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.



SPECIAL FOCUS: CHINESE ESPIONAGE

April 14, 2021


FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying


In an April Senate Intelligence Committee hear, FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasized China’s threat to America’s innovation, economic security and democratic ideas. He stated that over the last several years there has been a 1,300% increase in economic espionage investigations.


FBI SAYS IT OPENS NEW ESPIONAGE INVESTIGATION INTO CHINA ‘EVERY 10 HOURS’

forbes-com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



SPECIAL FOCUS: CHINESE ESPIONAGE

May 5, 2021


Washington Examiner logo


In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice launched the China Initiative, aimed at rooting out U.S. academics with ties to China’s communist party or its Thousand Talents Program. This article lists professors charged with stealing research and technology from U.S. universities. The most notable example is that of Harvard University’s Dr. Charles Lieber and his role as a “strategic scientist” at the Wuhan University of Technology.


CHINA ON CAMPUS: HOW THE DOJ HAS BATTLED ‘NONTRADITIONAL ESPIONAGE’

washingtonexaminer-com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


SPECIAL FOCUS: CHINESE ESPIONAGE

July 7, 2020


FBI Director Christopher Wray


Last July, FBI Director Christopher Wray said China poses the “greatest long-term threat” to America’s information and intellectual property and its economic vitality. He referred to China’s ambition to be the economic and technological leader, its diverse and “multi-layered” approach to achieving its goals and its fundamentally different approach to government as key to understanding China’s threat to American national security.


THE THREAT POSED BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT AND THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY TO THE ECONOMIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES

fbi.gov

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.

NORTH AMERICA

April 30, 2021


Joe Biden in the White House on March 11


In his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden has returned the United States to the world stage in Anti-Trump fashion. He has officially rejoined the World Health Organization (WHO), decided to pull American troops from Afghanistan, and labeled both the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China and the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman troops as genocides.


WE NO LONGER FEAR THE TWEET’: BIDEN BRINGS US BACK TO WORLD STAGE IN FIRST 100 DAYS

Theguardian.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

April 28, 2021


image of artificial intelligence web


NATO officials, who plan to meet in June 2021, are hashing out which artificial intelligence technologies it should use and how to do so responsibly. It’s an effort to sharpen NATO’s edge in EDT, or emerging and disruptive technologies.


NATO TEES UP NEGOTIATIONS ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN WEAPONS

c4isrnet.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


MIDDLE EAST

April 28, 2021


https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/u-n-syria-envoy-says-theres-interest-in-stepped-up-diplomacy


One decade ago protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad sparked a war which has become an “internationalized conflict” attracting Russia, the U.S., Turkey, Europe and the Arab world. Now the U.N. special envoy for Syria is calling for international diplomacy to end the 10-year war.


U.N. SYRIA ENVOY SAYS THERE’S INTEREST IN STEPPED UP DIPLOMACY

pbs.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


ASIA

April 27, 2021


Chinese and Japanese coast guard boats in the East China Sea


China has lodged a “solemn protest” against Japan after Japan issued its annual Diplomatic Bluebook emphasizing concerns over Chinese aggression in the East China Sea. Japan is unhappy with Chinese activities in territorial waters surrounding Japan’s Senkaku Islands.


JAPAN EMPHASIZES CONCERNS OVER CHINA'S MILITARY IN DIPLOMACY

english.kyodonews.net 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

April 27, 2022


Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy


Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ali Pantami is under pressure to resign after videos from the 2000s surfaced. In the videos, the internationally-acclaimed scholar supported the ideologies of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban while saying he was against Boko Haram terrorists.


NIGERIA: AFTER PANTAMI, ARE THERE 'MORE CLOSET EXTREMISTS' IN GOVERNMENT?

theafricareport.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

April 27, 2021


US Vice President Kamala Harris in virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei


U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris held a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandor Giammatei to address the increasing rush of migrants to the U.S. border. Most come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Harris plans to visit Guatemala in June to discuss a $310 humanitarian relief package for Central America.


US PROMISES $310M AID TO CENTRAL AMERICA AS IT TACKLES MIGRATION

aljazeera.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.

EUROPE

April 20, 2021


person receiving Covid-19 vaccine


Countries in South-Eastern Europe have benefited more from Russia and China’s vaccine diplomacy than from assistance from the EU. The EU’s missed opportunity is most notable in Hungary and Serbia.


VACCINE DIPLOMACY IN SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE: HOW’S THE RACE GOING ON?

moderndiplomacy.eu 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


CENTRAL ASIA

April 22, 2021


Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide memorial


U.S. President Biden is expected to recognize the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottomans as “genocide” on Saturday. It matters to both Armenia and Turkey. Until now, the U.S. has refrained from using the term “genocide” so as not to anger ally and NATO member, Turkey. Armenia is pushing the Biden administration to live up to his campaign promise to recognize the massacre.


WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE UNITED STATES TO RECOGNIZE MASSACRE OF ARMENIANS AS GENOCIDE

washingtonpost.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

April 23, 2021


Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel with Raul Castro


The exit of the Castros after six decades in power paves the way for younger leaders of the Communist party to step up in Cuba. But continuity may not be what the Cuban people have in mind, given their discontent over the economy.


CUBA’S POST-CASTRO LEADERS MUST DELIVER THE GOODS

worldpoliticsreview.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

April 22, 2021


Cyber warfare operators monitoring cyber attacks


Future military leaders will need cyber skills and the ability to interface with technical experts. The Department of Defense has recognized this, but it should also embrace product management skills, which would provide more benefit to cyber warfare officers than programming courses.


HOW THE MILITARY MIGHT EXPAND ITS CYBER SKILLS

rand.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

April 22, 2021


Deceased President Idriss Déby


Rebels who killed Chad president Idriss Déby likely trained in Libya. The vacuum of power left since Libya’s ouster of Muammar el-Qaddafi has incubated armed groups wreaking havoc across the region. Chad is seen by both the United States and France as vital to countering Islamist militancy.


WHERE DID CHAD REBELS PREPARE FOR THEIR OWN WAR? IN LIBYA.

nytimes.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


MIDDLE EAST

April 20, 2021


: images of the Middle East


Legacy strategies in the Middle East won’t work today. The U.S. needs to adopt a new strategy which takes into consideration four key issues: North American oil independence; China as a near-peer to the U.S.; the diminished threats of a ground invasion of Israel; and the rise of sub-state actors like financial, technology and private military firms.


RE-THINKING ASSUMPTIONS FOR A 21ST CENTURY MIDDLE EAST

fpri.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

April 19, 2021


people in a meeting room


The move to increase U.S. troops in Europe is timely, given Biden’s desire to improve transatlantic relations and Russia’s threat to the continent. But only 500 troops have been promised to Germany, and there is still an absence of a desired military presence in the Baltics.


U.S. FORCE STRUCTURE CHANGES IN EUROPE: NECESSARY, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT 

fpri.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


NORTH AMERICA

March 2021


U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


With a new U.S. administration, Canada has a chance to align its China foreign policy to the U.S. China policy. The two countries are on common ground in relation to several Chinese issues, including human rights concerns, Hong Kong,maritime issues and Chinese economic practices.


EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CANADA-US COORDINATION ON CHINA

brookings.edu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


MIDDLE EAST

2021


Iran Threat Network map


Iran achieves its political and military objectives through tens of thousands of fighters known as the Iran Threat Network (ITN). The ITN is a nonstate network of diverse groups. It is the ITN, not Iran, which is most likely to attack U.S. and other targets. To counter the threat of the ITN, the U.S. will have to adopt a multidimensional approach.


THE IRAN THREAT NETWORK (ITN): FOUR MODELS OF IRAN'S NONSTATE CLIENT PARTNERSHIPS

rand.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

April 19, 2021


Russians Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirovt


The Russians and the Czechs are involved in a diplomatic tit for tat. The Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats, claiming they were involved in an explosion of a Czech ammunitions storage depot in 2014. Russia cried foul and reciprocated with the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats. The matter is under discussion by EU foriegn ministers.


RUSSIA EXPELS CZECH DIPLOMATS OVER SPYING ROW

bbc.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

April 16, 2021


US Marines in snowy field


Amid concerns of Russia’s activities in the Arctic and along NATO’s borders, the U.S. will build airfields and a naval base in Norway. Norway is on the northern flank of NATO. The new agreement between the U.S. and Norway still has to be passed by the Norwegian parliament, but it reaffirms America’s commitment to its alliances.


US CAN BUILD MILITARY FACILITIES IN NORWAY UNDER NEW DEFENSE COOPERATION PACT

stripes.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


NORTH AMERICA

April 16, 2021


Two Taiwanese walking in front of large Taiwan flag


The U.S. Treasury stopped just short of calling Taiwan a currency manipulator, instead suggesting Taiwan address the undervaluation of its currency. This comes on the heels of U.S. President Biden sending a senator and two former diplomats to Taipei to be briefed on Chinese provocations against the island.


U.S. PRESSURES TAIWAN TO ADDRESS UNDERVALUED CURRENCY

wsj.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


ASIA

April 16, 2021


Kim Jong-un


Kim Jong-un's idea of economic recovery, in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak is to conjure a self-reliant economy. He faces challenges of U.S. sanctions and a substantial drop off of trade with China, with some figures citing a 90% decline. Without alleviating the weight of these two massive factors, the depressed North Korean economy faces great challenges in the mid and long term.


Is North Korea Returning to Diplomacy?

Signs are emerging of a resumption of a diplomatic activity by Kim Jong-un.

Thediplomat.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

April 14, 2021


Nicolás Maduro at a press conference


Colombia’s president has called on the European Union to take a more active role in resolving the crisis in Venezuela. Doing so would align the EU with both the U.S. and other South American countries regarding the troubled nation. But EU sanctions remain “skeletal”, and the EU came “perilously close” to legitimizing Venezuela’s parliamentary elections last December.


EUROPE’S WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY ON VENEZUELA IS CLOSING

americasquarterly.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

April 12, 2021


hospital in Africa


G20 countries need to provide liquidity and debt relief to sub-Saharan Africa if it is to recover from the economic crisis created by Covid-19. In 2021, government debt increased about 48 percent in the region which already faced a difficult debt situation. According to the International Monetary Fund, the region will have funding shortfalls of nearly $890 billion between 2020 and 2023.


COVID-19 CRISIS: G20 AND DEBT SUSTAINABILITY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

ispionline.it 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



NORTH AMERICA

April 9, 2021


face off between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party is maintaining the lead ahead of federal elections. To get the Liberals where they want to be, however, may require pulling voters for Jahmeet Singh’s New Democrats (NDP), which is the second choice of Liberal voters.


LIBERALS, NDP COULD USE A BUMP IN THE POLLS — AT EACH OTHER'S EXPENSE

cbc.ca

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.

MIDDLE EAST

April 9, 2021


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Putin


Israel has increasingly been forced to deal with Russia to combat Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias in Lebanon and Syria. Russia became such an influential force in the Middle East when the U.S. failed to follow through with threats to respond to Assad’s use of sarin gas against the Syrian population. The Russian/Israeli relationship is likely to last as the U.S. pulls out of the Middle East.


ISRAEL NEEDS RUSSIA, BUT IT IS NOT A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN

thehill.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

April 9, 2021


U.S. soldier filling syringe


The Council on Strategic Risks has issued a report calling for increasing the Pentagon’s budget for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program to $2 billion in the next year and about $7 billion annually thereafter. The investment is needed to create deterrents to biological weapons and would go for new therapeutics, vaccines and early-detection technology.


AFTER COVID, ARE BILLIONS IN BIODEFENSE FUNDS NEEDED TO DETER US ADVERSARIES?

defensenews.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

April 7, 2021




Latin America currently lacks female political leadership, which limits fully achieving economic, political and social progress. Not a single woman has been elected president of one of 20 Latin American countries in the last seven years. In 2014, there were four. Here’s a look at the history of some of the region’s past women leaders.


TODAY’S LATIN AMERICA HAS NO FEMALE PRESIDENTS. IT’S NOT GOING WELL.

americasquarterly.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

April 8, 2021


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on country’s eastern frontline


As tensions increase between Russia and the Ukraine in the mainly Russian-speaking East of the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is calling on NATO to speed up the country’s request for membership. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Merkel is urging Russia’s troop build up in the region.


UKRAINE'S ZELENSKIY ON FRONTLINE AS MERKEL URGES PUTIN TO PULL BACK TROOPS

themoscowtimes.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

March 23, 2021


two men shaking hands


This video showcases African foreign relations post-pandemic. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “The pandemic is prompting regional governments to demand more equitable vaccine distribution, debt relief, and targeted investment in key economic sectors.”


AFRICA'S GLOBAL RESET: FOREIGN RELATIONS IN A POST-PANDEMIC ERA 

youtube.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


ASIA

April 6, 2020


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga


U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in Washington DC on April 16. With pressing issues like economic cooperation and human rights violations, concern is that cooperation with South Korea might not make it to the table. The U.S. plays an important role in Tokyo-Seoul relations.


THE JAPAN-U.S. SUMMIT AND COOPERATION WITH SOUTH KOREA 

rand.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


CENTRAL ASIA

April 6, 2021


hillside picture of Afghanistan


The United Nations Development Programme for Afghanistan (UNDP Afghanistan) has released a report saying that GDP could increase by 7% if peace is sustained for the next four years. To reach a per capita income of $5,000, Afghanistan needs to grow steadily for two decades. The UNDP says countries that do not reach the minimum $5,000 per capita income are more likely to revert to conflict.


4 YEARS OF PEACE COULD INCREASE AFGHAN GDP BY 7%: UNDP

tolonews.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EURASIA

April 3, 2021


Turkish President Erdogan


President Erdogan’s policies have isolated Turkey. Granted, Turkey is a nation in transition. It’s desperately trying to stave off economic crisis, acting to end its civil war between Nagorno and Karabakh, and openly courting the Muslim Brotherhood. But the results of its internal and international policies have been isolation from NATO, much of Europe, the Near East and other Muslim countries in the Gulf and North Africa.


WILL 2021 BE THE YEAR OF THAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS FOR TURKEY?

moderndiplomacy.eu 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

April 2, 2021


Cartoon depicting Bolsonaro Lula in the 2022 election race


In response to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s firing of the Minister of Defense, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and all three branches of the Brazilian armed forces have resigned. Meanwhile, Brazil’s supreme court ruled that the judge was biased in former President Luiz Inácio (Lula) da Silva’s corruption trial – paving the way for Lula to run for president again in the 2022 elections. Bolsonaro and Lula are considered polarizing political figures.


HEMISPHERE WEEKLY: A NEW POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE SHAKES BRAZIL

theglobalamericans.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

April 1, 2021


President Biden at the March 25 press conference


U.S. President Joe Biden announced a $180 billion infrastructure plan on March 25 which throws money into research and development – an effort to stay ahead of Chinese innovation. This should drive much needed U.S. military innovation, although Congress still has to approve the proposal.


BIDEN’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN INCLUDES BILLIONS TO DEVELOP EMERGING TECH THE MILITARY NEEDS

c4isrnet.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



AFRICA

March 31, 2021


UN peacekeeper in the Central African Republic talking to two boys


Independent experts are disturbed over the apparent close contact with UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and military and foreign security contractors. Especially of concern is the sighting of Russian advisors at MINUSCA bases. The UN-appointed independent experts have received reports of violations of international humanitarian law by these private military personnel.


CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: RIGHTS EXPERTS CONCERNED OVER ‘RUSSIAN ADVISERS’ AND CLOSE CONTACTS WITH UN PEACEKEEPERS 

news.un.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



ASIA

March 26, 2021


Meeting of the Quad


The Quad – made up of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia – held its first meeting on March 12. In a Q&A, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says the group doesn’t constitute a military alliance largely because each of the countries has a complicated relationship with China. But, as Ashley Tellis explains, India is not fully on board with Russia being left out of the group and, as a result, being left in the arms of the Chinese.


INDIA, RUSSIA, AND THE QUAD: RUSSIA’S PLACE IN THE INDO-PACIFIC

carnegie.ru

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



MIDDLE EAST

March 25, 2021


: Photo of the United Arab Emirates


The UAE’s Mars Mission means that the country is now a global player in space. Middle Eastern countries now see space as a way to project the region’s strength and capabilities, and the Emirates Mars Mission puts the UAE at the head of the pack.


THE GEOPOLITICS OF SPACE: WHY DID THE UAE SEND A PROBE TO MARS?

mei.edu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


ASIA

March 26, 2021


Humanitarian assistance may be the way for Southeast Asian states to engage with North Korea. North Korea severed diplomatic ties with Malaysia on March 19, but the remaining nine Southeast Asian nations could provide medical relief and humanitarian missions to North Korea. Several Southeast Asian NGOs have experience doing so, and such cooperation could lead to improved diplomatic relations.

STRENGTHENING SOUTHEAST ASIA-NORTH KOREA ENGAGEMENT IN THE POST-COVID-19 ERA 

thediplomat.com 


NORTH AMERICA

March 25, 2021


Covid vaccine box in Russia


Russia and China are taking full advantage of expanding their international influence through selling or donating vaccines to other countries. The U.S., though, isn’t even in the game of “vaccine diplomacy”. Two high-ranking US foreign affairs officials – the former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (Thomas Shannon) and Ambassador to Nigeria from 2004-2007 (John Campbell) – opine on Biden’s actions and other countries’ domestic-first response to Covid-19.


RUSSIA AND CHINA ARE BEATING THE U.S. AT VACCINE DIPLOMACY, EXPERTS SAY

nbcnews-com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

March 25, 2021


Photo of the sign for the U.S. Cyber Command

Defending U.S. elections against foreign interference has become a lasting mission of the Defense Department. A newly declassified report on the 2020 elections indicates several countries including Russia, Iran and Cuba sought to interfere. U.S. Cyber command partnered with the National Security Agency to ensure that this wouldn’t happen and won’t happen in the future.

US MILITARY CONDUCTED 2 DOZEN CYBER OPERATIONS TO HEAD OFF 2020 ELECTION MEDDLING 

c4isrnet.com 

NORTH AMERICA

March 19, 2021


US President Biden on the phone in the Oval Office)

U.S. President Biden acknowledged the role of soft power to build a foreign policy in his interim national security guidance issued in early March. To move away from the U.S. ‘s hard power-dominant foreign policy, Biden will need to rebuild relationships with international leaders as well as rebuild institutions that govern American foreign policy - such as the Intelligence Community and the Department of State.

BUILDING SOFT POWER BACK BETTER? 

Fpri.org 



EUROPE

March 22, 2021


Russian and Chinese diplomats standing in front of flags

China’s five-year development plan (covering 2021-2025) to double GDP by 2035 is good news for Russia. Russia is likely to sell more oil and gas to China and increase its agricultural exports to the Asian powerhouse. Also, with the U.S. and China becoming the world’s technological centers, Russia is more likely to choose integration into China’s tech orbit than that of the U.S.

WHAT DOES CHINA’S LATEST FIVE-YEAR PLAN MEAN FOR RUSSIA? 

themoscowtimes.com 

AFRICA

March 26, 2021


Brazil’s foreign minister Ernesto Araújo

The relationship between Africa and Brazil has cooled in the decade since the two had a flourishing partnership under former Brazilian president Lula. Now the Brazilian foreign minister wants to overcome Brazilian corruption scandals which were felt across Africa and build a relationship with the continent through private partnerships and security cooperation.

BRAZIL’S FOREIGN MINISTER ERNESTO ARAÚJO: ‘BRAZIL BECAME AN EXPORTER OF CORRUPTION’ 

theafricareport.com 


MIDDLE EAST

March 25, 2021


Foreign construction workers in Saudi Arabia

March labor law reforms in Saudi Arabia take steps to address human rights abuses under the “Kafala” foreign workers system. Saudi Arabia has over 3.7 million migrants under this visa sponsorship system which operates throughout the Gulf region – though human rights watchers consider Saudi Arabia one of the system’s worst abusers. Among the reforms, vulnerable migrant workers are no longer under the oppressive thumb of their employers. Now sponsored workers who have completed their contracts can change jobs without their employers consent.

SAUDI ARABIA: LABOR REFORMS INSUFFICIENT 

hrw.org 


LATIN AMERICA

March 25, 2021


teacher in empty classroom in São Paulo

--may not be in for the year of recovery its people expect. Covid-19 hit vulnerable people groups especially hard. And new reports predict economic rebound will be weak in 2021, with job growth mainly in the informal sector. Furthermore, the education crisis caused by the pandemic could cost the region $1.7 trillion. Increased educational levels have been a major economic driver for the past 30 years, but about 80% of Latin American students haven’t been able to attend schools during the pandemic and at least three million have dropped out permanently.

LATIN AMERICA’S TRUE DISASTER MAY BE 2021 

americaquarterly.org 



EUROPE

March 17,2021


Moscow river view


Undue emphasis is placed on Russia’s relationship to the EU and the U.S., but Russia’s foreign policy should be multidirectional – specifically towards Asia. Russia followed global development trends when they pointed towards the West. Now that trends are pointing to Asia as the global economic engine, Russian diplomacy should also be aimed at the East.


EASTERN DIRECTION OF RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY 

moderndiplomacy.eu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

March 17, 2021


Honduran Juan Antonio Hernandez


Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez denies ties to drug traffickers, but his brother may be sentenced to life in prison for running a “state-sponsored drug trafficking conspiracy”. In October of 2019, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez was convicted of charges of cocaine trafficking to the U.S. The U.S. government would also like to fine him for $10 million.


US ASKS FOR LIFE IN PRISON FOR BROTHER OF HONDURAN PRESIDENT 

aljazeera.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AMERICAS

March 17, 2021


Canadian flag


An Angus Reid Institute poll shows Canadians aren’t in favor of improved relations with China – at least not until two Canadians in Chinese detention on espionage charges are released. That’s unlikely, as China sees the Canadian detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou as politically motivated.


CANADIANS REFUSE IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH CHINA: POLL

bignewsnetwork.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

March 16, 2021


An assembly of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army


Congress is pushing the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, aimed at protecting Guam and the Indo-Pacific region against China. Admiral Philip Davidson, to top U.S. office in the Indo-Pacific, wants more sophisticated air and military defense for Guam. He says it sends a message of “resolve, commitment and assurance” to countries in the region.


PENTAGON PUSHES FOR BIGGER EFFORT TO DETER CHINA'S GROWING MILITARY MIGHT

npr.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


ASIA

March 16, 2021


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin bumping elbows with Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi


The U.S. confirmed its commitment to Japan in its first Cabinet-level trip abroad. U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin met with Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. Both U.S. and Japanese officials also pointed out the importance of trilateral cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the U.S.


IN TOKYO, BLINKEN AND AUSTIN WORK TO REVIVE ASIAN ALLIANCE TO COUNTER CHINA

npr.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

March 15, 2021


Ethiopian children


Ethnic divides which led to a civil war in the former Yugoslavia are analogous to what’s currently happening in Ethiopia. A system called ethnic federalism replaced Ethiopia’s former communist regime, resulting in the country being divided into 9 states along ethnic lines. The current conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region can be traced back to this ethnic-based federal system.


TRACING ROOTS: THE CONFLICT IN ETHIOPIA 

moderndiplomacy.eu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

March 15, 2021


Then–U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with then–Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 10, 2011


In a recent interview with ABC News, President Biden referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "killer"; however, such a harsh condemnation may have been exactly what the Kremlin wanted. Putin has long deflected away from the domestic problems that plague Russia, choosing instead to elevate the importance of international crises that may win him more support among the Russian public. In this case, by painting Biden's attack on him as an attack on all Russians, Putin is able to score political points among his people back home.


Biden Calling Putin a Killer Was What Both Presidents Wanted

slate.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


MIDDLE EAST

March 15, 2021


Syrian boy poses atop shells


Syria’s civil war was an outcome of the Arab Spring in 2011. A decade later, it’s a complex proxy war involving the U.S., Iran, Russia and Turkey. Just last month, the U.S. launched airstrikes in eastern Syria in response to an attack in Iraq. Despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis, no one is stepping up to the negotiating table to end the conflict.


SYRIA'S CIVIL WAR STARTED A DECADE AGO. HERE'S WHERE IT STANDS

npr.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



ASIA

March 12, 2021


image of red star


Although highly scripted affairs, the annual March meetings of China’s legislature and its advisory body similar to Britain’s House of Lords provide some clues as to what China is planning. One surprise this year was the commemoration of the birth of Hua Guofeng, Mao Zedong’s successor, who was removed from power after only a few years. Some speculate that this was a warning to Xi Jinping loyalists about the costs of fealty.


CHINA’S TWO SESSIONS – AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR THE UNITED STATES

fpri.org 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


DEFENSE

March 12, 2021


Boeing F-15EX taking off


Boeing delivered the first F-15EX jet capable of carrying hypersonic weapons to the U.S. Air Force. Boeing is building three lots of jets to be delivered before 2026. The contract calls for up to 200 jets.


THE AIR FORCE HAS ITS FIRST F-15EX 

defensenews.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


AFRICA

March 9, 2021


Mahadmadou Issoufow wins 202 Ibrahim prize


The President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, received the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The US $5 million prize is awarded to former African Executive Heads of State or government who have left office in the past three calendar years. President Issoufou was commended for exceptional leadership resulting in economic growth and for his commitment to regional stability and African democracy.


MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU WINS 2020 IBRAHIM PRIZE FOR ACHIEVEMENT IN AFRICAN LEADERSHIP 

moderndiplomacy.eu (link to https://moderndiplomacy.eu/)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.



MIDDLE EAST

March 9, 2021


sunset picture of Istanbul


In the 1800s, the German Reich created a German-Ottoman axis. The plan was to turn Muslims against their colonial masters should Europe go to war. Berlin opted for Islamism and jihad during World War I and sought to galvanize Muslims in British India, French North Africa and Russian Asia. One hundred years later, that jihad legacy endures.


THE JIHAD LEGACY OF WORLD WAR I 

fpri.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


LATIN AMERICA

March 8, 2021


Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends legislative session


When Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2018, the world worried that Brazil’s democracy was at risk and that Brazil turn to authoritarian rule, like Hungary and Russia. To be sure, President Bolsonaro has adopted authoritarian language and the political climate in Brazil has worsened. Bolsonaro has appointed military to several cabinet positions and has threatened to send troops to close the Supreme Court. But democracy – so far – has remained intact, in part owing to a strong independent press.


BRAZILIAN DEMOCRACY IS HOLDING UP — BUT THE BIGGEST TEST WILL COME IN 2022

americasquarterly.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

March 5, 2021


map of EU with German map superimposed


Now that the United Kingdom has left the EU, one would expect a strong bi-lateral Franco-German alliance. But the two countries are at odds on the meaning of “strategic autonomy”, first defined by former French President Charles de Gaulle. While France is a strong proponent of European autonomy, Germany speaks out of both sides of its mouth on the issue. Germany too believes Europe should be guardian of its own destiny. Then it disagrees with France on issues of defense, saying Europe is still reliant on the U.S. and NATO for security.


GERMANY’S TRANSATLANTIC AMBIGUITIES

fpri.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


NORTH AMERICA

March 4, 2021


President Biden in the Oval Office


The world expected U.S. President Joe Biden to be a wise, moderate statesman, so his strike against pro-Iranian militias in Syria came as a surprise. The President’s military move in the Middle East seemingly differs little from those of his predecessors. Biden’s second surprise move was the untimely declassification of the report on the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


JOE BIDEN AND HIS FIRST CONTRADICTORY FOREIGN POLICY MOVES

moderndiplomacy.eu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


NORTH AMERICA

March 4, 2021


People in California holding rainbow flag


LGBTQ rights have become a foreign-policy issue under the Biden administration. U.S. foreign aid amounted to more than $7.4 billion to 11 nations in which homosexuality is a crime. The question is whether defending global LGBTQ rights and pushing societies to legalize same-sex marriage and gender changes is possible or would be labeled “cultural imperialism”.


THE MISSING REALISM OF BIDEN’S PRO-LGBTQ FOREIGN POLICY

foreignpolicy.com


EUROPE

March 4, 2021


graffiti on building says “No Irish


Northern Ireland is at the center of the dispute between the EU and the U.K., as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatens to rip up the Northern Ireland Brexit deal. The EU, for its part, says it will take legal action against the U.K. The deal keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union and avoids border checks.


BREXIT ANTAGONISM ESCALATES AS EU, U.K. GO ANOTHER ROUND

bloomberg.com


MIDDLE EAST

March 4, 2021


Outdoor banner of Pope Francis and the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani


Popes have long been known for their role in diplomacy, with Pope John Paul II’s part in the fall of the Berlin wall most notable in recent history. On March 6, the current pope will visit with the head of the Shi’a religious establishment known as the Hawza in Iraq. The visit symbolizes the welcome of Hawza into global interfaith collaboration.


THE POPE GOES TO NAJAF: THE PERSON AND THE INSTITUTION OF SISTANI

brookings.edu



ASIA

March 3, 2021


President of China Xi Jinping shaking hands with U.S. President Joe Biden


The U.S. remains the stronger power, despite China’s economic growth, its trading power and its popularity as a destination for foreign investment. The U.S. should take account of China’s vulnerabilities as well as its strengths. For instance, the population of Chinese of working age is shrinking. The Asian giant’s debt has more than doubled, and its political system is increasingly rigid and unable to adapt.


CHINA IS NOT TEN FEET Tall

foreignaffairs.com


AFRICA

March 3, 2021


women and children in South Sudan


South Sudan recently marked the one-year anniversary of its transitional government, formed following widespread political violence in 2016. At the local level, however, there is still a power vacuum which provides an opportunity for some to exploit local tensions. South Sudan is also in need of a working financial system.


South Sudan’s transition from conflict to recovery ‘inching forward’ – UN envoy

news.un.org


DEFENSE

February 27, 2021


globe circled by satellites


Science and technology (S&T) related to securing U.S. military space is severely underfunded, despite the country’s ambitious vision in this area. China poses a serious threat to the U.S. in space, and the U.S. would need to quadruple its current space S&T budget of $1 billion just to “tread water”.


DON’T SKIMP ON SPACE S&T

realcleardefese.com



LATIN AMERICA

February 22, 2021


Helen La Lime, in former role as head of UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti]


Transparent elections and a democratic renewal are needed to overcome Haiti’s political crisis, according to Helen Meagher La Lime, Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been ruling by decree since the collapse of Parliament in January 2020. Haiti is also facing a humanitarian crisis, with drug trafficking and violence on the increase.


HAITI NEEDS ‘DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL’ TOP UN REPRESENTATIVE TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

news.un.org 



NORTH AMERICA

March 2, 2021


Commemorating 500,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19, Washington, D.C.


Biden faces the struggle of how to return America to the global stage while keeping domestic policy at the forefront. The U.S. is experiencing unparalleled economic and political crises at home. Meeting both Biden’s domestic and foreign policy goals will require a real balancing act on the part of the new administration.


COLOSSUS CONSTRAINED: RENEWAL AT HOME REQUIRES RESTRAINT ABROAD

foreignaffairs.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.

DEFENSE

March 2, 2021


An American sailor scans the horizon as the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts operations at the Taiwan Strait,


The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is requesting $27 billion in an effort to combat Chinese activity in the region. $1.6 billion would be used for building a defense battery on Guam to protect against a North Korean missile launch. The rest would go for missiles and air defenses, radar systems, staging areas, supply depots and testing ranges.


EYEING CHINA, INDO-PACIFIC COMMAND SEEKS $27 BILLION DETERRENCE FUND

defensenews.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.

ASIA

March 1, 2021


Protesters take shelter behind shields as they clash with riot police officers during a protest against the military coup


Coup d’états have gained popularity over the past decade and include Egypt in 2013, Thailand in 2014, Zimbabwe in 2017, Sudan and Algeria in 2019, Mali in 2020 – and now, Myanmar. The military coup in Myanmar has resulted in the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, the detention of politicians and activists and at lease 18 deaths.


AS IN MYANMAR, COUPS ARE BECOMING MORE SUCCESSFUL, AND MORE SOPHISTICATED

cfr.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.


EUROPE

March 1, 2021


French former President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) arrives to hear the verdict in a corruption trial at Porte de Clichy court house in Paris on Monday.


Former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is the second former French president in recent years to be convicted of corruption charges. Sarkozy, however, will only serve one year of a three-year sentence. Jacques Chirac was the first of the former presidents to face charges. He was convicted in 2011.


FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY FOUND GUILTY OF CORRUPTION

npr.org

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and not of ACIR.