Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Thursday, September 30, 2021, 2:47 PM

Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was elected ruling party leader on Wednesday, ensuring he will be the country’s next prime minister, says the Wall Street Journal. The new Liberal Democratic Party leader supports a strong U.S.-Japan alliance and is pushing to build a missile-strike capability against regional threats such as China and North Korea. On the economy, he has called for a “new Japanese-style capitalism” to narrow the income gap between the rich and the poor, which Kishida said had widened during the pandemic. Kishida will succeed Yoshihide Suga, who announced his resignation following a wave of coronavirus cases. 

The House Armed Services Committee heard testimony Wednesday from top Pentagon officials and were asked many of the same questions asked by a Senate panel the day before, reports the New York Times. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Commander of the United States Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie faced questions on whether Biden had ignored advice from his advisers, why officials failed to predict the rapid collapse of the Afghan army and government, and if the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan would bolster the threat of other terrorist groups in the country. Notably, Austin discussed the advice he had given Biden before the withdrawal for the first time publicly.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that Turkey could work with Russia on joint defense and security projects on Wednesday in a meeting with Russian President Vladamir Putin, according to Financial Times. Erdogan expressed interest in building more Russian nuclear reactors in Turkey and reiterated his controversial pledge to purchase Russian-made defense systems. The meeting is likely to alarm Turkey’s NATO allies.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that military officials from China and the United States have held two days of talks this week on a range of defense issues, according to Reuters. The meeting comes two weeks following the AUKUS pact, a move criticized by the Chinese government. Both sides agreed to keep communication channels open.

The Chinese government put a number of once-secret high-end military technology on display at an ongoing airshow in Zhuhai, showcasing its ambitions in space exploration and in unmanned commercial aircraft, says Reuters. The show has attracted considerable attention from foreign observers monitoring developments in Chinese military strength.

Irmgard Furchner, a 96-year-old woman who worked as a secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp during World War II, was arrested several hours after she fled from her nursing home on Thursday just before her trial was about to start, reports the Washington Post. After a landmark ruling in 2011, German courts can prosecute any staff members working in Nazi death camps as an accessory to murder. Prosecutors charged Furchner this year with aiding “the systemic killing” of more than 11,000 people.

Bosnia’s pandemic death toll is rising, despite a slew of empty vaccination sites and unused coronavirus vaccines, according to AP News. With close to 240,000 confirmed cases reported and more than 10,500 deaths, Bosnia has the highest coronavirus mortality rate in Europe and one of the lowest percentages of the population that are fully vaccinated. Although the country initially struggled to get supplies to combat the pandemic, it now has hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses set to expire next month.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Ronan Bergman joins Benjamin Wittes to discuss the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and the larger policy of Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Jonathan Shaub explained the upcoming political battle over the amount of information the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will be able to access.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk in which Julia Lovell and translator Brendan O’Kane sit down to talk about Mao’s relationship with the novel of the Monkey King.

Schneider also shared an episode of ChinaTalk where Logan Wright of the Rhodium Group discusses Evergrande's implosion, how we got here, and what this week means for China's economy.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which hosts Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jerecic and Scott R. Anderson sit down with Lawfare Managing Editor Jacob Schulz to talk about a memo with a plan to manipulate the counting of the 2020 electoral votes, “hostage diplomacy,” and whether Facebook has an obligation to share information on atrocities with international tribunals.

Julian Ku discusses the Chinese government’s use of “hostage diplomacy” and how it may herald a new “asymmetric lawfare” strategy to counter the United States.

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