Photo of the Week: Taking Atoll

Over the past two weeks, the following things have happened on, near, or because of Woody Island (pictured above), a controversial Chinese military outpost in the South China Sea:


  • China landed nuclear-capable long-range bombers on an airstrip on the island.
  • The US disinvited China from a major international naval exercise in Hawaii, citing missile installations elsewhere in the region and the bomber landings as factors in rising tensions.
  • A US destroyer and guided missile cruiser steamed within a few nautical miles of shore, prompting sharp objections from Beijing.

Normally, this wouldn’t be all that remarkable. China’s military ambitions in the South China Sea are well known, and strategic tit-for-tat is commonplace. But the latest ratcheting up of military activity and rhetoric comes at a time when the US and China are engaged in delicate negotiations on other key issues like US-China trade and North Korea.

Stuff happens–particularly when there is heavy hardware operating at close quarters. And we live in a complex and interconnected world, where a miscalculation or accident in one arena can have knock-on effects elsewhere. Rising tensions in the South China Sea add another layer of complexity to what was already a volatile mix of competing national interests.

Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.

Learn more about this rags to riches story in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

Donald Trump can still win re-election in November, but foreign governments read the same polls we do. They know that Joe Biden heads into the homestretch with a sizeable polling lead — both nationally and in the states most likely to decide the outcome. Naturally, they're thinking ahead to what a Biden foreign policy might look like.

They're probably glad that Biden gives them a half-century track record to study. (He was first elected to local office in 1970 and to the US Senate in 1972.) The six years he spent as ranking member, then chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his term as co-chairman of the Senate's NATO Observer Group, and his eight years as Barack Obama's vice president tell them that he's essentially a "liberal internationalist," a person who believes that America must lead a global advance of democracy and freedom — and that close cooperation with allies is essential for success.

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On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

Watch the episode.


On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

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