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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Joe Biden feels the Middle East heat

It's been four weeks since Joe Biden moved into the White House, and he's already feeling the Middle East heat on multiple fronts. Conflict, nuclear threats, human rights abuses, and diplomatic snafus are challenging his administration's foreign policy priorities in the tumultuous region. What's unfolding there, and why does it matter?

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China takes a “rare” swipe at the US

China now controls more than 80 percent of the world's supply of something that surrounds you all day, every day. And, according to the Financial Times [paywall], Beijing is threatening to cut the supply of that thing to the US. What are we talking about? Rare earths metals.

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Trump's military exit ramp

CNN and the New York Times reported on Monday that before he leaves office on January 20, President Trump will order the withdrawal of nearly half the US troops still serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nearly all who remain in Somalia.

If he follows through, this will be the president's final step toward ending the costly US commitment to fight terrorism and bolstering the stability of fragile governments in these countries.

The plan has drawn plenty of fire from within the US government. Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper not long after Esper had informed the White House that he and Pentagon top brass believed that security conditions had not been met for a troop drawdown.

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Will US/China tensions lead to military conflict? Analysis from Zanny Minton Beddoes

On the latest episode of GZERO World, Ian Bremmer discusses the mounting tensions between the US and China with Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist. As US hawks talk tough on how to respond to China's increased aggression—Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea—Beddoes argues now is the time to pursue a more cohesive and long-term diplomatic strategy. "I would hope that…even with countries who have a fundamentally different ideology that you don't trust, that you don't share, that you frankly find abhorrent, that you can find ways of dealing with those countries, not just to prevent a descent into military conflict, but also to tackle the global challenges that we need to tackle," she says. "And what's really profoundly depressing about this particular moment is that in the face of the worst pandemic since 1918, which is ineluctably global in nature and demands a global response. We haven't had that."

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