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Watch List: Sept. 13, 2017

U.S. incomes rise, Russia-China naval drills, Trump to visit Beijing?

  • View count: 15 views
  • Last updated: September 14
  • Total word count: 483 words

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.

  • U.S.: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median incomes reached an all-time high in 2016 as poverty rates declined. We were expecting to see more signs of a recession by the end of 2017, but this data seems to cut against that. What’s driving this growth? Is it sustainable?
  • U.S., China: U.S. President Donald Trump will reportedly visit China in November, according to Bloomberg. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the U.S. in April, but the two countries have made little progress on anything discussed at that meeting. Will the potential visit be important for U.S.-China relations? Could it affect the situation in North Korea?
  • Russia: Russia says it is sending warships to the Atlantic Ocean to fight pirates. Separately, Russia and China will be conducting joint naval drills in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. Let’s check on the current state of Russia-China relations. Could they have a short-term understanding on the Korean Peninsula?
  • Islamic State: The Islamic State is transferring funds out of territory currently under its control to networks in Europe and other places, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. There are also reports that IS is recruiting fighters to be sent to the Philippines instead of Syria. Our model dictates that IS would revert to a cell-based guerrilla group if it lost territory in Iraq and Syria, rather than try to relocate and gain territory elsewhere. Does this still hold true, and is it feasible for IS to relocate its operations to East Asia?
  • Venezuela: Venezuela’s president has accepted an invitation to resume talks with the country’s opposition. This has happened before, but we need to be on watch for any potential change in the government’s position.
  • Russia: Mass evacuations due to bomb threats in Russia continue apace. Residents are now leaving the Siberian cities of Tomsk, Chita, Ulan-Ude, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Abakan and Kemerovo; the Far East cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Khabarovsk; and the Volga cities of Samara and Saratov. Let’s look into the source of these bomb threats.
  • Pakistan: There is some unusual diplomacy underway in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan strategy. Pakistan has reportedly convinced China and Russia to block any U.S. move to slap sanctions on Pakistan for not taking action against terrorist groups based on its soil. Separately, Iran seems interested in becoming part of this new regional alignment. Pakistan is drifting away from the U.S. Exactly how far has it gone?