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Paige Fusco

Biden’s “new” Taiwan policy: strategic clarity or confusion?

China on Monday blasted the US for egging on Taiwan “separatists” after President Joe Biden vowed that the US would defend the self-ruled island from a Chinese invasion. Okay, nothing new here, right? Not exactly.

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Ari Winkleman

What We’re Watching: US mulls China sanctions, Uzbek talks focus on ‘cooperation,’ US train strike averted

Will the US preemptively sanction China over Taiwan?

If you thought US-China ties couldn't get any icier, think again. Washington is reportedly mulling sanctions in a bid to deter Beijing from invading Taiwan — and nudging the EU to follow suit. No specifics yet, but the package would presumably target the Chinese military, which has upped the muscle-flexing ante near the self-ruled island since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in early August. Such a move would be similar to how the US and its allies warned Russia there would be a steep price to pay for invading Ukraine. Taiwan would welcome preemptive sanctions and has long called for the Americans and, more recently, the Europeans to do more to protect the island against Chinese aggression. But any sanctions would also rile Xi Jinping, who’s up for “reelection” next month and has vowed to reunite the island with the mainland before the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic in 2049 – by force, if necessary. While the White House has refused to comment, a sanctions plan could signal that US intelligence believes Xi might make a play for Taiwan sooner rather than later.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: As US arms Taiwan, China arms itself

The White House announced on Friday that it plans to sell Taiwan $1.1 billion worth of new weapons, its biggest arms sale to the self-governing island since President Joe Biden took office. It's also the first since China upended the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's uber-controversial trip to Taipei.

For decades, the US has sold weapons to Taiwan over China's strong objections. While Beijing claims the island is part of the People's Republic of China, Washington does not take a position on the question of Taiwan's sovereignty, holding that the issue should be resolved peacefully by both sides — while supporting Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. But tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan have been rising as the US-China relationship deteriorates more broadly.

If China were to someday invade Taiwan — which it regards as a renegade province that sooner or later will be brought under mainland control — would the US come to the island's defense? A 1979 law provides "strategic ambiguity" on whether America would have to do so. In the meantime, US arms sales have bolstered Taiwan's defense deterrent while China's military budget has skyrocketed.

We take a look at US military sales to Taiwan compared with China's own defense spending since 1990.

A newspaper front page reporting about Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit is pictured in Taipei.

REUTERS/Ann Wang

Symbolism matters — Taiwan's post-Pelosi politics

Now that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left Taiwan, most of the attention will likely shift to how China responds, how the US responds to China's response, and how this all plays out in US domestic politics. But spare a thought for the self-governing democratic island of 23 million caught in the crossfire between Beijing and Washington.

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Osama bin Laden sits with his successor Ayman al-Zawahri.

REUTERS/Hamid Mir

What We’re Watching: US kills Al-Qaida leader, Pelosi's Taiwan pit stop, Yemen holds its breath, tensions rise between Kosovo and Serbs

US kills al-Qaida leader

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday night to make an announcement 21 years in the making: the US killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend. Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man and key architect in the 9/11 terror attacks was killed in the first US attack in Afghanistan since the American withdrawal last August. The operation – a major counterterrorism coup for Biden – reportedly saw al-Zawahri killed at the home of a staffer to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. A CIA ground team, with the help of aerial reconnaissance, has confirmed the death. “My hope is that this decisive action will bring one more measure of closure,” Biden told loved ones of 9/11 victims. He also warned that the US “will always remain vigilant … to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and around the globe.” With al-Qaida franchises having cropped up globally over the past decade, the death of Zawahri – who was wary of the brand’s localization and its effect on his authority – will present a challenge for control of the militant group.

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A reporter raises a hand to ask a question to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Will she, won’t she? The fallout from Pelosi’s Taiwan talk

Nancy Pelosi’s office announced Sunday that the US House speaker will be going this week to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. But no mention of Taiwan, even after she met Singaporean officials on Monday.

This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s skipping her previously announced intention to tour the self-governing island of 24 million claimed by China. Perhaps the stopover was left out of her finalized itinerary anyway due to “security concerns” following threats from Beijing and the cold shoulder from the Pentagon and the White House.

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Jess Frampton

What We’re Watching: Biden-Xi call, Khan’s momentum

Biden and Xi to talk ... Taiwan

US President Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping are scheduled to speak via video call on Thursday for the fifth time. And the timing is, to put it mildly, not good. The two will likely talk about whether Biden will lift some of Trump's tariffs against China, or if Xi will dust off his passport to attend the November G20 summit in Indonesia, and the war in Ukraine. But the elephant in the room is, once again, Taiwan. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's still-unconfirmed visit to the self-governing island has caused shockwaves in Beijing, which threatens “consequences” for America if Pelosi sets foot in Taipei. The US military — which according to the president opposes the trip — fears China could even try to shoot down her plane. Biden is expected to tell Xi that he doesn't support Pelosi's plans, but also can't force her to cancel, which will do little to assuage the Chinese leader. Pelosi, second in line for the presidency, would be the first US speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, a year after the last big standoff over Taiwan ended with China backing down after the US flexed its military muscle.

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The Future of Globalization | Quick Take | GZERO Media

The future of globalization

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and a Quick Take to get us kicked off this Monday morning. I thought I'd go a little macro today and talk about the future of globalization, because I hear so many people talking about the last 30 years of being this unprecedented period of goods and services and people and ideas and capital moving faster and faster across borders all over the world. And now, not anymore. Now, it's all about my country first and it's nationalists and it's insourcing and it's decoupling. And so we've hit this tipping point. Or have we? I don't quite buy this narrative that globalization is over. Rather, I think it's not being driven. I think people are angry about it and it's being fought over, but that's very different from saying that spikes are being put into it.

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