Global SITREP for Thursday, 18 May 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Thursday, 18 May 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 18 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: U.S. extends wall of alliances against China
  • Micronesia and Palau signed strategic defense cooperation pacts with the United States this week, allowing the U.S. military to operate within their territory.
  • They follow Papua New Guinea which also signed a defense pact agreement with the United States, while the Marshall Islands is expected to update their pact later this year.

Why It Matters: The United States is working its way through the Asia-Pacific region, promising to defend smaller countries from Chinese exploitation while shoring up potential new military staging areas. 

  1. GENDER X: Mexico introduces new non-binary passports
  • Secretary of State Marcelo Ebrard announced that new Mexican passports will offer citizens a “Gender X” option in addition to male and female.

Why It Matters: Ebrard is one of the top contenders to replace Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in next year’s elections. Expect more left wing social policies from the Mexican government if Ebrard becomes the next president. 

  1. PUSHBACK: Russia, Belarus, and China warn against NATO expansion
  • Top officials from Russia, Belarus, and China criticized possible NATO efforts to expand membership to Ukraine. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov said NATO is “absorbing almost all neutral nations” following NATO accession for Finland and eventually Sweden.
  • Condemnation follows remarks made by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who has repeatedly called for Ukraine accession into NATO.

Why It Matters: NATO expansion continues to drive Eastern efforts to build a new global system that competes with the U.S.-led “rules-based international order”. 

  1. MIDDLE EAST NATO: Officials talk up Bahrain cooperation
  • NATO deputy secretary general Javier Colomina met with officials from Bahrain  to talk up NATO cooperation in the Middle East.
  • Colomina expressed a desire for Bahrain to expand defense cooperation, information-sharing, and energy security in the region.

Why It Matters: Western officials are pushing for a “Global NATO” as their security concerns now extend far beyond the Atlantic. NATO consultations with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries show a picture that the alliance is trying to defend not just the Atlantic, but the existing Western order.

  1. ENCIRCLEMENT: Chinese PLAN seen lurking around Japanese archipelago
  • Japan’s Defense Ministry accused the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of navigating through narrow straits around Japanese islands that China claims as its own. 
  • Five PLAN ships, including guided missile destroyers, then took a month and a half to sail around the entire Japanese archipelago.

Why It Matters: Japanese officials said this is the first time PLAN warships have transited all the way around the country, and characterized the navigation as a new expansion of Chinese military operations.

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 like the idea of a national SITREP and global SITREP. Not sure what happened to the low intensity conflict daily warning but that would be nice to have. I live near and work in the seventh largest city close to the border and trusted the information that I received from the report.

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