THURSDAY PDB – Russia Ready to Invade Ukraine-Says Blinken, How Will US Army Fight China? Biden’s Starving Afghan Babies, As Biden Dawdles-Iran Building Nukes? Do Biden’s Space Priorities Meet the Challenge? No UN Seat Yet for Taliban

Russian: Russian President Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference with President of Moldova Igor Dodon / Kremlin.ru

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Today’s PDB includes a variety of critical national security issues.

READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:


International Security

US, S. Korea to bolster alliance at talks amid N. Korean nuke threats, challenges from China. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for annual security talks expected to bolster the countries’ decades-long military alliance in the face of North Korean nuclear threats and mounting challenges from China.

UN seats denied, for now, to Afghanistan’s Taliban and Myanmar’s Junta. A powerful United Nations committee deferred a decision on applications by the ruling authorities of both countries, widely regarded as pariahs, to replace envoys of the governments they had toppled.

TRUST THE WHO? World agrees to negotiate a global ‘pandemic treaty’ to fight the next outbreak. The special session of the World Health Assembly, only the second ever held by the WHO’s governing body, pledged by consensus to begin work on an agreement, amid a round of applause, after three days of talks.

China Threat

Five-nation Pacific naval drills send precautionary message to adversaries, admiral says. The commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, speaking from the cavernous belly of one of America’s most powerful warships, issued a message to potential adversaries.

Here’s the Army’s role in a Pacific fight. As “linchpin service,” Army sees logistical, communications and, yes, combat roles in possible conflict.

Russia Threat

AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT? Blinken says Russia could move on Ukraine ‘on short order.’ Blinken said the U.S. has “made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond resolutely, including with a range of high-impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from using in the past.”

Russia orders US diplomats to leave as Ukraine tensions escalate. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that US embassy staff who have been in Moscow for more than three years were being ordered to fly home by January 31, an apparently retaliatory move.

Lithuania mulls state of emergency on Polish border to stop migrants. Lithuania’s government said on Wednesday it would ask parliament to declare a state of emergency on its border with Poland from Dec. 10 as part of efforts to prevent the smuggling of migrants.

Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster

Hundreds of veterans, service personnel send letter to Washington on Afghan allies’ behalf. Hundreds of veterans and service-affiliated personnel have drafted a letter to members of Congress and the Biden administration calling for action in the continued efforts of evacuating and resettling Afghan allies.

‘It’s like hell in here’: The struggle to save Afghanistan’s starving babies. Doctors in Afghanistan’s crisis-hit hospitals, many of whom are now working without pay, spoke to the BBC about the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis

Iran Threat

Iran makes nuclear advance despite talks to salvage 2015 deal. Iran has started producing enriched uranium with more efficient advanced centrifuges at its Fordow plant dug into a mountain, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, further eroding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during talks with the West on saving it.

Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar army helicopter attacks ‘force thousands to flee.’ Thousands of civilians have fled their homes due to attacks by helicopter gunships in Myanmar’s Sagaing region, a hotbed of resistance to the country’s military rule, according to local media.

Space Threat

US to propose new global norms for military space. Chiding Russia for its recent ASAT test, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said that “from the Defense Department’s perspective, we would like to see all nations agree to refrain from anti-satellite weapons testing that creates debris.”

TIK TOK, TIK TOK – Space Force General: China, Russia ‘catching up quickly to US.’ Gen. David Thompson said that China is ‘well ahead’ of Russia in development.

New White House space framework highlights military resilience amid ‘serious threat.’ Despite increasing threats to and from space, the new priorities document stresses that “confrontation or conflict” is not inevitable.

END of PDB

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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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