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Immunity Granted to All Presidents & Biden and Europe Face an Uncertain Future

THE STRATEGY & TECH WEEKLY

Summaries and Links to This Week’s Curated Articles

July 1 – 7, 2024

SCOTUS Opinion in Trump v. US Raises Concerns of a US President as King.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

 

International Political Landscape

A recent Supreme Court ruling in Trump v. United States grants the President immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts, reshaping the relationship between military commanders and the President. This decision raises concerns about the legal risks faced by military personnel who might follow potentially unlawful orders, creating a dynamic where the President is untouchable. In contrast, those in uniform could face consequences. This ruling emphasizes the necessity for military leaders to exercise vigilance and uphold democratic principles to safeguard the integrity of the armed forces and American democracy. In a related context, the upcoming NATO summit, initially intended to celebrate President Biden's leadership, has become uncertain due to concerns about Biden's political and physical condition. NATO members are anxious about the implications of a potential Biden withdrawal from the presidential campaign, especially considering the possibility of Donald Trump's victory, which could strain U.S.-European relations and be exploited by adversaries like Russia and North Korea.

 

Amidst political challenges, President Biden faces waning popularity and recent public setbacks as he navigates his re-election campaign. Drawing parallels with recent political developments in France and the U.K., Biden must maintain strategic clarity and resilience to secure his political future. In the economic sphere, the U.S. labor market continues to show resilience by adding 206,000 jobs in June despite the unemployment rate rising to 4.1 percent. This consistent job growth over 42 months has potential implications for Federal Reserve policy, possibly prompting rate cuts later in the year. Additionally, the U.S. commitment to Ukraine's potential NATO membership while avoiding direct confrontation with Russia exposes contradictions in the alliance's preparedness and military spending. Instead of focusing solely on NATO membership, prioritizing Ukraine's defense capabilities to deter future Russian aggression is suggested. The historical and often contentious relationship between the U.S. and China is marked by strategic, economic, and ideological conflicts, underscoring the importance of understanding past confrontations and collaborations to navigate future challenges in U.S.-China relations.

 

Technological Innovations

The global economic landscape is witnessing remarkable advancements across various technological domains. Innovations in robotics are exemplified by a new bug-like robot capable of complex maneuvers. AI and machine learning are becoming integral to workforce development, with companies like Apple and Microsoft focusing on smaller, more efficient AI models. The aerospace sector is exploring unconventional energy sources, such as microwaves, to power planes despite potential environmental concerns. Quantum mechanics is pushing the boundaries of information transfer, as demonstrated by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, and traditional semiconductor devices are being harnessed to advance quantum internet capabilities. AI and 3D printing are revolutionizing crop management in agriculture, and geospatial data is being redefined through smartphone and crowdsourcing technologies. Environmental sustainability is also a focus, with atom-thin graphene membranes enhancing carbon capture efficiency. Robotics continues to evolve with new methods for smoother gait transitions in hexapod robots, and the aerospace industry is seeing breakthroughs with AI-designed rocket engines successfully passing hot-fire tests. These developments collectively highlight a dynamic interplay of innovation and strategic investment, driving forward the global economy.

 

Economic Developments

New labor data indicates that the US job market is slowing down, with companies hiring more moderately in June and wage growth cooling as unemployment claims rise for the ninth straight week, the longest stretch since 2018. This slowdown has led to record closes for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq as investors anticipate potential Federal Reserve rate cuts. Meanwhile, the global shipping industry faces ongoing challenges with significant disruptions due to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, port congestion, and geopolitical tensions. These issues have driven up spot container rates and delays, particularly in key hubs like Singapore. Supply chain experts predict that shipping rates will remain under pressure, potentially reaching pandemic highs, necessitating strategic planning to navigate these bottlenecks effectively.

 

 

ECONOMY

 

Global Shipping Strains Seen Extending Into Second Half,” authored by Brendan Murray and published in Bloomberg on July 2, 2024, highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the global shipping industry as it enters the peak demand season. The article discusses how disruptions, including Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and port congestion, have significantly increased spot container rates and delays, particularly in key hubs like Singapore. Supply chain experts predict continued pressure on shipping rates, potentially reaching pandemic highs, due to a mix of geopolitical tensions, tariff uncertainties, and labor strikes. The article emphasizes the need for strategic planning to navigate these persistent supply chain bottlenecks. [Read the full article] (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-07-02/global-shipping-strains-seen-extending-into-second-half).

 

TECH WATCH

Description

URL

Here’s the Most Buglike Robot Bug Yet: It can take off, hover, land, crawl, and even flip itself over.

Your Next Great AI Engineer Already Works for You: How to build your team’s skills in AI and ML.

Apple, Microsoft Shrink AI Models to Improve Them: “Small language models” emerge as an alternative to gargantuan AI options.

Powering Planes With Microwaves Is Not The Craziest Idea: If you don't mind massive ground antennas and fried birds, that is.

Faster Than the Speed of Light: Information Transfer Through “Spooky Action at a Distance” at the Large Hadron Collider. This finding extends the behavior of entangled particles to distances beyond the reach of light-speed communication and opens new avenues for exploring quantum mechanics at high energies.

Silicon Magic: Powering the Quantum Internet of the Future. Using traditional semiconductor devices, researchers have unlocked new potentials in quantum communication, pushing us closer to realizing the vast potential of the quantum internet.

How AI and 3D Printing Are Changing the Way We Grow Food: Scientists use laser scanning to generate 3D models of the above-ground parts of the sugar beet plant from a crop field, providing a step forward in developing AI-assisted crop pipeline improvement.

Revolutionizing the Map: How Smartphones and Crowdsourcing Are Redefining Geospatial Data. Collaborative research outlines significant impacts on various industries and the ongoing need to integrate user-generated and traditional data sources for comprehensive analysis.

Atom-thin graphene membranes make carbon capture more efficient: Scientists have developed advanced atom-thin graphene membranes with pyridinic-nitrogen at pore edges, showing unprecedented performance in CO2 capture.

A new method to achieve smooth gait transitions in hexapod robots: Their proposed gait control technique is based on so-called central pattern generators (CPGs), computational approaches that mimic biological CPGs.

LEAP 71’s AI-Designed Rocket Engine Passes First Hot-Fire Test: This engine, made from copper, was designed autonomously without human help and then tested in the U.K., reducing design and production time.

 

The Challenges of Policy in an Era of Fulcrum Technologies,” authored by Melissa K. Griffith and Nina Kelsey and published in War on the Rocks on July 2, 2024, explores the complex landscape of emerging technologies critical to American security, prosperity, and sustainability. The article highlights the tension between the increasing electricity demands of industries like AI and the U.S.'s decarbonization targets. Griffith and Kelsey introduce the concept of "fulcrum technologies," which require unprecedented coordination between domestic and international stakeholders to manage economic, security, and sustainability concerns simultaneously. The authors argue for innovative policy approaches and better staffing to navigate these intertwined challenges effectively. [Read the full article](https://warontherocks.com/2024/07/the-challenges-of-policy-in-an-era-of-fulcrum-technologies/).

 

 

NATIONS MAKING HEADLINES

 

THE USA

SEAL Team Six - POTUS Has Immunity, Not You” by Monte Erfourth, published by Strategy Central on July 6, 2024, discusses a recent Supreme Court ruling in Trump v. United States, which grants the President immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts. This landmark decision redefines the relationship between military commanders and the President, raising concerns about the legal risks faced by military personnel who might follow potentially unlawful orders. The ruling underscores a perilous dynamic where the President remains untouchable while those in uniform bear the consequences of executing directives that may contravene the law. Erfourth explores the profound implications for civil-military relations and emphasizes the necessity for military leaders to exercise vigilance and uphold democratic principles to safeguard the integrity of the armed forces and American democracy. https://www.strategycentral.io/post/seal-team-six-potus-has-immunity-not-you

 

“Opinion | As Biden slips toward the edge, NATO holds its collective breath,” authored by David Ignatius and published in The Washington Post on July 4, 2024, discusses the growing concerns within NATO regarding President Biden's faltering political and physical condition. The article highlights how Biden's poor performance in a recent debate has transformed the upcoming NATO summit, originally intended as a celebration of his leadership, into a period of uncertainty and apprehension. NATO members are particularly anxious about the potential implications of a Biden withdrawal from the presidential campaign, especially in the face of a possible Donald Trump victory, which could strain U.S.-European relations. The article also touches upon the quiet concerns among national security officials about adversaries like Russia and North Korea exploiting this period of political limbo in the U.S. [Read the full article] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/07/04/biden-nato-anxious-allies-eager-enemies/?utm_campaign=wp_follow_david_ignatius&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl-davidignatius&cartaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F3e331ed%2F66871b29f4065c4775a8e4f0%2F5ff58171ae7e8a2a747ff61b%2F6%2F23%2F66871b29f4065c4775a8e4f0).

 

Biden needs to be clear-eyed about the election. France and the U.K. show why,” authored by The Washington Post Editorial Board, examines President Biden's political challenges as he navigates his re-election campaign amidst waning popularity and recent setbacks in public appearances. The article draws parallels between Biden's situation and recent political developments in France and the U.K., highlighting the volatile nature of modern politics and the critical need for strategic clarity and resilience. By reflecting on the electoral outcomes and political dynamics in these European countries, the editorial underscores the importance of Biden maintaining a clear and focused approach to secure his political future. [Read the full article] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/07/02/biden-regret-france-uk-elections/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_todayworld&utm_campaign=wp_todays_worldview).

 

U.S. Job Growth Remains Solid,” authored by Talmon Joseph Smith and published in The New York Times on July 5, 2024, reports on the resilience of the American labor market, which added 206,000 jobs in June. Despite the uptick in the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent, marking the first time it has surpassed 4 percent since November 2021, the labor market has shown consistent strength with 42 consecutive months of job growth. The article discusses the potential implications of this data for Federal Reserve policy, noting that signs of a moderating labor market might prompt rate cuts later in the year, a scenario welcomed by both investors and the Biden administration. [Read the full article] (https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/07/05/business/june-jobs-report).

 

America Is in Denial About NATO’s Future,” authored by Daniel Treisman and published in Foreign Policy on July 5, 2024, critiques the U.S. stance on Ukraine’s potential NATO membership. Treisman argues that the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s NATO future, while simultaneously avoiding direct confrontation with Russia, exposes a significant contradiction. He suggests that NATO expansion has historically been marked by reduced military spending and a lack of preparedness, leaving the alliance vulnerable. Treisman contends that instead of focusing solely on NATO membership, the West should prioritize building Ukraine’s defense capabilities to deter future Russian aggression effectively. [Read the full article](https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/07/05/america-nato-ukraine-denial/).

 

When America and China Collided,” authored by John Pomfret and published in Foreign Affairs on July 6, 2024, delves into the complex and often contentious relationship between the United States and China. The article recounts historical incidents and diplomatic tensions that have shaped the interactions between these two global powers, highlighting the strategic, economic, and ideological conflicts that persist. Pomfret provides an in-depth analysis of how past confrontations and collaborations influence current policies and the global balance of power. The narrative underscores the importance of understanding this history to navigate future challenges in U.S.-China relations. [Read the full article](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/when-america-and-china-collided).

 

10 soldiers will compete for Team USA in the 2024 Olympics,” authored by Zamone Perez and published in Military Times on July 3, 2024, reports that ten U.S. Army service members will represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. Seven active-duty soldiers are set to compete in various sports, including shooting, rugby, track and field, wrestling, and swimming, while three others will participate in the Paralympics. The article highlights the dominance of Army athletes in the selection trials, as well as the inclusion of two soldiers as coaches for Team USA. [Read the full article](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-army/2024/07/03/10-soldiers-will-compete-for-team-usa-in-the-2024-olympics/).

 

 

RUSSIA

Beijing and Moscow Go From 'No Limits' Friendship to Frenemies in Russia’s Backyard,” authored by Austin Ramzy and published in The Wall Street Journal on July 6, 2024, examines the evolving and increasingly strained relationship between China and Russia. The article highlights how China’s growing influence in Central Asia and the Arctic, regions traditionally dominated by Russia, has led to tensions between the two nations. Despite their proclaimed “no limits” partnership, Beijing and Moscow are finding themselves at odds as they vie for economic and strategic dominance in these critical areas. This shift from allies to competitors marks a significant change in the geopolitical landscape. [Read the full article](https://www.wsj.com/world/beijing-and-moscow-go-from-no-limits-friendship-to-frenemies-in-russias-backyard-52b3f1a4?mod=russia_news_article_pos1).

 

 

EUROPE

Labour Wins Landslide Victory in U.K. Snap Elections,” authored by Daniel Treisman and published in Foreign Policy on July 5, 2024, analyzes the surprising results of the recent U.K. snap elections. The Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, secured a decisive victory over the Conservative Party, led by Rishi Sunak. This electoral outcome is seen as a significant shift in the British political landscape, indicating widespread public dissatisfaction with the Conservative government’s handling of economic issues and public services. The article discusses this political shift's potential implications for domestic policy and the U.K.'s international relations. [Read the full article] (https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/07/05/uk-snap-elections-results-labour-keir-starmer-sunak/?tpcc=recirc_latest062921).

 

Marine Le Pen Betrays Her Past to Widen National Rally's Appeal,” authored by Ania Nussbaum and published in Bloomberg on July 4, 2024, explores Marine Le Pen's strategic shift to moderate her party's far-right image in order to capture a broader electorate. The article highlights Le Pen’s efforts to distance herself from the controversial legacy of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and to present the National Rally as a viable alternative to the current government. This transformation includes softening her stance on various issues and courting business interests, significantly increasing her party’s popularity. As France faces a critical election, Le Pen’s rebranding aims to position her as a mainstream political force capable of leading the nation. [Read the full article] (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-07-04/le-pen-set-to-fall-short-of-majority-in-france-polling-shows).

 

Exclusive: NATO to Establish New Kyiv Post for Ukraine,” authored by Michael R. Gordon and Daniel Michaels and published in The Wall Street Journal on July 1, 2024, reveals NATO’s plan to station a senior civilian official in Kyiv as part of broader measures to bolster long-term support for Ukraine. This move aims to enhance Ukraine’s prospects of eventually joining NATO without offering immediate membership. The article details the establishment of a new command in Wiesbaden, Germany, to coordinate military equipment provision and training for Ukrainian troops. These steps are seen as an effort to ensure continued support for Ukraine, even if U.S. policies shift following potential political changes. [Read the full article](https://www.wsj.com/world/europe/nato-to-establish-new-kyiv-post-for-ukraine-81b4205c?mod=series_rusukrainenato).

 

 

CHINA

The Looming Crisis in the Taiwan Strait,” authored by Bonnie S. Glaser and Bonny Lin and published in Foreign Affairs on July 2, 2024, analyzes the escalating tensions between Taiwan and China following the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te. Lai's firm stance on Taiwan's sovereignty has provoked a harsh response from Beijing, including military exercises simulating an invasion. The article explores how the lack of communication and increasing hostility heighten the risk of miscalculation and conflict. The authors argue that the United States must balance strengthening Taiwan's defense capabilities with encouraging diplomatic engagement to mitigate the crisis. [Read the full article](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/taiwan/looming-crisis-taiwan-strait).

 

What Taiwan Is Learning From Ukraine,” authored by Ishaan Tharoor and Anika Arora Seth and published in The Washington Post on July 1, 2024, discusses how Taiwan is drawing lessons from Ukraine's resistance to Russian invasion as it faces threats from China. The article highlights Taiwan’s efforts to boost its defense spending, extend military training, and develop asymmetric warfare capabilities. The authors emphasize the importance of civic resilience and whole-of-society involvement, noting Taiwan’s strategic moves to deter Chinese aggression and ensure its sovereignty amidst growing geopolitical tensions. [Read the full article] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/07/01/taiwan-lessons-ukraine-war-china/).

 

The Underground Network Sneaking Nvidia Chips Into China,” authored by Raffaele Huang and published in The Wall Street Journal on July 2, 2024, investigates the covert operations used to bypass U.S. export controls and smuggle Nvidia’s high-end AI chips into China. The article details how a Chinese student transported Nvidia A100 chips in his luggage, part of a broader network of buyers, sellers, and couriers. Despite U.S. restrictions, Chinese distributors openly advertise these chips online, fulfilling orders through complex logistics involving Southeast Asian contacts. The persistent demand underscores the geopolitical and technological rivalry between China and the U.S. [Read the full article](https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-underground-network-sneaking-nvidia-chips-into-china-f733aaa6).

 

Satellite Images of Cuba Show Expansion of Suspected Chinese Spy Bases,” authored by Warren P. Strobel and published in The Wall Street Journal on July 2, 2024, reports on newly captured satellite images revealing the expansion of electronic eavesdropping stations in Cuba, believed to be linked to China. The analysis identifies four sites, including a previously unreported location near the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. These developments are part of broader efforts by China to leverage Cuba’s geographical proximity to intercept sensitive communications from U.S. military installations. The article underscores growing concerns about the strategic competition in the Caribbean and the potential implications for U.S. national security. [Read the full article] (https://www.wsj.com/articles/beijing-plans-a-new-training-facility-in-cuba-raising-prospect-of-chinese-troops-on-americas-doorstep-e17fd5d1?mod=article_inline).

 

 

ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

The IDF's Command and Control Problem,” authored by Benjamin V. Allison and published in Foreign Policy on July 3, 2024, examines the serious command and control issues within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) exposed during their campaign against Hamas in Gaza. The article highlights the lack of discipline among troops, inadequate coordination with humanitarian organizations, and the controversial use of military doctrine that tolerates high civilian casualties. Allison argues that these problems not only undermine the IDF's operational effectiveness but also pose significant ethical and strategic challenges, especially given the IDF's reliance on U.S. military support. [Read the full article](https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/07/03/idf-command-control-gaza-hamas/).

 

Robberies, Revenge Killings Send Gaza Deeper Into Chaos Nine Months Into Israel-Hamas War,” authored by Stephen Kalin and published in The Wall Street Journal on July 2, 2024, describes the increasing lawlessness in Gaza amid ongoing conflict. The article details the surge in crimes such as robbery, smuggling, and protection rackets, exacerbated by the breakdown of public order following Israeli bombardments and the weakening of Hamas's control. This chaos has hampered international aid efforts and heightened fears of a prolonged governance vacuum. Kalin highlights the dire conditions for Gazans, who are facing a collapse of basic services and rising violence. [Read the full article](https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/gaza-crime-lawlessness-israel-war-570e3eb3).

 

What to know about Masoud Pezeshkian, Iran’s next president,” authored by Susannah George and published in The Washington Post on July 6, 2024, details the victory of reformist Masoud Pezeshkian in Iran’s presidential election. Pezeshkian, who advocates for limited social reforms and engagement with the U.S. over Iran's nuclear program, defeated ultraconservative Saeed Jalili in a runoff election marked by low voter turnout. The article highlights Pezeshkian's moderate political stance, his background as a cardiac surgeon and former health minister, and the challenges he may face from Iran's conservative factions in implementing his policies. [Read the full article] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/07/06/pezeshkian-iran-new-president/).

 

Taliban Engagement Comes With Trade-Offs, Doha Process Shows,” authored by Michael Kugelman and published in Foreign Policy on July 3, 2024, examines the complexities and compromises involved in engaging with the Taliban through the Doha process. The recent talks, which included senior Taliban leaders and international diplomats, highlighted the inherent trade-offs of such engagement, including the Taliban's demands for sanctions removal and the international community's concerns about Afghan economic conditions. The article underscores the difficult balance between maintaining diplomatic engagement to achieve humanitarian goals and the risk of legitimizing the Taliban regime, all while navigating significant human rights concerns, particularly regarding Afghan women. [Read the full article] (https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/07/03/taliban-engagement-doha-process-un-diplomacy/).

 

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1 Comment


Steve Booth-Butterfield
Steve Booth-Butterfield
Jul 09

Please, read the US Constitution. The Supreme Court decision did not "grant" immunity to President Trump. It merely read the Constitution, Article Two, which itself grants Presidents immunity for official acts. You cannot be this ignorant of fundamental facts and hope to have any credibility about anything you assert.

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