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Our Take

President Biden should anchor dialogue at the Summit for Democracy around three core principles: building durable communities and publics; rethinking political representation; and understanding democracy as a matter of global security, Director Laura Thornton writes in her latest

Instead of focusing solely on “selective decoupling,” Washington should deepen coupling in certain areas to lessen China’s economic leverage, Co-Director Zack Cooper argues in the Washington Examiner.

Hamilton 2.0 Analysis

Russian diplomats and state media focused on three main topics: 

  • Belarus: Russian officials and state media argued that the European Union was responsible for the Belarusian-manufactured migrant crisis on the Polish border. They also highlighted instances of Polish forces abusing migrants.
  • Ukraine: Moscow-linked accounts pushed back on U.S. warnings that the Kremlin could be preparing a new military offensive against Ukraine, claiming the West was escalating tensions in the region.
  • COP26: Russia state-funded media amplified commentary from UN officials and activists who were disappointed that the COP26 climate summit did not produce more ambitious goals. 

Chinese diplomats and state media covered the following subjects: 

  • Taiwan 2035: Chinese diplomats and state media used the popular TikTok song “Go to Taiwan in 2035” to argue there is “a psychological expectation that the reunification should be realized by 2035.”
  • U.S. delegation: The spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. Congressmen who visited Taiwan last week were “playing with fire,” while state media denounced the visit.
  • Belarus: Chinese government-funded outlets shared a statement from Putin blaming the West for the migrant crisis and emphasized Russia’s constructive role in resolving the issue. 

Iranian diplomats and state media focused on one topic

  • Nuclear deal: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s comments on the Iranian nuclear deal prompted Iranian diplomats and state media to remind their audience that the United States was the party that left the agreement.  

Read the full report here.

News and Commentary

Biden and Xi hold virtual summit amid rising tension: On November 15, President Biden held a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping that resulted in no breakthroughs, but provided an opportunity to discuss points of tension, including Taiwan, China’s economic practices, and human rights. ASD China Analyst Bryce Barros told the Dispatch, “Although the substance from the Biden-Xi virtual summit was lacking, it served as a key opportunity for U.S. and PRC officials to ensure that the channels of communication are open to avoid unnecessarily escalating tensions in the two countries’ relationship. One bright spot was that, before the summit, U.S. and PRC officials came to an agreement to ease restrictions on visas for journalists in both countries.”

U.S. joins the Paris Call: Last week, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States has joined the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, a voluntary agreement aimed at strengthening global cooperation on countering cyber threats. ASD is a co-champion, along with the Government of Canada and Microsoft, of a community supporting the Paris Call’s third principle to defend electoral processes from interference by malign foreign actors. ASD Deputy Director David Salvo said, “The Paris Call’s advantage is it brings key stakeholders across sectors to the table to establish rules of the road to secure and stabilize cyberspace. The United States sat on the sidelines for three years, which was to no one’s benefit. It’s a good step by this administration to recognize the importance of the initiative and join partners in government, industry, and civil society to take on these challenges at long last.”

EU prepares new Belarus sanctions over border crisis: The European Union is preparing new sanctions against individuals, airlines, and other entities that have supported Belarusian efforts to use migrants as a means to undermine EU cohesion and credibility. ASD Research Analyst Etienne Soula said, “The Belarusian regime has left the EU with no choice but to respond forcefully as Minsk actively destabilizes one of the EU’s largest member states through what essentially amounts to state-sponsored human trafficking. In addition, various Russian officials’ recent statements suggest that Moscow at the very least implicitly approves of Lukashenko’s actions. In this context, it remains to be seen whether the EU’s new sanctions will be enough to deter the Belarusian regime and its Russian patron.” 

In Case You Missed It 

  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency Director Jen Easterly announced the agency will strengthen its disinformation and misinformation team.
  • The Ghostwriter hacking and disinformation group, which has been tied to recent attacks against government and private sector groups across Europe, is linked to the Belarusian government, a new Mandiant report found
  • Germany’s Federal Network Agency suspended the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, ruling that the operating company did not comply with conditions to be an “independent transmissions operator.” 
  • A bipartisan group of almost 100 former national security officials urged Congress to take steps to secure elections ahead of the upcoming midterms.  
  • The EU will soon announce the “Global Gateway,” a new overseas infrastructure investment framework designed to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department will work with Israel’s Ministry of Finance in a joint task force that aims to address ransomware and cybersecurity issues and “protect critical financial infrastructure and emerging technologies.”

ASD in the News

Not Yet Fit for the World: Piecemeal Buildup of EU Military, Cyber and Intelligence Assets, JOINT. Co-written by Senior Fellow Kristine Berzina and Cybersecurity Fellow Maurice Turner

Mesa Co. Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters alleges election integrity issues, nonpartisan expert says evidence is not there, KJCT News 8. Comments from Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine

5 key updates in the Pentagon’s 2021 China Military Power Report, American Enterprise Institute. Written by Co-Director Zack Cooper

Quote of the Week

Our strong democratic traditions and practices have been a model for the world and a longstanding source of ‘soft power’ for our country to inspire and persuade other nations.” 

  • Former U.S. national security officials wrote in a letter to Congress on November 10, 2021.

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.