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AssessmentsOct 23, 2020 | 18:21 GMT
Fans of the Saudi national football team cheer during a match against Qatar at the King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Nov. 26, 2014.
Budget Cuts Will Test Saudis’ Loyalty to Their Government
New survey data suggests that Saudi Arabia’s citizens remain politically aligned with and supportive of the government, though that support may quickly dissipate as Riyadh makes difficult decisions on economic restructuring. The Arab Opinion Index, a survey compiled by the Doha Institute in Qatar, gives rare insight into regional social and political trends in the Middle East. For Saudi Arabia, the latest survey findings reveal a population largely content with their economic and political situations. Saudis’ economic well-being, however, will be undercut as pandemic-related losses of oil revenue and the arrival of peak oil demand force their government to make deeper cuts to crucial social programs, creating pockets of unrest across the kingdom.
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SnapshotsOct 19, 2020 | 22:14 GMT
A protester uses a loudspeaker to talk to the crowd during an anti-government rally in Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct. 19, 2020.
Gauging the Thai Government’s Response to Growing Protests
The recent escalation of the monthslong Thai student protest movement will compel the government to step up its restrictions on dissent and intensify efforts to co-opt the protesters’ less controversial demands through a limited constitutional reform process. This could cause protests to drag on amid continued controversy over the scope and pace of such amendments, even as it eases overall public support for demonstrations. Between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19, Thai protesters turned out on the streets of Bangkok for the most sustained period of protest-related disruptions since the movement kicked off in earnest in July. Demonstrators also appeared in 20 other locations nationwide in smaller numbers. 
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PodcastsOct 13, 2020 | 04:15 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: The Americas at the Crossroads
In this episode of the Essential Geopolitics podcast from Stratfor, a RANE company, a conversation about crossroads. In the next three weeks, the Americas will experience three significant elections: The U.S. presidential election, a referendum to decide whether Chile will draft a new constitution, and a general election in Bolivia to elect a new president and congress.
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AssessmentsOct 12, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a closed shop in Rome, Italy, on May 18, 2020. The sign on the store window reads "Without government aid, we cannot reopen on May 18. Thousands of employees at risk."
COVID-19’s Uneven Impact on Europe Portends an Equally Uneven Recovery
COVID-19’s uneven economic impact on the European Union portends an equally uneven recovery, as growth in the south will be weaker than in the rest of the Continent due to structural factors. Different policy priorities between harder-hit southern states and their northern and eastern peers will thwart the bloc’s ability to increase financial integration among its 27 members, as well as implement monetary policies for its 19-member currency zone. The risk of social unrest, government collapses and the emergence of anti-establishment movements will also be higher in Southern Europe, where the pandemic has exacerbated countries’ pre-existing economic weaknesses such as high unemployment, deep fiscal deficits and high sovereign debt levels. 
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AssessmentsOct 7, 2020 | 17:00 GMT
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the inauguration ceremony of Supreme Court Justice Luiz Fux on Sept. 10, 2020, in Brasilia, Brazil.
What Bolsonaro's New Spending Push Means for Brazil’s Fiscal Future
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s announcement of a new social cash-support program has raised concerns about the government’s long-term fiscal discipline, as well as its policies to balance the needs for domestic social spending with longer-term debt issues. On Sept. 28, Brasilia announced a new cash transfer social program, dubbed the “Citizens Income,” which offers an extension of current COVID-19 support programs for low-income citizens into 2021. To soften the blow of the COVID-19 outbreak, Bolsonaro’s government has offered multiple fiscal stimulus programs in the past few months at a cost estimated to be more than eight percent of the country’s GDP.
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SnapshotsOct 6, 2020 | 16:32 GMT
A protester is seen in the window of the seized main government building, known as the White House, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Oct. 6, 2020. 
In Kyrgyzstan, Protests Challenge the President’s Place in Power
An overnight outbreak of violent protest activity over parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan casts doubt over President Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s continued rule, but is unlikely to shift the country’s overall policy direction. Following initial limited and peaceful protests in Bishkek, where opposition demonstrators accused Jeenbekov’s supporters of widespread vote-buying, the situation rapidly devolved into violence during the evening of Oct. 5. The situation in Bishkek has now developed into a tense standoff where protesters control various government buildings and have released jailed political opponents of Jeenbekov, while the president himself has not indicated a desire to resign.
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AssessmentsOct 6, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Philippine and Chinese coast guard ships sail past each other in the South China Sea on May 14, 2019.
The Philippines Takes a Tougher Approach to Its South China Sea Claims
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s South China Sea policy is becoming less conciliatory toward China, as he tries to balance growing pressure from within his administration to revitalize Manila’s security cooperation with the United States against the need to preserve his country’s economic ties with Beijing. The Duterte administration has recently made a number of statements emphasizing the Philippines’ extensive maritime dispute with China. This suggests a notable shift in Manila’s approach toward China, as the Philippine government has largely avoided making points of contention with Beijing since 2016. However, there appear to be divisions between the president and key members of his cabinet on the matter. 
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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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SnapshotsSep 25, 2020 | 17:42 GMT
In Kuwait, a Blocked Debt Law Portends a Dissolved Parliament
Kuwait’s pandemic-related financial struggles may force its leader, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, to bypass the country’s legislative process in order to push through a crucial debt law that remains locked in parliament. The need to enact other overdue reforms may also tempt Al Sabah to extend a potential parliamentary suspension -- a politically risky move that would also require suspending Kuwait's constitution. On Sept. 23, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Kuwait's sovereign credit rating for the first time to “A1,” citing the country's liquidity crisis that has been brought on by low oil prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its announcement, Moody’s also specifically referenced the Kuwaiti government’s failure to pass a debt law that would help mitigate the country’s current financial woes by enabling its finance ministry to issue sovereign bonds.
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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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PodcastsSep 24, 2020 | 05:00 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: Duterte's China Shift
In this episode of the Essential Geopolitics podcast from Stratfor, a RANE company, Emily Donahue speaks to Stratfor Asia-Pacific analyst Evan Rees. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave a U.N. General Assembly speech this week that indicated he would take a hardline position on his country's South China Sea claims.
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