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Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China Chinese markets reopened after the extended Chinese New Year holiday, and proceeded to crash because of worries about the Wuhan coronavirus’s effect on the economy: the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 7.7%. Pres. Xi spoke before a special meeting of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee about the outbreak. He tried to make it…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Global Conflict ACLED published its annual report on the global conflicts that its analysts think will make headlines in 2020. It provocatively included the U.S. on the list because of the risk of political protests turning violent this election year. An introduction to the ACLED report is pasted below; you can read the whole thing here,…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Iran Iranian Pres. Rouhani claimed Iran “will never seek nuclear weapon[s]”—“with or without the nuclear deal.” That makes it sound like he’s trying to walk back some of the concerns Iran raised by creeping past nuclear deal limits, and get back on friendlier terms with EU countries now formally accusing Iran of violating the deal….

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China The U.S. House passed “the Uighur bill” 407-1. The bill would require the U.S. president to condemn discrimination against Muslims in China, call for the closure of “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, and impose sanctions on a member of China’s politburo for the first time (in this case, Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo). China denounced…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Afghanistan The Asia Foundation released results from its annual “Survey of the Afghan People,” which found that Afghans are more optimistic than they were last year about some things: e.g., 36.1% think the country is “going in the right direction,” vs. 32.8% last year. The biggest changes in respondents’ reasons for optimism appeared in questions…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Turkey & Syria It sounds like yesterday’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Erdogan went great…for Erdogan. Erdogan told reporters that he’d returned Trump’s letter warning him not to be a “tough guy” or a “fool,” and Trump let him get away with his usual talking points, including asking the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gülen and…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Syria U.S. military officials reportedly watched—and recorded—live drone video feeds that appeared to show Turkish troops targeting civilians during the early stages of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, and are treating the video as evidence of possible war crimes. That’s bound to make Pres. Erdogan’s visit to the White House today awkward. Turkey’s Demiroren News…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

WWII Lost 52—a hobbyist group dedicated to finding lost submarines—found the USS Greyback, which sunk off the coast of Japan in February, 1944, with 80 U.S. sailors aboard. Apparently the main reason the search took so long was that the primary record of where it was sunk had an incorrect digit in its coordinates. Lost…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Commodity Prices Gold: $1,463/oz LME Copper: $5,951/ton LME Aluminum: $1,827/ton Coming Up This Week China celebrates Singles Day—the biggest shopping frenzy of the year—today. Alibaba has already sold $24 billion worth of goods in just the first nine hours of the day, and is on track to blow way past last year’s record haul of…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China Pres. Trump said he actually hadn’t committed to rolling back tariffs on China yet, erasing some of this week’s optimism over a “phase one” trade deal with China. Apparently some in his administration—perhaps including Trump himself—still object to unraveling the new tariffs it put in place. Stocks fell on the news. U.S. prosecutors filed…