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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

Mexico U.S. Attorney General  Barr met with Mexico’s Pres. AMLO yesterday to discuss the idea of designating drug cartels as terrorist organizations. AMLO has resisted the idea, since a designation would infringe on his autonomy in Mexico, and it sounds like Pres. Trump actually listened: he put the idea on hold today, at Mexico’s request,…

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

Brexit The EU issued an ultimatum to PM Johnson to leave northern Ireland in the EU customs union, or leave it with no deal. PMs Johnson and Varadkar (of Ireland) are meeting today to try to reach an agreement, and Johnson said he was “still cautiously optimistic.” Russia Yesterday’s NYT had a great report on Russia’s shadowy…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong This weekend’s protests in Hong Kong have been rowdier than usual, and police struggled to disperse the minority that got violent with pepper spray and tear gas. Pro-democracy protesters rebuilt some of the “Lennon walls” that police tore down last week; they’ll probably be torn down again. China The Economist printed a highly critical…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

Hong Kong Police derailed a planned protest at Hong Kong’s airport by checking people traveling there for their passports and air tickets, and only letting those with confirmed flights pass. That’s one way to stop demonstrators from rallying at the airport, but it doesn’t seem very sustainable. Guyana The CEO of Guyana’s Office for Investment…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

China Pres. Trump suspended new tariffs on approx. $156 billion of Chinese goods—just as spontaneously as he’d said he would impose them, in the first place. This portion covers planned tariffs on cellphones, laptops, toys and other consumer goods. But Trump’s rationale made him sound more like Santa Claus than geopolitics would imply: “We’re doing…