Flaw?

The People’s Republic of China government requires everyone attending the Beijing Olympics next month to load a tracking app on their cell phones:

Those who attend the Olympics, including athletes and journalists, are required to download the app and upload their health and vaccination information to track potential outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Citizen Lab, based in the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, has identified what it terms a security flaw.

Written Response

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated Russia’s demand for

a written response this week from the US and its allies to Moscow’s request for binding guarantees that NATO will not embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations, or station its forces and weapons there.

I have a written response for him.

“Nuts.”

Putin’s Coming Invasion

USAF General and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO) from 2013-2016 Philip Breedlove, along with “former officials and analysts,” have posited a scenario for a partial invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The image below Breedlove’s supposition also is supplied by the WSJ. I’m disregarding Putin’s naval maneuvering in the Black Sea in this post.

What Does Putin Want?

It’s not as complicated as some…pundits…want us to believe. One such, James Marson in his Wednesday Wall Street Journal piece, offered the following claim from a Vladimir Putin spokesman. Marson didn’t question it; he simply commented on other politicians’ responses to the claim as though it were accurate.

A Kremlin spokesman said President Vladimir Putin wasn’t presenting ultimatums, but was worried about threats to Russia’s security.

This is a truckload of bravo sierra. Putin knows full well that no one in the West is interested in threatening Russian security, no one in the West is interested in invading Russia. Putin knows full well that Russia has absolutely nothing at all of value to the West that isn’t gotten far more cheaply—and mutually beneficially—through free and honest trade.

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons

With the pseudo-negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program going the way they are, President Joe Biden, of the Biden-Harris Presidency, is rapidly coming to the first of two moments of truth.

The first is whether Biden-Harris will fold in the talks—he is, after all, consigned by the Ayatollah to the kiddie table where he’s to be seen and not heard by the adults in the room—and give Khamenei everything he wants just so Biden-Harris can come home claiming a deal, however disastrous.

That, though, is a moment of lesser truth. The greater truth moment will come after. As Dubowitz and Kroenig put it in their op-ed at the link,

Brinkmanship

ME Sarotte thinks Putin has bought into the concept of a 30-year-old betrayal of a commitment by a past US President to a past Russian President to not expand NATO east to include nations that used to be under Soviet domination. Sarotte says that’s the basis for Putin’s current brinkmanship; he’s merely trying to redress that betrayal, as NATO has, indeed, accepted erstwhile Soviet-dominated (even occupied) nations into NATO.

I think it’s hard to take seriously Sarotte’s view. More likely, it seems to me, is that Putin merely is putting that out as a public rationale. The most likely case for his seeming brinkmanship is that Putin doesn’t see his behavior as brinkmanship at all. On the contrary, he’s convinced—rightly or wrongly—that Biden-Harris will fold in the moment of truth.

Widening Gyre of Hostages

In response to Lithuania’s effrontery in contradicting the People’s Republic of China by letting the Republic of China open a “representative office” in the capital city of Vilnius, the PRC not only is banning import into the PRC of Lithuanian products, it’s banning import of all products that contain Lithuanian components. As The Wall Street Journal dryly put it,

The effects are rippling across Europe.

And already Germany is intimating its desire for surrender, which should come as no surprise from a nation already openly obsequious before Russia:

The German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce has warned Vilnius that German subsidiaries are at risk.

More Threats

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, ahead of the upcoming Geneva “talks” regarding Russia and Ukraine, has instructed President Joe Biden (D) that he, Biden, must answer for the Russian’s demands vis-à-vis Ukraine and Europe, and do so promptly.

We need to figure out quite rapidly whether there is a basis to work on some of those issues. Our military will be there, and then we will see whether there is any basis to continue on a diplomatic track.

And

I cannot exclude negative effects on some arms-control arrangements we maintain with the US, and a big question would be put on the advisability to continue the strategic security dialogue[.]

Ultimatums

Russian President Vladimir Putin has them, so far centered on his buildup opposite Russia’s border with Ukraine.

“Further movement of NATO eastward is unacceptable,” Mr Putin told a press conference on Thursday.

This is the Kaiser presuming to order Poincaré/Viviani and Asquith not to respond to his buildup opposite the French border.

And this:

Mr Putin warned that Russia’s actions would depend not only “on the course of the negotiations, but on the unconditional provision of Russia’s security, today and in the future,” he said.

Cowardice

This time, by Intel’s Chairman Omar Ishrak and CEO Pat Gelsinger. This management team, a short time ago, sent out a letter to Intel suppliers asking them to avoid sourcing from the [People’s Republic of China’s] region of Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has conducted a campaign of forcible assimilation against religious minorities.

Intel called on its business partners to steer clear of the remote northwestern region of China, noting that “multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products sourced from the Xinjiang region. Therefore, Intel is required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.”