Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness briefing for Friday, 16 July 2021. You can receive this daily intel brief via email by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- U.S. officials on travel to China next week
- Planned EU law targets China in the supply chain
- Yellen expects continued inflationary spike
- Swine fever confirmed in Germany, USDA on watch
- JFC Norfolk stands up as third NATO command post
CHINA: U.S. State Department officials are on travel to Beijing next week to meet their Chinese counterparts. Officials from both countries might take the opportunity to schedule an official meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the October G20 meeting in Rome, Italy. State Department officials are expected to “step up our game substantially,” according to one Biden administration official. One Chinese researcher is quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying that much of the confrontation over the past several years will not be reversed under Biden. (Analyst Comment: Among other things, this likely means stepping up enforcement of the Trump trade deals. For all the talk of how bad the Trump trade policy was, the Biden administration is actually re-enforcing it. On a separate note, a second U.S. Air Force aircraft landed in Taiwan this week, drawing sharp criticism from Chinese defense officials who said they reserve the right to expel, turn away, or shoot down foreign aircraft violating Chinese airspace. – M.S.)
ALSO CHINA: German parliament recently passed a law holding corporations responsible for human rights violations and minimum labor standards that occur over the span of their entire supply chain. The law is intended to crack down on Chinese manufacturers, and will likely precede a similar law to be passed by the broader European Union. It could drastically alter Chinese involvement in the European supply chain. Additionally, the Biden administration warned American and foreign companies doing business at sites in Xinjiang that use forced labor. Chinese officials characterized this as a form of economic warfare, which will almost certainly be addressed in future meetings and will likely lead to a Chinese trade response. – M.S.
INFLATION: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she expects “several more months of rapid inflation” that will eventually subside over the “medium term.” (AC: This is in line with baseline expectations I laid out in yesterday’s Economic Early Warning. See the brief for further analysis. – M.S.)
SWINE FEVER: Germany recently confirmed two cases of Swine Fever, the same illness that hit China in 2018-2019. It led to the culling of nearly 50% of China’s pork in those years. So far, there have been no U.S. cases, however, the USDA recently held an exercise to plan a response if Swine Fever makes its way to the United States. – M.S.
JFC NORFOLK: NATO and U.S. military leaders announced the standup of Joint Forces Command – Norfolk this week. The command will be responsible for coordinating NATO and U.S. cooperation for the Atlantic and Arctic areas of responsibility. JFC-Norfolk joins similar command facilities based in the Netherlands and Italy, as NATO countries monitor increased Russian and Chinese interest in the Atlantic and Arctic regions. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff commended the admirals who would command “a Battle for the Atlantic,” adding, “I would tell you that the survival of NATO, the success or failure in combat in a future war in Europe, would largely depend on the success or failure of this command.” (AC: Norfolk is also home to the Navy’s 2nd Fleet, which was deactivated in 2011 during sequestration and stood back up in 2018 in response to Russian activity in the Atlantic. – M.S.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Nothing Significant to Report
In today’s Early Warning, Max details the Socialist Rifle Association’s training facility project and provides an outlook for Far Left unrest this weekend. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe