Meridian Reads: Impeachment, Kazakhstan and diplomacy in space

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Hey there, Meridian Readers. It’s a tense time in Washington and a busy time around the world, let’s dive in.

Judiciary Committee votes to advance articles of impeachment against Trump to the full House

Publication: CNBC | By Yelena Dzhanova and Christina Wilkie

  • Unless you’ve been living under a (pretty big) rock, you’ve heard that the House Judiciary Committee is, uh, not too happy with President Trump.
  • Haven’t been able to keep up with the 14-hour long hearings all week? You’re not alone. Here’s what you missed:
    • Following two days of heated debate, the House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, sending them to the House floor for a final vote.
    • Both articles were passed by a 23-17 margin along party lines.
    • The articles charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for a monthslong campaign to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into his political opponents and his subsequent refusal to allow senior White House aides to testify before Congress as it investigated the matter.
  • What happens now?
    • We’ll see. The full House vote on the articles is expected next week, before Congress goes on recess for the holidays.
  • How does Trump feel?

How diplomacy in space can inspire cooperation on Earth 

Kazakhstan on China’s diplomatic silk road

Publication: The Diplomat | By Catherine Putz

  • Since its 2013 launch, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has become Beijing’s flagship foreign policy initiative.
  • The BRI instigated a growth in the volume of financial diplomacy — encompassing infrastructure projects, budget support, debt relief and humanitarian assistance — particularly in South and Central Asia.
  • A new report highlights Kazakhstan as receiving the greatest volume and diversity of Beijing’s public diplomacy activities.
  • Several of the report’s major findings — for example, that “Beijing’s financial diplomacy is associated with a higher number of Chinese migrants and new Chinese firms” and that its financial diplomacy efforts “can incur a public backlash” — are not necessarily surprising.
    • But they do help explain a cyclical and cynical pattern in which Beijing’s public diplomacy efforts, including financial diplomacy, are deployed “as a means to win over foreign publics and advance its national interests” but certain aspects, in certain countries, are counterproductive.
  • Want to dive deeper? Read the full report here.