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August 21-27

Annika Lilja

Aug 28, 2023

The Republican Primary Debate, The Death of Prigozhin, Wildfires in Greece, BRICS Expands

Top Story from the US: The First Republican Primary Debate

On Wednesday, the first Republican primary debate for the 2024 Presidential election was held. Those in attendance included: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, and Asa Hutchinson (listed in order of their polling numbers as of August 28th). Notably, the Republican front-runner, former President Trump, wasn’t in attendance. 

If you didn’t watch the debate, here are the three biggest takeaways:

  • Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur, was essentially the stand-in for Trump. Ramaswamy’s tactic was pretty clear: to be as controversial as possible and dominate the screen time. 

    • During the debate, he called climate change a “hoax” and went on to describe his position believing that no government action to slow emissions should occur. 

    • He also promised to pardon Trump. 

  • Ron DeSantis, who is polling in second place, faded into the background of the debate. There was chatter before the debate that DeSantis would be a punching bag of sorts during the debate, and that simply didn’t happen. When all the candidates were asked by the moderators if they would support Trump after a conviction (with a raise of hands), Ron DeSantis appeared to pause, look around to see if the other candidates would raise their hands, and then raise his own.

  • Haley laid out a general election message, meaning she was more moderate in her policy stances. Rather than trying to appeal to the far-right audience that a Republican primary entailed, she presented herself as being more “pragmatic” (The New York Times). She was quick to criticize how both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the economic state of the country. Although pro-abortion, she made an appeal to lawmakers to stop demonizing abortion and also showed her support for greater access to contraceptives. 

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Top Story from Asia: The Death of Prigozhin

On Wednesday, the Wagner mercenary group leader, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who led the rebellion against Putin just weeks ago, was killed in a plane crash along with ten others. 

According to the Washington Post, “The U.S. intelligence community is examining the possibility that an explosion brought down the plane, with many in Russia’s elite convinced Prigozhin’s death was an assassination ordered by the Kremlin.” 

On the following Thursday, President Putin spoke about Prigozhin in the past tense, although Russia’s Investigative Committee had yet to confirm Prigozhin’s death (which happened on Sunday). 

It is important to note that although there is suspicion, there is no official proof of who or what is behind the crash.

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Top Story from Europe: Wildfires in Greece

In yet another display of terrible weather due to the climate crisis, Greece has been struggling with wildfires over this past week. To grasp the scale of these fires, understand that in the span of five days, there were 350 fires (The New York Times). The Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection of Greece, Vassilis Kikilias, stated that “it is the worst summer for fires since records began.”

Between the extreme heat of this summer, gale-force winds, and dry conditions, Greece had all the makings of a disaster that has caused these terrible fires.

Between the wildfires in Canada, Hawaii, and now Greece, let this serve as a reminder that the climate crisis is indeed a true crisis that is already showing effects. 

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Top International Relations Story: BRICS Expands

BRICS, a group of nations with emerging economies, invited six more countries to join its group on Thursday, in search of greater political and economic power. The group, which draws its name from its members (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) invited Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Argentina, and Ethiopia into the fold. 

Here are the biggest geopolitical implications:

  • The addition of Iran into the group, an anti-American nation, and a supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is serving Russia by helping reduce the country’s isolation after its aggression in Ukraine. 

  • The expansion is also going to help China access more economic and political power as it faces its own economic issues (check out the last ATP Wrap-Up for more information). 

  • India and Brazil, “leaders of the so-called Global South” have been put in a difficult spot because of the expansion (The New York Times). The two countries “want to preserve their freedom of action between Washington and Beijing,” and the expansion of BRICS might be a threat to that goal (The New York Times).

Where our information is from, and where you can go to for more details:

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