Why Indonesia Matters | The Lockdown Bonfire of Britain’s Freedoms | Is Colombia Trapped in “War Mode?”, and more

It could have been so much worse. For over a year, Brazilians have been bracing for impact. Again and again, Bolsonaro told his millions of impassioned followers that they would accept no result but victory. He repeated baseless claims that the election would be rigged ahead of the vote, going so far as to say he could only envision three outcomes: prison, death or victory. As a result, die-hard followers in Brazil’s trucking industry were out in force last week, blocking roads and highways all around the country, certain the election had been stolen even if their hero wouldn’t say so out loud. Bolsonaro could have fanned the flames. Everyone expected him to fan the flames.
But he didn’t. Instead, he gently guided his followers to protest in law-abiding ways. The old dread that he would rather torch the country than hand it over to Lula has abated. Victory passed Bolsonaro by… and all of a sudden, prison or death started to look distinctly less appealing as alternatives.

The Failure of FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried Will Leave Deep Scars  (Economist)
Much of crypto is just a casino—and thus high-octane, shiny and tempting. Mr Bankman-Fried positioned himself as the champion for the less dubious end of the industry. But it is now clear he actually ran one of the most dubious casinos of all. With his empire in ruins, crypto advocates must hope it is the underlying technology’s turn to shine.

UK Blocks Chipmaker’s Sale to Chinese Firm, Citing Security  (AP / Phys.org)
The British government has blocked a Chinese-owned company’s takeover of a Wales-based microchip maker, calling it a risk to national security.
Nexperia, a Netherlands-based firm owned by China’s Wingtech, announced last year that it had acquired a 100% stake in Newport Wafer Fab, one of Britain’s biggest semiconductor manufacturers.
The government said late Wednesday that Business Secretary Grant Shapps issued an order “requiring Nexperia to sell at least 86% of Newport Wafer Fab to prevent against potential national security risks.”

Is Colombia Trapped in “War Mode?” In Wake of Truth Commission, New Leftist Government Recalibrates US Ties  (Daniel Marín-López, Just Security)
The United States and Colombia’s first leftist government are navigating a new relationship against the backdrop of a truth commission report that was scathingly critical of both countries’ policies and conduct during six decades of conflict in Colombia. The report outlined, among other failures, how U.S. policies helped cement a destructive Colombian national security doctrine. The findings make clear that the only way the two countries can carve a more constructive joint path forward is to acknowledge longstanding struggles. They must grapple especially with legacy issues such as a colonial mindset and a pernicious security paradigm dominated by counterinsurgency strategies and the so-called “war on drugs.”
The 9,000-page, 13-volume report from Colombia’s Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition (Truth Commission), released in June, documented the toll of the fighting between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and made recommendations for how to avoid repeating the pattern in the future. The commission based its findings on years of research and testimony from more than 28,000 citizens, including survivors, perpetrators, officials, and experts. Among the commission’s sources were more than 13,000 declassified U.S. government documents gathered by the Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization National Security Archive and published on the website of the Truth Commission.
Among the commission’s many criticisms of the Colombian government and the U.S. role as its erstwhile partner in the conflict was the persistent U.S. demands to extradite certain rebel leaders as part of the “war on drugs.” That pattern continued even after the landmark 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC that guaranteed that former FARC guerrillas who laid down their arms and agreed to appear before a special war crimes court (known as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, or JEP for its Spanish acronym) would not be extradited. The commission clearly saw the extradition push as a spoiler of the peace agreement with the FARC, some of whose leaders have become disillusioned and returned to the fight.

Russia’s Apoplexy Over Biological Research – Implications for the BTWC and Its Articles V and VI  (J. P. Zanders, The Trench)
Since the summer, Russia has been adding chapters to the history of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) with its allegations of treaty violations against Ukraine and the USA. So far, it has culminated in convening a Formal Consultative Committee (FCM) under BTWC Article V in September and filing an Article VI complaint accompanied by a draft resolution proposing an investigative commission with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in October. The FCM was inconclusive because states parties reached no consensus on whether Moscow’s allegations have merit. Notwithstanding, a large majority of participating states rejected the accusations in their national statements. On 2 November, the draft resolution failed to garner sufficient votes.
Notwithstanding, both outcomes will impact the BTWC. The Ninth Review Conference will start in two weeks (28 November – 16 December). In their review of the articles, state parties will have to acknowledge the invocation of Articles V and VI. In the latter case, it was the first time in the BTWC’s 47 years. Finding consensus language reflecting the demarche may be problematic and could contribute to the review conference’s failure. In a statement after the UNSC vote on the draft resolution, the Russian delegate vowed that his country ‘will continue to further act within the framework of the [BTWC] and make the efforts needed to establish all of the facts having to do with the violations by the United States and Ukraine of their obligations under the Convention in the context of the activities of biological laboratories on the territory of Ukraine’.
At the same time, how Russia triggered Article VI and sought to establish an investigative committee and define its modalities elicited responses from UNSC members. These positions will likely influence discussions during and after the review conference whenever questions arise about the UNSC mandate and procedures in case of an Article VI complaint.

Russia (Again) Peddles Its Debunked US-Ukrainian Bioweapons Claims at the United Nations  (Jez Littlewood, Filippa Lentzos, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
Since invading Ukraine in February, the Russian government has tirelessly worked to convince others of the existence of an illicit US-Ukrainian bioweapons program. It’s brought the claims to the UN Security Council, the Biological Weapons Convention, and other international venues, sometimes more than once. Earlier this month, Moscow went to the Security Council for the fourth time this year. This time, Russian diplomats triggered a never-before invoked mechanism to vote on creating a commission to investigate its bioweapons allegations. Once again, few countries sided with Russia. The permanent members of the Security Council voted Russia down 3-2. And while the fact that the council’s 10 temporary members abstained from the vote might seem, at first glance, like a sign that Russia still has some support, that wasn’t the case. A closer examination reveals that the abstentions were a protest against Russia’s diplomatic maneuvers, not an indication of indecisiveness or lack of engagement.

Why Indonesia Matters  (Economist)
This week’s G20 meeting took place in Indonesia, the most important country that people routinely overlook. The last time its economy and politics were in the global spotlight was during the mayhem of the 1990s when a crony-capitalist system collapsed amid the Asian financial crisis, causing the fall of the 32-year-long dictatorship of Suharto.
A quarter of a century on, Indonesia matters once again. It is the world’s largest Muslim-majority state, its third-biggest democracy and its fourth-most-populous country. With 276m people spread across thousands of islands that stretch from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, it is caught up in the strategic contest between America and China. And like India and other emerging markets, it is adapting to a new world order in which globalisation and Western supremacy are in retreat.