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On GeopoliticsJul 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of China.
China’s Rise as a Global Power Reaches Its Riskiest Point Yet
China is an empire in the modern sense -- a nation strengthened (but also held hostage) by its long supply chains, compelled to ever greater economic and political intercourse to preserve its interests, and increasingly drawn into the security sphere as well. It uses its economic, political and military leverage to expand its own direct sphere of operations, from the South China Sea to India and across Central Asia into Europe. The more engaged it is internationally, the more dependent it is on maintaining and strengthening those connections, which are critical for Chinese economic growth and, by extension, domestic management of its massive, diverse and economically unequal population. 
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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 19:50 GMT
What to Make of Hong Kong’s First Protests Post-Security Law
The Hong Kong protests carried out in spite of the new national security law showcase the volatile dynamic we expect to continue as authorities work to dishearten demonstrators and the broader pro-democracy camp. Following an official rejection of an application to hold rallies citing COVID-19 and past violent activity, pro-democracy demonstrators turned out by the thousands to mark the July 1 anniversary of the British handover of the city. While authorities arrested a relatively small number of protesters under the new law, how the detentions and trials proceed will indicate the legislation’s ability to truly dissuade protests in the future. There is also the possibility that further arrests will take place based on surveillance of protest activity.
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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SnapshotsJun 23, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Details of China's Hong Kong Security Law Confirm Critics' Fears
The Chinese central government is adopting a more rapid and aggressive approach to its proposed national security law in Hong Kong that will erode the city's autonomy from the mainland. On June 20, Chinese state-run media released new details about Beijing's proposed Hong Kong national security legislation following the conclusion of a National People's Congress Standing Committee session. The Standing Committee will now hold a June 28-30 special meeting, raising the possibility of the law's passage before the July 1 anniversary of the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong.  As written, the current draft law grants Beijing a greater supervisory role over national security inside of Hong Kong with measures that were on the more assertive end of the spectrum of potential options.The tough penalties for convictions will also have a chilling effect on unrest in Hong Kong by allowing pro-Beijing forces inside the city to more easily crack down on
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 19:38 GMT
Pro-democracy protesters shine the flashlights on their cellphones as they take part in a rally in Hong Kong on June 9, 2020.
Hong Kong’s Election Lights the Fuse for Another Wave of Unrest
A year after the city's extradition bill prompted more than a million people to take to the streets in June 2019, marking a watershed moment in last year's protests, Hong Kong's political crisis is heating up once again. The next three months in Hong Kong will see protests kick back into high gear as pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps focus on winning Legislative Council elections planned for September. The central government in mainland China will fast-track its controversial national security laws ahead of the polls to increase control over protestors and politicians, while the regional Hong Kong government will work to fulfill its side of the legislation. The White House, meanwhile, will pressure China to ease back on its encroachment in Hong Kong by possibly stripping away the city's special tariff treatment, but will weigh carefully whether to escalate further to financial measures that would cripple Hong Kong's status as a business hub
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AssessmentsMay 22, 2020 | 20:20 GMT
An anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.
Mainland China's Imposition of Security Laws In Hong Kong Will Spark Protests
The Chinese central government's decision to circumvent the Hong Kong legislature and impose long-delayed national security laws in Hong Kong will provide a major rallying point as protests rebound following COVID-19. In terms of U.S.-China relations, an uptick in demonstrations and the high-profile erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy will provide another trigger that could derail the phase one trade deal, although the White House will be careful not to subordinate its China policy to a single issue such as Hong Kong.
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AssessmentsMay 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An aerial photo shows villagers sowing highland barley seeds with agricultural machinery in the fields in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on April 22, 2020.
COVID-19 Tensions Place Australian Farmers in China's Crosshairs
On May 10, Australian grain producers issued a joint statement warning that China has made a provisional decision to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian barley imports of up to 80.5 percent, effectively shutting down their exports to China. Sources within the Australian government say the timing of these tariffs is linked to the recent uptick in Chinese tensions over COVID-19, though Prime Minister Scott Morrison has publicly since said he does not believe the two are related. China's economic pressure, however, would have to expand beyond barley and the small group of beef slaughterhouses to compel Australia to reconsider its support of U.S. efforts to counter Beijing's rise. If Beijing threatens more sweeping measures against Australian beef exports, or turns to targeting wool exports, Canberra may be prompted to change its approach. But as things stand, barley producers in Australia have other options.
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AssessmentsApr 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pro-Brexit banner is seen outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct. 30. 2019.
The Scramble to Secure EU-U.K. Trade Ties Amid COVID-19
Time is running out for the European Union and the United Kingdom to reach a free trade agreement before Britain's scheduled exit from the EU single market on Jan. 1, 2021. The second round of negotiations, which ended on April 24, failed to produce significant progress. This leaves only two more rounds of scheduled talks before London has to decide whether to extend its participation in the single market in late June, lest risk having to trade with the European Union under costly World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs starting next year. As both sides reckon with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, a limited trade agreement that preserves the status quo of U.K.-EU trade relations as much as possible, or an extension of London's membership in the single market, will become increasingly likely in order to avoid a disruptive "hard" exit that neither Brussels nor Britain can afford. 
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AssessmentsApr 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The walls surrounding the Kremlin are reflected on a plaque at the entrance of the oil company Rosneft's headquarters in Moscow. 
Russia Loosens the Reins on Rosneft
The Russian government no longer has a majority stake in Rosneft for the first time in the energy giant’s 27-year history. On March 28, Rosneft announced that it had sold all of its assets in Venezuela as part of a deal with the wholly government-owned company, Rosneftegaz. The sale is designed to shield the company’s Venezuelan operations from further U.S. sanctions, while still allowing Moscow to continue its support of the disputed rule of President Nicolas Maduro. But by continuing Rosneft's slow and steady shift toward privatization, the passing of this threshold could also open the company up to a more market-driven and prosperous future. 
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SnapshotsApr 7, 2020 | 17:44 GMT
What Johnson’s Absence Means for Britain
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hospitalization due to COVID-19 complications is unlikely to create significant problems for the British government in the near term. But should the disease leave him unable to govern for an extended period, his ruling Conservative Party will likely have to hold an internal contest to appoint a new leader, which could further delay London’s free trade negotiations with the European Union.
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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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GuidanceMar 19, 2020 | 15:38 GMT
This photo shows a lone Pakistani soldier patrolling the Line of Control, the de facto border between Pakistan and India, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Aug. 29, 2019.
COVID-19: Where Most See Crisis, Some See Opportunity
As the coronavirus pandemic monopolizes more of the world’s time, money and attention, the latest surge of violence in Kashmir between India and Pakistan highlights the potential for countries to act more aggressively with less scrutiny. But state actors aren't the only ones who will be tempted to capitalize on the current chaos. As more governments become bogged down by the virus and the economic fallout from containment efforts, jihadist groups and other non-state actors will also have the opportunity to advance their positions in security hotspots around the world. This could not only raise the risk for military escalations in those areas in the short term, but could allow militias to resurge once the global health crisis eventually subsides.
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