RADAR SWEEP Geopolitics Newsletter October 31 – November 6 2022 Leftist candidate Luis Inacio Lula da Silva elected President of
Geopolitics Newsletter October 31 – November 6 2022
Leftist candidate Luis Inacio Lula da Silva elected President of Brazil – Oct. 12
Brazilians elected leftist candidate and former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, as the new president of Brazil on Sunday, replacing conservative incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Lula won by an incredibly narrow margin of 50.90%, and his victory is more a repudiation of Bolsonaro than an affirmation of Lula. He ran on a platform of equality and better treatment for the nation’s poor, promising to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund welfare and housing programs and raise the minimum wage. Aiding his election was the growing unpopularity of his right-wing opponent, whose term in office saw a mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, destruction of the rainforest, increased crime and harsh attacks on political opponents increasing polarization.
In the leadup to the election, there was widespread domestic and international fear that former president Bolsonaro would not concede should he lose the election. For months, Bolsonaro warned that election interference would lead to his loss. After the military supported increasing election security, additional new tests were implemented to ensure fair elections. However, the military signaled they would not support claims of stolen elections to keep Bolsonaro in office, and after two days of silence, he agreed to leave office and transfer power. While some supporters continued to protest his loss in the streets, the transfer has largely been peaceful.
Lula will likely face some difficulty pursuing his policy goals. His narrow victory means that he will need to tread carefully to avoid upsetting a large portion of the Brazilian population. He also faces a divided congress, where the center-right, who supported Lula’s coalition to oust Bolsonaro, is expected to immediately switch sides and oppose Lula. This will most likely stymie Lula’s proposed economic and social development policies in the short to medium term. Read more here.
US and South Korea began Vigilant Storm air exercises – Oct. 31
The US and South Korea conducted major joint air exercises over this past week amidst heightened tensions with North Korea. A recent uptick in missile tests by the Kim regime may signal a shift to a more aggressive policy to gain more international recognition. Read more
Pakistan’s prime minister visited China – Nov. 1
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited China to meet with PRC leadership. This was Sharif’s first visit to China and focused on strengthening bilateral security and economic relations and reducing Pakistani debt. Read more
Malaysia submitted nominees for next election – Nov. 5
Political parties in Malaysia have submitted their candidates for the upcoming general elections on November 19. The current ruling party, the United Malays National Organization, leads the polls but faces growing political and economic headwinds. Read more
Japan hosted an international fleet review – Nov. 6
Japan hosted an international fleet review amidst heightened geopolitical tensions in the region. South Korea’s participation, the first time in seven years, signals a willingness to put aside historic animosities in the face of new Chinese and North Korean threats. Read more
Putin held summit for Armenia and Azerbaijan – Oct. 31
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Sochi. Moscow sought to mediate tensions between Baku and Yerevan following conflict flareups over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russia’s influence and attention in the region have decreased since peacekeeping forces were removed to fight in the war in Ukraine. Read more
EU leaders met with new Italian PM Giorgia Meloni – Nov. 3
EU President Ursula von der Leyen met with new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Melonia on Nov. 3. The meeting reaffirmed Italy’s support for the EU and aiding Ukraine, two areas Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party had questioned support for in the lead-up to their victory. Read more
German president visited Japan – Nov. 3
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier concluded a three-day visit to Japan. He met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss deepening bilateral relations, trade, military interoperability and regional security. Read more
G7 Foreign Ministers Summit met in Germany – Nov. 4
The G7 Foreign Ministers Summit meeting concluded in Germany. Leaders discussed economic and democratic resilience in the Indo-Pacific, as well as Germany’s recent push to sell a portion of the Hamburg port terminal to a Chinese firm, which raised serious security questions from other G7 members. Read more
EU reached 80% gas storage capacity – Nov. 1
The EU has surpassed an 80% gas storage goal heading into the winter months. The new capacity goal was set back in June, as European leaders feared they were vulnerable to winter gas cutoffs from Russia in retaliation for EU support of Ukraine in the war. Surpassing the 80% goal means Europe’s energy security outlook is much stronger going into winter. Read more
Denmark held a general election – Nov. 1
Denmark held general elections on November 1. Prime Minister Mette Fredericksen sought to form a broad center coalition government to steer the country through increasing national security and economic issues brought by the war in Ukraine. Read more
Armenia opposition held major rally – Nov. 5
The Armenian opposition held a major rally in the capital of Yerevan. Protestors expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s conciliatory policies towards Azerbaijan following the Nagorno-Karabakh war, as it has failed to prevent recent conflict flareups. Read more
The Week Ahead
Armenia’s finance minister will visit Iran – Nov. 7
The Armenian Finance Minister will speak with Iranian counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of issues as Iran seeks to strengthen its economic resilience in the face of increased Western sanctions.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Cambodia – Nov. 8
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Cambodia to partake in numerous meetings with ASEAN member states and other regional countries as part of the 17th East Asian Summit.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit his Indian counterpart – Nov. 8
The Russian foreign minister will meet with his Indian counterpart in Moscow on November 8 to discuss bilateral relations and, likely, the war in Ukraine.
Swedish prime minister will travel to Turkey to discuss NATO membership – Nov. 8
The new Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will travel to Turkey to discuss Swedish accession to NATO with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey has blocked Swedish and Finnish membership, demanding they extradite Kurds that Turkey considers terrorists.
US and Taiwan will conclude trade talks as part of new trade initiative – Nov 9
The US and Taiwan will conduct trade talks as part of a new joint initiative announced in June 2022. The talks will focus on developing Taiwanese-American economic partnership and countering China’s economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Contributions by: Wescott Yeaw, Alex Avaneszadeh, Simran Sharma, Marcos Wilson, Connor Elliott, Htet Thadar Aung, Kyle Rose, Ali Slimi and Andrew Alipui