“Today a new moon is in the sky”, these were the newsreel reports 60 years ago, when on the 4th October 1957 Sputnik was launched into orbit by the Soviet Union. The shiny beach-ball sized radio transmitter, built in just 2 months, certainly ignited the space race and inspired many: the US formed NASA in its wake and less than 4 years later the USSR used the same R-7 missile to put cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space, in another 4 years Neil and Buzz would put American footprints on the Moon.
President Trump signed into law the U.S. government's Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act on August 2. This gives President Trump the power but not the obligation to impose sanctions not just on Russia but also North Korea, Iran and it also requires Congressional approval to remove them.
However, the US desire to use sanctions as a cornerstone of foreign policy has been met with a mixed global response. For example, European officials although having their own set of sanctions in place against Russia (that has recently been extended to January 2018) were said to be angered by the latest US sanction move and its potential to negatively impact European interests.
Safe haven assets rallied today after North Korea fired a missile 2,700km straight over Hokkaido, the Japanese northern main island. This is the first time they have successfully fired a missile over Japanese territory in almost 20 years. This defiant and provocative military demonstration was described as, ‘an egregious threat to the peace and stability of the Asia Pacific region’ by Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister. Being a man of detail, Trump responded to the media questioning, ‘What are you going to do about North Korea?’ stating, ‘We’ll see. We’ll see.’ as he left to meet the thousands in the Houston area devastated by Hurricane Harvey. He has since further clarified the situation stating that ‘all options are on the table’.
Away from the pre-banquet US airstrike attack on Syria, according to Chinese newswires the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donal Trump was ‘a great success’. It went so well that Xi said the two ‘got deeply acquainted, established a kind of trust and built an initial working relationship and friendship’. In a memo after the ‘outstanding’ ‘relationship’ had been ‘developed’, Trump gushed at how he believes ‘lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.’ This probably hushed a number of reporters, who were angling for all manner of disruptive and ‘very difficult’ talks.