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SnapshotsOct 20, 2020 | 17:49 GMT
A satellite image shows Europe at night.
The U.S. Ramps Up Financial Support to Central and Eastern Europe
U.S. financial support for the Three Seas Initiative shows the White House remains committed to its security and economic engagements in Central and Eastern Europe, with an eye on countering China and Russia’s presence in the region. On Oct. 19, the United States announced that it will contribute $300 million to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, which finances cross-border energy, transport and digital infrastructure projects in the regions between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas, raising its capital base to over $1.3 billion. The United States will use cooperation with the Three Seas Initiative to compete with China and Russia for influence in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as promote its foreign policy agenda in the region (which does not always align with that of the European Union). However, internal divisions among Three Seas Initiative countries will limit the effectiveness of such U.S. influence campaigns by weakening the group’s
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SnapshotsOct 14, 2020 | 17:11 GMT
A pile of briquettes, which are compressed blocks of coal dust, is seen in Melbourne, Australia, in March 2017.
With an Apparent Coal Ban, China Ups the Cost of Australia’s Political Defiance
Reports that China has halted purchases of Australian coal suggest Beijing is increasing economic pressure to curb Canberra’s more confrontational stance. Such moves, however, are unlikely to inhibit Australia’s greater strategic shift to rebalance against Chinese encroachment in the region. On Oct. 14, leaks indicated that around 850,000 tonnes of Australian coking coal on ten Panamax vessels bound for China was being diverted to other markets. This follows an Oct. 13 confirmation from Australia's trade ministry that it was determining whether Beijing has suspended purchases of Australian coking and thermal coal. Reports from the day before indicate that Chinese officials told most large power stations and steel mills in early October to halt the use of Australian coal. Many ports were also reportedly told not to offload the product, causing buyers to respond by halting purchases for fear they wouldn’t clear customs. If confirmed, China's suspension of Australian coal purchases
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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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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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AssessmentsSep 11, 2020 | 15:40 GMT
An external view of the building of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
What the Fading Promise of EU Accession Means for the Balkans
The European Union will not accept any new member states for the foreseeable future, which will erode the promise of EU accession that has made the bloc an influential political and economic force in the Western Balkans. As the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis forces the European Union to remain focused on recovering (and not enlarging) its economy, candidate countries risk veering off from the reforms they had been pursuing to earn their place in the bloc. Non-EU players such as the United States, Russia and China, meanwhile, will likely become more active in the region, seeing European Union's waning presence as an opportunity to assert their own influence in the Balkans.
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SnapshotsSep 10, 2020 | 20:29 GMT
Nord Stream 2 Comes Under Fire in Germany
The ongoing debate within the German government on how to respond to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is placing the future of Berlin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia in doubt. On Sept. 8, the hospital in Berlin where Navalny is being treated said the Russian opposition figure had been removed from a medically induced coma after being poisoned on a flight to Moscow last month. That same day, Chancellor Angela Merkel told German lawmakers that she believes the European Union needs to react to the incident, but is skeptical of linking that crime to the natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Intensifying calls for sanctions within Germany’s coalition government, however -- including from Merkel’s own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, as well as its governing partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- could potentially shift her position.
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AssessmentsSep 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Greek vessel patrols the waters surrounding the tiny island of Kastellorizo, which is situated just two kilometers off the south coast of Turkey, on Aug. 28, 2020.
What's Driving Turkish Aggression in the Mediterranean Sea
Turkey is putting its 50-year view on maritime rights into practice through its Blue Homeland Doctrine, growing its naval and commercial presence in Mediterranean waters that it claims are part of its exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Oil and gas exploration is becoming a crucial tool in implementing this strategy. But Ankara's attempts to claim extensive maritime resource rights risk broadening to a wider conflict with Greece and other NATO allies that would bring foreign energy projects, and potentially the United States, into the fray.
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SnapshotsSep 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Legislative Proposal Reflects Russia's Post-Putin Dilemma
Moscow's push to limit the powers of future Russian presidents, including a new legislative proposal to strengthen the State Council, could expose President Vladamir Putin to potential challenges in upcoming election cycles. On Aug. 26, members of the Russian State Duma said they were preparing a bill that proposed moving the purview of foreign and domestic policy decisions from the presidency to the State Council. The Kremlin has also stated that executive-level discussions about the future role and responsibilities of the State Council are ongoing. Russian leaders are seeking reforms to shore up institutional powers over concerns that Putin's successors may not have the political strength or focus to maintain Russia's strong centralized leadership. The new constitutional amendment could also potentially extend Putin's rule until 2036 by resetting the number of presidential terms served prior to the change, which would theoretically provide Moscow with much more time to prepare for a
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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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SnapshotsAug 27, 2020 | 18:06 GMT
A 3D rendering of a satellite image taken over the Aegean Sea.
Greece Suits Up for Another Seafaring Standoff With Turkey
Turkey's expansion of energy exploration in the Mediterranean is prompting Greece to cautiously exercise its international maritime rights in order to protect its own claims to offshore economic resources in the region, such as natural gas and fisheries, without provoking a new round of conflict. On Aug. 26, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that Greece would extend its territorial claim in the Ionian Sea along its Western coastline from six nautical miles to 12 nautical miles -- the maximum extent under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). For now, Athens isn't extending its claims in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, though Mitsotakis said that Greece maintains the ability to exercise that right in the future if it so chooses.
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SnapshotsAug 26, 2020 | 21:36 GMT
The U.S. Expands Its South China Sea Fight to Chinese Firms and Officials
New U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and individuals involved in supporting Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea still fall short of more extreme options, demonstrating Washington’s desire to avoid derailing outreach to China, even as overall U.S.-China tensions continue to mount. On Aug. 26, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 24 Chinese companies to its entities list, which increases U.S. export controls, for supporting the militarization of China's maritime claims in the South China Sea, specifically citing the violation of Philippine sovereignty as upheld by the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling. The list of entities includes five subsidiaries of the massive state-owned enterprise China Communications Construction Company, as well as one shipbuilding group and numerous telecommunications and electronics companies. The new export controls coincide with the U.S. State Department announcing it would also impose a visa ban on Chinese nationals found to be
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AssessmentsAug 25, 2020 | 18:58 GMT
Army vehicles patrol the roads on the outskirts of a village in northern Mozambique on May 26, 2016.
To Protect Its Energy Projects, Total Joins Mozambique's Counterterrorism Fight
Total's decision to support Mozambique's fight against insurgents may help protect its energy facilities from direct attacks, even as it risks the French oil major's reputation while doing little to reduce escalating militant activity in the country's north. On Aug. 24, Toal signed a security agreement with the Mozambican government to protect the $20 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) project it's developing in the country's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. Under its new pact, Total has agreed to provide logistical support to a newly established joint task force focused guaranteeing the protection of the company’s planned onshore LNG facility, which is located in the Afungi Peninsula near the northern town of Palma. 
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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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ReflectionsAug 18, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A view of NASDAQ in Times Square on May 7, 2020, in New York City.
The Limits to a U.S.-China Financial Divorce
Political and regulatory risks of investing in Chinese companies are increasing as the United States ramps up efforts to "decouple" its financial system from Beijing, including the White House's latest push to delist Chinese firms from U.S. exchanges. But given the sheer size of the U.S.-China financial relationship, which totals as much as $4 trillion (or 11 percent of the two countries' combined GDP), such efforts will see only limited success -- keeping the world's two biggest economies linked for the foreseeable future.
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AssessmentsAug 17, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Steam and exhaust rise from a chemical company's coking plant in Oberhausen, Germany, on Jan. 6, 2017.
What the EU Green Deal Means For Governments and Companies
The European Union will increase pressure on private and public companies to reduce their carbon emissions in the coming years, and will also make significant funds available to help member states transition to cleaner energy. The actual implementation of the ambitious policies laid out in Brussels' Green Deal, however, will be slow and uneven due to the bloc's current pandemic-induced economic crisis, insufficient funding, internal political divisions, and limited access to the technologies needed to create more eco-friendly European economies. 
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