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Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colors, ahead of a match between the two countries.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

What We’re Watching: Partition 75th anniversary, Kenyan vote count, US-China in Southeast Asia

India & Pakistan turn 75

This year’s Aug. 15 Diamond Jubilee of Partition, when the British Raj split into India and Pakistan, is a complicated affair. India has gained more from independence in 1947 than Pakistan: earlier this summer, the Indian economy crossed the $3.3 trillion mark and officially overtook the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest — a nice touch to celebrate 75 years of independence from its colonial master. But India’s democratic credentials remain under threat by the rise of Hindu nationalism. However, Pakistan’s experiments after Partition — proxy wars, civil war, martial law, and Islamism — brought much suffering to its people. Today, the country is at the verge of another financial crisis and negotiating both its 23rd IMF bailout and with insurgents. Unfortunately, a growing nuclear arsenal is the only equalizer for the political and economic imbalance between the two countries. But there is still hope yet. After years of making zero progress, India and Pakistan are now involved in a backchannel dialogue, which may bring some normalcy between the old enemies. That, and the cricket, of course: Pakistan has won more games overall against its arch-rival, but never beaten India in a World Cup match.

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Paige Fusco

Kenya’s presidential “choice” is 2 flavors of continuity

Kenyans go to the polls Tuesday to elect a successor to term-limited President Uhuru Kenyatta, who’s stepping down after 10 years in East Africa’s economic hub. But their choice is limited to one between Kenyatta’s longtime enemy-turned-ally, or the president’s own VP, who’s running against Kenyatta’s record (and therefore his own).

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Election banners of Kenya's presidential hopefuls.

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Kenya’s two-and-a-half presidential horse race

On Aug. 9, Kenya’s 22 million registered voters will go the polls to pick a successor to the outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is barred from reelection by term limits. They will also select new national- and county-level lawmakers and county governors. For the presidential contest, Kenyans are presented with a batch of familiar faces to choose from. Yet even by the standards of the country’s ultra-transactional, unpredictable politics, this year’s electoral playing field is an unusual one. We spoke with Eurasia Group analyst Connor Vasey to learn more.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps US President Joe Biden in Jeddah.

Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

What We're Watching: Biden-MBS fist bump, Xi in Xinjiang, Kenya-Somalia thaw

Biden’s Saudi trip fallout

Engagement with would-be pariahs may cost you politically, but it's necessary for the national interest. Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden got panned — mostly by fellow Democrats — for fist-bumping with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, during Biden's controversial Middle East trip. (The CIA believes MBS ordered the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi.) Still, the White House said the president returned from the region with some important agreements, such as progress on ending the war in Yemen or making a joint pledge with Israel to stop Iran from getting nukes. But did he really achieve much else? Riyadh announced that it'll increase oil production, but not enough to tame rising gas prices and inflation in America before the November midterms. The Saudis are also nowhere near joining the Abraham Accords, and peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains as elusive as it was under Biden's predecessors. So, why go at all then? The short answer is: as long as the US wants to continue being a player in the Middle East, you simply can't afford to ignore the Saudis, or MBS himself.

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