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Hard Numbers: The US gets tear gassed, Peru's GDP plunges, global investment dries up, Moldova seeks a billionaire crook

Hard Numbers: The US gets tear gassed, Peru's GDP plunges, global investment dries up, Moldova seeks a billionaire crook

98: Law enforcement officers have used tear gas in at least 98 different US cities in response to the George Floyd protests. That's the most widespread use of the chemical for crowd control in the country since the massive social unrest of the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to a scholar at Johns Hopkins.

1 trillion: The pandemic could cause global foreign direct investment (FDI) to plunge by half over the next 2 years, falling below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005, according to a new report by the Conference on Trade and Development. As global investment flows dry up, developing economies are expected to be the hardest hit.

40: Peru's GDP plunged by more than 40 percent in April, the worst monthly output drop in the country's history. Coronavirus lockdowns have clobbered the mining sector, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Peruvian economy. Although Peru was one of the first countries in South America to impose a lockdown, it is now second in cases and deaths only to Brazil, which has a population seven times as large.

1 billion: Moldova has asked the US to hand over Vladimir Plahotniuc, an influential oligarch accused of swindling up to $1 billion — about one-eighth of the country's GDP — from three local banks in 2014-2015. Plahotniuc, a former legislator and one of Moldova's richest men, is also wanted by Russia for alleged involvement in a cybercrime gang.

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It almost didn't happen — but here we are again. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off tonight in the final presidential debate of the 2020 US election campaign.

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Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump presented his vision for an "America First" foreign policy, which symbolized a radical departure from the US' longtime approach to international politics and diplomacy.

In electing Donald Trump, a political outsider, to the top job, American voters essentially gave him a mandate to follow through on these promises. So, has he?


"A continuing rape of our country."

On the 2016 campaign trail, candidate Trump said that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a 12 country trade deal pushed by the Obama administration — would "rape" America's economy by imperiling the manufacturing sector, closing factories, and taking more jobs overseas.

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In an op-ed titled "Iran Arms Embargo Reckoning," the Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that ending the UN arms embargo on Iran was a major flaw of the 2015 nuclear deal and questions whether Biden could do anything to contain Iran at this point. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Henry Rome take out the Red Pen to explain why this discussion misrepresents the importance of the embargo and the consequences for its expiration.

So, the US presidential election is now just days away, and today's selection is focusing on a specific aspect of foreign policy that will certainly change depending on who wins in the presidential contest—namely America's approach to Iran.

You've heard me talk before about the many similarities between Trump and Biden on some international policies, like on China or on Afghanistan. But Iran is definitely not one of those. Trump hated the JCPOA, the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, put together under the Obama administration, and he walked away from it unilaterally. Joe Biden, if he were to become president, would try to bring it back.

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Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

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