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US and China's changing status quo on Taiwan

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Happy Monday, everybody. And a Quick Take for you. I wanted to talk a bit about Taiwan. I'll tell you, I've talked about it in the media over the last couple of weeks and almost every questioner has been trying to prod me towards, "are we heading to war?" Then I was with some friends at the Trilateral Commission on Friday. I like that group a lot. It's one of these groups that a lot of conspiracy theorists pretend secretly run the world, like the Bilderbergers and the Council on Foreign Relations. Now having attended all three, I can tell you, if they do run the world, they are not inviting me into the rooms where they're making those decisions. If they are doing that, they're also doing a lousy job of it.

Nonetheless, it was fun until I was on stage and the first question I got was about, "Hey, so the Chinese are changing the status quo. Do you think that means we're heading towards war?" I just want to say that, first of all, I am clearly less concerned about the imminence of confrontation and military conflict between the United States and China than almost anybody out there. Accidents are certainly possible, but particularly around Taiwan, where both sides know the stakes and have made them abundantly clear for decades now, and everyone involved gets it I think it's much less likely.

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Antony Blinken mending fences with France following AUKUS rift

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

How is US Secretary of State Antony Blinken doing with his talks in Paris?

Well, seems to be fairly okay. He had a lengthy discussion with the Foreign Minister Le Drian and he was even received by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. There's a lot of fence-mending to be done, but a start has been done. And that's good.

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What We're Watching: France's post-AUKUS win, Haiti's election cancelled, Japan ends COVID emergency

France gets a post-AUKUS win: Greece and France have inked a $5 billion deal for Athens to buy at least four French-made warships. French and American contractors had been in a bidding war since 2019, when Greece announced it was looking to buy half a dozen naval attack vessels. For French President Emmanuel Macron, it was a much-needed win after the recent AUKUS debacle, when the US froze Paris out of a security pact with Australia and the UK, nixing a contract for Australia to buy French submarines. At the signing ceremony in Paris, Macron and Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis touted the deal as a move towards European "strategic autonomy" (since coming to power in 2017, Macron has been a strong advocate of Europe pursuing a defense strategy independent from the US). Greece, for its part, has also been looking to boost its own military capabilities amid deteriorating relations with longtime foe Turkey over competing maritime claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Happy Monday. Ian Bremmer here with your Quick Take. Plenty going on between the United States and its allies. You have seen the fallout from the US announcement of this new defense pact with the Australians and the United Kingdom called AUKUS. That's great, always like USMCA, we take the acronyms, and we try to find a way to make it comprehensible. And of course, the Chinese are not enormously happy about this, because it is a military plan to put more American material in their backyard. And the day after the Chinese announced formerly that they wanted to apply to the CPTPP, which is the major trade deal that the Americans initially were the architect of and then under Obama said, "No, we can't get it done." And then Trump pulled out. That's unfortunate and long-standing and not surprising. And China won't be able to get in, in all likelihood, because it's a heavy lift, even though Vietnam did make it, but state capitalism and TPP doesn't really work very well together.

But the more interesting and salient point for the headlines is that the French government was absolutely incensed. So, what's going on here? Why are the allies having such difficulty?

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