Situation Reports

Japan-Australia Defense Treaty: US Allies Adapting to New Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific

PHILIPPINE SEA (July 21, 2020) The Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Hobart (DDG 39), left, the frigate HMAS Arunta (FFH 151), the landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Canberra (L02), the fleet replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius (O 266), the U.S. Navy forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116) and HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) steam into formation during a trilateral exercise. Trilateral exercises between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Australian Defense Force and U.S. Navy support shared goals of peace and stability while enhancing regional security and the right of all nations to trade, communicate, and choose their destiny in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Codie L. Soule/Released) 200721-N-KP021-0168, modified, Flickr Official U.S. Navy Page,

The new defense pact is a concrete demonstration that Washington’s closest security partners are proactively increasing their contributions to the Indo-Pacific region.

Decoding Duterte’s Shifting Stance on the South China Sea Dispute


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, often labeled ‘soft’ on Beijing, has recently adopted tougher rhetoric on the South China Sea. Yet though more critical of China, the tone has remained noticeably diplomatic.

‘QUAD of the West’ Forms against Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Aug. 26, 2020) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), not pictured, executes a passing exercise with Turkish Navy frigates TCG Barbaros (F-244) and Burgazada (F-513) in the Mediterranean Sea, Aug. 26, 2020. Winston S. Churchill is deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa., modified, cc Flickr Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet,

Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean have mirrored China’s actions in the South China Sea. And they’ve begun to produce the same kind of geopolitical response.

Muslim Backlash Takes Toll on France-Pakistan Relations

cc Flickr Jacques Paquier, modified,

It’s not only France-Turkey relations that are reeling from President Macron’s Islam spat.

Next through the Revolving Door of Peru’s Presidency

cc Flickr Ennoti, modified,

Peru’s long-standing political dysfunction was on display in the swearing in of President Francisco Sagasti. Will next year's general election change anything?

Zambia Becomes First Post-COVID Debt Default

cc Nicolas Raymond, modified, Flickr

Zambia is expected to become the first country to default on its debt since the COVID-19 epidemic hit. It likely won’t be the last.

Ethiopia: A Geopolitical Time Bomb in the Making

EthiopiaFlag, cc Flickr John Iglar, modified,

Ethiopia’s climate-sensitive economy, growing population, and inter-ethnic conflict make it a geopolitical time bomb primed to explode.

Tigray Conflict Risks Civil War in Ethiopia

Ethiopian National Defence Forces peacekeepers marching in Hudur capital city of Bakol Somalia on March 19, 2014 AU UN IST PHOTO / MOHAMUD HASSAN, cc Flickr Amisom Public Information, modified,

Long-term Ethiopia watchers can’t help but be concerned by the military conflict unfolding in northern Tigray.

Will the Road to a COVID-19 Vaccine Bring Boom or Bust?

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020., cc Flickr Governor Tom Wolf, modified,

Vaccine-related optimism might be peaking about six months too early.

Why Is Saudi Arabia Boycotting Turkish Exports?

cc Flickr U.S. Secretary of Defense, modified,

Turkish-Saudi rivalry is spilling into the realm of economics, which doesn’t bode well for future bilateral relations.

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