CFR – Daily News Brief, March 30, 2023

Image Daily News Brief March 30, 2023
Top of the Agenda

EU Chief Calls for Europe to ‘De-Risk’ From China

During a speech in Brussels today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the European Union (EU) to take a “bolder” stance (Politico) toward Beijing in response to China becoming “more repressive at home and more assertive abroad.” She said this would help Europe “de-risk” itself (Reuters) economically and diplomatically, but that economic decoupling from China is not possible. She also referred to the close relationship between China’s and Russia’s leaders and said China is responsible for advancing a “just peace” in Ukraine that includes the withdrawal of Russian forces. Von der Leyen will visit Beijing next week. 
European leaders have diverged in recent months (FT) over their views on China. While the United States has hardened its own China policy through controls on tech exports, trade officials at the European Commission have studied the possibility of controls on outbound European investment. 

“[Von der Leyen’s speech] is much more in line with the U.S. position than it is in line with where much of Europe stands. Question now: Does Europe pivot toward [von der Leyen’s] position, or away,” the Washington Post’s Emily Rauhala tweets. “[The United States] will have less success with a strategy premised on promoting broader technology deintegration with China because most countries are not following its lead and may, eventually, find ways to adjust. These efforts to shut out China will certainly hurt China, but they hurt the United States, too,” the Paulson Institute’s Henry M. Paulson Jr. writes for Foreign Affairs. This Backgrounder compares how countries oversee foreign investment.
Pacific Rim

Australia Mandates Emissions Cuts for Big Industrial Polluters

Parliament passed a bill that requires Australia’s highest-emitting industrial facilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (WaPo) by around 30 percent by the end of the decade. The country’s climate minister said this would be the equivalent of taking two-thirds of Australia’s cars off the road.
South and Central Asia

Bangladesh Authorities Arrest Journalist Over Story

Authorities detained (Al Jazeera) reporter Shamsuzzaman Shams of the leading daily Prothom Alo after he published a story criticizing rising food prices. They did so under a controversial security law that has been used to arrest eighty-four journalists since 2019, according to a local think tank.

India/Pakistan: Twitter users in India can no longer view tweets from the Pakistani government’s account, Reuters reported. Twitter and officials from both countries have yet to comment on the matter, though Twitter’s guidelines obligate it to hide accounts in certain countries in response to valid legal demands.
Middle East and North Africa

UAE Leader Grants Son, Brothers Top Leadership Positions

The president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, named his eldest son (Bloomberg), Sheikh Khaled, the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, effectively putting him next in line to rule the country. Sheikh Mohamed also promoted three of his brothers to higher roles in government. 

Israel/Syria: Israeli missile strikes near Damascus injured two Syrian soldiers (AFP), Syria’s defense ministry said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes were targeting pro-Iran militias.
Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. Vice President to Meet Tanzania’s First Female President

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is currently touring several African countries and will meet (AP) with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan today. Harris has praised Hassan’s work on women’s and human rights, including her removal of a ban on opposition rallies. 

Germany/Niger: Germany plans to deploy up to sixty troops to Niger (Reuters) as part of a three-year counter-extremism mission by the EU. The plans, which are subject to German parliamentary approval, come as Germany moves to withdraw troops from neighboring Mali amid that country’s worsening relations with Europe.

Russia Detains U.S. Reporter on Espionage Charges

Russian authorities detained (FT) accredited Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on suspicion of espionage. The Journal denied the allegations. He is the first U.S. reporter that Russia has detained on spying charges since the end of the Cold War.  

Switzerland: The European Court of Human Rights today began hearing its first-ever lawsuit related to the climate crisis (CNN). A group of Swiss women is arguing that Switzerland’s failure to act on climate change is threatening their health and quality of life.
Why It Matters: What’s Cracking in the Arctic?As global warming melts Arctic ice, competition over the region’s territory and resources is heating up. CFR’s Esther Brimmer and Jeff Randall discuss the rapidly rising temperatures and the U.S. role in the polar north. Listen Now

Ecuador’s Top Court Greenlights Impeachment Hearing Against President

Conservative President Guillermo Lasso will now face an impeachment hearing (FT) in Congress over corruption charges. The opposition says it has enough votes to remove Lasso, who is less than halfway through his four-year term. 

Brazil: Former President Jair Bolsonaro returned to the country (CNN) this morning after spending months in the United States following his defeat in Brazil’s October 2022 election. He faces an investigation into his alleged involvement in the January 2023 attack on Brazil’s capitol. 
This photo essay shows the extent of the damage wrought during Brazil’s capitol riots
United States

Senate Votes to Repeal Authorization for Iraq, Gulf Wars 

The vote was the culmination of a yearslong bipartisan effort (NPR) to revoke the authorizations for the use of U.S. military force in both wars. The repeals have bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, though House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated that House lawmakers could alter the bill before holding a vote.
At this virtual event, experts discuss lessons from the U.S. war in Iraq.
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