Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Emily Dai
Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 12:51 PM

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

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At least three people were killed and 33 injured by a triple suicide bombing in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Police said the attacks could be attributed to terrorist groups linked to the Islamic State-aligned Allied Democratic Forces. The group was founded by Ugandan Muslims but now mostly operates in remote areas of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met Monday in a virtual summit aiming to prevent the two countries from escalating into a broader conflict, says the New York Times. The three and a half hour conversation produced no breakthroughs or a joint statement, but administration officials insist that was not the intent of the meeting. The leaders also did not reach an agreement to hold further talks on strategic nuclear issues and conflicts in cyberspace.  Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at Renmin University in Beijing, believes “China and the United States are entering a period of détente, but we don’t know how long it will be and to what extent.”

Russia conducted an antisatellite missile test  on Monday that generated a cloud of debris in low-Earth orbit, endangering the International Space Station, reports the New York Times. The U.S. Space Command said in a statement that the debris will potentially pose a hazard to spaceflight activities for decades. The strike created the largest debris field in space since 2007. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, said in a statement that “Russia’s tests of direct-ascent antisatellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counterspace weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations.”

Pfizer has licensed its experimental coronavirus antiviral to the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool in an effort to increase treatment accessibility in low- and middle-income countries, reports the Wall Street Journal. The organization announced Tuesday that it will let generic drug companies manufacture the pill for use in 95 countries, making up approximately 53 percent of the world’s population.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that the Pentagon can require Oklahoma National Guard members to get vaccinated against coronavirus, despite the state’s adjutant general announcing he will not mandate that members be inoculated, writes Politico. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s resistance to the vaccine mandate has raised concerns that other governors will order their own National Guards to not cooperate with the federal requirement.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Roger Parloff sat down with Benjamin Wittes on Lawfare Live to analyze the demographics, charges and adjudications of the Capitol riot cases so far.

David Priess shared the latest episode of the Chatter Podcast in which he sat down with Rep. Adam Kinzinger to talk about what the partisan divide means for future office holders and how Kizinger’s time as an Air Force pilot prepared him for national security challenges.

Alex Zerden discussed how privatizing Afghan central bank functions could help alleviate  economic and humanitarian catastrophe.

Darrell West shared an episode of TechTank in which West hosts Tom Wheeler and Adm. (ret.) David Simpson to talk about the future of U.S.-China relations, the ongoing competition for supply chains, cybersecurity and international commerce.

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Emily Dai is a junior at New York University studying Politics and Economics. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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