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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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PodcastsSep 24, 2020 | 05:00 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: Duterte's China Shift
In this episode of the Essential Geopolitics podcast from Stratfor, a RANE company, Emily Donahue speaks to Stratfor Asia-Pacific analyst Evan Rees. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave a U.N. General Assembly speech this week that indicated he would take a hardline position on his country's South China Sea claims.
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SITUATION REPORTSep 14, 2020 | 21:13 GMT
Israel: Cabinet Approves Three-Week Lockdown Starting Sept. 18
The Israeli Cabinet approved a three-week lockdown that will bar Israelis from traveling more than 500 meters from home except for essentials, closing schools and limiting the private sector in a repeat of the country's strict April lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, The Times of Israel reported Sept. 13.
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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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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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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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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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SnapshotsSep 1, 2020 | 16:24 GMT
U.S. Pressure on TikTok Prompts a Chinese Show of Legal Force
The recent expansion of Chinese export controls reflects a long-term strategy wherein Beijing will move to counter and match U.S. efforts to limit China's global tech rise, leading to a further decoupling of the world's two largest economies. On Aug. 28, the Chinese government increased restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including text-to-speech technology and data analysis to serve up personalized content. China's ministries in charge of commerce and science and technology jointly released a revised export-control list for the first time since it was compiled in 2008. With these updates, Beijing makes itself a more decisive player in the sale of the popular video-sharing app, TikTok. But more broadly, the new export controls also signal China will deploy its own legal tools to retaliate against the increasingly aggressive use of U.S. export controls to restrict Chinese tech companies abroad.
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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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AssessmentsAug 28, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Legislators attend a plenary session in Tunisia's parliament on June 3, 2020.
Polarized Politics Plagues Tunisia’s Economic Prospects
Tunisia's third attempt to form a government in less than a year is unlikely to resolve the dysfunctional partisan infighting that saw the demise its last two governments, leaving its leaders unable or unwilling to pass the reforms needed to mitigate the country's deepening economic crisis. Following his predecessor Elyes Fakhfakh's July 15 resignation, Tunisia's prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi unveiled a new cabinet of independent technocratic ministers on Aug. 24, which will go to a parliamentary vote on Sept. 1. But even if Mechichi's proposed government is approved by the country's highly divided parliament, Tunisia's deep-rooted party rivalries ensure little actual governing will be done, weakening Tunisia's ability to secure much-needed external funding, as well as serve as a model democracy in the Arab world.
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AssessmentsAug 25, 2020 | 18:58 GMT
Army vehicles patrol the roads on the outskirts of a village in northern Mozambique on May 26, 2016.
To Protect Its Energy Projects, Total Joins Mozambique's Counterterrorism Fight
Total's decision to support Mozambique's fight against insurgents may help protect its energy facilities from direct attacks, even as it risks the French oil major's reputation while doing little to reduce escalating militant activity in the country's north. On Aug. 24, Toal signed a security agreement with the Mozambican government to protect the $20 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) project it's developing in the country's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. Under its new pact, Total has agreed to provide logistical support to a newly established joint task force focused guaranteeing the protection of the company’s planned onshore LNG facility, which is located in the Afungi Peninsula near the northern town of Palma. 
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SnapshotsAug 21, 2020 | 18:16 GMT
The U.S. ‘Snaps Back’ at Iran and the U.N. With Restored Sanctions
Iran will wait until after U.S. elections to decide whether to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in response to the United States' move to restore all U.N. sanctions. Europe, China and Russia, meanwhile, will forgo any large arms sales to Iran due to the expanded sanctions risk, despite not officially recognizing the U.S. action. On Aug. 20, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the United Nations that the U.S. government was "snapping back" all sanctions on Iran, citing Tehran's significant non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The letter comes nearly a week after the U.N. Security Council rejected Washington's proposed resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Only the Dominican Republic sided with the United States on extending the arms embargo, which is currently set to expire on Oct. 18.
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On GeopoliticsAug 21, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Pedestrians stand on top of a world map at a monument commemorating the Age of Exploration in Lisbon, Portugal.
China, the U.S., and the Geography of the 21st Century
The geographical perspective of the 21st century is just now being formed. And at its heart is a rivalry between China and the United States to succeed Europe’s 500-year centrality in the international system, which will be framed by a shift in global economic activity and trade, new energy resource competition, a weakening Europe and Russia, and a technological battle to control information. The new map of the next century will extend to the ocean floor for resources and subsea cables, to space where low-Earth orbit satellites drive communications, and into the ill-defined domain of cyberspace. 
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SnapshotsAug 18, 2020 | 14:46 GMT
The U.S. Broadens Its Tech Battle With China
The United States' move to expand export controls against Huawei’s cloud-computing affiliates indicates its pressure campaign against Chinese telecommunications and internet companies is evolving to include a wider spectrum of information technologies. On Aug. 17, the U.S. Commerce Department added a total of 38 new Huawei affiliates to its entity list, which increases U.S. export controls. The added companies include 22 of Huawei’s cloud-computing subsidiaries, such as Huawei Cloud Computing Technology and Huawei Cloud France, as well as several of its OpenLab units that promote research and development collaboration overseas. 
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ReflectionsAug 18, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A view of NASDAQ in Times Square on May 7, 2020, in New York City.
The Limits to a U.S.-China Financial Divorce
Political and regulatory risks of investing in Chinese companies are increasing as the United States ramps up efforts to "decouple" its financial system from Beijing, including the White House's latest push to delist Chinese firms from U.S. exchanges. But given the sheer size of the U.S.-China financial relationship, which totals as much as $4 trillion (or 11 percent of the two countries' combined GDP), such efforts will see only limited success -- keeping the world's two biggest economies linked for the foreseeable future.
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AssessmentsAug 17, 2020 | 22:25 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) take part in a ceremony in Rzhev, Russia, on June 30, 2020.
Why Russia Won't Rush to Lukashenko's Aid in Belarus
Russia will be reluctant to insert itself in the unfolding political crisis in Belarus without certainty over the survivability of President Alexander Lukashenko's regime. But Moscow has critical geostrategic interests in maintaining influence over Minsk, which it will act to fiercely defend should a decidedly pro-Western government begin taking shape amid the chaos. Following an Aug. 16 phone call with Russian President Vladamir Putin, Lukashenko has attempted to flaunt Moscow's alleged support for his regime, citing Putin's affirmed commitment to the two countries' defense treaties as proof. In reality, however, the Kremlin has been extremely measured in its response to the opposition protests that have erupted across Belarus following the country's contested Aug. 9 presidential election. Moscow has limited its public interactions with Lukashenko's government to only essential diplomatic exchanges. Several Russian officials and journalists have even criticized the Belarusian authorities' behavior during the elections and subsequent crackdown on the
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