Your Friday Briefing

your friday briefing scaled

Good morning. We’re covering booster shots in France, Peng Shuai’s piercing accusations in China and the Pakistani madrasa that has educated many Taliban leaders. A French rush for boosters Thousands rushed to book appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said that health passes would soon no longer be valid without them. Amid a surge in new cases and rising hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said that over 400,000 vaccination appointments had been…

C.I.A. Admits to Losing Informants

c i a admits to losing informants

The warning, according to those who have read it, was primarily aimed at front line agency officers, the people involved most directly in the recruiting and vetting of sources. The cable reminded C.I.A. case officers to focus not just on recruiting sources, but also on security issues including vetting informants and evading adversarial intelligence services. Among the reasons for the cable, according to people familiar with the document, was to prod C.I.A. case officers to think about steps they can take on their own to do a better job managing…

For India’s Military, a Juggling Act With Pakistan and China

for indias military a juggling act with pakistan and china

CHANDIGARH, India — After the deadliest clashes in half a century with China, India’s military has taken emergency measures to reinforce a 500-mile stretch of the border high in the Himalayas. In the past year, it has tripled the number of troops in the contentious eastern Ladakh region to more than 50,000. It has raced to stock up on food and gear for freezing temperatures and 15,000-foot altitudes before the region is largely cut off for much of the winter. It has announced that an entire strike corps, an offensive…

China Pledges to Stop Building Coal Plants Abroad: Explained

china pledges to stop building coal plants abroad

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, said on Tuesday that his country would stop building coal-burning power plants overseas, a major shift by the world’s second-biggest economy to move away from its support of the fossil fuel. China “will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” he told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. The news comes amid a broad international effort to reduce coal use and to keep global temperatures from rising at their current pace, which scientists have warned could be disastrous. The announcement by China, which is…

Why Nation-Building Failed in Afghanistan

why nation building failed in afghanistan

ISTANBUL – The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago with the hope of rebuilding a country that had become a scourge to the world and its own people. As General Stanley McChrystal explained in the run-up to the 2009 surge of US troops, the objective was that the “government of Afghanistan sufficiently control its territory to support regional stability and prevent its use for international terrorism.” Why Nation-Building Failed in Afghanistan Afghan Presidential Palace via Getty Images Daron Acemoglu explains why the West’s top-down approach to establishing state institutions…

How the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan Helps China

how the u s exit from afghanistan helps china

Beijing is now also positioned to hold greater influence over the country’s political landscape. Afghanistan’s history tells us that one group is rarely in control of the entire country, and given the Taliban’s lightning takeover, it’s reasonable to expect some civil strife. China — already the largest troop contributor to U.N. peacekeeping missions among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — has also registered a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops — a move that could make it one of the largest contributors overall. If a…

Why China’s rise is a ‘wildcard’ for how things could play out in Afghanistan

why chinas rise is a wildcard for how things could play out in afghanistan

While several countries are evacuating their embassies in Kabul and scrambling to get their citizens out of Afghanistan, there are three notable exceptions.  Australia closed its embassy back in May, but China, Russia and Pakistan are staying put for now. Afghanistan has geographical significance, positioned as a bridge between Asia and Europe, and all three countries have an interest in regional stability and want to avoid the country becoming a hotbed of extremism. Afghanistan is also sitting on to $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) worth of mineral deposits, including rare earths and…

China Won’t Repeat America’s Mistakes in Afghanistan

china wont repeat americas mistakes in afghanistan

As the United States departs Afghanistan and Kabul falls, China is not showing up with an army. It is showing up bearing gifts to all parties, not least the ascendant Taliban. Beijing’s prospects, therefore, are already looking much better—and cheaper—than the U.S. state- and military-building project. Beijing’s traditional worry in Afghanistan has been regional instability and the prospect of cross-border aid to Uyghur militants in Xinjiang—or the provision of a safe refuge for Uyghurs fleeing Chinese oppression. But the Taliban will likely have learned from the experience of the past…