from the brink of war following the U.S. assassination of senior military figure Qassem Soleimani. But should such a tit-for-tat escalation occur again, spiral further or last longer, the Persian Gulf risks being increasingly perceived as a dicey business environment, which could have lasting economic repercussions for the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In defusing this threat, however, these GCC countries have little control over Washington's regional strategy -- even when it puts their physical security in harm's way, as evidenced by the Iranian strike on Saudi oil facilities in September. Thus fears of another U.S.-Iran confrontation and the economic blowback will push them to consider their own de-escalation efforts across the Persian Gulf.
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ReflectionsJan 14, 2020 | 19:37 GMT
Teams examine the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed being unintentionally targeted by Iranian air defenses shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020.
Why Iran Came Clean on Flight 752
After three days of denial, it was a stunning about-face. On Jan. 11, Iran's Armed Forces General Staff admitted that one of its surface-to-air missile systems shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 due to human error. The full acknowledgment turned heads, yet there was a reason for Iran's reversal: The country has no desire to turn itself into a pariah but rather find a way to engage with the rest of the globe, limit the impact of U.S. sanctions and negotiate with the West. The frank admission goes to show that such strategic goals influence many of Iran's choices -- including its volte-face on the aviation disaster.
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SITUATION REPORTJan 8, 2020 | 14:45 GMT
Middle East: Companies Take Measures to Reduce Security Risk Amid U.S.-Iran Tensions
Several international oil companies have taken precautions to limit their exposure to U.S.-Iran tensions in the Middle East by either evacuating staff from sensitive areas, such as Iraq, or aborting oil tanker crossings through the Strait of Hormuz, Reuters reported Jan. 7.
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