Stories We’re Watching
Russia imposes financial sanctions on Ukraine’s political elite
Last week Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree imposing economic sanctions on 322 Ukrainian individuals and 68 Ukrainian companies. This represents some of the most extensive sanctions imposed by any country in the confrontation over Russia’s involvement with Ukraine. The sanctions target prominent Ukrainians, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Earlier today Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the reinstatement of US Iran sanctions, questioning their overall legitimacy.
- Atlantic Council: Making Sense of Russia’s New Draconian Sanctions on Ukraine
- Reuters: U.S. sanctions against Iran are not legitimate: Russia’s Lavrov
- The Guardian: Russia announces sanctions against senior Ukraine figures
- Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty: Russia Imposes Financial Sanctions On 322 Members Of Ukrainian Elite
UK PM May Won’t seek Brexit Deal, Needs More Time, but Plans to be Ready by End of November
Earlier today British Prime Minister Theresa May told her cabinet that although Britain needs more time work out the post-Brexit Irish border, it will not accept a deal at any cost from Brussels. The UK is scheduled to exit the EU at the end of March but has faced difficulty meeting targets and outlining a detailed exit plan. Many in PM May’s party find Brussels’ demands to be contradictory to their own. So far, neither side has been able to agree on the precise terms of departure. Among the most contentious issues is the Irish border. Despite the stalemate in negotiations, leaked documents suggest that PM May’s party may aim to have a solution by the end of the month.
- Reuters: UK PM May says won’t seek Brexit deal ‘at any cost’, needs more time
- BBC: Brexit: Cabinet aims for deal by end of November
- The Guardian: Hopes for Brexit deal grow with ‘major step’ over border issue
- Independent: My sources say a no-deal Brexit is likely, but my head says there’s bound to be a deal. Which is right?
US-China Trade War: US soybean sales from the heart of Trump Country down 94% amid Trump tariffs
US soybean exports to China are down 94% this year amid President Trump’s trade war with China. Beijing imposed a 25% tariff on American soybeans in response to President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods. The bilateral trade dispute has led to China’s reduction of US soybean imports. According to the recent Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture, China’s soybean imports in 2018-19 are forecast to decline by 10% due to ongoing trade disputes. Most of the US Soybean production is in ‘Trump Country’—a portion of the US that overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in the 2016 elections. President Trump has commented on meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 Summit.
- World Grain: China’s soybean imports forecast to drop by 10%
- The Hill: US soybean sales to China down 94 percent amid Trump tariffs: report
- USDA Foreign Agricultural Service: China – Peoples Republic of, Oilseeds and Products Update Official report
- New York Times: Their Soybeans Piling Up, Farmers Hope Trade War Ends Before Beans Rot
US Midterm Elections
US midterm elections are underway, and Facebook has disclosed possible election meddling by foreign actors, removing more than 100 accounts, 30 on Facebook, 85 on Instagram. Yesterday, the The US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a joint statement warning that “Americans should be aware that foreign actors—and Russia in particular—continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord.” A report by Haaretz has found that data of 62 million US voters is for sale on the darknet. In other election news, partisan Fox News TV personalities have appeared at a campaign rally with sitting US president on eve of midterm elections. And China has granted trademark approvals for an Ivanka Trump firm, which includes voting machines.
- Government Executive: How the Election Assistance Commission Came Not to Care So Much About Election Security
- USA Today: Facebook discloses possible election meddling by Russia, foreign actors on eve of midterms
- FBI: Joint Statement on Election Day Preparations official
- Reuters: China grants more trademark approvals for Ivanka Trump firm – including voting machine
Japan’s youth suicide rate highest in 30 years
According to a recent report by the Japanese Ministry of Education, 250 elementary and high school children took their own lives between 2016 and 2017. This is the highest child suicide rate since 1986. Regional experts are concerned over the rates, especially given Japan’s aging population and declining birth rates. Some experts note that the figure understates the severity of the problem. Since there were nearly twice as many youth in Japan in 1986, the suicide rate as a proportion of the population has increased by a significant margin.
- CNN: Japan’s youth suicide rate highest in 30 years
- BBC: Suicides among Japanese young people hit 30-year high
- Japan Today: Japan’s youth suicides hit 30-year high
From Deep State Radio
NEW VOICES: WEIGHING THE VALUE OF A US LED INTERNATIONAL ORDER
I’ve spent the past several days thinking about a recurring theme that showed up in the three or four most recent Deep State Radio episodes: a look at the failures and failings of American foreign policy. After listening to these episodes, I felt compelled to share my account how my perspective on our country’s foreign policy, informed both by my personal experiences and my knowledge of history, has shifted in response to Donald Trump’s successful campaign and his presidency. Continue
NEW VOICES: ELECTORAL CYBER-SHENANIGANS: CONSIDERING THE POSSIBILITIES
With the US midterm elections tomorrow, Americans must consider whether and how Russian interests might again use cyber tools against us. It is by now widely accepted that Russian interests worked to influence the outcome of the 2016 American election, whether with or without help from the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump. Read more