Israel (Again), Scottish Patience, Ethiopia Elections, Argentina Eurotrip and the Week in Review

Blog / Weekly Review

Israel (Again), Scottish Patience, Ethiopia Elections, Argentina Eurotrip and the Week in Review

Happy Friday, Perchers. Remember to check out our latest podcast on cryptocurrency by clicking here or you can read the transcript by clicking here. A new episode comes out about Israel on Monday. Also, remember to check out, our thrice-weekly Latin America-themed newsletter if you haven’t already [psst, first two weeks are on us!}. Finally, if you or anyone you know needs geopolitical consulting services, drop us a line:

Another Gaza-Israel war. Israel and Hamas engaged in some of the worst fighting since the 2014 Gaza War this week. According to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israel “is not preparing for a ceasefire.”  Inside Israel, Israeli Arabs clashed violently with Israeli Jews, causing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to appeal to the nation to “please stop this madness.” Meanwhile, Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett has withdrawn from coalition agreements to unseat current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

What it means: From a personal and human perspective, this story is about as depressing as it gets. From a geopolitical perspective, what we can offer is that it is what happens when conflicts remain unresolved for decades and when demographics on both sides of a conflict clearly show that the most radicalized on both sides are increasingly those with the most power and the loudest voices. Israeli society in particular seems to be coming apart at the seams as a result. A house divided cannot stand.

Patience is a virtue. The Scottish National Party fell one seat shy of a majority in elections last week, improving its 2016 position at Holyrood by one seat. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a letter calling for a joint summit with the leaders of Northern Ireland and Wales to discuss the future of the UK government and how to “overcome” its challenges. Sturgeon said the vote proved the “will of the country” was behind her and suggested she could introduce a referendum bill as soon as next Spring – provided the UK has adequately recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What it means: Sturgeon now has maximum flexibility on when to push for a referendum. Not getting an outright majority means she doesn’t have to push hard immediately and can instead try to build her case and increase support in the polls for Scottish independence, with an eye towards a referendum potentially in 2023.

A dictator in the making? Ethiopia may suspend national elections currently scheduled for June 5 for a second time.

What it means: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has gone from Nobel Peace Prize winner and darling of the West to potential authoritarian strongman quicker than perhaps anyone in history. Perhaps that characterization is unfair – we hope Abiy will make it so by holding elections. Ethiopia already delayed elections once due to COVID-19 – an understandable excuse that led directly to the ongoing Ethiopia-Tigray war. There is no similar excuse this time, and further delay would not be a very positive indicator for Ethiopia’s geopolitical future.

EUROTRIP. Argentine President Alberto Fernández is on a five-day Eurotrip, and the trip is off to a good start. He secured the support of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and had a productive meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who reportedly pledged Spanish support for getting Argentina’s creditors, including the IMF and the Paris Club, to restructure Argentina’s debt. Sánchez also said Spain considered Argentina as the centerpiece of its plan to invest 4.5 billion euros in Latin America.

What it means: Sign up for Latam Politik if you want to find out! (if you skipped the intro the first two weeks are on us)

Honorable mention

The Philippines has directed Philippine fishermen to ignore an annual summer fishing ban imposed by China in the South China Sea.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said in a speech on Tuesday that Honduras was considering opening a trade office in China if it could ensure that Honduras will receive vaccines from Beijing.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sharply criticized Hungary for blocking a joint EU statement that would have criticized China’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong.

A Datafolha poll showed former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with a 41-23 percent lead over current President Jair Bolsonaro in the first round of elections and a 55-32 percent lead in a second-round head-to-head contest.

Anti-government protests and associated violence continue to dominate headlines in Colombia. Protesters’ demands now include a basic income, stopping police violence, and withdrawal of a government-supported healthcare reform plan.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda are setting up a joint military operations center in the eastern part of the DRC to coordinate on a joint offensive against Islamist fighters present in the region.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urging her to unblock the agreement between Mercosur and the EU and to accelerate agreements with Mexico and Chile for good measure.