Fdd's overnight brief

March 28, 2023

In The News


Russia is helping Iran gain advanced digital-surveillance capabilities as Tehran seeks deeper cooperation on cyberwarfare, people familiar with the matter said, adding another layer to a burgeoning military alliance that the U.S. sees as a threat. – Wall Street Journal

The Canadian government said on Monday it was targeting two entities and eight individuals as part of new sanctions against Iran over human rights violations and production of drones and ballistic missiles. – Reuters

Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have messaged that the Iran-led Axis of Resistance is prepared to continue escalating against American forces in eastern Syria. – Institute for the Study of War

Seth J. Frantzman writes: And regarding Iran’s “watch and see” policy, it had done this before, such as back in May 2021 when Iran used Ramadan tensions over Sheikh Jarrah to help spark a war in Gaza. That war also took place amid the context of numerous elections in Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

The hope in Washington and European capitals is that a Ukrainian counteroffensive—boosted by Western tanks and other fresh weaponry—will punch a hole in Russia’s control of Ukrainian territory this spring. In theory, that gives Kyiv’s forces such a battlefield advantage that Russian President Vladimir Putin is nudged into peace talks where the Kremlin cedes at least the territory it has taken since the invasion in February 2022. – Wall Street Journal

Western sanctions will not deter Moscow from carrying out plans of moving tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus, the Kremlin said Monday. The European Union threatened to impose sanctions on Belarus after Russia announced it would store the weapons in the Kremlin-aligned country, which shares a long border with northern Ukraine. – Washington Post

The United Nations’ chief nuclear energy official met on Monday with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to discuss what he describes as increasingly dire fears about a battle-scarred nuclear plant on the front line of the war, ahead of his first visit to the plant in almost seven months. – New York Times

The delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks from Germany and Challenger 2 tanks from Britain comes as Ukraine prepares for an expected spring offensive. – New York Times

While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to station nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus is unlikely to change Europe’s strategic balance, it has put him at odds with a pledge he made with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping just days earlier. – Bloomberg

Flak jackets are piled up at Ukraine’s Zaporizhstal steel plant, and anti-tank traps guard the entrance. Whenever air raid sirens sound — and they go off every day — most workers head to one of the 16 bomb shelters scattered across the sprawling grounds. – Associated Press

Russia’s Defense Ministry says Moscow has test-fired anti-ship missiles in the Sea of Japan. The ministry said Tuesday that two boats launched a simulated missile attack on a mock enemy warship about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. The ministry said the target was successfully hit by two Moskit cruise missiles. – Associated Press

Putin also said that by stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia will be doing what the United States has done for decades by putting its nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. He alleged the Russian move doesn’t violate an international treaty banning the proliferation of nuclear weapons, even though Moscow has argued before that Washington has breached the pact by deploying them on the territory of its NATO allies. – Associated Press

Every western company seeking to leave Russia and sell its assets in the country will now be obliged to make a direct donation to the Russian state, a commission on foreign investments in the country has said. – Financial Times

Ukraine’s recent drone attacks on Russian-occupied Crimea highlight the importance of neutralising Moscow’s firepower on the peninsula as Kyiv prepares its much anticipated spring counter-offensive. – Financial Times

NATO on Sunday clapped back at Russian President Vladimir Putin after he announced over the weekend that he will be moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, calling it dangerous and irresponsible. – Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Western nations of attempting to build a modern-day Axis power alliance, Russian state media reported on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

Grace Mappes, Karolina Hird, Layne Philipson, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russian military leadership likely committed limited higher quality Wagner Group elements to the offensive on Avdiivka, potentially to reinforce recent limited tactical successes in the area. – Institute for the Study of War

Alexander S. Burns writes: It could be easy to underestimate Wagner if we think of them primarily in these terms. Understanding Wagner in a new historic light allows us to see it as a potentially flexible, adaptable, and dangerous organization — one with the ability to cause problems for both the Ukrainian military and the West. – War on the Rocks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday night that he would delay his government’s plan to overhaul the judicial system, an effort that spurred months of mass protests and led to unprecedented nationwide strikes, including a shutdown of the international airport. – Washington Post

In the 48 hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reluctantly delayed his effort to overhaul the Israeli judiciary, his government was bombarded by warnings from the Biden administration that he was imperiling Israel’s reputation as the true democracy at the heart of the Middle East. – New York Times

Uncertainty over the timing and location of the Under-20 World Cup continues two days after Indonesian authorities postponed the official draw for the May 20-June 11 tournament because of protests over Israel’s participation. – Associated Press

After a contentious three months in office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has hemorrhaged votes to the opposition parties, according to polls from the country’s two major television channels. – Haaretz

Amid the judicial overhaul that has plagued the nation and reached a boiling point in the last few days, President Isaac Herzog called on both sides to establish working teams to reach an agreement through dialogue. – Ynet

According to Palestinian-Arab sources, the son of the terrorist who murdered Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara almost a month ago has been arrested in a combined IDF-Shin Bet operation conducted on Monday morning. – Arutz Sheva

One of the most contentious components of the government’s judicial reform package is the Override Clause which would enable the government to vote down Supreme Court rulings that invalidate Knesset legislation. Long promoted by elements within the coalition as essential in order to curb the Court’s power, the Clause has passed its first reading in the Knesset but its future is now uncertain. – Arutz Sheva

A pedestrian was lightly injured during an attack on an Arab taxi driver by protesters from the far-right Lahava and La Familia organizations on Monday during demonstrations against the moratorium on the judicial reform, Israeli media reported. The incident occurred on Ben Zvi Street in Jerusalem. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be invited to the White House “as soon as their schedules can be coordinated,” US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours after the premier announced that he was pausing his government’s highly divisive judicial overhaul plan. – Times of Israel

Hundreds of Israelis and American Jews protested against the Israeli government’s judicial overhaul outside the Israeli consulate in New York City on Monday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the coalition would pause the legislative push. – Times of Israel 

David Ignatius writes: A wild card in the Israeli turmoil is whether it will alter the enthusiasm for better relations with Jerusalem among moderate Arab states in the Gulf region, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. – Washington Post

Aron Heller writes: If there is one positive American influence to point to these days, it is the awakening of a civil resistance movement that seems as impressive as that of any democracy since the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam protests of the 1960s. But the larger issue boils down to this: Israel has enough problems of its own without also importing those of America. – New York Times

Frida Ghittis writes: Israelis have demonstrated their passion for democracy and their unbreakable willingness to defend it. In the process, they may just be writing the new playbook for people in other democratic nations seeking to defend the system against power grabs by calculating politicians. – CNN

Herb Keinon writes: Had Netanyahu done two months ago what he announced he would do on Monday, the nation could have been spared much trauma. But he didn’t see at the end of January what became clear to him at the end of March. It took Netanyahu’s own “Saturday Night Massacre” for the public anger to reach new heights and compel the prime minister to finally halt the process. – Jerusalem Post

Dr. Shuki Friedman writes: Calling for change in the legal system is legitimate. Israel’s method of selecting judges was not handed down at Sinai either. However, all such changes should be made on the basis of consensus and through a logical and measured process, not by running amok. Politicizing the judicial system now might have severely harmed both the system, and the chances for dialogue later on. – Arutz Sheva


Islamic state claimed on its Telegram account its responsibility for suicide attack that killed at least six civilians in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Monday. – Reuters

The United Nations said on Tuesday that a prominent Afghan girls’ education activist was arrested in Kabul this week and called on Taliban authorities to clarify the reason for his detention. – Reuters

Afghan girls struggle with poor internet as they turn to online classes. The Taliban administration has allowed girls to study individually at home and has not moved to ban the internet, which its officials use to make announcements via social media. – Reuters

House Republicans plan to deliver a subpoena to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday for classified cables related to the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, marking an unprecedented effort to force the release of sensitive documents to Congress. – Associated Press

A former elite soldier charged with murder for allegedly killing an unarmed man in Afghanistan was released on bail Tuesday by a magistrate who concluded he would face danger from Muslim extremists in prison. – Associated Press


Oil production in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region (KRI) is at risk after a halt in northern exports has forced firms operating there to divert crude to storage, where capacity is limited. – Reuters

Iraqi lawmakers passed early Monday controversial amendments to the country’s election law that could undermine the chances for smaller parties and independent candidates to win seats in future polls. – Associated Press

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to advance legislation to repeal two decades-old authorizations for past wars in Iraq, as Congress pushed to reassert its role over deciding whether to send troops into combat. – Reuters


Flying into Lebanon on Sunday, passengers struggled to figure out what time to arrange for pickups after a government decision to postpone daylight saving time rapidly devolved into a political and religious spat that split the tiny country into two time zones. – Washington Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall problem in Lebanon, and why the time zone dispute matters, is that it shows how the government is in chaos and can’t make basic decisions for the long-term. An important part  of this story is Hezbollah’s ability to keep Lebanon from having a new president. The fact that Lebanon lacks a functioning government even though it needs one to carry out important decisions, is symbolized by the time zone chaos. – Jerusalem Post

Rany Ballout write: The agreement is still in its early days. Nevertheless, specifically with regard to Lebanon, as the major details of the agreement remain unknown, the Lebanese debate persists, revolving around an assessment of which party the Lebanese file would be relegated to in the agreement. According to some analysts, an Iranian delegation may soon visit Lebanon to discuss the development with Hezbollah, and potentially the presidential election matter. – The National Interest

Saudi Arabia

China’s President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, discussing a wide range of subjects including supporting follow-up talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, state media CCTV reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

The chairman of top Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) shareholder Saudi National Bank (SNB) (1180.SE) has stepped down less than two weeks after making comments blamed for contributing to the Swiss lender’s demise. – Reuters

House lawmakers sent a letter to Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday demanding that he release all political prisoners being held in his country who were detained after tweeting, days after Riyadh released a woman who was initially arrested for posting tweets critical of the top leader. – The Hill

Middle East & North Africa

U.S. warplanes were poised to conduct a second round of reprisal strikes late Friday, but the White House held off, a senior U.S. official said. On Monday, after a weekend free of fresh militia attacks and full of bad weather in eastern Syria that would have made targeting the insurgents more difficult, Biden administration officials said the military stood ready to respond to any new threats to U.S. personnel. – New York Times

The United States will not back away from its nearly eight-year-old deployment to Syria, where it is battling the remnants of Islamic State, despite attacks on U.S. forces there last week by Iran-backed militia, the White House said on Monday. – Reuters

Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador to “strongly condemn” the French senate’s decision to host Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara considers to be terrorists, the Turkish state-run news agency reported Monday. – Associated Press

Jonathan Spyer writes: The unusual decision to strike at the U.S. presence at the Al-Omar oil field appears to reflect a growing confidence for Iran. The return of fire from America probably concludes this round. But the next round may be along soon. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Rubin writes: It may be comforting to believe Turkey is a democracy or that the relatively colorless Kemal Kilicdaroglu will win. If Turkey were a system of one-man, one-vote with all ballots counting equally, he might indeed win. After 20 years of Erdogan, however, Turkish elections are corrupt. To pretend otherwise simply plays into the would-be sultan’s ambitions just as much as treating Iran as a democracy plays into Khamenei’s hands. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall context then of these two meetings should be seen in a light that clearly brings more influence to Russia and China. China is showing it can help broker deals. Therefore the Iran-Saudi talks could bring major changes to the region. They could also fail and lead to no changes or have a mediocre impact on the region. Either way, it comes in the context of the Gulf reconciling with the Syrian regime. – Jerusalem Post

Shadi Hamid writes: On the other hand, if the IMF bails out an unapologetic Saied, it will bear direct responsibility for the end of Tunisian democracy and consigning millions of Tunisians to a tragic fate. And if the Biden administration allows the IMF to go ahead without imposing further conditions, then the United States will share in the blame. – Foreign Affairs

Nadwa Al-Dawsari writes: A deal with the Houthis is Saudi Arabia’s desperate plea to wash its hands of Yemen, but in the long term it could very well position Iran to threaten regional and international security. More importantly, it might set Yemen on a course of protracted conflict that will create vast ungoverned spaces. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

Leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea is ready to use nuclear weapons “anytime and anywhere,” delivering a new threat as a US aircraft carrier group arrives in South Korea. – Bloomberg

North Korea unveiled new, smaller nuclear warheads as leader Kim Jong Un called for scaling up the production of weapons-grade nuclear material to expand the country’s arsenal, state media KCNA said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United Nations Human Rights office in Seoul called on North Korea on Tuesday to confirm the fate and whereabouts of people who have been disappeared under its regime, accusing Pyongyang of violating the rights of the victims and their loved ones for decades. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday the international community should have better knowledge about North Korea’s dire human rights situation. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for his nuclear scientists to increase production of weapons-grade material to make bombs to put on his increasing range of weapons. – Associated Press

David Albright writes: Kim must understand that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its Allies and partners, and further, any invasion into South Korea, will only lead to the end of his regime. Otherwise, we are left at the mercy of nuclear daredevils hell-bent on repeating the worst excesses of the early decades of the Cold War, including maintaining the delusion that a nuclear war can be fought and won. – Institute for Science and International Security


China’s emergency support for borrowers from its Belt and Road infrastructure program has ballooned as foreign governments struggle under heavy debts, highlighting the extent of Beijing’s bad loan problem as it works to overhaul its overseas lending strategy. – Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong has held its first authorized protest in three years — a demonstration against a land reclamation plan — but imposed strict rules on the participants, including requiring them to wear numbered tags and walk along a route cordoned off with police tape. – Washington Post

Since the end of World War II, the International Monetary Fund and the United States have been the world’s lenders of last resort, each wielding broad influence over the global economy. Now a new heavyweight has emerged in providing emergency loans to debt-ridden countries: China. – New York Times

A disagreement between top military leaders as to why the U.S. didn’t instantly shoot down the Chinese spy balloon as soon as it appeared on radar in late January has spilled into public view — and the GOP is seizing on it. – Politico

China has told Deloitte to “learn a lesson” from a recent fine against it after the country’s regulators pledged to toughen oversight of international and local auditors. – Financial Times

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has returned to mainland China in a rare public visit that comes as Beijing tries to restore confidence in the entrepreneurial class after a years-long crackdown on the tech sector. – Financial Times

The House unanimously passed a bill on Monday that would direct the Secretary of State to work toward stripping the People’s Republic of China of its “developing country” label in international organizations. – The Hill

Rahm Emanuel writes: Global economic leaders, like the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, the U.K. and the members of the EU, must act collectively to deter and defend each other and other law-abiding nations. None of us has the luxury of staying on the sidelines. Unified collective action is the best offense and defense to respond to China’s intimidation and coercion. – Nikkei Asia

South Asia

Another Pakistani court on Monday ruled in defense of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, granting him protection from arrest as lawsuits mounted against him. Police have charged the ousted premier with incitement to violence in several cases when his followers clashed with security forces this month. – Associated Press

The Indian government has received about 54 foreign direct investment proposals from China since last year that are pending for approval, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. – Reuters

Lawmakers belonging to India’s main opposition Congress party wore black outfits, held placards that said “Save Democracy” and threw paper in parliament on Monday in protest against the disqualification of their leader Rahul Gandhi from the chambers. – Reuters


The United States and Japan have reached an agreement over supplies of the critical minerals used to make car batteries, a deal that will likely put to rest a contentious issue in the relationship with Japan and could be a model for resolving similar disputes with other trading partners. – New York Times

Taiwan’s former president, Ma Ying-jeou, landed in China on Monday in the first visit to the country by any sitting or former Taiwanese leader since China’s civil war ended with the Nationalist government retreating to the island from the mainland in 1949. – New York Times

People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ethnically Chinese and share the same ancestor, former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said on Tuesday at the start of a historic visit to China that Taiwan’s ruling party has criticised. – Reuters

New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Tuesday she had encouraged China to support and strengthen Pacific regional institutions and uphold a 22-year old agreement that sees Pacific countries look after their own security needs. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military ruler on Monday urged his foreign critics to get behind his junta’s planned return to democracy, instead of siding with a resistance movement he called “terrorists” bent on destroying the country. – Reuters

Tokyo has demanded that China release a Japanese national who was detained in Beijing earlier this month on suspicion of spying, Japan’s top government spokesperson said Monday. – Associated Press

More than 180 disoriented Rohingya Muslims, some of whom needed medical attention, arrived in the early morning in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, an official said Monday. – Associated Press

Malaysia and Cambodia signed two agreements on Monday on the employment of Cambodian migrant workers, as Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made his first visit to Phnom Penh since becoming his country’s leader in November. – Associated Press

Russia has warned Armenia of “serious consequences” if it submits to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin, the RIA news agency reported on Monday. – Reuters

The US and Japan will sign a trade agreement covering critical minerals needed for electric car batteries on Tuesday, as Washington pushes to reduce its supply chain dependency on China. – Financial Times

China has more than just historical claims behind its ambitions to take Taiwan, specifically greater industrial production capabilities available on the island as well as an operational foothold in the area that could break up U.S. influence in the region, according to defense and intelligence experts. – Fox News

Gideon Rachman writes: But the danger of a slide into global conflict is far from over. The outbreak of war in Europe, combined with the rise in tensions in east Asia — and the growing connections between these two theatres — still has distinct echoes of the 1930s. All sides have a responsibility to make sure that, this time, linked rivalries in Europe and Asia do not culminate in a global tragedy. – Financial Times

Alex Little writes: The United States must focus on concrete, narrow interests in Central Asia that are realistically attainable. Central Asian countries, now more than ever, are looking to expand their commercial partner base amid the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. Peaceful cooperation should be the U.S. strategy, not unnecessary entanglement. – The National Interest

Nathan Park writes: The onus to repair South Korea-Japan relations is on the former colonizer, not the former colony. Seeking justice by putting victims at the center is not simply a moral imperative; it is also in the national interest of the United States, by pursuing a genuine reconciliation between two critical allies. – Foreign Policy


The pro-independence Scottish National Party on Monday elected Humza Yousaf, the country’s health secretary, as its top official, putting the 37-year-old minister on track to become the first Muslim to lead a democratic western European nation. – New York Times

Travel for millions of people in Germany was upended on Monday when transportation workers went on a 24-hour strike, the largest transit walkout in decades, bringing most train, tram, bus and ferry services to a halt and forcing the cancellation of a majority of flights. – New York Times

President Biden plans to visit Northern Ireland next month to mark the 25th anniversary of a landmark peace agreement there. But his trip is stirring concern in diplomatic circles because Mr. Biden will not meet King Charles III, which British and American officials said could be interpreted as a snub, given that he also plans to skip the king’s coronation. – New York Times

Officials from Poland and the European Union on Monday discussed artillery munitions manufacturing as part of a new, 2 billion euro ($2.2 billion) program to supply Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces and to replenish Europe’s dwindling stocks. – Associated Press

Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved Finland’s bid to join NATO, putting an end to months of delays and bringing the Nordic country one step closer to becoming a full member of the Western military alliance. – Associated Press

The British government pushed its contentious migration bill forward in Parliament on Monday, despite a call from Europe’s top human rights organization for lawmakers to block the legislation. – Associated Press

The foreigner, whose citizenship was not disclosed, confessed to the spying charge and now faces up to ten years in prison. The man has been in Poland since January, collecting and passing information to Russia. He focused on critical infrastructure in the Pomeranian and Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodeships in north-central Poland, investigators said. He also was spying on Poland’s security service. – Agence France-Presse

England’s largest teaching union has urged its members to reject a new pay offer by ministers, calling it an “insulting offer from a government which simply does not value teachers”. – Financial Times

Two police officers were injured Monday in scuffles that broke out when protesters tried to break through a police cordon during a demonstration against a meeting of oil and gas companies in Vienna. – Fox News

Gabriele Carrer writes: The two Italian cases represent a significant wake-up call for Europe in response to the challenges posed by autocratic regimes. Governments must avoid complacency and move to limit former politicians and leading businessmen from working with companies engaged in sensitive sectors tied to authoritarian regimes. A vigilant and steadfast stance must be maintained. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Dalibor Rohac writes: Given old Europe’s chronic fecklessness, illustrated by the EU’s misadventures in the Balkans, Ukraine’s future is too important to be left in the hands of Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. If Warsaw and Kyiv were willing to step up and solve the Eastern European problem once and for all, the U.S. administration must have Poland’s and Ukraine’s backs. – Foreign Policy


Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday that the U.S. will provide $100 million over 10 years in new security aid to help West African countries fend off threats posed by terrorist and extremist groups, including al Qaeda, that have been expanding in the region. – Wall Street Journal

International Monetary Fund officials are visiting Ethiopia for talks on a new support program as the country emerges from two years of civil war that hammered the economy. – Bloomberg

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched on the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Monday despite the government’s declaration that the protests are illegal. – Associated Press

At least 17 people were killed by rebels in eastern Congo, local authorities said on Monday. The people were abducted while driving on a road and then killed by the CODECO militia group in Djugu territory in Ituri province over the weekend, Col. Ruphin Mapela Mviniama told The Associated Press by phone. – Associated Press

Burkina Faso said it would indefinitely suspend France 24 news channel’s broadcast licence in the country in response to an interview the French state-owned channel aired with the leader of an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group. – Financial Times

The Americas

Cuba’s government reported Monday that abstention in National Assembly elections was 24.1%, a figure some analysts said reflects discontent with the island’s economic crisis as well as a rise in apathy. – Associated Press

The Central American nation of El Salvador marked a full year Monday under anti-gang emergency measures that were originally supposed to last only a month. – Associated Press

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro suspended a committee he had appointed to restructure state oil firm PDVSA under the supervision of Tareck El Aissami, the oil minister who resigned last week amid an expanding anti-corruption probe into the company and the judiciary. – Reuters

The hospitalization of Brazil’s president with a case of pneumonia will give a bit of room to America as it maneuvers with China over influence in the hemisphere. President da Silva was forced to cancel a trip to Beijing, while Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez visits the White House this week. – New York Sun


At least 50 US government officials are suspected or confirmed to have been targeted by invasive commercial spyware designed to hack mobile phones, a senior US administration official told reporters on Monday, revealing a far bigger number than previously known. – CNN

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday that prohibits U.S. government agencies from using commercial spyware that presents a national security risk to the United States. – CyberScoop

David Wallace-Wells writes: Some of these fears are better grounded than others — your mileage may vary, as they used to say in the internet’s more sociable age. But it’s clear that catastrophic thinking isn’t some isolated or idiosyncratic phenomenon you can cordon off or excise from the culture. Soft millenarianism has become so much a universal grammar that even the high priests of technological progress, the self-appointed architects of our brave new world, can’t manage to escape it. – New York Times

Rishi Iyengar writes: “The U.S. and Chinese AI ecosystems are deeply intertwined, and we’re seeing both governments take steps to increasingly pull them apart,” Scharre said. While China has always closed off its internet ecosystem to the West, “it’s only recently that we’re seeing U.S. policymakers do the same.” – Foreign Policy


U.S. Navy Officials Heading to Scotland to Investigate R/V Petrel Dry Dock Incident. The Navy has launched its own investigation into what led a service-owned research vessel to topple over while in dry dock in Scotland. – USNI News

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the oldest and the largest of the Pentagon’s unified combatant commands, asked Congress for an additional $274 million to fund offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, as officials seek to fend off hackers and gird for potential conflict with China. – Defense News

The U.S. Coast Guard released a $1.57 billion wish list to lawmakers that prioritizes “rebuilding operational capability” as the service continues a hefty modernization push to enable more complex missions. – Defense News

As new details emerge about the AUKUS technology-sharing agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, a regional expert says the deal’s success requires both flexibility and sustained political support in all three countries. – USNI News

Andreas Kluth writes: NATO’s guideline is daft. And I’m glad the alliance has it. Since Putin started imagining he’s Attila the Hun with nukes, we’ve understood that we need to arm to keep him away from us, and that we can’t tolerate free-riding in the alliance any longer. Here’s to 2%. – Bloomberg

Christopher Stone writes: We should be preparing for a future where we not only can take a hit but can hit back — in a way that deters and prevents attacks in the first place. The current space deterrence and warfighting posture of the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command is not ready for this reality. We must fix this posture. – The Hill