Global SITREP for Monday, 05 June 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 05 June 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 05 June 2023

  1. FIRST UP: Polish volunteers admit to Belgorod raid
  • Members of the Polish Volunteer Corps, a group fighting the Russians on behalf of Ukraine, confirmed their participation in a cross-border raid into Belgorod, Russia, according to posts made on their Telegram channel.

Why It Matters: Foreign involvement in embarrassing cross-border raids into lightly-defended Russian territory, along with artillery strikes, suicide drone attacks, and bombings and arson inside Russia seem like a good way to escalate to World War 3. Russian doctrine states that attacks against Russian territory are grounds to cross the nuclear threshold, while former U.S. defense officials say the use of a tactical nuclear weapon would likely bring the United States into the war.

  1. GLOBAL NATO: Chinese warn against “NATO-like” Asian alliances
  • Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue over the weekend warned Asian countries about joining U.S. and Western-led alliances. 
  • Li said that large military alliances led to two world wars, and risks leading to “an unbearable disaster” during a conflict or confrontation between the U.S. and China.
  • Other Chinese military officials attended panels and asked pointed questions, such as why was it that NATO and U.S.-Pacific alliances have grown so large while there is so much security deterioration around the world. 
  • Another senior Chinese military official asked why the U.S. pursued alliances against China, when U.S. alliances against Russia had failed.

Why It Matters: Much of Chinese sentiment at the Shangri-La Dialogue centered on pushing back against non-Asian influence in the Asia-Pacific because the Chinese are behind the power curve on military alliances in the region. 

  1. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND: SECDEF deepens friendship with India
  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Indian defense officials this morning to hammer out additional details of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology.
  • Austin reiterated that the U.S. sees India as the “cornerstone” of the Indo-Pacific.
  • Officials also discussed India as a re-shoring destination for U.S. supply chains.

Why It Matters: Today’s talks are a continuation of the defense agreement approved earlier this year that includes joint development of military technology and joint production of military munitions. Also, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the White House later this month, where China will undoubtedly be a central topic of discussion.

  1. FOOD SECURITY: Record weather patterns threaten China food, power supply
  • High temperatures and heavy rains are hitting Chinese food production. Record rainfall is damaging upwards of 20% of China’s winter wheat crop, and record high temperatures have killed thousands of livestock, according to Chinese media reports.
  • While El Niño is welcomed by U.S. farmers because it brings additional rain to North America, the weather pattern is expected to bolster temperatures in China, threatening further disruption to China’s food and power supply.

Why It Matters: Heatwaves and drought strained China’s power grid in 2021 and 2022, leading to electricity rationing and systemic power outages. High temperatures this summer are expected to again strain China’s power grid. A repeat of last year’s power outages in China’s industrial and agricultural hubs will harm the Chinese economy, risk sporadic disruption to global supply chains, and threaten the well-being of Chinese livestock.

  1. TUG OF WAR: U.S. Army Central’s LTG Frank to Pakistan
  • According to Pakistani media, U.S. Army Central’s Lieutenant General Patrick Frank is scheduled to visit Islamabad next week to hold talks on regional security and military engagement.

Why It Matters: The United States and China continue vying for influence over Pakistan, with both sides promising military deals and security cooperation. The U.S. is likely promising security support in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan, where the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Baluchistan Liberation Front, and other terrorist groups routinely attack Pakistani border and security forces.

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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