This week, 36 world leaders have gathered in Beijing for to discuss China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Nine of the 10 ASEAN countries are represented at the conference as well as four of the five Central Asian countries. This level of attendance shows great regional confidence in the project’s future. Furthermore, 12 of the 36 attendees are representing European nations including Italy, Portugal, and Austria. As the project continues to develop and more heads of state continue to enter BRI negotiations, it is clear that the project will be a major factor in determining the world’s geopolitical future.
The next president of Ukraine will be Volodymyr Zelensky, a 41-year-old comedian who won 73% of the vote in the second round runoff last week. In his sitcom, “Servant of the People,” Zelensky plays a history professor who wins the presidency after becoming a viral sensation. In reality, Zelensky was able to cash in on his show’s anti-corruption bent to appeal to the Ukrainian people. During the campaign Zelensky stood out for his ability to avoid taking a stance, saying he will allow polling to guide his policies. But in the last week he has already taken a stance against Putin’s plan to give passports to Ukrainian citizens, saying the plan would give Ukrainians “the right to be arrested”.
The Trump Administration’s shift in Cuba policy is poised to be the next piece of U.S. foreign policy to alienate many U.S. allies. On April 17, John Bolton announced that the new policy would allow Americans to sue any company that “traffics” in property confiscated by Havana during the Cuban revolution. While the policy is designed to roll back Obama era outreach to Cuba and punish the country for supporting the Maduro regime in Venezuela, the actual impact will be felt around the world. Canadian and European companies have actively operated in Cuba for decades and could easily find themselves on the receiving end of litigation in accordance with the policy. It is likely that the biggest impact of the policy will be a disruption to U.S.-E.U. relations.