January International Briefing
By: Eli Wizevich
The International Briefing is meant to give a glimpse into political and economic events across the world. (Although previously arranged by GDP, the new format is more inclusive of economically smaller nations who nevertheless wield sizable impact on the world.)
Africa and the Middle East
America’s assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani caused great uproar in the region, including 20 ballistic misslies volleyed at Iraqi millitary bases holding American troops. Protesters took to the streets in Tehran to protest the shooting down a Ukranain passenger jet, killing 176 onboard, which the government blamed on “US adventurism.”
Three American military personnel were killed in an attack by Somali terrorist group al-Shabab in Kenya. The group is rumored to have ties to Iran; however, both sides have denied Tehran’s involvement in the most recent attack.
President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. The articles have yet to be sent over to the Senate, which, under the US constitution, has the power to try all impeachment cases. The Democratic field for the presidential nomination narrows notably after Senator Kamala Harris and former Representative Beto O‘Rourke drop out.
After a year in office, Brazillain president Jair Bolsonaro must continue to reckon with a declining international reputation and a rapidly expanding domestic economy. Juan Guaido, the interim President of Venezuela—as recognized by nearly 60 countries— and speaker of the National Assembly was blocked from entering the parliament for reelection by security forces backed by dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Despite receiving a birthday card from President Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced he would end the nation’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing.
Chinese encroachment in the South China Sea has caught the attention of Indonesia who sent boats to patrol around the island of Natuna Besar.
Kenneth Roth, the head of the Human Rights Watch group, was barred from entering Hong Kong in expectation of a critical report on the Chinese government. The city’s major protests since last June over a now-failed extradition bill have slowed in recent weeks.
Devastating bushfires in Australia have caught Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government off guard and caused a massive outcry from the international climate community. It seems that neither main party (Conservative or Labour) wants to rock the climate change boat and isolate coal exporters in Queensland, an electorally key state.
After meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at Downing Street, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be forced into a 11-month transition period after the January 31st deadline until Brexit can truly happen. Nevertheless, a dense trade deal—which the EU hopes has zero tariffs and zero quotas—will take much longer than until 2021 to be ratified by regional, national, and international bodies.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan is responsible for the second month of demonstrations and riots along the grand Haussmann boulevards of Paris. Throughout his term, Macron has struggled to keep domestic tranquility in a nation with a robust history of taking to the streets.