Global Beat: Trade War, Troops at the Border, and More

Photo by Tuija Aalto

April 6, 2018

Global Beat is your weekly stop for news from around the world. Join us every Friday morning for important stories you should know about.

This week, the trade war between the United States and China escalates; President Trump orders National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border; Cape Town’s Day Zero gets pushed back to 2019; and more.

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Americas

President Trump has ordered the National Guard to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border. He reportedly wants the National Guard to secure the border until his proposed wall is built. California Governor Jerry Brown has demanded answers from the Trump administration before committing to sending his troops, which includes where money for the deployment will come from, how long it will last, and if there are clearly definable objectives. Texas Governor Greg Abbott welcomed this proposal from the Trump administration. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has said it is unclear how many National Guard troops will be deployed.

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Central & South Asia

General John Nicholson, head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, recently told the BBC that he believes Moscow is directly assisting the Taliban by providing weapons to fighters. Previously, American military commanders had accused Russia of supporting the Taliban, but this accusation of direct assistance through weapons and funding is a step past where these claims have gone before. Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan has rejected these claims.

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China & East Asia

The exchange of retaliatory tariffs between the United States and China has officials, economists, and the stock market concerned about the potential trade war between the United States and China. After President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports in March, China responded with $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports and $50 billion on U.S. products. The "tit-for-tat" has continued as the United States released a list of 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs, with China insisting it will respond with $50 billion in tariffs on additional U.S. imports including automobiles, aircraft, wheat, corn, meat, and other products. On Thursday, Trump doubled down by saying he will consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs against China.

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Europe & Russia

German prosecutors requested that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont be extradited back to Spain. Spain had issued an arrest warrant and the separatist leader has been detained at a prison in Neumünster, Germany, since March 25, when he crossed the Danish border. He had been living in self-imposed exile in Denmark since October, when Catalonia declared independence from Spain. European leaders believe the case against the separatist leaders should be decided by Spain.

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Middle East & North Africa

President Trump said he wants to pull U.S. troops out of Syria "ideally" within six months. Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said Thursday that the president has not yet given the military a timeline for the withdrawal. Other top military commanders argued that the fight against ISIL is not yet accomplished. Meanwhile, the Brookings Institution argued that withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria now would only embolden Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

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Southeast Asia & Oceania

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji is in "a fight for survival," with "almost constant" cyclones battering the small Pacific island nation due to climate change. Cyclone Josie killed several people over the weekend and flooded Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. A cyclone killed 44 people in 2016 and wiped out a third of the country’s economic production. Another cyclone is now gathering in strength as it moves toward Fiji.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Officials in Cape Town, South Africa, pushed back "Day Zero"—when city taps run dry and residents will have to wait in lines for water—to 2019. The city was hit hard by a recent drought, forcing officials to restrict water consumption by residents at no more than 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per day. The restrictions remain in effect even though Day Zero has been pushed back. Experts will discuss what lessons Southern California can learn from Cape Town at the Pacific Council’s upcoming Global Los Angeles Summit on April 13.

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Stay informed. We’ll see you here again next week.

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