Early Warning for 30 November 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 30 November 2018.

 

White House

The President is scheduled to participate in meetings all day at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Of Note: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani accused special counsel Robert Mueller of attempting to disrupt President Trump’s G20 agenda by filing charges against a former Trump associate (Michael Cohen) right before the summit. Giuliani complained that Mueller did essentially the same thing right before the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki earlier this year, saying the two events were “hardly coincidental”.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to join President Trump at the G20 summit (29 Nov-01 Dec).


 

Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis 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 as having returned to port in San Diego.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as being in port at Norfolk.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as being in port at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the Mediterranean Sea.

* The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as being in the South China Sea, and is scheduled to make a port call in Hong Kong. (Analyst Comment: Earlier this year, the Chinese government denied a port call to another American ship.)

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

Despite sounding doubtful that he’d reach a deal, President Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping over the weekend at the G20 summit. A solution to the trade impasse doesn’t sound likely, and there are growing calls for “disengagement” from China. The more President Xi drags his feet, the worse his economy gets — but also the longer he’s able to run his domestic economy policy, which benefits from bleeding the United States of its intellectual property. I’ve often used the numbers of $200-300 billion per year, but new estimates say the Chinese may actually be stealing up to $600 billion per year in U.S. intellectual property. Meanwhile, in a recent statement made before heading to the G20 summit, President Trump sounded like he wanted to keep up tariffs against China. (The current 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods are scheduled to be raised to 25 percent on 01 January 2019.) President Trump’s words sounded like a man who knew he was winning — maybe even like a man who wanted to punish China — and we are definitely seeing China paying a steep price, even if there are some negative side effects for American businesses and workers. The Chinese Shanghai Composite Index is down 21 percent for the year, recent data shows a widening gap between manufacturing output (stable) and sales (dropping), manufacturers are shedding jobs, and Chinese monetary policy is being loosened as a result. (That, by the way, is China’s response to just about every economic malady.) I don’t expect any major concessions or agreements to come from this weekend’s meetings, but minor agreements could be reached. To reiterate: China’s economic system is partially based on exploiting the United States (especially industrial espionage and forced technology transfers). That’s not something Xi wants to walk away from, and Xi may be playing a waiting game for the Mueller report (i.e., for the next president) before introducing major policy changes. Bottom line: we may get closer to January before Xi thinks about making significant concessions.


 

Weather

HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center reports no cyclonic activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Today’s the last day of “hurricane season”.  [source]


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

White House to hold round table with tech executives

Marine rotations rotate to the Arctic

Louisiana high school commits fraud to send minority students to Ivy League schools


 

Notable Quotable

“I’ve personally seen, in just the last month, a lot of Amazon organizing groups popping up, and we’re all trying to coordinate.” – Anonymous Whole Foods worker on attempts to unionize at Amazon

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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