Stories We’re Watching
US-China Trade Talks Resume in Beijing as US Navy Sails 2 Warships in Disputed South China Sea
The US trade delegation arrived in Beijing earlier today to resume high-level trade talks aimed at resolving the ongoing trade dispute. Since setting the March 2 deadline over dinner at the G20 summit, the Trump administration has increased pressure on China’s Huawei telecom equipment manufacturer, and both sides have increased their presence in the South China Sea. As the US delegation arrived this morning, the US Navy conducted freedom-of-navigation exercises with two guided-missile destroyers near the contested Spratly Islands. China has condemned the naval operation.
- CNBC: Stocks rise at the open on US-China trade optimism
- CNN: US warships again challenge Beijing’s claims in South China Sea
- Navy Times: Two Navy warships sailed through disputed South China Sea waters on Monday
- South China Morning Post: US-China trade war and Huawei ‘suppression’ show West wants
Pompeo Launches Tour of Central Europe
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Budapest, Hungary earlier today to launch a five-country tour aimed at countering Russia and China’s growing influence in Central Europe. Later this week, Mr. Pompeo is set to meet with officials from Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, and Iceland. Pompeo specifically addressed growing reliance on Russian energy and on China’s telecom equipment. With over $1.2bn investments in the country, Hungary is one of Huawei’s strongest European partners.
- Voice of America: Pompeo Heads to Central Europe, in US Re-Engagement
- Reuters: Pompeo trip marks US re-engagement with long-overlooked central
- RFE/RL: Pompeo Begins Central Europe Trip With Focus On Russia, China
- Bloomberg: Pompeo Hints at Huawei Ultimatum to Countries Buying Equipment
Maduro Seeks OPEC Help Against US Sanctions, Shifts Assets to Russian Bank
Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has asked OPEC for support against US sanctions on state-owned PDVSA oil firm. Despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela continues to reel from acute political and economic crises. On Saturday, PDVSA told customers to make deposits in a new account at Russia’s Gazprombank. On Sunday, Gazprombank denied having opened a new account for PDVSA. Meanwhile, OPEC has decided against creating a formal alliance with Russia, citing concerns over possible US anti-cartel legislation.
- Nasdaq: Venezuela’s Maduro seeks OPEC help against US sanctions
- Bloomberg: As Maduro Digs in, His Aides Hunt for an Emergency Escape
- Associated Press: Oil workers flee Venezuela’s crisis for a better life
- Reuters: OPEC, Russia draft cooperation charter offers no formal body
- Nasdaq: Venezuela shifts oil ventures’ accounts to Russian bank -document
Acting Defense Chief in Afghanistan to Promote Ghani’s Role in Peace Talks
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan earlier today for an unannounced visit to meet with President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan government officials. So far, President Ghani’s administration has not been party to the US-Taliban peace talks. Defense analysts point to increasing uncertainty about any peace deal which excludes the current government. Talks have intensified since President Trump’s surprise announcement of the withdrawal of US troops.
- Voice of America: Acting US Defense Chief Visits Afghanistan
- The Guardian: Afghanistan’s Generation Z – a photo essay
- War on the Rocks: Coming to Terms with America’s Undeniable Failure in Afghanistan
Congressional Negotiators on Border Security Funding Meet As Another Shutdown Looms
Top Congressional negotiators met earlier today in an attempt to avert another government shutdown by Friday’s deadline. Congress has until midnight on Friday to pass a series of seven spending bills. Lawmakers have stressed their commitment to avoiding another shutdown; however, officials from the Trump administration have cautioned that the president has not ruled another one out. Sticking points in today’s negotiations have centered around the number of ICE detention beds.
- BBC: US shutdown looms as border talks stall ahead of deadline
- Bloomberg: Time Running Out to Avoid Government Shutdown as Talks Falter
- Reuters: Top US lawmakers to resume border talks, avert shutdown
- NPR: ICE Detention Beds New Stumbling Block In Efforts To Prevent Another Shutdown
Iran Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution
Iran celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution amidst soaring inflation and unemployment. The Iranian Rial lost 70% of its value in the past year alone. President Hassan Rouhani claims that the country is in the midst of “a psychological and economical war, waged by cruel enemies.” Rouhani and other Iranian officials claim that the country’s economic hardships are due to the renewed US sanctions. Despite widespread, popular support for the Islamic Revolution, many Iranians have lamented the lack of progress in implementing structural reforms and tackling corruption.
- Bloomberg: See the Iranian Revolution as Iranians Do
- Reuters: As revolution turns 40, Iran taunts US, vaunts military
- Foreign Affairs: Iran’s Other Generation Gap, 40 Years On
- CNN: Iranian protesters defiant in the face of ‘worst’ crackdown in a decade
From Deep State Radio
DEEPTECH QUIZ: How Much Do You Actually Know about Intelligence Agencies? ICYMI
You’ve heard of troll farms and how Russia’s Internet Research Agency used memes to interfere with the 2016 US elections, but what else are the international spymasters up to? Find out what they’re collecting (and how they do it) in this week’s DeepTech quiz.
NATIONAL SECURITY MAGAZINE: Just Because Trumpworld Is Batshit Crazy Doesn’t Mean You Should Lose Sight of the Big Picture ICYMI
In an in-depth conversation with former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden Colin Kahl, now of Stanford University, we discuss the unsettling reality of Trump Administration foreign policy for American interests and for those of our allies worldwide. From the intelligence community’s not so subtle indictment of Trump policies in their most recent report on global threats to the State of the Union, from team Trump’s nationalism to a case-by-case breakdown of the unsettling situation in the Middle East, this discussion is a must listen for anyone who wants to get beyond the headlines to understand the bigger trends and threats at play in today’s world. Tune in.
FP INTERRUPTED: The Iran Revolution Turns 40 ICYMI
Islamophobia started long before 9/11. It very well may have also pre-dated the Iranian revolution, which took place 40 years ago this month. For me, that’s where I can trace it. CONTINUE