Global SITREP for Monday, 22 May 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 22 May 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 22 May 2023

THE WHAT: The Global SITREP is a free daily email briefing about geopolitics and defense from Forward Observer. 

THE WHY: We want to share five important global developments shaping Cold War 2.0.

BOTTOM LINE: We’re sending out this email Monday through Friday on a trial basis through the end of the month, so be sure to let us know if you want it continued. Thank you! – M.S.

  1. FIRST UP: Lula talks up BRICS currency at G7 
  • Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters at the G7 summit in Japan that BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) would have to create a common currency.
  • “It is not possible to depend on the dollar for foreign trade. It is not possible to depend on a currency that you do not produce. There’s only one country that produces, and that is the United States,” Lula said.

Why It Matters: Lula is probably the world’s most vocal proponent of a BRICS currency, and took his anti-dollar message to the G7 – which includes the world’s top four currencies (dollar, euro, yen, and pound). While Lula has moved closer to China, his calls to replace the dollar have grown louder.

  1. PROMISES, PROMISES: Zelensky reportedly promises not to use F-16s in Russia
  • President Joe Biden told reporters that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised not to use Western-provided F-16s in attacks against Russian territory.
  • Biden has approved U.S. training on the F-16 platform for Ukrainian pilots, but has so far denied transfers of the fighter jets to Ukraine.

Why It Matters: Russian officials said attacks in Crimea using F-16s would be seen as attacks on Russia and that the U.S. “should be aware of Russia’s response”. Ukraine has previously used Western-provided weapons to attack targets in Russian-annexed territory. Russian air defense, however, likely limits the use of F-16s to defensive operations.

  1. COLOR REVOLUTION?: Serbian president says “Eastern intelligence” is warning him
  • Two rare mass shootings in Serbia, including one elementary school shooting, spurred large protests against President Aleksandar Vucic. The most recent protest targeted two news stations.
  • Vucic claimed that “Eastern intelligence” and his own Serbian intelligence service are warning of an attempted color revolution against him. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the protests were being driven by foreign intelligence services.

Why It Matters: Serbia remains in the middle of the East-West divide, as the country is trying to join the European Union while also remaining close to Russia and moving closer to China. Alternatively, Vucic could be using the mass shootings and threats of a color revolution to tighten his grip on domestic power.

  1. OPEN TAB: Ukraine to continue receiving weapons after conflict
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Western arms exports to Ukraine will continue after the Russian conflict ends. 
  • U.S. officials recently added that Ukraine will have more advanced military technology than Russia after the war.

Why It Matters: European leaders continue making statements that are likely to prolong the conflict, not end it. Western leaders backing Ukraine’s promise to retake Russian-annexed territory is another example, as this would mean the total military defeat of Russia in Ukraine, which is unlikely.

  1. PROBLEM SOLVING: Danes float Ukraine peace summit with China, Brazil, and India
  • Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Rasmussen says he wants to host a Ukraine peace summit and invite leaders from China, Brazil, and India.

Why It Matters: The West alone is incapable of bringing peace to Ukraine, given their starting points in negotiations. Progress towards peace brokered by China, India, and Brazil will undermine U.S. global influence – a trend in acceleration.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. If you want us to keep going, let us know in the comments or via email. And sign up below to receive this report in your inbox each day, Monday through Friday.

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


  1. I trust concerned readers are vocal about your continuance of this invaluable reporting. Great work!

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