World

Can President Trump bring the Iranians to the negotiating table?

Well certainly better than John Bolton can. Trump is the guy that said that actually it wasn't such a big deal that these two tankers were hit. He's more concerned about the nuclear issue. He would like the Iranians to talk. The Iranians, meanwhile, have to show a little bit of strength before they'd be willing to negotiate. And still they're under a lot of pressure. I think it's possible that they'll start talking but not until they get out of the nuclear deal - they break through the new uranium enrichment.

Is Hong Kong a big thorn in President Xi's side?

No question and the timing is horrible. I mean 2 million people demonstrating making the Chinese government back down on this extradition law and now they've got the G20 meeting and are they going to negotiate or not with President Trump? Harder for the Chinese to look in any way weak or take risks with the Americans because of what's happening right now in Hong Kong. But keep in mind, mainland Chinese are not really aware of these demonstrations.

Will Mohammed Morsi's death lead to protests in Egypt?

On balance, no. But it'll probably lead to more terrorism from Islamic extremists and I think that is the danger. This guy was not given appropriate medical treatment while he was being held and now in court he's dead and there's no question that a lot of his supporters who themselves have been on the more extreme side are really going to be unhappy. So I'd watch out for that.

Is Sudan descending into chaos?

Nickelback has no clue. My view is yeah of course it is because the transition that the military wants is an Egypt-style Arab Spring where Bashir is gone but they stay. Having now descended into serious violence the people not happy with that. They want to at least see those responsible for the violence also gone. It's getting dicier.

Can Japan be a broker between Iran and the US?

Premier Abe is doing a pretty good job in carrying some water for President Trump. They were supposed to go to Iran last year. He actually canceled on the trip because the relationship was getting pretty broken. Now he's going, not to improve direct bilateral relations, but instead to try to see if he can get Trump and the Iranian Supreme Leader to actually meet. I'd be interested to see if Trump were to meet with the Iranians would be the Supreme Leader or the Iranian president? No one really talked about that but Abe is certain it's going to look good from both countries perspective as a consequence they're going.

How serious are the protests in Hong Kong?

Pretty serious. The protests say a million people on the streets even the Government admits it's almost half that. Biggest we've seen since the Umbrella Revolution maybe since the handover over 25 years ago. The Chinese government in Beijing says push ahead on this extradition law which means any Hong Konger on the streets can be moved and tried in China. The people very unhappy about that, the government get really squeezed. But ultimately mainland China has a lot more influence today over Hong Kong, than it did 5, 10, 20 years ago.

Are Xi and Putin in a new superpower bromance?

No. No, they're not. They both dislike the West and the United States for different reasons. But China is actually aligned with global stability. They see themselves as increasingly the world's new superpower. The Russians are in decline. They are angry at the United States. They are revisionist and want to break things internationally. Plus they don't really trust each other so over time that relation becomes more challenging.

Will President Trump impose tariffs on Mexico?

Well he says he's going to but the Mexicans are not taking the bait. They're going to do everything possible to try to come up with a deal on immigration. Make Trump feel like they're listening. They get hurt massively if the Americans put tariffs on them much more vulnerable than the Chinese are. Maybe you get the 5 percent. I'd be really stunned if we actually move towards the 25 percent. I think we'll get through this.

Is this the end of Netanyahu?

It's real close. I mean you're now going to have a prime ministerthat has to run again in elections and this time around he's going to be sitting with an indictment on him. He's not going to be able to push that off. He has undermined a lot of his own coalition party members by offering, when he was you know really concerned, cabinet positions for the left even. I think he's burned a lot of bridges. I think it's going to be harder for Netanyahu to do well come September.

Will Boris Johnson be the next UK Prime Minister?

He is certainly odds-on-favorite. And the fact that he is a hard line Brexiteer and a very charismatic one, especially after Nigel Farage's Brexit party did particularly well in the European elections, means there are a lot of Tories that want to keep the Conservative Party together that are going end up supporting him. It is his to lose. He is very capable though of losing it.

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Did the Philippine midterm election strengthen Duterte?

It certainly did. He won almost all the Senate seats that were up. He has the ability now to move ahead with constitutional reform. Something that has been challenging for him. Any economic and pro-investment pieces he wants to do, also aligning more with China because he wants more inbound investment. Even though it's not all that popular domestically. His drug war on the other hand is quite popular domestically. It's not internationally and certainly not with the drug lords.

How likely is a conflict in the Persian Gulf?

It's getting a little bit more likely. The Iranian economy is falling apart. The Americans are pressing and the Europeans can't help very much. And that means the Iranians are starting to pull themselves out of the nuclear deal something they really wanted to avoid doing. They were hoping they could last Trump out of one term administration. That means that the potential for an accident leading to escalation is growing still not likely but it's absolute something to worry about.

Where does the US-China trade war go from here?

Well it goes to Tokyo, where Trump and Xi Jinping are going to be meeting at the G20 summit. We've got to be worried about that, but I'm still kind of optimistic because the next round of tariffs, if they were to hit, are the ones that go directly on all the goods Americans buy - the iPhone for example - lots of things from China you see those prices go up. It's going to be much worse than what we've seen so far. I suspect that on balance it's close. It's not easy. It's publicly difficult. But I still think on balance we're going to end up with a deal between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.

Is global cooperation on climate change possible?

Sure, it's possible and as it gets worse, increasingly populations around the world, especially young people, are making it a priority. We've seen it in Finland, we see it in Australia. We see it even among left and right among young people the United States. That makes me feel, over time, we're going to see more cooperation.

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What do Spain's election tell us about populism in Europe?

It says that populism is continuing to grow. The VOX party on the far right for the first time breaks through 10%. They are in Parliament, they've got 24 seats, and like so many other countries across Europe that's something that is continuing to grow. Their popularity is mostly in the south, where all of those North African immigrants are coming in.

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Are religious tensions rising in Sri Lanka?

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