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SnapshotsSep 9, 2020 | 19:16 GMT
Another Border Clash Heightens China-India Tensions
Renewed altercations between Chinese and Indian forces in the disputed region of Ladakh reflect a growing risk of military escalation as China's growing presence along the two countries' border prompts India to more assertively defend its claimed territory. China and India have accused each other of firing shots during a Sept. 7 incident south of Pangong Lake, marking the first official claims of small arms fire on the border since 1975. While the situation in Ladakh had calmed down after the deadly June 15 melee in Galwan Valley, a resurgence of tensions is now occurring in a separate area of the disputed territory. Since Aug. 29, Chinese forces have allegedly been trying to cross into Indian controlled territory in the mountainous area between Pangong and Spanggur Lakes. India reportedly deployed troops to block these Chinese incursion attempts in several separate incidents. 
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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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SnapshotsSep 2, 2020 | 18:34 GMT
Political Clashes in Lebanon Stir Fears of Another Civil War
The political and social threads that have kept Lebanon from entering another civil war are quickly fraying, with rival factions now struggling to contain violence amid the country’s deepening economic and humanitarian crises. On Aug. 27, clashes between supporters of the Sunni-dominated Future Movement party and the Iran-backed, Shiite-dominated militant group and political party Hezbollah broke out outside of Beirut, killing two and forcing the army to intervene. The skirmish erupted after Hezbollah supporters reportedly tried to unveil a banner marking the Shiite Ashoura religious holiday in a traditionally Sunni area. Days later on Aug. 31, the Shiite, Sunni and Maronite political parties in Lebanon's parliament settled on Mustapha Adib, a former diplomat with little political following, to replace former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who stepped down in the wake of the Aug. 4 Beirut explosion.
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SnapshotsAug 31, 2020 | 19:41 GMT
Pemex’s Losses Deepen Mexico’s Financial Woes
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's failure to strengthen Pemex's finances and shore up domestic oil production will exacerbate Mexico's public finance woes from COVID-19.  On Aug. 24, Mexico's state-owned energy giant Pemex reported its lowest level of monthly crude oil production since 1979, with the company's July output totaling only 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) -- marking a 0.6 percent decline from June and a 4.5 percent decline from July 2019. Pemex was already struggling before the current COVID-19 crisis, seeing record losses during 2019 and the first half of 2020. Lopez Obrador's attempts to strengthen Pemex's bottom line and increase domestic oil production, however, will continue to fail without new private investment to help increase long-term production, as well as a business plan that forces Pemex to focus on the most profitable areas.
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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 20, 2020 | 20:50 GMT
In Syria, the Specter of an Expanded U.S. Mission Reemerges
A skirmish in northeast Syria indicates the United States remains willing to respond with proportional force to increased harassment from President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as Damascus and its Russian allies seek ways to incentivize the withdrawal of U.S. troops. On Aug. 17, U.S. forces reportedly engaged with Syrian troops at a Syrian-run checkpoint near the town of Qamishli in the country's far northeast. The U.S. military is investigating the cause of the skirmish, though the engagement happened amid escalating tensions between Syrian forces and the remaining U.S. patrols in the country following the White House's repeated attempts to reduce its military presence. 
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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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SnapshotsAug 10, 2020 | 21:25 GMT
In Hong Kong, a Series of Raids and Arrests Portends Further Crackdowns
With elections now delayed to 2021, the recent arrests of activists and a pro-democracy media tycoon in Hong Kong likely herald a new period of more aggressive crackdowns on figures Beijing perceives as threats to the city's stability. On Aug. 10, Hong Kong's newly established National Security Department police unit carried out a series of raids and arrests across the city that netted 10 individuals for allegedly violating the new national security law. The city's year-long election delay will grant Beijing and city authorities greater room to escalate crackdowns without undermining the legitimacy of pro-Beijing candidates, or sacrificing the city's political system and jeopardizing its role as a global financial hub.
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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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SnapshotsJul 31, 2020 | 14:48 GMT
The U.S. Economic Recession Grows Deeper and Bleaker
The United States is likely to experience a weak economy for a prolonged period, which, when combined with high debt levels, will have long-lasting effects on federal spending and perhaps even Washington's ability to exercise global influence as the country turns inward. The United States' pandemic-induced recession may have bottomed out in the April-June quarter, with GDP shrinking at a record pace. But with growth sluggish even before the pandemic, prospects for the U.S. economy remain stark. Base effects alone probably ensure positive growth in the third quarter of 2020, though signs the U.S. recovery is already slowing means another contraction in the fourth quarter cannot be ruled out. And with infections on the rise across America, there's an increasing chance that U.S. GDP growth could remain below pre-pandemic levels for years to come. 
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