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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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SnapshotsSep 8, 2020 | 20:05 GMT
The U.K. Turns up the Heat Ahead of the Next Round of Brexit Talks
The desire to avoid further economic disruption amid the COVID-19 crisis will keep the United Kingdom and European Union focused on reaching a limited trade deal before London exits the EU single market on Jan. 1. But threats on both sides to abort negotiations are again increasing the possibility of a no-deal Brexit that would force the European Union and the United Kingdom to trade under costly World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs. The latest round of EU-U.K. trade talks began in London on Sept. 8 and will end on Sept. 11. On Sept. 7, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government would walk away from the negotiations if there is not a deal by Oct. 15. The U.K. government is also expected to unveil a bill on Sept. 9 that "clarifies" certain aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement it negotiated with the European Union late last year, including London's interpretation
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On GeopoliticsSep 4, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the Middle East and North Africa. 
A New Brand of Nationalism Takes Root in the Middle East
Once the salve for crushed Middle Eastern empires, Pan-Islamism and its vision of a singular caliphate are now increasingly seen as a threat to stability in the region, with countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia turning toward nationalism to instead define their policies and behavior. Indeed, even the countries that still claim to embody the movement’s ideals, such as Qatar and Turkey, are only doing so as a means to a nationalist end, exploiting its preachings of Islamic unity to project their government’s strength at home and abroad. This trend has most recently been illuminated by the UAE-Israel normalization pact by dealing yet another blow to the idea that a global Muslim community, despite its many differences, could at the very least agree on issues such as the Palestinian question. 
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AssessmentsAug 5, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A view of Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, at sunrise.
COVID-19 Risks Robbing Dubai of Its Economic and Political Autonomy
By sapping Dubai's economic growth, the COVID-19 pandemic will also ultimately erode the emirate's political and economic independence from neighboring Abu Dhabi. Without the tools and funding needed to support its own recovery, Dubai will likely be forced to rely on another bailout from wealthy Abu Dhabi, which could impact Dubai's development plans, especially in tourism and finance. 
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AssessmentsJul 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Huawei logo is pictured on a router during a 5G event in London on Feb. 20, 2020.
U.S. Actions Against Huawei Will Only Embolden China’s Push to Grow Its Tech Sector
Escalating U.S. actions against Huawei will only motivate China to pump its domestic technology sector with even more funding and talent, which will in turn prompt the United States to impose more restrictions on international companies doing business with Huawei and other Chinese firms that pose a threat to its global tech dominance. This will result in a cat-and-mouse game in which Washington deploys whatever financial and diplomatic tools are at its disposal to close any loopholes that China and Chinese tech companies can exploit to better compete with the West. 
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AssessmentsJun 8, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Members of the Saudi special forces stand aboard a landing ship off the coast of Bahrain during a military exercise in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 5, 2019.
Austerity Will Force Saudi Arabia to Revise Its Military Priorities
Facing severe budgetary strain due to COVID-19 and low oil prices, Saudi Arabia will likely reduce its arms purchases, while avoiding spending cuts that could impede its internal security or the development of its defense sector. Riyadh will be careful not to trim spending that hampers the monarchy’s internal security or goal of building its domestic defense production capacity. Saudi leadership will calibrate its decisions and seek to limit damage to its Vision 2030 goals, as it keeps an eye on the U.S. presidential election and plans for increasing U.S. scrutiny of its human rights and security policies.
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AssessmentsMay 6, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image displays rows of silicon wafers.
The U.S. Weaponizes COVID-19 Anger Against China’s Tech Sector
The United States and China have been locked in a technology cold war for several years. The COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is now pressuring Washington to make even stronger moves against Beijing by fueling anti-China sentiment among U.S. voters and legislators alike. But the White House’s latest attempt to increase export controls on China and limit Beijing's overall access to U.S. technology will come at the cost of further fragmenting the global tech sector’s highly integrated supply chain network. 
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AssessmentsApr 28, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
A Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills Jan. 2, 2017, in the South China Sea.
Even a Pandemic Does not Stop the South China Sea Competition
Numerous reports have raised fears that China is taking advantage of U.S. distraction and the sidelining of two U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific due to the COVID-19 pandemic. China had made similar accusations against the United States earlier this year, claiming Washington was exploiting China's pandemic response to advance its own containment strategy. And both are correct in that the pandemic does not appear to have slowed down Chinese or U.S. activities in the region.
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AssessmentsMar 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Fully protected members of the Spanish Army's Nuclear Bacteriological and Chemical Regiment (RNBQ) prepare to disinfect a train station in San Sebastian to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on March 24, 2020.
COVID-19: How Pandemics Disrupt Military Operations
Amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world are facing widespread disruptions to not only the health of their populations and economies, but their militaries. Even if the virus itself doesn't leave key personnel severely ill (or worse), quarantine measures can still severely thwart military operations. Meanwhile, military powers such as the United States may increasingly be forced to deploy additional forces to the frontlines of unfolding COVID-19 outbreaks at home. The resulting fallout could, in turn, result in setbacks in the fight against multiple non-state actors abroad, and potentially even the long-term development of military capabilities. 
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SnapshotsMar 20, 2020 | 21:07 GMT
Europe Moves to Keep Its Economy Afloat
The European Central Bank augmented its 30 billion euro (about $32 billion) a month program of quantitative easing with a Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program to buy an additional 750 billion euros (about $800 billion) in member country sovereign and corporate bonds until the COVID-19 crisis is over. The ECB also eased for the first time collateral standards and assets eligible for purchase, including Greek sovereign bonds, and included short-term corporate bonds in its buying. It is no exaggeration to say the ECB may have precluded a potential sovereign default by Italy as it and other European governments are forced to ramp up borrowing to fight the economic effects of COVID-19 containment measures and a probable major economic downturn.
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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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AssessmentsFeb 28, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows the Guyanese flag.
The High Stakes of Guyana's Elections
Rarely do a country's elections matter as much for its future political balance of power as the March 2 ballot will for Guyana. The national balloting comes just 11 days after Guyana exported its first cargo of oil abroad, marking the beginning of a significant economic windfall to come as the country becomes the world's latest to join the oil production club. In the coming years, an oil boom will make Guyana one of the wealthiest countries in South America. The winner of the national elections will then have the chance to cement its political legacy through the kinds of economic patronage that come with increased wealth for the government.
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AssessmentsFeb 26, 2020 | 15:57 GMT
A demonstration in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en pipeline protest on Feb. 18, 2020, outside the Canadian Consulate in New York. Disruptions to supply chains will remain the most obvious impact, but whether this spreads to new targets and geographically, including to the United States, will be important to monitor.
What Comes Next for Canada's Anti-Pipeline Protests?
Hereditary leaders of the Wet'suwet'en indigenous group have said that they will not negotiate with political leaders over the ongoing protests affecting Canada's rail network until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and pipeline construction crews have left their territory. RCMP units stationed on Wet'suwet'en territory have begun relocating in an effort to respond to that ultimatum. But even if the Wet'suwet'en call off protest activity on their land in remote northern British Columbia, it is unclear how the dozens of groups and individuals who have now taken up the Wet'suwet'en cause will respond. Companies operating in Canada reliant upon rail transportation for personnel or products should develop contingencies in the likely case that shipments are further delayed. Furthermore, overlapping protest movements in the United States could easily replicate these tactics in places like Minnesota, where a nascent movement against a pipeline construction project has promised protests to come. Energy companies
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SnapshotsFeb 25, 2020 | 22:07 GMT
Saudi Arabia Arms Its Vision 2030 With an Investment Ministry
On Feb. 25, Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued eight royal orders designed to jump-start the country's Vision 2030 program after nearly four years of mixed results. The most notable of these orders included converting the General Investment Authority into a full Ministry of Investment and creating tourism and sports ministries. The former energy minister and Saudi Aramco CEO, Khalid al-Falih, will serve as the first investment minister. Al-Falih's appointment may indicate that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman realizes the greater pitfalls of chasing such big, high-profile announcements. It will thus be important to track whether Saudi Arabia starts winding down its pursuit of megaprojects at home and abroad, including the country's large investments into companies such as Uber and Tesla, which have been criticized as having more to do with prestige than profit.
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ReflectionsJan 16, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Omani army officers carry Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said during a funeral procession Jan. 11 in Muscat.
For Oman's New Sultan, a 21st Century Challenge
Everything about the ascension of Oman's new ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said, has screamed continuity -- including the sultan himself. "We will continue to follow in the same course the late sultan adopted," he said in his inaugural speech Jan. 11, a day after the death of his predecessor, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, had been announced. So far, so stable. Regardless, Haitham will have trouble filling Qaboos' large shoes. During his nearly 50-year reign, Qaboos wrote a playbook of Omani geopolitics that toward the end of his life was running thin on tactics for the 21st century. But what a playbook it proved to be for his time. Few of the region's Gulf rulers had faced as many challenges, and fewer still lasted as long. Qaboos took a backward, crumbling empire and shoved it into the 20th century. For Haitham, however, the strategies of the past
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