Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 01 June 2023.
- FIRST UP: U.S. warns China: “no such thing as a short war”
- U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Admiral John Aquilino issued a warning to China that when it comes to Taiwan, “there’s no such thing as a short war.”
- Aquilino said that while the U.S. mission is to prevent war, Chinese President Xi Jinping should be prepared for a war that’s “drastically devastating to his people in the form of blood and treasure.” [READ MORE]
Why It Matters: The U.S. military is not currently in a position to wage a sustained conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific. Until they re-posture, the U.S. is heavily reliant on its alliances with regional countries, some of which don’t appear committed to fighting a war with China.
- THE PLAINS: China wheat crop threatened by heavy rain
- China’s Henan Province is experiencing the worst heavy rains in a decade – right when farmers are supposed to be harvesting an already damaged winter wheat crop.
- Officials dispatched emergency teams to drain fields ahead of more rain over the weekend.
- China is the world’s largest wheat producer, with Henan being the top producing province. [READ MORE]
Why It Matters: At least 15-20% of China’s total annual wheat production has so far been damaged. China’s shift to importing wheat will tighten global supplies, and should allow the rest of BRICS to showcase its strength in agricultural production – a key factor in the planned commodities-backed BRICS currency.
- PIVOT: UAE shifts security cooperation to China
- The United Arab Emirates announced their decision to withdraw from a U.S.-led maritime security task force due to a lack of security protections against Iran, which has seized multiple oil tankers in the region. [READ MORE]
- Officials from the UAE said they would instead seek security cooperation with countries like Russia and China.
- China has a military facility in the UAE, which has seen expansion over the last year despite U.S. pressure on the UAE.
Why It Matters: The U.S. is bleeding alliances in the Middle East, which is partly the result of the Biden administration’s rapprochement with Iran. What was inconceivable just a few short years ago – the loss of key partners like Saudi Arabia and the UAE – is now a U.S. reality.
- VIDYA: Russia wants to export video games to BRICS countries
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would press BRICS countries to promote Russian video games.
- “The market is huge, and this refers not only to China, but to all BRICS countries, too,” Putin said. [READ MORE]
- China has been reluctant to approve licenses for foreign video game titles, according to media reports.
Why It Matters: Last December, Putin announced the Russian economy would have to diversify away from reliance on oil towards other markets. Exporting Russian titles in the booming gaming industry represents both an economic and messaging opportunity. Russia could also offer alternatives to the neutered U.S. gaming industry.
- BLOWBACK: AMLO cites progress, blowback in fight against fentanyl
- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) said that a government official in Manzanillo was assassinated by cartel members for cracking down on fentanyl production.
- AMLO also said that he would engage Chinese officials over the fentanyl trade.
- “[T]he raw material of fentanyl and other precursors come from Asia, let’s say; we are not going to say China, from Asia… we are going to ask them to inform us about who is acquiring these chemicals, where they are going, where they are coming from, where they are going to arrive, to which ports,” AMLO said.
Why It Matters: The Treasury Department recently sanctioned a number of Mexican and Chinese companies with ties to fentanyl production. In response, Chinese officials this week blamed the United States for the fentanyl death epidemic, and warned that further sanctions could harm China’s ability to combat fentanyl production. U.S.-Mexico engagement with China is a good start, but this is ultimately a Chinese gray zone war against the United States.
DON’T MISS: Retired Marine Lt. Col. and former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer Max Morton releases his next Early Warning report today, focusing on developments in the global balance of power. It will be released to Early Warning subscribers on Friday.
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.