The resounding historic defeat for UK Prime Minister Theresa May whose deal to leave the European Union (EU) was rejected by 432 parliamentarians against 202, an unprecedented margin of 230, doesn’t bode well for both the UK and the EU.
On the one hand, a political setback of such a magnitude after two years and a half of harsh talks will likely plunge the UK into greater instability that may potentially deteriorate its financial standing worldwide as uncertainty generally deters investors and business people. On the other hand, in the people’s eyes, the EU could appear like it is actively working against democratic values by promoting a “no Brexit” approach as implied by Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, who asked that “if a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”
Overtly calling for the cancellation of the Brexit – yet voted by the British people in June 2016 – could be considered like “another anti-democratic move” by unelected Brussels-based EU officials and boost the still growing anti-EU sentiment in the UK as well as in other parts of the EU.
According to consulting firm Cyceon, the Yellow Vest political crisis that is currently ongoing in France stems in part from the disrespect in 2008 by former President Nicolas Sarkozy who signed the Lisbon Treaty of the 2005 referendum that voted against the “European project of constitution”. More than a decade later, the effects of such a move that’s been widely perceived as contradicting directly with the democratic will for the elite’s “sake of the Nation” has so large repercussions in French politics that incumbent President Emmanuel Macron has never seemed so close to be defeated by a “populist” candidate in 2022.
If managing to “cancel the Brexit” would serve the EU interests, it could be shortsighted since it would likely grow and accelerate the anti-EU and the anti-elites wave that is sweeping across Europe. From that standpoint, Theresa May is therefore utterly right when she says the government must respect the people’s vote, meaning the Brexit has to happen whether you like it or not.
“Please, get out from Ukraine, Mr. Putin,” President Petro Poroshenko said days after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crew members claiming they had entered Russian waters illegally. “The Russians will pay a huge price if they attack us,” Poroshenko added as NATO and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held special meetings while urging for restraint from both parties.
As Kyiv insisted on Moscow’s “act of aggression” that violated a 2003 treaty that stipulates free access to the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov played down tensions, pointing out “the need for the full and consistent implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures to reach a settlement in eastern Ukraine.”
Although the latest incident marks yet another degradation of bilateral relations after Russia backed a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, the economic consequences should be mostly local and mainly impact both countries’ economy.
Of course, another hot point on the map isn’t a good development for the global economy since it increases uncertainty however the Ukraine-Russia situation has been war-like for years, and the two protagonists are the ones who will likely suffer from it the most. Also, it will strain the US-Russia relationship a bit more.
According to French intelligence agencies and information from daily newspaper Le Figaro, more than 4,000 executives and employees have been “harpooned” by their Chinese intelligence counterparts, especially through professional social networks.
The preferred targets are often executives of ministries or companies specialized in advanced technologies contacted by their Chinese equivalents, at least in appearance, and who attract them with a good offer of collaboration.
In the end, if thousands of French citizens have ignored – or even some of them have understood – the maneuver, both domestic (DGSI) and foreign (DGSE) intelligence agencies assessed that several hundreds of individuals could have been compromised.
This large-scale social engineering operation allegedly led by the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSE) for several years is based on digital avatars – profiles – adapted to the sectors of activity specifically targeted and a significant number of such avatars would populate the LinkedIn professional social network.
The first step consists of establishing at least digital ties with predetermined individuals, this way accessing their list of contacts and growing the list of potential targets as a result. A relevant socio-professional geography of entire sectors is therefore drawn easily.
The second step consists of attracting duly selected targets to China by offering them professional meetings and / or a potentially fruitful collaboration, opening the path towards possible compromise.
Other countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States had already warned about the acuity of such a large-scale spying enterprise.