Another week, another American scrutiny. Just over a month after the last possibility of funding drying up for US federal agencies, it faces yet another threat of a shutdown. Stuck in the battle between the Republicans seeking more budget cuts and the Democrats citing Mike Johnson’s suggested cuts as ‘chaotic’, the American government needs a resolution for funding by the 17th November deadline.
In what seems like a Déjà vu moment for the US government, one aspect of funding remains consistent. Defence spending in Ukraine and Israel remains unquestioned, as both sides agree that regardless of internal funding, consistent financing for their allies will continue. This comes as the situation surrounding Israel and Ukraine worsens.
On Armistice Day in the UK, 300,000 pro-Palestine protestors took to the streets in London, as the death toll in Gaza rose beyond 11,000. In Russia, President Putin officially withdrew from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, going ahead and testing ballistic missiles. With tensions against US allies rising, defence seems likely to remain a priority for US expenditure.
Reflecting the state of the US budget, Moody’s shifted its outlook from stable to negative whilst maintaining its AAA rating. This shift comes under scrutiny as well, as temporary glitches around shutdowns aside, the US economy is generally sturdy.
But perhaps all is not lost for the US. President Biden is set to face his counterpart, Xi Jinping, for the first time in a year, ahead of the APEC summit. The question remains as to what key issues will be addressed, especially in the aftermath of several new sanctions being passed against China in the previous week, and amidst rising tensions between China and the Philippines. In another escalation in the South China Sea, the Philippines has accused Chinese ships of engaging in dangerous manoeuvres against Philippine vessels. This comes days after Chinese and SE Asian diplomats resolved to achieve a nonaggression pact over disputed waters.
Elsewhere, as COP28 draws closer, climate concerns are increasing. In Somalia, flooding caused the death of 29 people and the displacement of 300,000. In India, New Delhi was clouded with smog, causing the Supreme Court to stop farmers from burning crop residue, to reduce the worsening of air quality. In the US, CO2 emissions in LNG facilities were reported to have risen by 81% since 2019. This is due in part to the increased provision of fuel to the US’s European allies to reduce their dependence on Russian energy, calling into question the viability of energy-related sanctions. This could also further challenge Western states’ calls for countries like KSA to pump more funds into the UN Climate Fund, while their own emissions remain considerably high. A debate to perhaps come up at COP28 later this month.
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