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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 09/25/2022

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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 09/25/2022

Russia mobilization

RADAR SWEEP

Geopolitics Newsletter September 18-25 2022

Russian President announces partial mobilization – Sept. 21

On September 21 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of 300,000 men for conscription into the armed services, following recent successful offensives by the Ukrainian military. While conscription is officially limited to men with prior military experience, reports from Russia show that many, supposedly exempt men are being called up, particularly in poorer, more rural regions. This has prompted an exodus of military-aged men who fear being drafted.

Russia’s new draft is an attempt to bolster Russia’s forces with more manpower to accomplish their goal of occupying the Donbas region of Ukraine. War hawks have pushed for full mobilization of Russian society in order to throw the country’s whole weight behind the effort and use Russia’s greater resources and manpower reserves to defeat Ukraine. However, Putin has, until now, avoided this, instead seeking to uphold a veneer of normality in Russian society. Despite targeting more isolated regions, the mobilization brought protests across the country as the war suddenly became real for a much larger swath of Russian society.

It is unlikely this mobilization will have any concrete effect on the Russian war effort in the short term. The Russian military suffers not only from manpower but also equipment shortages and poor training, meaning any new draftees will likely be of low quality and have low morale, making them ineffective troops. It also takes time to induct and train so many men, meaning it will likely be months before they appear on the front lines. Domestically, this mobilization has undermined President Putin’s support and authority, as it has angered the public without applying the fuller measures requested by the hawks.

In the meantime, Ukraine will most likely consolidate its gains in the northeast Kharkiv region and continue its slow advance in southern Kherson. The war will likely settle into a war of attrition over the medium- to long-term as winter sets in. Read more here. [EXTERNAL]

Russia mobilization
Russia began the partial mobilization of 300,000 conscripted soldiers – Photo: CNN

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Biden and Kishida met during UN General Assembly – Sept. 20

US President Joe Biden met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during their visits to the United Nations General Assembly and discussed strengthening the US-Japan alliance. The fraying relationship between Russia and China over Russia’s war in Ukraine and Chinese military exercises threatening Taiwan has greatly heightened geopolitical tensions in the region. The two leaders will likely deepen their military cooperation as they try to develop their concept of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Read more

US and South Korea held joint warship drills – Sept. 23

The US and South Korean navies held a joint exercise on September 23 off the South Korean port of Busan. They are the first joint exercises held off the Korean peninsula since North Korea’s nuclear test in 2017. They are part of the US effort to expand force capabilities and allied interoperability to balance against China in the region. Read more

Diplomacy

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Mexico – Sept. 21

Steinmeier concluded his two-day visit to Mexico in an effort to improve bilateral relations between the two countries. Recent policy shifts in Mexico prioritizing fossil fuel extraction negatively impact German investment in Mexico’s renewable energy market and hurt ties between Mexico City and Berlin. Yet, the two countries will seek to expand their energy partnership. Read more

Latvia began denying entry to Russian citizens – Sept. 19

Latvia, alongside other Baltic states, has heavily restricted entry of Russian citizens. Only Russians fleeing for humanitarian or journalistic reasons are allowed entry after a lengthy vetting process. This crackdown takes on new importance as many Russian men seek to flee to neighboring states to avoid conscription. Read more

United Nations Transforming Education Summit concludes – Sept. 19

The UN Transforming Education Summit concluded on September 19. The summit primarily focused on school closures and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on school systems across the world. Solutions revolved around increasing access to education globally through the internet, while also addressing the widening digital gap between weather and middle and lower-income countries. In the wake of the summit, the UN Education Commission launched the International Financing Facility for Education to help provide financial backing to struggling middle- and low-income nations. Read More

Finance, Economics and Technology

IMF reviewed Costa Rica economic reforms – Sept. 20

The IMF met with the Costa Rican government to discuss the progress of economic reforms in regard to a $1.8 billion loan. While the loans are intended to foster further financial stability for the country, the IMF’s demands have drawn protests in recent years due to increased taxes and public sector salary freezes. Recording a 7.8% percent economic growth last year, the IMF is likely to continue funding Costa Rica’s economic recovery. Read more

The Namibia Investment Summit began in New York – Sept. 22

Namibian President Hage G. Geingob hosted the Namibia Investment Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The summit promoted Namibia as a destination for foreign direct investment, especially in terms of the mineral trade, energy and agriculture. With shortages in wheat and oil due to the Ukraine conflict, higher investment in Namibia’s resources is likely to follow in the short-term. Read more

Environment

International Astronautical Federation held a space conference – Sept. 18

The five-day international conference held by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) began in Paris. Although the event was meant to advance international space cooperation between states, it was hampered by the geopolitical rifts between the West and Russia driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Read more

President Wavel Ramkalawan to return to Seychelles following UNGA – Sept. 24

Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan returned to his country after addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Climate change was among his main talking points. While he called for more actions from developed nations on the climate front, the calls will unlikely be answered immediately. Read more

See Also
EU to hold Trilogue on gig economy workers’ conditions

The Week Ahead

Italy to hold snap general elections – Sept. 25

Italians head to the polls today following the collapse of Mario Draghi’s coalition government. His likely successor is Giorgia Meloni of the Fratelli d’Italia party. Read more

EU Ambassadors to hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine – Sept. 26

EU Ambassadors will hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine, where they will likely discuss admitting Russians fleeing the country in the face of the new draft order. Read more [EXTERNAL]

77th UN General Assembly meeting to conclude – Sept. 27

The 77th UN General Assembly meeting, which ran in New York from 13 September, concludes numerous talks on matters regarding Ukraine, climate change and energy security. Read more

Japan to hold state funeral for former PM Shinzo Abe – Sept. 27

Japan will be holding a state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His death rocked the nation and contributed to political victory for his Liberal Democratic Party in the most recent elections. Read more

 

Contributions by: Wescott Yeaw, Alex Avaneszadeh, Simran Sharma, Marcos Wilson, Connor Elliott, Htet Thadar Aung, Kyle Rose, Ali Slimi and Andrew Alipui

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