15 October 2020



India was the third-largest energy consumer in the world after China and the United States in 2018, according to the BP Statistical Review of 2019, and its need for energy supply continues to climb as a result of the country’s dynamic economic growth, population growth, and modernization over the past several years.1 After annual inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) growth rose each year between 2011 and 2016, reaching nearly 8.2%, India’s GDP growth slowed to about 5.0% in 2019, according to India’s government data and the World Bank.2 The slowdown was initially a result of government-led demonetization and the goods and services tax reform, implemented between the end of 2016 and mid-2017, and insufficient private sector investment.3 In 2019, the economy struggled with a financial and lending crisis, consumption and investment declines, and regulatory issues.4 The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in India that began at the start of 2020 and the country’s ensuing national lockdown from late March through mid-May to stop the spread of the virus has adversely impacted industrial and economic activity, labor mobility, and energy use within India and is likely to push GDP growth much lower in 2020, according to several experts.5

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was re-elected as the majority party in May 2019 to govern India for the following five years, continues to face several challenges to meet the country’s growing energy demand, including securing affordable energy supplies and attracting investment for upstream projects and transmission infrastructure. The government has made considerable headway with energy reforms since the BJP was first elected in 2014, and it pledges to continue focusing on greater energy security, infrastructure development, and market liberalization.

Pakistan betrays Uighur Muslims and lets China write its UN statement

by Tom Rogan

China was confronted at the United Nations this week over its human rights shredding campaign in Xinjiang Province and Hong Kong. In response, Beijing assembled an alliance of authoritarians in its defense.

It was an embarrassing display from Beijing, but one that encapsulates the fundamental nature of the United States-China struggle for the 21st century. A struggle between forces of freedom and agents of oppression.

On one side was Germany, which tabled an official U.N. statement expressing deep concern over what China is doing to its citizens. The statement referenced China's disregard for its binding legal obligations in Hong Kong, its genocidal campaign against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, and its continued repression of Tibet. Germany rightly found support from many democracies, including Australian, Britain, Canada, much of the European Union, and the U.S.

China had warned these nations that they risked political and trade ties were they to support the statement (a typical Chinese intimidation tactic on international votes). Much to Beijing's chagrin, its bullying didn't work. So instead, China sought to form its own alliance to counter the democracies. The result was as pathetic as it was predictable. As Human Rights Watch noted, "China rounded up several dozen countries to praise it in two separate statements, one on Xinjiang read out by Cuba, and another on Hong Kong delivered by Pakistan. China’s support list reads like a virtual Who’s Who of leading rights abusers, including Russia, Syria, and Venezuela."

Afghanistan Human Development Report 2020

Kabul, August 25, 2020 - Today, UNDP Afghanistan launched its National Human Development Report on minerals extraction in Afghanistan. The report is based on extensive field work, substantive consultation with civil society, private sector, government and UN agencies, and focused group discussions with communities living around mines.

National Human Development Report (NHDR) 2020, provides rich insights into the present situation of Afghanistan’s extractive industry. The Report elaborates on the interaction with various dimensions of human development, employment and investment opportunities in the extractive industry value chain, and more importantly its fiscal revenue potential. NHDR 2020 also assesses the country’s current state of human development, and the potential contribution and risks of the extractive industry. The Report focuses on 6 value chains which includes lapis, talc, onyx, chromite, oil and copper. NHDR examines the pitfalls and promises in extractive industries, as well as challenges and shortcomings, and provides recommendations and solutions from a human development perspective.

Legal and sustainable extraction of mines is a driver for peace, development, and economic growth, but it is important to have a vision of how the benefits will reach the people before starting extraction. Decades of mining without a clear vision has not only helped reduce poverty but has triggered local conflicts and harmed the environment. The report proposes requirements of conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) through site inspections and monitoring to require certain health and safety standards and environmental impact mitigation.

In U.S.-China Tech Feud, Taiwan Feels Heat From Both Sides

By Raymond Zhong

TAINAN, Taiwan — The United States and China are wrestling to lead the world in artificial intelligence, 5G wireless and other cutting-edge technologies. But the real wizardry that makes those advancements possible is being performed on a yam-shaped island that sits between them, geographically and politically.

On Taiwan’s southern rim, inside an arena-size facility stretched out among lush greenery and coconut palms, colossal machines are manipulating matter at unimaginably tiny scale. A powerful laser vaporizes droplets of molten tin, causing them to emit ultraviolet light. Mirrors focus the light into a beam, which draws features into a silicon wafer with the precision, as one researcher put it, “equivalent to shooting an arrow from Earth to hit an apple placed on the moon.”

The high-performance computer chips that emerge from this process go into the brains of the latest tech products from both sides of the Pacific. Or at least they did until last month, when the Trump administration effectively forced leading chip makers in Taiwan — and elsewhere — to stop taking orders from China’s proudest tech champion, the 5G giant Huawei.

The administration’s stranglehold on Huawei shows that for all of China’s economic progress, the United States still has final say over the technologies without which the modern world could not run. Chip making relies on American tools and know-how, which gives officials in Washington the power of life and death over semiconductor buyers and suppliers anywhere on the planet.

Tibet Leadership in Exile and the Indo-Pacific Strategy

By: Ellen Bork

In this publication, Ellen Bork, Visiting Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, examines the historical basis for Washington’s Tibet policy to demonstrate that America’s position on Tibet originates from misguided strategic assumptions about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its ambitions in Tibet, the Indo-Pacific region, and the liberal world order. The author asserts that the time has come for Washington to revise the United States’ policy toward Tibet and its democratic government-in-exile, as a critical component of America’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. Leading the way, Bork provides a roadmap of recommendations for Washington, including the adoption of democratic legitimacy as the basis of Tibet policy, the enlistment of supportive democracies in establishing a unified position, prioritizing the issue at international organizations, and engaging Tibetan leadership, among others.

Chinese Nuclear Missile Guidance Systems: Spotlight on the Xian Institute of Microelectronics Technology

By: Eric Lee and Seamus Boyle

Microelectronics are driving China’s expanding and increasingly sophisticated space and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force. Integrated circuits are core components in ICBM and space guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) sub-systems, which are instrumental for delivering aeronautic vehicles and missile payloads to designated targets. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Ninth Academy, also known as the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology (CAAET), is responsible for detailed design and manufacturing of missile-borne computers, missile guidance sets, and associated components. The CASC Ninth Academy’s 771 Research Institute is perhaps the most important supplier of military-grade chips that guide People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ICBMs to their intended targets. This article features the 771 Institute as a critical node in the PLA ballistic missile supply chain.


CASC is the sole supplier of intermediate- and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles to the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) and Navy. The PLARF Equipment Department is responsible for planning, programming, and budgeting China’s ICBM force modernization. Among other systems, the PLARF currently is equipped with the liquid-fueled DF-5, including a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) variant, solid-fueled DF-31A ICBM, and mobile and solid-fueled MIRV DF-41 ICBMs. More specifically, the Equipment Department develops technical requirements, manages major acquisition programs, and oversees repair and maintenance of ICBMs and other weapon systems. The PLARF Equipment Department relies heavily upon the PLARF Research Academy and at least seven subordinate research institutes.

Between a rock and hard place: Iran’s dilemma in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Ali Hashem

In a country where a quarter of the population belongs to the Azeri ethnicity, over 400 miles of border are shared with Azerbaijan and the official version of Islam in both countries is Shiism, it shouldn’t be a very difficult choice to make when the northern neighbor goes to war.

However, there are many reasons for Iran to think twice before siding with Azerbaijan in its recent conflict with Armenia.

Armenia shares about 27 miles of border with the Islamic Republic and plays a positive role as the only Christian neighbor to the sanction-laden country.

Iranians of Armenian origin make up the overwhelming majority of the country’s Christian minority, which number more than 150,000 of the total population of 84 million. As for the Azeris, there is no accurate number, but according to several sources it varies between 10 million and 20 million.

In the city of Tabriz in the north of Iran, dozens of Azeri Iranians headed out into the streets slamming the state’s neutral position on the war, while others demonstrated in Tehran chanting slogans in support of the army of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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The official Iranian stance — expressed by the Foreign Ministry on several occasions — has been to call on both parties to practice restraint, offering to mediate.

Turkey is using Syrian rebels as pawns in Azerbaijan

Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis and the ongoing drama of the American elections has managed to suck the oxygen out of major news developments around the world – whether it is the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East and elsewhere, the toll of wildfires in America itself and around the world, or the eruption of a new war in the south Caucasus.

In late September, fighting erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia, after months of rising tension, over Nagorno-Karabakh, an autonomous zone that is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority. A major war was fought over the territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union, claiming thousands of lives. The latest conflagration has already led to indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas.

It is also another hotspot in which Turkey and Russia are once again at loggerheads. Moscow is a military ally of Armenia, while Ankara has close ties, both political and cultural, with Azerbaijan. Over the weekend, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to support Baku.

Turkey and the post-pandemic world: What kind of revisionism?

This study analyzes Turkish foreign policy narratives generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and their intellectual and political context provided by Western debates. The approach is based on the assumption that the narratives about the pandemic provide an interesting window through which to observe the long-term fears and hopes concerning international politics in Turkey. The study utilizes Steven Ward’s conceptualization of distributive and normative revisionism as a theoretical framework for analyzing Turkey’s increasingly assertive foreign policy. It also discusses the analytical limits of this concept by introducing the idea of revisionism as a familiar narrative trope in Western International Relations scholarship. The study demonstrates that while Turkey remains loosely attached to its traditional commitment to defend the existing order, it increasingly expresses its dissatisfaction within that order, sometimes pushing it to the limits, and taking action that could even be defined as normative, or radical, revisionism.


Jamestown Foundation

The CCP’s New Directives for United Front Work in Private Enterprises 

Xinjiang’s System of Militarized Vocational Training Comes to Tibet 

India’s “Tibet Card” in the Stand-Off with China: More Provocative than Productive 

Understanding the Intersection of the Belt and Road Initiativeand China’s Supply-Side Structural Reform 

The CCP Extends Its Policies of Forced Ethnic Assimilation to Inner Mongolia 

Houthi Offensive in Marib Represents Dual Threat to Yemeni Government 

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pa-kistan Factions Re-united for ‘Holy War’ Against Islamabad 

Will Egypt Send Troops to Libya?

What a second Trump term would mean for the world

Thomas Wright

Trump's potential reelection should be seen as a pincer movement, an attack on the international order from two sides, argues Thomas Wright. Trump would consolidate his control over the institutions of government, bending them to his will, removing any lingering resistance from the Republican Party. Meanwhile, by confirming that the United States has rejected its traditional leadership role, a second Trump term would make a lasting impact on the world right when it is at a particularly vulnerable moment. This piece originally appeared in The Atlantic.

If Donald Trump defies the odds and wins a second term, the next four years will likely be more disruptive to U.S. foreign policy and world affairs than the past four have been. Think of his reelection as a pincer movement, an attack on the international order from two sides. Trump will consolidate his control over the institutions of government, bending them to his will, removing any lingering resistance from the Republican Party. Meanwhile, by confirming that the United States has rejected its traditional leadership role, a second Trump term would make a lasting impact on the world right when it is at a particularly vulnerable moment. U.S. alliances would likely crumble, the global economy would close, and democracy and human rights would be in rapid retreat.

The World Gave the United States One Do-Over


In September 2003, I moved from Afghanistan to Iraq, where I would spend a year and a half establishing new electoral institutions and helping Iraqi authorities manage their first elections. The job was demanding, and the environment was difficult—each of the hotels that housed us were eventually attacked—leaving little time or energy for anything else. Other than work, my main activity was to obsessively track U.S. politics. I had slow internet connections to read the papers and new guerrilla political analysts like the Mystery Pollster blogger. I could trade information with journalists or officials visiting from home. Without access to U.S. television news, I could get the orthogonal takes of international television coverage—which was equally obsessed with the 2004 U.S. election—at least, when unreliable satellite connections allowed.

Starting with the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries, I was repeatedly frustrated by the foreign policy debates. It seemed to me that all of the candidates thought they could have former president Bill Clinton’s third term: sure, they would have the unique challenges of the post-9/11 world, but they seemed to believe they would also have the tools of uncontested, immediate post–Cold War U.S. power.

From where I sat at the ragged edge of the wars mongered by former president George W. Bush’s administration, that power seemed fanciful. The alliances that had won the Cold War and managed the crisis in Yugoslavia were strained or fractured. The marvel of U.S. military power was busily showing the limits of its capacity to deal with asymmetric warfare. The absurdity of the Iraq War; the slow failure in Afghanistan; and the horrors of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and torture had undermined Washington’s claim to leadership. The diplomats, government officials, journalists, and others I worked with from around the world simply did not see America the same way anymore, which I thought would imply new constraints on our policies.

The Conflict Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Could Spiral Out of Control

By Lara Setrakian

YEREVAN, Armenia — Taking shelter in a hospital basement, 19-year-old George Alexanian can hear the suicide drones buzzing overhead in the city of Stepanakert.

A few days ago, he said, one of them headed toward the hospital but was struck down before it could explode. Yet being there, he told me, is better than staying home, where every strike felt like an earthquake. His sister is a doctor, working upstairs and sleeping in the hallway because the beds are all full.

“We get used to it,” he said. “But it’s hard to live not knowing if you’re safe.”

Workers hurry out of other basements for a few hours, then rush back down to shelter. Eleven days into an escalating fight between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Stepanakert is being pummeled with missiles and drone fire. One building that still stands is the home of the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh, a country that has never been recognized by the wider world.

Known internationally as Nagorno-Karabakh, the tiny Armenian separatist enclave in Azerbaijan is at the center of a dangerous conflict that has drawn in Turkey and Russia — and claimed hundreds of lives. Without engagement from the United States, whose attention to the region has slipped, the situation could spiral out of control.

The conflict is an unresolved leftover from the Soviet Union. In 1923, Communist rulers placed Nagorno-Karabakh and its ethnic Armenian majority within the borders of Soviet Azerbaijan, giving it special status with a high degree of self-rule. As the Soviet Union was collapsing in 1991, the region declared its own independence, setting off a war that lasted until a cease-fire in 1994. That held for 26 years, though clashes have broken out over the past four years.

Perspectives | The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: What is peace and why compromise?

Marina Nagai and Sophia Pugsley

In the reams of analysis emerging on the renewed Nagorny-Karabakh conflict, little is being said about “hearts and minds,” or how Armenians and Azerbaijanis can use their own will and imagination toward a peaceful resolution.

There is a common acknowledgement that the war is about identities, sacred values, and conflicting histories, but there has been staggeringly little understanding of how big a role public attitudes and sentiment play in political decision-making. Indeed, decisions in Baku and Yerevan are more often explained using hard security and geopolitical terms. An example of this, which came as a surprise for many, was the mass discontent and spontaneous mobilization in Baku following clashes with Armenia in July, when thousands of people took to the streets to call for an armed resolution to the conflict and signed up to volunteer on the front line.

At the end of 2018, the peacebuilding NGO International Alert conducted a qualitative study of public attitudes in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh. This study was, in many ways, eye-opening and deeply worrying as, despite its purpose to envision peace, it found overwhelming acceptance of violence and human sacrifice as the only way to solve this conflict; many felt war was inevitable.

For example, when respondents stated a preference for “peace,” definitions differed radically, underscoring why it has proven so elusive: an absence of violence, a ceasefire, and stability for Armenians; restoration of what they see as historical justice through the return of IDPs and lands, dignity and international order for Azerbaijanis. These mutually exclusive interpretations of the word “peace” keep the sides in parallel universes and block any capacity to imagine a peace together.

Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

by Beth Cameron, Ph.D., Jaime Yassif, Ph.D., Jacob Jordan, Ph.D.

In February 2020, during the Munich Security Conference, NTI | bio convened senior leaders from around the world for a scenario-based tabletop exercise designed to identify gaps in global capabilities to prevent and respond to high-consequence biological events. The exercise focused on two key goals: highlighting emerging biological risks associated with rapid technology advances and discussing governance measures to reduce these risks; and examining current and proposed new mechanisms for preventing, deterring, and responding to the development of biological weapons by sophisticated actors, such as states.

Exercise Summary

Participants were presented with a fictional scenario in which the world is confronting a disease outbreak involving a dangerous, apparently human-engineered pathogen that is suspected to have originated the fictional country Aplea, which has a rapidly growing biotechnology sector. Ultimately, an international investigation reveals that Aplea had been conducting illicit bioweapons research, and an accidental release from one of its laboratories is the source of the outbreak that eventually kills more than 50 million people worldwide.

The exercise exposed key gaps in international capabilities to prevent and respond to high-consequence biological events, and it revealed priorities for international cooperation to fill those gaps. The exercise also highlighted growing biological risks in an increasingly interconnected world and the possibility that future pandemics—particularly those caused by engineered or synthesized biological agents—could impose even more severe consequences than the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants determined that even as global leaders urgently respond to the global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they must consider bold changes to the international biosecurity architecture to prevent greater risks to the future of humanity.

The Undiminished Threat of the Islamic State

Dr Shanthie Mariet D’Souza and Dr Bibhu Prasad Routray September 2020


In August 2020, a lone wolf terrorist belonging to the Islamic State was arrested in New Delhi with explosives. The same month, a doctor was arrested with similar charges from Bangalore. Notwithstanding Government of India’s policy of downplaying the threat, the appeal of the global jihadist organisation is attracting India Muslims to its fold. These men are found to be in various stages of planning to carry out attacks or have been involved in facilitating the activities of the group. As a resurgent Islamic State carries out its terror attacks across in several theatres around the world, India is likely to witness an increase in jihadist mobilization in the coming months.


The Institute for Strategic, Political, Security and Economic Consultancy (ISPSW) is a private institute for research and consultancy. The ISPSW is an objective, task-oriented and politically non-partisan institute. 

In the increasingly complex international environment of globalized economic processes and worldwide political, ecological, social and cultural change, which occasions both major opportunities and risks, decisionmakers in the economic and political arena depend more than ever before on the advice of highly qualified experts. 

ISPSW offers a range of services, including strategic analyses, security consultancy, executive coaching and intercultural competency. ISPSW publications examine a wide range of topics connected with politics, the economy, international relations, and security/ defense. ISPSW network experts have held – in some cases for decades – executive positions and dispose over a wide range of experience in their respective fields of expertise.


by Laura Brewington

Resilient and healthy ecosystems help prevent wildfires, flooding, and other natural disasters. As the COVID-19 crisis illustrates, the unsafe exploitation of the natural environment can also have a lasting impact on population health and economic growth. Today, we need a reassessment of how societies prioritize the preservation of healthy ecosystems to support human health and well-being. This concept, often called “Planetary Health” or the “One Health” framework, views biodiversity management, land-use practices, and food production systems as dynamic interconnections among the plants, animals, and people that make up an ecosystem.

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Patents and Artificial Intelligence

Dewey Murdick

Patent data can provide insights into the most active countries, fields and organizations in artificial intelligence research. This data brief analyzes worldwide trends in AI patenting to offer metrics on inventive activity.

This data brief informs policymaker audiences who desire to understand how they might use patent data in planning for the quickly advancing impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Such data can provide policymakers with insights into which areas of AI are rapidly developing, which countries are especially active in AI research, and which organizations are responsible for key AI inventions.

In this primer, we report analytic results on worldwide trends in AI patenting and suggest options for how these results might be interpreted and leveraged.

Key findings presented in this primer include:

There were 10 times as many AI patent applications published worldwide in 2019 as in 2013, most of which have yet to be examined.

Tracking AI Investment Initial Findings From the Private Markets

Zachary Arnold

The global AI industry is booming, with privately held firms pulling in nearly $40 billion in disclosed investment in 2019 alone. U.S. companies continue to attract the majority of that funding—64 percent of it in 2019—but that lead is not guaranteed. This report analyzes AI investment data from 2015 to 2019 to help better understand trends in the global AI landscape.Download Full Report

The private sector drives progress in artificial intelligence. National governments were once the prime movers behind strategic technologies, from networked systems to nuclear energy, and supported foundational work on AI techniques. But today, governments mostly rely on private companies to build their AI software, furnish their AI talent, and produce the AI advances that underpin economic and military competitiveness.

This shift brings risks and opportunities for the United States. America could reap massive security benefits from private sector AI innovation in the coming decades. Policymakers may be able to extend these benefits even further by developing policies that boost American AI companies’ economic prospects and guide them toward work supporting national security and public interests. Yet at the same time, other countries could harness their own companies to similar ends—or even exploit American private-sector strength by co-opting, subverting, or stealing from U.S. firms leading in AI innovation today.

CLTC Report: “Security Implications of 5G Networks”

A new report published by the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, “Security Implications of 5G Networks,” explores how the widespread adoption of fifth-generation (5G) cellular service will both bring potential improvements in security — and also expose new risks.

Authored by Jon Metzler, a lecturer at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and founder of consulting firm Blue Field Strategies, the paper draws upon research and interviews conducted over a two-year period with support from a CLTC grant. The paper aims to help network operators — and their customers and partners — prepare for new risk vectors opened by 5G service, in terms of service models or network deployment models, at a critical moment in the development of 5G. “The long-lasting nature of network investments means that supplier selection decisions will have implications for decades,” Metzler writes.

Network operators around the world are rapidly expanding 5G service, and this new technology is expected to have significant advantages over prior generations, including increased speed, reduced latency (the time lag experienced by the user between a query and response), and the ability to “slice” wireless spectrum to support different applications. Yet 5G also has potential to introduce new security concerns by introducing greater diversity in suppliers, increased densification in network devices, and other factors.

The paper aims to help policymakers understand the economic and operational implications of 5G network deployment, including the switching costs of replacing suppliers and the site access needed to deploy robust, pervasive 5G networks; and to highlight security benefits of deploying both 5G RAN (which provides the wireless interface with customer devices and manages related radio resources) and core (which handles authentication, switching, interface with other networks, etc.)

The Analytic Edge: Leveraging Emerging Technologies to Transform Intelligence Analysis CSIS Briefs

How well and how rapidly the intelligence community (IC) integrates emerging technologies into all-source analysis will be vital to its ability to generate timely, relevant, and accurate strategic insights and to sustain policymakers’ decisionmaking advantage over capable rivals.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and associated technologies cannot replicate all the complexities of crafting strategic analysis but can automate, enhance, and enable key parts of the analytic process and be used to unlock new insights to inform analytic judgments.

AI can assist analysts in streamlining and sensemaking of exponentially growing intelligence data. With fewer tasks, better data, and machine-derived insights, analysts will have more strategic bandwidth to apply their expertise and deliver high-level analysis to policymakers.

To harness advanced technologies, IC analysts must overcome a host of challenges, barriers, and limitations—in the underlying data, algorithms, and ultimately the analysts themselves.

IC leaders and stakeholders—policymakers, Congress, the technology, and research sectors—must provide the analytic workforce the technology and training to thrive today while laying the digital groundwork, institutional priorities, and cultural norms for future success.


Diving into the Intelligence Disciplines: Deep Vs. Dark Web

Katie Keller

Do you love going down the rabbit hole to find that next critical piece of information? Do you surf the deep and dark web waves? When you find a piece of string do you rip it, or pull it until you get to the source? Here, on this episode of ‘Diving into the Disciplines,’ we’ll take a look at the
intelligence professionals who scour the web for open source secrets – also known as open-source intelligence, or OSINT. 

Of all the intelligence disciplines, OSINT is probably the most widely used in both national security and the private sector for obvious reasons: it is easily retrieved and exists in the public domain. U.S. law defines OSINT as data produced from publicly available information that is collected, analyzed, and disseminated while addressing a specific intelligence requirement. 

OSINT has been prevalent for years, but has become even more important since the onset of COVID-19. With analysts working outside of the SCIF, sometimes OSINT is the only option. Just because it’s public, doesn’t mean it’s easy to find. The surface web – the kind of information gathered with a basic Google or search engine, is just one aspect of OSINT. 

OSINT Analysts also retrieve information from the deep web and dark web. The deep web refers to non-indexed pages, while the dark web refers to non-indexed pages that are involved in illegal activity – mainly content that resides on darknets and overlay networks that require a certain software or configuration to view. 

Weaponizing Digital Trade

Robert K. Knake

“The United States should shift its diplomatic efforts from promoting a global, open internet to preserving an open internet that connects the digital economies of democratic countries,” argues Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow Robert K. Knake in a new Council Special Report, Weaponizing Digital Trade: Creating a Digital Trade Zone to Promote Online Freedom and Cybersecurity.

“China, Russia, and other authoritarian regimes are working to limit what information flows in and out of their national borders while constantly surveilling internet users inside their networks,” he warns. “If the United States is unable to develop a competing vision, a decade from now the internet as we know it will no longer be recognizable.”

“More and more countries are being drawn into the Chinese model of state-controlled networks that limit privacy, build in the capacity for censorship, and provide the backbone for the surveillance state,” Knake explains. By forming a digital trade zone among democracies, “the United States and its allies can create a compelling alternative to the authoritarian web,” he writes.

The author makes a number of recommendations for the U.S. government to create a digital trade zone, including:

Artificial Intelligence and Countering Violent Extremism: A Primer

By GNET Team

Please read on for the Introduction.

According to popular belief, artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise everything, including national security. To what effect the internet facilitates radicalisation remains an unanswered question, but the latest terror attacks, in Halle in eastern Germany, Christchurch in New Zealand and at Poway synagogue in California, are just three recent examples of the online sphere playing a significant role in radicalisation today.

How can AI help to counter radicalisation online? Expertise on the matter is divided into different disciplines but can be found among researchers and experts from security and counterterrorism backgrounds, as well as policymakers and tech‑experts, who increasingly come together to investigate this domain. Currently, the existing landscape of information makes it difficult for decision‑makers to filter real information from the noise. This report wants to shed light on the latest developments in AI and put them in the context of counter‑radicalisation efforts in liberal democracies.

This publication contributes to the topic by highlighting some limits and possibilities of AI in counter‑radicalisation online. The second chapter briefly explains the key concepts and ideas behind AI. In a ‘Deep Dive’ at the end of the chapter, special attention is given to the quality of data and bias and manipulation in datasets. The third chapter discusses the potential provided by and limitations of AI‑based technological innovations for a ‘healthy’ online space, free from terrorist content, propaganda material and fake engagement. The assumption is that this healthy online environment contributes to the prevention of radicalisation. The chapter assesses a range of popular AI‑based concepts, ranging from Deepfakes to bot armies spreading fake news, and explains why search engines, recommendation systems and, in particular, natural language processing (NLP) have the potential to contribute to this objective in one way or another. The fourth chapter looks solely at a hypothetical ‘general AI’, the omniscient system that identifies individuals undergoing radicalisation and can consequently help law enforcement to prevent crime before it happens. This chapter also argues, however, that such AI technology will remain solely in the realm of science fiction for the foreseeable future. This leads to a discussion of the reasons behind such a position. Big data debates, especially regarding traditional security, cannot take place in liberal democracies without safeguarding and prioritising privacy. Another ‘Deep Dive’ in chapter four provides more information for the interested reader. The fifth chapter concludes the report.

Logic and Grammar: Clausewitz and the Language of War

Christopher Saunders

“The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace. How could it be otherwise?...Is war not just another expression of their thoughts, another form of speech or writing? Its grammar, indeed, may be its own, but not its logic."[1] 


In Book One of On War, Clausewitz introduces the concept of war as “merely the continuation of policy by other means.”[2] This most famous of Clausewitz’s dictums introduces a critical perspective of war as both a tool of grand strategy that is dominated by politics, but also as something that is inherently temporal.[3] War cannot readily be decoupled or isolated from the higher policy context that triggers it, runs through it, and continues after the guns fall silent. This perspective is developed in Book Eight under the assertion that “war is an instrument of policy,” and this provides the opening quote and focus of this article.[4] Book Eight explores the concept of war plans; here Clausewitz draws together the threads of war and policy to weave his observations on the relationship between policy (the logic) and the conduct (or grammar) of war.[5]
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Carl von Clausewitz (Karl Wilhelm Wach/Wikimedia)

Clausewitz’s concepts of grammar and logic have stood the test of time. His dictum that war is indeed “the continuation of policy by other means” holds true today, and while the character of war has evolved, the higher logic and the influence of policy has remained a constant. This article will first address some key definitions, before exploring the concept of logic and grammar as introduced in On War and as they relate to his own experiences. These concepts will then be explored through the prisms of two contrasting case studies: industrialised warfare on the Western Front during the First World War, and the new logic of war in the face of the unprecedented existential threat of the Nuclear Age.

A short note on translations. In the 1976 Howard and Paret translation of On War, the German politik could be translated as both politics and policy.[6] In their translation however, Howard and Paret chose to use policy, while retaining the dual-meaning from the original German and reinforcing that “war is an instrument of policy.”[7] Strachan offers a concise explanation of the term’s dual-meaning in German: