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SITUATION REPORTOct 9, 2020 | 21:08 GMT
U.S.: Possible Xilinx Acquisition by AMD Points to More Consolidation in Semiconductor Industry
In another potential move that could continue to reshape the semiconductor industry -- and draw regulatory scrutiny in China -- Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices is in talks to buy San Jose-based Xilinx in a deal that could reach $30 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 9. Its sources said a deal could be finalized as early as next week.
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AssessmentsMay 7, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
U.S. Naval Update Map: May 7, 2020
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.
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On SecurityApr 23, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Shoppers wearing face masks amid concerns over the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak in a market in Seoul, South Korea, on March 14, 2020.
Learning How to Reopen a Country After COVID-19 Shutdowns
As governments around the world explore ways to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, easing the economic pain caused by lockdowns without causing even more damaging public health crises, they will be looking at the experience of other early outbreak countries to guide their actions. While best practices are emerging, recovery strategies will be tailored to the vulnerabilities of specific populations, and to governments' current capabilities. Whether the lessons of South Korea can be applied in the West remains to be seen.
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AssessmentsApr 3, 2020 | 16:36 GMT
A local business in Detroit, Michigan, closes shop following the state’s three-week “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of April 2, Michigan had 10,791 confirmed cases of the virus, including 417 deaths.
The Piecemeal U.S. COVID-19 Response Portends a Long Recovery
As the COVID-19 crisis grips the United States, states and cities are leading the charge in the most significant containment measures, with the federal government playing a supporting role. This means that neither lockdown measures to contain the virus, nor the outbreak itself, will end on the federal government’s schedule. But Washington will still be held liable for helping bail out the growing number of citizens and states struggling to make ends meet in an indefinitely quarantined economy.
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AssessmentsMar 11, 2020 | 16:34 GMT
A teacher points to a projector screen as she gives a vocabulary lesson at a high school in Worthington, Minnesota, on Sept. 5, 2019.
What Coronavirus School Closures Would Mean for the U.S. Economy
As more coronavirus cases spring up across the United States, an increasing number of U.S. schools are closing shop in an effort to reduce students' ability to infect each other, and even more importantly, older and more immunosuppressed members of their community. But by shifting the role of educator and weekday caregiver to families, these shutdowns will risk leaving a large section of the U.S. labor force with less time and energy to work, as well as less money to spend in the economy. Despite these risks, however, state officials may have little choice but to continue imposing wider school closures to avoid a full-blown health crisis -- even if it means forcing many Americans to choose between their children's education and earning a paycheck.
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On SecurityMar 3, 2020 | 15:54 GMT
'The Turner Diaries,' by National Alliance leader William Pierce, provides a blueprint for conducting terrorist operations as an underground organization.
The Right-Wing Extremist Threat in Context: External Extremist Actors
Last week I had the opportunity to speak with someone in the process of setting up a protective intelligence program at a large corporation. During our conversation about various concerns and threats, the topic of the current wave of right-wing extremist attacks arose. We discussed how that threat manifested itself differently when the actor was an outsider versus an insider, as well as steps the company could take to protect itself against these threats. After thinking about that conversation for some days, it occurred to me that there might be broader interest in the topic, and that it might be worth writing on it to place the threat posed by right-wing extremism into context. With that in mind, I have decided to address external right-wing extremist actors and insider extremists.
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AssessmentsJan 16, 2020 | 09:30 GMT
This photo taken on Oct. 2, 2019, shows fishermen boarding their boats at a small jetty on Made Island off Kyaukphyu in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
In Myanmar, Beijing Gets a Leg up on the Competition
For China, there's no time like the present to foster closer links with a key country on its frontier. Amid China's push for better transport connections, tighter border control and deeper energy security to the south, President Xi Jinping will begin a two-day visit to Myanmar on Jan. 17. Negotiations regarding some megaprojects have sparked significant concerns about China's looming presence -- and its strategic intentions -- in Myanmar, but the country may find its options to push back significantly curtailed. Indeed, with Myanmar facing Western isolation over its treatment of the Rohingya and struggling to forge national unity, China's assistance is more essential than ever if Naypyidaw is to fulfill some of its domestic priorities -- namely, advancing a peace process with ethnic armies along the northern border, managing the Rohingya crisis and developing the weak Myanmar economy. Such a situation, naturally, is bound to put China in a
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On SecurityDec 31, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Abstract montage of a man's eye with a radar grid overlaying the pupil.
'See Something, Say Something' Still Works. Here's Why.
According to a database compiled by AP, USA Today and Northeastern University, more mass killings occurred in the United States in 2019 than in any year since at least the 1970s. While concerning, this record is unfortunately not surprising given the recent uptick of public attacks in the country. But the number of such attacks in 2019 would have been far higher had it not been for citizens adhering to the "see something, say something" principle. Indeed, in December alone, several mass shootings were apparently thwarted by good Samaritans who alerted authorities to the potential attacks. That's because potential perpetrators, regardless of their varying motives, all have to follow the same steps prior to an attack. And this, combined with the indications of intent attackers often also leak, leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that ordinary citizens can spot and report to authorities before it's too late.
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Contributor PerspectivesDec 25, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself.
The Geopolitics of Christmas
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself. The contemporary, increasingly international version of Christmas is less a religious festival than a celebration of affluence, modernity, and above all Westernness. Without anyone willing it, Christmas has become part of a package of Western soft power.
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Contributor PerspectivesDec 18, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
People gather outside the presidential office in Kyiv on Dec. 9, 2019, as they wait for news of talks held in Paris to try to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
What Are David's Options When Goliath Makes Geopolitical Reality?
The old year's parting present to 2020 is a gaggle of what the Russians call "frozen conflicts" across the globe. Any one of them may unfreeze in the year ahead, bringing bloodshed and exile to innocents and threatening an already precarious world order. In some, the balance of forces is so disproportionate that the weaker party has no options but to bow to strength. The Goliaths of Russia and India, among others, dictate terms to the Davids of Ukraine and Pakistan. The people of tiny Hong Kong are standing up to China, but for how long? Who will defend Hong Kong if China abolishes the former British colony's "one country, two systems" status? For that matter, would NATO prevent Moscow from seizing more Ukrainian territory than it already has? Would the United Nations defend Pakistan if India expels the Muslims of Kashmir, as Burma did the Rohingya Muslims?
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AssessmentsDec 10, 2019 | 20:10 GMT
Myanmar army generals Tun Tun Nyi, Soe Naing Oo and Zaw Min Tun (left to right) discuss their intent to thwart constitutional changes by the governing National League for Democracy.
How Myanmar's Elections Could Dampen Its Investment Climate
In the months leading up to Myanmar's late 2020 elections, an atmosphere of political uncertainty and a risk-averse approach to reforms will combine to make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment, even as it pushes to diversify beyond Chinese involvement. Myanmar's next government will likely be more divided and incoherent than the one now led by the National League for Democracy, with added complexity expected as ethnic minority, military-aligned and other parties jockey for position. More immediately, in the run-up to the election, the risks associated with spikes in anti-Muslim communal violence, stepped-up military offensives in ethnic border regions and a stagnating peace process with insurgents will rise. These factors, combined with the global trade slowdown, could limit Myanmar's economic growth. The 2020 vote, coming a decade into Myanmar's post-dictatorship period, will be a key test for the country's new political balance.
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On SecurityNov 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington is pictured in Seattle on Nov. 8, 2019.
Lessons Learned From a Saudi Spy Case at Twitter
In an age in which cybersecurity is top-notch, sometimes all it takes for hostile intelligence to gain a treasure trove of information is some old-fashioned espionage tradecraft -- like finding an insider. In a criminal complaint filed Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the FBI accused two former Twitter employees and a third man of acting as agents of the Saudi government in the United States without declaring themselves. Two of the men, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi, are Saudi citizens, while the other, Ahmad Abouammo, is a U.S. citizen of Saudi descent. The men are charged with helping the Saudi government identify political dissidents and others on the social media platform who were critical of the government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  I've already written on the case for Stratfor's Threat Lens clients, but there are some important lessons in the affair for a wider audience
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 22, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This file photo taken around 1930 shows New York's George Washington Bridge during its construction.
Great Powers Invest in Infrastructure. The West Was the Prime Example.
For the past 250 years, Western Europe and North America have led the way not just in inventing new technologies of transport and communication, but also -- and equally importantly -- in building the infrastructure without which these technologies would be useless. The West has sunk astonishing amounts of energy and capital into updating and replacing its infrastructure, over and over again, as new technologies have emerged. Having the best infrastructure has been a key to global dominance since the 18th century, but in the early 21st, there are alarming signs the West is losing its strategic lead. Everywhere, infrastructure is creaking and crumbling. Every part of the system seems to be getting old at the same time. How the West deals with this challenge -- or, perhaps, opportunity -- will do much to shape the geoeconomics and geopolitics of the 21st century.
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