World News Brief, Wednesday July 30

US and EU to impose strict sanctions on Russia; China's former domestic security chief investigated for corruption; military exercises over East China Sea cause flight delays and cancelations; Hamid Karzai's cousin killed in Kabul suicide bombing; Argentina close to defaulting on loan; and more 

Top of the Agenda

U.S., EU to Toughen Sanctions on Russia

The United States and European Union agreed to impose the toughest sanctions on Russia yet (EUobserver), with leaders saying Moscow had not done enough to defuse tensions in eastern Ukraine. Brussels is poised to announce restrictions on Russia's finance, oil, and defense industries, with Washington expected to follow suit shortly after (WSJ), while European firms warned they would take a financial hit (FT). Meanwhile, the United States accused Russia of violating a 1987 arms-control treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile (NYT).


"The West's incremental approach to economic sanctions is working and will have a profound effect on the Russian economy, but it will take time. In the same instance, the political pressures to act credibly and decisively have grown. The disconnect between economic and political timelines calls for a reassessment, with an eye to policies that produce more visible, immediate costs for Russia," writes CFR's Robert Kahn in Fortune.

"The [EU] bloc's security may actually benefit from the ongoing instability in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the energies of potential foes, ranging from Russian President Vladimir Putin to various Islamist radical groups, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly. Europeans have little or no appetite to get involved in these wars, leading critics to grumble that they refuse to fight for their interests. But it may be in Europe's interest to let others keep fighting," writes Richard Gowan in World Politics Review.

"Politically, Russia already posits itself as a go-to country for all those unhappy with U.S. global dominance. These countries are watching Russia's confrontation with the United States with keen interest, and are making conclusions for themselves. In particular, they look at what a country like Russia can get away with, and what cost it has to bear for that," writes Dmitri Trenin in the National Interest.



China Probes Former Security Chief for Graft

Beijing has launched a corruption investigation of former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, state media reported on Tuesday. The former politburo member is the most senior Chinese politician to be investigated for graft (Reuters).

CHINA: Military exercises over the East China Sea are causing flight delays and cancelations in Shanghai and other eastern airports (SCMP).


Hamid Karzai's cousin killed in Kabul sucide bomber attack

Argentina close to defaulting on loan

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