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MemosJul 2, 2020 | 18:32 GMT
Fred Burton's Summer Reading List
Fred Burton has put together a few books to add to your warm weather reading list. Some are classics and others are brand new — I can’t wait to read Brad Thor’s new thriller NEAR DARK. The Scot Harvath series never disappoints.
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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 20:30 GMT
Russia’s Constitutional Changes Appear Headed for Approval
Preliminary results of Russia’s constitutional referendum suggest the amendments will easily be passed despite opposition groups potentially disputing results, thus setting the Kremlin on a course to prepare its political system for a future without President Vladamir Putin. With 55 percent of votes already counted, Russia’s electoral commission announced July 1 that 76.6 percent of voters have approved the proposed constitutional amendments. A turnout of about 65 percent projects a high level of legitimacy for the vote, which will support the Kremlin’s democratic narrative and limit public backlash. 
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SnapshotsJun 25, 2020 | 18:08 GMT
The U.S.-EU Trade War Is Poised to Intensify
The U.S.-EU trade war continues to brew and could see Brussels and Washington move forward with more tariffs through the rest of the year, even as both sides reckon with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 24, the U.S. Trade Representative's office published a list for the public comment outlining $4.3 billion worth of European products that could be subject to new tariffs as early as August. This latest escalation is part of its 16-year dispute between Washington and Brussels over government subsidies to the U.S.-based aircraft maker Boeing and its chief European rival, Airbus. Trade negotiations between the United States and European Union have already been virtually non-existent this year, due in part to the pandemic, as well as major disagreements on issues [such as agriculture. Even if they do occur, last-minute trade talks to try to avert the escalation over aircraft subsidies will thus likely fail, as both sides
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SnapshotsJun 12, 2020 | 20:38 GMT
The UAE Tries to Have It Both Ways in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The United Arab Emirates is publicly signaling that it disapproves of Israel's impending annexations in the West Bank, but its strategy suggests it still wants to support the Palestinians without losing the ability to seek economic, technology, and security deals from Israel. In a June 12 op-ed published in Israeli media, UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba staked out the country's aspirations to simultaneously support both sides of the conflict by urging Israel not to carry out annexations that would prevent a future Palestinian state and harm budding relations. This comes shortly after a second plane from the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier Etihad Airways landed in Israel on June 9 to publicly deliver relief supplies in the Palestinian Territories as part of the United Nations World Food Program. 
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On GeopoliticsJun 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions during a video press conference on May 24, 2020, in Beijing, China.
China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy Risks Backfiring on Beijing
The growing global backlash against China's involvement in both the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong's political crisis is fueling a new brand of "wolf warrior" diplomacy in Beijing based on a nationalistic Chinese movie. This more aggressive stance abroad exposes a sense of vulnerability in Beijing, and poses two potential risks for the regime -- the first is that the tactic backfires overseas, and the second, and perhaps more problematic, is that Beijing loses control of the nationalistic narrative.
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AssessmentsApr 28, 2020 | 16:58 GMT
The Kremlin.
The Russian Regime Accelerates Its 'Management' of Democracy
Though democratic processes are codified by law in Russia, government limitations on opposition activity and efforts to control nearly every aspect of political life have rendered elections largely a formality. Without an opposition able to operate effectively, the Kremlin enjoys carte blanche to define policy and maintain power. For nearly two decades, the United Russia party has dominated Russian politics as an instrument of President Vladimir Putin's control. The system known in Russia as "managed democracy," under which opposition activity is heavily suppressed, has made this possible. Taking control of the media narrative plus creating new parties to draw away votes from the opposition will be key to Putins ability to retain power.
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On SecurityApr 23, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Shoppers wearing face masks amid concerns over the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak in a market in Seoul, South Korea, on March 14, 2020.
Learning How to Reopen a Country After COVID-19 Shutdowns
As governments around the world explore ways to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, easing the economic pain caused by lockdowns without causing even more damaging public health crises, they will be looking at the experience of other early outbreak countries to guide their actions. While best practices are emerging, recovery strategies will be tailored to the vulnerabilities of specific populations, and to governments' current capabilities. Whether the lessons of South Korea can be applied in the West remains to be seen.
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AssessmentsApr 8, 2020 | 18:16 GMT
A 3D rendering of the novel coronavirus floating in a cellular environment.
COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Back to Work
To help clients sift through the growing sea of COVID-19 information, RANE pulsed its network of experts to level set what should be top of mind for businesses and individuals as the pandemic unfolds. Stratfor’s geopolitical content and analysis will soon be available through RANE’s platform, where members receive exclusive access to a global marketplace of credentialed risk experts and service providers, proprietary community-driven risk intelligence, and a range of support services and risk management programs. For more information about RANE and Stratfor, visit https://go.ranenetwork.com/stratfor/rane.  This FAQ covers the following questions: What do we now know about this illness and who gets it? How can individuals best protect themselves? Do I need to worry about people getting infected by the virus living on things they touch? What do we do if someone shows symptoms while in the workplace? What can I do to mitigate the risk of being shut down by health authorities? How does this end?
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AssessmentsMar 24, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A colorful and conceptual 3D illustration of the novel coronavirus.
Reassessing the Global Economic Fallout From COVID-19
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread to more countries in more corners of the world, initial forecasts that the total economic damage would be mostly contained to China are no longer plausible. Consensus estimates now suggest a 5-10 percent drop in global gross domestic product (GDP) in the quarter in which country-wide epidemics begin, persisting at an as-yet-undetermined magnitude into the next quarter as consumers and businesses adjust to the impact. The still many unknowns that surround the pandemic, however, has made it difficult to forecast the full economic fallout. China’s recovery may thus provide a better benchmark for what will happen elsewhere, given its status as the initial epicenter. But few other countries will be willing or able to take actions as draconian as Beijing's to quickly and efficiently contain the virus -- and the subsequent economic hits. 
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On SecurityMar 16, 2020 | 17:21 GMT
Police officers engulfed in flames from an incendiary device during protests in Caracas on July 30.
Plan. Prepare. Avoid a Mad Dash When Crisis Erupts
As the prospect of escalating conflict looms over Venezuela and the Korean Peninsula, it is important to revisit the theme of evacuation planning and preparation. Political and environmental crises over the years afford us the opportunity to discuss the contents of your fly-away bag, considerations to take when planning an evacuation route and the importance of coming up with your own plans instead of relying solely on others. This guidance still holds up and we hope that readers in Venezuela and on the Korean Peninsula are reviewing their emergency evacuation plans. Thanks to dozens of case studies looking at previous evacuations during crisis events, there are further lessons to consider, particularly for private individuals and companies that have their own evacuation plans in place.
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SnapshotsMar 9, 2020 | 20:06 GMT
The Crown Prince Consolidates Control as Saudi Arabia Faces Trouble Ahead
In a series of arrests of high-profile princes, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has once more shown he will brook no royal challengers. Four senior princes -- Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a former crown prince; his brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef; Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the 78-year-old brother of King Salman; and Prince Nayef bin Ahmed, Prince Ahmed's son and former head of army intelligence -- were arrested over the weekend by Saudi security forces. Dozens of other lower-level officials were detained as well. Some news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, have reported that some princes may soon be released.
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AssessmentsMar 6, 2020 | 17:32 GMT
An image showing Lebanese pounds.
Lebanon's Impending Debt Default
Lebanon is highly likely to default on a $1.2 billion, 10-year eurobond that matures March 9. Even if it makes that payment, the country's finances are near collapse. When that happens it will accelerate a crisis in the country's insolvent banking sector, probably deepening its ongoing currency crisis and setting off a downward economic spiral threatening social and political stability.
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