Turkey and Hungary Continue to Block Sweden’s NATO Bid

Happy Friday! In preparation for the summer travel season, Heinz is releasing special limited-edition condiment packets unique to each of the 50 states.

We can’t confirm this is accurate, but we assume the Wisconsin sauce is just that yellow goop that comes with the nachos you order at a high school basketball game.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday Ukrainian pilots have begun training to operate F-16 fighter jets after the United States—which controls F-16 exports—signaled approval last month for transferring the planes to Ukraine. At a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group—a coalition of countries aiding Ukraine—U.S. military leaders acknowledged publicly for the first time that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is underway.
  • North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday in response to military drills conducted by South Korea and the U.S. over the last three weeks that a North Korean spokesperson called “provocative and irresponsible.” The launches are the first since North Korea’s failed spy satellite launch last month.
  • An overcrowded fishing boat carrying hundreds of migrants—estimates range from 500 to 750—sank 50 miles off the coast of Greece on Wednesday, leaving 78 confirmed dead and hundreds more missing. The vessel capsized and quickly sank to the bottom of the ocean after an engine reportedly malfunctioned—and survivors say as many as 100 children were traveling in the ship’s hold. Approximately 100 people have been rescued so far, but no new survivors have been found since Wednesday.
  • The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 yesterday—with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting—to uphold provisions in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 that require preferencing tribal families in adoptions of Native American children. The court affirmed Congress’ authority to set the terms of adoption—a power typically exercised by the states—but did not rule on the question of whether tribal preference violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
  • Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guard member accused of leaking classified material on Discord, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on six counts of illegally retaining and transmitting national defense information—up from the two charges he faced when he was first arrested in April. If convicted of all the allegations, Teixeira could face decades in prison.
  • Several State Department cables obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by U.S. Right to Know, a public health transparency group, suggested that U.S. officials concluded the spread of COVID-19 could have been contained had China not acted to cover up the early outbreak. The cables—which are still heavily redacted—also suggest the People’s Liberation Army was involved with labs at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that the Chinese Communist Party, rather than local officials, censored early information about the outbreak.
  • Days after alleging in a Senate floor speech that an FBI FD-1023 form included an assertion that a Ukrainian business executive had 15 recordings of phone calls with Hunter Biden and two with then-Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told CNN he cannot confirm such tape recordings actually exist. “I don’t even know where they are,” Grassley said yesterday. “I just know they exist, because of what the report says. Now, maybe they don’t exist. But how will I know until the FBI tells us. Are they showing us their work?”
  • The Department of Justice has reportedly informed the PGA Tour of its intent to review the golf league’s proposed merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf—potentially delaying the completion deal for more than a year or blocking it entirely. The news comes as reports have surfaced that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is planning to compensate PGA Tour players who turned down large payouts to join LIV.
  • The Department of Labor reported Thursday that initial jobless claims—a proxy for layoffs—held constant week-over-week at a seasonally-adjusted 262,000 claims last week. The past two weeks of claims numbers are the highest since October 2021, a continued indicator that the labor market may be cooling.

Is Swed-In or Out? 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) meets with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (L)  in March. (Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) meets with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (L) in March. (Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

If the TMD team can claim to be experts on anything, it’s working on a tight deadline. That’s why we feel for the diplomats frantically trying to get Sweden’s accession to NATO greenlit before the alliance’s annual conference in Lithuania on July 11.

In just a few weeks, NATO leaders will arrive in Vilnius for what they’d surely like to be a show of Western unity as Ukraine tries to beat back invading Russian forces. At the moment, though, the alliance is looking a little fractious, with recent developments suggesting its rogue members will not fall in line to admit Sweden to the group before the summit—despite mounting pressure from allies.

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