U.S. strategic competitors – China, North Korea, Russia and Iran – have proved resilient in the face of adversity. China, where we have cataloged rumors of weakness in recent weeks, launched a government-backed investigation into domestic production of faulty vaccines. This may seem like tabloid fodder, especially compared to President Xi Jinping’s visit to Africa and other stories, but the government’s willingness to take on a scandal affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the full light of day and in the midst of an intensifying trade war could say a great deal about China’s confidence (or lack thereof) in the legitimacy of its government.
North Korean state media warned the country to brace for rough economic times ahead as the Trump administration expressed frustration at the pace of progress in the U.S.-North Korea negotiation process. This may suggest North Korea is prepared to drive a hard bargain.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a full-length intervi