Daily SITREP: Biden Looks to Trade Sanctions for Oil with Communist Venzuela (Thu, 24 August 23) – Forward Observer

Daily SITREP: Biden Looks to Trade Sanctions for Oil with Communist Venzuela (Thu, 24 August 23)


Good morning. Here’s your Daily SITREP for Thursday, 24 August 2023.

ADMIN NOTE: Due to a recent spike in Far Left organizing efforts ahead of the 2024 election, your Early Warning subscriber version of the Daily SITREP will include pertinent reporting starting today. Thank you for your support. – M.S.


  • READ TIME: 4 Minutes, 24 Seconds
  • Inside the Beltway
    • (1) Biden Looks to Trade Sanctions for Oil with Communist Venezuela
  • Domestic INTSUM
    • (2) Fed Rate Hikes Can’t Stop What’s Coming
    • (3) Teamsters Vote to Approve UPS Contract Averting Strike
  • Global SITREP
    • (4) Brazil to Argentina: Trade in Yuan?
    • (5) Prigozhin Reportedly Killed in Plane Crash
    • (6) BRICS Invites Six New Nations to Alliance
    • (7) China Recruiting Foreign Chip Talent


  • (1) BIDEN LOOKS TO TRADE SANCTIONS FOR OIL WITH VENEZUELA: Senior Biden administration officials are in talks with senior Venezuelan officials to temporarily lift sanctions if President Nicolás Maduro agrees to hold a competitive Presidential election in 2024.
    • National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the administration would provide corresponding sanctions relief if Maduro took “ concrete actions toward restoring democracy.” 
    • Why It Matters: This may be a bid to get greater access to Venezuelan oil by offering to lift sanctions. In November 2022, the State Department expanded a limited license to allow Chevron to drill and export more from joint ventures with the Venezuelan state oil company. However, lifting sanctions completely could bring more oil onto the U.S. market and help keep prices from skyrocketing heading into the 2024 election. – R.C. 


  • (2) FED RATE HIKES CAN’T STOP WHAT’S COMING: Former St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that this year’s Wall Street recession predictions have been overblown.
    • Bullard cited the low unemployment rate of 3.5% and falling inflation – 3.2% in July – as the reasons for a rosy economic outlook.
    • Wall Street is now racing to prepare for a strong second half of 2023, according to Bullard.
    • Why It Matters: Bullard may be correct: The U.S. could avoid a recession in 2023, but next year will likely be different. More Federal Reserve rate hikes won’t stop a return of inflation, which will arrive this fall due to shortages. Higher inflation and interest rates will continue into 2024, and we’ll see more financial strain on businesses and households that will result in a recession. – H.B.
  • (3) TEAMSTERS VOTE TO APPROVE UPS CONTRACT AVERTING STRIKE: Teamsters Union members at United Parcel Service (UPS) voted to ratify a new five-year contract.
    • Why It Matters: The possible strike of Teamsters union members at UPS was poised to cause significant economic damage as UPS competitors at FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service could not pick up the slack due to UPS’s market share. The next hurdle for the economy is the possible United Auto Workers (UAW) strike. UAW workers began voting to authorize a strike Tuesday morning, and the final vote is expected to be tallied later today. – R.C. 


  • (4) BRAZIL TO ARGENTINA: TRADE IN YUAN?: Yesterday, Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad announced his offer to Argentina to trade in yuan.
    • The offer is intended to circumvent Argentina’s dollar shortage.
    • Argentina has yet to accept but officially switched to yuan for Chinese imports in April and agreed to Brazil financing exports to Argentina in Brazilian reales in May.
    • Trade in local currencies has been a major topic at the BRICS summit in lieu of a BRICS currency.
    • Why It Matters: Argentina suffers from triple-digit inflation and uses the yuan to pay off sovereign debt and avoid default. Trade with Brazil using yuan is a sign of Beijing’s growing influence in Brazil and Latin America. Officials in Buenos Aires are doing the needful and will likely move the country closer into Beijing’s orbit unless October’s presidential election derails the trend. – M.M.
  • (5) PRIGOZHIN REPORTEDLY KILLED IN PLANE CRASH: Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead following a plane crash in Russia yesterday.
    • A plane registered to Prigozhin crashed, killing all ten people on board. Prigozhin was among those on the flight manifest, according to reports.
    • Why It Matters: Political observers suspect that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the killing of Prigozhin in revenge for Prigozhin’s attempted march on Moscow back in June. It’s possible a pressure-activated bomb was on board Prigozhin’s plane, as the explosion reportedly occurred when the plane was still climbing to altitude early in the flight. If true, then Putin is defending his grasp on Russian politics and warning others against dissent ahead of the March 2024 elections. – M.S. 
  • (6) BRICS INVITES SIX NEW NATIONS TO ALLIANCE: The BRICS economic alliance extended membership invitations to six nations: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
    • The memberships will take effect on 1 January 2024
    • BRICS Chairman Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement earlier today during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
    • Why It Matters: New BRICS members will enhance the alliance’s influence on international trade and economic growth. The expanded alliance will also likely move to fulfill China’s goal of de-dollarizing global trade and moving reserve currencies to local and commodity-backed monetary instruments. – M.M.
  • (7) CHINA RECRUITING FOREIGN CHIP TALENT: China is recruiting foreign scientists and engineers with semiconductor development and manufacturing experience, according to a new report from China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
    • The program, a revived version of its Thousand Talents Program, is designed to circumvent U.S. restrictions on semiconductor technology transfer to China.
    • The initiative pays hefty salaries and sign-on bonuses of $420,000-$700,000.
    • Why It Matters: It is unlikely that the U.S.-led technology transfer restrictions will have the impact they were intended to have if China can recruit global chip production talent. The program may also chip away at the U.S.-led restrictions by encouraging participating nations to abandon the effort to shore up exports of high-end manufacturing equipment. – M.M.

Early Warning

  • ATLANTA, GA: Trump supporters plan to protest the indictment of former President Trump by District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta. The protest is scheduled for 1000 Eastern on Thursday, 24 August, at Fulton County Jail, 901 Rice St NW Atlanta, GA.
  • NEW CALLS FOR ANARCHIST, SOCIALIST REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY: We’ve noticed an uptick in anarchist and socialist calls for developing long-term revolutionary strategies.
    • One organization dedicated to the socialist revolution has a large protest event scheduled for October to use as a springboard for more disruptive activism going into 2024.
    • At least two anarchist organizations have now called for adopting a new strategy ahead of the 2024 election cycle.
    • Why It Matters: Strategy sessions and documents focus on the lack of long-term success spurred by the 2020 riots. Numerous militant groups are still reporting reduced capacity and burnout, but the 2024 election is expected to revive a sense of urgency within the so-called antifascist movement, especially if Trump is on the ticket. We’ll have a full update in tomorrow’s Early Warning report. – M.S.


M.S. indicates analyst commentary from Mike Shelby

M.M. indicates analyst commentary from Max Morton

J.V.  indicates analyst commentary from Jared Vaughn

R.C. indicates analyst commentary from Robert Cook

H.B. indicates analyst commentary from Harrison Burge

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