Weekly Snapshot
27 May – 2 June 2018

1. Putin to step down after 2024

On Friday, Putin announced that he would not be seeking re-election after his term ends in 2024. This would be in accordance with the Russian constitution that bars people from holding the office of president for more than two consecutive terms.

This is not the first time that Putin has not run for reelection. In 2008 Putin stepped down from the office of president after serving two terms. He took the job as prime minister of Russia before returning to the presidency in 2012. In 2008, Dmitry Medvedev won the election with 71% of the vote. This was because he was endorsed and had the help of Putin. Medvedev was the former chief of staff of president Putin and nominated Putin for the position of prime minister. In return after the 2012 election, in which Putin won by a landslide, president Putin named Medvedev as prime minister.

After 2024 it is unclear what will happen with the leadership of Russia. It is hard to believe that Putin will walk away. He is likely to remain involved, most likely as the Prime Minister. A Puppet will be put in the office of president and Putin will likely remain as the head of the Russian government.

2. China’s Invitation to the Rim of the Pacific Naval Exercise has been Rescinded by the Pentagon

Wednesday, the Pentagon has officially rescinded the invitation for China to participate in their biannual Rim of the Pacific Naval Exercises known as RIMPAC. RIMPAC is the largest international naval exercises in the world. They are held in Hawaii every other year and usually hosts upwards of 26 nations.

China’s continual expansion in the South China Sea, headed with their creation of man-made Islands used as airbases and surface – to – air defenses. This has been a point of contention internationally and has led to extreme criticism of the international community especially the United States. This explicit recinding of China’s invitation is a clear sign that the United States has a strong foreign policy and is willing to follow it.

3. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is using the US leaving to renegotiate the Iranian Nuclear deal

After the United States left the Iranian Nuclear deal earlier this month, the supreme leader of Iran has fired back with his own concessions that he is looking for, in order to keep the deal alive. The UK, France, and Germany are all trying to keep the deal alive, but Iran is looking to renegotiate the terms of the deal.
One of Ayatollah Khamenei’s main conditions is that European powers should protect Iranian oil sales from US sanctions and continue to buy crude oil from Iran. This would be a tall order with the implementation of the previous sanctions to Iran, along with the new sanctions that were mentioned by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Along those same lines, Khamenei also demanded that European banks should safeguard trade with Iran. In an attempt to shield themselves from the effects of the sanctions from the United States, Iran is putting most of the burden on the European powers.

The last of Khamenei’s main conditions could have even more international implications. The supreme leader has demanded that the European powers pledge to leave Iran’s Ballistic missile program alone. Along with not disrupt Iran’s activities in the middle east. This last issue puts the US against the European powers, as Washington has openly been against both the Ballistic missile program and Iran’s dealings in the middle east. Ayatollah Khamenei has said that if these demands are not met by the three countries, Iran would immediately resume its enrichment of uranium.

4. Five Iranians Facing New Sanctions from the US Treasury Department

On Tuesday, the US Treasury Department has imposed new sanctions on five Iranians who have provided Yemen’s Houthis with weapons and training. The Houthis used these new resources to launch attacks on cities and oil infrastructures in Saudi Arabia. Several of these people helped the Houthis through Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, while others were just financing the operations.
These new sanctions are just part of the United States tougher stance on Iran. The Trump administration is trying to economically suffocate Iran in hopes they stop there financing of terrorist groups and stop their development of nuclear weapons. These sanctions, along with several others the United States has emplaced, shows that this new administration is going to have a tougher foreign policy, and is not going to put up with the games that Iran has been playing for years.