An extraordinary time of accelerating discoveries.
Here’s the link to the podcast interview with Karen Karniol-Tambour, Bridgewater Associates’ co-Chief Investment Officer. Jim Haskel (also of Bridgewater) and I spoke with her last week at the company’s offices in Westport, CT. It’s a great interview for one reason: she’s a great guest.
1. Institute for the Study of War:
Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to have launched an armed rebellion on June 23 to force a leadership change within the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) which is unlikely to succeed. Prigozhin amplified a video from a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel on June 23 which reportedly shows the aftermath of a missile strike on a rear-area Wagner camp and accused the Russian MoD of conducting that strike. ISW cannot independently verify the veracity of the video, and it may have been manufactured for informational purposes. Prigozhin used the video to then justify his most explicit rhetorical escalation against the Russian MoD to date and a call for action against the Russian MoD. Prigozhin claimed that the Wagner Commanders’ Council made the decision to stop “the evil brought by the military leadership” who neglect and destroy the lives of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers. Prigozhin urged the Russian people not to resist, to remain calm, remain in their homes, and warned that Wagner will “deal” with those who destroyed Russian soldiers before returning to the frontlines in Ukraine after restoring justice for all. Prigozhin also notably accused Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of personally planning an operation to destroy Wagner and claimed that 25,000 Wagner personnel are prepared to act. Prigozhin later posted an audio message qualifying his previous statements and claiming that there is no “coup,” only a “march for justice.” (Source: understandingwar.org)
2. The chief of mercenary group Wagner claimed his forces had taken control of all Rostov-on-Don military sites. The city is home to the Russian military headquarters that oversees the fighting in Ukraine. In a new video message posted on Telegram on Saturday, June 24, Yevgeny Prigozhin added that he and his men were in the southern district military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don. "All of us are ready to die. All 25,000, and then another 25,000. We are dying for the Russian people. We are going onwards and we will go to the end," Prigozhin said in a new audio message after vowing to sideline Russia's military leadership. "We will destroy everything that stands in our way," he added. The security services reacted immediately by opening a criminal investigation into Prigozhin. (Source: lemonde.fr with apnews.com)
3. President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday pledged “decisive actions” to quell what he called a treasonous, armed rebellion by his erstwhile ally, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, as he addressed the nation for the first time since the uprising started to unfold the day before. Mr. Putin, striking a stern and determined tone in a five-minute televised address from a wood-paneled office, said that those who organized the rebellion would “face unavoidable punishment.” The rebels, he said, “are pushing the country toward anarchy and fratricide, to defeat, and finally to capitulation.” “Those who organized and prepared the armed rebellion, those who raised weapons against comrades in arms, betrayed Russia,” Mr. Putin said. “And they will answer for this.” Mr. Putin did not utter Mr. Prigozhin’s name, but he referred to him as a traitor, saying: “Exorbitant ambitions and personal interests have led to treason.” (Source: nytimes.com)
4. David Sacks:
Taiwan’s inherent military value cannot be wished away. Instead, its location dictates that its fate will in large part determine the balance of power in the region. With Taiwan outside of its control and U.S. allies and partners arrayed throughout the first island chain, China’s military will struggle to project power far beyond China’s shores. However, if China were to annex Taiwan and base military assets, such as underwater surveillance devices, submarines, and air defense units on the island, it would be able to limit the U.S. military’s operations in the region and, subsequently, its ability to defend its Asian allies. With Taiwan under China’s control, it would be far more difficult for the United States to maintain a balance of power in the Indo-Pacific or prevent a Chinese bid for regional dominance.
What happens in the Taiwan Strait will have enormous implications for the future of U.S. alliances in the region, which constitute Washington’s most important asymmetric advantage over Beijing. If the United States chose to stand aside in the face of Chinese aggression against Taiwan and China successfully annexed the island, it would be only seventy miles from Japanese territory and 120 miles from the Philippines. U.S. allies would come to question whether the United States would or even could come to their defense. Having lost confidence in the U.S. commitment to their security, allies would contemplate either accommodating China or hedging against it by growing their militaries or even developing nuclear weapons. Either outcome would result in diminished U.S. influence and increased regional and global instability.
The Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force Report No. 81 —“U.S.-Taiwan Relations in a New Era” — is worth reading in full. (Source: cfr.org)
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