Global SITREP for Friday, 16 June 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 16 June 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 16 June 2023

  1. FIRST UP: Joint talks solidify Japan-Philippines-U.S. partnership
  • American, Japanese, and Philippines national security advisers held their first joint talks today on joint cooperation on China, North Korea, and other issues.
  • Japan could begin providing non-lethal military support and technology to the Philippines and other Indo-Pacific nations.

Why It Matters: Chinese President Xi Jinping is falling into the same counterproductive conditions that Russian President Vladimir Putin did – namely that China’s military growth and regional bullying are invigorating U.S.-Indo-Pacific alliances in the same way that Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine sparked NATO’s growth.

  1. “OLD FRIEND”: Bill Gates receives warm welcome from Xi in China
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping offered Microsoft founder Bill Gates a warm welcome during a meeting in Beijing this week. Xi referred to Gates as an “old friend”.
  • The meeting focused primarily on humanitarian efforts via the Gates Foundation.

Why It Matters: It’s possible that Gates carried a message from the Biden administration, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is still not certain if he will meet with Xi directly during his trip next week. Xi’s commitment to meeting with Bill Gates but not to the U.S. Secretary of State is a good synopsis of Chinese attitudes right now. 

  1. DILEMMA: Putin reportedly to visit Turkey “soon”
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will “soon” meet in Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erodgan, according to Russian media.

Why It Matters: Turkey is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and won’t enforce the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin. Still, Turkey is a NATO member, and Putin’s free travel to Ankara is sure to inflame NATO divisions. While in Turkey, Putin may encourage Erdogan to continue holding out on Swedish accession to NATO – another sticking point for U.S.-Turkish relations. Putin’s trip may also spur some minor calls for Turkish ejection from NATO.

  1. SANCTIONS: Russian economy remains resilient despite sanctions
  • In a press conference this morning Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian economy could grow by 2% this year following last year’s contraction.
  • The International Monetary Fund projects the Russian economy will grow by 0.7% this year, although that’s up from the previous forecast of 0.3%. The IMF projects Russia’s GDP will grow by 1.3% next year.

Why It Matters: Western sanctions and broken trade ties are not leading to the economic destruction Western leaders had hoped for. Russian oil exports are being re-routed through third party countries like India, while Eastern-aligned countries have grown trade with Russia over the past year.

  1. BRICS: Russia says nearly two dozens countries have applied
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that nearly two dozen countries have applied for BRICS+ membership.

Why It Matters: South Africa’s BRICS sherpa said they’re “getting applications every day,” but officials have been referring to the same 16-19 countries for the past year. Even then, there’s some ambiguity over how many have formally applied and which have merely “expressed interest”. The internal rivalry between India and China could limit BRICS+ expansion to a modest number of accessions this year, pending the outcome of August’s BRICS conference.

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THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.

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