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What We’re Watching: Salvadorans protest Bitcoin, meet Aukus, no COVID pass no job in Italy

Salvadorans protest Bukele, Bitcoin: Thousands of people took to the streets of El Salvador's capital on Wednesday, the 200th anniversary of the country's independence, to protest against President Nayib Bukele's increasingly authoritarian streak and his embrace of risky cryptocurrency. Last May, Bukele ended the Supreme Court's independence; perhaps unsurprisingly, the court then decided to lift the constitutional ban on presidential term limits — presumably so Bukele can run for reelection in 2024. Meanwhile, last week El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender, but the rollout was, to put it mildly, messy. The protesters resent Bukele's dictator vibes and warn that Bitcoin could spur inflation and financial instability. The tech-savvy president, for his part, insists that crypto will bring in more cash from remittances and foreign investment, and remains immensely popular among most Salvadorans. Still, Bukele's Bitcoin gamble could erode his support if the experiment fails.

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China and US economic interdependence hasn't lessened

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the China-US economic relationship, North Korea's missiles tests, and the New York Times' investigation of the US drone strike in Afghanistan.

China owns more than $1 trillion US debt, but how much leverage do they actually have?

I mean, the leverage is mutual and it comes from the enormous interdependence in the economic relationship of the United States and China. And it's about debt. And it's about trade. It's about tourism. It's about sort of mutual investment. Now. There is some decoupling happening in terms of labor, increasingly moving domestic in terms of the China five-year plan, dual circulation focusing more on domestic economy, and in terms of data systems breaking up, the internet of things, being Chinese or American, but not both. And indebtedness is part of that. But I don't see that unwinding anytime soon. And certainly, the Chinese knows if they're going to get rid of a whole bunch of American debt, they wouldn't be as diversified in global portfolio. Not as great, it's much riskier. And also, the price of those holdings, as they start selling them down would go down. So, I don't think there's a lot of leverage there, frankly. I think the leverage is interdependent.

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Enter China, exit policeman: How the world has changed since 9/11

The world has changed dramatically since the terrorist attacks on New York And Washington on September 11, 2001. Pop culture has evolved — significantly — as have the ways we eat, communicate, work, and get our information about the world.

Geopolitically, the past two decades have been transformative, and these developments have impacted how many observers reflect on the post-9/11 era.

Here are three examples of big geopolitical shifts over the past two decades, and how they may influence our understanding of global events today.

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9/11 and after: A personal reminiscence from inside the machine

In 2001, I was US National Intelligence Officer for Economics, and had spent much of that summer traveling in China. At the time, all signs were pointing to China becoming the predominant focus of the George W. Bush administration, and I needed to become much more conversant with the workings of the Chinese economy.

All of that changed on September 11th, just five days after I returned to Washington. For national crisis contingencies, I had an additional assignment that would turn out to be crucial that day: I was the liaison between the intelligence community and the Congressional leadership.

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What We're Watching: Haitian PM steps down, German floods get political, Biden and crew call out China hackers, Japan's oyster "plague"

Haiti's PM is stepping down: Claude Joseph, who served as Haiti's foreign minister and interim PM under recently-murdered president Jovenel Moïse, said Monday that he would step down, paving the way for his opponent Ariel Henry to become the new PM. Henry, for his part, was actually tapped by Moïse to form a government just two days before the assassination, but never sworn in. Joseph used that detail to take power after Moïse's death, and initially declared a "state of siege." But with violence surging, and international pressure against him from The Core Group — which includes the US, the Organization of American States, and a number of European countries — Joseph agreed to step down "for the good of the nation." The incoming Henry has a daunting task: amid spiraling social, political, and economic crises, he must cool tensions, form a workable government, and restore some semblance of order to allow for fresh elections this September.

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Biden and Merkel will talk China strategy; Cuban economic crisis

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week from Washington, DC, with a look at the upcoming Biden/Merkel meeting, Haiti in crisis, and the ongoing protests in Cuba.

Biden is hosting Angela Merkel in Washington this week. What's on the agenda?

Most important is going to be China. That's not what the headlines are right now. They're all talking Nord Stream and cybersecurity and all that. But the reality is Biden wants to coordinate China policy with his top allies. He's had a lot of success with Japan. He's had success with South Korea. Those are the first two leaders to have been invited to Washington. He's probably going to have some success with Angela Merkel as well, because there is increasingly backlash against Xi Jinping and his efforts to consolidate a Chinese model, vaccine nationalism, lack of transparency on origins of the crisis, and all this kind of stuff. Technology hits, not allowing companies to IPO abroad. The Germans are angry too. And I think that is going to be the top issue they discuss.

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Will there be a decisive US response to Russian cyber attacks?

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

After an attempted hack of a Republican National Committee contractor, is cybersecurity at a breaking point between the US and Russia?

Well, that breaking point has been a long time coming. There was the attempt to manipulate the 2016 elections and now we see a series of ransomware attacks that are escalating. So the question is, what the US can do to decisively change the calculation on the Russian side? Making clear that there will be sanctions and other consequences that hurt should be a start. But it will only be credible if these promises are followed through and enforced.

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Will China's tech sector be held back?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and a happy post-4th of July. Spending a couple of days in Nantucket, back to New York in relatively short order. But a Quick Take to kick off your shortened week.

And I thought I would talk a little bit about what's happening between the Chinese and the Americans on tech. In particular, I think it's quite important that the Chinese government and their regulatory authority on cyberspace, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the CAC, has been focusing a cybersecurity probe on Chinese companies that have recently listed in the United States. It started last Friday with Didi, which is the leader for Chinese ride hailing. So it's basically like Uber or Lyft in China, $4 billion IPO in New York just a couple of days before the Chinese government announced that they were going to engage in serious scrutiny and regulation of the company. Their stock value went down like 20% almost immediately on the back of that.

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