Cauldron in Syria’s southwest traps thousands
BY JONATHAN GORVETT
More than 81,000 people have been displaced by fighting near Daraa, the last rebel enclave; but conditions in unofficial refugee camps near the Jordanian border are now desperate; Jordan needs urgent support if there is no peace deal, analysts say
Tread Carefully When Tackling China’s IP Theft
Jorge González-Gallarza, E21
The White House is set to strengthen the oversight framework for both Chinese investments into the United States and US exports to China of what it bills as “industrially significant technologies” (ISTs) in a plan to be issued by the end of the week, per the Wall Street Journal.New restrictions to be issued by the Treasury are set to expand the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), the interagency panel vetting foreign ventures that pose significant national security risks. Read more here....
Creating a Bulwark Against Chinese IP Theft
By Christian Larsen, National Defense Magazine: “While penalizing China through tariffs and trade sanctions may incentivize better behavior, unlimited tariffs and sanctions can impose unwanted harm upon U.S. companies that rely on East Asian capital, suppliers and consumers. Tariffs and sanctions can also incentivize Beijing to act aggressively.”
Mexico - What Went Wrong?
by Victor Davis Hanson via National Review
Mexico in just a few days could elect one of its more anti-American figures in recent memory, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Obrador has often advanced the idea that a strangely aggrieved Mexico has the right to monitor the status of its citizens living illegally in the United States. Lately, he trumped that notion of entitlement by assuring fellow Mexicans that they have a “human right” to enter the United States as they please.
AMLO Is Bad News for Mexico and the United States
Daniel Di Martino, E21
Mexicans, hoping for change, have elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as president for a six-year term. López Obrador is a socialist who pledges to “adjust” the free market model and implement new social programs. His election poses a risk to the resolution of the Venezuelan crisis and to trade with the United States.
López Obrador’s election is part of a global populist wave that has shaken the world but runs counter to the sweep of center-right victories across the Americas. Read more here....
Mexican election: The calm before the storm
BY ASIA TIMES STAFF
Despite Lopez Obrador’s conciliatory tone, the radically left-wing, anti-Trump president’s margin of victory gives him a crushing mandate to do battle
Mexico's New Leftist President Is Not A Threat, But The Collapse Of Mexico Is
quoting Victor Davis Hanson via The Federalist
The real danger isn’t that Mexico elected a left-wing populist as president, it’s that the new president won’t be able to govern his country.
CHINA WANTS TO PUNCH UNCLE SAM, WHY XI AND KIM KEEP MEETING & ANALYSIS OF CHINA'S SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM
Mattis lands in China for first Pentagon chief visit since 2014
(Bloomberg) Jim Mattis arrived Tuesday in Beijing on the first China visit by a U.S. defense secretary in four years, as the Trump administration moves to push back against the country’s growing economic and military influence.
Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un keep meeting — here’s why
Oriana Skylar Mastro | The National Interest
Kim Jong Un's visit to China demonstrates that China has been successful at keeping North Korea close and leveraging the relationship to achieve its own overarching goals beyond denuclearization. These goals are not necessarily to the US detriment. If China successfully pushes Kim on the path to reform, then this could likely lead to more freedom and openness in North Korean society as a whole.
China’s Social Credit System: A Mark of Progress or a Threat to Privacy?
No government has a more ambitious and far-reaching plan to harness the power of data to change the way it governs than the Chinese government. Its Social Credit System (SCS), laid out in a plan released in 2014 and still under construction, aims to extend financial credit scoring systems—commonly...
Turkey’s F-35 deal still in limbo, pending decision on buying Russian missiles
BY ASIA TIMES STAFF
Amid concerns about growing reliance on Russian military hardware, US mulls selling THAAD missile system to India
Turkey will spread Islamic terrorism like Saudi Arabia once did
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
The real problem with Turkey is not its relationship with the United States, but rather its relations with the world. Erdogan’s vision is clear. His goal was never simply consolidation of absolute power over Turkey. It was to lead a worldwide transformation of Islam and become the leader of the Islamic world. For Erdogan, phase one is complete, but phase two of his program is just beginning.
Erdogan’s victory in Turkish election expands his powers
BY JONATHAN GORVETT
Opposition complains of fraud and intimidation as Erdogan becomes country's first Executive President under new constitution
Turkey's Slow-Cooking Crisis With Its Allies Is Coming to a Boil
// Selim C. Sazak and Caglar Kurc
Ankara just got its first F-35. It may never get another.
Turkey challenges US ban on Iranian oil
Turkey suggested today that it will ignore the Donald Trump administration's demands that countries stop importing oil from Iran by November. “The fact that we are allies does not mean that we have to abide by all its decisions or all that it says word by word,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. He went on to ask the United States to consult Ankara more frequently on regional matters. Turkish oil imports from Iran surged last year, putting Turkey in the cross-hairs for US secondary sanctions on countries that trade with Tehran following Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Read More
Assad presses assault in southwest Syria, civilians flee
(Reuters) Syrian government forces pounded rebel-held areas of the southwest with artillery on Thursday, in a steady escalation by President Bashar al-Assad who has vowed to win back the area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
As conditions shift in Syria, Kurds open to talks with Damascus
(Al-Monitor) Actions by the United States, Turkey and Russia could be driving Kurds into the awkward embrace of the Syrian regime.
Aaron Friedberg writes: Rather than seeming to accept Beijing’s ceaseless happy-talk about “win-win cooperation,” democratic governments need to find ways to convey the fact that, despite its protestations of benign intent, China is engaged in activities on a massive scale that are aggressive, destabilizing, flout international norms, impose disproportionate costs on other societies, and threaten their long-term autonomy, prosperity and security. - War on the Rocks
Socialism to Blame for Venezuela’s Oil Production Drop
Daniel Di Martino, E21
Venezuela’s tragic famine and refugee crisis taking place despite the largest proven reserves of oil on the planet. Watching it play out on television is one thing. Living through the ways socialism pushes the middle class to poverty and the poor to starvation is another experience entirely. Although I was fortunate enough to leave Venezuela almost two years ago to come to the United States, not everyone has the chance to leave. Venezuela has become the latest experiment of socialism, and like all those before, it has resulted in famine and mass exodus. Read more here....
Walter Russell Mead writes: Temperamentally, Mr. Trump’s impulsive nature puts him at odds with the low-key norms of statesmanship upon which the European Union depends. Stylistically, his theatrical approach to politics strikes Europeans as both dangerous and unserious. But it is the deep ideological opposition between Mr. Trump’s worldview and the postwar European conception of statesmanship that converts this friction into a conflict threatening the Western alliance. - Wall Street Journal
2018 Red Sea coast offensive
Maher Farrukh and Katherine Zimmerman | Critical Threats
To Reassure U.S. Allies in Asia, Admit Mutual Vulnerability With China
By Hugh White, War on the Rocks: “America does not admit that it is vulnerable to China’s strategic nuclear forces. That’s the clear message of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.”
China Eyes Its Next Prize – the Mekong
By Elliot Brennan, The interpreter: “China’s growing control over the Mekong is a crucial component of immobilising sovereignty in mainland Southeast Asia.
Editorial: While President Trump focuses on trade and North Korea, China is aggressively building military outposts beyond its borders in the South China Sea. Beijing wants to push Washington out of the Indo-Pacific, and the Trump Administration and Congress may finally be developing a serious strategy to respond. - Wall Street Journal
China Truth and Consequences
By Graeme Dobell, The Strategist (ASPI): “A lot of ‘c’ words were tossed at China during the Shangri-La dialogue—collaboration and competition, coercion and consequences, challenges and choices. The dangers of combativeness. Dark conclusions about China’s militarization of the South China Sea.”
China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) have heightened concerns among observers that China may be seeking to dominate or gain control of its near-seas region, meaning the ECS, the SCS, and the Yellow Sea. - USNI News