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by ian bremmer

Rishi Sunak drowing.

Jess Frampton

A week ago, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gambled his career, his legacy, and the future of the Conservative government by calling earlier-than-expected snap elections on July 4 – a seemingly no-win decision given that his party has been underwater by some 20 points in the polls.

Speaking of underwater, standing outside No. 10 Downing St. in the pouring rain without an umbrella (not the first nor last piece of evidence that his aides must really dislike him), the utterly soaked prime minister described his premature date with destiny as “a moment for Britain to choose its future.” Sunak argued that the most geopolitically dangerous global environment in decades (fact-check: true) calls for the stability and predictability at the helm of the UK government that only Tories can deliver (although “stability” and “predictability” are surely not the first two words that come to mind when I think of the last several years of mostly shambolic Conservative rule). The address also previewed a bitterly personal campaign against Labour leader Keir Starmer, accusing him of being willing to say anything to win power and then go back on his word (aka a politician).

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Scales of justice and Israeli and Hamas leaders in front of the ICC

Jess Frampton

The International Criminal Court, widely known as the ICC, announced on Monday that prosecutor Karim Khan seeks arrest warrants for the leadership of both Hamas and Israel, a move that leaves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with the same legal status as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the group’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, and terrorist military commander Mohammed Deif – as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is wanted for ordering the invasion of independent Ukraine.

Whatever your personal opinion of Netanyahu, this order appears to create a moral parallel between the democratically elected leadership of Israel pursuing a war with massive civilian casualties and Hamas’ rape and torture of civilians, the taking of some 250 Israeli and other hostages, and the worst wholesale killing of Jews since the Holocaust. That’s an extraordinary decision from the ICC.

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Jess Frampton

You might be wondering … what’s it like to be the graduation speaker on an American college campus these days? On Monday evening, I got the chance to find out.

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a school where I teach a class on applied geopolitics, invited me to deliver this year’s commencement speech. It was a privilege – and a challenge – that I took very seriously.

I’ve reprinted my speech below, but first, let me describe the experience.

Yes, there were protesters – of course there were. A number of students in the audience wore the keffiyeh, the scarf that has become a symbol of solidarity with Palestinians, particularly those trapped by the war in Gaza. Many brought Palestinian flags on stage with them as they collected their diplomas. More still passed out “diplomas” calling on Columbia University to divest from Israel in protest against the continuing conflict.

But not a single student walked out. Not one turned their back. When I began speaking about the war, there were rumblings in the audience for me to go into more depth. I stopped the speech briefly to assure them I intended to do just that. And then I did.

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What happens when a country with triple-digit inflation and chronic fiscal deficits elects a chainsaw-wielding populist with a dead dog for chief counsel as president?

Back in November, following the unexpected triumph of the self-styled “anarcho-capitalist” Javier Milei in Argentina’s presidential election, I expected the economy would further collapse in short order.

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Jess Frampton

Paraphrasing a quote often misattributed to Winston Churchill, the United States Congress finally decided to do the right thing … but not a moment too soon, and only after trying everything else first.

Last Saturday, the House of Representatives overcame months-long opposition from the far-right wing of the Republican Party and okayed a fresh military assistance package for Ukraine. Totaling nearly $61 billion, this is the largest single aid package the besieged nation will have received since the war’s onset. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday night and was signed into law by President Joe Biden a few hours ago. Some of the newly appropriated American weapons systems and ammunition will begin flowing into Ukraine and reaching the frontline within days.

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Leaders of Israel and Iran in front of fighter jets.

Jess Frampton

On April 13, Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles from its own territory in its first-ever direct, attributable attack against Israel, thrusting the long-simmering shadow war between the two regional foes into the light.

This show of force reflects a dramatic shift in strategy from Tehran, which had previously relied exclusively on its proxies to target Israel. The inflection point was Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, which killed the senior-most Iranian military leader in Syria and was compared to an attack “on Iranian soil” – a bright red line for the Islamic Republic. So from Iran’s perspective, it was Israel that crossed the rubicon first. Last weekend’s attack was a proportional response in that view – and a measured one at that.

Does that hold up? What comes next? And what does it all mean?

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Jess Frampton

Jess Frampton

The most geopolitically important relationship in the world is fundamentally adversarial and devoid of trust. Its long-term trajectory remains negative, with no prospect of substantial improvement.

And yet, ever since US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Woodside, Calif., last November, US-China relations have looked comparatively stable amid a sea of chaos.

In the months that have followed, both sides have continued to seek steadier ties through frequent high-level engagement as well as new dialogue channels on a wide range of policy areas. In January, the US and China resumed military-to-military talks for the first time in nearly two years. On April 2, Biden and Xi spoke by telephone and ratified their ongoing commitment to manage tensions. The presidential call came after the third in-person meeting between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in less than a year on Jan. 16-17. It set the stage for US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to China this past week – where she met with senior Chinese officials, local and provincial leaders, and top economists – as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's upcoming visit. Both militaries are currently in the final stages of preparation for a maritime dialogue and a likely ministerial meeting at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June.

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