Throughout the end of 2021, the Biden administration intensified its crackdown on civilian organizations believed to be supporting China’s military. As a result, the U.S. Commerce and Treasury departments, acting pursuant to the president’s June 3 Executive Order, recently unleashed a barrage of economic sanctions by effectively blacklisting more than forty Chinese companies, tech firms, and research institutes. Such far-reaching measures have ensnared prominent businesses across a variety of industries, including facial recognition specialists, artificial intelligence companies, and the world’s largest producer of commercial drones, DJI Technology Co. Those targeted were added to either the Commerce Department’s entity list, which blocks trade with U.S. exporters of software and other technologies, or to a Treasury list restricting access to American investment. Placement on the Treasury’s list can be especially damaging to an organization’s financial stability because the agency’s policies not only bar those sanctioned from transacting with domestic businesses but also prohibit American investors from taking stakes in companies on the list. Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry quickly denounced the sanctions as an “unwarranted suppression” of Chinese enterprises. Some of the listed companies themselves also publicly criticized their presence on the blacklists, including the artificial-intelligence start-up SenseTime Group which called the accusations against it “unfounded.” U.S. officials, however, defended the decision – citing both national security threats and human rights violations as causes for the sanctions.
Collectively, four countries make up the United Kingdom (U.K.), including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In 2016, an overwhelming number of Scottish citizens voted to remain in the European Union (E.U.) during the U.K. referendum, which resulted in a 51.89 percent vote in favor to leave. After departing from the E.U. in January of 2020, Scottish industries suffered economic losses due to the ‘red tape’ policies imposed by the U.K., making it more difficult to sell Scottish products to E.U. member countries. As a result, Scotland’s independence and nationalist movement grew exponentially, with forty-five of the fifty-nine Scottish seats in the House of Commons going to the Scottish Nationalist Party, with strong support of seceding from the U.K. Additionally, in 2019, Scotland’s Parliament reconvened for the first time since 1707, signaling the Scotland’s desire for self-autonomy and sovereignty. The possibility of seceding poses questions over the future of economic and social regulatory policies for an independent Scotland.