Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Ajay Sarma
Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 3:17 PM

 Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

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The Senate voted on Tuesday to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that delivers $1 trillion in funding to roads, broadband and environmental initiatives, reports the New York Times. The bill’s prospects in the House are a bit more tumultuous, with some House Democrats saying they will withhold support without the Senate’s passage of a separate, $3.5 trillion spending package focused on funding social programs. Though the infrastructure bill passed 69-30, the latter bill will have to pass through the Senate using the reconciliation process to avoid a Republican filibuster.

The Department of Defense unveiled a plan to mandate vaccines for all members of the U.S. military, reports the Associated Press. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a memo on Monday that he “will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September” or earlier, if the Food and Drug Administration grants final approval for a vaccine sooner than that. Rising cases and public health exigencies may also push Austin to move up the date for a vaccine mandate. The Pentagon estimates that over one million troops are already fully vaccinated and thousands have received one shot. Refusing to comply with an order to receive a vaccine could hold penalties under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will resign and leave office on Aug. 24, according to NPR. The governor has been embroiled in controversy over sexual assault allegations, corroborated in a report from the state’s attorney general, and a separate investigation that revealed he had misled the public regarding coronavirus deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo expressed that “given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing.” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will replace Cuomo, making her the state’s first female governor.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader of Kim Jong Un, said that joint exercises between the U.S. and South Korea this month may push her country to strengthen its nuclear and conventional weapons programs, writes the Washington Post. In response to the exercises, set for later this month, Kim promised that the U.S. and South Korea would “face a more serious security threat” for ignoring North Korea’s complaints about the joint exercises. North Korea’s last nuclear test was in 2017, but it tested ballistic missiles in March. Last month, in a show of goodwill, the two nations of the Korean Peninsula agreed to revive a communications line that had been inactive for over a year.

A woman filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in a federal court in Manhattan over his alleged sexual abuse of her when she was a minor, according to Reuters. Virginia Giuffre says she was trafficked and coerced by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Though the Duke of York claimed in a 2019 interview to never have met Giuffre, the complaint includes photographs of the two together. Giuffre is suing Andrew under New York’s Child Victims Act, which allows victims of childhood abuse to bring claims against their abusers during a larger timeframe.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia is calling for all eligible Ethiopians to join the country’s military as a demonstration of their patriotism, reports Al Jazeera. Fighting between government forces and Tigray rebels is spreading out of Ethiopia’s Tigray region and has led to attacks on army camps as a unilateral ceasefire declared by the government in June falls apart.

Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen convicted of drug trafficking in China, lost his appeal against the death sentence meted out to him, writes the BBC. Canada’s ambassador to China pointed out the ongoing controversy over whether to extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the U.S. and presented the verdict as retaliation. Relations between Canada and China have become increasingly strained, as the former accuses Beijing of “hostage diplomacy.” A verdict is also expected later this week in the case of Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who was arrested on espionage charges in China just days after Canada detained Meng.

The Free Latifa campaign, which sought to secure the freedom and safety of Dubai’s Princess Latifa, was disbanded after she was photographed in Iceland, reports the BBC. Latifa, who claimed to be held captive by her father, was seen in Iceland with her cousin in photographs posted to social media by another woman who had previously appeared in pictures with the princess. Latifa herself is yet to comment publicly, though her cousin, Marcus Essabri, pictured with her in Iceland described their “emotional reunion.”

Zalmay Khalilzad, a U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, warned the Taliban on Tuesday that political control won by force in the country would not be recognized as legitimate internationally, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. hopes to push the Taliban to the negotiating table as the militants make rapid territorial gains, having seized six of 34 Afghan provincial capitals in less than a week.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare podcast focused on the international political and security issues at the Olympics in which Rohini Kurup, Bryce Klehm and Jacob Schulz interview Roy Tomizawa, an author; Libby Lange, former speech-writer for Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen; Ethan Scheiner, professor at UC Davis; and Claire Collins, an Olympic rower.

Alan Rozenshtein analyzed the implications of the Biden administration’s messaging around the legal sources it consulted in crafting the CDC eviction moratorium and what it means for the Biden administration to have or have not consulted the Justice Department.

Jack Goldsmith argued that the Biden administration’s handling of the CDC election moratorium has negative impacts on its credibility.

Darrell West shared the latest episode of the TechTank podcast, which discusses the shortcomings of state unemployment insurance programs revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Ajay Sarma is a junior at Harvard College studying Social Studies. He is an intern at Lawfare.

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