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Biden’s plan to tie arms to Europe against Russia and China is not that simple

WASHINGTON – Two weeks after President Biden’s inauguration, French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken publicly about the importance of dialogue with Moscow, saying Russia is part of Europe that cannot simply be avoided and that l ‘Europe must be strong enough to defend its own interests.

On December 30, just weeks before the inauguration, the European Union concluded a major investment agreement with China, days after a tweet by Mr Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, calling for “early consultations” with Europe on China and appearing to warn of a quick deal.

So even as the United States resets under the new White House leadership, Europe is charting its own course on Russia and China in a way that doesn’t necessarily align with Mr. Biden’s goals, this which poses a challenge as the new US president sets out to rebuild a post. -Trump alliance with the continent.

On Friday, Biden will address the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of leaders and diplomats from Europe and the United States he has attended for decades and which has helped solidify his reputation as a champion of transatlantic solidarity.

Speaking at the conference two years ago, Biden lamented the damage the Trump administration had inflicted on the once strong post-war relationship between Washington and major European capitals. “That too will pass,” Biden said. “We will be back.” He pledged that the United States would “take up our leadership responsibility again.”

The president’s remarks on Friday are sure to repeat that promise and highlight his now familiar call for a more unified Western front against undemocratic threats posed by Russia and China. In many ways, such a speech will surely be received as a warm massage by European leaders tense and shocked by four years of mercurial and often contemptuous diplomacy from President Donald J. Trump.

But if by ‘leadership’ Mr Biden means a return to the traditional American hypothesis – we decide and you follow – many Europeans feel that this world is gone and that Europe should not behave like the young American winger in the fights defined by Washington.

Demonstrated by the European Union’s trade deal with China and by the conciliatory talks on Moscow of leaders like Mr. Macron and the next German Chancellor Armin Laschet, Europe has its own interests and ideas on how to handle the two main rivals of the United States. , those that will complicate Mr. Biden’s diplomacy.

“Biden signals an incredibly hawkish approach by Russia, joining it with China and defining a new global cold war against authoritarianism,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

This makes many European leaders nervous, he said. And other regional experts said they saw fewer signs of overt enthusiasm from the continent than officials in the Biden administration might have hoped for.

“There was always a clear recognition that we weren’t going to just be able to show up and say, ‘Hey guys, we’re back!’” Said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, who was in line to become the National Security Council director for Russia but who did not accept the post for personal reasons.

“But even with all of this, I think there was optimism that it would be easier than it looks,” said Ms. Kendall-Taylor, director of the transatlantic security program at the Center. for a New American Security. .

Ulrich Speck, senior researcher at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin, added: “After the freeze in relations under Trump, I expected more warming. I don’t see it yet.

Mr. Biden quickly took many of the easiest steps towards reconciliation and unity with Europe, including the return of the Paris climate agreement, the renewed emphasis on multilateralism and human rights and the pledge to join the disintegrating 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

But lining up against Russia and China will be much more difficult.

China may be a rival to the United States, but it has long been a vital trading partner for Europe. And while European leaders see Beijing as a rival and a systemic competitor, they also see it as a partner and hardly see it as an enemy.

And Russia remains a nuclear-weapon neighbor, as earthy as it is, and has its own financial and emotional resources.

Since Mr. Biden was last in the White House, as Vice President under the Obama administration, Britain, historically the most trusted diplomatic partner of the United States, has left the European Union and now coordinates foreign policy less effectively with its continental allies.

“This sophisticated British view of the world is missing,” said Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to NATO in the George W. Bush administration. “I don’t think the United States is still linked to Europe, diplomatically and strategically,” he added.

This week’s security conference is not led by the German government, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be speaking at it, along with Mr Biden, Mr Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And Germany itself illustrates some of the problems the Biden administration will face in its efforts to lock the guns against Moscow.

Ms Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Party has chosen Mr Laschet as their leader, and he is their likely candidate to succeed him in the fall elections. But Mr. Laschet is more sympathetic than Mr. Biden to both Russia and China. He cast doubt on the scale of Russia’s political disinformation and hacking operations and publicly criticized “marketable anti-Putin populism.” He has also been a strong supporter of Germany’s export-oriented economy, which relies heavily on China.

Germany still intends to commission the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a 746 mile natural gas artery that runs under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia to Germany. The paired pipelines belong to Gazprom, which is owned by Russia. Work on the project was halted last year – with 94% of the pipes laid – after the US Congress imposed new sanctions on the project on the grounds that it had helped fund the Kremlin, damaged Ukraine and donated to Russia the potential to manipulate Europe’s energy supply.

Last year, German politicians responded to threats of economic punishment from Republican US senators by citing “blackmail”, “economic war” and “neo-imperialism”. Many want to complete the pipeline project, but on Tuesday White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Mr Biden opposed it as a “bad deal” that divided Europe and made it more vulnerable to Russian betrayal.

Despite the sanctions, the Russian ships have renewed the laying of the pipes and Merkel defends the project as a commercial enterprise and not as a geopolitical declaration. The Germans argue that European Union energy regulations and new pipeline configurations reduce Russia’s ability to manipulate supplies and that Russia is more dependent on revenue than Europe is on gas.

There are signs that, as with the China deal, the Biden administration wants to move forward and negotiate a solution with Germany, to remove a major irritant with a crucial ally. This could include, some suggest, take-back sanctions if Moscow diverts supplies or interrupts transit charges to Ukraine.

In France, Mr. Macron has long sought to develop a more positive dialogue with Mr. Putin, but his “reset” efforts have come to naught. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles attempted something similar this month with embarrassing results when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov humiliated him during a press conference and called the European Union an “unreliable partner”.

With the attempted assassination and then imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, Mr Borrell’s treatment means Brussels is likely to impose further sanctions on Russia, but not before month’s end of March, and will be more open. to Mr. Biden’s suggestions for a tougher line.

Biden administration officials say coordinating with a shattered Europe has never been easy, and its leaders welcome the reestablishment of US leadership – especially over a more apparent Chinese threat to Europe than five years ago. years.

On China and the investment deal, after seven years of difficult talks, European officials have championed it as an effort to gain the same access to the Chinese market for their companies that US companies had obtained in the part of Mr. Trump’s deal with China last year.

“There is no reason for us to suffer from an uneven playing field, including vis-à-vis the United States,” Sabine Weyand, EU trade director general, said in a forum virtual in early February. “Why should we stay seated?”

Ms. Weyand said the deal sets high standards for Chinese business practices, which would ultimately put the United States and Europe “in a stronger position to have a more assertive policy together on China.”

The deal, however, needs to be ratified by the European Parliament, which has criticized its failure to guarantee more workers’ rights, and is unlikely to end up in a vote much later this year. And, again, officials in the Biden administration seem keen to move forward, given the importance of cooperation with Europe on China.

“The deal could potentially complicate transatlantic cooperation on China,” said Wendy Cutler, former US trade negotiator and vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, “but I don’t think that’s going to prevent it.”

Michael crowley reported from Washington, and Steven erlanger from Brussels. Ana Swanson contributed to the Washington report.

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WHO researcher travels to China to research the origins of the virus

What about cases that appeared before the epidemic in the seafood market?

There was another spread outside of Huanan Market. There are other patients who have no connection to the market, quite a bit in December. There were other markets. And we know that some of the patients had connections to other markets. We must continue to work, then Chinese colleagues must continue to work.

When we got together as a group, the China team and the WHO team on the last full day of work, and said, “Let’s review the hypotheses,” the one that received the most support. enthusiastic was this path – wildlife, through a link of domestic wildlife, to Wuhan.

What is the next step?

For the animal chain, it’s simple. The suppliers are known. They know the name of the farm; they know the owner of the farm. You have to go to the farm and interview the farmer and the family. You have to test them. You have to test the community. You have to go and look and see if there are any animals left on the farms nearby and see if they have any evidence of infection, and see if there is any cross-border movement. If the virus is in these southern border states, it is possible that there has been movement in neighboring countries like Vietnam, Laos or Myanmar. We are finding more and more related viruses now. There is one in Japan and one in Cambodia, one in Thailand.

For the human side, look for earlier cases, clusters; check blood banks for serum, if possible. Anything like this will be sensitive in China, and it will take persuasion, diplomacy, and energy to do it because, to be honest, looking for the source of this virus in China is not a problem. high priority. think for the Chinese government. Wherever this virus emerges is a political problem. This is one of the problems, and it is clear and obvious to anyone who has looked at this issue.

Do you have a particular animal that you suspect right now as an intermediate link, more strongly than others?

It’s too much in the air. We do not know if civets were on sale. We know they are very easily infected. We don’t know what the situation is with mink farms in China or other fur farms, like raccoon dogs, even though they are normally raised in another part of China. This must also be followed.

But if you were to say which route would you put the most weight on, I think the virus emerging in either Southeast Asia or southern China from bats, entering a domesticated wildlife farm. I’ve been to a lot of these, and they often have mixed species – civets, badgers, ferrets, raccoon dogs. These animals could be infected with bats.

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Video: WHO provides update on visit to China

new video loaded: WHO provides update on visit to China

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WHO provides update on visit to China

On Friday, the World Health Organization reviewed details of its investigation into the origin of the coronavirus in China and what it hopes to learn from the visit.

The list of planned site visits is very long and face-to-face meetings are continuing. What I disliked Visits will include the Wuhan Institute of Virology, other laboratories, Wuhan markets, first responders, hospitals in which the first clusters of cases have occurred. We continue to hope that all the data and all the meetings they need will take place. And just to reconfirm that all assumptions are on the table and we are hopefully looking forward to a successful conclusion of the mission. Success in animal-human interface investigations is not necessarily measured by the absolute search for a source on the first mission. It’s a complicated business, what we need to do is put together all the data, all the information, summarize all this discussion and come up with an assessment of what more we know about the origins of the disease, and what Moreover. studies may be needed for the release of.

Recent episodes of Coronavirus pandemic: latest updates

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In confirmation hearings, Biden Aides points to tough approach to China

At Ms Haines’ hearing, she promised to take a non-partisan approach to intelligence gathering. Although she did not mention her name, Mr Trump’s current Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, she has made it clear that she will take a different approach. Democrats have accused Mr. Ratcliffe of giving political direction to the information he presents to the White House and acting more like a partisan aide than a non-political official with various declassifications and publication of documents intended to help Mr. Trump.

“One of the first things I would like to do is send a clear message to the intelligence community that we are supposed to produce non-political and unvarnished intelligence to the president-elect, to his senior advisers,” Haines told the Senator Angus King. , independent from Maine. “The president himself expects this and will expect the intelligence community to provide information whether he wants to hear it or not.

She was also asked several questions about far-right groups and she pledged to help the FBI and examine attempts by foreign governments to influence extremist organizations in the United States.

Lawmakers told her about China and how much priority it would place on improving intelligence gathering and counterintelligence, but also whether it supports an aggressive stance by the Biden administration.

“China is challenging our security, our prosperity, our values ​​across a range of issues and I support an aggressive stance,” Haines said. “This is where we are now and the one that is more assertive than where we were in the Obama-Biden administration.”

Republican and Democratic senators pushed Ms. Haines on the issue. Senator Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, who is on the verge of becoming chairman of the intelligence committee, said he was part of an old bipartisan consensus that wrongly concluded that more Beijing was part of “the order. global ”, the more it would follow the international. standards. Now, he has expressed concern about China’s efforts to influence American policymakers, strengthen its military, dominate new technologies, steal intellectual property, and oppress its own people.

In response, Ms Haines said intelligence agencies should focus more on China. While the administration should try to work with China on issues like climate change, in the intelligence world, Beijing was not a partner.

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Ezra F. Vogel, eminent researcher from China and Japan, dies at 90

Ezra F. Vogel, a leading East Asian scholar at Harvard University whose writings on modern politics and society in China and Japan helped shape the way the world understood the rise of these two Asian powers, died Sunday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 90 years old. .

The death, in a hospital, was confirmed by her son Steven, who said the cause was complications from the surgery.

In 1979, as Japan was emerging as an economic powerhouse, Professor Vogel published the book “Japan as Number One: Lessons for America”. It was a provocative title for a nuanced book, in which he described in unadorned prose how and why Japan had caught up with, and in some cases surpassed, the United States. Among the reasons he cited were Japan’s ability to govern and educate its citizens effectively and to control crime.

Two decades and several books later, Professor Vogel has undertaken an in-depth investigation into the economic transformation of another rising Asian superpower: China.

“In 2000, while I was thinking about the book to write to help Americans understand what was happening in China, I thought that the most important was this new policy of openness and reform from December 78”, a- he recalled in a conference. last year at Ohio Wesleyan University, his alma mater. “I felt the way to describe it was to tell the story of the leader who was leading this.”

The result was an 876-page book on Deng Xiaoping, one of the most in-depth biographies to date of the pragmatic leader who guided China out of the chaos of the Mao years and pushed through reforms that helped make take out hundreds of millions of Chinese. of poverty. Published in 2011, “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China” drew on a decade of research and interviews with the notoriously deprived children of key Communist Party figures like Zhao Ziyang, Hu Yaobang, and Deng himself. Professor Vogel also interviewed former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

The book won the 2012 Lionel Gelber Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, among other accolades. But it also drew criticism from some who said Professor Vogel had been too lenient in his assessment of Deng, including the leader’s role in the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Professor Vogel defended his work in a 2011 interview with the New York Times. “It’s unfair, because in some places I’m very critical,” he said. “The view of many Americans on Deng is so colorful by Tiananmen Square. They think it was awful. I have the same point of view. But it is the responsibility of an academic to have an objective view. “

“Japan as Number One” and “Deng Xiaoping” were written with American readers in mind, and both were selling well in the United States. But it was with Japanese and Chinese readers abroad that the books resonated most: Prof. Vogel held up a mirror to their country, allowing them to examine the transformation of their societies in a new light.

In Japan, sales of “Japan as Number One” eclipsed those in the United States, and the book became a favorite on Japanese TV talk shows.

“It was the perfect time,” said Glen S. Fukushima, senior researcher at the Center for American Progress in Washington and former graduate student of Professor Vogel, in a telephone interview. “For a Harvard professor to publish a book saying ‘Japan number one’ – that made him pretty famous.”

In China, “Deng Xiaoping” has become a bestseller, although several passages in the book have been excised or edited by government censors. Chinese readers devoured the book and reportedly picked up 500,000 copies when it was released in the country in 2013.

As a sign of Professor Vogel’s considerable influence, condolences were conveyed by Chinese figures from all political walks of life on the news of his death, including a former leader of the student protest in Tiananmen Square and a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“Professor Ezra Vogel has made unremitting efforts to promote communication and exchanges between China and the United States and improve mutual understanding between the two peoples,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a press briefing, calling Professor Vogel “an old friend of the Chinese people.” “

Ezra Feivel Vogel was born on July 11, 1930, in Delaware, Ohio, to Joe and Edith (Nachman) Vogel, Jewish immigrants to the United States. Her father ran a men’s and boys’ clothing store in town. Her mother was a stenographer and journalist who later worked as an accountant and cashier at the store.

After graduating from Wesleyan University in Ohio in 1950, Professor Vogel served for two years in the military. He then enrolled in a doctorate. sociology program at Harvard, where he studied the American family. Halfway through the program, he was challenged by Florence Kluckhohn, a Harvard anthropologist and one of his thesis advisers.

“She said, ‘You’re so provincial, you’ve never been out of America, how can you talk about American society if you don’t have anything to compare it with? Ohio Wesleyan Conference.

Professor Vogel and his wife at the time, Suzanne Hall Vogel, who later became a researcher on Japanese culture, soon packed their bags and set off for Japan.

The young couple settled in a suburb of Tokyo, interviewing six families about once a week for a year. The resulting book, “Japan’s New Middle Class” (1963), documents the emergence of the office worker, or “wage earner,” as well as everyday family life in postwar Japan. It became an instant classic.

Returning to the United States in the early 1960s, Professor Vogel briefly worked as an assistant professor at Yale University. But with the withdrawal of the McCarthy era, new opportunities presented themselves for academics to study China. Soon Professor Vogel was at Harvard, where he studied Chinese language and history as a postdoctoral fellow from 1961 to 1964. He became a lecturer in 1964 and a professor in 1967.

He has held various positions at the university over the years, including co-founder and director of the US-Japan Relations program from 1980 to 1987 and director of the Asia Center from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he took over a two-year leave of absence from Harvard to serve as the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council in Washington. He retired from teaching in 2000.

Throughout his tenure at Harvard, Professor Vogel supported a large network of young scholars, including what has come to be known as “juku” (study group in Japanese), which often brought together Japanese students. at his home in Cambridge.

Thomas B. Gold, a former student and retired professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled meeting in the attic of the professor’s house for seminars around instant coffee.

“He would be the first to sit on the floor,” recalls Professor Gold. “I couldn’t believe how unpretentious he was, a big bang like him at Harvard.

For six decades, Professor Vogel has traveled frequently to Asia, meeting people from diverse backgrounds and lecturing in Chinese and Japanese.

As a researcher, Professor Vogel refused to be drawn into methodology and was hardly interested in elegant theories or quantitative modeling. For his first book on China, published in 1969, he relied mainly on studying newspapers and conducting interviews in Hong Kong with refugees who had escaped from nearby Guangzhou to paint a picture picture of the region under communism. For another book, “One Step Ahead in China” (1989), he was invited by leaders of the Guangdong government to see firsthand how post-Mao economic reforms were implemented at the local level.

He published his latest book, “China and Japan: Facing History”, in 2019 at the age of 89, expressing hope that the book – a review of the history of political and cultural ties between the two countries over 1,500 years – would help improve understanding in this strained relationship.

He had worked on several projects at the time of his death: his personal memories; a book on Hu Yaobang, China’s pro-reform leader; and an article, written with Harvard political scientist Graham Allison, containing recommendations for the new presidential administration on how to improve China-US relations.

Professor Vogel’s first marriage ended in divorce. Besides his son Steven, professor of political science and specialist on Japan at the University of California at Berkeley, he is survived by his second wife, Charlotte Ikels, whom he married in 1979; another son, David; one daughter, Eve Vogel; one sister, Fay Bussgang; and five grandchildren.

Like many other longtime Chinese scholars, Professor Vogel had watched with dismay the recent downward spiral in US-China relations.

And yet, he remained optimistic.

In 2018, Zhao Wuping, deputy editor of the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, shared with Professor Vogel his concerns that it was becoming increasingly difficult for the publishing industry in China to translate and translate. publish works by American authors.

Professor Vogel intervened with a few words of encouragement.

“You will certainly encounter difficulties in this area,” recalls Mr. Zhao. “But don’t lose your confidence; you are doing the right thing.

He added: “We have to be patient.”

Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting.

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China, in boost to US, makes new pledge to fight global warming

China on Saturday pledged further additional measures to tackle climate change over the next decade, but said it would not reveal all of its plans until it saw the next steps taken by its main global rival, the United States. United.

Speaking at an online summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, said that by 2030, China will reduce its carbon intensity by more than 65%. Carbon intensity is a measure of greenhouse gas emissions relative to economic activity.

Xi also said China will triple its wind and solar power capacity to over one billion kilowatts and expand its forests.

Xi’s statement on Saturday came three months after announcing in September that China would reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases that have warmed the planet since the dawn of the era. industrial, to net zero, which means that China would remove all emissions from the atmosphere that it could not reduce, by 2060.

China, the factory of the world, is currently the world’s largest producer of gases that warm the planet, and anything it does to reduce its emissions is a key to tackling climate change.

China’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, and Xi’s statement reiterated on Saturday that they would continue to grow and only peak a few times. time “before 2030”. It missed the timeline many climate advocates hoped for: China would peak in emissions by 2025.

Xi said nothing about setting an absolute limit on China’s carbon dioxide emissions, or whether or how he plans to reduce the country’s dependence on coal. China is by far the world’s largest consumer of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, and Xi has continued to develop coal-fired power plants at home and abroad.

The statement was a carefully calibrated move to demonstrate that China intends to move faster towards a sustainable economy, without revealing many details before a new administration takes over in Washington. “I think China is waiting to see what the Biden administration announces and can do,” said Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They’re trying to signal that they’re going to keep pushing climate action forward at the national level, but they’re also holding back.

With the pandemic postponing annual international climate negotiations for one year, the online summit aimed to push countries to announce more ambitious short-term climate plans. António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general and one of the summit hosts, called on every country to redirect coronavirus recovery funds from fossil fuels to climate-friendly sectors. “We cannot use these resources to lock up policies that burden future generations with a mountain of debt on a shattered planet,” he said, calling on world leaders to declare “a climate emergency”.

“Can anyone still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Secretary General Guterres said in his remarks.

Scientists have repeatedly said that halving global greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade is imperative to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change, including the spread of fires. of forest and flooding of coastal towns. In the days leading up to the summit, a handful of industrialized countries set emission reduction targets for the next decade. The European Union on Friday reached an agreement with its member countries to cut emissions by 55% over the next decade, from 1990 levels. Britain said earlier it would cut emissions of 68% by 2030 and announced on Friday that it would also stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects with taxpayer dollars. Canada has said it will substantially increase its carbon dioxide tax to $ 170 per tonne.

Some smaller countries also made notable announcements at the summit on Saturday. Pakistan has said it will stop building new coal-fired power plants by 2030, noting that it has already put aside plans for some large coal projects. Barbados has said it hopes most homes on the island will have rooftop solar panels and electric cars within the next decade, but said its dangerously high debt level as a result of the pandemic made its climate goals even more difficult. In particular, neither France, host country of the Paris Agreement, nor India, a major source of emissions, have made new commitments. And there have been absences, like Australia, Brazil and the United States.

The outgoing Trump administration has completely withdrawn from the Paris Agreement. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. reiterated in a statement that he would join the deal on his first day in office and call an international summit within the first 100 days of his administration.

Conservationists had hoped Xi would pledge to cut carbon intensity more sharply, but the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic may have tempered Beijing’s plans. Carbon intensity has traditionally increased with a country’s economy, and therefore any significant reduction requires major rewiring of the economy.

Li Shuo, political analyst at Greenpeace, said China must take swift action to implement what it has promised. He noted that China’s post-pandemic recovery program is “anything but green,” as it continues to grow its coal-fired power plants and promote infrastructure projects that increase pollution. “

“Five years after Paris, China’s progress remains fragile,” he said. “China’s announcement today is a tribute to the Paris Agreement. But there is no time for Champagne. The hard work begins tomorrow. “

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China to be first to distribute virus vaccine in Latin America, US official says

This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

WASHINGTON – China, already competing for influence in this hemisphere through a multibillion-dollar network of investment and infrastructure, is likely to beat the United States in its own backyard with vaccine diplomacy, according to the commander-in-chief of the army for Central and South America.

Admiral Craig S. Faller, who heads the Army’s Southern Command, acknowledged Wednesday that China is actively making “agreements to try to deploy and use the vaccine” around the world to stop the coronavirus, such as United States, Through Government The Operation Warp Speed ​​program “seeks first and foremost to take care of the United States.

Although no country has an approved vaccine, China has started vaccinating citizens as part of what appears to be an emergency use strategy. Its developer Sinovac Biotech has collaborated with Brazil on advanced trials. Another Chinese developer, CanSino Biologics, has an ongoing clinical trial in Mexico and has signed an early purchase agreement with that country’s government to provide 35 million doses of a single-dose vaccine.

“Listen, we are in a global pandemic and here I have taken the approach that any help is legitimate help is welcome help,” Admiral Faller said in a video meeting with members of the Defense Writers Group. “So I’m not passing judgment on this. If the vaccine works, people have to do what they have to do as a nation. “

One of the primary objectives of the Southern Command is to provide humanitarian assistance, including healthcare, and disaster relief overseas to the region to strengthen relationships and avert a destabilizing migrant crisis. During this year’s hurricane season, which just ended, U.S. forces participated in rescue operations and provided relief supplies to Central America, while U.S. military medics tested troops for the coronavirus during their deployment and return.

From his headquarters in Doral, Florida, Admiral Faller monitors the activities of “external state actors” in the region and seeks to counter their influence in what he calls a “global competition of great powers” that is “alive and well. in the hemisphere ”. “

Of particular concern are China’s port deals around the Panama Canal, he said, “a significant global choke point” in the event of “a major global conflict,” as well as Beijing’s efforts to seek deep-water port agreements in places like Mexico and the Bahamas.

China has continued to expand its presence in the region with loans across Latin America, Chinese government-sponsored projects that include a space mission control station in Patagonia and, recently, shipments of supplies. medical services to help deal with the pandemic.

It has become a major trading partner in the region through its Belt and Road initiative – but the admiral also claimed on Wednesday that China had tried to “undermine local elections, pay mayors” and come up with deals that undermined American private industry through unfair competition. .

The Southern Command has detected one of the positive aspects of the pandemic, in the field of drug trafficking. The Pentagon has participated for years with the United States Coast Guard and other allied nations in efforts to ban drug trafficking.

“There are less drugs in circulation,” Admiral Faller said. “We saw an impact of Covid on the amount of drug trafficking and activity as borders closed and precursor chemicals became more difficult.”

At the same time, he said, the US military and partner countries have “stepped up” their cooperation in efforts to ban the flow of drugs to the United States.

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Biden and China

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Presidents who came just before Donald Trump took a rather optimistic view of China. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and the two George Bushes have all attempted to integrate China into the global economy and political system. According to them, this could persuade China to accept international rules and become more democratic.

The strategy has largely failed.

China has used access to global markets to enrich itself on its own terms. He has rejected many international rules – on intellectual property, for example – while becoming more authoritarian at home. As a recent Times article put it, China has adopted “increasingly aggressive and sometimes punitive policies that force countries to obey its rules.”

Trump is not a close student of international affairs, but he clearly grasped China’s ambitions in a way that his predecessors did not. He treated him like what he almost certainly is: America’s gravest threat since the Soviet Union.

Trump’s Chinese policy had a different weakness, in the eyes of many foreign experts and diplomats. He has upset allies who are also concerned about China’s rise to power, rather than building a coalition with Japan, Europe, Australia and others. As Keyu Jin, a Chinese economist at the London School of Economics, wrote, Trump has been “a strategic gift” to China.

Soon it will be Joe Biden’s turn – to see if he can run China more effectively than other recent presidents. (Yesterday, Biden introduced his foreign policy team.)

His administration will likely take a different approach from China on many other issues. On those others, like climate change and healthcare, Biden will try to reverse Trump’s policies. On China, Biden seems rather ready to accept Trump’s basic diagnosis but strive for more effective treatment. The Biden Team’s critique of China’s current politics is about “means rather than ends,” Walter Russell Mead wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Biden and his aides have signaled that they will not revert to pre-Trump pious pre-Trump policy towards China (although several of them helped shape that policy in the Obama administration). “The United States must be tough on China,” Biden wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in January.

To do this, they will use diplomacy. Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for Secretary of State, said this summer: “We are competing with China… We need to rally our allies and partners instead of alienating them to face some of the challenges that China poses. ” Jake Sullivan, the new national security adviser, wrote (with historian Hal Brands) that the way to verify China’s display of “superpower ambition” and to maintain American influence is to put an end to “the current trajectory of self-sabotage”.

Biden, speaking about his new appointees yesterday, said, “They embody my fundamental belief that America is strongest when it works with its allies.”

Concretely, this could mean making more agreements on restricting the use of Chinese technology, like Huawei. That could mean creating economic alliances that only invest in developing countries if they agree to respect intellectual property and human rights – and trying to isolate China in the process.

The larger goal will be to make other countries believe that the United States is no longer going it alone. “The narrative in Asia,” Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told me, “is that America is out of the game.”

The view of Beijing: A Chinese official writes about the possibility of “cooperative competition” in a Times editorial.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 30,000, prompting Trump to hold a brief press conference where he called the mark a “holy number.” The S.&P 500 Index – a larger measure – is now 62% above its March low and 16% above its level a year ago.

  • Spice maker McCormick & Company will acquire Cholula Hot Sauce for $ 800 million, a gamble on the growing popularity of spicy flavors.

  • Michelin and Zagat have postponed their coveted New York restaurant rating guides for 2021. “Ratings are not appropriate when so many restaurants are closed,” a Michelin representative said.

  • Fox News has struck a deal with the parents of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff member who was killed in a seemingly botched robbery. The network had falsely called Rich’s death a political conspiracy.

  • Wildlife officials have found a strange object in the Utah desert: a monolith about 10 to 12 feet tall, sunk into the ground in a remote part of the state.

It’s time to repeat: It’s time to embrace a less famous Thanksgiving tradition: nap after the big meal, writes Times restaurant critic Pete Wells. Here are six steps to satisfying after-dinner sleepiness.

From the review: In an editorial, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, reveals that she had a miscarriage this summer. After this year of mourning, she recommends a question to ask family members during the holiday season: “Are you okay?”

And Jennifer Senior, Thomas Friedman and Farhad Manjoo have columns.

Lives lived: The client list of Priscilla Jana, a staunch South African human rights lawyer, encompassed both the elite and the infantry of the anti-apartheid struggle. Among others, she represented Nelson and Willie Mandela. She died at 76.


Three years ago, Times chief film critics Manohla Dargis and AO Scott undertook a big business: to rank the 25 best films of the 21st century to date.

In the spiritual successor of this project, critics have once again gathered for a new list, this time of the 25 greatest players of the current century. It’s the artists – from all over the world, spanning Hollywood megastars and art-house darlings – whose performance and online presence set them apart.

The list includes Tilda Swinton, whom Manohla calls “the woman with a thousand faces from another world”; Mahershala Ali, who won Academy Awards for his roles in “Moonlight” and “Green Book”; Song Kang Ho, who played an impoverished and scheming patriarch in “Parasite”; as well as Willem Dafoe, Catherine Deneuve and Alfre Woodard.

Both critics began compiling lists of suitors over the summer. “We wanted to represent a full range of modern acting talent – global, multigenerational, big star and character actors,” Tony told us. “Twenty-five is such a small number, however! The last round of cuts have been painful. Manohla said she hopes the list inspires readers to revisit old favorites or discover new ones.

Need last minute help for Thanksgiving? Here’s how to cook a turkey (and how to cut one up). You can also make cranberry gravy and gravy from scratch.

The Grammys have announced this year’s nominees. Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and Roddy Ricch won the most nominations, and BTS became the first K-pop group to earn a major nomination. Among the snubs: The Weeknd, who will be performing at the Super Bowl next year, and Luke Combs, one of country music’s biggest stars.

Imagine you are in Hawaii with a few easy to find items.

Late-night hosts joked about Trump’s appearances yesterday.

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US cyber command expands operations to hunt hackers from Russia, Iran and China

FORT MEADE, Md. – The United States Cyber ​​Command has expanded its overseas operations aimed at finding foreign hacking groups ahead of Tuesday’s election, an effort to identify not only Russian tactics but also those of the China and Iran, military officials said.

In addition to new operations in Europe to prosecute Russian hackers, Cyber ​​Command has sent teams to the Middle East and Asia over the past two years to help find Iranian, Chinese and North Korean hack teams. and identify the tools they used to penetrate computer networks.

Cyber ​​Command was building on an initiative launched in 2018, when it sent teams to North Macedonia, Montenegro and other countries to learn more about Russian operations. The move also reflects an increased effort to secure this year’s presidential election.

Cyber ​​Command, which directs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world, was largely on the sidelines in 2016. But for the 2018 midterm elections, the command took a much stance. more aggressive. In addition to sending the teams to the allied countries, he sent warning messages to future Russian trolls before the vote, during his first offensive operation against Moscow; he then took at least one of those troll farms offline on election day and the days after.

The 2018 operation was primarily focused on Russia, according to what is publicly known about it. But ahead of this year’s election, intelligence officials described efforts by Iran and China, as well as Russia, to potentially influence the vote, and Cyber ​​Command has also broadened its reach. action.

“Since 2018, we have extended our forward fighter operations to all major adversaries,” Lt. Gen. Charles L. Moore Jr., deputy chief of Cyber ​​Command, said in an interview in his Fort Meade office.

Cyber ​​Command calls its work with its allies to find enemy pirates “to continue operations.” After approaching foreign adversaries’ own networks, Cyber ​​Command can then penetrate inside to identify and potentially neutralize attacks against the United States, according to current and former officials.

“We want to find the bad guys in the red space, in their own operating environment,” General Moore said. “We want to take the archer down rather than dodge the arrows.”

Officials would only identify the regions and not the countries in which they operated before the 2020 election. But Cyber ​​Command officials said those efforts uncovered malware used by opposing hacking teams. . Other government agencies have used this information to help national and local authorities strengthen their electoral defenses and inform the public of threats.

Cyber ​​Command sends teams of experts overseas to work with partner and allied nations to help them find, identify, and eliminate hostile intrusions on their government or military computer networks.

For allied nations, inviting Cyber ​​Command agents not only helps improve their network defenses, but also demonstrates to adversaries that the U.S. military is working with them. For the United States, the deployments give their experts an early glimpse of the tactics that potential adversaries are honing in their own neighborhoods, techniques that could later be used against the Americans.

Information gathered from forward hunting operations was shared with the rest of the U.S. government to help defend critical networks ahead of the election, Cyber ​​Command chief Gen. Paul M. Nakasone wrote in a post. in August in Foreign Affairs.

Cyber ​​security experts have argued that the deployments allow Cyber ​​Command to work alongside partner teams that are under attack on a daily basis from Russia, Iran or China.

“The best way to get intelligence is through genuine cooperation and collaboration with other teams fighting it,” said Theresa Payton, cybersecurity expert and former public servant under the George W. Bush administration. “They will have received different types of targeted attacks that you may not have seen.”

Cyber ​​Command officials said they continued to try to identify and stop foreign threats to the elections after the midterm vote in 2018, adding new partners to their defensive network.

“The attacks are still ongoing; this is why Cyber ​​Command’s continued work with the military cyber operations of other countries is our best way to be at fault to protect US interests, ”said Ms. Payton, whose book“ Manipulated ”examined emerging types of cyberattacks.

Some lawmakers and experts believe foreign influence efforts could escalate if the election outcome is challenged, amplifying allegations of fraud or demands for a recount.

Likewise, Cyber ​​Command officials said their efforts to try to counter foreign threats would not end with the vote closing on Tuesday; they will continue as the votes are counted and the Electoral College prepares to meet in December.

“We are not stopping or thinking about relaxing our operations on November 3,” General Moore said. “Defending the elections is now a persistent and ongoing campaign for Cyber ​​Command.”

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Questions and answers on bidens and a deal in China

In the final days of the campaign, President Trump and his allies are engaged in a last-ditch effort to raise questions about the ethics of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. by trying to tie Mr. Biden to relations. international trade of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, and one of his brothers, James.

Their efforts drew on a number of sources, including emails, photographs of encrypted text messages and other material provided by Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter and James Biden. Many of these documents relate to a joint venture project in 2017, after Mr Biden left, with a Chinese partner. The deal ultimately fell apart.

Here are some questions and answers about the situation.

There is no evidence in the records that Mr. Biden was involved in or profited from the joint venture.

Messages, emails and other encrypted documents reviewed by the New York Times do not show Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing the former vice president’s role in the project.

Mr. Biden’s tax returns, which he released, show no income from such a business. There is nothing illegal about doing business in China or with Chinese partners; Mr. Trump has long pursued deals in China, partnered with a government-controlled company, and maintained a corporate bank account there.

The Biden campaign has dismissed any claims that the former vice president had any role in the deal negotiations or an interest in it.

Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said the former vice president never had any interest in the project. “Joe Biden never even considered getting involved in business with his family, or any overseas business,” he said.

In Thursday’s second presidential debate, Mr Biden said: “I have never taken a dime from a foreign source in my life.”

The messages produced by Mr. Bobulinski appear to reflect a meeting between him, the former vice president and James Biden in May 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. The messages do not specify what was discussed.

Mr Bates did not respond to questions about Mr Bobulinski’s claim that he had met the former vice president. But Mr Bates said the Chinese deal was never discussed by Mr Biden with members of his family. “He never had any conversation on these matters,” Mr. Bates said.

An email sent on May 13, 2017 by another member of the company explains how the various partners in the deal could theoretically split the equity and refers to the question of whether “the big guy” could get 10% . The document does not specify who this person is, saying only “10 detained by H for the big one?”

Mr. Bobulinski said it was clearly the former vice-president.

Mr Bates said that Mr Biden “has never held shares in such trade deals and that no member of his family or anyone else has ever held shares for him.”

Documents produced by Mr Bobulinski show that in 2017, Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations for a joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC China Energy.

Bobulinski’s archives include emails, contracts, business plan documents, and photographs of encrypted messages between the US partners. The Times could not independently authenticate all of the tapes, but the tapes referred to in this article are consistent with previous interviews and reports from The Times. The Biden campaign did not dispute that Hunter and James Biden were involved in negotiating the deal with the Chinese company.

Records make it clear that Hunter Biden viewed the last name as a valuable asset, angrily citing the “mark of his family” as the reason it was valuable to the proposed business.

The documents also show that the countries Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with countries in which Joe Biden had previously been involved as a vice president. A 42-page plan includes a section specifically highlighting former Vice President Biden’s role in facilitating increased trade with Colombia, which is one of the targets of the joint venture, along with Luxembourg, Oman and Romania.

Hunter Biden’s role in the deal, according to one of the documents, “has been essential in building the relationship, conveying goodwill around the president,” referring to Ye Jianming, the president of CEFC.

The Times reported in 2018 that Ye met privately with Hunter Biden at a Miami hotel in May 2017, where the Chinese executive proposed a partnership to invest in U.S. infrastructure and energy deals. The planning for the Miami meeting appears to be reflected in some of the messages posted by Mr. Bobulinski.

The documents indicate that CEFC China originally announced it would send $ 10 million in early 2017 to the joint venture.

CEFC focused on trading oil futures and securing rights to overseas oil fields in conflict-torn regions like Chad, South Sudan and Iraq. He was looking to expand his global businesses, both as an energy company and as a project funder, and turned to Hunter and James Biden and their associates, including Mr. Bobulinski, for help. to find new business.

An early draft of the business plan stated that Hunter and James Biden and their American associates “had forged alliances with the highest levels of government, banks and corporations.”

As of August 2017, there were signs of problems with the deal. Mr Bobulinski wrote to CEFC to point out that the promised $ 10 million payment had not been deposited into the bank account of the US partners.

There is conflicting information that this money was never delivered by the Chinese partner. An election year probe into allegations of corruption against the Bidens by two Senate committees, which found no evidence of influence or wrongdoing on the part of the former vice president, suggested that the CEFC money could have passed, prompting Mr Bobulinski to ask James Biden. if that was the case in a recent post.