DailySA: Congressman warns of food shortages – Forward Observer

DailySA: Congressman warns of food shortages

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Monday, 14 March 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Congressman warns of food shortages
  • Shenzhen under lockdown in China
  • Nicaragua goes full Russia/China
  • Russia set for sovereign default
  • GAO: The Capitol needs security upgrades
  • Hazards Warning

UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:

  • NORTHCOM/SOUTHCOM SITREP: Defense officials observe growing Russian, Chinese influence in Western hemisphere
  • Far Left Activity Rollup & Outlook

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

CONGRESSMAN WARNS OF FOOD SHORTAGES: In a House hearing last week, Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) warned of global “hunger and the disruption of democracies in the Western hemisphere because of the lack of food supply.” The effects of fertilizer shortages will be felt within 12 months, he said. Scott made brief mention of an intelligence report that estimated that a “5-10 percent reduction in the global food supply” would pose threats to “people in the Western hemisphere and the potential disruption of democracies” there. “I do think this is coming,” Scott said. (Analyst Comment: Rep. Scott is from Georgia, a heavily agricultural state. He reports that the higher cost of diesel fuel and fertilizer will lead to decreased domestic food production. Meanwhile, the latest estimate is that Ukraine will have about 50% of normal yields this year. Russia and Ukraine account for about 12% of global food. If reports of yield reductions are true and the trend of countries cutting off fertilizer and food exports continue, then we will likely experience that 5% drop in food production, causing global food shortages as soon as this year and into 2023. – M.S.)

CHINESE LOCKDOWN: China has completely locked down the city of Shenzhen over a breakout of the Covid-19 omicron variant. Shenzhen is home to the fourth largest port in the world. Located in the Guangdong province, Shenzhen operates as the primary manufacturing center in China. The lockdown is scheduled for one week starting today after confirming more than 400 cases over the past two weeks. (AC: With Shenzhen unable to operate, global supply chains will likely worsen over the coming weeks. Shipping has already been disrupted in the region as a result of the lockdown. – T.W.)

NICARAGUA GOES FULL RUSSIA/CHINA: Nicaragua announced the recall of its ambassador to Spain, citing ongoing Spanish attempts to meddle in Nicaraguan politics. Last year, Nicaragua recalled its ambassadors to Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico over similar allegations. In December, after a meeting between Nicaraguan officials and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Nicaragua cut ties with Taiwan and ordered its embassy closed. The government then seized the embassy and turned it over to China. (AC: Under President Daniel Ortega, a former Sandinista Marxist guerrilla, Nicaragua has aligned itself with China and Russia. Russia reportedly has a permanent military presence in the country, and Nicaragua has signed onto China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Nicaragua’s shifting alliances have likely concerned its Central and South American neighbors resulting in the string of diplomatic rebukes. Expect further diplomatic drama and instability as the U.S. looks to cut off Chinese and Russian influence in the region. We’ll have more on this topic in today’s NORTHCOM/SOUTHCOM SITREP. – M.M.)

RUSSIA SET FOR SOVEREIGN DEFAULT?: The Russian government has bond payments worth $117 million coming due on Wednesday. Russia has about $40 billion in outstanding euro- and dollar-denominated bond payments overall. The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that its ability to pay back this debt is in question due to its foreign currencies being frozen. If Russia fails to make the payment, they’ll enter into a 30-day grace period, followed by default if they fail to make the payment. (AC: Last week, S&P Global analysts warned that a Russian sovereign default was imminent. The last time the Russians defaulted was in 1998, which triggered the Long-Term Capital Management collapse and bailout in the United States. US-based bond giant PIMCO alone is on the hook for over $2 billion in Russian bonds, causing concern about the global fallout over a Russian default. – M.S.)

GAO: THE CAPITOL NEEDS SECURITY UPGRADES: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) called for better preparation before the next large demonstration at the Capitol. GAO says that better use of force, stronger physical barriers, upgraded crowd control training, and realistic training for large, violent crowds are needed. Retention concerns for Capitol Police are notable with personnel attrition up by 60% in FY21 compared to previous years. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger stated that they are understaffed by over 425 officers. (AC: With the upcoming election season and outlook for 2024, Capitol Police are resetting their security posture. Expect the federal government’s domestic security posture long term to increase due to concern that extremism is threatening democracy. – D.F.)

HAZARDS WARNING

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