Global SITREP for Thursday, 25 April 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Thursday, 25 April 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 25 April 2024.

  1. CHINA WARNS U.S. MUST CHOOSE “COOPERATION OR CONFRONTATION”: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Bllinken is in China today and is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other state officials.
  • Chinese diplomatic officials did not roll out a red carpet for Blinken as he arrived, nor was Blinken met with any fanfare typical of a high-level visit.
  • “Whether China and the US choose cooperation or confrontation, it affects the well-being of both peoples, of nations, and also the future of humanity,” Shanghai Communist Party chief Chen Jining said after meeting with Blinken.
  • Blinken is expected to tell Xi that the U.S. is prepared to take punitive measures against Chinese support for Russia in the Ukrainian war. Blinken will also reiterate that aggressive behavior against the Philippines risks triggering the U.S.-Philippines defense treaty.

Why It MattersBlinken’s cold reception in Beijing reflects his potential for diplomatic success. The U.S. is applying pressure during a period of economic and financial instability for China in hopes that Xi agrees to curb the export of fentanyl precursors to Mexico, increase pressure against North Korean belligerence, and cease support to Russia’s military. However, these three steps would reverse China’s strategic policies of asymmetric warfare against the United States (fentanyl), complicating conditions for U.S. foreign policy (North Korea) and maintaining strength within Eastern axis powers (Russia). It’s also unclear what Blinken has to offer the Chinese other than threats. Continued access to the U.S. financial system seems to be the point of leverage, but sanctions on Chinese banks and the exclusion of Chinese financial institutions would likely have unintended consequences. Among other things, it would undermine the use of the U.S. Dollar and force China to accelerate plans for an alternative global financial system. News reports this week claimed the Biden administration had backed down from serious discussions about sanctioning Chinese banks for this exact reason. This lack of U.S. strategic leverage is another reason why I don’t expect the Chinese to make significant changes. – M.S.

  • Global Rollup
    • Macron reiterated that Europe cannot rely on the U.S. for security assistance and would need to develop its own defense architecture to fend off Russia and Iran.
    • The European Union raided Chinese baggage scanning company NucTech offices over national security and market security concerns. This follows EU investigations into Chinese medical tech and electric vehicle companies over the past week.
    • China’s Taiwan affairs office spokeswoman decried Taiwan’s anti-infiltration act as evil and political suppression. (This shifts the narrative, adding a good versus evil dynamic necessary for waging war. – J.V.)
    • The U.S. and the Philippines published a joint statement following a bilateral dialogue meeting yesterday. By the end of 2024, they intend to conclude three more security agreements, conduct two more high-level meetings, and conduct joint foreign policy to bring like-minded countries into maritime security cooperations.
    • The Uzbekistan Ministry of Transportation announced plans to advance the Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan transport corridor for freight cargo.
    • The Mexican Senate was embroiled in a minor controversy after a Morena Party senator sacrificed a chicken to the indigenous god Tlaloc in the senate courtyard.

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.

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