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Annie Gugliotta

Just kidding, Canada wants in on AUKUS after all

Just over two years ago, Canada’s Liberal government dismissed the country’s absence from AUKUS – the Indo-Pacific security alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. “This is a deal for submarines,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “which Canada is not currently or anytime soon in the market for.” He assured voters it would have no impact on Canada’s Five Eyes partnership (the intelligence pact between Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Canada), and that was that.

Canada wasn’t being snubbed or sidelined for being a defense-spending laggard … or so we were told. Canada simply didn’t want or need nuclear submarines. Never mind that it was reported at the time that AUKUS also included military technology and information sharing as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy.

On second thought …

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Handout photo dated January 26, 2023 shows Air Force 33rd Search and Rescue Squadron preparing to land aboard an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) in the Philippine Sea.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class RuKiyah Mack via Abaca Press via Reuters Connect

After China pretends to invade Taiwan, US & Philippines rehearse war against ... China

The US and the Philippines have held annual Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) joint military drills since 1991. But this year's exercise is a bigger deal than usual.

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Mexican authorities and firefighters remove injured migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from inside the National Migration Institute (INM) building during a fire, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 27, 2023.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Hard Numbers: Deadly Mexican fire, ZAUKUS, terror in the Sahel, Luke Skywalker saves Ukraine

38: Migrants fearing deportation set an immigration detention center ablaze in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, killing 38 asylum-seekers and critically injuring dozens. The blaze was one of the deadliest incidents ever for Mexico's immigration system, which is accused of mistreating migrants as it struggles to accommodate the rising number of asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

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Ukrainian service members fire a mortar towards Russian troops outside the frontline town of Bakhmut, in Donetsk region, Ukraine March 6, 2023.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Battle for Bakhmut, Xi’s diplomatic muscle, AUKUS sub deal

The Bakhmut killing field

Bakhmut, home to about 75,000 people before the war, has become an urban killing field. Western intelligence agencies say up to 30,000 Russians have died or been seriously injured in the fight to take this town. Ukrainian casualties, harder to estimate, are also running high.

Russians appear to be fighting mainly to achieve some victory following months of setbacks followed by stalemate. They also hope the eventual capture of this town can boost their chances of advancing on larger cities in other parts of Donetsk province, though some analysts say they won’t have the manpower or firepower to advance beyond Bakhmut anytime soon. Adding to Russia’s complications, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War argues that the country’s defense ministry has likely pushed large numbers of Wagner Group mercenaries to the deadliest sites of fighting in Bakhmut to reduce the Kremlin influence of Wagner chief and frequent critic of the Russian military Yevgeny Prigozhin by thinning out his force.

Though badly outnumbered, Ukrainian forces have been slow to surrender Bakhmut because they want to inflict as much damage as possible on Russian forces ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the coming weeks. For now, the killing continues.

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