Is Boris Johnson's Latest Brexit Proposal a Fair Compromise?

It's a big week for Boris Johnson and Brexit. What's the latest?

Hague: I am in Dublin which is where all the focus is, how is the Irish government going to react to the proposals from Boris Johnson?

Miliband: There is now a Johnson plan for Northern Ireland to effectively remain in the single market at least for four years. But for it not to be in the Customs Union and therefore there to be customs checks north – south, on the island of Ireland.

Are these proposals a fair attempt at a compromise?


Hague: Well they are a fair attempt at getting a compromise going.

Miliband: It's a compromise between competing British positions not really a compromise with the European Union's fundamental concern, which is about the integrity of the single market.

Hague: Boris Johnson's really worked getting the Democratic Unionists and the hard liners in his own party into proposing this kind of compromise.

Does it make a deal more likely?

Hague: Well that depends how likely you thought it was in the first place.

Miliband: I actually think we've probably got less chance of a deal than we did a week ago but it's not yet zero chance.

Hague: The British government was always going to make some serious proposals about now and it has done so.

Miliband: The experts are talking about a 10 to 20 percent chance, I think it's probably at the lower end of the range.

Hague: Now, I would have said before this the chances of those proposals leading to a deal would only be about 25 percent. Maybe we just increased that, a little bit, to a 30 percent chance or something like that. The odds are still against it.

Miliband: But the European Union will be careful not to dismiss this out of hand. It doesn't want to get the blame for no deal.

Hague: There are some big problems for Ireland and the EU in these proposals over customs and other issues. We shall see.

During the past year, 58% of all cyberattacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states have come from Russia. And attacks from Russian nation-state actors are increasingly effective, jumping from a 21% successful compromise rate last year to a 32% rate this year. Russian nation-state actors are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering, which jumped from 3% of their targets a year ago to 53% – largely agencies involved in foreign policy, national security or defense. The top three countries targeted by Russian nation-state actors were the United States, Ukraine and the UK. These are just a few of the insights in the second annual Microsoft Digital Defense Report. Read additional highlights from the Microsoft on the Issues blog and find the full report here.

If you had to guess which current world leader has made the most trips to Africa, who would you say? China's Xi Jinping? Nope, hardly — he's been there just four times. France's Emmanuel Macron? Pas de tout.

The answer may surprise you: it's Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who's been to the continent more times than the leader(s) of any other non-African state. Just this week he notched his 28th visit, with stops in Angola, Nigeria, and Togo. Sure, being in power for two decades creates a lot of opportunities for exotic travel, but even Putin isn't close: he's been to Africa just five times, all to visit South Africa or Egypt.

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China's GDP grew a lower-than-expected 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, a whopping three percentage points less than in the previous period. It's a big deal for the world's second-largest economy, the only major one that expanded throughout the pandemic — and now at risk of missing its growth target of 6 percent for the entire year.

Normally, such a drastic slowdown would have put the ruling Communist Party in a tizzy. But this time, Xi Jinping knows this is the price he must pay for his big plans to curb rising inequality and boost the middle class at the expense of the CCP's traditional economic mantra: high growth above all else.

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6,000: Poland has doubled the number of troops guarding its border with Belarus to almost 6,000 because of a surge in migrants trying to cross over (there were 612 attempts on Monday alone). Warsaw accuses Minsk of sending non-EU migrants into Poland as payback for EU sanctions against Belarus.

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Religious tension rising in Bangladesh: Clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Bangladesh have surged over the past week, leaving at least four people dead. After an image was posted on Facebook showing the Quran at the feet of a statue at a Hindu temple, Muslims burned Hindu-owned homes and attacked their holy sites. Both sides have taken to the street in protest, with Hindus saying that they have been prevented from celebrating Durga Puja, the largest Hindu festival in the country. Such acts of sectarian violence are not uncommon in Bangladesh, a majority-Muslim country where Hindus account for nine percent of the population. Indeed, as Eurasia Group's Kevin Allison recently warned, unverified social media content stoking inter-ethnic conflict is a massive problem throughout South Asia, where for many people Facebook is synonymous with the internet.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Read Ian Bremmer's wide-ranging essay in Foreign Affairs that puts in perspective both the challenge, and the opportunity, that comes from the unprecedented power of Big Tech.

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here on the road, something we haven't done very much recently, but will increasingly as we try to move through COVID. And I want to talk to you about a new article that I just put out in Foreign Affairs that I'm calling "The Technopolar Moment." Not unipolar, not bipolar, not multipolar, technopolar. What the hell does technopolar mean?

It means that increasingly big technology companies are themselves geopolitical actors. So to understand the future of the world, you can't just look at the United States, Europe and China. You need to look at the big tech companies, too.

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China gets away with a lot these days in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and elsewhere. That's because over the past decade, its economy has experienced explosive growth, making it an indispensable trading partner for almost every country in the world. At the same time, China has been expanding its share of the global economy, and is now set to overtake the US as the world's biggest economic powerhouse in the near term. We take a look at China's annual growth rate and share of the global economy based on GDP over the past decade.

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