17 December 2020

Indian Military Pushes Ahead with War Stockpiling

By Abhijnan Rej

Media reports suggest that the Indian government has authorized the Indian armed forces to stock up ammunition, spares and other materiel for 15 days of “intense” warfare, an increase from an earlier guideline which required them to be prepared for 10 days of general war with China and Pakistan. ANI reported on December 14 that “making use of the extended stocking requirements and the emergency financial powers in the ongoing conflict with China in Eastern Ladakh, the defence forces are expected to spend over 50,000 crores [500 billion] Indian rupees for acquisition of equipment and ammunition from both local and foreign sources.”

In July, following the China-India clash in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh that saw the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers mid June, the Indian Army was reported to have pursued 100 contracts for emergency procurement of weapons and supplies – including ammunition for main battle tanks, man-portable air defense systems, as well as Israeli-made Heron surveillance drones — with each contract capped at 5 billion Indian rupees. Increasing the ceiling on the number of days the Indian military is required to be prepared to fight for – from 10 to 15 – implies that the emergency budgetary allocations approved in July will now most likely be utilized.

Huawei, HONOR, and China’s Evolving State Capitalist Tool Kit

In an era of budding strategic competition between China and the United States, a recent transaction involving the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei illustrates the networked strengths of China’s economic model and the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to guide public and private firms in pursuit of national strategic objectives.

Huawei’s recent sale of its HONOR line of smartphones to a nominally private company was framed in company announcements as a “market-based” transaction jointly initiated by HONOR’s private distributors. A closer look into the transaction, however, suggests that state-backed investors stepped in as an “investor of first resort,” alongside some private investors, to rescue the HONOR brand from ongoing U.S. sanctions. The HONOR divestment illustrates the unique interconnected nature of China’s economy and the ability of the Party-state to surreptitiously direct key enterprises to work together in service to the greater good.

As an incoming Biden administration reconsiders the bilateral relationship, it must take into account Beijing’s unique state capitalist tool kit, which gives China the ability to use both formal and informal control mechanisms to direct economic activity and, where necessary, avoid or blunt the impact of external restrictions imposed by the United States and other foreign parties.

How China’s Communist Party trains foreign politicians

In early december Xi Jinping, China’s leader, declared that the Communist Party had met a self-imposed deadline. Extreme poverty (defined as earning a bit more than $1 a day) has been eradicated from China. Naturally, the party is keen to tell others about its success in fighting penury. In October it hosted a mostly-virtual two-day seminar on the subject for nearly 400 people from more than 100 countries. Participants quoted by official media gushed praise for China’s progress. But the gathering was not just about uplifting the needy. It was also aimed at showing off China’s political model.

In the West, recent coverage of China’s diplomacy has been dominated by talk of how aggressive it has become. Some of its diplomats have been dubbed “wolf warriors” because of their habit of snarling at foreign critics (the label refers to the title of a jingoistic Chinese film). To non-Western audiences, by contrast, Chinese officials are speaking more softly. They preach the virtues of a form of governance that they believe is making China rich and can help other countries, too. Some welcome this message, even in multiparty democracies. At the poverty-alleviation forum, the secretary-general of Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party, Raphael Tuju, was quoted as saying that China’s Communist Party should be an example for his own.

PLA border patrol unit in Tibet using new exoskeleton system

by Gabriel Dominguez

Chinese broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) revealed in a 9 December report that a new, locally developed exoskeleton system is being used by at least one People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) border defence unit in Tibet.

A still from CCTV footage released on 9 December showing members of a PLAGF patrol unit in Tibet putting on recently delivered exoskeleton systems. (CCTV)

Footage released by the state-owned media outlet showed members of a unit in Ngari Prefecture putting on the unpowered exoskeletons and conducting patrols at an altitude of 5,000 m above sea level while carrying backpacks, each of which weighed about 20 kg, according to CCTV.

The broadcaster reported that this particular exoskeleton – the designation of which was not disclosed – is aimed at helping soldiers carry out tasks more efficiently in “harsh, high-altitude environments” and quoted one of the soldiers as saying that the weight of the backpacks is transferred to the frames of the exoskeleton instead of the user’s legs.

CCTV reported that exoskeletons were also recently used by soldiers attached to the PLA’s Xinjiang Military Command as part of a supply delivery mission, during which each of them carried 20 kg of food and water supplies in their backpacks. It is unclear, however, whether these soldiers used the same type of exoskeleton.

South China Sea: US warned Beijing of 'major military breakthrough' in bid to secure area


The US and Beijing have been embroiled in a war of words over the South China Sea for years, and more recently major fears of conflict over the area, dubbed the most expensive waters in the world, have arisen. Should conflict occur, the US says it will be ready as it begins to use drones to work alongside unmanned technology to help its combat scenarios from 2021. The importance of its inclusion was raised by Rear Admiral Robert Gaucher, a director of maritime headquarters with US Pacific Fleet.

He said: “We’re shooting for early 2021 to be able to run a fleet battle problem that is centred on unmanned [technology].

“It will be on the sea, above the sea and under the sea as we get to demonstrate how we can align to the [U.S. Indo-Pacific Command] directives to use experimentation to drive lethality."

The decision has been hailed as a "major breakthrough" for the US, according to Eurasiantimes.com.Training operations routinely occur in the waters, by all nations who lay claim to the region.

Tracing the Chinese Footprints in Kazakhstan’s Oil and Gas Industry

By Niva Yau

In the long term, Kazakhstan is the most important partner for China’s strategic priority to shift trade and energy dependence from sea to land. Both sides are enthusiastic about deepening cooperation, especially in trade. But an overwhelming amount of this economic cooperation surrounds the Kazakh energy industry, and it is fragile.

From 1992 to 2013, bilateral trade between China and Kazakhstan grew steadily – from $368 million in 1992 to $3.3 billion in 2003 and $28.5 billion in 2013. Then, it collapsed. Between 2013 and 2019, bilateral trade between China and Kazakhstan fell by 23 percent to $21.8 billion. In 2016, total bilateral trade was at $13 billion, the lowest between China and Kazakhstan in a decade. 

The energy trade was particularly sensitive to two factors during this period: the Chinese economic downturn and the crash of the Kazakh tenge.

First, in 2014, when China released its slowest economic growth figures in 24 years, there was a sharp decrease of oil imports from Kazakhstan. According to data reported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, from 1997 to 2013, China’s oil imports from Kazakhstan experienced substantial growth – from 45,000 tons in 1997 to over 1 million tons in 2002, peaking at 11.98 million tons in 2013 (4.25 percent of China’s total oil imports that year). The figure fell to 5.68 million tons in 2014, 4.99 million tons in 2015, and 3.23 million tons in 2016 (1.84 percent, 1.49 percent, and 0.85 percent of China’s total oil imports respectively). 

Hot Issue – Is the War in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Ending or Only Just Beginning?

By: Michael Horton

On November 28, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali declared victory in his government’s three- week-long war against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (al-Jazeera, November 28). Abiy’s declaration followed the seizure by federal troops of Mekelle, which is the capital city of Ethiopia’s Tigray region (Nazret, November 28; Ethiopian News Agency, December 3). The fight for Mekelle, a city of over a half a million, was quickly concluded as TPLF troops carried out a strategic withdrawal from the city. The TPLF, which commands at least 100,000 fighters and possesses an abundance of heavy weaponry, could have fought to retain control of what has long been their seat of power. [1] Instead, they chose to retreat to the surrounding mountains.

This strategic retreat and the TPLF’s long and storied history as skilled guerrilla fighters does not bode well for Prime Minister Abiy’s hasty declaration of victory. Until 2018, the TPLF was the dominant political power in Ethiopia and has governed much of the Tigray region since its rise to prominence in the late 1970s. The armed forces loyal to the TPLF include many of Ethiopia’s most experienced and well-trained officers, NCOs, and enlisted men and women. The TPLF, which oversaw Ethiopia’s brutally efficient internal security service during its time as the country’s preeminent political party (1991-2018), can also draw on hundreds of well-trained intelligence officers and agents.

In addition to its thousands of soldiers, the TPLF has long had access to heavy and medium weaponry dating from its time as the predominant political power. For the three decades in which it dominated Ethiopian politics, the TPLF leadership made sure that ethnic Tigrayan troops received the best weapons and training. While there was an ethnic component to these efforts, the Tigray region shares a border with Eritrea. When the TPLF controlled Ethiopia, it oversaw a costly two-year long war (1998-2000) with Eritrea in which Tigrayan officers held many of the senior commands.

The Future of Peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan Requires a Major Revision of Approaches

by Farid Shafiyev

On Nov. 10, 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire agreement, mediated by Russia, that ended what can now be recognized as the Second Karabakh War. Azerbaijan liberated the strategic city of Shusha in the heart of the Nagorno-Karabakh region as well as seven Armenian-occupied adjacent regions. Russia deployed peacekeeping troops inside Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin Corridor, which connects the region with Armenia. Azerbaijan also secured, on paper at least, a corridor between Azerbaijan’s main territory and its Nakhichevan autonomous region. With this agreement, the almost thirty-year-long occupation of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, reconfirmed by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993, ended. However, further diplomatic efforts, both between Armenia and Azerbaijan and involving other international actors, will be required to create a durable peace.

While there has been a plethora of articles in the Western media about the geopolitical consequences of this conflict, mainly focusing on the roles of Russia and Turkey, the overwhelming majority of journalists and experts have concentrated on profiling the interests of the regional powers or the Western bloc, rather than discussing what might constitute a sustainable peace in the South Caucasus. To be overlooked—owing to religious and cultural bias, historical predispositions, and geopolitical interests—has been the fate of both the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples, who have suffered from ethnic cleansing and the losses of war.

Mediterranean security lies in Europe's hands


"We had the deal with Turkey on the table, ready to sign", assures an advisor from the German chancellery. "But then Greece and Egypt struck their maritime deal and it all fell apart".

German diplomacy is working extra hours these days as exhaustion floods European capitals over the stalled question of how to get out of the gridlock with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.

At the European Council on Thursday and Friday (10-11 December), theoretically meant as a deadline for Turkey to show some good will, European leaders will discuss sanctions, although heavy measures are unlikely.

A comprehensive incentive package including modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union, offered to Turkey on 1 October but ultimately rejected by Ankara, was seen in Europe as a wide-open door for Turkey which Ankara was unable to appreciate then, and which Europeans now seem unwilling to repeat.

Current EU and Nato efforts focus on de-escalation and de-confliction between Greece and Turkey.

The Closing Window for Angela Merkel and Joe Biden


Since becoming German chancellor back in November 2005, Angela Merkel has seen three American presidents go. This will not be the case with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office in January 2021.

Because Germany is Europe’s most important country and Merkel its most important leader, Biden’s team doesn’t have much time to tackle some thorny issues with her. The chancellor will likely leave office about nine months after Biden enters the White House. Before then, on December 31, 2020, Merkel will have ended her last six-month stint as the EU’s rotating president.

It has been six months plagued by the coronavirus pandemic (literally), by Hungary and Poland’s toxic blackmail to stop the introduction of a rule-of-law mechanism by blocking EU funds designed to support member states hard hit by the virus, and by Brexit negotiations swamped in London by infighting in UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

The next six months could provide Merkel with more headaches. Much will depend on Biden’s approach to Europe in general and Germany in particular.

Unlike the outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, who had only disdain for the European Union, a particular dislike for Merkel, and delight over Brexit, Biden is the opposite.

This Is the Test of Our Lifetimes

By Nicholas Kristof

This should be a season of hope: We will shortly be getting a highly effective coronavirus vaccine, and the pandemic should wind down in the coming months.

More Americans have died from Covid-19 in nine months than in combat over four years in World War II. The virus death toll exceeds 292,000, compared with 291,557 American World War II battle deaths.

We’re sometimes now losing more Americans from the virus in a single day than perished in the Pearl Harbor attacks or 9/11. But contrary to viral memes floating around the internet, the virus is not creating the “deadliest days” in American history: In October 1918, in a much smaller population, more than 6,000 Americans died of the Spanish flu on average each day for the entire month.

If American states were treated as countries, the places with the highest per capita coronavirus death rates would be: Slovenia, South Dakota, North Dakota, Bulgaria, Iowa, Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Illinois, North Macedonia, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, San Marino.

A pandemic is a test of a country’s governance, and this is one the United States has failed. Much of that is on President Trump’s colossal failure of leadership, but it also reflects a deeper skepticism about science and a proclivity toward personal irresponsibility — such as refusing to wear masks.

The Future of NATO

By Shayan Karbassi 

President-elect Joe Biden will face several foreign policy challenges come January. Amid the myriad issues, the former vice president has consistently prioritized his desire to reaffirm the United States’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). For its part, NATO has already announced its plans to seek an early summit with the Biden administration shortly after inauguration to review potential proposals to reform the alliance. The agenda will probably also include NATO efforts to coordinate its policies in the aftermath of the Pentagon’s recent announcements that the U.S. would be withdrawing forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the expedited drawdowns could be dangerous to NATO troops left behind in those countries. 

NATO has faced several external challenges in recent years. These challenges have been exacerbated and invited by President Trump’s threats to withdraw the United States from the treaty and his perception that the organization is of little strategic value. To both NATO allies and adversaries alike, the Trump administration’s threats have gone beyond rhetoric and have revealed the potential that the United States could walk away from the organization that it helped create. For instance, Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, echoed this sentiment, warning that Trump would likely formally withdraw the United States from the treaty in a second term. (Jack Goldsmith and Curtis Bradley previously analyzed the constitutional issues surrounding executive power and unilateral withdrawal from NATO.)

Adversaries like Russia have taken advantage of the alliance’s internal fault lines. Russia continues to sow doubts about the U.S. commitment to the alliance and has taken increasingly provocative military actions in Europe and the Middle East in order to test NATO’s limits. Beyond the familiar struggle between NATO and Russia, the Trump administration’s approach has sparked doubts that have also revealed an internal problem: a divergence in long-term security needs among the treaty partners. Specifically, Turkey has charted an independent course and Europe has simultaneously begun to fear its reliance on the United States for its long-term security needs. These problems are not without precedent, but according to an internal NATO report about the alliance’s future and the Harvard Belfer Center, these trends have each been influenced, at least in part, by a perceived lack of direction from the United States. 

Global Security Forum 2020: A New Era for U.S. Alliances

The U.S.-led system of alliances is more important than ever. Global cooperation with U.S. leadership has long undertaken responsibility for economic stability, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and prevention of large-scale violent conflict. In 2020, as the country prepares to transition from the Trump presidency to a new Joseph R. Biden, Jr. administration, that list of responsibilities now includes managing a global pandemic while reinvigorating the power of American values in competition with an increasingly coercive China. The United States will need allies, partners, and friends as it wrestles with a changing international order; more capable and numerous rivals; and mounting challenges to human security at home and abroad.

The 2020 Global Security Forum workshop convened a bipartisan group of 60 leading national security experts to examine how best to adapt the U.S.-led alliance system to meet this new era of complex challenges. Experts considered three distinct, difficult scenarios set in hypothetical futures between 2024 and 2030. They examined the relative alignment of U.S. and allied interests in these plausible “worlds” and recommended steps that could be taken today to strengthen future alliance cohesion, capability, and capacity.

This report is made possible by the generous support of Leonardo DRS. DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Russian Prepares for Total War With the West

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

According to the pro-Kremlin pollster FOM, the majority of Russians (53 percent) consider the threat of nuclear war “real,” with most believing the main threat is coming from the United States. Some 39 percent of Russians do not believe in an impending nuclear war with the West. But in the age bracket from 46 to 60 years old, some 63 percent of Russians consider the threat of nuclear war both real and imminent (Gazeta.ru, December 7). Since Russia’s forcible takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated and, today, remain about as frigid as they were during most of the Cold War. Of course, the actual beginning of the confrontation dates back much further. Notably, President Vladimir Putin delivered his infamously combative speech at the February 2007 Munich Security Conference, where he spelled out his vision of the US and its allies as a hostile force bent on undermining Russia and its deserved place in the world. It took years for Washington to acknowledge that Putin was serious and not just engaging in a public relations stunt for internal consumption. Russian rulers are, indeed, quite convinced that only by deploying superior conventional and nuclear military forces, can Russia deter or at least survive a looming all-out war with the US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies.

In the run-up to the November 3, 2020, US presidential elections, Moscow and Washington attempted to agree to a last-minute prolongation of the New START strategic nuclear arms control treaty, scheduled to expire on February 5, 2021. The deal would have involved also signing a supplementary political declaration that both sides freeze all nuclear weapons, including those not covered by New START, as well as pledge to begin new ambitious arms control negotiations that, the US insisted, would have to include China. This effort failed, with both parties blaming the other. The main US negotiator in the collapsed New START prolongation effort—Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Ambassador Marshall Billingslea—reportedly called on “future US administrations” not to prolong the strategic arms control treaty without a verifiable “freeze” of non-strategic nuclear weapons or without China becoming involved in further arms limitation talks. Moscow has agreed, in principle, to declare a one-year nuclear pause but without verification, and it has avoided calling for the inclusion of China in any future negotiations without Beijing’s consent, which is not forthcoming (Militarynews.ru, December 9).

What Can Coronavirus Teach Us about Satellite Defense in Outer Space

by Brian G. Chow

In today’s world, everyone is well aware of the commonsensical measures against coronavirus: physical distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccination. Yet another threat that can quickly turn into a war on Earth is emerging. Interestingly, the same protective ideas we deploy against coronavirus are equally effective to counter this proximity threat from dual-use rendezvous and proximity operations (RPOs) in outer space.

China since 2008 and Russia since 2014 have conducted multiple months- or even years-long tests of RPOs in space. Both countries have shown that their RPO spacecraft can maneuver close enough to reach other satellites. Moreover, China, Russia, and the United States have used these spacecraft for close inspections of other satellites and/or, in the next few years, will deploy them with robotic arms to refuel, repair, upgrade and transport other satellites or to remove space debris.

On the other hand, international law has remained woefully behind the times in its complacency regarding potential malevolence when spacecraft of one country stay arbitrarily close to another country’s satellites. With little warning, these spacecraft in such close range can move in before defenses can be activated. An adversary’s RPO spacecraft can use their robotic arms to push satellites out of orbit or bend antennae and dent solar panels to disable these satellites while creating little or no space debris. In comparison, satellite destruction by far more familiar ground-based antisatellite (ASAT) missiles generates orbital obstacles in space traffic for all countries. Here is a way for an adversary to target U.S. satellites without affecting others, including itself.

Infographic Of The Day: The Most Populous Countries In The World

Today's infographic is an overview of the global population in 2020, showing us the world's most populous countries.

Offensively Realist? Evaluating Trump’s Economic Policy Towards China

Steph Coulter

Riding to the White House on a wave of populist fervour and promising policies that put “America First”, Donald Trump’s election presented a massive challenge to the liberal internationalism that had defined US foreign policy since World War Two (Ikenberry et al, 2018, p.1). High-profile campaign promises such as being tougher on NATO free-riders, avoiding expensive endeavours in the Middle East and restoring equity with regards to Sino-US trade were self-proclaimed as “rational” (NY Times, 2016) and ostensibly embodied the realist IR tradition that places self-help as the raison d’être of states operating under conditions of international anarchy (Mearsheimer, 2014, pp.30-31). However, to what extent President Trump’s foreign policy has reflected realism is a matter of debate amongst scholars in the field. Randall Schweller sees Trump’s policies as based on a worldview that is “fundamentally realist in nature” (2018a, p.134), whereas others have criticised his haphazard policies as anathema to a pragmatic, realist approach (McGurk, 2019; Walt, 2017). In this essay, I seek to add to this debate by analysing Trump’s foreign economic policy through the prism of offensive realism, one of the most popular theories of international politics. I will specifically examine two key Trump policies; his initiation of a trade war with China and his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). By doing so, I will demonstrate that the Trump administration’s economic policy towards China cannot be considered realist. Before beginning my analysis, I will briefly elaborate on the link between offensive realism and foreign policy.

Offensive Realism and Foreign Policy

Offensive realism is a recent addition to the realist IR tradition, distinguishing itself from classical realism and defensive realism (Telbami, 2002, p.158). Unfortunately, I cannot offer a detailed analysis of the debate that rages between realist scholars, though it is important to note that offensive realism is one type of realism, not the type of realism (Kirshner, 2010, p.53). Therefore, it is entirely plausible that Trump’s policies could be considered realist when assessed using a different variant of realism- indeed scholars have endeavoured to make this case (see Schweller, 2018). Nonetheless, the scale of this essay is restricted to analysing Trump’s policies through the prism of offensive realism and concludes on these grounds that Trump cannot be considered a realist.

Opinion – Are American Policies towards China a Path to Technological Bipolarity?

Mohid Iftikhar and James F. Downes

The recent decline of American political influence across regional geopolitical systems alongside its populist nationalism under President Trump has pushed the US-China technological conflict on a path towards tech-commercial bipolarity. According to Francis Fukuyama, the rise of populism within the United States (US) under President Donald Trump led to the emergence of increasingly inward-looking policies; anti-immigration, protectionist-mercantilist, controls over the press alongside institutional deterioration. Furthermore, systemic factors such as the onset of financial crises in 2007, Russia’s outward strategies in Eastern Europe, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Brexit, and more recently the COVID-19 have created both opportunities and constraints in regional geopolitical systems such as South Asia, Southeast Asia, the EU as well as Eastern Europe. For the developing states within regional geopolitical systems infrastructure, especially in the tech-commercial realm, remains of cardinal importance. For example, according to the estimates by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): ‘Despite the rising importance of digital economy, Digital Infrastructure financing gap in Asia is growing significantly, estimated to reach $512 billion by 2040.’

The vitality of tech-commercialism not only means that developing states will be integrated into a globalized world, but it also adheres to self-sufficiency where limited resources must be utilized optimally. For example, high-tech manufacturing, artificial intelligence, contemporary telecommunication systems, big data science, affordable hardware, signify essential economic needs. That is because numerous industries today such as education, medicine, research, banking, consulting, logistics and construction among others increasingly rely on a changing modus operandi, where technological innovation has become a key influence. Furthermore, the US, Japan, China, and the EU rely on developing states for technological innovation and technology transfer in order to meet the demand from the evolving global tech-commercialism.

Russian Nationalism (Imperialism) and Ukrainian Nationalism

Taras Kuzio

European orientalism portrayed the ‘White Man’s Burden’ as the bringing of ‘civilisation’ and enlightenment to colonies. Meanwhile, the nationalisms of colonial peoples were depicted in highly negative ways, and their national liberation struggles were considered ‘treacherous’ and acts of ‘terrorism.’ An orientalist view of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ nationalisms (imperialism) is used by Western scholars when writing about the Russian-Ukrainian War. With a few exceptions (see Harris 2020), Russian nationalist involvement in the war is dismissed, completely ignored (see Clarke 2014, 50; Matveeva 2018, 182, 218, 221, 223, 224, 277), or downplayed as a temporary phenomenon (Kolsto 2016a, 6; Hale 2016, 246; Laurelle 2020a). Russian nationalists (imperialists), anti-Semites, and xenophobes, such as Aleksandr Dugin (2014), Vladyslav Surkov (2020), and Glazyev (2020), were leading figures in the 2014 ‘Russian spring’ and ‘New Russia’ (see Likhachev 2016; Laruelle 2016a; Shekhovtsov 2017). Russian chauvinistic views of Ukraine and Ukrainians did not end in 2015–2016, and therefore it is unclear how Putin’s regime became less nationalistic after this date (Hale 2016; Laruelle 2020a). Since 2014, the Russian regime has become more nationalistic and chauvinistic, while nationalism in Ukraine has become more civic, and yet some western writing on Ukraine and Russia since 2014 gives the opposite impression.

This chapter is divided into five sections. The first section surveys how Russian nationalism (imperialism) is downplayed, minimised, or described as a temporary phenomenon. The second section analyses how western writing exaggerates the influence and evil nature of Ukrainian nationalism. The third section provides a historical comparison of why both Stalin and Putin had obsessions towards Ukraine and Ukrainians. The final two sections provide evidence of the rehabilitation of Tsarist and White émigré nationalism (imperialism), and how this influences chauvinistic views of Ukraine and Ukrainians in official discourse, diplomatic relations, military aggression, and Russian information warfare.

In Search of Russian Nationalism (Imperialism)

Air University Press

Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Winter 2020, v. 3, no. 4

戰略競爭?—Strategic Competition?

Risks and Benefits of Autonomous Weapon Systems: Perceptions among Future Australian Defence Force Officers

India and the Quadrilateral Forum as a Means of US Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

Japan Cancels Aegis Ashore: Reasons, Consequences, and International Implications

Lassoing the Haboob: Countering Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin in Mali, Part I

Lassoing the Haboob: Countering Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin in Mali, Part II

A Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan: Pipedream or Path to Stability?

Path to Nuclear Weapons: Balancing Deterrence, Preemption, and Defense for South Korea

Stout Pilots and Aircraft: Air Transport in the 1944 Burma–India Campaigns

Penetrating Artificial Intelligence–enhanced Antiaccess/Area Denial: A Challenge for Tomorrow’s Pacific Air Forces

Indonesia: Lessons for the US–China Geo-economic Competition

Sticks and Stones: Nuclear Deterrence and Conventional Conflict

A War by Words: Language and Cultural Understanding in the Age of Information Warfare

Space Entanglements: The India–Pakistan Rivalry and a US–China Security Dilemma

Russian Hackers Broke Into Federal Agencies, U.S. Officials Suspect

By David E. Sanger

The Trump administration acknowledged on Sunday that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government — almost certainly a Russian intelligence agency, according to federal and private experts — broke into a range of key government networks, including in the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and had free access to their email systems.

Officials said a hunt was on to determine if other parts of the government had been affected by what looked to be one of the most sophisticated, and perhaps among the largest, attacks on federal systems in the past five years. Several said national security-related agencies were also targeted, though it was not clear whether the systems contained highly classified material.

The Trump administration said little in public about the hack, which suggested that while the government was worried about Russian intervention in the 2020 election, key agencies working for the administration — and unrelated to the election — were actually the subject of a sophisticated attack that they were unaware of until recent weeks.

“The United States government is aware of these reports, and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation,” John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement. The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, whose leader was fired by President Trump last month for declaring that there had been no widespread election fraud, said in a statement that it had been called in as well.

Welp, France Just Signed Off on Cyborg Soldiers


The upgrades could increase human performance and detection, as well as improve a soldier’s mental state and other military-related functions.

The clearance does come with some strings designed to protect the soldier’s individual rights.

A French military bioethics panel has cleared the development of technological upgrades for members of the armed forces. The panel says the French Armed Forces may develop and deploy technological augments in order to preserve the French military’s “operational superiority.”

➡ You love badass military tech. So do we. 

The news comes after U.S. intelligence officials announced China is conducting biological experiments to enhance the performance of People’s Liberation Army troops.

The panel has given permission for the French military to develop and deploy enhancements, that, according to CNN, improve the “physical, cognitive, perceptive and psychological capacities” of its soldiers. It could also develop “medical treatments to prevent pain, stress and fatigue, and substances that would improve mental resilience if a soldier were taken prisoner.”

Pentagon Trying to Manage Quantum Science Hype

By Jon Harper

Experts say quantum science could yield game-changing capabilities for the U.S. military. The Defense Department is faced with the double challenge of developing the complex technology while also managing the hype surrounding it.

Quantum science is the study of the smallest particles of matter and energy. Quantum information science builds on those principles to obtain and process information in nontraditional ways, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The basic element of quantum information systems is known as a qubit.

“The quantum world hosts a rich variety of physics that could enable functionality far beyond what traditional technologies can achieve,” the National Security Agency said in a press release. “By probing and manipulating phenomena that occur at the single particle scale, the emerging field of quantum information science (QIS) aims to create new forms of computing, sensing and communications that could revolutionize how we process and transmit data.”

The congressionally chartered, bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force highlighted the technology in its final report released in September.

“While still in the nascent stages of development, whoever establishes quantum supremacy will maintain tremendous strategic capability over their adversaries,” the study said.

How Artificial Intelligence Could Widen The Gap Between Rich And Poor Nations

by Cristian Alonso, Siddharth Kothari, and Sidra Rehman

New technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data, and networks are expected to revolutionize production processes, but they could also have a major impact on developing economies. The opportunities and potential sources of growth that, for example, the United States and China enjoyed during their early stages of economic development are remarkably different from what Cambodia and Tanzania are facing in today’s world.

Our recent staff research finds that new technology risks widening the gap between rich and poor countries by shifting more investment to advanced economies where automation is already established. This could in turn have negative consequences for jobs in developing countries by threatening to replace rather than complement their growing labor force, which has traditionally provided an advantage to less developed economies. To prevent this growing divergence, policymakers in developing economies will need to take actions to raise productivity and improve skills among workers.

Results from a model

Critical Security Studies Needs to Better Consider the Intricacies of Social Media

Joseph Downing and Richard Dron

Critical Security Studies has acknowledged how everyday practices, such as CCTV operation, have embedded security concerns increasingly in everyday life (Huysmans 2011). Social media has dramatically escalated this process, “democratising” the ability of the individual to “speak” security and become producers of the speech acts, so central to the elite centric work of the Copenhagen School (Buzan et al. 1997) and the generations of security scholars that they inspired. As we are ever more immersed in the social media age, it is ever more vital that critical security studies, and international relations more broadly, thoroughly and critically engages with theoretical and empirical challenges presented by the digital communications revolution.

This is especially important for the discursive turn in security studies since, while individuals still have little material control of the security environment, they increasingly have the ability to shape the security debate. The constructivist turn in security studies began with the elite centric Copenhagen School (Buzan et al. 1997). Here, elites competed to structure security debates and threats and move issues between emergency and non-emergency politics. However, the hierarchical nature of this work leaves little room for understanding how “non-elites” discuss, redefine and contest security narratives. Thus, the Copenhagen school cannot offer a conceptualisation of how constructivist notions of security apply outside of the context of the elite.

A contemporary response has been vernacular security studies (Bubandt 2005; Jarvis 2019) which consider the voice of non-elite actors within security debates. This brings “lay” actors into the equation, offering insights into how security is constructed through local idioms. This, however, does not allow for a conceptualisation of the tension between the democratised landscape of social media which is also replete with hierarchies of influence. Thus, while social media provides important insight into vernacular security speak, it is not completely “flat” and some vernacular speak becomes “more equal” than others. Social media presents constructivist security scholars with a theatre of study sitting somewhere between the “flat” plane of vernacular and hierarchical notions of the Copenhagen school in that, whilst anyone theoretically can “speak” security on social media, only a few will become influential doing so. This article contributes to understandings of constructivist security through analysing social media outputs to understand who is influential in the security debate and how. Working at the intersection of “flat” vernacular and “hierarchical” Copenhagen School understandings of security, it identifies mechanisms of security influencers’ rise to prominence, speaking to the reality of the social media landscape that renders security speak neither radically flat nor rigidly hierarchical. This enables incorporation of notions of non-elite actors speaking security in ways that enable novel theoretical insights for both schools of critical security.