Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 14 September 2018. (All times Eastern.)
Hurricane Watch: According to the latest National Hurricane Advisory (60A), Hurricane Florence is a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90mph, making it the strongest hurricane to hit North Carolina since 1960. The eye of the storm made landfall early this morning, dumping in excess of 20″ of rain in parts of southeast North Carolina, and has so far left over 300,000 North Carolinians without power. Catastrophic flooding is expected to increase through the weekend.
The President receives his intelligence briefing, followed by an update on Hurricane Florence/emergency preparedness this afternoon.
Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet with India’s national security advisor this afternoon. (India has become a primary focus for this administration’s strategy to contain China.)
Defense Secretary Mattis has no significant events scheduled events for today, but will be departing on Sunday, 16 September and traveling to Macedonia. According to a DOD press release, he’ll be showing U.S. support for Macedonia during their ascension process into NATO.
Of note: China and Russia are engaged in the largest military exercise in decades.The exercise includes 36,000 pieces of equipment and a third of all Russian troops, and simulates “conditions as close as possible to war”, according to the Russian defense minister. Vostok-18 runs from 11-15 September. Russian president Vladimir Putin is scheduled to attend today’s exercises.
Also of note: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in D.C. today to give a speech entitled, “The Value of NATO in the 21st Century” at the Hudson Institute.
CSG: The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) remains the only deployed aircraft carrier, and was last reported in the Philippine Sea. No significant developments for U.S. carrier strike groups have been reported.
Significant House Activity:
- The Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing to identify solutions to strengthen public safety communications.
Significant Senate Activity:
- Nothing significant to report.
* Only events pertinent to national security are listed.
– I continue to be concerned about the potential effects a Chinese slowdown would have on emerging and developed economies around the world. China has a notoriously bad debt problem that it’s trying to hide, and an economic slowdown there could threaten a financial crisis similar to the U.S. crisis in 2008 where the Chinese central bank would be forced to bail out bad debt and save Chinese corporations by printing money. The problem is that the Chinese central bank has printed money since 2008 and will likely continue to print money to stave off the economic slowdown. The current outlook is dampened by U.S. tariffs, and Chinese state media is warning not to expect a timely resolution. Although U.S. tariffs didn’t appear to have an effect on the Chinese economy according to their official numbers from August, Chinese economists do see signs of further economic slowing in the coming months.
According to the latest National Hurricane Advisory (60A), Hurricane Florence is a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90mph, making it the strongest hurricane to hit North Carolina since 1960. The eye of the storm made landfall early this morning, is expected to dump in excess of 20″ of rain in parts of southeast North Carolina, and has so far left over 300,000 North Carolinians without power. Catastrophic flooding is expected to increase through the weekend.
REMINDER: This hurricane watch section will remain in this report through the end of the season. I check the latest from the National Hurricane Center each morning and will provide details as necessary.
Drought conditions persist across much of the Southwest. This map is updated every Thursday.
What I’m Looking at this Morning