16 May 2022

How Wars End | War terminations: insights for the Russia-Ukraine War

How and when does the Russia-Ukraine war end? HCSS director of research Tim Sweijs and assistant analyst Mattia Bertolini consider what we can learn from war terminations in the past: how long they lasted, how they ended, whether they relapsed, and what factors contributed to their end.

These insights are used to assess the prospects of war termination in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and provide recommendations to European policymakers to bring an end to the current war and ensure durable peace between Russia and Ukraine.


John Sullivan

One of the enduring appeals of Sun Tzu’s Art of War is the belief that its author was not only a talented theorist of war, but also a highly successful practitioner. His writings, therefore, were validated in the uncompromising crucible of combat. His crowning achievement of military and strategic prowess, according to conventional wisdom, is found in his brilliant victory at the Battle of Boju, fought in 506 BCE between the forces of Wu and Chu. In Deciphering Sun Tzu, Derek Yuen claims that the battle was one “in which Sun Tzu played a major planning and commanding role, eventually winning a stunning victory against his state’s (Wu) arch-enemy, the state of Chu, [marking] the pinnacle of military operations in the Spring and Autumn Period and represent[ing] Sun Tzu’s greatest military achievement.”

How valid is this claim and what is it ultimately based on? Yuen, like many others who invoke this battle as incontrovertible proof of Sun Tzu’s strategic acumen, provides frustratingly little historical evidence to substantiate assertions of tactical and strategic mastery. This is surprising, because not only the Boju campaign, but the broader century-long Wu-Chu rivalry in which it was fought is documented in extensive detail in China’s oldest historical narrative, the Zuozhuan. Comparing the Zuozhuan’s wider context and detailed account of the campaign with its sensationalized popular version, however, paints a starkly different picture. Wu’s campaign against Chu was a risky gamble, not a masterclass in strategic execution, and Wu lacked a viable plan for how to exploit its early battlefield success. Despite its initial serendipitous victory at Boju, Wu’s territorial gains were quickly erased. Understanding why the state of Wu ultimately failed to achieve its strategic objectives, rather than blindly lauding its Pyrrhic tactical victory, will provide modern strategists more useful historical lessons.

Truce Test: The Huthis and Yemen’s War of Narratives

What’s new? A two-month truce and reconfiguration of executive powers in Yemen’s internationally recognised government represent an opportunity, if not for peace, then at least for negotiations aimed at achieving it. But getting to talks will require overcoming a barrier many see as insurmountable: dialogue with the Huthi rebels.

Why does it matter? The Huthis remain an enigma to many outsiders but are instrumental to a negotiated solution. They have given few signs of late that they will make compromises necessary to end the war, but efforts to engage them stand a better chance than further isolation of convincing them to do so.

What should be done? Diplomats will need both carrots and sticks to bring the Huthis in from the cold. International stakeholders should establish a working group to make overtures to Sanaa and prepare for inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni talks to chart a way out of the conflict.

'Win Without Fighting': The Chinese Communist Party's Political and Institutional Warfare Against the West

John Lee & Lavina Lee

When compared to Western forms of diplomatic conversation and strategic discussion, phrases emanating from Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can appear peculiar, platitudinous, and so ambiguous as to be devoid of practical content. China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping speaks frequently about a ‘community of shared future,’ a ‘common destiny for mankind’ as part of his ‘China dream,’ or of his country’s ‘rejuvenation.’ He promises to pursue and achieve a ‘new type of great-power relations’ with the United States that will ‘expand the converging interests of all and build a big global family of harmony and cooperation.’

Yielding to the temptation to dismiss these phrases as glib and meaningless or as empty promises to the world would be a serious mistake. Emerging as the victorious side after the world was reshaped in the aftermath of the Second World War, and, more recently, the formal end of the Cold War, the United States and its allies have generally enjoyed dominance in all forms of power. The challenge and threat of China is largely understood in the context of its increase in material power, which is relatively easy to understand and quantify. In contrast, far less attention is being paid to non-material power, which is, admittedly, more nebulous and difficult to assess.

From Mining To Fishing: How Blockchain Is Addressing Different Challenges Of Supply Chain In Asia – Analysis

Yingli Wang and Imtiaz Khan

International supply chains are lengthy, complex and face risks of disruption. There is also public pressure on firms and governments to ensure supply chains adhere to social and environmental standards. While supply chain resilience can be achieved by developing transparency and traceability capacity, establishing end-to-end (E2E) supply chain visibility is the holy grail of supply chain management — and it can be achieved through blockchain technology.

Cross-border supply chains are often ladened with paper documents. Although bills of lading are one of the most important documents issued from carriers to shippers, only 0.1 per cent of original bills are digitised. The handling and exchange of such paper documents is costly, error prone and time consuming. Supply chain finance transactions share the same problem and typically involve a complicated paper trail that can take as long as a month to be completed.

Five Fault Lines: Reflections On South Asian Frontiers

Jasnea Sarma, Claudia Chia

The past partitions, frontier-making and border demarcations in South Asia have produced uneven geographies, identities and territories that continue to underpin some of the region’s most critical conflicts and social struggles today. The region’s fragmented and fractured ‘fault lines’ continue to alter due to new infrastructure connectivity projects, ecological changes and ongoing militarisation. As a result, there has been a welcome shift in academia and policy circles toward broadening the intellectual lineage of border studies in South Asia and employing cross-disciplinary, critical and transnational approaches to studying South Asian borders and frontiers.

The Institute of South Asian Studies partnered with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to jointly organise the International Conference on South Asia from 10 to 19 May 2021. The conference, titled ‘Five Fault Lines: Reflections on South Asian Frontiers’, brought together a diverse mix of scholars and practitioners to discuss and analyse the colonial origins, postcolonial legacies and contemporary congealing of frontiers and borderlands in the region. This Special Report encapsulates the key ideas, research and debates raised in the conference.

A Scramble for Gas: Qatari LNG and EU Diversification Plans

Pier Paolo Raimondi

Amidst a worsening geopolitical and energy crisis in Europe, the EU is scrambling to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as one component of its larger objective to reduce its overdependence on Russian gas. In 2021, the EU imported 155 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas from Russia (140 bcm via pipeline and 15 bcm of LNG). Under its REPowerEU initiative, the European Commission aims to increase LNG imports to replace 50 bcm of Russian gas by the end of 2022.[1]

In this quest for energy diversification, the state of Qatar has emerged as a key pillar of the EU’s strategy. In 2021, Qatar provided for 24 per cent of Europe’s total LNG imports, behind the US (26 per cent) and before Russia (20 per cent).[2] In 2021, total EU LNG imports reached 77 bcm; the figure increases to 108 bcm if the UK and Turkey are added. Recently, the EU, along with the US, has extensively engaged Qatar given its leading role in the LNG market and close relations with the West. Qatar’s LNG industry is highly centralised, unlike those of other LNG exporting countries (i.e., the US[3] and Australia), which implies that Doha enjoys greater control over the sector and its export policies.

A Fine Line: U.S. Lays Out New Rules for Intelligence Sharing With Ukraine

Mark Episkopos
Source Link

The White House has laid down new rules to curb certain kinds of intelligence sharing with Ukraine.

Citing U.S. officials, the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has drawn up new intelligence-sharing guidance that is designed to avoid further inflaming tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

There are reportedly two principal guidelines. The first is that the United States “cannot provide detailed information that would help kill Russian leadership figures, such as the most senior military officers or ministers.” Such top figures as Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, would fall into that category.

The Weaponisation of Finance and the Risk of Global Economic Fragmentation

Nicola Bilotta

The decision by the US and Europe to disconnect select Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and to freeze Russia’s foreign reserves might have significant, long-term effects on the international monetary system. While transformations in this system have historically been slow to materialise, the range and scope of the recently deployed sanctions will likely catalyse a global push to diversify from the US dollar-centric global financial system.

Whether the US and European countries, as well as their allies, will strengthen or reduce financial sanctions against Russia in the future, the “weaponisation” of finance against a G20 country like Russia sets an historical precedent that will amplify concerns that one day any country could be disconnected from western-dominated financial infrastructure.[1] In the latest G20 meeting of finance ministers, Chinese Minister of Finance Liu Kun strongly criticised the “politicisation” of the global economy, warning that such moves may undermine international economic cooperation.[2]

How to Avoid War Over Taiwan

Zhang Tuosheng

Since Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2016, she has refused to explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus and has followed a path of “gradual Taiwan independence,” “cultural Taiwan independence” and de-Sinicization — all of which resulted in the suspension of institutional dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and a severe regression in cross-Strait relations. The peaceful development trend of the previous eight years was disrupted.

From the moment Donald Trump assumed office as U.S. president in 2017, his administration regarded China as a major strategic rival and began to play the Taiwan card. The authorities on the island took this opportunity to ally themselves with the U.S. against China and accelerated their pace toward independence.

Can the U.S. Air Force Dominate Chinese Skies?

Kris Osborn
Source Link

Could the U.S. Air Force dominate the skies in a war with China? This simple question is greatly relevant to Pentagon planners and members of Congress alike given the escalating threat environment in the Pacific and the alarming pace of Chinese military modernization.

This question was presented to Air Force secretary Frank Kendall and Air Force chief of staff Gen. Charles Brown by Rep. John Rice Carter (R-TX) during a budget hearing at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

“We’ve got to dominate the airspace to protect armor. As we draw down and take down a lot of platforms, we hope to get to the future quickly. A drawdown in anticipation we will dominate the future causes great concern to me,” Carter told senior Air Force decisionmakers.

15 May 2022

US, China locked in a hypersonic tit for tat


China has ramped up practicing hypersonic missile assaults on US warships and bases, as recent satellite photos of mock targets in Xinjiang’s Taklamakan Desert show.

Satellite photos released by the US Naval Institute this week show a string of large mock targets on the eastern edge of the desert that simulate warships such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, and naval bases.

The configuration, remote location and impact craters on the targets mean that they were meant for testing China’s hypersonic anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), an increasingly dangerous threat to US warships in the Pacific.

The Afghan Resistance Is Still Fighting

Lynne O’Donnell

Embers of resistance against the Taliban’s brutality are flaring up in Afghanistan, with clashes reported across the north and west of the country this week as armed resistance groups frontally take on the Islamists.

Fighting has been reported in a number of provinces, including Panjshir, Ghazni, Herat, and others, as anti-Taliban groups make good on pledges of a “spring offensive” and Islamists deploy thousands of fighters to quell the uprisings. One resistance source said the Taliban’s acting deputy defense minister, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, has arrived in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, to oversee the fight, an indication of how seriously the extremists view the budding resistance.

Could Sabotage Stop Putin From Using the Nuclear Option?

Douglas London

The mysterious fires and explosions that have plagued Russia in recent weeks have aroused suspicion and curiosity. If they are not coincidental, they raise an important question: Could such sabotage alter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculus to make good on his threats to employ nuclear weapons?

CIA director William Burns observed that Putin believes he can’t afford to lose in Ukraine, is likely to double down, and that his nuclear saber-rattling should not be taken lightly. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia’s refocus on the Donbas was likely “only a temporary shift,” assessed that “Putin’s strategic goals have probably not changed,” and cautioned that his invasion could become “more unpredictable and potentially escalatory.”


Zachary Kallenborn

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has seen significant drone use on both sides. Ukraine has made extensive use of drones, from the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB-2 to hobbyist drones supporting civil resistance. Although evidence of Russian drone use early in the conflict was limited, Russia appears to have stepped up its efforts, employing systems like the Orlan-10 and the KUB-BLA loitering munition. Drones have been used in a wide variety of roles from carrying out strikes to guiding artillery and recording video that feeds directly into information operations.

The conflict offers at least seven initial lessons that should influence the thinking of US planners, policymakers, and military leaders about the future of the United States’ own drone capabilities. While the conflict is ongoing and some of these lessons may change, the basic points are general enough that even radical changes are likely to add nuance to these points, rather than rendering any of them less meaningful.

Victory Day Was Just a Day: Trying to Penetrate Russia’s Thinking

Emily Ferris

In the end, expectations that the Victory Day parade in Moscow might tell us something about the likely course of the Ukraine war were dashed. The run-up to Russia’s annual military display, which commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, was filled with anticipation and speculation: whether President Vladimir Putin would use this as an opportunity to escalate by declaring the ‘special operation’ a war and announcing a full-blown conflict, or perhaps announce a limited victory instead, recognising some of the Russian-held southern parts of Ukraine as independent statelets.

None of these things happened on the day, and Putin’s speech was devoid of any signals that might have helped to divine some sort of meaning from an increasingly brutal war. An excessive focus on timing reflects a desire to exert a semblance of control, and our reliance on such symbols highlights how little we are able to penetrate the thinking of the Russian leadership in a useful way.

Ukraine Joins the Fight for Russian Minds

Paul Roderick Gregory

From the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Ukraine has proven a worthy opponent in the fight for minds. Ukraine’s narrative has prevailed. Russia has virtually no country taking its side. Even China’s support is questionable after Putin presumably lied to Xi Jinping that he would not invade.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has not fled to safety, and the strong resistance against Russia’s invasion from three sides has won Ukraine global admiration and support. Germany has executed a historic about-face from business as usual with Russia to become Europe’s de-facto leader against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The War in Ukraine Will Be a Historic Turning Point

Christoph Heusgen

The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in history. It brings to a close the chapter that began at the end of the Cold War, when Western countries tried to integrate Russia into an international rules-based order. Russia under President Vladimir Putin has become a pariah state. Much as it did when facing down the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States has taken the lead in countering Putin‘s blatant attack on civilization.

Many countries support the U.S.-led response to Putin’s war, but some do so grudgingly. Too many governments see the conflict as a return to the days of the Cold War, when they were forced to choose sides. They imagine that what is at stake is the collision of two geopolitical rivals, not a fundamental question of principle. This is deeply unfortunate. Russia’s aggression should not be seen as ushering in a new Cold War but simply as what it is: the worst act of aggression in Europe since the end of World War II and a brutal violation of international law.

Are The U.S. And Russia Destined For War Over Ukraine?

Doug Bandow

Traditionally, nations joined alliances to improve their security. This is no longer the case for the US. For Washington, alliances have become charitable endeavors. For instance, in Europe America has been allying itself with military midgets, most recently bringing North Macedonia and Montenegro into NATO.

Charitable Alliances

So far, at least, these two nations have simply been useless militarily. If the Russian hordes poured forth to conquer Europe—more than a little unlikely even before Moscow’s botched attack on Ukraine—they wouldn’t be stopped by Podgorica and Skopje. But Washington pretends that these countries matter.

Africa and the Soldiers of Misfortune

Source Link

Since the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BCE to contemporary conflicts in countries like Yemen, Ukraine, and Iraq, mercenaries have been a recurring feature of human warfare. For post-colonial Africa, that story started in the newly independent Congo in 1960, where a mixed bag of mercenaries aided the Katanga province’s (failed) attempt at secession. It continues today with the deployments of the private Russian security organisation the Wagner Group in several African countries.

While the use of mercenaries may be nothing new, the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries recently warned: “We are witnessing the ever-increasing presence of mercenaries and mercenary-related actors in contemporary armed conflicts and the ever-mounting risk of grave human rights abuses and war crimes.”

Can Xi Jinping vanquish Covid without crushing China’s economy?

Sun Yu in Zhengzhou and Tom Mitchell

 If the world’s second-largest economy shows any sign of recovery from its Covid-induced slump, Wang Neng should be among the first to know. 

But so far, he sees few indications of that. Like many small businesses in China, Wang’s cement mixing station in central Henan province has been hit hard by controversial lockdowns in dozens of cities ordered by President Xi Jinping to stamp out outbreaks of the Omicron variant.

 Two months after Beijing promised vague measures to support the economy through the crisis — and despite Xi’s assurance of an “all out” infrastructure drive — Wang’s business is still struggling. “Looking at cement demand, there are few signs of an infrastructure pick-up,” he says. His station is running at only 20 per cent capacity and he has cut his fee for mixing cement by almost one-quarter from last year.

The Indian economy is being rewired. The opportunity is immense

Over the past three years India has endured more than its share of bad news and suffering. The pandemic has killed between 2.2m and 9.7m people. Lockdowns caused the economy to shrink temporarily by a quarter and triggered the largest internal migrations since partition in 1947, as city workers fled to their villages. Religious tensions have been simmering, stoked by the anti-Muslim chauvinism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp), in power since 2014 under the strongman prime minister, Narendra Modi. Now a heatwave is baking the north of the country and the global oil- and food-price shock is battering the poor.

Yet as our Briefing explains, if you take a step back, a novel confluence of forces stands to transform India’s economy over the next decade, improving the lives of 1.4bn people and changing the balance of power in Asia. Technological leaps, the energy transition and geopolitical shifts are creating new opportunities—and new tools to fix intractable problems. The biggest threat to all this is India’s incendiary politics.

Making Energy Resilient

Morgan Higman

Amidst energy transitions and the rising impacts of climate change, resilience is a growing part of state energy strategies. But there is relatively little consolidated information describing what states are doing to build adaptive capacities in the power sector. This report fills this gap. It examines how resilience is addressed in planning and policy resources from a selection of representative states. These resources describe anticipated hazards and vulnerabilities, use-cases for emerging clean energy technologies, and broader efforts to create new resilience institutions and authorities. Though resilience garners considerable policy attention, most state initiatives are not guided by well-defined performance goals or measures or a plan that provides an overarching vision for grid resilience. This paper highlights challenges in these areas and describes new, innovative, and replicable approaches to promote more complete and robust resilience strategies.

U.S. Strategy: Rebalancing Global Energy between Europe, Russia, and Asia and U.S. Security Policy in the Middle East and the Gulf

The war in Ukraine has already shown how dangerous it is for the U.S. to assume that it can rebalance its forces to one region and count on a lasting peace or detente in others. It now is all too clear that U.S. strategy must continue to focus on Europe as well as China. What is less clear is the extent to which the Ukraine War is an equal warning that the U.S. must have a truly global strategy – and one that continues to focus on other critical regions like the Middle East.

The sudden escalation of the Ukraine crisis into a major regional conflict and the need for political and diplomatic support in the UN as well as for sanctions are warnings that much of the U.S. success in deterrence and defense lies in creating long-term global diplomatic and political support as well as true and lasting strategic partnerships.

14 May 2022

Killer Robots Are Here—and We Need to Regulate Them

Robert F. Trager and Laura M. Luca

Swarms of robots with the ability to kill humans are no longer only the stuff of science fiction. Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) are here. In Ukraine, Moscow has allegedly deployed an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled Kalashnikov ZALA Aero KUB-BLA loitering munition, while Kyiv has used Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones, which have some autonomous capabilities. Although it’s always hard to determine whether a weapon’s autonomous mode is used, these technologies have reportedly been employed in at least one conflict: Last year, a United Nations report suggested Turkey used autonomous firing by its Kargu-2 drones to hunt fleeing soldiers in Libya’s civil war (though the CEO of the Turkish company that produced the drone denies it is capable of this).

Kaliningrad Could Be the Next Flashpoint in the EU’s Standoff With Russia

Alexander Clarkson

On a warm summer evening in July 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with the German chancellor and French president at the time, Gerhard Schroder and Jacques Chirac, looked on as a lavish fireworks display entertained a vast crowd in the Baltic city of Kaliningrad. In commemoration of the 750-year anniversary of the founding of what had once been the Prussian city of Konigsberg, the Russian government that had inherited Kaliningrad after its conquest by the Soviet Union during World War II had put on elaborate festivities to celebrate its complex history.

For Putin, Kaliningrad was of both personal and strategic importance as the region in which his then-wife had grown up and as a symbol of Russia’s return to great power status through naval expansion close to the heart of NATO. As an exclave that had been handed to the Russian Soviet Republic under the USSR, Kaliningrad remained under Moscow’s control even after its borders were cut off from the rest of Russia when Lithuania declared independence upon the Soviet Union’s collapse. While the participation of Schroder and Chirac at the 2005 festivities was intended to signal Russia’s partnership with Europe’s most powerful states, the lack of invitations to Polish, Swedish or Lithuanian leaders sent a more ominous signal about who Putin believed should call the shots around the Baltic Sea.

Locking China Out of the Global Order Could Backfire

Robert A. Manning

Both Russia’s scorched-earth invasion of Ukraine and the swift fury of the U.S. and European Union-led global response seem to have come as a shock to Beijing. China’s ambiguous stance—clearly anti-American but not explicitly pro-Russian or anti-Ukrainian—in part comes because the West’s surprisingly strong response has frustrated Chinese ambitions.

It may not have fully sunk in yet in Beijing, but the resurgence of an economic and strategically unified West, and the risk of the financial and political liability of protecting a dependent, wrecked petrostate, should lead Chinese President Xi Jinping to see the wisdom of cooperating with the global economic order, albeit with a larger Chinese voice and modest distancing from its partner in Moscow. Despite its echoing of Russian disinformation, Beijing has cautiously cut off Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank loans and trade financing to Moscow, and China’s state-run Sinopec halted gas and petrochemical projects in Russia. With $3 trillion in mostly dollar and euro assets and watching the United States disappear Russian Central Bank assets overnight, Beijing’s caution is understandable.

Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence

James Ryseff, Eric Landree, Noah Johnson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar

Artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key capability for enabling the U.S. military to maintain its military dominance. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s engagement with leading high-tech private sector corporations, for which the military is a relatively small percentage of their customer base, provides a valuable conduit to cutting-edge AI-enabled capabilities and access to leading AI software developers and engineers. To assess the views of software engineers and other technical staff in the private sector about potential DoD applications of AI, a research team conducted a survey that presented a variety of scenarios describing how the U.S. military might employ AI and asked respondents to describe their comfort level with using AI in these ways. The scenarios varied several factors, including the degree of distance from the battlefield, the destructiveness of the action, and the degree of human oversight over the AI algorithm. The results from this survey found that most of the U.S. AI experts do not oppose the basic mission of DoD or the use of AI for many military applications.

War has returned to Europe: Three reasons why the EU did not see it coming

Corina Stratulat

Before 24 February, Europe decidedly defined itself as 'post-war'. But since Putin's full-scale, cold-blooded invasion of Ukraine, war again defines the Union's reality. Damage control is the main priority now — but knee-jerk reactions and moral outrage do not amount to a strategy, argues Corina Stratulat.

To create a future that stops perpetuating the past, the Union and its member states must also start to critically contemplate how they got into the current predicament and change course. Three lessons stand out:

First, since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, overconfidence in its own allure and model has skewed the EU's perspective of itself and the rest of the world. While freedom, pluralism and liberal democracy remain attractive, liberal expectations that the Union would be able to convert even its immediate neighbourhood – let alone the world – to its image have proven illusory. Despite almost two decades of European integration, democratic performance has still not acquired a positive dynamic in the Balkans. And yet the membership card has now been confidently and imprudently put on the table for Ukraine and other eastern countries, posing as a solution to the current crisis. Without practising humility, the EU stands to persevere in its confirmation biases and continue to evade learning.

Ukraine’s Military Pulled Itself Out of the Ruins of 2014

Adrian Bonenberger

Early this March, I and two other U.S. veterans spent 10 days helping to train Ukrainian troops on the ground. I’m just one of many volunteers, many of us former soldiers, who did so. For nearly three decades, the United States and other NATO countries have sent personnel to help train Ukrainian forces, efforts that intensified and crystalized after the loss of Crimea and parts of the Donbas in the 2014 Russian invasion. It would be nice to think, as some have claimed, that Ukraine’s success is due to that training. But the truth is that it probably hasn’t played a decisive role in shaping Ukraine’s remarkable underdog performance against the Russian military.

For many analysts, the focus has been on an army burdened, until recently, by Soviet doctrine. Various articles and op-eds describe a Ukrainian military deeply shaped by the experience of the Soviet Union. To be sure, the senior officers of the 1990s had been soldiers and junior officers in the Soviet army, and many Ukrainians served in Afghanistan. But the crucial difference isn’t between the Soviet era and today. The reforms imposed on the Ukrainian army in the 1990s—and the decisions Ukrainians themselves made after those reforms—led to disaster in 2014.

Training Tomorrow’s AI Workforce The Latent Potential of Community and Technical Colleges

Diana Gehlhaus, Luke Koslosky

It is a national security imperative to grow, sustain, and diversify U.S. artificial intelligence (AI) talent pipelines. But to date, the predominant focus of U.S. policymakers and industry continues to be on four-year degrees. Such a narrow focus is leaving talent behind and limiting opportunity, as many AI careers do not require a four-year college credential.

Community and technical colleges offer enormous potential to grow, sustain, and diversify the AI talent pipeline. They are a critical part of the U.S. postsecondary system with a student body that represents many segments of the population.

However, these institutions are not being leveraged effectively in educating and training AI talent. To understand the current landscape of AI and AI-related education at these institutions, we evaluated current program offerings and the associated number of graduates. We focused on programs where associate’s degrees could be a powerful source for training and upskilling AI talent.

Tech regulation in China brings in sweeping changes

Kai von Carnap, Valarie Tan

Relations between Beijing and China’s tech giants have been complex and in flux for many years. But just recently the government has taken a much clearer approach, introducing a swathe of measures designed to bring these companies in line with its goals and keep them on their toes. MERICS analysts Kai von Carnap and Valarie Tan analyze the latest developments.

When Jack Ma told China’s financial elites on October 24, 2020 that their incompetence had created a severely underdeveloped financial system and insinuated that his fintech may be the cure, his words marked the moment when Beijing shifted its relations to big tech giants from toleration to confrontation.

Russo-Ukraine War: Gauging the Impact on Global Economy

The global economy has suffered a significant setback due to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. This crisis is unfolding when the world economy is still recovering from the pandemic. Even before the war, inflation rose in many nations due to supply-demand mismatches and official support during the pandemic, forcing monetary policy tightening. The latest Chinese lockdowns may trigger new bottlenecks in global supply networks.

In this scenario, the war will negatively influence economic development and inflation and its immediate and sad humanitarian consequences. As a result, financial risks have increased significantly, and policy tradeoffs have grown increasingly complex.

U.K.: China Views Russia’s War as ‘Bad for Business’

Jack Detsch

China appears to be increasingly embarrassed by Russia’s conduct of its war in Ukraine, Britain’s defense secretary told reporters on Tuesday, underlining a growing split in the once-budding relationship between the two powers that has dissuaded Beijing from providing material support to Moscow over the course of the ongoing conflict.

In more than two months of war, while China has refused to condemn Russia’s full-scale invasion and has helped parrot Russian disinformation, it has also stopped short of providing real support for the Kremlin’s war effort. There was speculation that China could supply rations for hard-pressed Russian troops or backfill Russian arms needs, but that hasn’t come to pass. China’s top drone-maker, DJI, suspended operations in Russia and Ukraine in late April, depriving ill-supplied Russian units of additional capability to send off-the-shelf intelligence into Ukraine’s skies. China has also balked at providing Russia with spare parts for its sanctioned civilian airliner fleet, underscoring Moscow’s isolation under an array of economic and financial sanctions. One Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments, said that there was no indication that Beijing was supplying anything of scale.

The Uneven Global Response to Climate Change

Recently published climate science ultimately underscores the same points: The impacts of climate change are advancing faster than experts had previously predicted, and they are increasingly irreversible. One blockbuster report, from a United Nations grouping of biodiversity experts in May 2019, found that 1 million species are now in danger of extinction unless dramatic changes are made to everything from fuel sources to agricultural production. Despite these warnings, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most-recent report, released in August 2021, confirmed that the world remains on pace to blow past the goal of restricting the rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, with likely catastrophic consequences.