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International Briefing 

By: Eli Wizevich

The International Briefing is meant to give a glimpse into the political and economic events of 15 of the world’s most powerful nations. Rankings are based on the highest GDP, as measured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Although not a sure-fire method of determining a nation’s importance, GDP is nonetheless an influential metric that points to larger trends in global politics and business.


  1. United States of America: The impeachment of Donald Trump is heating up whilst Democrats campaign to win their party’s presidential nomination and take his spot; the Trump administration pulled US troops out of Syria, leaving their Kurdish allies’ fate to Turkey and Russia. 

  2. China: In the 70th year of communist rule, President Xi Jingping grapples with protesting Hong Kongers and Uyghurs, as he tries to elevate Chinese influence in the South China Sea, Africa, and trade with programs like the Belt and Road Initiative.

  3. Japan: Emperor Naruhito ascends to the throne; PM Shinzo Abe endorses changing the constitution to allow for the remilitarization of Japan; the island nation sits on the fence between the US and China as the Trump-Xi trade war escalates. 

  4. Germany: Former Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen takes over the European Commission; Chancellor Angela Merkel will not stand for re-election; the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Deutschland gains influence and seats in the East causing an uproar and violence 30 years after the Berlin Wall fell.

  5. India: Hindu-nationalist Narendra Modi was re-elected as PM, and is now traveling the world to reinvigorate support for his nation amid tensions over a new constitutional amendment that would strip Jammu and Kashmir of their statehood. 

  6. United Kingdom: (see articles on the UK) The October 31st deadline to leave the EU comes and goes, forcing a general election on December 12th; voters will try to look past Brexit and focus on issues like NHS reform, but the departure is sure to call the shots. 

  7. France: After President Emmanuel Macron was rocked by domestic protests earlier this year, he is gaining support through his “Great National Debate” initiative; Macron caused some great international debate when he blocked Albania and North Macedonia from beginning the EU entry process.

  8. Italy: After Matteo Salvini and his right-wing anti-immigrant party Northern League failed to take over the coalition government led by Giuseppe Conte and his populist Five Star Movement, Conte stayed in power and dropped the League from the coalition; nevertheless, the League is expected to dominate in future elections.

  9. Brazil: Fires in the Amazon rainforest caused uproar in ecologically-minded circles.; Ppopulist President Jair Bolsonaro attempts to cut financial and environmental regulations and reduce the size of Brazilian bureaucracy; a Congress skeptical of his right-wing reforms may act otherwise.

  10. Canada: After his Liberal Party lost a Parliamentary majority in recent elections, PM Justin Trudeau will have to rely on other left-wing parties to prop up a government; the New Democratic Party is the most likely candidate; large gains and a popular vote win by Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party point to growing divisions on issues like climate change and environmental conservation. 

  11. Russia: After the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, Russia quickly mobilized to capitalize fill on the Middle Eastern power vacuum, fulfilling a long-standing goal of President Vladimir Putin who hopes to increase Russia’s hegemony in developing nations Cold-War-style. 

  12. South Korea: After a year-long dispute with Japan over WWII compensation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to thaw tensions through talks with his Japanese counterpart PM Abe as issues of international agreements and trade continue to plague the neighboring nations.

  13. Spain: Protests in Catalan, a region with strong seperatist ambitions, heightened after a recent visit from Spain’s King Felipe VI; the second general election in 2019 is set for November 10th; the Socialist Workers’ Party remain a favorite.

  14. Australia: Climbing Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, was banned; this is considered a victory for the long-neglected Aboriginals who see the rock as a sacred place of worship; surprising the world, a center-right coalition led by Scott Morrison secured a majority and formed a Government in last spring’s federal elections. 

  15. Mexico: President Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to by his initials AMLO, recently declared that his sweeping reforms on myriad issues, among them corruption and cartels, need significantly more time to come to fruition; high levels of crime and insecurity are walking back the overwhelming popularity he garnered in last year's election.; Mmore recently, deposed Bolivian President Evo Morales successfully sought refuge in Mexico after being forced out in what he calls a “coup.”

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