Dangerous Decisions

After a roller-coaster week, Prime Minister Theresa May struck an 11th hour deal deal with the EU this morning that will advance Brexit talks to the next phase. What was all the drama about?


Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May, encouraged by favorable poll numbers, decided to call an election that she believed would increase her Conservative Party’s majority in parliament and boost her political standing ahead of Brexit negotiations with European leaders.

Then she ran a lousy campaign, and her party lost its majority. To form a new government, she was forced to partner with the Democratic Unionist Party(DUP), a small party based in Northern Ireland that few outside Britain know much about.

The central problem with that choice became evident this week. To advance the conversation toward the future of the trade relationship between the UK and EU, May must first finalize the Brexit “divorce agreement” by agreeing on three things: The status of EU citizens living in the UK, the size of the UK’s debt to the EU, and the status of the border that separates the Republic of Ireland (an EU member) from Northern Ireland (part of the UK).

To avoid restoration of a “hard border” between the two Irelands, a relic of the bad old days, May implicitly agreed this week to allow Northern Ireland to remain in the EU’s single market. On Monday, that decision was presented as the breakthrough that would move Brexit forward. On Tuesday, the DUP, with 10 members in Britain’s 650-member parliament, said no. Is it not true, asked DUP leaders, that if Northern Ireland remains in the EU single market, other parts of the UK can demand the same privilege? Heads began nodding in Scotland, Wales, and London. This morning, May found language that threads the needle and allows Brexit to move forward.

The details of today’s deal remain unclear, and there are still plenty of dissatisfied people on both the UK and EU sides. But a hurdle looks to have been cleared, and Brexit talks will advance.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, is under house arrest in Vancouver and could be extradited to the United States. What is she accused of, and what are the political implications of prosecuting her? Cybersecurity expert Samm Sacks discusses the case with Ian Bremmer.

Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

Ian Bremmer breaks down the current situation as China rapidly expands its technology sector and carves its own path globally in cyberspace. He discusses the history of the economic relationship between the two nations, and the geopolitical consequences of the decoupling. While Huawei and the current legal action against its CFO Meng Wanzhou are the biggest tech flashpoints between the U.S. and China at the moment, that is just the tip of a very large iceberg that some analysts believe is a new Cold War.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

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