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Annie Gugliotta

Ukraine’s war and the non-Western world

A new poll provides more evidence that Western and non-Western countries just don’t agree on how best to respond to the war in Ukraine.

Most Americans and Europeans say their governments should help Ukraine repel Russian invaders. Many say Russia’s threat extends beyond Ukraine. People and leaders in non-Western countries mainly want the war to end as quickly as possible, even if Ukraine must surrender some of its land to Russia to bring peace.

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President Zelensky Goes to Washington | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Zelensky's welcome in the West reinforces message of unity

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, it's Ian Bremmer and President Zelensky, Volodymyr Zelensky is in the United States. It is his first trip out of his country in 10 months, in 300 days, since the Russian invasion began into Ukraine. I remember in the Munich security conference just a few days before the war started when we all knew that in an invasion was coming and NATO leaders, including President Joe Biden, got in touch with the Ukrainian president and said, "Can we evacuate you? Can we get you out of that country because you're likely to get killed if the Russians invade?" He said, "No." And he has led his country to mount a stalwart defense of their territory, fighting the Russians back now for almost a year, and indeed now traveling to the United States where he will most surely get a standing ovation, bipartisan, from both chambers of the House and Senate and meet with Biden and national security officials, and also celebrate the fact that democracy still means a lot, both in Ukraine and around the world.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) hands over the G-20 presidency gavel to India's PM Narendra Modi (L) at the G-20 summit in Bali.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

India's Modi seeks to burnish his legacy with G-20 presidency

On Dec. 1, India will assume the year-long rotating presidency of the G-20, a grouping that brings together representatives of the world’s largest economies to coordinate responses to the leading problems of the day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make the Indian presidency one to remember. In fact, he asked Indonesia to take India’s place in the scheduled G-20 rotation last year because he felt the country was behind on preparations that include rebuilding a portion of New Delhi, India’s capital city.

We asked Eurasia Group expert Pramit Pal Chaudhuri to explain why Modi is making such a big bet on the G-20 presidency and how he hopes to address some of the world’s challenges.

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Damages from the hits in Przewodów, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Missiles in Poland, Chinese anger at zero-COVID

Who fired those missiles into Poland?

Explosions apparently caused by rockets or missiles killed two people Tuesday in the Polish town of Przewodów, several miles from the Ukrainian border. The incident occurred amid a barrage of Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure across Ukraine. Poland went on heightened military readiness as some Polish officials suggested the projectiles might be Russian. An investigation is underway.

But the plot thickened early Wednesday when US President Joe Biden said at an emergency meeting on the subject in Bali, where he’s attending the G-20, that preliminary info suggests it’s “unlikely” the weapons were fired "from Russia." This raises the prospect that malfunctioning Ukrainian air defenses could have been responsible, or that the missiles could have been fired from nearby Belarus, which has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, says it has nothing to do with the incident at all.

The big questions are: Was it in fact a Russian missile or not? If so, is there any evidence the attack was deliberate, as some Ukrainian officials have friskily suggested, or merely a mistake in the fog of war?

The implications are huge — Poland is a NATO member, so any deliberate attack by Russia would raise the prospect of invoking the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense mechanism, in which all members go on a war footing to respond. That, of course, could set in motion an escalation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

In the meantime, an Article 4 response is possible: a much mellower undertaking in which the alliance convenes a formal discussion on the incident but doesn’t take military action.

But a big question remains: Even if this incident was a Ukrainian own goal or a Russian mistake, what would NATO’s response be if Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tweak the alliance with a bite along the Polish border?

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U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali.

Reuters

Biden and Xi’s Bali face-off: Agenda, forecast, and sticking points

On Monday, US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden was elected in 2020. “I look forward to working with you, Mr. President, to bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of health and stable development for the benefit of our two countries and the world as a whole,” Xi told Biden.

What’s at stake: Stopping the Russia-Ukraine war, Taiwan’s sovereignty and defense, North Korea’s increased weapons testing, battling COVID, resumption of global supply chains, and tackling climate change.

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Great-power rivalry to top G-20 agenda

GZERO

Great-power rivalry to top G-20 agenda


Geopolitical tensions will top the agenda as world leaders gather in Bali on Tuesday for the annual G-20, an international forum that brings together the world’s developed and developing countries to coordinate on economic, health, and climate policies. Russian President Vladimir Putin ultimately decided not to attend, but the war he launched in Ukraine will be an important topic of conversation. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden will meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Monday to try to clarify their respective red lines and build a floor under the US-China relationship. Great-power competition appears likely to overshadow any coordination efforts at this year’s meeting. We asked Eurasia Group expert Ali Wyne what to expect.

Why do you think Putin decided to stay away?

The Russian leader had widely been expected to attend to demonstrate that, contrary to US and European narratives, Russia has not been reduced to pariah status. Indeed, Moscow maintains robust trading relationships around the world, with some reports suggesting that the value of its exports has actually increased since it invaded Ukraine.

In the end, however, at least two considerations appear to have dissuaded Putin from coming to Bali. First, he may have feared not only being shunned by Western leaders but also uncomfortable interactions with China — Russia’s most important partner — and India, both of which have grown increasingly anxious about the course of the war. Second, he is surely concerned about the pace at which Russia’s military position vis-à-vis Ukraine is deteriorating. Its army’s retreat from Kherson city is a major setback for Moscow, and Putin will find it increasingly difficult to argue that Russia is quelling Ukrainian resistance.

Russia will not be entirely absent from the G-20, as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will lead a delegation from the country. Still, Putin’s absence is a major story, even if he opts to dial in virtually.

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Kevin Rudd: Nobody Wanted Putin At the G-20 Anyway | Asia Society | GZERO Media

Kevin Rudd: Nobody wanted Putin at the G-20 anyway

Australia’s former PM says nobody at the G-20 – neither the host, Indonesia, nor Russia’s friends, China and India – wanted President Vladimir Putin to attend the summit.

By bowing out, Putin can’t detract from the main focus, which Rudd – president of the Asia Society – says is finding a way to stabilize the US-China relationship.

When Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet in Bali on Monday before the summit, Rudd says to watch for how the discussion formulates “guard rails” to stabilizing relations, which have been in “free fall” for three years.

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Logos of FTX and Binance, crypto exchange competitors.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Crypto chaos, China-El Salvador trade, inflation across the Atlantic, Biden-Xi meeting

Is this crypto’s Lehman moment?

The crypto market’s bad run got even worse this week after FTX, a major crypto exchange, imploded. Headed by billionaire crypto-star Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX was revealed to be in a dire financial position earlier this week, and Binance, the largest exchange and an FTX competitor, considered bailing FTX out, but dropped the idea at the eleventh hour when it became clear FTX was insolvent and its customers couldn’t withdraw assets. Federal investigators are now looking at Bankman-Fried to find out whether his company violated financial regulations. Not only did Bankman-Fried lose more than 90% of his $16 billion fortune in mere days, but the news also sent the broader crypto and stock markets into a tailspin. Bankman-Fried, a big Democratic donor, had been making inroads in recent months with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to shape regulation with favorable terms for the crypto industry. But lawmakers and other crypto lobbyists will now want to distance themselves from the crypto king facing serious allegations of financial impropriety.

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