Fdd's overnight brief

April 4, 2023

In The News


The Biden administration discussed with its European and Israeli partners in recent weeks a proposal for an interim agreement with Iran that would include some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran freezing parts of its nuclear program, 10 Israeli officials, Western diplomats and US experts with knowledge of the proposal told Barak Ravid of Axios on Monday. – Arutz Sheva

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna are coordinating steps to stop the Iranian nuclear program and jointly promoting a discussion on the issue in the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. – Arutz Sheva 

The identity of four of the suspects in the shooting of Azerbaijani MP Fazil Mustafa was published by Azerbaijani media on Monday, with the reports alleging that the three were working on the order of Iranian security forces. – Jerusalem Post 

Systematic corruption is not something new in Iran’s oil-dependent economy but recently criticism over the government’s energy management is increasing. – Iran International 

Ioannis E. Kotoulas writes: The biggest military threat facing Israel is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, a goal toward which Tehran continues to make progress. If Iran gets too close to a nuclear arsenal, Israel might bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been preparing for this mission for many years, but carrying it out will nevertheless be a tall order for several reasons. – Algemeiner

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj writes: It would acknowledge that if the West wants business owners to remain politically active, it ought to make it easier for them to withdraw their capital from Iran—alleviating concerns that political turmoil will come at the expense of their economic standing. When it comes to using economic coercion to seek behavior change or to advance political aims, preserving the economic power of the people is as important as seeking to constrain the economic power of the elite. To secure the future that Iran’s protesters envisioned in their slogan of “women, life, freedom,” Iranians must first secure their livelihoods. – Foreign Affairs 

Alex Vatanka and Abdolrasool Divsallar write: But more importantly it also pushes Moscow to adhere to its non-proliferation obligations and takes into the consideration the long-term risks of a nuclear Islamic Republic. Russia benefits from being recognized as a partner in this process, but there are far more important strategic benefits for the West from maintaining a dialogue with Moscow regarding the future of Iran’s nuclear program. – Middle East Institute  

Russia & Ukraine

As Moscow prosecutors prepare an espionage case against jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, lawyers with experience in the Russian judicial process predict a journey through a justice system with the familiar features of Western courts but little of their substance. – Wall Street Journal

European governments and the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization denounced the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and demanded his release, while a senior Russian diplomat said the investigation in the reporter’s case was ongoing and declined to state when he would be permitted visits from lawyers and U.S. diplomats. – Wall Street Journal  

Fighting intensified around the contested front-line city of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s president said, as the leader of the Russian paramilitary Wagner group said he had raised a Russian flag near the strategic town’s City Hall. – Wall Street Journal 

With Ukrainian leaders vowing to retake all of their territory occupied by Russia, Moscow has readied elaborate defenses, especially in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed illegally in 2014, which is now one of the most fortified in the war zone. – Washington Post

Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained in Russia last week, has appealed his arrest, according to Russian state news agencies, which cited Moscow’s Lefortovo court in their reports on Monday. – New York Times

The Russian authorities on Monday detained a suspect in the bombing that killed a popular pro-war blogger in the center of St. Petersburg, and blamed Ukraine and Russian opposition activists for the attack, signaling that the Kremlin could use the explosion to escalate its harsh crackdown against what remains of antiwar activism in Russia. – New York Times

In vicious but mostly static fighting in snowy, artillery-cratered fields and ruined cities, Ukraine rebuffed a Russian offensive over the winter. Now, it is Ukraine’s turn to go on the attack. – New York Times

Fighting raged in and around Bakhmut as Ukraine mocked Russian claims to have captured the administrative centre of the eastern Ukrainian city, saying Russian forces had raised a victory flag over “some kind of toilet”. – Reuters 

Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, is likely to brief an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council this week, according to a note seen by Reuters on Monday. – Reuters 

Ukrainian defence forces destroyed 14 out of 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones Russia launched overnight, Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday, with 13 drones destroyed over the Odesa region in the country’s southwest. – Reuters 

Russia’s U.N. ambassador on Monday dismissed U.S. and European Union descriptions of its presidency of the Security Council this month as an April Fool’s joke and announced a meeting to be chaired by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on defending the principles of the U.N. Charter, which Moscow is widely accused of breaking by invading Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Ukraine’s Western allies have sent the country 65 billion euros ($70 billion) in military aid to help thwart Russia’s full-scale invasion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday, and with no peace negotiations on the horizon the alliance is gearing up to send more. – Associated Press

Russian drones struck the strategic Ukrainian port of Odesa, local authorities said in the early hours of Tuesday, adding that “damage” had been recorded. – Agence France-Presse 

Poland on Monday said it had already transferred some of its promised MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, after fellow NATO member Slovakia announced it had shipped an initial batch of its own. – Agence France-Presse

UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi will travel to Russia’s Kaliningrad territory on Wednesday for talks on the Moscow-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, officials said – Agence France-Presse 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused some $2.6 billion worth of damage to the country’s heritage and cultural sites, a United Nations agency said on Monday. – Agence France-Presse

Russian President Vladimir Putin listed the U.S. as the Kremlin’s chief threat in Moscow’s latest foreign policy doctrine, which is aimed at curbing U.S. “dominance” in the world. – Fox News 

Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who was assassinated in a St. Petersburg bombing on Sunday, was targeted because he “wrote the truth,” according to a senior Moscow official and a top ally of President Vladimir Putin. – Newsweek 

Ukraine will acquire 100 eight-wheel-drive Rosomak armored modular vehicles from Poland for its armed forces, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced during a visit to the Polish plant that makes the vehicles. – Defense News 

Editorial: The liberal internationalists running American foreign policy these days still cling to the detritus of this Wilsonian dream, which may be why Russia’s ascension at the U.N. is getting so little criticism. […]If liberals want to prevent a slide to even greater mayhem, they will press the Biden Administration to rebuild the U.S. military—now, before it’s too late. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Only victory will restore the international principle that land grabs are unacceptable, and reestablish the deterrent credibility of the United States and its NATO partners in the face of aggression from Russia, China and other powers in the grip of expansionist fever dreams. – Washington Post 

Nicholas Daniloff writes: Reporting in Russia has always been risky. The authorities there have never been comfortable with the open flow of information, and they have recently imposed new restrictions on public protests. […]We need to protect and honor the bravery of foreign correspondents, photographers and stringers all over the world, reporting in difficult and dangerous circumstances. And to my fellow Russian correspondent Evan Gershkovich: Courage. – Wall Street Journal 

Leonid Bershidsky writes: If Putin’s paranoia isn’t as gruesome as Stalin’s, it feels hopelessly grim in its own peculiar way. In a book documenting his career as a Cold War reporter, Nicholas Daniloff wrote, “The Soviet Russia I came to know was much more complex than a simple generator of evil.” I doubt anyone on the receiving end of Putin’s postmodern improvisations on themes from the Soviet past could be as optimistic. – Bloomberg 

Josef Bouska writes: Putin cannot withdraw from “new Russian territories” unless he wants to enter history as a weak leader who allowed parts of Russia to be lost. Ukraine won’t surrender those areas either. We might see ceasefires, agreements, or negotiations. Yet the war will only end with one side defeated through military means and forced to accept conditions dictated by the adversary, or it will turn into a frozen conflict dragging on for years to come. – Newsweek 

Tom Nichols writes: Nevertheless, a foreign leader trying to extricate himself from a military disaster by making nuclear threats is more likely to make other foolish moves. As spring progresses, Russia’s position will likely become more dire, so we can expect Putin to try to press this raw nerve again and again—especially as the Russian body count continues to climb. – The Atlantic 


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has temporarily suspended his decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant due to the tense security situation in the country, people close to the premier said Monday, days after the dismissal amplified mass protests across Israel. – Wall Street Journal

The battle in Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul is leading to growing calls for the country to work toward finally drafting a constitution. – Wall Street Journal  

The United Arab Emirates’ commitment to a long-term strategic relationship with Israel should survive political turbulence, analysts say, after one of the most right-wing governing coalitions in Israel’s history prompted widespread anger. – Reuters 

An Israeli campaigner for Jewish prayer rights at the Jerusalem compound that houses Al Aqsa mosque was detained on Monday, in an apparent bid to preempt any attempt to hold a Passover sacrifice at the site while Palestinians mark Ramadan. – Reuters 

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian gunmen during a clash in the occupied West Bank on Monday, militant factions and medics said, and shot down a drone over the Gaza Strip that the ruling Islamist group Hamas claimed as part of its arsenal. – Reuters 

The Dutch military will purchase U.S. and Israeli-made weapons systems to improve its long-range firepower on land, sea and air, the government said on Monday. – Reuters 

Among the hundreds of thousands of protesters who took to the streets for the 13th week in a row on Saturday, Golov hoists a brown flag that represents a group called “Brother and Sisters in Arms.” They are veterans – many, like Golov, from elite forces – who now feel they are fighting on a new battlefield: To save Israeli democracy. – CNN

The IDF reported an attempted shooting attack at Kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa in northern Israel on Monday evening.  – Jerusalem Post

Reservists and veterans of the IDF Navy and Air Force held a protest along the train tracks in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning and marked a red line for the judicial reform, according to Ynet News. – Jerusalem Post

Two people were injured in an alleged stabbing attack on Tzrifin junction, near the entrance to an IDF base near Rishon Lezion on Tuesday morning, according to Army Radio. – Jerusalem Post

Seventeen residents of Jerusalem, Lod and the West Bank were indicted for illegal weapons trafficking on Monday after a year of undercover work by a police agent. – Jerusalem Post

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the architect of the government’s judicial overhaul plans, conceded that a key piece of his legislation would have led to a situation unacceptable in a democratic country, in which the coalition would exercise control over all three branches of government. – Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday backed Israel Air Force Chief Tomer Bar, who reportedly said the day before that reservists who refuse to show up for service in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul would be booted from the military. – Times of Israel

The Israel Defense Force’s key intelligence research division has warned that the nation’s strategic position has worsened in recent months amid the government’s contentious efforts to weaken the judiciary, according to a Tuesday report. – Times of Israel 

Two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting attack on IDF soldiers in the town of Huwara in March were arrested by IDF forces in Nablus Monday morning, the army said. – Times of Israel

Police thwarted a terrorist stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem last night (Sunday), it was cleared for publication Monday evening. – Arutz Sheva 

Security forces are investigating the possibility that a second terrorist fled the scene of the stabbing at Tzrfin junction. – Arutz Sheva 

Douglas E. Schoen writes: No democracy is without flaws, including America’s. Israel’s imperfect democracy paved the way for Netanyahu’s far-right government to come to power, just as America’s enabled Donald Trump’s ascendancy in 2016. And just as the American people rejected extremism and took their democracy back by electing Biden and ousting Trump, Israeli society is rising up to do the same. This is a defining moment. The future of the U.S.-Israeli relationship hangs in the balance, as does President Joe Biden’s legacy. – The Hill  

Herb Keinon writes: Based on what he is hearing from the American Jewish community, Biden’s reading is that his stand on this matter corresponds to what America’s Jews – a not insignificant part of his constituency and donor base – want. Biden apparently believes that taking Netanyahu on over this issue is not a liability in trying to win over US Jews, but could actually be an asset. – Jerusalem Post

Paul Scham writes: Even those hoping Israel will change its stance on the conflict with the Palestinians drew some comfort from the massive demonstrations, hoping that they could portend a new vision of democracy, despite the left’s dismal showing in recent elections. That, however, remains to be seen. – Middle East Institute  

Eugene Kogan writes: Politically, Israel and Azerbaijan have reached a new level of relations with the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy and appointment of a first Azerbaijani ambassador to Israel. Following this milestone, cooperation between the two countries is also likely to further expand. According to an unnamed diplomatic source, an official meeting of several Israeli ambassadors to Eurasian countries was held in Baku in mid-January, with the participation of high-ranking officials from Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry. – Middle East Institute   

Luis Fleischman writes: Illiberalism is the spirit of our times. Even in Europe and the United States, illiberal forces have gained ground. The Israelis, this time, provided a counterexample. This time is not about how to fight terrorism or develop state-of-the-art technology but how to avert, from the outset, attempts at destroying democracies in slow motion. – The National Interest 


An Israeli air strike targeting the vicinity of Syria’s capital Damascus and the southern area left two civilians dead and “some material damage,” Syrian State Media reported early on Tuesday citing a military source. – Reuters

The United States carried out a military operation that killed a senior Islamic State leader in Syria on Monday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Tuesday, the latest blow to a group that once struck fear across the Middle East. – Reuters 

An alleged Israeli airstrike targeted the Damascus area on Monday night in the fourth such strike blamed on Israel in Syria in the past week, according to Syrian state media. Initial reports indicated that casualties were caused after al-Kiswah, south of Damascus, was hit in the strikes. A site in Jebel el Mania was also reportedly hit in the strikes. Two civilians were killed in the strike, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s persecuted pro-Kurdish party has emerged as a kingmaker in the country’s upcoming election, playing a decisive role that may just tip the balance enough to unseat two-decade ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – CNN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said upcoming elections should be a “lesson” to the United States, his most explicitly anti-western comment of the campaign so far as he tries to consolidate nationalist support ahead of the vote. – Bloomberg 

One of the legacies of Vladimir Putin will be that he made the enduring riddle of Russia far less ambiguous — one aspect of it, anyway. In a foreign policy announcement last week that surprised no one, Mr. Putin said that “the Russian Federation intends to eliminate the worldwide dominance of the United States and other unfriendly countries.” For Moscow, hostile nations include those that imposed sanctions on Russia as a response to Mr. Putin’s war on Ukraine. They do not include NATO member Turkey. – New York Sun 

Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabia-led production cut vaulted crude prices 6.3% higher Monday in their steepest one-day increase in more than a year. But with oil markets facing a host of challenges including a possible U.S. recession, only the most bullish analysts see prices touching $100 a barrel soon. – Wall Street Journal 

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may raise crude prices for Asia in May after OPEC+ announced additional production cuts to shore up the market just as China’s demand is expected to increase in the second quarter as refineries finish maintenance. – Reuters 

Soon the sheikh handed the job of running the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the world’s 12th-largest producer of oil and gas, to an Emirati renewables executive named Sultan Al Jaber. The move seemed to signal a shift in a country sitting atop about $9 trillion in untapped oil. – Bloomberg

President Joe Biden downplayed the impact of a surprise OPEC+ announcement that it would slash oil production by more than 1 million barrels per day. – Bloomberg 

More than seven decades ago, the US and Saudi Arabia, despite differences on human rights and the Arab-Israeli conflict, established a close alliance. It was based on an exchange: The US gave security guarantees to Saudi rulers, and they promised access to the kingdom’s vast oil reserves. The arrangement has withstood periodic conflicts over the years. Of late, however, the relationship’s moorings have weakened, with the US no longer as dependent on Saudi oil and the Saudis less trusting of US protection. – Bloomberg  

Editorial: Regarding oil prices, Mr. Biden and his party are now hostage to fortune as an election year approaches. A global recession would reduce demand and prices, but that has its own political risks. […]As it happens, House Republicans are offering Democrats a lifeline in the form of H.R.1, the energy bill they passed last week. Mr. Biden is promising a veto, and Democrats may want to filibuster in the Senate. But the better part of political prudence would be to work out a Senate compromise. It’s unwise to count on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. – Wall Street Journal 

Jessica Karl writes: Under normal circumstances, OPEC+ countries would be reinvesting oil cash into projects that would yield more oil. For Saudi Arabia — OPEC+’s most prominent player — that’s not happening. The Saudis are diversifying their portfolio with “a flurry of investments in everything except new crude output,” David writes. OPEC+ knows its core business has an expiration date, and it’s going to do everything it can to keep the good times rolling until the tank runs out of gas. – Bloomberg 

Simon Henderson writes: Reasons mentioned so far are the U.S. holding off on refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and thereby not boosting demand, and the Saudi oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, MbS’s older half-brother, being irritated by short sellers making money. Perhaps we will never know, but one hopes that the U.S. intelligence community picked up all the diplomatic chatter between the oil producers even if energy analysts and the news media didn’t. – The Hill  

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied on Monday ordered his foreign affair minister to initiate procedures that would appoint a new ambassador in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Tunisian presidency said, the latest Arab move to end Syria’s regional isolation. – Reuters 

A Briton charged with defrauding Danish tax authorities, Sanjay Shah, will be extradited to Denmark from the United Arab Emirates, authorities on both sides said on Monday. – Reuters 

Liam Denning writes: In short, OPEC+ is potentially playing with fire here. Given the timing of last year’s surprise, and the fact that oil had moved back toward $80 a barrel ahead of the latest one, it is clear that OPEC+ demands a price above that level. In addition, higher prices offer succor to Russia, Saudi Arabia’s OPEC+ partner engaged in a brutal war in Ukraine and an energy war with the West. That ongoing conflict exacerbates the pressures on what is a finely balanced economic outlook. For OPEC+, supply cuts now may add up to stability, just not necessarily of a kind others might recognize. – Bloomberg

Mohamed Abdelaziz writes: The Egyptian government must also rationalize its current expenditures, reevaluating the large sums put towards unproductive megaprojects in the face of Egyptians’ suffering and the severe deterioration in the pound’s value. In such challenging economic conditions, the government needs to be more transparent about the way it spends its funds to regain the trust of the disappointed people who bear the consequences of poor planning and management. Otherwise, the situation will continue to deteriorate and a hunger revolution may appear on the horizon. – Washington Institute 

Ben Cahill writes: If there is a silver lining for the White House and U.S. consumers, it is that these cuts will rebuild some spare capacity in OPEC+, which has dwindled in recent years. The voluntary cuts could also be unwound if market conditions change. It is possible that slower economic growth and a soft recovery in China will prevent upward pressure on prices later this year. But this cut suggests OPEC+ will take bolder steps to create a materially tighter market. – Center for Strategic and  International Studies 

Adnan Nasser writes: Gemayel indicated that what he was doing was pointing out that living under Hezbollah’s hegemony is not an option. He clarified that Kataeb’s resistance to Hezbollah will always remain non-violent, but that regardless, political paralysis cannot remain an option. “What I am trying to point on that Hezbollah is responsible for creating this huge gap between the Lebanese society. This gap may turn into something more dangerous, which is a kind of two Lebanons.” – The National Interest 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea criticized the U.S. for refusing to extradite a man who was accused of staging a break-in at North Korea’s embassy in Spain in 2019, saying Washington was protecting terrorism, state media KCNA reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

South Korea’s consumer inflation eased to a one-year low in March, led by weaker oil prices, but a range of issues including worries about global growth, monetary policy and decisions by major oil producers have clouded the outlook. – Reuters

Toss Bank is considering raising funds from private investors in a fresh round that might boost the South Korean digital lender’s valuation to as much as $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg  

South Korea on Monday commemorated the 75th anniversary of an uprising against the U.S. military government here that fueled a crackdown that killed an estimated 30,000 people. – Nikkei Asia


Top lawmakers who oversee the Department of Homeland Security want to hold hearings and obtain access to classified and unclassified government documents that expose potential security vulnerabilities posed by dozens of Chinese-made cranes at American ports across the country. – Wall Street Journal 

China is for the first time keeping at least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine constantly at sea, according to a Pentagon report – adding pressure on the United States and its allies as they try to counter Beijing’s growing military. – Reuters  

The West is trying to drive a wedge between Russia and China by talking about their unequal relations and Moscow’s dependence on Beijing, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published on Tuesday. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said on Monday it could not confirm reports that China was able to collect real-time data from a spy balloon as it flew over sensitive military sites earlier this year, saying analysis was still ongoing. – Reuters

European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) is negotiating a new round of plane orders with China, coinciding with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the economic superpower later this week, government and industry sources said. – Reuters 

Furious at U.S. efforts that cut off access to technology to make advanced computer chips, China’s leaders appear to be struggling to figure out how to retaliate without hurting their own ambitions in telecoms, artificial intelligence and other industries. – Associated Press

The Biden administration is pushing back against Chinese assertions that the US is containing the rise of the world’s second-biggest economy, with a senior diplomat saying more assertive economic measures were necessary to produce “a level playing field.” – Bloomberg 

The president of the European Commission has called on Beijing to play a “constructive” role in bringing peace to Ukraine as she prepares for a joint visit to China with France’s Emmanuel Macron. – Financial Times

Editorial: The Biden Administration may insist that the intelligence Beijing gleaned wasn’t that valuable, but voters can fairly conclude the President isn’t leveling with them. This has become a pattern with Team Biden, and it’s undermining the bipartisan support the President needs to conduct foreign policy in an increasingly dangerous world. – Wall Street Journal 

Paul M. Dabbar writes: The Chinese Communist Party has been known to steal intellectual property and lie about it doing so. Beijing doesn’t recognize the concept of independent scientific research conducted for the good of the world. The public-health bureaucracy and research scientists at the NIH and NIAID, enthralled as they are by the open-science concept, can’t be trusted to manage U.S. biosecurity. An issue of such magnitude should be in the hands of a government agency with a much more realistic view of China and the world. – Wall Street Journal 

Alexander J. Motyl  writes: Such a double-cross is perfectly plausible for one simple reason: Unlike Russia, which really has no other choice but vassalage, China has many choices, of which a “consequential” alliance with Russia may be least desirable and most temporary. In that case, the strategic blunder would be the incorrigible Putin’s — yet again. – The Hill 

Harlan Ullman writes: The tragedy and danger are evident. Both China and the U.S. hold strong grievances against the other. Some are justified. Many are not. These grievances, along with the Taiwan issue, may not be negotiable or resolvable. What to do? As a first step, President Biden should not say he will speak to Xi when Xi is ready. A meeting is needed now, and it must be substantial. Otherwise, while a collision is not inevitable, it is not implausible. – The Hill  

Will Coggin writes: The move will force China into a lose-lose scenario—either publicly snubbing Russia, or crippling their airline industry by limiting access to the U.S. As an added benefit, the strategy will pressure other international airlines that haven’t been subject to the Russian ban—including Air India and Emirates—to take a side. The Biden administration should take advantage of every opportunity to chip away at the Chinese-Russian partnership. This is one of them. – Newsweek 

Ronald H. Linden writes: The news is not all bad for China. […]But the overall worsening international setting cannot be encouraging for Xi and the Chinese Communist Party, which must at the same time reckon with a dramatically slower growth rate at home, the consequences of a disastrous coronavirus policy, and a population that is both declining and aging. – The National Interest 

Elisabeth Braw writes: Globalization brought a great number of jobs and factories to Poland, but the Gdansk shipyard languished in the competition with Chinese rivals. Today it’s a shadow of its former self, though a Danish builder recently acquired it, thus staving off potential closure. The iconic site, in fact, seems well-positioned for a comeback. It would be poetic justice for Gdansk’s remaining dockworkers if their shipyard were to defy the rule of not just one authoritarian government—that of Communist Poland—but of a second, even more powerful one, too: that of Xi Jinping’s China. – Foreign Policy 

Ben Noon writes: These challenges are real, but U.S. policy would be well served by raising the China export control standard from 16 nanometers to 40 nanometers. Doing so would zero in on the threat Beijing’s mid-range semiconductor ambitions pose to Washington’s economic security. Fortunately for the United States, semiconductor manufacturing is perhaps the most complicated and expensive industrial process in the world, so China will struggle to master chip production without Western inputs. This new policy will help set the conditions for the United States and its allies to win the techno-economic competition with China and help deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

A Sikh militant pushing for the creation of an independent “Khalistan” state in India has been on the run for weeks, prompting a protracted manhunt that has raised fears over a resurgence of separatist violence in Punjab state. – Financial Times

India is buying a 29.63 billion rupees (U.S. $360.52 million) communications satellite, dubbed GSAT 7B, for its Army. – Defense News 

Gavin D’Souza writes: Successful partnerships often require both parties to give and take. With the US-India partnership, New Delhi’s disregard for US aviation sanctions in light of its past behavior towards Russia is yet another indicator that India is willing to take much but give little. – American Enterprise Institute 

Tom Waldwyn and Viraj Solanki write: India is highly unlikely to reverse plans to increase defense spending on indigenous designs and companies, even though these plans can run counter to urgent operational requirements. Competition to deliver the decreasing range of weapons eligible for import will benefit European, U.S., and Israeli companies. Purchases from Russia will continue where possible, but at a reduced and sporadic pace that prioritizes support for existing systems. Defense procurement is measured in decades, and India will have to learn to live with disruption to its supplies from Russia into the 2030s. – Foreign Policy 


China warned U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday not to “repeat disastrous past mistakes” and meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, saying it would not help regional peace and stability, but only unite the Chinese people behind a common enemy. – Reuters 

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday said Beijing has expressed concerns about energy activities by Malaysian state firm Petronas in the South China Sea, even though Kuala Lumpur believes the projects are in its territory. – Reuters 

The Philippines identified on Monday four more of its military bases that the United States will get access to, almost doubling the number included in a defence agreement that seeks to advance a decades-old alliance between them. – Reuters 

The prime minister of Belize gave Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen a welcome diplomatic boost during her visit on Monday, underlining his nation’s support for Taiwan after rival China gained a new regional ally last month. – Reuters 

China was strongly dissatisfied with Japan’s export restrictions on chip manufacturing equipment, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. – Reuters 

China’s international trade negotiator has expressed concern over Australia’s scrutiny of the operations of Chinese firms there, the commerce ministry said, while flagging the potential for economic and trade co-operation. – Reuters

The U.S. technological edge is eroding, an Australian intelligence chief said on Tuesday, as a Sydney conference was told the AUKUS alliance of Australia, Britain and the United States must collaborate on quantum and hypersonic technology to compete with China. – Reuters

China is open to talks with Malaysia on forming an Asian Monetary Fund, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, amid the world’s growing impatience with the King Dollar’s dominance. – Bloomberg 

With tensions around Taiwan rising and North Korea firing missiles at a blistering pace, lawmakers in neighboring Japan are pushing for a rollout of shelters where its residents can take refuge in the event of an attack. – Bloomberg 

China’s coast guard vessels completed a record-long deployment to the territorial waters off the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands on Sunday after refusing orders to leave for 80 hours and 36 minutes, Japanese maritime authorities said. – Newsweek 


Hashim Thaci, the former president and prime minister of Kosovo, is seen as a war hero in many parts of his homeland, where he led the Balkan country in its fight for independence from Serbia that started nearly a quarter of a century ago. – New York Times

After saboteurs severely damaged the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last September, German officials zeroed in on a rented sailboat that appeared to have taken part in planting explosive devices deep below the surface of the Baltic Sea. – Washington Post

Finland is set to formally join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday, a historic shift for a country that once insisted it was safer outside the military alliance, a dramatic rebuke to Russia and a sign of how President Vladimir Putin’s gamble in Ukraine is upending the post-Cold War order. – Washington Post

President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday France must improve the availability of palliative care and there would be a draft bill by the end of the summer on whether some form of assisted dying should be allowed. – Reuters  

Russia will strengthen its military capacity in its western and northwestern regions in response to Finland’s expected accession to NATO on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said, state-owned news agency RIA reported. – Reuters 

Italy is determined not to lose any of the money it is entitled to from the European Union post-pandemic recovery funds, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Monday. – Reuters 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban waded deeper into US politics with a message of support for former President Donald Trump before his arraignment, underscoring his pro-Republican leanings and his chilly relations with the Biden administration. – Bloomberg 


The U.S. is trying to wreck Russia’s planned summit with African countries as part of efforts to isolate Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Global carriers warned on Monday that concerns over blocked airline funds in Africa and elsewhere could lead to interruptions in air services if there is no progress in talks to unfreeze money owed. – Reuters 

A United Nations-backed panel of investigators alleges in a new report that several officials in South Sudan have perpetrated serious human rights violations and should be held accountable for their crimes. – Associated Press 

The Americas

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent his top foreign policy adviser to speak to Russian leader Vladimir Putin about potential peace talks to end the war in Ukraine, CNN Brasil reported on Monday. – Reuters 

Honduras’ government deployed soldiers across the country as part of a plan to fight criminal groups, authorities said Monday, with official images showing hundreds of soldiers being commissioned for the project. – Reuters 

Five days after he became the first former US president to be indicted, Donald Trump will surrender to law enforcement officers in lower Manhattan to be booked, hear the charges against him and enter his plea: Not guilty. – Bloomberg 

Ashley Rindsberg writes: America is in trouble. First, we suffered a biological disaster with the COVID-19 pandemic, which was mishandled in every possible way, including the calamity of shutting down the nation’s economy. With people home, afraid, angry, and glued to an incendiary media, the biological disaster then spread to a social disaster, in the form of the BLM riots. […]And now, with this fateful decision by a New York DA, the political disaster that could have been kept on the horizon has been brought to shore. This may well be the one that capsizes the country into utter catastrophe. The terrible irony is that, with the country sunk, those who ushered in these tragedies will still cling to their belief that it was all worth it. – Newsweek 


Australia said it will ban TikTok on all government-issued digital devices, following the U.S. and other intelligence-sharing allies in response to concerns about data security on the app. – Wall Street Journal 

British government hackers have launched operations against militants, state-backed disinformation campaigns and attempts to interfere in elections, the GCHQ spy agency said on Tuesday, in a rare statement on its offensive cyber work. – Reuters 

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take up an unpaid role leading the country’s efforts against violent online extremism, the government said on Tuesday. – Reuters

With concerns that China will overtake the United States in the Artificial Intelligence field, some experts are cautioning against enacting a pause, endorsed by tech leaders, on “out of control” AI systems. – Newsweek 

Thomas P. Vartanian writes: Changes created by technologies such as artificial intelligence demand new methods of oversight in which the responsibilities for safety, security and stability are shared by the public and private sectors and perhaps even animate and inanimate intelligence. Adversarial forms of static regulation, such as those employed in the banking industry, have proven to be a dismal failure. It may be a lot for policymakers raised in an analog world to cope with. But, like it or not, the future will require cooperative forms of governance and regulation. – The Hill  

Paul Scharre writes: The United States, in other words, is working to ensure that China cannot fully catch up. If Washington ultimately maintains control over the semiconductor supply chain, maximizes the inflow of talent, and fields trustworthy systems, it will succeed in staying ahead. As the AI revolution reshapes global power, the United States can come out on top. – Foreign Affairs 


The United States army deployed their first Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) in February, the Army announced at the end of March. – Jerusalem Post

The U.S. Space Force is ramping up planning for the second phase of its medium-Earth orbit missile tracking program, part of a broader effort to make the service’s space-based missile defense capabilities more resilient against enemy threats. – Defense News 

Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and Raytheon Intelligence and Space are teaming up to bid on the Navy’s next command-and-control aircraft, to be used if a nuclear war breaks out. – Defense News 

The Chief of Naval Operations wants the Navy to pursue a multi-year procurement strategy for the amphibious warship program the service indicated it would end in the latest budget submission. – USNI News

James G. Foggo and Steven Wills write: The budget will never be large enough to cover all areas of concern and a new maritime strategy must define the risks associated with any given number of ships, as the 1980s version did. Strategy and fleet design are indelibly linked concepts that cannot be separated without loss in fidelity. Many geopolitical experts believe that war clouds are looming over the Pacific. We have a short window in which to act decisively as a maritime power. To do otherwise would be to surrender our hegemonic position on the world stage and where we go our allies will follow. – The Hill  

Zachary Kallenborn and Marcel Plichta write: Drones do not just fly—they also drive. Although UGVs have not achieved the maturity or battlefield significance as UAVs, the technology can still be of use to Ukraine. The experience and lessons learned can help inform future U.S. and allied efforts. Let loose the robot dogs of war. – Center for Strategic and  International Studies 

Maximilian K. Bremer and Kelly A. Grieco write: The United States has the world’s most powerful air force, but it would be a colossal strategic blunder to persist with an offensive air superiority strategy and thereby cede its greatest advantage — the strength of defense in 21st-century air warfare — to China. “If the mutual denial of air superiority is an advantage for the United States,” as Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements of the U.S. Air Force, concludes, “then we need to have a military that can achieve mutual denial, even at the edges of the battlespace, even on the doorstep of our adversaries.”  – War on the Rocks