Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times
International anger over the leak of military documents
Little new information has emerged about a major leak of dozens of classified military and intelligence documents. But senior Biden administration officials yesterday sought to calm the anger of foreign capitals over the documentsnoting that they had spoken to their Ukrainian counterparts as well as other unidentified US allies.
Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, acknowledged the many unknowns in the documents. “They were somewhere on the web,” he said. “And where exactly and who had access at that time, we don’t know. We just don’t know at this point. A niche online community has become a center of international attention in flight.
Some foreign governments were concerned about the breach, drawing criticism of the United States for surveilling its allies and claiming the documents were unreliable. The South Korean government has said a report purporting to describe Seoul’s internal deliberations over whether to supply artillery shells that could end up in Ukraine was false.
Details: A document provides overview of contingency planning, describing four “wild card” scenarios in Ukraine. They include the death of the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, the removal of the leaders of the Russian armed forces and a Ukrainian strike against the Kremlin.
In other wartime news:
Macron returns from China
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has back from a three day visit in China in which he sought to pursue his ambitions for France in a world changed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the emergence of Beijing as the arbiter of a global conflict.
His reception on his return to Europe was cold. In France, he faces weekly demonstrations in the streets; in diplomatic circles, he now finds himself excoriated abroad for what have been criticized as naïve attempts to influence first Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and now Xi Jinping, China’s supreme leader. The French president is now more isolated than ever.
Macron has unsettled his allies from Warsaw to Washington with his endorsement of what a Sino-French statement called a “global strategic partnership with China”. And his comments about Taiwan’s security, which he said was not Europe’s problem, caused further consternation.
Follow up: Yesterday, the Elysée Palace, residence of the president, deemed it necessary to clarify the allegiances of France, as the perspective had become confused. France, he said, “is not equidistant between the United States and China. The United States is our ally, with shared values.
A deadly airstrike in Myanmar
Myanmar’s military regime yesterday bombed a large gathering in rebel-held territory, killing at least 100 people in the junta’s deadliest attack since seizing power in a coup more than two years ago. At least 30 of the victims were children, officials said, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Rescuers described a gruesome scene in the village of Pazigyi in the southern part of Sagaing region, where body parts were scattered over a wide area after a military plane and helicopter bombarded and strafed the gathering largely civilian. Images and videos shared on social media showed widespread death and destruction, with debris strewn across a wide area.
The apparent target of the attack was a celebration to mark the opening of an administrative office by the local resistance movement. Only the charred frame of the building remained standing after the airstrike, video and photos showed.
Context: Myanmar’s military, which fought ethnic armed groups for territorial control shortly after independence in 1948, has a long history of brutal attacks on civilians. As the country’s resistance movement became increasingly better armed, the army redoubled its efforts, killing monks and civilians in a monastery last month.
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Around the world
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Car designs prompt a new question: How much screen is too much screen? Fifteen inches? Seventeen? How about 56?
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“Displays have their right to exist – they do a lot of things better than physical switches,” said Klaus Busse, Head of Design at Maserati. “It was just taken a little too far.”