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On GeopoliticsSep 24, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A model of a customs road sign is seen at the mock U.K.-EU border, with a mock Big Ben in the background, at the Mini-Europe theme park in Brussels, Belgium, on May 20, 2020.
Why EU-U.K. Trade Talks Feel Like Brexit Deja Vu
If the current tensions in the trade talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union feel like a repetition of the 2019 disputes, when Britain negotiated its exit from the bloc, it’s because they are. Once more, a no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon, because unless Brussels and London reach an agreement, bilateral trade will happen under World Trade Organization tariffs starting next year. Like last year, both sides are exchanging threats and accusing each other of acting in bad faith. And, in the most notable deja vu from 2019, the status of Northern Ireland has reemerged as an obstacle to a deal. The explanation for this situation is simple: there are fundamental issues that the arrangements of 2019 left unresolved and have come back to jeopardize the negotiations in 2020. 
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SnapshotsSep 11, 2020 | 16:48 GMT
Opposition leader Juan Guaido speaks at an event in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 11, 2020.
Legislative Elections Risk Leaving Venezuela’s Opposition in Shambles
Disputes within Venezuela’s opposition over whether to boycott the country’s Dec. 6 legislative elections will likely enable President Nicolas Maduro to remain in power through at least the first half of 2021 by further weakening the legitimacy and influence of both Juan Guiado and his interim government. Guaido, who assumed an interim presidency in 2019, has proposed boycotting the upcoming elections for the National Assembly, citing concerns that the vote will be rigged by the Maduro regime. But prominent members of Venezuela’s opposition coalition, which Guiado currently heads, have since come out against his position. 
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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 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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SnapshotsSep 3, 2020 | 16:10 GMT
The Eurozone's Economic Rebound Loses Momentum
Early signs indicate the eurozone's economic rebound from the COVID-19 crisis is already losing steam, which will force governments to introduce new rounds of stimulus that deepen their already problematic fiscal deficits. The eurozone contracted by a record 12.1 percent during the second quarter of 2020 as lockdown measures negatively impacted consumption, investment and trade. The lifting of those measures led to an improvement in economic activity since late May, but recent indicators suggest that this rebound is weakening as the rise in COVID-19 cases forces governments to reintroduce social distancing measures and international travel warnings. 
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AssessmentsSep 2, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
A view looking up at the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C. on July 1, 2020.
What to Make of the U.S. Fed's New Approach to Inflation
The U.S. Federal Reserve's switch from inflation targeting to inflation averaging confirms it will keep interest rates near zero for a prolonged period, even if prices begin to rise. This will not have an immediate impact on monetary policy given extended shortfalls from targets by both the Fed and other major central banks. But the move may pressure the European Central Bank (ECB) and others to also adopt new approaches to inflation and employment. It will likely result in a somewhat weaker U.S. dollar for a longer time as well, which will come as relatively good news for emerging markets barring another shift in global risk aversion. 
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On GeopoliticsSep 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 2: The China Challenge
The United States is in the midst of a strategic refocus from counterterrorism and rogue nation control, to so-called great power competition. While Russia, the Cold War counterpart, remains a concern, China has emerged as the primary near-peer threat. This is reawakening a key element that has long shaped U.S. foreign policy and strategic assessment -- the major power of the Eurasian continent. But U.S. culture is split over the best way to deal with a Eurasian competitor, and domestic political and economic divisions will make it difficult for the United States to maintain a consistent strategy. 
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Regions & CountriesSeptember 1, 2020 | 21:36 GMT
Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean surrounded by Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Greece. The largest city on the island, Nicosia, lies between two mountain ranges, the Kyrenia Mountains in the north and the Troodos Mountains in the central south. Major powers, including the Ottomans and the British, have occupied the island and established military bases there due to its strategic location. From Cyprus, these powers can project influence in the Mediterranean and the Levant, and they can easily access sea lanes and trade chokepoints between Europe, Africa and Asia, such as the Suez Canal. Cyprus obtained independence in 1960, but foreign powers retained their interest in the country. The United Kingdom kept military bases in the island, and after a coup by pro-Greek forces in 1974, Turkey occupied the northern part of Cyprus. The island is often involved in the broader disputes between Greece and Turkey, and to this day, it remains divided between a mostly Greek-speaking south and a predominantly Turkish-speaking north. Turkey is the only country that recognizes Northern Cyprus as a state. Cyprus and Turkey claim many of the same waters in the Mediterranean, and ever since natural gas reserves were discovered in these areas, the two nations have engaged in intensifying disputes about their exclusive economic zones. Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, but membership applies de facto only in the south. In 2013, Cyprus had to request an international bailout to rescue its banks, many of which had a strong presence of wealthy Russians who used the island as a tax haven. The island's strategic position has been a blessing and a curse, as the Cypriots are often subject to events and powers beyond their control. Thus, Cyprus' main geopolitical challenge is to retain as much autonomy as possible in an often-volatile neighborhood.
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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 28, 2020 | 15:51 GMT
An Ideological Divide Deepens in Germany's Government
The growing ideological disputes over fiscal policy and EU integration in Germany's governing coalition provide a preview for not only the country's 2021 general election, but German domestic and foreign politics for at least the next half-decade. Germany's finance minister Olaf Scholz, who is a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), recently said that the European Commission should be permanently allowed to issue debt on behalf of the 27 members of the European Union, and also suggested that Germany's constitutional debt brake, which was suspended earlier this year, should not be reintroduced in 2021. Scholz's partners in the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) then criticized both statements, arguing the commission should only issue debt to pay for pandemic-related economic relief measures and requested Scholz present a plan to restore fiscal stability in Germany. 
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