Here is today's foreign policy mandate: The world reacts to the US Capitol Invasion from Trump loyalists, Japan to announce the state of emergency in Tokyo, and Italy & # 39;s government faces a close cabinet vote.
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Pro-Trump mob storms Capitol
A violent crowd of protesters loyal to and instigated by U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers tried to officially confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.
Rioters overwhelmed local police, broke into Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi's office, looted furniture and memorabilia, and ran free through the corridors of the Capitol as hundreds of lawmakers hid.
According to Washington, DC authorities, four people died in the violence, one of whom was shot and killed by police. The joint session of Congress resumed late Wednesday evening and officially confirmed Biden's victory early Thursday morning after a nightly debate.
The events seem to have taken the local authorities by surprise: the police could be seen jostling protesters while dressed in bicycle helmets and light protective gear – a far cry from the mass militarization that the city experienced following the protests against the death of George Floyd during saw the summer.
The world reacts. The international response came quickly. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the scenes as "shameful" and called for a peaceful transfer of power. "American democracy appears under siege tonight," said Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign affairs chief. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has meanwhile retweeted posts in which the demonstrators were compared to those who stormed the Venezuelan National Assembly with Juan Guaidó last year.
That can happen here. If the U.S.'s limp 2020 response to the coronavirus pandemic shattered long-held beliefs (at least in official Washington) in an extraordinary America unique among nations, scenes of popular legislation on Wednesday dusted off all that remained amid armed attack Shards.
President-elect Joe Biden urged Trump to call on the mob to resign, using rhetoric that sometimes seemed to come from a bygone era. The Congress, which had stalled for the past ten years, was an attacked "Citadel of Freedom". The Capitol scenes "don't reflect real America," Biden said.
Other politicians had more practical concerns. MEP Ilhan Omar has started working out impeachment proceedings against the President. Her Democratic colleague, Senator Tom Carper, was more circumspect, warning of retaliation and urging lawmakers to "turn the page". Still, shortly after these comments, Carper called for Trump to step down.
The uprising lives on. As the attack on Wednesday made clear, there is a vocal minority that has no interest in reconciliation. Brendan O'Connor, the author of an upcoming book on the extremist groups that President Trump has reinvigorated, told foreign policy that these organizations are in for the long term.
"We have to prepare for things like this in the years to come," said O’Connor. "I don't think political violence and street violence are going away. This is now part of politics in the US."
This is also part of the US national security concern. A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that of 893 terrorist attacks and conspiracies in the United States since 1994, 57 percent were planned or carried out by right-wing extremist groups (and this percentage is even higher when factored in recent years).
QAnon and on and on. Among the protesters were telltale signs of support for QAnon, which Justin Ling describes as a "conspiracy movement – mass madness". According to Ling, beliefs have become so widespread in Republican circles that "Trump is the new Q in every way."
A coup? Not quite, says Naunihal Singh, professor at Naval War College and author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, in an interview with Jonathan Tepperman, editor-in-chief of the FP. Paul Musgrave argues that it was undoubtedly an attempted coup.
America the extraordinary? It is not easy to say how much the storming of the Capitol will do to the decline of the United States' reputation abroad. This is because that decline was already so strong: a Gallup poll of 29 countries in 2020 found that 20 already had US leadership approval rates that are at new lows or hitting previous record lows.
What we are following today
Kim promises defense boost. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to expand North Korea's military capabilities at the ruling party's congress. Kim said he would "raise state defense capabilities to a much higher level and set goals for achieving them," although he made no mention of the country's nuclear weapons. In a sign of an even more militarized stance by the North Korean leader, officials unveiled the first portrait of Kim in full military regalia at the conference on Wednesday.
Tokyo in a state of emergency. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce a state of emergency in metropolitan Tokyo today after a record number of coronavirus cases were recorded in the region. Tokyo recorded 2,447 new cases on Thursday, beating the previous record of 1,591 cases from the previous day. The state of emergency will last until February 7th. The residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible until then.
Italian government on the verge. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte faces a possible showdown with his cabinet today over his proposals for economic recovery. Matteo Renzi, the former prime minister and chairman of the Italia Viva party, wants changes to Conte's plans and has publicly urged him to give up the reins of the country's intelligence services. If the two Italia Viva ministers refuse to support Conte at a cabinet meeting today, it could mean the end of the government.
EU says no to Guaidó. The 27 governments of the European Union will no longer designate Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela as his term as chairman of the National Assembly has ended. In a joint statement, the EU governments condemned the December 6 elections, in which many Venezuelan opposition parties were effectively banned from participating, and referred to Guaidó as just one of the “representatives of the outgoing National Assembly”. On Tuesday, the United States reaffirmed its support for Guaidó and dismissed the December 6 election as fraudulent.
Yemen U-turn. Rep. Ro Khanna has indicated that Biden's White House could follow Congress to end US support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen's civil war. Speaking to the Daily Beast, Khanna said Biden was a "partner" in ending the war in Yemen, beginning with the end of logistical, military and intelligence support to the Saudi Arabian armed forces. In 2019, the US House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill ending US support for Saudi actions in Yemen, which President Trump vetoed.
Act Doha. Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are set to resume on Saturday in Doha after a preliminary meeting was successfully concluded on Wednesday. Both sides are expected to discuss a ceasefire and a structure for sharing power during this round of talks.
Duterte tricks. Filipino Senator Leila de Lima has called for an investigation into unauthorized use of coronavirus vaccines through President Rodrigo Duterte's security detail. The call comes after Duterte admitted that members of his security team were given the vaccine for his protection in September and October, but that he did not find out about her vaccine until it appeared. The Philippines has yet to approve or manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in the country, raising questions about how security forces managed to get the shots.
Norway is the first country to buy more new electric cars than gasoline-powered cars in a calendar year. According to the Norwegian Road Traffic Information Council, sales of electric cars in 2020 rose from 42.4 percent in 2019 to 54.3 percent of all car sales.
Europe's largest oil and gas producer increased sales by creating generous incentives for buyers, such as tax exemptions for environmentally friendly vehicles. Gasoline prices in excess of $ 7 a gallon have also helped tip the scales.
The trend is expected to continue as the Norwegian government has declared that by 2025 all new cars sold in the country must be emission-free.
That's it for today.
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Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP