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China's Extraordinary Covid Protests

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

The World Cup has managed to become the staging ground for geopolitical rivalries this year, with (most recently) Iran losing to the U.S. and reports then emerging all over the media that an Iranian protester who openly celebrated the US. victory (by honking his car horn, allegedly) was shot in the head by security forces, further igniting the widespread protest movement.

Washington eased sanctions on Venezuela last weekend after the Maduro government held talks with the opposition and committed to ending a political stalemate. The easing of sanctions resulted in a green light for Chevron to resume pumping Venezuelan oil for six months. The first of that oil is expected to be exported in late December. That first shipment of crude will go to the U.S. This will have little short-term impact on crude oil inventories and the move was largely political. (We're only talking about 200,000 bpd from Chevron here after a serious ramp-up).

The world remains mystified by Beijing's draconian lockdown to contain rising COVID cases while the rest of the world has long withdrawn from the lockdown phase and it is business as usual, even though cases still exist. For comparison, should readers have forgotten about COVID in the West, on November 29th, the U.S. reported more than 47,500 new cases in a single day, with a 7-day average of just north of 40,000. On Monday, Beijing for the first time hit a level of 40,000 new daily cases. George Friedman…

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