French U-turn on Assad?

  • Yes - prior to Paris attacks France considered Assad a pariah.
  • But now focus has shifted to defeating ISIS.
  • France now suggesting that Assad regime's soldiers can fight alongside Coalition-supported opposition groups to defeat ISIS.

Upcoming Paris climate conference Macrosnap?

  • If the terms of any accord are legally binding (i.e. a Treaty), Obama will need Republican dominated Congress' approval, which he's unlikely to get.
  • The Republican party refutes the opinions of humankind's scientific community, and is accordingly hostile to attempts to combat climate change.
  • France has already conceded to the US demand that agreement will not be legally binding.

Global growth macrosnap?

  • US remains engine of global growth.
  • Europe recovery gaining momentum.
  • Emerging markets stay weak as China growth slows.

Brazil still in a quagmire?

  • Yes - economic crisis continues.
  • Political crisis continues too - Rousseff hugely unpopular.
  • Petrobras corruption scandal moving closer to her as investigators arrest corporate, financial, judicial & political grandees.

How has Syria war affected Turkey?

  • 2.5m refugees on its soil.
  • Has reinvigorated Kurdish militancy within Turkey.
  • Has soured relations with Russia, its 2nd largest trading partner.

Macrosnap Russian & Turkish leaders, Putin & Erdogan?

  • Both are authoritarian, populist leaders with big egos, thrive on confrontation, and are preoccupied with national pride.
  • Not a lot of warmth between them (publicly or in private).
  • Differing Syria strategies - Turkey wants Assad removed, Russia wants him to stay.

Explain EU’s wooing of Turkey in attempt to stem refugee flow?

  • EU wants Turkey (which currently has 2.5m refugees on its soil) to become a migrant buffer, instead of a gateway.
  • So Brussels is ignoring Erdogan's autocratic drift, and is showering Turkey with political and financial favours.
  • In return, Turkey would stem the flow by providing job and education opportunities for refugees, and tighten border controls.

Macrosnap Argentina presidential election?

  • Argentina votes for change and moves to right.
  • Conservative Mauricio Macri narrowly defeats populist/Peronist Scioli.
  • Voters seek reboot after 12 years of mismanagement under Kirchner husband-wife duo.

Russian goals in Syria?

  • Short-term: Defeat ISIS, keep Assad in power.
  • Long-term: Syria falls under Russia sphere of influence.
  • This gives Russia leverage in the Middle East, granting Putin his much-desired increased relevance on the international stage.

Iranian goals in Syria?

  • Short-term: Defeat ISIS, keep Assad (an Alawite Shia) in power to prevent Syria becoming a Sunni state.
  • Long-term: Keep Syria an Iranian fiefdom, hence maintaining corridor in south to supply Hezbollah (a client Shia political party/military group) in Lebanon.
  • This would allow Iran to maintain political influence over Lebanon, and the ability to attack Israel (a country which it has repeatedly promised to destroy).
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