Early Warning for 22 January 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 22 January 2019.

 

Venezuela: Early yesterday morning, the Maduro regime quelled a small uprising, arresting 27 soldiers who raided an armory. Anti-regime protestors took to the streets, and a handful of Venezuelan lawmakers want to grant clemency to the soldiers who tried to start a possible coup. Says one lawmaker: “We don’t want the armed forces to divide or face off between themselves. We just want them to put themselves at the side of the people, the constitution.”

 

White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, then have lunch with the Vice President.

Shutdown: 32 days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to soon bring legislation to the floor regarding President Trump’s latest offer to end the shutdown. Even if the Senate passes the bill, it’s unlikely that Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) would pass the Senate’s legislation in the House, though.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is expected to address the World Economic Forum via video conference after his trip was cancelled due to the government shutdown.


 

Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has no publicly scheduled events.

 

These are the last publicly reported locations of these ships. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported on a three month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Persian Gulf.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as having returned to home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

 

Bold indicates significant changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed. Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports


 

Economy/Finance

The World Economic Forum begins today at Davos, Switzerland. This year’s theme is “Globalization 4.0”. This is a stark warning, not just for attendees and world governments but for white-collar workers. Previous waves of globalization have focused on outsourcing blue-collar jobs. Now, white-collar jobs are at risk of being out-sourced, and that’s the theme of this year’s meeting. “That’s what the future of globalization will be and that’s what Globalization 4.0 is. It’s the opening of service sectors in rich countries to competition from poor countries with all the pluses and minuses in the service sector that we saw in the manufacturing sector.”

The latest “official” numbers from China show economic growth for 2018 coming in at 6.6 percent. In truth, real growth may be half of that; either way, China says its the lowest in 28 years. Xinhua News Agency is reporting that, in a special meeting called yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned officials in the Chinese Communist Party that they need “to prevent and resolve major risks”. President Xi continued: “The party is facing sharp and serious dangers of a slackness in spirit, lack of ability, distance from the people, and being passive and corrupt. This is an overall judgment based on the actual situation.” [source] Political or economic instability in China will potentially have global effects, especially if it leads to a financial crisis. On a separate but related note, Liu He, Vice Premier of China, is scheduled to hold trade talks in Washington later this month.


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

Democrats want to modernize the House

The shrinking of the political middle class

Army study on the Iraq war shows Iran was the only winner


 

Notable Quotable

“What scares me the most longer term is that we have limitations to monetary policy — which is our most valuable tool — at the same as we have greater political and social antagonism. So, the next downturn in the economy worries me the most.” Bridgewater hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, rephrasing last year’s sentiments at this year’s Davos meeting

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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