Council on Foreign Relations – The world this week

The World This WeekSeptember 23, 2022
Putin’s Gamble

Thomas GrahamDestroyed Russian military equipment in the center of Izyum, Ukraine, which was liberated after months of occupation. Wojciech Grzedzinski/Washington Post/Getty ImagesRussia’s moves to mobilize thousands more troops and to annex more of Ukraine’s territory signal a new, potentially more dangerous phase of the war. Get the quick take
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 22, 2022

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Iran Curbs Internet Access as Protests Over Woman’s Death Spread

Protests in support of women’s rights and Iran’s political opposition have spread to dozens of cities (NYT) in the country following a woman’s death after being detained by police last week. Authorities have deployed security forces and disrupted internet and cellular services to contain the demonstrations, Iran’s largest since 2019. Many of those protesting are women. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps called on the judiciary to prosecute (Reuters) anyone spreading “false news and rumors” related to the protests. 

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, who accused her of dressing immodestly and violating the country’s headscarf law. Iranian state television reported today that seventeen people, including demonstrators and police, had died (AFP) in the protests.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 21, 2022

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Putin Escalates Russian War Efforts With New Troop Mobilization ”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new mobilization of troops (FT) to fight in Ukraine in a televised address today. Three hundred thousand reservists will be called up to fight, Russia’s defense minister said. Putin also hinted at his willingness to use nuclear weapons, saying Russia “will use all the means at its disposal” if its territorial integrity is threatened. 

In addition, Putin voiced support for referendums that would let Russia illegally annex four occupied regions of Ukraine. The votes could happen as soon as this weekend. Yesterday, the Russian parliament increased penalties (RFE/RL) for soldiers who surrender or refuse to fight and used the words “mobilization” and “martial law” to describe the conflict in Ukraine for the first time. 

“Mobilization…would radically upset the Kremlin’s careful management of the war at home. Dramatically increasing Russia’s manpower might seem a logical choice for a country with a population that is three times the size of Ukraine’s, but the war’s popularity has depended on it being far away,” the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write for Foreign Affairs. 

“If the Kremlin’s annexation gambit fails to stop the fighting and support to Ukraine, the Kremlin will need to lash out to show it is serious. That means escalation that could come in different forms,” the RAND Corporation’s Dara Massicot tweets. 
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Council on Foreign Relations -Daily news brief Sept. 20, 2022

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UN General Assembly Weighs ‘Interconnected Crises’

World leaders begin their annual addresses (NYT) to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today amid what the United Nations has described (Al Jazeera) as time of “complex and interconnected crises.” This year’s session will focus on the war in Ukraine and climate change. In addition, Western governments are expected to urge Iran to commit to rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal. The leaders of China, India, Ethiopia, and Russia will not attend. U.S. President Joe Biden will speak tomorrow. 

The United States, African Union, and European Union (EU) will hold a conference today to discuss food insecurity and rising prices. On Thursday, the UN Security Council is due to hold a session on the topic of Ukraine and impunity. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said last week that he doesn’t expect dialogue (NPR) between Russian and Ukrainian delegations.
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief Sept. 19, 2022

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Biden Again Says U.S. Military Would Defend Taiwan

In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that if China were to invade Taiwan, U.S. military forces would come to the island’s defense. It is at least the fourth time (NBC) that Biden has publicly made comments appearing to contradict the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, though the White House later said U.S. policy has not changed. The long-standing policy deliberately leaves unanswered the question of whether the United States would defend the island.  China’s foreign ministry said it lodged a complaint (Reuters) with the United States. A ministry spokesperson said Beijing “will not tolerate any activities aimed at [Taiwan’s] secession.”
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 14, 2022

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EU’s Von der Leyen Proposes Energy Market Reforms to Address High CostsIn her annual state of the union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged sweeping efforts (Politico) to reduce energy prices that have soared amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. The proposed plan, which requires approval from European Union (EU) member states, includes new taxes on energy companies and “comprehensive reform” of the EU’s electricity market.
Von der Leyen said she aims for the taxes on energy firms to raise $140 billion (Reuters) for European governments to disburse to citizens. She also pledged to work to ensure that Ukraine has “seamless access” to the EU’s single market. European leaders are scheduled to discuss the proposals at the end of the month. 
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief Sept. 12, 2022

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Ukrainian Forces Make Sweeping Gains in Country’s Northeast

Ukraine’s military has recaptured (FT) 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of Russia-held territories in the Kharkiv region this month following a weekend blitz. The new counteroffensive struck the military’s strongest blow to Russian forces since repelling them from Kyiv in March. Russia’s defense ministry acknowledged the losses (BBC) of several cities in the region. Kyiv warned of Russian retaliation, and Russian air strikes hit Ukraine’s second-largest thermal power plant last night.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the advances demonstrated the effect of Western military support in the war. Separately, the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shut down (AP) yesterday to avoid the risk of a nuclear disaster.
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Sept. 9, 2022

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UK’s King Charles III to Address Nation as World Mourns Queen Elizabeth II

The United Kingdom (UK) began a period of mourning (FT) after Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday. Preparations for her funeral have halted parts of British public life, including sports games and the Bank of England’s monetary policy meeting. Meanwhile, tributes from world leaders have poured in (The Guardian). U.S. President Joe Biden called the queen “a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons,” while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said she “personified dignity and decency in public life.” 

Queen Elizabeth’s son King Charles III will address the UK today and is expected to hold an audience with Liz Truss, who became the country’s prime minister three days ago. His official accession to the throne and proclamation as a monarch are expected tomorrow. 
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Sept. 1, 2022

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Delayed UN Report Details China’s Human Rights Violations in XinjiangA UN human rights office report [PDF] issued yesterday said the Chinese government’s detentions of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups in the Xinjiang region could constitute “crimes against humanity.” The report noted (NYT) that two-thirds of former detainees interviewed described treatment “that would amount to torture and/or other forms of ill treatment.” The report stopped short of calling China’s actions “genocide,” as the United States has done. 

Human rights groups have criticized UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet over a nearly yearlong delay in the report’s release. The report asks that Beijing (AP) release those who have been arbitrarily detained and disclose the whereabouts of individuals who are missing. Beijing denounced the report as a fabrication, while Uyghur activists celebrated its release.   
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Daily News Brief August 29, 2022

ImageDaily News BriefAugust 29, 2022
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Over One Thousand People Killed in Catastrophic Pakistan FloodsPakistani officials are appealing for international aid (CNN) as uncharacteristically strong monsoon rains cause nationwide flooding. The floods, which climate change minister Sherry Rehman called a “climate catastrophe,” have so far displaced more than three million people, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. While Pakistan usually sees four rainy periods per year, it is currently experiencing its eighth, Rehman said.
The flooding comes as Pakistan experiences an economic crisis (FT). Some preliminary estimates put the cost of the damages (Reuters) around $4 billion, though Pakistan’s foreign minister said it is likely higher.
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Salman Rushdie: Câu hỏi muôn thuở

SÁNG ÁNH 19/08/2022 06:42 GMT+7

TTCTBao giờ chính trị mới hết sợ nhà văn, qua trường hợp Salman Rushdie lại vừa bị đâm ngay trên đất Mỹ?

Salman Rushdie: Câu hỏi muôn thuở - Ảnh 1.

Salman Rushdie đã trở thành khuôn mặt đại diện cho tự do sáng tác trong một cuộc xung đột chồng chéo và phức tạp. Ảnh: PEN Canada

Cô ngồi một mình, áo hở rốn, coi dáng rất cô đơn tại quầy rượu mênh mông của khách sạn Atrium ở Praha. Lúc đó đã gần 2 giờ sáng, và hở rốn là vì cô mặc quốc phục sari của Bangladesh. Cô nhìn tôi và tôi đã định lại gần kéo ghế bên cạnh. “Khuya rồi, yên ắng nhỉ, bạn có thấy không, mọi thứ như là chùng hẳn xuống và 2 người mình vàng vọt như trong một bức tranh của Edward Hopper…”, tôi định nói.

Nhưng nào chỉ có 2 người mà là 3, và người thứ 3 cũng ngồi nhìn tôi là anh công an bảo vệ Taslima Nasreen làm tôi mất cả hứng. Năm đó, tại Hội nghị quốc tế Văn bút, nữ nhà văn này vì từ đạo Hồi và viết lách sao đó chống đối nên tính mạng bị đe dọa, và cũng như Salman Rushdie, bị một giáo sĩ treo án tử hình. Nhờ vậy nên mấy ngày trước tôi thấy cô đi xe BMW chống đạn đến đại hội, lúc nào cũng có một anh mặc đồ vest đi theo sau dáo dác. Tình hình rất là chán, tôi quyết định chỉ ủng hộ quyền tự do phát biểu và sáng tác của cô từ xa. Tôi gật đầu chào cô rồi đi ra khỏi khách sạn.

Những đụng độ văn chương, tôn giáo, tự do ngôn luận (và tự do sau ngôn luận) không bắt đầu hay kết thúc ở Salman Rushdie, nhưng với thế giới, nhất là phương Tây, thì văn sĩ 75 tuổi này lại trở thành bộ mặt cho cuộc tranh luận đó.

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UN Peacekeepers, Congolese Civilians Killed in Violent Protests

July 26, 2022 3:41 PM VOA

Congolese protesters scale the perimeter wall of the compound of United Nations peacekeeping force’s warehouse in Goma, in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, July 26, 2022.”/>

The United Nations said that three of its peacekeepers were killed in ongoing anti-U.N. protests that turned violent in eastern Congo on Tuesday, while several civilians were also killed in the violence.

“At the MONUSCO Butembo base today, violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police and fired upon our uniformed personnel,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.

MONUSCO is the acronym for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Protesters in Butembo, in the eastern province of North Kivu, accuse the U.N. of having failed to protect them from an escalation of violence from armed groups.

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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily News Brief July 25, 2022

Image Daily News BriefJuly 25, 2022
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EU Approves Vaccine for Monkeypox in Wake of WHO Emergency DeclarationThe European Union (EU) followed Canada and the United States in approving Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox (Reuters), the Danish drugmaker said. The step comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern and urged countries to step up their disease surveillance and response efforts.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus overruled an inconclusive WHO panel of advisors to make the declaration, saying “too little” is understood (NYT) about the current outbreak. More than sixteen thousand monkeypox cases have been reported in seventy-five countries since early May. Vaccines have been made available in some countries, though their global supply is relatively small (Vox).
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The New 14th BRICS Summit Declaration (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa)

 Jun 28, 2022 Posted by Silk Road Briefing Written by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis   

While the G7 group of nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States together with the European Union) has been meeting in Germany, the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have been meeting in China for the 14th Summit. The contrasts could not be more different – one the grouping of mainly white, powerful Western nations, representing contemporary global leadership, the other a grouping of globally powerful emerging markets wanting a larger say in the developing world. The BRICS nations differ from the G7 in two main factors, most notably in the populations they serve – 3 billion as opposed to the G7’s 987 million (including the EU), and GDP, where the G7’s GDP is currently US$33.93 trillion and the BRICS about US$23.5 trillion.

Western economists as a result tend to talk up the G7’s role in global financial strength however the growth rates of both the G7 and BRICS predicted by the IMF suggest that the latter could be responsible for 50% of all global trade by the 2030’s. This means that paying attention to the BRICS consensus leads to some direction over how the global economy is likely to change over the next decade.

At present, the G7 appear determined to continue with the existing world order, which China and Russia in particular view as ‘unipolar’, meaning centered around the United States and directed by whatever US foreign, global and domestic policies are at the time. Both countries (and others) are looking for a more inclusive role in global affairs as befits their status. China for example is the world’s second largest economy, and India the fifth. Yet neither have the percentage say in global financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF they would like – hence the development of alternative policy banks such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS own New Development Bank. There are also accusations that global institutions such as the United Nations (based in New York) has begun to be too influenced by Washington’s policies than global ones. Calls for reform are increasingly being heard.

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How to make sure peace endures once the fighting ends

July 08, 2022

The need for peacebuiliding in post-conflict societies grew out of the realization that true and enduring peace requires more than just signing agreements to stop the fighting. But while many of peacebuilding’s objectives seem self-evident, it is often laborious and expensive—and easily undone. Learn more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR).

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the opening session of the Paris Peace Forum at the Villette Conference Hall in Paris, France, Nov. 11, 2018 (SIPA photo by Eliot Blondet via AP Images).
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