Good morning. Here’s your Situational Awareness for Wednesday, 21 September 2022.
PUTIN DECLARES “PARTIAL MOBILIZATION”: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of the country’s reserve forces, citing threats to Russian territorial integrity. “When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff,” Putin said. Putin also accused the United States and the West of trying to “destroy” Russia. – M.S.
U.S. ADMITS INTELLIGENCE GAP ON RISING GLOBAL BIO-THREATS: Speaking at a recent conference, U.S. intelligence and bio-defense officials warned that the world is entering a period of heightened risk from engineered bio-threats. Panelists discussed how the intersection of bio-medical research and artificial intelligence has created a new threat environment. They also cited the increased speed of how research breakthroughs are shared across industry and scientific communities in a manner that has outpaced an understanding of potential risks. Of particular concern is the rise of dual-application technologies, which have enabled medically significant treatment advances, such as aerosolized insulin, but possess an inherent potential for malignant exploitation. As technological advances continue to increase the global bio-threat attack surface, widespread proliferation has made detecting emerging threats increasingly difficult. In a rare admission, Asha George, Executive Director of the Commission on Biodefense, warned biodefense experts are in a “position now where we just aren’t ever sure: Is it or isn’t it a weapon?” George added that the joint knowledge base of allied intelligence “can be assumed to be about one-sixth of what is actually happening.” – R.P.
U.S. TREASURY OFFICIAL CALLS OUT CHINA’S UNCONVENTIONAL DEBT PRACTICES: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s senior advisor, Brent Neiman, called out China’s debt practices during a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Neiman said China’s foot-dragging on debt relief and restructuring plans for low and middle-income countries was creating lower growth and underinvestment across the developing world. Neiman pointed to countries like Sri Lanka and Zambia as cases where China has refused to provide debt relief which resulted in economic collapse and sovereign debt default. China had previously agreed to a common framework of debt relief as part of the G20 summit in late 2020 but has delayed any action, leaving the International Monetary Fund and World Bank patching up debt relief programs. – M.M.
PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT MARCOS TO HELP WASHINGTON FIGURE OUT WHAT TIME IT IS: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos is visiting the U.S. this week, the first Filipino leader to do so in over half a decade. Marcos took a tour through the New York Stock Exchange in advance of his upcoming speech at the United Nations General Assembly and presented the Philippines as a new economic destination. The Marcos administration says the president is here to drum up investor support for his country. Marcos wants to revive the Philippine manufacturing sector and boost emerging industries in FinTech. Although Philippine officials recently relaunched formerly closed negotiations with China over potential multi-billion-dollar investments in public infrastructure, Marcos appears focused on a reinvigorated relationship with the U.S.
COLOMBIA CALLS ON LATIN AMERICA TO FIGHT AGAINST THE WAR ON DRUGS: In a speech to the United Nations, Colombian President Gustavo Petro called on Latin American countries to unite against the “irrational” war on drugs that “torments our body.” Petro has long criticized the American-led war on drugs as a failure that has contributed to armed conflict in Colombia and sought new strategies to fight drug trafficking. U.S.-led efforts to reduce the coca crop that has made Columbia the world’s largest cocaine producer. – R.P.
In today’s Early Warning, Mike provides the latest Election Watch briefing on how activists, attorneys, and judges are reshaping election laws and the electoral landscape, plus the team looks at a major election reform bill up for a House vote today. Read what our analysts are thinking on today’s DailySA items and get access to our full report by becoming an Early Warning subscriber here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe