Biden Likely To Continue US Stringent Policy Against Venezuela

According to a Bloomberg article published last Friday, advisers from Joe Biden’s team are said to be ready to negotiate with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in order to end the serious political and economic crisis in the South American country. The demand that the Venezuelan President resigns is no longer a prerequisite for negotiations, or so it appears. Citing anonymous sources close to the case, Bloomberg claims that Juan Guaidó, an opposition figure that failed to take power in several soft and hard coup attempts, intends "to run a dueling assembly, citing their constitutional mandate to stay in office until there’s a free and fair election."

Even if the self-proclaimed "President" no longer has the support of the U.S and the other 50 countries that recognize him as Venezuela’s leader, it does not mean that American aggression against his government and country will end.

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Biden Appeals to Bosnian Muslim and Albanian Voters Reveal Democrats’ Plans in the Balkans

US Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has been on a whirlwind campaign in an attempt to defeat President Donald Trump in next month’s election. Published policy papers has shown Biden’s strong support for Greece, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Albania and Kosovo as he seeks to win over millions of Diaspora votes. The candidate has taken a very strong anti-Turkey position in his bid to win over Armenian and Greek Diaspora voters at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan makes daily threats of war against Greece and is directly sponsoring, arming and facilitating the Azerbaijani invasion of Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh.

However, away from Greece and into the heart of the Balkans, Biden is also appealing to the greatest enablers of Turkish expansionism into the region – BiH, Albania and Kosovo.

If Biden wins next month’s presidential elections, there will be no sudden changes in America’s foreign policy, besides perhaps a stronger position against Erdoğan compared to Trump’s "bromance" with the Turkish president. To empower US positioning in the Balkans, Biden wants to resurrect policies from the 1990’s that resulted in poverty, ethnic cleansing and war in the region.

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US Wants To Convert QUAD Into ‘Asian NATO’

Speaking last week at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, US Deputy Defense Secretary Stephen Biegun said that the US wants the defense relations with India, Japan and Australia – known as "the QUAD" – to resemble something more closely to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). QUAD is an acronym for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue" involving four countries – the US, Japan, India and Australia. The idea of ​​unifying four of some of the most important countries in the Indo-Pacific region was launched during the first term of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. That was in 2007. After that, the idea was forgotten for 10 years. By 2017, US President Donald Trump revived it when he started promoting the concept of the Indo-Pacific Strategy to prevent Chinese dominance in the region. QUAD played a leading role in the realization of this concept.

Biegun’s statement reveals that Washington’s goal is to get the four countries and others in the Indo-Pacific region to become a bulwark against "a potential challenge from China" and "to create a critical mass around the shared values and interests of those parties in a manner that attracts more countries in the Indo-Pacific and even from around the world … ultimately to align in a more structured manner."

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France Aims To Counter Turkish Influence in the Middle East By Gaining a Foothold in Lebanon

French President Emmanuel Macron has visited Lebanon for the second time in less than a month following the terrible blasts that destroyed Port Beirut. Macron first visited Lebanon on August 6, two days after a warehouse with 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded, killing 190 people, injuring another 6,500 and leaving 300,000 citizens homeless. The detonation, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, is undeniably the result of corruption, greed and the incompetence of politicians that has become an endemic problem in Lebanon. The explosion has only exacerbated the collapse of the Lebanese economy.

The cost of property damage caused by the explosions varies between $3.8 billion and $4.6 billion, while the economic damage amounts between $2.9 billion and $3.5 billion, according to a World Bank estimate. In total, $6.7 billion to $8.1 billion has been slashed from Lebanon in total. This in a tiny country of just a few million citizens already economically suffering.

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US Control of Alexandroupolis Port Will Not Help To Protect Greece From Turkey

The Greek Private Asset Utilization Fund (HRADF) will sell a 67% stake of Alexandroupolis Port in northern Greece near the border with Turkey and Bulgaria. Two American companies are believed to be interested in the deal. Selling a port of strategic importance to US companies, coupled with the availability of the facility for US and NATO troops, is raising many questions in Greece. The Mediterranean country remains only one in two countries surveyed in NATO where the civilian population is not in favor of the alliance and only 36% of Greeks view the US favorably. An announcement issued by HRADF emphasized that the bid consisted of two phases – "in the first phase, interested parties are invited to express their intention to participate before 5:00 pm on October 2, 2020."

It is worth noting that the signing of a new defense agreement between Athens and Washington in October 2019 gave the Americans freedom to use the country’s seaport infrastructure. In fact, the US announced its interests in the Alexandroupolis Port as far back as September 2019.

Selling ports is extremely risky for reasons related to national security and sovereignty. Privatizing ports means the deregulation of state-owned property and the transfer of all functions and transactions for the private sector instead of state security. What will happen if a foreign investor, such as the US, was involved in the management of ports located in the Aegean Sea, which plays an irreplaceable role in the border and national defense of Greece, especially at a time when Turkey is increasing its war rhetoric against Greece?

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Trump’s Targeting of TikTok Escalates Trade War Between the US and China

U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that could ban TikTok from the US if it is not purchased by an American company. On August 6, Trump’s executive order banned US financial transactions with Chinese company ByteDance, owner of the TikTok app. The ban will take effect 45 days after the executive order was made.

According to Trump, if the app is not sold to an American company, it will be banned from the US because it represents a so-called national security threat. Growing immensely popular all throughout the world during the coronavirus quarantine, the TikTok app has been downloaded more than a billion times around the globe, totaling 175 million downloads in the US alone.

TikTok as a social media platform is distinct from other competitors because its short video content is fun, easy to consume and dynamic, popular especially with teenagers and young adults. Operated by the most valuable startup in the world, ByteDance, TikTok adopts a market strategy based on not having an obvious Chinese connection. However, despite trying to detach itself from its Chinese roots, TikTok still faces mistrust around the world, and not from its consumers, but rather from the consumers governments.

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