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January 7, 2020

Iran
Death of Iranian General Soleimani Provokes Muted Reaction in Africa’s Giants

Nigeria and South Africa are the giants of Africa, with the two largest economies on the continent.  Both have had long-term relationships with Iran, though South Africa’s has been the closer. Thus far, the official reaction to Soleimani’s death from Nigeria and South Africa has been muted or non-existent, reflecting caution. Though the Nigerian inspector general of police has put his forces on “red alert,” likely fearing action by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or other alleged Iranian proxies, there has been no apparent word from the government. In South Africa, the fiercest reaction came from the African National Congress (ANC), while Naledi Pandor, the South African foreign minister, called for calm.

Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown in Kerman, Iran, on January 7, 2020.

January 27, 2020

United Nations
From Multilateral to Multistakeholder? New Developments in UN Processes on Cybersecurity

The United Nations hosted the first intersessional consultation session between UN member states and non-governmental actors interested in peace and security in cyberspace. International law, norms, …

United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York

January 26, 2020

Economics
Leprechaun Adjusted Euro Area GDP…

The entire euro area's economic statistics now need to be adjusted to remove the distortions created by the tax transactions of large multinationals operating in Ireland and the Netherlands. Headline…

Leprechaun Adjusted Euro Area GDP…

January 24, 2020

Nigeria
Facing Rising Insecurity, Southwest Governors in Nigeria Launch Policing Initiative

In southwest Nigeria (Yorubaland), the location of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, there has been a dramatic upsurge in kidnapping, house invasions, and robbery. On January 9, the governors of the six states in the region announced the establishment of Operation Amotekun (“leopard” in the Yoruba language).

Three armed police officers stand in front of the Novare Shoprite Mall in Lekki, near Lagos, Nigeria, after it was looted, on September 3, 2019.

January 24, 2020

Election 2020
Campaign Foreign Policy Roundup: Restoring U.S. Leadership

Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy. This week: U.S. leadership in the world; the wisdom of making campaign donors ambassadors; and early voting b…

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign rally in Muscatine, Iowa, on January 21. Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

January 21, 2020

Robots and Artificial Intelligence
We Need a Drastic Rethink on Export Controls for AI

Before export controls for AI are codified, the U.S. government needs to assess its past controls on technology and understand the challenges that AI poses to traditional export control practices. 

The hand of humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover

January 15, 2020

Iran
Top Conflicts to Watch in 2020: An Armed Confrontation Between Iran and the United States

This year, an armed confrontation between Iran and the United States or one of its allies over Iran's involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy groups was included as a top tier…

An Iranian navy boat tries to stop the fire of an oil tanker after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, 2019.

January 14, 2020

Trade
What to Look for in the “Phase One” U.S.-China Trade Deal

On Wednesday, January 15, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald J. Trump will sign the “phase one” trade agreement that has been in the works since the March 22, 2018, determination u…

Trump Liu He Lighthizer Trade

January 13, 2020

Cybersecurity
A New UN Cybercrime Treaty? The Way Forward for Supporters of an Open, Free, and Secure Internet

Last month, a Russian-led resolution on cybercrime that could pose challenges for countries that support a free and open model for the internet passed in the United Nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the reception to mark the Day of the Heroes, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia

January 10, 2020

Election 2020
Campaign Foreign Policy Roundup: Elizabeth Warren Endorses the USMCA

Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy. This week: Elizabeth Warren says she will vote for NAFTA’s replacement, the candidates tout Congress’s war po…

Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks to a crowd in Davenport, Iowa, on January 5. Daniel Acker/Reuters