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Geostrategic environment (october 15, 2022)

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  • (Asia) Ryan Hass, Brookings. The international system is facing acute stresses at the same time as great power competition is intensifying, and the two trends are mutually reinforcing. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is straining food and energy security worldwide. Deepening U.S.-China enmity is eliminating options for both major powers to coordinate responses to pandemics and climate change. Invigorating regional efforts to bolster maritime security in Asia
  • (Belarus) Grigory Ioff, The Jamestown Foundation. It is exceedingly difficult to cobble together a rational formula to explain the current state of affairs in Belarus. Nevertheless, the idea of fear, and its underpinnings, may serve as a key indicator here—that is, fear of further involvement in the war against Ukraine, which is increasingly being perceived as a wider struggle between Russia and the West. Belarus’s Situation: Is Fear an Explanatory Variable?
  • (China) Valdai Discussion Club. It can be said without exaggeration that the decisions taken during the 20th Congress will determine the trajectory of China’s development for the next five years, and could affect it for ten years or more, writes Valdai Club expert Yana Leksyutina – China on the Way to the 20th CPC Congress — Valdai Club
  • (China) Sergey Sukhankin, The Jamestown Foundation. Starting in the 2010s, the use of “security for hire” and paramilitary, non-state actors has been on the rise. Given its expanding geo-economic and geopolitical ambitions—best expressed by the Belt and Road Initiative—China, akin to other actors, will need to ensure physical security and protection of its citizens, resources and assets abroad. For this, Chinese businesses and the state will have to expand the use of security mechanisms. While employment of the People’s Liberation Army might not be the best option, reliance on local security providers is frequently associated with multiple risks as well. Thus, in pushing ahead with foreign investments, Beijing would have to increase reliance on private security providers, including those originating from China. The Contemporary Global ‘Security for Hire’ Industry: An Overview
  • (China – USA) Basil C. Bitas, East Asia Forum. The key geopolitical protagonists in Ukraine are likely to draw disparate conclusions from the conflict. That is true whether their participation entails direct support, proxy involvement or a mix of the two. Disparate perceptions muddy US–China relations
  • (China – USA) Xinhua. China will work with the international community to oppose unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices in sci-tech, and promote the steady recovery of the world economy, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday. China to work with int’l community to oppose protectionism, bullying practices in sci-tech
  • (Europe) Alberto Tagliapietra, GMF. When EU member states agreed on the free movement of people and goods within the EU, they also decided that freedom of internal mobility would require strict controls at external borders—determining who can enter member states’ territory and who cannot. To better control and monitor who crosses their borders, the EU set up a number of large-scale information systems composed of several databases in which people entering the union are registered depending on their entry reason (in order of creation: the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, and the Visa Information System). These information systems provide border guards, police officers, and migration and asylum officials with relevant information on individuals entering the union and have become an essential tool for external border management to pursue the internal security of the EU. EU Interoperability Framework and European Migration
  • (Europe) Michal Wyrebkowski, Wiktor Babinski, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. As winter approaches, European governments are preparing to weather a storm that threatens not only the comfort and safety of their citizens, but also the recently regained Western unity on foreign policy. The looming “energy crisis” is widely discussed at high-minded conferences, in parliamentary speeches, and in the media—where politicians use it to make and deflect accusations, and tabloid headlines warn that doomsday is descending on Europe. Winter is coming: Europe’s huge geopolitical blunder on Russian energy
  • (Europe – Ukrainians) Omer Karasapan, Brookings. In October 2022 the U.N. listed 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, including 2.85 million in Russiamany of the latter were sent there by Russian occupiers and were subjected to a “filtration” process with credible reports of war crimes emerging, including evidence of executions and tortureUkrainian refugees: Challenges in a welcoming Europe
  • (Georgia) Giorgi Menabde, The Jamestown Foundation. During his September 13 briefing, ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party chairman Irakli Kobakhidze noted that Georgian authorities had presented the idea of ​​holding a plebiscite wherein the Georgian people will be asked if they want to open a “second front“ against Russia in Georgia. Will Georgians Decide in Referendum to Fight Russia?
  • (Iran) Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan, ISW. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) may be mobilizing retired servicemembers and other affiliated officers to suppress protests in Tehran on October 15. Iran Crisis Update, October 14
  • (Iran – Armenia) Vali Kaleji, The Jamestown Foundation. In the southernmost part of the Caucasus, Iran shares a 750-kilometer (km) border with Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan region, of which about 138 km (Zangilan, Jabrayil and Fuzuli) had been controlled by Armenian forces after the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War (1991–1994). After the Second Karabakh War in 2020, these areas returned to the sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Iran Increasingly Uneasy About Threats to Common Border With Armenia
  • (Kyrgyzstan) International Republican Institute. A new poll conducted by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) in Kyrgyzstan shows concerns with unemployment, rising costs, and the government’s inability to tackle corruption.  IRI Kyrgyzstan Poll Shows Concerns with Unemployment, Inflation, and Corruption
  • (North Korea) Davis Florick, East Asia Forum. For nearly four decades the United States has led the global effort to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But North Korea has been unremitting in its efforts to undermine the United States at every turn. Denuclearising North Korea must include uranium
  • (North Korea) Ellen Kim, Andy Lim, CSIS. Late last night between October 13 and 14, North Korea carried out multiple provocations. Between 10:30 p.m. and 12:20 a.m. KST, North Korea flew 10 warplanes close to the inter-Korean border, even approaching as close as three miles (five kilometers) to the no-fly zone that two Koreas agreed to in their 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement. From 1:20 a.m. KST, North Korea fired 130 rounds of artillery shells from its west coast. At 1:49 a.m. KST, the country launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea between Korea and Japan, which makes it the 27th missile testing event this year and the ninth test event in the past three weeks. From 2:57 a.m. KST, North Korea fired 40 rounds of shells off its east coast. These shells fell into the maritime buffer areas near the border in violation of the aforementioned inter-Korean military agreement. At 5:00 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. KST, North Korea again fired 80 and 200 rounds of shells off the east and west coast. North Korea Carries Out Multiple Provocations
  • (Poland – South Korea) Jaroslaw Adamowski, Defense News. Poland has completed its negotiations with South Korea to buy close to 300 K239 Chunmoo multiple-rocket launchers, with a contract expected to be signed during next week’s visit by Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak to Seoul. Poland to buy hundreds of SKorean Chunmoo multiple-rocket launchers
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Heather Williams, CSIS. Nuclear weapons have been lurking in the background since the start of the Ukraine crisis on February 24. Deterring Nuclear Weapons Use in Ukraine
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Atlantic Council. Russia escalated its war against Ukraine this week with missile attacks and airstrikes on cities across the country, including the first serious attack in the capital Kyiv in months. Russian War Report: Russia escalates war by targeting cities across Ukraine
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Karolina Hird, Katherine Lawlor, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan, ISW. Russian President Vladimir Putin likely attempted to make a virtue of necessity by announcing that his “partial” mobilization will end in “about two weeks”—the same time the postponed fall conscription cycle is set to begin. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 14
  • (Saudi Arabia – Yemen) Ahmed Nagi, Carnegie Middle East Center. Saudi Arabia’s security is contingent on Yemen’s stability and economic prosperity. As such, Riyadh should help revive Yemen’s moribund economy, in both the borderlands and the inland agricultural sector. The Pitfalls of Saudi Arabia’s Security-Centric Strategy in Yemen
  • (Tigray) , Responsible Statecraft. After 50 days of day-and-night fighting, the joint Eritrean-Ethiopian federal offensive has ground down Tigrayan defenses to a point of collapse. There’s chatter about peace talks, but sharp disagreement on mediator and agenda. The Tigrayans want an immediate cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access, while the federal government wants to negotiate “without preconditions” — code for allowing its offensive to continue. Tigray faces a new onslaught by Eritrean-Ethiopian forces
  • (USA) Anthony H. Cordesman, CSIS. A copy of the new U.S. National Security Strategy the Biden Administration issued October 12th is attached to this commentary that highlights both the key goals in the new strategy and what the document says about the way the Biden Administration intends to meet them. The New Biden National Security
  • (USA) Shadi HamidDaniel S. HamiltonRyan HassBruce JonesPatricia M. KimSuzanne MaloneyAmy J. NelsonMichael E. O’HanlonNatan SachsBruce RiedelMelanie W. SissonMireya SolísConstanze Stelzenmüller, and Andrew Yeo, Brookings. On October 12, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration released the 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS). Brookings experts reflect on the document and what it reveals about the United States’ security trajectory. Around the Halls: Assessing the 2022 National Security Strategy
  • (USA) , Responsible Statecraft. The “National Security Strategy” that each U.S. administration produces — as required by a law enacted in the 1980s — is not really a strategy. People at the State Department, Pentagon, or the National Security Council who are trying to formulate solutions to sticky national security problems will not pull the document off the shelf to find a strategy for dealing with those problems. Instead, the document is a statement of themes, objectives, and issue positions with which the administration of the day wants to identify itself in the eyes of domestic as well as foreign audiences.  Biden’s National Security Strategy: Worthy perspectives but little strategy
  • (USA – Iraq) , Responsible Statecraft. This Sunday, October 16, marks the 20th anniversary of the law that authorized the invasion of Iraq and as the result of growing bipartisan consensus, Congress may just be on the precipice of finally repealing this decades-old war authority. The Iraq war authorization turns 20
  • (USA – Laos) US Department of State. United States and Laos Hold 10th Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue
  • (USA – Northern Ethiopia) US Department of State. Intensifying Military Operations in Northern Ethiopia
  • (USA – Ukraine) Tara Copp and Lolita C. Baldor, AP, Defense News. The U.S. Defense Department has gotten a request from SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk to take over funding for his satellite network that has provided crucial battlefield communications for Ukrainian military forces during the war with Russia, a U.S. official said. Musk seeks US funding of Ukraine satellite network, official says
  • (USA – Ukraine) , Responsible Statecraft. If the Biden team really views the war as a protracted stalemate, as has been reported, why isn’t it pushing for a settlement? The dangers of letting blustery rhetoric dictate US policy in Ukraine
  • (USA – Ukraine) US Department of State. $725 Million in Additional U.S. Military Assistance for Ukraine