US, China Ramp Up Response to Worsening Ebola Epidemic
- The US is going to send [White House] about 3,000 military personnel to Liberia and neighboring countries in order to coordinate international efforts to contain an Ebola outburst [CDC] that has been getting worse [CBC News] in the past few days. Just hours earlier Médecins Sans Frontières had issued an alarming call to action (video), describing the situation as “overwhelming”, with high infection rates among medical staff sent to help.
- China is also increasing the number of doctors it is sending to Sierra Leone. How the Chinese respond to the epidemic may reveal [Quartz] the true mettle of their appetite for investment [The Economist] on the continent [Deborah Brautigam].
- According to Scientific American there’s enough to worry about without speculating about the virus going airborne.
What Russia Wants, And What They Get
- Status of the truce in Ukraine: still shaky. That’s despite a vote [Kyiv Post] in Ukraine’s parliament that pretty much capitulates [Bloomberg View] to the separatists’ demands.
- Dmitry Gorenburg from Harvard University: Countering Color Revolutions: Russia’s New Security Strategy and its Implications for U.S. Policy.
- Russia & India Report makes the case that sanctions are “hastening the world without the West.” It appears overblown in places, and the BRICS have serious economic weaknesses that make a full dollar replacement play absurd in the near future. But the points about sanctions being a soft-power move that decays with each use, and creates most of its costs in the far future, are directionally correct.
- True, China’s central bank called for [FT] a new reserve currency more than 5 years ago, Russia would gladly undermine the US dollar, and the Europeans are not happy about large fines levied on their banks by the US, but so far nothing competes [Bloomberg] with the depth and liquidity offered by the American currency.
- It would be easy to forget Afghanistan with everything else that’s going on. The Taliban claimed responsibility [CNN] for killing 2 American and 1 Polish ISAF personnel with a suicide car bomb.
Middle East & Africa
- Foreign Policy explains that defeating ISIL is a tall order given deep-seated distrust among Iraq’s Sunnis of the government in Baghdad, after years of brutality and inefficiency. And so far the Islamic State seems to be cutting checks on time. Thus David Siegel of Duke University argues [The Hill] that defeating ISIL goes beyond military forces and involves “hearts and minds.” That phrase of course rings a bell [DTIC search].
- Australia seems more willing than most to deploy troops to Iraq, with 600 ADF personnel and 8 Super Hornets to be prepositioned in the UAE.
- France’s 1st reconnaissance Rafale flights over Iraq took off from Al Dhafra [Libération, in French] in the UAE [The Local] yesterday (MINDEF video).
- Meanwhile neighboring Qatar is the host of the Al Udeid air base where the US has a significant air command center [NYT]. But Qatar is an odd partner [AP] for the West as it is suspected to have backed ISIL (though they deny having done so) and has openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood, damaging ties with other GCC members in the process. Qatar is also rejecting accusations [AFP] that is is meddling in Libya. With so much smoke there must be fire underneath.
- Speaking of which, Libya is sinking further into a failed state, with a government in exile and airstrikes from various sources: LA Times | Reuters | Al Jazeera video below: