Fdd's overnight brief

March 31, 2023

In The News


The United Nations’ top court on Thursday rejected Tehran’s legal bid to free up some $2 billion in Iranian central bank assets frozen by U.S. authorities to be paid in compensation to victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran. – Associated Press

Azerbaijan on Thursday denounced what it called “slanderous” comments by a senior Iranian military commander, the latest sign of fractious relations between the oil-rich Caspian Sea neighbours. – Reuters

Russia is set to receive further weapons deliveries from Iran, as Tehran works to “solidify” the relationship between the two countries, according to a new assessment. – Newsweek

Henry Rome writes: Indeed, the IRGC’s complexity and diverse interests should give pause to any claims that the Guards have monolithic views about sanctions, diplomacy with the West, or the current government. Raisi’s cabinet is stacked with IRGC veterans, while conservatives and hardliners have the run of state institutions—a situation that led many analysts to assume the IRGC would be the biggest winner of his presidency. Yet this has apparently not been the case for many of the force’s members. The alleged complaints about government incompetence underscore the depth of Iran’s structural challenges and the difficulties that some Guards have had in trying to make ends meet. – Washington Institute

Michael Rubin writes: Unfortunately, several back doors to the U.S. exist from which Iranian agents might seek advantage. The best publicized, of course, is the porous southern border. This need not mean Iranian agents traveling from Tehran and sneaking across the Rio Grande. In 2010, for example, the Revolutionary Guards sought to contract hitmen from a Mexican cartel to do their dirty work in Washington, D.C. – Washington Examiner

Russia & Ukraine

The Biden administration condemned the detention of a Wall Street Journal reporter in Russia for what Moscow described as espionage, the first such case of an American journalist detained for allegations of spying since the Cold War. – Wall Street Journal

The Russian Foreign Ministry clarified Thursday that Moscow will continue to notify Washington of any ballistic missile launches, despite a statement Wednesday that “all forms of notifications” were terminated as a result of President Vladimir Putin suspending the New START nuclear nonproliferation agreement. – Washington Post

Russian intelligence agencies worked with a Moscow-based defense contractor to strengthen their ability to launch cyberattacks, sow disinformation and surveil sections of the internet, according to thousands of pages of confidential corporate documents. – Washington Post

With the arrest of a Wall Street Journal correspondent on Thursday, President Vladimir V. Putin signaled to the world that he was doubling down on Russia’s wartime isolation. – New York Times

Four bankers have been convicted of failing to conduct due diligence on Swiss accounts that were opened in the name of a musician with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and used to make deposits worth tens of millions of dollars. – New York Times

Six weeks after coming to help defend Bakhmut, the men of the Adam Tactical Group, one of Ukraine’s most effective battle units, were quietly confident they had turned the tide against Russian troops trying to encircle and capture it. – New York Times

Strolling under a peaceful blue sky, 71-year-old Kateryna Kosych can’t help recalling how Russian troops killed and looted after violently occupying her charming town for a month last year.- Reuters

The cratered roads have been repaved and the damaged houses are gradually being repaired. But the scenes that emerged from this town near Kyiv a year ago, after it was retaken from Russian forces, have indelibly linked its name to the savagery of war. – Associated Press

Russia is set to take the chair position of a United Nations Security Council meeting as it continues to wage its yearlong war on neighboring Ukraine, drawing criticism from Ukrainian leaders. – The Hill

Among the various groups of foreign fighters currently serving on the Ukrainian side in its war against Russian aggression, Belarusians have perhaps the most to gain from a victory over Vladimir Putin’s forces. – Newsweek

Abandoned by the Kremlin, Russian companies are being forced to fend for themselves as fears grow of Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil in Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of the neighboring country. – Newsweek

The Russian ambassador to Budapest has explained why Hungary has been mentioned in a group of what Moscow considers to be “unfriendly countries” despite leaders Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán’s amicable relationship. – Newsweek

The Ukrainian military is likely to face several challenges as it prepares for a spring offensive against Russia, according to an assessment from retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. – Newsweek

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy marked the 400th day of Russia’s full-scale invasion, saying in his evening address on March 30 that his country is preparing its next steps but did not explicitly mention an anticipated counteroffensive. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Russia targeted the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv with missile and drone strikes overnight, the Ukrainian military said on March 31, as fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces for the control of Bakhmut and other key towns in the eastern region of Donetsk continued. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Editorial: Thuggish leaders keep doing thuggish things if they think they will pay no price. The Biden Administration will have to consider diplomatic and political escalation. Expelling Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., as well as all Russian journalists working here, would be the minimum to expect. The U.S. government’s first duty is to protect its citizens, and too many governments now believe they can arrest and imprison Americans with impunity. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The form, nomenclature and rule book of any tribunal that undertakes a prosecution for launching a war of aggression in Ukraine are less important than the message the tribunal transmits, not only to Mr. Putin but also to the coterie of yes men and oligarchs who do his bidding. They have all become too comfortable in power, confident in their own impunity. In one way or another, they should be made to answer for the unwarranted bloodbath they have inflicted on a sovereign nation. – Washington Post

Marlene Laruelle and Ivan Grek write: Such support, of course, is contingent. The longer the war drags on, bringing more casualties, loss and broken promises, the harder it may become to sustain such levels of acceptance. Then again, it may not. Collective emotional turmoil could deepen the feeling that the war must be won, no matter what. In the absence of an alternative vision of the future, Vladimir Putin and his war will continue to hold sway. – New York Times

James Stavridis writes: The IMO should convene an immediate dialog of all major flag nations and lay out the dangers of this illicit behavior, demanding fresh inspections and switched-on transponders. China and India (and other consumers of Russian oil) should be strongly encouraged to stop facilitating these risky transfers. If necessary, Western coast guards and navies should be empowered by the UN to enforce international standards for safe fueling operations, both in port and on the high seas. We must address this global maritime crime scene. – Bloomberg

Ivana Nikolić Hughes writes: With Russia’s war in Ukraine, the escalating risk of war between the U.S. and China, and the challenges humankind faces from climate change, environmental degradation, pandemics and more, we need leaders who can lead us out of the nuclear mess. We need a widespread movement for peace everywhere — and for supporting the TPNW. We owe making this treaty a reality to the children of the world and to the memory of JFK. – The Hill

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Instead, Putin is ditching it all over a delusional, outsized need to win in Ukraine. Is trying to take Bakhmut and defeating Zelensky in an ego grudge match really worth selling out Moscow to Xi? Putin evidently believes that they are, and like a modern-day Nero, he keeps fiddling away in the Donbas as Russia burns out of control on his watch. – The Hill

Iulia Sabina-Joja writes: A united Europe would need a comprehensive China strategy. That’s essential for Europe’s security in the long-term. At present, it’s vital for Ukrainian victory. Don’t go wobbly, Frau von der Leyen. No peace games, Monsieur Macron. – The Hill

Nicholas Lokker and Heli Hautala write: Finnish and Swedish accession can dramatically increase regional stability. Yet the alliance cannot afford to ignore the accompanying risks. The steps suggested above will help ensure that NATO is ready for any response that Russia has in mind. – War on the Rocks


Yet on Thursday, Yoav Gallant, the defense minister who was punished for criticizing the changes, was still in his position. Though the government announced his dismissal in a one-line statement on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still has not sent him a letter formally confirming his departure, the Defense Ministry said. – New York Times

Thousands of Israelis came out in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan on Thursday, blocking a highway in Tel Aviv after months of anti-government protests convulsed the country. – Reuters

Israeli prosecutors indicted two Jewish settlers on Thursday for what the indictment described as a terrorist assault on Palestinians in a flashpoint village in the occupied West Bank that has been a focus of international concern. – Reuters

The Israeli defence minister whose dismissal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought the country’s constitutional crisis to a boil this week may still keep his job, two sources told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

Israel’s government is “on a rampage” against human rights, the new head of Human Rights Watch said on Thursday and urged the United States and other allies to do more to hold it accountable for alleged abuses and persuade it to change course. – Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday pledged enduring ties with Israel but warned against inflaming tensions with the Palestinians, following a rare public spat between the allies. – Agence France-Presse

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday issued a statement supporting Benjamin Netanyahu as the Israeli prime minister finds himself embroiled in an unprecedented democratic crisis. – The Hill

Israel’s domestic fight over the government’s judicial overhaul effort has distracted it from dealing with rising tensions in the West Bank, said a senior US official on Thursday. – Times of Israel

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is expected to issue an apology to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within the coming days, following his firing by the prime minister for speaking in favor of halting judicial reform legislation, Maariv reported Friday morning. – Jerusalem Post

An attorney in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial on Thursday, suggested the proceedings be moved to mediation to decide whether Netanyahu received a bribe, according to a report. – Ynet

More than 20 guests from various countries in the Gulf and Africa arrived in Israel on Wednesday for a historic visit to Jerusalem. – Ynet

Israel has sent its Ofek 13 military intelligence satellite into space from a site in central Israel using the country’s Shavit launcher, the Defense Ministry said this week. – Defense News

Editorial: The overwhelming wave of popular discontent that appears to have surprised even Netanyahu, compelling him to change course, sent a clear message: Don’t toy with Israel’s security and don’t hold it hostage to political machinations. We need a steady hand overseeing Israel’s defense – now is not the time to change horses in midstream. – Jerusalem Post

Elliot Kaufman writes: The right won’t always be in power. Centrists and liberals won’t always need the court to play Superman. Both sides in Israel have an interest in a system of government that lets the people rule, protects minority rights and provides for effective governance. Judicial reform is dead. Long live judicial reform. – Wall Street Journal

Yossi Verter writes: Whatever the extent that Netanyahu and his camp understand what was said (and what was not said), the cold shoulders to Israel will not be limited only to keeping the White House off-limits. If the accusations against Washington by Netanyahu and his crew are not stopped, we are going to hear from the Americans on other fronts as well. This is not an ordinary spat between friends. This is an unprecedented crisis, commensurate with the unprecedented coup they are trying to engineer here. – Haaretz

Aaron David Miller and Daniel C. Kurtzer write: In this respect, resetting the bilateral relationship won’t be easy even if the judicial reform crisis is resolved, because the issue has now become one of trust and the need for a minimum of comity. Nasty comments by Israeli politicians—reminiscent of the Obama years—don’t help. The onus for rebuilding trust will rest entirely with Netanyahu. He created this coalition, he supported the legislation that prompted the domestic crisis, and he still has not taken forthright action to change course. Given the prime minister’s current mindset and his dependence on his current coalition partners, that will be more easily said than done. – Foreign Policy


Six American service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in separate attacks by Iranian-backed militants in Syria last week, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – New York Times

Israel staged airstrikes on suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus early Friday for the second day in a row, the state news agency reported. It gave no word on any casualties. – Associated Press

Retaliatory U.S. airstrikes in Syria targeting Iran-backed militants last week killed eight fighters, the Pentagon said Thursday. – The Hill

Middle East & North Africa

Wealth funds in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have invested hundreds of millions of dollars with Jared Kushner’s private equity firm, according to people with knowledge of the transactions, joining Saudi Arabia in backing the venture launched by former President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law as he left the White House. – New York Times

Prosecutors in the Arab Gulf nation of Bahrain on Thursday have handed down yearlong prison sentences to three people for debating Islamic theology in a series of blog posts and online videos. – Associated Press

Amos Harel writes: In a broader context, a rise in Iran’s self-confidence is discernible – Iran supports both Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations in the territories – against the backdrop of the continuing American tendency to pull out of the Middle East. In the past few weeks, pro-Iranian militias attacked American bases in Syria. The U.S. responded by bombing militia bases, but its departure orientation remains intact. While Iran is consolidating its position as a nuclear threshold state and is advancing its enrichment of uranium, Israel finds it difficult to see the Americans’ intentions as good news. – Haaretz

Akeel Abbas and Shayan Talabany write: It is easy to see Iraq as a story of failure—not least because the rare occasion Iraq comes up in Western media is when marking a war anniversary. The international community must do more than rehash what happened 20 years ago and watch Iraqis struggle to build a democracy. It must invest in the future of Iraq, particularly its young people, who are demanding representative government and functional services and institutions, while protecting pluralism. Iraqi society has changed immensely since 2003; the question now is whether its political institutions have the ability to catch up. – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

South Korea released a new report detailing allegations of executions and torture in North Korea as President Yoon Suk Yeol attempts to put more pressure on Pyongyang over its human-rights record. – Wall Street Journal 

The Biden administration said on Thursday that it was imposing sanctions on a Slovakian national accused of trying to broker a weapons deal between Russia and North Korea. – New York Times

The United States has new information that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional weapons from North Korea in exchange for food aid, the White House said on Thursday. – Reuters


China is dispatching anticorruption enforcers abroad to chase down fugitives and recover stolen assets, a new extension of Beijing’s international reach aimed at strengthening Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s crackdown on graft. – Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth Tang flew home to visit her husband in Stanley Prison, where he is awaiting trial on national security charges. As the 65-year-old labor activist left the Hong Kong maximum security facility earlier this month, a team of police was waiting—along with journalists from a state-owned newspaper. – Wall Street Journal

Days before being named president for an unprecedented third term, Chinese leader Xi Jinping let loose with an unusually blunt attack on what he said was a U.S.-led effort to contain China. At the top of Mr. Xi’s list of concerns is Washington’s relationship with Taiwan. – Wall Street Journal

China is seeking a new international order with Beijing as the dominant player, and the European Union must be more assertive in defending its security and economic interests, including possible EU-wide controls on outbound investment, the bloc’s top official said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

Efforts to build a floor under U.S.-China relations have yet to be successful and coming months will determine if it is possible to reestablish constructive diplomacy with Beijing, a top White House official said on Thursday, stressing the need for “Cold War”-era hotlines and other crisis mechanisms. – Reuters

China on Thursday called remarks by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen “irresponsible” and “unreasonable” after Yellen said Beijing’s lending activities leave developing countries “trapped in debt.” – Reuters

Australia said it has “deep concerns” about delays in the case of Australian journalist Cheng Lei who faced a closed door trial in Beijing on national security charges a year ago. – Reuters

China has tasked its Vice Premier He Lifeng, a close confidante of President Xi Jinping, with the mandate of shoring up the nation’s embattled property industry as well as the $60 trillion financial sector, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Republicans introduced legislation to trigger punitive sanctions against China in the event of a Taiwan invasion as tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated over a US visit by the self-ruled island’s president. – Bloomberg

The highest-ranking member of the U.S. Marine Corps has told Newsweek that his forces are lacking in a key capability that could prove critical in deterring a conflict with China or in successfully waging one should such a war erupt in the Pacific. – Newsweek

Cooperation between Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. on nuclear submarines might spark an arms race, Tan Kefei, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said during a press briefing on Thursday. – Newsweek

Volodymyr Zelensky has spent 13 months waiting for Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to pick up the phone. Vladimir Putin, by contrast, had Xi’s ear long before Russia’s invasion began. – Newsweek

China Coastguard ships and a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) corvette continue to operate around Philippine holdings in the Spratly Islands along with Chinese-flagged civilian ships, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Thursday. – USNI News

Jacob Dreyer writes: Those sweet and encouraging moments needn’t disappear. But we must make smart choices. Canceling an important diplomatic visit to China over a balloon was our choice; moving past that could be our choice, too. – New York Times

South Asia

For the first time in years, India’s splintered opposition is sinking its differences to take on strongman Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which could extend to a substantial challenge in national elections due in 2024. That is if the disparate groups can stay united, which is far from certain. – Reuters 

India is turning more optimistic about achieving a consensus from Group of 20 nations on the language used to describe Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Greece is questioning eight additional suspects from Pakistan over an alleged plot to carry out anti-Semitic attacks in Athens, a police source said Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

Scott B. MacDonald writes: A more developed Indian role would broaden the set of economic relationships that have emerged with the Southern Caribbean Energy Matrix. A deeper Indian engagement in Guyana could help counterbalance China’s influence in the Caribbean and Latin America, something that plays well to Washington’s strategic concerns. – The National Interest

Lisa Curtis and Derek Grossman write: Indian officials believe China is trying to contain India by forcing it to divert more resources into defending simultaneously both its western border with Pakistan and eastern flank with China and by weakening its willingness and ability to challenge Chinese ambitions to dominate the region. Developments along the LAC in 2020 brought clarity to India’s strategic approach toward China, meaning India’s views of the China challenge are starting to converge with those of the United States. Given the dangerous implications of another India-China border crisis, the United States must start implementing policies now both to prevent another border flare-up between New Delhi and Beijing and to be prepared in the event another crisis erupts. – Center for a New American Security


Political tides have begun to turn in Taiwan, threatening to alter the island democracy’s relationships with both Washington and Beijing and reshape tensions between the world’s two superpowers. – Wall Street Journal

Japan said it would restrict the export of advanced semiconductor equipment, a measure that could hamper development of China’s industry and marks a further cooling of relations after the detention of a Japanese pharmaceutical-company employee in Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

It is the highest-profile U.S. visit by a Taiwan leader in years. Nonetheless, President Tsai Ing-wen is keeping largely out of the public eye. – Wall Street Journal

Malaysia’s top court on Friday dismissed a bid by jailed former prime minister Najib Razak to review his corruption conviction over the multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, ending Najib’s judicial efforts to challenge the guilty verdict. – Reuters

More than 60 members of a Chinese Christian church have been detained in Thailand, supporters said Friday, raising fears they may be returned to their home country, where they face possible persecution. – Associated Press

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Friday he will visit China this weekend for talks with his counterpart Qin Gang, becoming Japan’s first top diplomat to do so in more than three years amid growing frictions between the two countries, including a recent flap over the detention of a Japanese national in Beijing. – Associated Press

The technology sharing agreement meant to help Australia build its own nuclear-powered submarines will help deter China from invading Taiwan, the former head of U.S. Pacific Command said today. – USNI News

Nisid Hajari writes: The US should keep communication channels open to the KMT as well as the government; it’s a good sign that Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Foxconn Technology Group and a leading contender for the party’s nomination, is himself visiting the US right now. Above all, though, the US should itself try to improve dialogue with China. One thing Taiwanese can agree on is that a war would be disastrous. More visible US efforts to prevent one would surely be welcomed. – Bloomberg

Tara D. Sonenshine writes:  Armed with the facts (or alarmed by them), Americans can decide for themselves how they want events with China and Taiwan to unfold and pressure Congress and the U.S. government to act one way or another. Or they can simply stand by and let “strategic ambiguity” provide deterrence. I don’t think it will; not anymore. What we need more in this chaotic world is clarity — clarity of purpose and goals and a shared sense of norms. Let’s be clear about democracy, wherever it is practiced. And let’s be clear where we stand on Taiwan. – The Hill


Britain’s King Charles III addressed Germany’s parliament on Thursday and lauded the two countries’ cooperation in helping Ukraine confront Russia’s invasion. – Washington Post

The U.K. government said it had struck a deal to join the Pacific trade alliance the U.S. exited under former President Donald Trump, as Britain looks to diversify trade away from Europe after Brexit. – Wall Street Journal

The Turkish parliament on Thursday ratified Finland’s entrance into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, removing the last obstacle to a historic expansion of the alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Denmark has major shortcoming in its ability to defend its territory and meet its NATO commitments despite pledges to increase defence spending, its army chief said on Thursday, as the country hosted a large military exercise. – Reuters

Scuffles broke out outside a Kyiv monastery on Thursday after a Ukrainian branch of the Orthodox Church that the government says has ties with Russia defied an eviction order. – Reuters

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen warned Beijing on Thursday that its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine would determine Chinese-EU ties but said Europe was not looking to “decouple” from China. – Agence France-Presse

The British Army will buy Swedish Carl-Gustaf M4 recoilless rifles to plug a gap in anti-armor capabilities left by donating similar equipment to Ukraine. – Defense News

Germany’s military procurement arm has signed an estimated €184 million ($201 million) framework agreement for the acquisition of 10 Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Panzerhaubitzen 2000 (PzH2000) self-propelled howitzers to replace those gifted to Ukraine. – Breaking Defense


When Vice President Kamala Harris touches down in Lusaka, Zambia on Friday for the final stop of her weeklong trip across Africa, she’ll see a glittering new airport that’s doubled in size. Rather than a symbol of promising local development, it’s a reminder of China’s deep influence there. – Associated Press

Talks in Sudan aimed at reaching a final agreement to name a civilian government next month and launch a new transition towards elections have hit a roadblock over the thorny issue of restructuring the military, political and military sources said – Reuters

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has appointed a member of his own party as defence minister, according to a decree read on state media, breaching a peace deal in which the role should be selected by the party of opposition leader Riek Machar. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced plans to boost trade with and investment in Tanzania during a visit there on Thursday, part of an African tour aimed at strengthening ties with a continent where China and Russia increasingly hold sway. – Reuters

South Africa needs six months to demonstrate the effectiveness of two new laws that aim to curb money laundering and financing of terrorism as it seeks a quick exit from a global financial watchdog’s dirty money watch-list, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. – Bloomberg

South Africa’s government will not break ties with Russia at the behest of other countries, its foreign affairs minister said ahead of bilateral talks – Bloomberg

The Americas

Brazil’s conservative former president, Jair Bolsonaro, returned to the country Thursday for the first time since his rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, took office in January, vowing to bolster opposition to the leftist government. – Wall Street Journal

Two U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in Haiti, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed on Thursday, adding that Washington is in regular contact with Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them. – Reuters

Canada’s ATCO Ltd has agreed to transfer ownership to Mexico of an unfinished pipeline bogged down in a dispute with the Mexican state power company, two officials told Reuters, marking a rare breakthrough in ongoing tensions over energy. – Reuters

Michael Shifter writes: Despite the need for a new U.S. approach, however, it is clear that Washington can play at best a supporting role in the Venezuela drama. Only the country’s own protagonists will ultimately determine if and when Venezuela restores democratic rule; only a well-organized opposition rooted in Venezuela can effectively take on Maduro, who has proved to be a canny operator. And only by working together and playing the long game can the opposition change the dynamics that have kept Maduro in power for more than a decade. – Foreign Affairs


The US and 10 other countries on Thursday issued a major anti-spyware declaration, which was the first of its kind. US President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order banning spyware from the US federal government. – Jerusalem Post

Foreign hackers are targeting contractors to the U.S. government not only for their intellectual property and non-public information, but also to find furtive avenues into Pentagon networks, according to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. – Defense News

The public-private Space Information and Analysis Sharing Center (Space-ISAC) today announced the opening of a new Operational Watch Center to detect cyber threats to satellite systems, warn operators and users in real-time, and provide advice on self-defense. – Breaking Defense


Seth G. Jones writes: After two decades of operations against al Qaeda and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the United States has fundamentally shifted its defense strategy from counterterrorism to competition with China and Russia. But words are not enough. The U.S. defense industrial base is sorely lagging. Without urgent changes, the United States will find itself unable to fight a protracted war or deter Russian or Chinese aggression. – Foreign Affairs

Jennifer Kavanagh and Bryan Frederick write: Future U.S. military interventions are likely, but costly failures need not be. A more effective policy requires Washington to rethink its view of military intervention: it is not a hammer for all nails but a specialized tool best used sparingly and carefully. – Foreign Affairs

James Jay Carafano writes: All the nations committed to free and open spaces share the desire to attain energy security, counter violent extremism and illegal mass migration, deter wars of aggression, foster growing, vibrant economies, and mitigate the debilitating instability of great power rivalries. This is also good for America. We need strong U.S. leadership promoting loose, flexible, and evolving groupings of like-minded nations committed to free and open spaces powered by self- and collective interests. – The National Interest

Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer write: It’s the time when the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the U.S. Defense Department’s warfighting and functional commands all come back to Congress, hat in hand, and ask lawmakers for more money that the Biden administration didn’t put in the budget. But the wish lists total billions of dollars, more than $24 billion for fiscal year 2023, and some lawmakers are getting tired of the act, which they equate to money grubbing. They’re trying to kill the requirement for different branches of the Pentagon to send over requests for extra cash, and for the first time ever, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the e-ring brass are on board with the idea. – Foreign Policy