CFR Daily News Brief March 9, 2023

Daily News BriefMarch 9, 2023
Top of the Agenda

The Netherlands Announces Chip Export Curbs After U.S. Urging

The Dutch government announced that it will impose export restrictions (FT) on “the most advanced” semiconductor technology, citing security concerns. While it did not name China in the announcement, the restrictions come after U.S. officials urged the Dutch and Japanese governments to limit chip exports to China over fears that the tech could be used to make weapons and commit human rights abuses. Washington announced its own curbs on chip exports in October.  

U.S.-China tensions over technology access came up as U.S. intelligence officials testified to Congress yesterday during an annual hearing on security threats. CIA Director William Burns called tech innovation (Reuters) “the main arena for competition” with China. Additionally, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said China will increasingly try to undercut U.S. influence (CNN), though it will likely try to prevent tensions from spiraling into conflict.

“Huge blow for China’s chip ambitions. Big win for US getting the Netherlands, home to one of the most critical chip firms, on [its] side,” CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal tweets. 
“The United States must act quickly to build a consensus among advanced economies on a shared approach to the technology competition with China, one that reaches a deeper understanding of the appropriate role for export controls. The United States may not dominate the entire semiconductor supply chain, but it has the strong advantage of deep alliances and partnerships with the majority of places that represent other critical nodes,” Sarah Bauerle Danzman of Indiana University, Bloomington, and the Center for a New American Security’s Emily Kilcrease write for Foreign Affairs.  
Pacific Rim

Australia to Buy At Least Four Nuclear-Powered Subs From U.S.The sale is part of a deal among the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK) to jointly produce nuclear submarines for use in the Asia Pacific, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal. It is a stopgap measure to provide Australia with subs before production begins.
This 2021 episode of The President’s Inbox podcast explains the details of the three country’s security pact.
South and Central Asia

Australia, India Upgrade Security Ties. India will increase its participation (Financial Review) in joint military exercises with Australia as part of its new status as Canberra’s “top-tier security partner,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during a visit to Mumbai today.

Afghanistan/Ukraine: Hundreds of U.S.-trained Afghan fighters have sought to enlist in Ukraine’s foreign legion since Russia invaded the country, but Kyiv has turned them down, Semafor reported.
Middle East and North Africa

Protesters Block Airport Road as U.S. Defense Chief Lands in Israel. Demonstrators opposing the Israeli government’s proposed judicial overhaul staged nationwide protests today (Times of Israel), one of which blocked a road leading to Israel’s main international airport. The blockage forced visiting U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next to the airport. For Foreign Affairs, Amos Yadlin writes that dissatisfaction over judicial reform is one reason Netanyahu will need to compromise on his political agenda. 

U.S./Saudi Arabia: The United States repatriated a Saudi man (NYT) who had been detained in the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for more than twenty years. He was suspected of building bombs for al-Qaeda but never charged with a crime. CFR looks at twenty years of counterterrorism and controversy at Guantánamo Bay.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Egyptian, Emirati, German Firms Back $34 Billion Green Hydrogen Project in Mauritania. The project aims to produce (Reuters) up to eight million tons of green hydrogen, a fuel made using renewable energy, or other hydrogen-based products each year. 

Nigeria: Officials postponed (AFP) this weekend’s governorship elections by one week amid a legal dispute over voting machines. Opposition parties have pushed for the machines to be investigated following allegations of ballot rigging in the country’s recent presidential election.

Georgia Withdraws Controversial Foreign Influence Bill. After Days of ProtestThe bill resembled Russian legislation (FT) that requires foreign-funded civil society groups to register with authorities. Critics say the Russian law has led to the repression of independent media and nongovernmental organizations.

Ukraine: Russian air strikes across Ukraine killed nine people (BBC) and caused a power outage at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear plant in Europe. Ukraine said Russia fired eighty-one missiles, its largest strike in weeks.  

Chilean President’s Flagship Tax Bill Fails Congressional Vote.

The bill would have created Chile’s first wealth tax (Bloomberg) in order to fulfill President Gabriel Boric’s promise to reduce inequality and increase social spending. 

Brazil: The administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva plans to reinstate visa requirements for visitors from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan because Brazilians need visas to travel to those countries, Reuters reported. The government of former President Jair Bolsonaro had suspended the requirements to boost tourism.
United States

Senate Hearing to Examine Toxic Train Derailment in Ohio.The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will question the head of Norfolk Southern Railway (NPR) today about a train laden with hazardous chemicals that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, last month.
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