Fdd's overnight brief

February 14, 2022

In The News


Russia’s top diplomat at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna said world powers had made “significant progress” as their negotiations to revive a landmark 2015 agreement enter their final stage. – Bloomberg 

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday that a prisoner swap with the United States was on the agenda in parallel with the nuclear talks in Vienna. – Reuters 

Iran nuclear talks in Vienna have not reached a dead end, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday during a news conference in Tehran. – Reuters 

A senior Iranian security official said on Monday that progress in talks to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal was becoming “more difficult” as Western powers only “pretended” to come up with initiatives. – Reuters 

Hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Friday Tehran “never” pins hope on ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the country’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. – Reuters 

China encouraged Iran to respond to an American proposal, in a rare statement by the Chinese representative to the nuclear talks in Vienna. – Jerusalem Post 

Tens of thousands of Iranians on motorcycles and in cars celebrated the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Friday, Ynet reported. – Jerusalem Post 

A senior Iranian security official said on Sunday that progress in talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal was becoming “more difficult” and accused Western powers of “pretending” to come up with initiatives. – Arutz Sheva 

Iran’s former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, who was barred from running for president in 2021, has warned that the Islamic Republic faces decline and collapse. – Iran International 

U.S. military veterans and their families called on the Biden administration Thursday not to release frozen funds to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations until U.S. victims of terrorist attacks carried out by the Tehran regime or its proxies are compensated. – NBC 

For literature lovers in sanction-hit Iran, a new novel has long provided a brief respite from a grinding economic crisis triggered by international pressure imposed over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme. – Agence France-Presse 

Alon Pinkas writes: In a matter of weeks or months, Joe Biden may face the perfect foreign policy storm: three crises in three places of strategic importance – Europe, the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East. If all goes badly, this convergence may generate tectonic shifts in the international system. If managed competently, it could reassert American supremacy, even if temporarily. – Haaretz  

Farzin Nadimi writes: While the peaceful use of space should be the right of any nation—with the Iranian people and scientific community no exception—the ideological Islamist regime in Tehran should not be trusted with a hedging strategy to hide its true intentions, reinforced by sensitive technologies that could benefit its worrisome missile and drone programs, with further destabilizing effects on the Middle East and beyond. – Washington Institute 

Adam Hoffman writes: While a nuclear deal between the US, other world powers and Iran seems almost certain at this point, the stakes for an unchecked nuclear Iran are higher than ever. If Israel feels compelled to act alone to stop a nuclear Iran, a completely different geopolitical reality could emerge in the Middle East. A simulation examining what happens when Israel strikes Iran, featuring some of the world’s top Iran and Middle East experts, gives us a look at the year after such a development. Such a strike would impact Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and the United States – but also Israel’s regional position. – Jerusalem Post 

Yaakov Katz writes: But the same will be true about Bennett and Lapid. They, too, will be judged by the end result. A bad deal with Iran, if reached, is now also going to become part of their legacy. – Jerusalem Post 


Declassified U.S. military analyses of the calamitous exit from Afghanistan detail repeated instances of friction between American troops and diplomats before and during the evacuation, concluding that indecisiveness among Biden administration officials and initial reluctance to shutter the embassy in Kabul sowed chaos and put the overall mission at “increased risk.” – Washington Post 

Two journalists and Afghan nationals working for the United Nations were released by the Taliban on Friday, according to the United Nations, hours after the news of their detention in Kabul was made public. – Washington Post 

Taliban authorities have detained at least nine foreigners in Kabul, including one American and several British citizens, according to relatives and other people familiar with their situation, inflaming tensions with the West when Afghanistan desperately needs international aid. – Wall Street Journal  

Many Afghans said they were outraged by the Biden administration’s decision to divert billions in frozen assets from the Afghan central bank to American families of 9/11 victims, as Afghanistan hurtles deeper into economic catastrophe. – New York Times 

Already reeling from a Taliban takeover of their government and a humanitarian disaster in their homeland, Afghan diplomats in the United States are grappling with another bleak reality: the loss of pay and the possibility of being deported. – New York Times 

Afghanistan’s former president on Sunday called a White House order to unfreeze $3.5 billion in Afghan assets held in the U.S. for families of 9/11 victims an atrocity against the Afghan people. – Associated Press 

US President Joe Biden seized $7 billion in assets belonging to the previous Afghan government Friday, aiming to split the funds between victims of the 9/11 attacks and desperately needed aid for post-war Afghanistan. The move drew an angry response from the country’s new leaders the Taliban, which branded the seizure a “theft” and a sign of US “moral decay.” – Agence France-Presse 

Afghanistan’s central bank on Saturday criticised Washington’s plan to use half the bank’s $7 billion in frozen assets on U.S. soil for humanitarian aid and set aside the rest to possibly satisfy lawsuits over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. – Reuters 

The United Nations aims to kickstart this month a system to swap millions of aid dollars for Afghan currency in a plan to stem humanitarian and economic crises and bypass blacklisted Taliban leaders, according to an internal U.N. note seen by Reuters. – Reuters 

Editorial: The court should rule consistent with that great humanitarian need, just as the United States has been attempting to facilitate relief, in part by being flexible about applying economic sanctions laws to aid organizations. The Taliban, by contrast, is increasing its people’s suffering, in part by oppressing those who protest peacefully for their rights, and in part by detaining aid workers. Time and again, the Taliban has promised moderation and inclusivity. A good way to regain international funding and recognition would be to stop violating that promise. – Washington Post 

James Downie writes: “Did you learn the lessons of Afghanistan?” is a question many American institutions — politicians, military, media — should continue to ask themselves for the foreseeable future. And no lesson can be learned if the true cost is downplayed. If the United States is to avoid the next great quagmire, if some yet-unknown country’s people is to avoid the terrible fate that has befallen millions of innocent Afghans, the Biden administration — and the rest of these institutions — will need a better answer. – Washington Post 

Noah Rothman writes: The president’s suggestion that a handful of bloggers, think tanks, and op-ed writers predicted what the Pentagon and National Security Council could not beggars belief. If Joe Biden thinks erecting a reality distortion field around the horrors he unleashed upon Afghanistan will save him, he’s only fooling himself. – Commentary Magazine 


The leaders of six opposition parties in Turkey met on Saturday to strategize about the future of the country’s governing system — a move aimed to unseat the country’s longtime president accused of holding power through increasingly dictatorial means. – Associated Press 

A Turkish prosecutor’s office demanded 11 years in jail for a prominent journalist on charges of insulting President Tayyip Erdogan and two ministers in his cabinet, Turkish news agencies reported on Friday. – Reuters 

The Mossad spy agency has helped foil 12 plots to carry out terror attacks on Israelis in Turkey over the past two years. – Times of Israel 

A wave of protests has spread across Turkey over whopping electricity price hikes last month as millions struggle to pay the ballooning bills and many businesses face the threat of going broke amid already galloping inflation. – Al-Monitor 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: As the sides near a jump in engagement next month, Jerusalem is making it clear to Erdogan that whatever the Jewish state has to gain by smoothing over some of the disagreements, Ankara has even more to gain – and in the areas that matter most. – Jerusalem Post 


Israeli officials and relief groups are readying plans to help Ukraine’s Jewish community in the event of an all-out war between Ukraine and Russia, according to individuals familiar with the process. – Washington Post 

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during clashes in the occupied West Bank late Sunday, hours after police fanned out in a tense east Jerusalem neighborhood trying to contain violence between ultranationalist Jewish activists and Palestinian residents. – Associated Press 

Any Unilever Global plan to restrict Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sales solely within the pre-1967 law would run afoul of the county’s anti-boycott law, declared Avi Zinger the CEO of the Israeli franchise of the famous Vermont based global ice cream company declared on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged Israeli citizens in Ukraine on Sunday to avoid risks and come home immediately as tensions over a potential Russian invasion intensified. – Algemeiner 

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on Sunday commented on the clashes in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem. – Arutz Sheva 

The Hamas terrorist organization warned that Israel is “playing with fire” by permitting Otzma Yehudit chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir to set up an office in the Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem. – Arutz Sheva 

Like in the rest of the world, the Israeli defense establishment is watching the Ukraine situation closely, and working hard to figure out what a potential conflict between Moscow and Kyiv, and Washington’s response, might mean for Israel’s interests. – Breaking Defense 

Meira Lerner writes: Our brothers around the world are facing discrimination and hatred, and that won’t stop any time soon. More than that, in many cases it’s on our behalf. We, in Israel, need to stop being indifferent, start paying attention and take responsibility. We expect world Jewry to have our backs when we need help, it’s high time we show them that we have their backs in return. – Jerusalem Post


A drone attack was intercepted as it targeted US-led Coalition forces in northern Iraq, according to reports over the weekend. According to reports in Iraq the drones were targeting the Harir base in Iraq. Meanwhile, France 24 reported that “the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen destroyed a communications system on Monday used for drone attacks and located near the telecoms ministry in Sanaa, it said in a statement.”  Last October, reports online predicted that Iran might attack the Harir base in Iraq. – Jerusalem Post 

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court has ruled that former foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari is not eligible to run for the presidency amid corruption allegations, the state news agency reported on Sunday, a move that prolongs a political standoff. – Jerusalem Post 

Iraq’s military is seeking several defense systems of different origins, including French Rafale fighter jets, drones and artillery, as well as Russian T-90 tanks, with some ongoing negotiations reaching an advanced stage. – Defense News 

Arabian Peninsula

Bahrain’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement on Saturday that an Israeli officer will be stationed in the country, according to the state news agency. – Reuters 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to visit the United Arab Emirates on Monday for the first time in nearly a decade, as ties improve between the two countries. – Agence France-Presse 

United States F-22 fighter jets arrived at an air base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday after Abu Dhabi has been targeted by a series of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. – The Hill 

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh claimed in a recent TV interview that the Arab world has not really benefited from the Abraham Accords. – Arutz Sheva 

Irit Tratt writes: UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose visions of tolerance predate his region’s steady progression towards peace, should be hailed in the same vein as the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. […]Rather than retreat to outdated hatreds and engage in provincial politicizations, Americans across the political spectrum must be unambiguous about their support for the Abraham Accords and work to educate others on the promising new era reshaping the Middle East. – Algemeiner 


Expanded missile attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels have fueled support among some U.S. and Middle Eastern officials for placing them back on a U.S. terrorist blacklist, a year after the Biden administration ended that designation on humanitarian grounds. – Washington Post  

Five United Nations staff have been abducted in southern Yemen while returning to Aden after a field mission, the United Nations said on Saturday. – Reuters 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on Sunday night asked civilians in Yemeni ministries in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa to immediately evacuate, Reuters reported, citing Saudi state news agency SPA. – Arutz Sheva 

Middle East & North Africa

After years of behind-the-scenes activity in the Gaza Strip, Egypt is going public. Since mediating a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group, Egypt has sent crews to clear rubble and is promising to build vast new apartment complexes. Egyptian flags and billboards praising President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi have sprung up across the Palestinian territory. – Associated Press 

A Lebanese move to allow Palestinian refugees to work in jobs formerly open only to Lebanese nationals has been halted. – The New Arab 

Tunisia’s president cemented his grip over the judiciary on Sunday with a decree that lets him dismiss judges or block their promotion, helping consolidate his power after he seized executive authority last summer in a move his foes call a coup. – Reuters 

Korean Peninsula

The U.S., Japan and South Korea will strengthen their joint efforts to deter North Korea’s missile activity and nuclear ambitions, while continuing to push for diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang, the allies’ senior diplomats said Saturday. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Friday he intends to nominate Philip Goldberg, a career diplomat and a former North Korea sanctions enforcer, as ambassador to South Korea, a White House statement said. – Reuters 

Chinese and South Korean short-track speedskating fans are duking it out online over allegations of foul play, tapping into the historical rivalry between their countries. – Associated Press 


The Biden administration is intensifying its campaign to persuade Equatorial Guinea to reject China’s bid to build a military base on the country’s Atlantic Coast. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. says it will open an embassy in the Solomon Islands, laying out in unusually blunt terms a plan to increase its influence in the South Pacific nation before China becomes “strongly embedded.” – Associated Press 

Editorial: The United States has just learned costly lessons about the futility of trade wars and how China can’t be trusted to honor its deals. Now the Biden administration has to figure out how to hold Beijing to account for failing to fulfill its commitments. One conclusion ought to be clear: More tariffs are not the answer. – Washington Post 

Editorial: Moreover, while they are now clearly geopolitical partners, the likelihood of China and Russia becoming full military allies — and concluding a mutual defence pact — remains slim. […]Moscow is wary of being a distinctly junior partner to a country with a population and an economy 10 times the size of its own. The Sino-Russian rapprochement is far-reaching, and one to which the rest of the world should pay close attention. But it is not, despite both countries’ recent assertion, “without limits”. – Financial Times  

Lianchao Han and Bradley A. Thayer write: Unlike Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, the U.S. cannot be captured in a day. It has taken China decades to position itself to do so. It may take equally long to eliminate the threat. However, it cannot take that long to undo the damage the CCP has done to the U.S. The free world must work together now to ensure victory in this protracted and challenging contest. – The Hill 

South Asia

A mob lynched a man because he had allegedly burnt pages of Muslim holy book the Koran in central Pakistan and dozens of people have been arrested, police and officials said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Ayesha Imthiaz, a devout Indian Muslim who considers wearing a hijab an expression of devotion to the Prophet Mohammad, says a move by her college to expel hijab-wearing girls is an insult that will force her to choose between religion and education. – Reuters 

Hundreds of Hindu nationalist protesters marched in the Indian state of Gujarat on Saturday, prompting the closure of stores owned by several multinational companies caught up in a furore over social media posts supporting disputed Kashmir. – Reuters 

From Russia to North Korea to Zimbabwe, the impact of diplomatic sanctions has long been questioned. But Bangladeshi activists have no doubts: extrajudicial killings have suddenly stopped since punitive US measures were imposed two months ago, they say. – Agence France-Presse 


Citing military intelligence, one Taiwanese lawmaker said the plane was Chinese, which military experts said would make Saturday’s flight the first known instance of a Chinese aircraft—other than a commercial airline—passing through Taiwanese territorial airspace in more than 40 years. – Wall Street Journal  

Australia said on Sunday it was evacuating its embassy in Kyiv as the situation on the Russia-Ukraine border deteriorated quickly, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on China to not remain “chillingly silent” on the crisis. – Reuters 

In its first year, the Biden administration consistently talked about the importance of diplomacy and partnerships, and its Indo-Pacific strategy is no different. The strategy mentions  the need to strengthen the Quad, as well as increase cooperation with Japan and South Korea, boost collaboration with India, and expand the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. – Defense One 

A Myanmar army officer who defected and fled the country has detailed battlefield losses to rebels in the southern part of Chin state, with at least 50 soldiers killed and 200 badly wounded in 2021 by opposition fighters with homemade weapons. – Reuters 


Some residents of Kursk, including those who volunteered to fight alongside pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas eight years ago, are ready to take up arms in case of war, eager to defend Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine against what the Kremlin says is the threat of persecution. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia’s enormous military buildup near Ukraine features some of its most potent weapon systems and provides the Kremlin with the means to attack Ukrainian forces from multiple directions, which likely would overstretch their defenses. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. officials are warning that Russia could be about to attack Ukraine. For many citizens in this embattled country, the assault has already begun. Ukrainian officials say that Russia, which has positioned more than 100,000 troops around three sides of Ukraine, is stepping up a destabilization campaign involving cyberattacks, economic disruption and a new tactic: hundreds of fake bomb threats. – Wall Street Journal  

President Biden warned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that invading Ukraine would result in “swift and severe” costs to Russia diminishing his country’s standing and cause “widespread human suffering” the White House said on Saturday as Western officials made a forceful diplomatic push to dissuade Mr. Putin from pressing forward with an attack. – New York Times 

After decades of getting schooled in information warfare by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the United States is trying to beat the master at his own game. – New York Times 

Despite a recent uptick in bilateral dialogue, relations between Moscow and Washington are “lying on the floor”, the Kremlin told Russia’s RIA news agency, amid Western objections to ongoing major Russian military drills near its borders with Ukraine. – Reuters 

U.S. and European officials are finalizing an extensive package of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine that targets major Russian banks, but does not include banning Russia from the SWIFT financial system, according to U.S. and European officials. – Reuters  

The Biden administration is closely eyeing a potential false flag operation or other pretext for Russia to invade Ukraine, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday. – Politico 

The Pentagon says there is “no truth” to a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that an American nuclear-powered submarine entered Russian territorial waters near the Kurile Islands. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned on Sunday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would destroy US-Russian relations for years to come. – Business Insider 

An upcoming Russian naval exercise has Ukraine worried, as the United States predicts a Russian invasion of the country could come any day. – USNI News 

David Ignatius writes: The world will shudder if the tank and missile assault begins, as we witness a weak country confronting a blitzkrieg, alone. The cries for a negotiated settlement will increase, with some proposing new concessions to placate Putin. But after that global shock will come a wave of rage and a demand that Russia pay a price for its aggression. Then this war will enter the porcupine phase, in which Putin, too, will feel the pain. – Washington Post 

Gideon Rachman writes: That kind of extreme, irrational scepticism is a weak base on which to build a consensus for a western policy response that is likely to be expensive and dangerous. Unfortunately Putin has plenty to work with, as he tries to exploit the weaknesses of the west. – Financial Times 

Joshua C. Huminski writes: Right now, we do not know what Putin’s intentions are and to suggest otherwise is pure fantasy. We do not know what Moscow will do and, as such, we do not know how the West will respond. It is, however, important to think through what could happen and what could happen next. Planning and preparation are not assumptions that any specific outcome will occur, but are prudent measures in advance of any crisis. We do not want to find ourselves unprepared for Russia’s response and fall into an escalatory trap. – The Hill 

Anne Applebaum writes: Now we are on the brink of what could be a catastrophic conflict. American, British, and European embassies in Ukraine are evacuating; citizens have been warned to leave. But this terrible moment represents not just a failure of diplomacy; it also reflects a failure of the Western imagination, a generation-long refusal, on the part of diplomats, politicians, journalists, and intellectuals, to understand what kind of state Russia was becoming and to prepare accordingly. We have refused to see the representatives of this state for what they are. We have refused to speak to them in a way that might have mattered. Now it might be too late. – The Atlantic 

Hanna Notte and Sarah Bidgood write: Despite deep discord between the United States and Russia — which long precedes the standoff on Ukraine’s border — their interests continue to align on many items on the nonproliferation and disarmament agenda. Particularly as tensions rise, Moscow and Washington should prioritize those areas where walling off nuclear diplomacy seems to be most possible, such as the restoration of the Iranian nuclear deal, while pursuing nuclear risk reduction as a matter of urgency and ensuring that the upcoming review conference on the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons is not hijacked by issues attendant to the current confrontation. – War on the Rocks 

Nikolas K. Gvosdev writes: The Syria campaign, however, would suggest that if the Russian government decides to use military force against Ukraine, it would focus on long-distance strikes to destroy Ukrainian equipment, particularly its stockpiles of drones, and try to break up organized military formations. The Syria case also suggests that the Russians would try to avoid having people cross the border, whenever possible, and direct fire from across the line. – The National Interest 

 Janko Šćepanović writes: But there are also those who are more skeptical about Russia’s regional strategy. Some scholars view it primarily as an extension of Russia’s obsessive need to compete with the United States and hinder Washington’s activities in the region, even at the cost of becoming a spoiler. Others question the actual extent of Russia’s ability to influence events, even in places like Syria where Moscow is entrenched. Nonetheless, to Israel, Moscow can still be a valuable partner, given that it has open communication with Iran and perhaps even an ability to influence or restrain some of the latter’s activities. – The National Interest 


President Biden on Sunday told Ukraine’s leader the U.S. and its allies would respond rapidly to any further Russian aggression against his country, the White House said, as Russia deployed some of its most powerful weapons and best-trained battalions around Ukraine and the prospect of imminent war loomed in Europe. – Wall Street Journal 

The Pentagon on Friday ordered 3,000 additional troops to Poland, bringing to 5,000 the total number of reinforcements sent to Europe in the past two weeks. – New York Times 

The high-stakes diplomacy over Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine is set to continue this week, as European and U.S. leaders race to defuse an escalating standoff that officials warn could lead to a barrage of Russian missile and bomb attacks on Ukraine within days. – Washington Post 

An increasingly belligerent Russia, an energy crunch and a new Green minister of economics all add up to a change of direction in Germany’s policy on natural gas. – New York Times  

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said on Friday their officials would continue “intensive” discussions over Northern Ireland in the coming days after their third in-person meeting. – Reuters 

Germany’s president on Sunday said “responsibility” for the risk of “war” in Ukraine lay with Russia, bringing greater clarity to Berlin’s position on the crisis which has been criticised as too lenient towards Moscow. – Agence France-Presse 

Saudi Arabia views Cyprus as a “bridge” between the Middle East and the European Union, helping the 27-nation bloc “understand what’s going on” in the region, the Saudi foreign minister said Sunday. – Associated Press 

Ukraine on Friday launched an inquiry through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in an attempt to make Russia explain its massive troop buildup near the border, after a similar maneuver by the Baltic nations directed at Belarus went nowhere. – Defense News 


French troops killed 40 militants on the Benin-Burkina Faso border in West Africa’s Sahel region, the French government said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Western foreign ministers will hold crunch talks on their countries’ future presence fighting Islamist militants in Mali on Monday, four European sources said, with three saying regional and international leaders will also meet on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Saturday dismissed Western threats of sanctions and said meetings between Sudanese and Israeli officials were part of security cooperation rather than political in nature. – Reuters 

The Americas

Commercial and passenger traffic resumed Sunday night on a bridge connecting Detroit with the Canadian border city of Windsor, Ontario, after protesters shut down the corridor for roughly a week in a fight against Covid-19 restrictions. – Wall Street Journal  

Canada has temporarily withdrawn its Ukraine-based military personnel to an undisclosed destination in Europe, the Canadian defence ministry said on Sunday, as Western countries fear Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine. – Reuters 

The U.S. is preparing to withdraw all personnel from Kyiv in the next 24-48 hours, three sources confirmed to CBS News, amid continuing tensions with Russia along Ukraine’s borders.  – CBS News 

Editorial: None of this will be easy in our divided politics, and there are those who believe Mr. Biden is too weak and spent to do it. But you cope with disorder, and deter war, with the President you have. Mr. Biden has three years left in his term, and the world’s rogues won’t wait until 2024 for the U.S. to get its act together. – Wall Street Journal 

Eric Fingerhut and Charlie Cytron-Walker write: As the ancient Jewish sage Rabbi Tarfon said, “You are not obliged to complete the work [of perfecting the world], but neither may you desist from it.” Nonprofit security grants won’t eliminate hatred, but they are crucial to protecting Americans from senseless violence. We urge Congress to take this crucial step toward making sure that Jews and other religious groups do not have to live in fear. – Wall Street Journal 


President Joe Biden couldn’t have been more blunt about the risks of cyberattacks spinning out of control. “If we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence,” he told his intelligence brain trust in July. – Associated Press 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a “Shields Up” alert for American organizations saying that U.S. systems could face Russian cyberattacks amid warnings from Biden administration officials that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent. – The Hill 

Viktor Zhora proudly showed off the new facilities at one of Ukraine’s cyber security agencies, where opposing teams stage mock battles to prepare for the real thing. – Financial Times 

Some data belonging to Americans was swept up in a secret CIA mass surveillance program that operated under atypical legal authority for such an operation, according to a letter released Thursday night by two Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. – CyberScoop 


Editorial: The Army pitches this as a natural extension of its mission to plan and prosecute wars, though nothing about less reliable energy sources or more expensive logistics will make the Army a better fighting force. The Pentagon insists it can fight climate change while dealing with threats like Russia and China, but focus is a finite resource and the service has far more urgent priorities. – Wall Street Journal  

John Ferrari writes: Setting a realistic larger defense topline of $816 billion alleviates the need for Congress to plus up the administration’s budget and cause that mad dash. It will also be a strong signal to both Russia and China that our military forces will be ready and capable to both deter aggression and if deterrence fails to defend our national interests. OMB can fight against a defense increase and force a long, protracted fight in Congress, or it can accept reality and do what is best by both America’s interests abroad and America’s servicemembers. The ball is in their court — and the clock is ticking. – Breaking Defense 

Colin Biery writes: As the U.S. Air Force’s potential enemies build the capabilities to put it under strain in a future conflict, it is up to the service to ensure that it doesn’t fail under that strain. The weak links in the organization should be found and strengthened. I strongly believe that the weakest link in the Air Force is its junior combat support officers, myself included. If our link is going to hold up during conflict, change is needed. More relevant home-station experience and increased emphasis on training, driven by a shift in culture, could develop officers ready to decisively execute the service’s new concepts. – War on the Rocks