- Latin America experiencing apparent end of "pink tide" of left wing (populist, anti-American) governments, and now seeing possible improved relations with the US.
- Does this mean "Washington Consensus" unfettered free markets economic policies are back in the region?
- No, because China is heavily invested (now the region's 2nd biggest trade partner) and here to stay.
- Until recently ISIS was confined mainly to E-Syria, on the border with Iraq.
- Has struggled to make gains in N-Syria (as strong Kurdish presence up there), but now making gains in NW.
- Also making gains in SW (recently took over Yarmouk refugee camp, a suburb of Damascus).
- US against Assad and against ISIS.
- Currently backing mainstream rebels against ISIS (predominantly in the south as rebels in north more extreme).
- Strategy largely has failed.
- Frontrunners: Democrat = Hillary Clinton (declared she's running), Republican = Jeb Bush (undeclared).
- Other Republicans: Ted Cruz (declared, Texas senator, very conservative, darling of Tea Party), Rand Paul (declared, pragmatic libertarian), Marco Rubio (declared, Florida Senator), Chris Christie (undeclared, NJ governor).
- Other Democrats: Martin O'Malley (undeclared, ex Maryland governor), Jim Webb (undeclared, US Secretary of Navy).
- Traditional loyalties between right and left have broken down- vacuum filled by smaller parties (which focus on identity).
- Last election: Conservative 48%, Labour 31%, Lib Dem 15%, UKIP 5%.
- May projection: Conservative 35%, Labour 28%, UKIP 25%, Lib Dem 5%.
- Won quarter of votes in first round of local elections last month - came second after UMP.
- Current polls suggest it could make it to 2nd round in 2017 presidential election.
- But unlikely to win - so unlikely Marine Le Pen as French PM.
- After WW2, US established Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF & World Bank) - by doing so it underwrote, and hence set the tone for the global economic system (post Cold War known as "Washington Consensus").
- Over the last few years, due to pressures from the right, the US refused to give developing countries a bigger say in these institutions.
- China has therefore set up rival institutions, and recently managed to get US allies to join - represents comprehensive failure of US strategy & tactics of global economic policy.
- Incumbent = Democrat Rahm Emmanuel (former Clinton & Obama aide, famously abrasive & viewed as favouring rich over working class).
- Forced into surprise run-off 6 weeks ago with union-backed Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
- With big money backing him, Emmanuel leading in polls, but "Tale of two cities" race expected to be very close.
- Outline agreement reached, but aim is now to draft a full agreement by end June.
- But still needs approval by US Congress.
- Could go either way - Republicans & some Democrats opposed to it.
- Round one goes to China as approx. 50 countries poised to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
- Round two will be about US proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12 country trade deal that excludes China.
- But progress on TPP has been bumpy - likely it will be watered down & possibly might not even happen - would be very embarrassing for the US.