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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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Johnson attends a news conference during a NATO summit in Madrid.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

What We're Watching: Bombshell UK news, China-Philippines ties, Chilean constitution draft, G20 meeting

Britain’s bombshell resignations

The hits keep coming for the scandal-plagued administration of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, both of them heavyweights in the Conservative Party, quit Johnson's government. The trigger came in the wake of MP Chris Pincher’s resignation last week. Pincher stepped down amid new allegations of sexual misconduct. But the party controversy has erupted over the PM’s decision to appoint Pincher as deputy chief whip in the first place. He denied being aware of earlier sexual misconduct allegations against Pincher. Those stemmed from Johnson’s tenure as foreign secretary, when Pincher served under him. The PM was forced to acknowledge this week that he had been briefed on the matter. On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that appointing Pincher had been a mistake. Johnson survived an embarrassing vote of no confidence on June 6 following revelations that he participated in social gatherings that violated COVID lockdown rules and failed to come clean with parliament. But the Pincher scandal and these bombshell resignations now have Johnson’s political career on life support.

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Ian Bremmer: Russia's War in Ukraine Makes Davos "Discomforting" | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer: Russia's war in Ukraine makes Davos "discomfiting"

2022 is the World Economic Forum most driven by geopolitics Ian Bremmer has ever attended.

It's a "crisis-rich environment" with everyone talking about the war in Ukraine, the president of GZERO MEDIA said during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky got a standing ovation after his virtual speech — except for the Chinese delegation. And there were no Russians around in what is supposed to be a global gathering.

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