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Peru Scandal, Trouble in the South China Sea, Flooding in Canada, Russian Military, ISIS in Africa, and the Week in Review

Blog / Weekly Review

Peru Scandal, Trouble in the South China Sea, Flooding in Canada, Russian Military, ISIS in Africa, and the Week in Review

Peru’s next scandal. Peruvian President Pedro Castillo faces yet another scandal, this time related to allegations that he wanted his Minister of Defense, Walter Ayala, to offer promotions to two military officers to assume the positions of army general commander and air force general commander. Ayala took the step of resigning in protest this week, declaring “basta de politiquería” – enough politicking!

What it means: We’ve got you covered on all things Latin America with our thrice-weekly Latin America geopolitics-themed newsletter. Costs about ~1 beer a month!

Trouble in the South China Sea. Three Chinese coast guard vessels blocked Philippine boats from transporting food to military personnel at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, including firing water cannons at the boats. The Philippines filed a formal diplomatic protest against China. The exchange comes as U.S. and Philippine officials were meeting in Washington as part of a regularly scheduled Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

What it means: The most likely near-term scenario for a military conflict in the South China Sea is a China-Philippines dispute. China wants to test just how ironclad the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines is without starting a war. This concerns us more than the war of words over Taiwan in recent months.

Flooding in Canada. Severe flooding and mudslides in British Columbia destroyed highways and railway links to Vancouver. The disaster has also disrupted operations at Vancouver’s main port, with no clear timetable for repair and duration of the disruption. Canadian military forces are transporting supplies to Vancouver and rural areas in the region. The floods have also killed thousands of animals, crippling local agriculture, including half the dairy farms in the region.

What it means: British Columbia received a month’s worth of rain in two days. The scale of the damage is shocking and will affect the Canadian economy for years to come. Our thoughts are with our Canadian friends – those of us Perch employees in New Orleans know a thing or two about the devastating and long-lasting impact of flooding.

Russian military build-up near Ukraine. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia was in the midst of a “large and unusual build- up” of military forces at the border with Ukraine. Russia accused NATO of violating Russia’s interests in the Black Sea. Putin also released a new decree promising Russian support to Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine’s breakaway regions.

What it means: If Russia were actually about to invade Ukraine, we doubt it would be so brazen about its troop movements – and that it would launch an invasion in the dead of winter. That said, even we are chastened slightly by the size of the Russian mobilization.

ISIS in Africa. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for multiple bombings in Uganda’s capital of Kampala, which left at least three dead. Uganda blamed groups tied to the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist extremist group that operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What it means: The targets of the attacks were a police station and the parliament building – not exactly soft targets. We’ve been concerned for months that Islamist violence in Mozambique might be a sign of things to come in East Africa. This is a disturbing attack for that trend.

Honorable mention

China appointed a potato scientist as head of the State Anti-Monopoly Bureau.

Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in skirmishes that left up to 20 soldiers dead.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised to “save our people from interest rates.” The Central Bank of Turkey cut the one-week repo rate by 100 basis points, from 16 percent to 15 percent.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta traveled to Ethiopia to push for an end to the country’s civil war with its ethnic Tigrays.

Officials from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan met to coordinate operations in the South China Sea and underscore a commitment to advancing democratic values, only for the South Korean and Japanese officials to refuse to attend a joint press conference after the meeting.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency suspended the certification process for Nord Stream 2.

Belarus cleared migrant camps at the border with Poland.