Hello and welcome to Semafor Security, where we dive into the forces and personalities defending, defining, and destabilizing the world.
Kim Jong Un and his North Korean regime are often portrayed as clowns or cartoons. I know I’ve been guilty of doing it. But the expansion of the North’s nuclear weapons program in recent years, and his talk of a potential first strike, is sobering and underreported. A study released last week by the Institute for Science and International Security concludes that Pyongyang’s weapons stockpile grew by 75% over the past five years, and as I explain in my main story, there’s literally nothing right now constraining it.
Sudan is also a country that gets little attention in Washington. But the feud between its top two generals, which descended into all out warfare this weekend, is bringing into sharp focus its geopolitical significance. Everyone from Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group to the Israelis to the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are active there now.
Karina Tsui also weighs in on the Biden administration’s tighter embrace of Vietnam and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s focus on the links between Chinese chemical producers and Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.
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