Good morning. Here’s your Situational Awareness for Monday, 26 September 2022.
SOCIAL MEDIA IGNITES RUMORS OF XI ARREST: Social media accounts over the weekend spread speculation that Chinese President Xi Jinping had been arrested and deposed by the Chinese Communist Party. While this is not impossible, it is unlikely. Xi had just returned from Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting and was likely in a period of quarantine due to China’s zero Covid security policies. – M.S.
ESTONIA WARNS OF BALTIC BLACKOUTS: Estonian Prime Minister accused Russia of planning to disrupt power to the Baltic nations’ shared electrical grid. Russian officials said they would delay a series of planned tests in its Kaliningrad enclave, which runs on a network also used by Baltic nations. While the Baltic countries have taken steps to end reliance on Russian energy and have stopped importing electricity, the countries depend on Russia to maintain balance across the shared network. Estonian officials warned that a sudden disconnection of Russia from the grid would trigger a cascading failure and cause blackouts that could last from hours to days, viewing the delay of scheduled tests as the first step towards Russian weaponization of the grid. – R.P.
PAKISTAN’S FINANCE MINISTER TO RESIGN AMID ECONOMIC WOES: Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail unexpectedly announced his resignation on Saturday following a meeting with the former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Ismail is the fifth finance minister to quit in less than four years. – M.M.
RUSSIAN MEDIA: NUCLEAR WAR INEVITABLE: Russian State-controlled media broadcasts say a coming nuclear war with NATO is “a given” as the West “pushes us into a corner,” warning “everyone will be destroyed.” Russian pundits who portray the West as nuclear aggressors say Russia does not “want a nuclear winter or nuclear war,” saying Western media has misportrayed Putin’s comments. The pundits said if the West doesn’t cease its threats, nuclear war will become “a reality,” and “we [Russia] will have to destroy you.” – R.P.
WANG YI: U.S. CHINA POLICIES RISK “INEVITABLE CONFLICT”: In a speech on China-US relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the United States’ continued approach to diplomacy with China would create a conflict. The Minister identified Taiwan as the “biggest risk” to relations between the countries, saying the U.S. engages “in endless provocations on China’s core interests” while calling for stability and peace, which Wang says is “contradictory in logic and reality.” Wang noted the U.S.’s continued “zero-sum game mentality” and use of “political correctness to mislead its China policy” would lead to an eventual “conflict and confrontation.” Claiming “neither China nor the US can defeat each other,” Wang called for a change in approach. – R.P.
In today’s Early Warning, the team takes a look at the upcoming Supreme Court session and digs deeper into the geostrategic intelligence brief. Get access to the full report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe