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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 10/16/2022

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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 10/16/2022

National Security Strategy

RADAR SWEEP

Geopolitics Newsletter October 9-16 2022

President Biden Releases US National Security Strategy – Oct. 12

US President Joseph Biden released his administration’s first National Security Strategy (NSS) document on October 12. The strategy, which lays out US national security priorities and strategies, was long delayed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and was eagerly awaited by both domestic and international audiences. The document emphasizes confronting competition with China and Russia abroad, securing economic growth and democratic institutions domestically and combating climate change. However, Biden also noted that foreign and domestic policy are now blurred, as strengthening US democracy will help strengthen democracies abroad in what he has posed as the critical fight against autocracies.

The National Security Strategy points to Russia as the more immediate threat to US security, while China is a larger, longer-term challenge. To confront these threats, the NSS advocates for increased military spending and modernization, strengthened international alliances and growing private industry and trade with partners to maintain a competitive edge. On transnational issues like climate change, the administration hopes to work with all nations, where possible, to solve issues of mutual interest. Critics argue that the strategy does not do enough to bolster American forces to combat future aggression by China in the Pacific. They also say it is too ambitious for limited US resources and must prioritize issues to create realistic solutions.

Overall, the document is a continuation of President Biden’s foreign policy focus of strengthening international coalitions to bolster democracy, increase US competitiveness, and counter security threats in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. China has denounced the strategy as pushing “Cold War thinking” that prevents cooperation and increases animosity. The explicit focus on long-term competition and superiority over China is only likely to further cool Beijing-Washington relations and will likely make cooperation on shared issues like climate change more difficult. Read more here.

National Security Strategy
The US released its National Security Strategy last week – Photo: ABC News

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Japan lifted all entry restrictions – Oct. 10

After banning almost all foreign travelers for over two years because of COVID-19, Japan has lifted all remaining entry restrictions, in a move to reopen its economy. China, Japan’s largest source of visitors, will contribute very few travelers, as its zero-COVID policy continues, pushing Tokyo to capitalize on visitors from South Korea and Western countries with an increased appetite for travel. Read more

Indian minister of state for external affairs visited Central Asia – Oct. 13

India’s External Affairs State Minister visited her Georgian and Kazakh counterparts. India aims to counter China’s influence in the region. Read more

Canada’s Foreign Minister concluded East Asia visit – Oct. 15

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melany Joly concluded a six-day visit to East Asia to reaffirm Canadian commitments in the region. She focused on bilateral relations with South Korea in an effort to support them against North Korean aggression and Chinese influence. Read more

Chinese Communist Party began 20th Party Congress – Oct. 16

The CCP began its 20th Party Congress which is the highest-level meeting of the party and used to set the direction of the government for the next five years. During this congress it is expected that Xi Jinping will be announced as the preeminent leader of China for the next five years. Also, members of the top governing bodies such as the Central Committee and the Politburo Standing Committee will be announced. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Diplomacy

The EU-Algeria Energy Business Forum Concluded – Oct. 12

The forum focused on further developing bilateral energy cooperation as the EU seeks to diversify energy supplies away from Russian oil. EU officials sought to purchase more gas and oil while facilitating the North African country’s clean energy transition. Read more 

CIS heads of state met in Kazakhstan – Oct. 14

Heads of state from across the former Soviet Union met in Astana, Kazakhstan for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Summit. Tensions between member states may reach a boiling point if Russia loses to Ukraine. Read more

National Security

Reporters Without Borders mission concluded its visit to Greece – Oct 10

A Reporters Without Borders fact-finding mission investigating government espionage against Greek citizens concluded today. The European Commission may block Greece’s access to EU funds if press freedom and privacy protections are not strengthened. Read more

US and the Philippines concluded joint military drills – Oct 14

US and Philippine Marines conducted joint naval and coastal defense exercises on a Philippine island near disputed territory in the South China Sea. Military cooperation between the US and the Philippines will likely increase in the coming years. Read more

Society

Second round of polio vaccinations concluded in Ghana – Oct 9

The second round of polio vaccinations was successful, with the 92% immunization target exceeded in most districts. Outbreaks in neighboring countries may pose a challenge to health authorities in the near future. Read more

TotalEnergies faced the European Parliament over a controversial African pipeline – Oct 10

TotalEnergies, a petroleum and energy company, addressed the European Parliament over the development of an oil pipeline from Uganda to Tanzania. The pipeline has threatened to displace thousands of locals, upset wildlife and potentially affect water used for drinking and agriculture by some 40 million Africans. Read more

Kazakhstan concluded its presidential election nomination period – Oct 11

Ahead of elections scheduled for November 20, three candidates have announced their candidacy. Incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokyaev seeks to consolidate power in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

Latvia suspended travel agreements with Belarus – Oct 11

Latvia suspended three agreements intended to facilitate travel between Latvia and Belarus. Latvia’s support for Ukraine is expected to continue, further weakening Belarus’ economy, which has suffered from the international sanctions regime against it. Read more

See Also

The Week Ahead

European Security – NATO’s Steadfast Noon nuclear deterrence exercise begins in Belgium – Oct 17

NATO’s annual nuclear deterrence exercise will be held in Belgium next week. The exercise takes on new significance amid Russia’s veiled nuclear threats towards NATO, should it threaten Russian territory.

Iranian Protests – EU expected to sanction Iran over protest crackdowns – Oct 17

The EU is expected to sanction Iran for cracking down on protests following the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in custody. They will likely freeze Iranian assets in Europe and ban Iranian officials from traveling to the EU.

Indian Defense Exposition begins – Oct 18

The five-day DefExpo 2022, an Indian defense exposition, begins Oct. 18. Delayed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the event will highlight new military equipment available for purchase, with an emphasis on domestic companies.

CCP to announce next Politburo Standing Committee – Oct. 23

The Politburo Standing Committee is the top leadership of the country. Xi Jinping is expected to be announced for a third term as the preeminent leader of China, breaking past precedence.

 

Contributions by: Wescott Yeaw, Alex Avaneszadeh, Simran Sharma, Marcos Wilson, Connor Elliott, Htet Thadar Aung, Kyle Rose, Ali Slimi and Andrew Alipui

 

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