Deadly unintended consequences in Mexico – Earlier this month, we wrote that Mexico's new president was off to a rough start following some early policy missteps. In particular, we noted the temporary pipeline shutdown Lopez Obrador had ordered to combat gasoline theft that had triggered a severe gasoline shortage in several of Mexico's states. The unintended consequences of that mistake turned deadly last week when a pipeline exploded as hundreds of people in one town in Central Mexico tried to collect gasoline gushing from a pipeline leak. The death toll has risen to 94. We're watching closely to see how AMLO deals with the political fallout.
Huawei –Yesterday, the US Department of Justice confirmed that it planned to pursue extradition of the Chinese tech giant's CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canada, where she was arrested last month at the request of US authorities. China warned that moving forward with Meng's extradition would be a "serious mistake." President Trump might prefer to cut her loose to avoid a major escalation in relations as trade negotiations continue with Beijing, but he also faces political pressure from hawks in Congress who want the administration to get tough on Huawei. It's not just the trade talks that hang in the balance – China has detained two Canadian citizens in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest and recently sentenced a third to death in a drug smuggling case. We'll be watching how this saga unfolds ahead of a January 30 paperwork deadline.
What We're Ignoring:
New Vows, Same Old Marriage –The leaders of France and Germany met in the border town of Aachen yesterday to sign a new friendship agreement on the anniversary of a similar one penned by their predecessors 56 years ago. The Treaty of Aachen aims to demonstrate unity and bolster cooperation between Europe's two powerhouses at a moment when the common bloc is struggling to deal with widespread nationalism and anti-EU sentiment. We're ignoring the story though because both Macron and Merkel remain sufficiently tied up with domestic concerns and out of step on key issues like economic and security cooperation to make this new treaty anything other than symbolic.
The growing list of Democratic presidential contenders –It's not that we don't care that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, California Senator Kamala Harris, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and a clutch of other hopefuls have either declared themselves official candidates or launched exploratory committees for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2020 race. But the list of contenders is bound to get longer, and we need to conserve our energy.