Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 12 February 2024.
- IRAN SIGNALS PEACE WHILE ISRAEL PREPARES FOR WAR: Iran’s Foreign Minister (FM) Hossein Amir-Amirabdollahian said that developments in the Israel-Gaza War “are moving toward a diplomatic solution.”
- Israeli Finance Ministry officials said Israel is preparing to sell a record number of foreign-currency bonds to finance the ongoing war, and an Israeli intelligence officer said the war could take the entirety of 2024.
Why It Matters: The U.S. and Iran want to avoid escalation of the Israel-Gaza War into a larger regional conflict. However, Israel is making economic and military preparations to expand the war further into Gaza and into the north against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has a strategic interest in keeping the U.S. out of the region and maintaining regional proxies to enforce its own foreign policy. Israel’s primary interest is to reestablish a sense of security and deterrence, and Netanyahu and the Unity Government very likely see the defeat of Hamas and Hezbollah as key to their goals. – R.C.
- MAJOR GEOPOLITICAL EVENTS IN 2024-25 COULD END NATO: The European Union’s Vice President and Foreign Policy head indicated a wariness of the U.S.’ relationship with NATO in response to former President Trump saying he would not protect NATO members who did not commit at least two percent of their GDP to military spending. The two percent is a requirement for membership.
- “Let’s be serious. NATO cannot be an a la carte military alliance. It cannot be a military alliance that works depending on the humor of the president of the U.S.,” Borrell said, adding, “It exists or it not exists.”
Why It Matters: Right after several Eastern European states tied NATO’s existence to an unlikely Ukrainian victory, the second-in-command of a major bloc in the alliance indicates that he is fine with it not existing as long as there is clarity. Very few Western politicians have indicated that there could be a world where NATO does not exist. The alliance may end if Ukraine loses, Eastern Europe doesn’t get its continental war, and potential President Trump opts out of the mutual defense clause. This would have significant repercussions for American Hegemony and influence in Europe. – J.V.
- DANGER CLOSE: PCG AND CCG VESSELS MISS EACH OTHER BY 5 YDS: Late last week, China’s Coast Guard (CCG) and the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG) came dangerously close to a collision as a CCG vessel slowed down alongside a PCG vessel. The Filipinos were resupplying fishermen stationed in the Scarborough Shoal.
- The Chinese Coast Guard announced a successful and professional expulsion of the PCG on Sunday.
Why It Matters: The CCG appears to have gotten within five yards of the PCG vessel’s bow while also in reverse to slow down. Coast Guards are law enforcement agencies, and these two were within spitting distance of a collision. Maneuvers like this risk an accidental confrontation leading to war, with both sides claiming a defensive posture and China touting its efforts as above reproach. – J.V.
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