NEWSWorthy is a news roundup aimed at informing

the Atlanta community on foreign policy and global issues.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the members of the Board of Directors or members of Atlanta Council on International Affairs, a non-partisan 501c.3. organization that seeks to educate the public on a wide variety of international issues from multiple points of view.



ASIA

September 19, 2020

President Trump has employed the US-China trade balance as a metric of success in his administration’s efforts to rein in Chinese economic policies and practices. This article gives a pulse check on how such efforts have shaped up in terms of economic data and broader industrial trends. China is still on track to dominate in many high-tech sectors.


BLOOMBERG NEW ECONOMY: CHINA IS WINNING THE TRADE WAR WITH TRUMP

bloomberg.com



AFRICA

September 19, 2020

Libya’s rebel general Khalifa Haftar plans to lift an 8-month blockade on oil, the majority of which is in eastern Libya under his control. Even so, the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) refused to resume oil production and exports until foreign militias were entirely out of the picture. The NOC referred in particular to Russian mercenaries who have supported Haftar’s forces.


RENEGADE LIBYAN GENERAL KHALIFA HAFTAR TO LIFT OIL BLOCKADE

ft.com



MIDDLE EAST

September 17, 2020

This commentary takes a look at how the US posture in the Middle East is evolving given the rising aggression and influence of China and Russia in the region. The authors conclude with five key policy propositions highlighting that geopolitics in this region does not necessarily have to be a zero-sum game. They say the US should avoid alarmism when it comes to its adversaries’ motives and moves.


ASSESSING CHINA AND RUSSIA’S MOVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

lawfareblog.com



LATIN AMERICA

September 19, 2020

Clashes between Peru’s presidency and Congress had culminated in President Vizcarra’s impeachment trial, with the opposition-dominated Congress not gathering enough votes on Friday to impeach him. The recent events only add to the political turmoil that has racked Peru these last few years. The country is further strained by the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.


PERU'S PRESIDENT MARTIN VIZCARRA SURVIVES IMPEACHMENT VOTE

aljazeera.com



NORTH AMERICA

September 19, 2020

With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Friday, debate over how to fill the vacancy has quickly surfaced given the upcoming presidential election as well as the significant controversy that surrounded Trump’s last two successful nominations. This article lays out statements made by several GOP senators then and now on the issue.


GOP SENATORS CONFRONT PAST COMMENTS ON SUPREME COURT VOTE

news.yahoo.com



EUROPE

September 16, 2020

Russia continues to play an outsized role in the events of Belarus, where mass protests against President Lukashenko continue to sweep the nation. The leader has relied on its northeastern neighbor for financial and moral support, though Russia may soon push for a power transition as its beneficiary in Belarus faces defeat in this drawn out political crisis.


KREMLIN LOOKS TO KEEP PROTEST-TORN BELARUS IN MOSCOW'S ORBIT

bbc.com/news



DEFENSE

September 18, 2020

The US Indo-Pacific Command and Air Force are actively testing networking solutions in Guam as part of the military’s joint-all domain command and control warfare, or “JADC2.” This includes a live demo between September 15-25. Given its geographical position in the Pacific, Guam would be an early target, so an integrated defense solution to any potential confrontation is critical.


GUAM BECOMES A LIVING LABORATORY FOR PENTAGON’S ‘CONNECT-EVERYTHING’ EXPERIMENTS

defenseone.com



ASIA

September 12, 2020

On Saturday, Vietnam hosted the annual regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, though it was relatively quiet without top representatives from the US, China and North Korea. Many foreign ministers expressed concerns of threats to peace and security in the region, namely disputes in the South China Sea and the new national security law in Hong Kong.


ASIA-PACIFIC FOREIGN MINISTERS VOICE FEARS ABOUT REGIONAL SECURITY

asia.nikkei.com



AFRICA

September 11, 2020

Rebuilding after a civil war is never smooth sailing but even less so in a country as ethnically and culturally diverse as Sudan. Following an August peace deal that aims to integrate rebel forces into the transitional state, a declaration to enshrine secularism and the right to self-determination has become a dispute between civilian and military bodies.


SUDAN GOVERNMENT HESITATES AFTER DECLARATION SEPARATING RELIGION AND STATE

middleeasteye.net



MIDDLE EAST

September 11, 2020

On the heels of last month’s Israel-UAE deal, Israel and Bahrain have struck a similar agreement to normalize relations. Palestinian authorities, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, condemned the bilateral decision as a “betrayal of the Palestinian cause” and said there would be no Arab-Israeli peace until Palestinian statehood is achieved.


'STAB IN THE BACK': PALESTINIANS CONDEMN ISRAEL-BAHRAIN DEAL

aljazeera.com



LATIN AMERICA

September 10, 2020

Coming out of its 9th debt default, Argentina reached a deal giving it a 3-year window to tackle chronic macroeconomic issues and achieve debt sustainability. But a low-lying factor of the country’s fiscal deficit is its “20/80” dual society where only 20% of the labor force has stable, private-sector jobs, impeding inclusive growth in favor of “inclusive poverty.”


AFTER THE DEFAULT: ARGENTINA’S UNSUSTAINABLE “20/80” ECONOMY

americasquarterly.org



NORTH AMERICA

September 12, 2020

It’s well known that the recent wildfires raging across western US are perpetrated and perpetuated by climate change, with policy action well warranted on that front. What has also fueled the fires are environmental policies that outlawed Indigenous fire-burning practices which were actually good for the soil and vegetation. The land is now reacting by “bingeing on [fire].”


‘UNPRECEDENTED’: THE US WEST’S WILDFIRE CATASTROPHE EXPLAINED

theguardian.com



EUROPE

September 11, 2020

The UK has reached its first post-Brexit trade deal, the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will ensure 99% of exports to Japan enter tariff-free. The deal is projected to boost UK’s GDP by only 0.07% in the long term, and the main priority remains to negotiate a deal with the EU, its largest trading partner.


UK SIGNS FIRST MAJOR POST-BREXIT TRADE DEAL WITH JAPAN

bbc.com/news



DEFENSE

September 3, 2020

As it looks ahead to rolling out “Capability Set ‘23”, its next iteration of network tools in 2023, the Army is looking to industry for ways to develop satellite communications as a service. SATCOM would bring an array of networking opportunities to help “increase capacity, bandwidth and resilience.”


US ARMY’S TACTICAL NETWORK TEAM LOOKS TO SATELLITES FOR NEXT ITERATION OF TOOLS

c4isrnet.com



MIDDLE EAST

September 5, 2020

Characterized with a “continuing grind of dystopia,” the Middle East is increasingly seen as hopeless due to the endless and interlocking violence, political dysfunction, economic collapse and refugee crises. There were several instances, particularly after the 2011 Arab Spring, when it appeared the tide could turn, but the existing state of affairs coupled with COVID-19 and the subsequent recession have brought the chances of democratization and progress to nearly zero.


THE END OF HOPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

foreignpolicy.com



LATIN AMERICA

September 5, 2020

A group of organizations sent a letter to the next US administration outlining a “Good Neighbor Policy” with Latin America and the Caribbean based on non-intervention and non-interference. The multi-pronged approach calls for ending or reducing (1) economic sanctions that ultimately hurt civilians; (2) aid and weapons exports in the name of a war on drugs; (3) political interference; (4) threats to and violations of human rights, both within and beyond US borders; (5) anti-immigrant policies like zero tolerance; and (6) trade policies that leave countries beholden to external or corporate interests.


A NEW LATIN AMERICA FOREIGN POLICY AGENDA FOR THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION

nacla.org



NORTH AMERICA

August 12, 2020

In this analytical piece, Michael Singh argues that it is not great power competition but entanglements with smaller actors - some of whom the US has a history of conflict with - that have shaped our country’s foreign policy strategy, no matter the leadership. This has been the case even under presidents who vowed to avoid such conflicts as those with North Korea, Iraq and Iran.


CONFLICT WITH SMALL POWERS DERAILS U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

foreignaffairs.com



EUROPE

September 2, 2020

President of the Czech Senate as well as the mayor of Prague are top among leaders in the Czech Republic who have expressed support for Taiwan, the latter even engaging in a sister-city partnership with Taipei when it was previously Beijing. However, the Czech President is still currying favor with China for economic investment. China has threatened a heavy price for what it calls “political opportunism” and says Czech companies with relations with Taiwan won’t be welcome there.


CZECH-BOOK DIPLOMACY: THE GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS OF A CZECH VISIT TO TAIWAN

fpri.org



AFRICA

September 3, 2020

With more refugees entering from the north, South Africa is feeling the pressure to ease political and economic strife in its neighboring country of Zimbabwe where promises of reform following a 2017 handover of power have failed to materialize. The historic closeness of relations between the two countries means that instability in one will affect the entire region.


WHY REPRESSION IN ZIMBABWE WORRIES SOUTH AFRICA

newstatesman.com



ASIA

August 31, 2020

Only in its second month in effect, the Hong Kong national security law has already had wide-ranging consequences, including the suspension of extradition treaties by many countries in the West, tit-for-tat sanctions between the US and China, several infringements on freedom of the press, and a hold put in place by tech companies like Google on data requests. Legislators claimed the law would only affect a “criminal minority.”


HONG KONG NATIONAL SECURITY LAW: JIMMY LAI ARREST, SANCTIONS WAR AND EXTRADITION REPRISALS MARK THE LEGISLATION’S SECOND MONTH IN FORCE

scmp.com



GLOBAL

September 5, 2020


Foreign ministers of the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - met virtually and agreed on the approach of using “peaceful means and diplomatic engagement” to deal with rising conflict and violence. They pointed to the norms of the UN charter and also called for a “durable humanitarian pause” given COVID-19. A BRICS working group has also finalized a counter-terrorism strategy.

CHALLENGES TO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY SHOULD BE RESOLVED THROUGH DIPLOMACY: BRICS

thewire.in



AFRICA

August 28, 2020

Afrieximbank is negotiating an adjustment facility with architects of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which would draw down intra-African tariffs on 90% of trade and entail short-term revenue loss. As the new FTA endeavors to diversify and make globally competitive African economies, the mechanism would curb this historic reliance on trade for revenue generation.


AFRICA TRADE PACT’S ARCHITECTS SEEK TO HELP OFFSET TARIFF LOSSES

bloomberg.com