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GETTING BY WITHOUT HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS?

GETTING BY WITHOUT HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS?

This week, senior US, EU, and Japanese trade officials met to discuss a common strategy to tackle a common problem: China. In particular, they oppose China’s policies of giving huge subsidies to its own companies while also forcing foreign firms to share technology as the price of admission to the massive Chinese market.


From China’s perspective, a united front among the US, Europe, and Japan – which together are twice the size of China’s economy – would be a nightmare. Beijing is already facing a trade war with the Trump administration, and while that has (so far) proven manageable, Chinese officials would be under much greater pressure if China’s three largest trade partners formed a unified front.

Good news for China: that’s not likely to happen. Rather than rally US allies to his side, President Trump has threatened trade wars on all fronts: including with Japan and the EU.

In fact, just this week, he used his address to the United Nations General Assembly to trash the Iran nuclear deal and threaten retaliation against (mostly European) countries and companies that refuse to respect US sanctions. He did so over the objection of European allies France, Germany, and the UK, which have announced an agreement with Russia and China to find novel ways to evade US sanctions and undermine US dominance of the global financial system.

US relations with Japan aren’t much better. Though Japan wants good relations with Washington, it also needs pragmatic economic ties with China, its giant neighbor. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is busy beating back pressure from Trump for a US-Japan free trade agreement that Japan doesn’t want and managing US threats to impose sanctions on Japanese automobiles.

The bottom line:  EU and Japanese officials are worried about China’s expanding power, but they also need good relations with Beijing—and they worry about what Donald Trump will do next to make their lives more complicated. It will be much harder for Trump to build a unified front to force changes to economic policy in China, arguably his highest foreign-policy priority, if he continues to threaten action against everyone at once.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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