Fdd's overnight brief

June 15, 2022

In The News


Russia intensified its assault on a strategic Ukrainian city on Tuesday as NATO officials prepared to debate increased military support for Kyiv’s attempt to reverse Russian momentum in the country’s east. – Washington Post 

Russian forces destroyed the last remaining bridge to Severodonetsk, cutting Ukrainian supply lines and moving to consolidate control over the strategic city in the latest setback for Kyiv’s forces in the country’s east. – Wall Street Journal  

The tanks are gone now, and the thousands of Russian soldiers who poured into northern Ukraine in February have retreated back across the border. But fear still prevails in this quiet village only six miles from Ukraine’s border with Russia and Belarus. – New York Times 

In the 100 days after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s revenue from exports of fossil fuels soared to 93 billion euros — about $97 billion — according to a report by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air. – Washington Post 

The European Union’s top aviation safety regulator said on Tuesday that he is “very worried” about the safety of Western-made aircraft continuing to fly in Russia without access to spare parts and proper maintenance. – Reuters 

Russia told Ukrainian forces holed up in a chemical plant in the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms by early Wednesday, pressing its advantage in the battle for control of eastern Ukraine. – Reuters 

Ukrainian forces are suffering painful losses in fighting Russian troops in both the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk and the Kharkiv region, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia for years hosted world leaders and business titans at its annual economic forum in St Petersburg, but the “Russian Davos” will see little of the global financial elite this year with Moscow isolated by sanctions over its actions in Ukraine. – Reuters 

Russia’s oil profits have likely risen despite lower crude exports and the United States and its allies must find ways to reduce Moscow’s oil revenue, possibly by capping prices, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia will start restricting public access to some government data in an attempt to protect the country from additional sanctions, the finance ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia has banned dozens of British journalists, media representatives and defence figures from entering the country, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters    

Russia struck an artillery weapons depot with Kalibr cruise missiles in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the Russian defence ministry. – Reuters 

Six people were injured on Tuesday by shelling in a Russian town on the border with Ukraine, the regional governor said. – Reuters   

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday stressed the need for more anti-missile systems, as the battle with Russian forces continues in Ukraine despite Russia’s depleting stock. – Newsweek 

A group of Russian officials who appeared on state television held an intense discussion on how best to show the U.S. the full extent of the threat Russia poses to its national security. – Newsweek  

US restrictions on exports and work with more than three dozen allies are cutting Russia off from the vast majority of technology that President Vladimir Putin needs to sustain his invasion of Ukraine, a Biden administration official said. – Bloomberg 

Russia is scraping across the country to find manpower and weapons, including old tanks based in the Far East, having used up much of its military capacity in the first 100 days of its invasion of Ukraine, according to senior European officials with knowledge of the situation on the ground. – Bloomberg  

Russia has boosted its oil production by roughly 5% in the first half of June compared with last month, Interfax reported Tuesday. – Business Insider  

Richard Bernstein writes: In other words, the initial impulse to help Ukraine is running into a contrary impulse to limit the help, just as in past conflicts—Lebanon in 1983, Somalia in 1993-94 and Iraq as well as China, Afghanistan and Vietnam. If the Midway Measures Trap is being sprung again and Ukraine is ultimately defeated, the lesson for America’s adversaries, China most important, will be clear: If you stick with it over the long term, the U.S. won’t take the tough, costly measures required to win. – Wall Street Journal  

Bret Stephens writes: The bottom line: The war in Ukraine is either a prelude or a finale. President Biden needs to do even more than he already has to ensure it’s the latter. – New York Times 

Jagoda Marinic writes: There is some hope of change. The promise in early June to supply Ukraine with an air-defense system and tracking radar, though at an unspecified date, was a step in the right direction. But it’s all taking far too long. Every day, the Russian military makes gains in Ukraine’s east; loss and fatigue, at last, seem to be afflicting the Ukrainian forces. The longer Germany, the most powerful and influential country on the continent, hesitates, the more devastation Mr. Putin can unleash. There should be no more time for delay. – New York Times 

David Ignatius writes: The crucial variable in this long, brutal war may be “strategic patience,” in the words of retired Australian Army Maj. Gen. Mick Ryan. The Ukrainians aren’t winning right now, but they aren’t losing, either. And they should have a lot more weapons arriving soon. – Washington Post 

Edward C. Chow writes: Preparation for the G7 and NATO summits at the end of this month in Europe provides the opportunity to design more effective Western oil sanctions against Russia, rather than risking the sanctions regime unraveling due to political pressure, when even higher prices and energy shortages would hit Western consumers and industry. This requires a realistic understanding of what energy sanctions can and cannot do in the short to medium term and what other measures, including hard military power, should be taken if the objective is to stop Putin’s war as soon as possible. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Vladislav L. Inozemtsev writes: It is worth noting that in the Munich Agreement not only German, but also Hungarian and Polish claims toward Czechoslovakia were considered, so the final agreement might be seen as a multilateral convention. Yet, in the case of Ukraine, it seems unreasonable to force the Ukraine to cede some of its territory to an aggressive power headed by a leader that has already proven to be unable to respect even the treaties and obligations that he himself had undersigned. […]What Putin has been advocating since at least 2012 is a world without rules, and the Western analysts and policymakers who now suggest that he should be appeased are paving the path to this very goal that will, in its turn, lead not to peace, but rather to a new war of “all against all.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 


Iran appeared to be readying for a space launch Tuesday as satellite images showed a rocket on a rural desert launch pad, just as tensions remain high over Tehran’s nuclear program. – Associated Press 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year, Iranian tour guide Ali’s business has boomed. But where once he hosted Russian tourists interested in Persian art, food and culture, now he welcomes businesspeople. Following a flood of western sanctions on Russian entities, they are “very interested to know how Iranians have been living under US sanctions”, he said. – Financial Times 

The United States said on Tuesday it awaits a constructive response from Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal without “extraneous” issues, a possible reference to Iran’s demand its Revolutionary Guards be dropped from a U.S. terrorism list. – Reuters  

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation (PMO) said on Tuesday the Iranian-flagged Lana tanker ship seized in April by Greece is no longer impounded and its oil cargo will be returned to its owner, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency. – Reuters  

Iran’s labour minister resigned on Tuesday amid daily nationwide protests by pensioners, merchants and workers against soaring living costs. – Reuters 

Iranian hackers targeted the emails of senior Israeli and American officials and executives, including former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and a former US ambassador to Israel, according to the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran has claimed it has uncovered details of a recent cyber attack on the municipality of Tehran – but no information was lost due to the attack. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran appears non-plussed over reports about the recent deaths of two members of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran’s Tasnim news lashed out at The New York Times and Iran International TV in reports about the deaths, accusing these two outlets of spreading “false” information. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran said on Tuesday said it still believes that negotiations can succeed to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, despite a recent rebuke from the UN nuclear watchdog. – Arutz Sheva 

About 240 Iranian civil activists have called the “inhumane treatment” of political activist Keyvan Samimi Behbahani a “gradual assassination attempt”, calling for his immediate release. – Iran International 

Editorial: To increase the pressure, Biden should immediately suspend U.S. participation in the Vienna talks, warning that those talks will not recommence until Iran reactivates the cameras and other monitoring systems. The president should also make clear to Iran, whether privately or publicly, that if it fails to restore monitoring systems within seven days (the minimum time the Navy would need to prepare), the U.S. will begin a naval enforced embargo of Iranian oil exports. The Harry S. Truman carrier strike group is currently in the Mediterranean Sea, so means of U.S. action are present. Regardless, the current U.S. stance of doing nothing is patently unfit for purpose. Biden should remember President Harry Truman’s old adage: “The buck stops here.” – Washington Examiner  

Meir Javedanfar writes: No one thinks that a single TV appearance by Reza Pahlavi will cause the downfall of the ruling regime in Iran. Even if it were to fall, it is not clear how many Iranians would actually want an elected constitutional monarchy to replace it, as Reza Pahlavi has proposed. However, as long as the regime chooses to focus on its own priorities rather than those of the Iranian people, the popularity of the opposition, including monarchists, will continue to increase. – Middle East Institute  


Turkey insisted it was a safe country Tuesday, a day after Israel urged its citizens to leave over fears of Iranian attacks in a warning apparently coordinated with Turkish authorities. – Agence France-Presse 

Greece and Turkey’s competing bids to win U.S. attention, money and weapons are roiling the region, with war already raging next door. – Politico 

Zvi Bar’el writes: The new tapestry of Turkey’s regional connections and ties with Israel – and its deteriorating relations with Iran – turn Turkey into a vital arm in Israel’s struggle against Iranian terror. This is not a binary relationship, where an alliance with Israel means cutting Turkish-Iranian ties. […]But the United States is trying to establish a regional defensive alliance against Iran, and President Joe Biden has made it clear that one of the main reasons for his Middle East visit next month is Israel’s security. Ankara will not want to be excluded from this alliance, and it expects Israel to do its part to help Turkey become a part of it, and thereby help restore its relations with Washington. – Haaretz 


The European Union is looking to Israel to help reduce its energy dependence on Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Jerusalem on Tuesday. – Reuters

U.S President Joe Biden will help Israel strengthen its regional ties and take its alliance with Washington to new heights on his Middle East trip next month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters  

Israel and Arab countries that share its worries about Iran should build up their military capabilities under Washington’s aegis, the Israeli defence minister said on Tuesday ahead of a visit to the region by U.S. President Joe Biden. – Reuters  

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting Tuesday with visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was marred by a dispute over the treatment of journalists in her entourage that threatened to derail the talks, Hebrew media reported. – Times of Israel 

UN Human Rights Council investigators slammed the United States for building a 22-member bloc to reject their Commission of Inquiry (COI) against Israel over issues of bias. – Jerusalem Post 

The EU on Tuesday failed to pass a proposal to withhold about 5% of its support for the Palestinian Authority in light of antisemitic incitement from its textbooks, after 14 months of freezing funding. – Jerusalem Post 

Hamas members planned to seize control of a Palestinian Authority security installation near Ramallah, Palestinian sources said Tuesday. The claim coincided with the 15th anniversary of Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the collapse of the PA and its security forces there. – Jerusalem Post 

Mark Goldfeder writes: If the Biden administration wants to symbolically affirm its willingness to engage with the Palestinians, it could, with Israel’s permission, open a consulate in Abu Dis, a suburban neighborhood that belongs to the Palestinian governorate of Jerusalem but is located just outside the Israeli city limits; or in Ramallah, the actual seat of the PA government. But in the meantime, the administration must follow the 1995 law when it comes to Jerusalem, the undivided capital of Israel; it must respect the 2018 law that cuts off aid to those who won’t stop paying terrorists; and it must stop appointing officials who spread false narratives that justify violence and make peace an impossible dream. – Newsweek 

Simon Henderson writes: Meanwhile, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on increasing gas exports, though it is difficult to see what immediate practical effect this will have. Israel’s Ministry of Energy will also open another round of bidding for licenses to explore in its EEZ. The degree of interest shown in this round will indicate how international energy companies currently regard the attractiveness of Israeli prospects. – Washington Institute  

Saudi Arabia

President Biden’s much-anticipated trip to Saudi Arabia has been formally set for next month, the White House announced on Tuesday, but officials played down the chances of securing much immediate help in stabilizing energy markets roiled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

While the Saudis and the Emiratis were smarting over security issues, the Biden administration had its own frustrations. It was angered by the Gulf leaders’ resistance to pump more oil to damp high energy prices and their refusal to distance themselves from Vladimir Putin, with whom they have nurtured closer ties in recent years. – Financial Times 

Warring parties Saudi Arabia and the Yemen’s Houthi movement have resumed direct talks to discuss security along the kingdom’s border and future relations under any peace deal with Yemen, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Editorial: In a world in which great power politics has returned with a vengeance, and U.S. adversaries are on the march, the U.S. needs allies in rough neighborhoods. Some of them are going to be unsavory by American standards. The Saudi Crown Prince is an example with his alleged complicity in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But he has also brought a heretofore unknown degree of social reform to the Kingdom, including for women. Mr. Biden is right to try to patch up relations, even if it means offending his party’s left. – Wall Street Journal 

Janan Ganesh writes: Biden should not just defrost US relations with Saudi Arabia. He should use the moment to give up an entire way of framing the modern world. The west is locked in a struggle against two specific autocracies. Not, as some would have it, against “autocracy”. The challenge from Russia and China (US Republicans would name Iran as a third) is daunting enough without volunteering for a showdown with a complete mode of government. As during the cold war, in fact, countries that practise it will have to be enlisted to the US side of the superpower conflict. – Financial Times 

Gulf States

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro traveled Tuesday to the energy-rich nation of Qatar as part of a Mideast tour. – Associated Press 

Populist Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr went from a mercurial outlaw wanted dead or alive during the U.S. occupation to a kingmaker in politics before transforming himself into the most powerful figure in the country. – Reuters 

Michael Nahum writes: Halbousi has his hands full in Iraq this week after Sunday’s resignation of the Sadrist bloc’s 73 MPs in protest of eight months of government deadlock. Whether Halbousi’s next visit to the West includes a European leg or just the Washington visit he postponed, part of what the meetings will achieve is a demonstration to the region that Israel’s most powerful supporters have acquiesced to his campaign against normalization and the many Arabs who want it. If he faces no political consequences, he’ll be right. – Times of Israel 

Middle East & North Africa

Russia considers Turkey’s possible military operation in Syria unwise as it could escalate and destabilise the situation, the RIA news agency cited Russia’s Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentyev as saying on Wednesday. – Reuters 

US President Joe Biden will unveil plans to bolster Israel’s relations with Arab states during his July 13-14 visit to Jerusalem next month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel marked a major escalation in its years-long campaign of airstrikes in Syria, carrying out an attack last week that shut down the country’s main civilian airport in Damascus as Israel steps up efforts to stop Iranian weapons shipments to Hezbollah. – Associated Press 

Lebanese negotiators said Tuesday they would be willing to drop demands for control of part of a gas field claimed by Israel, but in exchange would seek full control of another gas field that also straddles the countries’ offshore economic zones, an official said. – Times of Israel 

Mohammed Khalid Alyahya writes: Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman understands that empowering his generation of Saudis is the kingdom’s path back to the future. The geriatric clerics who rule Iran understand that they can promise no such path. Instead, they are stuck in a cycle of violent repression, in which they meet the dreams of their country’s youth with beatings, prisons, and torture chambers. The question Western governments and policy analysts must ask themselves echoes the battle cry of the ’60s youth: Whose side are you on? The answer must be the side of the region’s young people, and the leaders who are brave enough to support them. – Tablet 


Chinese authorities said they released a local staff member of Bloomberg News’s Beijing bureau on bail in January, more than a year after she was detained for alleged national-security offenses. – Wall Street Journal  

As U.S. intelligence agencies ramp up their efforts against China, top officials acknowledge they may also end up collecting more phone calls and emails from Chinese Americans, raising new concerns about spying affecting civil liberties. – Associated Press 

China will put into effect revised rules governing mobile apps on Aug. 1, the cyberspace administration said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

In a June 13, 2022 article in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times, titled “U.S. Attempt To Weaponize The Sea Against China Brings Unprecedented Maritime Challenges,” Wu Shicun, president of the Hainan Province-based National Institute for the South China Sea Studies, discussed the June 10-12, 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense summit, that took place in Singapore. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

When discussing the world’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US officials have been up front that they are aware China is watching, and they’re hopeful that the strong signal of support for Kyiv will dissuade Beijing from plans to invade Taiwan. – Breaking Defense 

Israel joined a 47-country bloc that denounced China’s forced imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims at the United Nation’s Human Rights Council on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Michael R. Pompeo writes: In our enforcement of economic security today and in our future relations with China, we must not forget the timeless lessons this giant taught the world. We must act without delay, for Beijing is an aggressor of similar malevolence to that which Ronald Reagan vanquished, but of greater might across the spectrum of power. Observance and concrete actions are demanded. – The National Interest 

Thomas D. Grant writes: A country under a legal obligation to negotiate in regard to nuclear weapons is not within its rights when it engages in a nuclear build-up calculated to reorder the world and dominate the negotiating table. As we address China’s nuclear build-up, we should recognize that the legal issues under the NPT and strategic concerns writ large are not separate: they are bound together in this way. The National Interest 

Aleksandra Gadzala Tirziu writes: Through Beijing’s steady stream of pronouncements and rhetorical maneuvers — some, like the most recent, which end up codified as government-issued orders — China is advancing its war aims without saying the word. This is true with respect to Free China as well as further afield. It is also testing America and the West. Neither should let it slip away. – New York Sun 

Anat Hochberg-Marom writes: Therefore, from a broad geopolitical and economic point of view, there’s no doubt that we need to rethink the future of international and regional relations in the Middle East, especially for Israel. The chaotic era we’re currently living in is constantly changing, and China, which is struggling with complex challenges at home and abroad, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, is the only superpower that could possibly fill the shoes of the Americans and become the regional police, although it is far from certain whether it will want to fulfill this role. – Jerusalem Post 


Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has jolted Taiwan into confronting the specter of a sudden attack from the island’s own larger and more powerful neighbor: China. – New York Times 

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry condemned organisers of the World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday for saying Taiwanese fans may be listed as being from China, and demanded organisers not allow “improper political factors” to interfere in sporting events. – Reuters 

Australia wants “broad and deep” cooperation with Japan as the two U.S. allies face complex security circumstances in Asia as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and COVID-19 disruption, its defence minister said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The United States on Tuesday backed Taiwan’s assertion that the strait separating the island from China is an international waterway, a further rebuff to Beijing’s claim to exercise sovereignty over the strategic passage. – Reuters 

Australia’s foreign minister will travel to the Solomon Islands on Friday to meet with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare amid concern over the regional impact of a security deal between the Pacific islands nation and China. – Reuters 

Scores of children have been killed in Myanmar since last year’s coup, not just in the crossfire of conflict but as deliberate targets of a military willing to inflict immense suffering, a United Nations expert said on Tuesday. – Reuters  

Any Chinese military attack on Taiwan would have a greater impact on global trade flows than the Ukraine war, Taipei’s top trade negotiator told Reuters on Tuesday, saying it would lead to a shortage of semiconductor chips. – Reuters 

China needs to lift its sanctions on Australia to improve relations, Australia’s prime minister said on Tuesday, as he welcomed as “a good thing” the first talks between ministers from the two countries in almost three years. – Reuters 

China and Taiwan find themselves in a fresh clash over interpretations of international law, the reading likely to impact how each receives the U.S. military’s presence in the Taiwan Strait. – Newsweek 

Long before Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made his first bilateral visit to Jakarta, Indonesia’s trust in Australia was already slipping. – CNBC 

North Korea may have spent as much as $642 million on its nuclear programme last year, according to anti-nuclear activists, as the impoverished country appears ready to test a new weapon despite battling a COVID-19 outbreak and economic crisis. – Reuters  

Joseph Bosco writes: Kim must be put on his back foot and given something to worry about at home, rather than having the luxury of planning his next anti-Western provocation. The message also should ricochet to Xi’s communist regime with its own domestic atrocities and aggressive ambitions. – The Hill 

Akhil Ramesh These domestic pressures have forced Biden’s hand into making amends for the trade policy pitfalls of his predecessors over strengthening alliances in Asia by reentering trade deals such as CPTPP. Consequently, this development has given birth to frameworks such as IPEF, that can get the buy-in from hesitant partners in the region but do not offer old allies much in substance. With IPEF, it is clear that Obama/Bush/Clinton-era free trade is becoming a thing of the past and the forms of trade cooperation that populist leaders propose in the future will put their nation’s workers first. – The Hill 

Editorial: The United States should increase the pressure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in April that the Biden administration is monitoring human rights abuses in India; this month, he named India as a country with deteriorating religious freedoms. But the White House has been silent as this most recent controversy has unfolded. India could be a pluralistic democracy or a country defined by a dark, intolerant nationalism. The United States should work actively in favor of the former. – Washington Post 


Germany moved to stabilize its energy supply Tuesday, injecting about €10 billion into the German subsidiary of Gazprom PJSC as the Russian gas giant said it would nearly halve the flow of fuel through a major pipeline connecting the two countries. – Wall Street Journal   

The British government Tuesday evening canceled a flight set to deport a first group of asylum seekers to Rwanda, following a last-minute intervention by a European human-rights court. – Wall Street Journal  

European countries, scrambling to secure alternatives to Russian coal, imported 40% more coal from South Africa’s main export hub in the first five months of this year than over the whole of 2021, figures obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that temporary silos would be built along the border with Ukraine in a bid to help export more grain and address a growing global food crisis. – Reuters 

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Romania on Tuesday to hold bilateral talks and meet with French troops stationed there who are part of NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Elements of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and several hundred civilians are sheltering in underground bunkers in Azot Chemical Plant in the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk, Britain’s defence ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The European Court of Human Rights confirmed it had issued an order on Tuesday preventing the deportation of one individual due to be on the first flight of migrants from Britain to Rwanda due to depart hours later. – Reuters   

Olga Tokariuk writes: As an acquaintance from Ukrainian civil society said recently: “We are aware that the window of opportunity is small. It will close at the end of June, at most by the end of the summer. Westerners will go on holiday, and then a new political season will start, with other issues on the table.” The West still has a pile of homework to do before its summer break. Ukraine must not be left alone. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


A Zimbabwean freelance reporter working for the New York Times was on Tuesday convicted and fined after he was accused of obtaining fake accreditation documents for two of the U.S. newspaper’s journalists on a visit, his lawyer said. – Reuters 

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday the federal government had formed a committee to negotiate with forces from the rebellious northern region of Tigray, in the first public confirmation of a key step towards peace negotiations. – Reuters 

The death toll from a massacre by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso last weekend has risen to 79, the government said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

The Americas

Officials from both countries, as well as Greenland, signed an agreement on Tuesday to resolve the long-standing fracas — the last remaining disagreement over a land border in the Arctic — with the Solomonic solution of dividing the island in two. Denmark gets about 60 percent of the island; Canada gets the rest. – Washington Post 

Nicaragua’s Congress renewed on Tuesday a decade-long decree allowing Russian forces to train in the Central American country, a decision criticized by the United States in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

American officials alarmed at the Nicaraguan president’s increasingly anti-Democratic antics and decision to welcome Russian troops on Central American soil are ratcheting up their diplomatic pressure with threats to exclude the country from a free trade agreement enjoyed by the rest of the region. – New York Sun 


A Belarusian hacktivist group on Tuesday released what it says is wiretapped audio of foreign embassies, consulates and other calls in Belarus gathered surreptitiously by the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs. – CyberScoop 

Canadian businesses operating in critical infrastructure sectors would be required to report cyber attacks to the federal government and would have to fortify their cyber systems under a new law introduced on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Zhanna L. Malekos Smith writes: Preparation is a quintessential element of success. Transitioning infrastructure toward federally approved standards is not a small undertaking; iterative reviews will require discipline and patience. Thankfully, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is working with stakeholders in its call for proposals to produce quantum-resistant cryptographic standards by 2024. By concentrating national resources on this complex challenge now, the United States will be better positioned to operate and thrive in a post-quantum environment. – The Hill  

Shana Taws writes: Across the entire globe, over the last several years, there has been a steady decline in democracy and human rights with only a few notable exceptions. […]Autocracy doesn’t necessarily come at the point of a gun or a military coup; it starts with a public that is willing to elect people who are expressing views that are hostile to human rights. That person then uses the leverage of an elected position to shut down the press, harass their opponents, and insulate themselves so they can stay in power. – American Enterprise Institute  


NATO must build out “even higher readiness” and strengthen its weapons capabilities along its eastern border in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the military alliance’s chief said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Last year, the world’s nine nuclear-armed states—the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—spent $82.4 billion collectively on their nuclear arsenals, a new report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has revealed. – Newsweek 

Gen. Anthony Cotton, who manages the Air Force’s nuclear weapons and bombers as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, was nominated June 7 to lead the Pentagon’s nuclear enterprise at U.S. Strategic Command. – Defense News 

House Democrats sided with the Biden administration Tuesday, offering a $762 billion fiscal 2023 defense spending bill in an initial draft released by the Appropriations Committee. – Defense News 

David Johnson writes: How the current Army team approaches its task will be fundamental to what it learns. Will it seek to find flaws in multi-domain operations and challenge its critical assumptions? Or will it look for evidence to validate multi-domain operations and the associated materiel and organizational initiatives that multi-domain operations justifies? To be blunt, is the team empowered to tell the Army that, after years of effort, its warfighting concept for the future would not have provided the theory of victory it advertises itself to be against Russian forces in Ukraine? – War on The Rocks  

Rebecca L. Heinrichs and Matthew Costlow write: A nuclear weapon has not been used in war for 77 years, and it is imperative that nuclear strategists, policymakers, and the American people, support strengthening the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. […]Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has once again shocked policymakers across Western capitals, who were convinced that Russia simply would not do it. We must reexamine our assumptions and consider the possibility that our adversaries might have aspirations and risk calculations very different from what we think they ought to be. Then, with determination and bipartisan cooperation, we must seek to convince those adversaries that we are willing and able to thwart their aims, and in doing so, we can keep the peace. – The Dispatch 

Long War

Germany and Swiss authorities have carried out a joint operation to detain four people who are accused of membership in or support of the Islamic State group, officials said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

The Biden administration is loosening certain terrorism-related exemptions for Afghan evacuees who worked with or on behalf of the US government so they can qualify for immigration benefits, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday. – CNN 

Argentina, following an alert from America and other countries, is holding at its airport in Buenos Aires an Iranian cargo plane and its crew of Iranian and Venezuelan nationals over suspected terrorist activity. – New York Sun