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What We’re Watching: Australia buys South Korean weapons, Canada-US trade wars, will Libyans get to vote?

Australia splurges on South Korean weapons. Australia has signed a deal to buy $717 million worth of weapons from South Korea in order to upgrade its military capabilities to counter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. During a visit to Australia, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the agreement has “nothing to do with our position over China,” likely an attempt to keep temperatures low in his neck of the woods, particularly as he looks to bridge relations with the North before he leaves office in March. Though the contract with Seoul is modest in size, it’s only the latest recent step taken by Australia to strengthen its military as relations with China continue to deteriorate. Earlier this year, it signed the AUKUS defense pact with the US and UK, which will allow Canberra to build nuclear-powered submarine capabilities, and also plans to buy dozens of American-made Black Hawk helicopters to up its game. Australia is indeed in a pickle: it wants to build a bulwark against China in the Indo-Pacific, while also maintaining good(ish) relations with the economic behemoth, by far its largest trade partner.

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Flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 29, 2018.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

What We’re Watching: Three Amigos reunion, Taliban are broke

The "Three Amigos" at the White House. On Thursday, Joe Biden will host the first US-Mexico-Canada summit since 2016, when Donald Trump scrapped the regular "Three Amigos" gathering, as it's known. This year the trilateral summit will focus on deepening economic cooperation among the three members of NAF— sorry, the "USMCA" free trade area. But expect Biden to get an earful from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador about the "Buy American" aspects of his Build Back Better agenda, which could hurt Canadian and Mexican exporters. In particular, the Canadians and Mexicans are worried about Biden's plan to give tax credits to US-made electric vehicles. It's another example of how green policies can often raise red flags about protectionism as countries vie for leadership in climate-friendly technologies. We'll be watching to see how the three leaders iron out their differences, and also whether Steve, Chevy, and Martin show up for laughs.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) meets US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC, during his visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly. Picture date: Tuesday September 21, 2021.

REUTERS/PA Images

What We’re Watching: UK wants to be North American, Sudanese foil coup, Haitian refugee crisis grows

Can the UK join a North American trade deal? The acronym for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement was never all that elegant, but now London wants to throw two more letters into that soup. That's right, the UK wants to join USMCA, the trade pact brokered by the Trump administration in 2020 as an update to the 1990s-era NAFTA agreement. London had hoped that Brexit would free it up to ink a bilateral free trade deal with the US, but as those talks have stalled in recent months, PM Boris Johnson now wants to plug his country into the broader three-party deal. The fact that the UK already has deals with Canada and Mexico should help, in principle. But it would doubtless be a complex negotiation. And there's at least one huge hurdle: US officials are reportedly unaware of any mechanism at all for bringing aboard additional countries.

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Trump's Foreign Policy Legacy: The Wins | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Quick Take: Trump's foreign policy legacy - the wins

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It is the last day of the Trump administration. Most of you, probably pretty pleased about that. A majority of Americans, though not a large majority, but certainly a majority of people around the world. And given that that's a good half of the folks that follow what we do at GZERO, that counts to a majority. And look, I ought to be clear, when we talk about the Trump administration and their foreign policy legacy, "America First" was not intended to be popular outside of the United States. So, it's not surprising that most people are happy to see the back of this president. But I thought what I would do would be to go back four years after say, what are the successes? Is there anything that Trump has actually done, the Trump administration has done that we think is better off in terms of foreign policy for the United States and in some cases for the world than it would have been if he hadn't been there? And I actually came up with a list. So, I thought I'd give it to you.

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Ian Explains: A Look Back At Trump's Foreign Policy Record | GZERO Media

A look back At Trump's foreign policy record

Ian Bremmer turns back the clock to asses President Trump's foreign policy record over the past four years. Spoiler alert—he actually thinks 45 has had some significant wins in those categories.

Watch this episode of GZERO World: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

Goodbye, NAFTA. Hello, USMCA.

Four years ago, Donald Trump promised to replace the "worst deal ever made" — known to the rest of us simply as NAFTA, the massive 1994 trade pact linking the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Now, he's officially done so. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces NAFTA, comes into effect on July 1st.

How did we get here, and what does it mean?

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US Politics in 60 Seconds - December 10, 2018

US Politics in 60 Seconds: Trump's new Chief of Staff

Trump is looking for a new Chief of Staff. Apply within.

It's US Politics in 60 Seconds with Ben White!


And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at Microsoft on The Issues.

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