The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance.
Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues.
- North Korea: North Korea has released an American student after 17 months of detention. He has been in a coma for over a year. Meanwhile, the USS Carl Vinson has returned to the United States, South Korea’s president is slated to visit the U.S. at the end of the month, and no further details about unofficial talks between the U.S. and North Korea have surfaced. We have entered a period of negotiation, but our model says the imperative of preventing North Korea from acquiring intercontinental ballistic missiles remains in place. So we are noting all these minor diplomatic moves but keeping our eye on the bigger picture of military drills in South Korea, Japan, Guam and other places.
- Japan: Japan’s Education Ministry said it has found documents that could corroborate corruption allegations against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe’s political strength has enabled him to act decisively through contentious issues like constitutional reform to help Japan reclaim its international influence. But he has taken a few hits lately, and this most recent example comes as constitutional reforms are still unfinished. This is mostly inside baseball, but it intersects with our model of Japan as major power in East Asia, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the scandal as it develops.
- Australia-China: As the U.S. obsesses over potential Russian cyberattacks on the U.S. elections systems, several reports have appeared in recent weeks about increased Chinese influence and activity in Australia. These claims warrant closer scrutiny.
- U.S.-Russia: On June 14, U.S. senators approved new sanctions against Russia. We will be looking into the strength of these sanctions and the impact they will have on Russia. Germany, meanwhile, has strongly criticized the move. We need to determine if Germany is breaking with the West’s collective stance on Russia.