Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 03 August 2023.
- FIRST UP: Will Niger be the next Ukraine?
- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says that military intervention in Niger is a “last resort” but that they “have to prepare for the eventuality.” ECOWAS enacted sanctions against the new government, most recently seeing Nigeria cut electricity exports which account for 70% of Niger’s power.
- ECOWAS has effectively given the new government an ultimatum to return its democratically elected government or face additional consequences.
Why It Matters: Western officials so far say that Russia played no role in the coup in Niger, but the new government is poised for a geopolitical shift towards Russia. With ECOWAS so far not taking a military intervention off the table, there’s speculation that resource-rich Niger will become another geopolitical battlefield in the ongoing East versus West tug-of-war. – M.S.
- INDIA: We actually don’t oppose BRICS expansion
- India’s Foreign Ministry stated they don’t actually oppose BRICS expansion, following reports that India had reservations about additional countries joining the economic alliance.
Why It Matters: Indian officials likely want to see BRICS expand in a way that a) helps India and b) doesn’t increase Chinese influence at the expense of India’s. India has sought pre-conditions – such as the purchase of Indian military equipment – before expressing support for BRICS accession. India wants to benefit from these quid pro quo deals in the process, just like everyone else. – M.S.
- POLAND: WAGNER’S MOVE WILL DESTABILIZE EASTERN EUROPE
- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Wagner’s deployment to Belarus is intended to destabilize NATO’s eastern flank and that NATO needs “to be aware that the number of provocations will rise.”
- An unknown number of Wagner’s 4,000 troops in Belarus have started training with the Belarusian military, according to Morawiecki.
Why It Matters: Wagner fighters retain significant combat experience, which they are sharing with the Belarusian military. This move is probably intended as a Russian check against Polish involvement in Ukraine, as Polish officials are reportedly considering sending troops. Continued airspace violations by Russian or Belarusian aircraft operating along the Polish border, for instance, serve as a reminder of how close war could be. – M.S.
- PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Indian guided-missile destroyer pulls into port
- Two Indian navy ships arrived in Papua New Guinea yesterday for a brief stop before joining naval exercises with the U.S. in Australia on Friday.
Why It Matters: India has major maritime power aspirations as they continue building goodwill in the region. In addition to conducting their largest-ever maritime security exercise earlier this year, the Indian Navy is expanding its operational footprint elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea is a desired security partner for both China and the United States due to its location, resources, and ports. – M.S.
- AUSTRALIA: National militia proposed as invasion early warning time now “essentially zero”
- Anthony Bergin of the think tank Strategic Analysis Australia is proposing the formation of a national militia in the event of a Chinese invasion. He says the early warning time of an invasion has declined from a decade down to “essentially zero.”
- “We’ve seen in Ukraine just how valuable and effective a trained population can be in defending their homeland where, for the most part, the ranks of its armed forces are bolstered by volunteers,” Bergin writes.
Why It Matters: Bergin’s call for a renewed militia today could be used to secure the Australian homeland during a war with China. Australia has had a national militia before, which existed to protect the country. The concept faces stiff opposition, however, by elements of Australia’s political left, who say that war with China is not likely outside of a U.S.-led effort. – M.S.
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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.