19 May 2021

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

   Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)  

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

Afghanistan's Minorities Prepare for Battles Ahead

By Emily Stranger

As the United States draws up plans to leave Afghanistan, some factions inside the country are drawing up battle lines for the post-American phase. This includes the ethnic Hazaras, a Shiite minority that makes up an estimated 20% of the country's population. On April 13, pictures of Zulfiqar Omid, an Afghan politician once known for "his smiling eyes, bubbling laughter, and mastery of English," according to an unclassified Wikileaks report, began circulating across social media. In the photos, Omid is surrounded by dozens of men armed with a variety of assault rifles, their faces hidden behind shemagh scarves. A caption, allegedly written by Omid, claims that a second resistance militia has been created in central Afghanistan’s Daykundi province.

From all accounts, Omid’s force is an extension of the Hazara Resistance Front, an armed community defense militia that operates within the mountainous region of central Afghanistan known as Hazarajat. The group was originally formed to protect the region from the annual migration of Kuchi nomads into Hazara pasturelands. The decades-long feud results in annual bloodshed and is one of many internal conflicts that successive Afghan administrations have failed to resolve.

Can Imran Khan Change the Course of Saudi-Pakistani Relations?

By Niha Dagia

The decades-long relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is treading on thin ice. Riyadh is looking to diversify its oil-dependent economy by further engaging with other South Asian countries while Islamabad struggles to expand relations with its long-standing partner beyond security cooperation and cultural ties.

In the latest attempt to revive the relationship, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today for a three-day visit with Saudi leadership. Ahead of Khan, Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, reached Riyadh on Tuesday to lay the groundwork for a fresh start.

The Pakistani army’s media wing said Bajwa discussed regional security and bilateral defense, among other matters, in meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and others. Meanwhile, Tahir Ashrafi, Khan’s special aide on religious harmony, told Foreign Policy talks will cover a green deal; enhanced trade cooperation; and collaborations in media, information, and cultural exchange. He said they will also discuss a joint strategy against terrorism.

4 Dams on the Upper Mekong in Yunnan, China: 2011-2019

By Scott Ezell

These photos document the construction of four dams – from north to south, Wunonglong, Lidi, Tuoba, and Huangdeng (see map below) – along a 200-kilometer stretch of the upper Mekong in Yunnan, China, and the transformation of the river from a free-flowing current to a series of stagnant reservoirs. These hydropower projects are part of a larger transnational movement to build hundreds of dams on the Mekong and its tributaries, including the Nam Tha in Laos.

In 2011, I trekked along the upper Mekong from Deqen south through Tibetan and Lisu villages. The river was braided copper and bronze, churning between talus banks. Dams existed on the Mekong further south in Yunnan, but here it ran unimpeded. Construction of infrastructure and access roads for the dams had begun, however, and clouds of yellow dust rose up where earth machines raked open the valley walls.

In 2014, I walked and hitchhiked north along the Mekong starting from Yingpan, to document the dams’ construction. The river had been diverted so scaffoldings and concrete walls could be built across the riverbed, but it still flowed uninterrupted. The construction zones were remote from official security concerns and I passed freely through the area. Villages along the river were being evacuated, with local people forcibly resettled to long blocks of concrete barracks antithetical to the organic organization and architecture of traditional villages.

Leaked Chinese document reveals a sinister plan to ‘unleash’ coronaviruses

Riah Matthews Riahmatthews

A document written by Chinese scientists and Chinese public health officials in 2015 discussed the weaponisation of SARS coronavirus, reveals the Weekend Australian.

Titled The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, the paper predicted that World War Three would be fought with biological weapons.

Released five years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it describes SARS coronaviruses as a “new era of genetic weapons” that can be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.

Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), told news.com.au that the document is as close to a “smoking gun” as we’ve got.

“I think this is significant because it clearly shows that Chinese scientists were thinking about military application for different strains of the coronavirus and thinking about how it could be deployed,” said Mr Jennings.

“It begins to firm up the possibility that what we have here is the accidental release of a pathogen for military use,” added Mr Jennings.

Biden Wants to Replicate China’s Infrastructure Miracle

By Yukon Huang

In March, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a plan to invest more than $2 trillion in repairing and building new infrastructure in the United States. In his remarks to introduce what is ostensibly a domestic policy, however, Biden invoked a foreign-policy challenge—“global competition with China.” That makes sense; in a Washington where both parties are anxious about China’s rise, raising the specter of its dominance could build domestic support for his initiative.

China angst is not unique to Washington. India, Brazil, and other major emerging market economies dream of catching up with China, but their ambitions have been thwarted by overwhelmed urban services, antiquated transport systems, and inadequate power grids. For them, too, competing with China may mean investing in new infrastructure.

But Washington has another thing in common with these countries: the dilemma of how to pay for such investments. There is already much skepticism about the financial feasibility of Biden’s proposal, which he says may be paid for through higher capital gains tax rates, a new inheritance tax, and improvements in tax collection—all of which face either staunch opposition or hard limits of feasibility.

US-China infowar escalates as America deploys task force in battle for power and influence

Teddy Ng and Laura Zhou 

“Adversary use of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda poses one of today’s greatest challenges to the United States, not just to the Department of Defence,” says US defence official Christopher Maier. 

An information war over the Indo-Pacific region is expected to intensify with the US military’s decision to set up a task force aimed at stifling China’s influence and information operations.

Military and security analysts said the creation of the task force meant the United States was integrating military and non-military instruments of warfare to counter China.

The creation of the task force in the Pacific region was revealed by General Richard Clarke, commander of Special Operations Command, in a House Armed Services Committee meeting in March when he said the US needed to tamp down disinformation by China.

The task force would work with “like-minded partners” in the region, he said.

“By working closely with those partners to ensure that our adversaries, our competitors are not getting that free pass and to recognise what is truth from fiction and continue to highlight that, to using our intel communities, is critical,” Clarke was quoted by US-based military website C4ISRNET as saying.

Hamas tries to seize the day

Daniel L. Byman

The latest round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting began in Jerusalem, but it has spread throughout Israel and to Gaza. The bloodshed could become more intense, leading to another Israeli ground operation in Gaza and far more casualties than we’ve already seen. Even if Israel batters the Hamas leaders in Gaza into submission, the violence threatens to further weaken peaceful Palestinian voices, help Hamas overcome its many weaknesses, and create new rifts within the state of Israel.

The latest conflict grew out of threatened evictions of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem and was magnified after provocative Jewish settler marches through Arab areas of the city, with some marchers chanting “death to Arabs.” Violence spread to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, one of the holiest sites in Islam, and an Israeli police raid on the venerated mosque — including the use of stun grenades on worshipers demonstrating there — set off more demonstrations. At the same time, Israeli officials tried to deescalate, postponing the evictions and rerouting a potentially provocative parade by religious Jewish nationalists.

Things took a dramatic turn on Monday, when Hamas and another Islamist group, Palestine Islamic Jihad, sent massive salvos of rockets into Israel, firing them toward Jerusalem, with claims of defending the holy mosque and Palestinians there against Israeli aggression — the first rocket attacks on Jerusalem since 2014. Israel then responded with airstrikes on Gaza, which Palestinian health officials claim have killed 53 people, including 13 children, as of Wednesday afternoon. Hamas launched more rockets at Tel Aviv, as well as targets closer to Gaza, such as Ashkelon. Residents of cities targeted by the rockets are forced to hide in shelters and rocket attacks have killed seven Israelis, increasing pressure on the Israeli government to act. Arab citizens rioted in several Israeli cities and towns. In mixed Jewish-Arab cities, including Jaffa but especially Lod (Lydda) and Acre, communal violence not seen in decades included mobs attacking civilian homes, synagogues, and property, with vigilante violence and reprisals.

Biden in Yemen: When “End the War” Brings More Wars

Ahmed Nagi 

The decisions taken by the Biden administration to end the war in Yemen have ironically yielded the opposite effect: an unprecedented military escalation, more victims, and a worsening humanitarian crisis. This failed start raises the stakes in “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” If the US is serious about ending the war, it needs to immediately change its tactics; pursue evidence-based policies informed by dynamics on the ground; and balance its pressure on all warring parties, especially the Houthis who are the most resistant to accepting ceasefires. A successful policy is one that strives for enduring peace in Yemen. That will come about when the US goes local, prioritizing Yemen’s national interests.

The new administration’s Middle East foreign policy centered around Yemen from the outset. It announced in early February the end of US support for offensive operations by the Saudi-led coalition; a new US envoy to Yemen; and the removal of Ansarallah (commonly known as the Houthis) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations. These steps were meant to enhance the chances for a diplomatic solution; however, they do not reflect a careful reading of the fast-changing dynamics of the war. Rather, the steps prevented the US from influencing the Iran-supported Houthi militia. The US is gradually disengaging from the coalition while unintentionally offering incentives to the Houthis. That is how several Houthi leaders perceive the US steps ; emboldening them to expand their military action. Ultimately, the latest US decisions were an invitation to expand a war that recently entered its seventh year.

The Countdown to an Israeli War With Iran Has Begun

By John Hannah

A small army of top Israeli national security officials descended on Washington last week for their first in-person consultations with the Biden administration over its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal. Israel is adamantly opposed to the agreement, arguing that in exchange for a pause in Tehran’s nuclear program, it virtually guarantees that Iran can become a nuclear-weapons threshold state by the time the deal expires in 2030, while immediately funneling billions of dollars to a revolutionary regime single-mindedly focused not just on sowing aggression and terrorism across the Middle East but on the destruction of the Jewish state itself.

That’s not a risk that the Israelis are prepared to take lying down, as they’ve repeatedly made clear. If Washington’s strategy leaves Israel convinced that it faces a choice between fighting a much weakened Iran now or a much stronger Iran on a glide path to nuclear weapons a few years from now, no one should be surprised if Israel chooses the former. Though last week’s talks got almost no attention in the U.S. press, my impression from people familiar with the discussions is that the they may well mark the moment that the countdown to a new war in the Middle East began.

The Israeli delegation included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat; the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen; the chief intelligence officer of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gen. Tamir Hayman; and the air force general in charge of Israel’s Iran strategy, Tal Kelman. Together and separately, they held meetings with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CIA Director Bill Burns, and other senior U.S. officials. President Joe Biden himself dropped by Cohen’s White House meeting for an hourlong discussion.

The best defense? An alternative to all-out war or nothing


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is advocating an approach to national security that he calls integrated deterrence. It is designed to employ the full range of American capabilities, used either punitively or preventively, to persuade potential aggressors not to attack the United States or its core overseas interests.

Having argued for a similar concept — which I call indirect or asymmetric defense in a new book, “The Art of War in an Age of Peace: U.S. Grand Strategy and Resolute Restraint” (with equal emphasis on resoluteness and restraint) — I agree with Secretary Austin. The framework he advocates merits greater discussion and elucidation — and, most of all, action, especially in the non-military realms of national security policy.

Part of why the concept of integrated deterrence — including economic instruments of multiple types, as well as cyber, informational and diplomatic capabilities — is so important is this: A classic military invasion or large-scale attack by Russia or China seems far less likely than smaller, more limited and possibly "gray-area" aggression. We need credible responses where the punishment fits the crime, rather than imagining that the world’s greatest military would come quickly to the rescue by, for example, sinking China’s 350-ship navy in the opening days of battle over islands in the western Pacific, as some have implied we might do. And we need to worry about actions that might fall short of direct assaults on American treaty allies, such as a Chinese attack on Taiwan or an expanded Russian attack on Ukraine, that nonetheless would be unconscionable and impossible to ignore.

If Italy Fails, Then Europe Fails Too

Rachel Sanderson

Italy’s parliament has approved Mario Draghi’s 261 billion-euro ($315 billion) spending plan to resurrect the euro zone’s third-largest economy from the ruins of the pandemic. Now comes the hard part: Implementing the tough structural reforms Italy needs to drive growth and rebalance public accounts, and convincing Italians it’s the right path.

Failure to do so would consign Italy to decline and blight the European Union’s plans for further fiscal integration.

Draghi evoked the ghosts of the statesmen of Italy’s postwar reconstruction as he laid out his 273-page spending and reform plan to parliament this week. A comparison with Italy’s ravaged economy after World War II isn’t far-fetched. The country’s gross domestic product shrank 8.9% last year, compared with a 6.2% decline for the EU on average. More than 120,000 Italians have died from Covid-19, the greatest loss of life in the bloc from the virus.

The pandemic also hit Italy’s already dwindling birth rate. There were fewer babies born there last year than at any time since unification. Almost 10% of the population lives in absolute poverty.

What’s more, the virus struck Italy when its economy still hadn’t recovered from the financial crisis, the only EU country to fail to do so. From 1999 to 2019, Italy’s GDP expanded by 7.9%, compared with growth of between 30% and 45% for Germany, France and Spain. Its economic productivity shrank 6.2% between 2001 and 2019, while elsewhere in Europe it grew. Adding to the sense of Italy being locked in the middle of the last century, it has Europe’s lowest representation of women in the workforce, at 53%.

The Greening of Geopolitics

By Kamran Bokhari

Geopolitics is a concept that is often invoked. Yet seldom does one find a serious piece of work that advances the conversation on the topic. Books on what an old colleague of mine refers to as ‘applied geopolitics’ are even harder to come by. Hence my state of elation when I discovered Alexander V. Mirtchev’s The Prologue: The Alternative Energy Megatrend in the Age of Great Power Competition.

In this seminal work on the planetary scale of 21st century security challenges, Mirtchev makes brilliant use of a new conceptual prism that he calls the “alternative energy megatrend.” Using this construct as a guide, Mirtchev traces the geopolitical combinations likely to emerge in the coming decades. Much has been written about the multipolarity that is coming to characterize the international system. Until now, however, no one has been able to systematically explain the emergence of a multicentric world order catalyzed by the human quest for alternative energy.

Mirtchev unpacks the growing complexity of international relations in which states are joined by a broad range of non-state actors. The latter include intergovernmental institutions, NGOs, multinational corporations, organized crime syndicates and terrorist entities. These players expand the spaces in which power can be projected and the ways in which it is used. The quest to unlock and exploit the energy sources of the future connects with this growing complexity to upend global balances of power. In the geopolitics to come, foreign policy is no longer just about states trying to maintain territorial integrity. These non-state actors, unlimited by borders, are redefining what national and even international security means through the advancement of a "green creed" and the creation of new global norms about the need for alternative energy sources.

Trump’s Facebook Ban Won’t Stop Conservative Disinformation


On May 5, 2021, Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the company’s decision to suspend former president Donald Trump from the platform. But the board also admonished Facebook for imposing an “indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” and directed the platform to review its decision and come up with a proportionate response within six months. The good news is that Trump remains deplatformed from Facebook, an outcome that seemed doubtful given the board’s inclination to uphold free speech rights at the expense of other interests such as public safety or blocking offensive speech against minorities. Instead, the board emphasized contextual factors in rendering its decision—a position I argued for back in February 2021. The bad news is that the process is not finished. The board merely kicked the can down the road for another six months; it is possible that Trump may yet return to Facebook.

But even if Facebook’s ban on Trump holds, it would be a mistake to assume this will have a lasting impact on reducing conservative disinformation in the United States. If anything, violent and conspiratorial conservative voices have proven to be deeply rooted and highly resilient online. While Trump’s deplatforming has helped tamp down some of the rhetoric responsible for fueling the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection, divisive conservative voices continue to dominate Facebook. On the same day that the board upheld Trump’s ban, nine of the top ten shared posts came from polarizing right-wing commentators and outlets such as Dan Bongino, Ben Shapiro, Sean Hannity, ForAmerica, and Fox News. It’s fair to ask, if banning Trump won’t stop the spread of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and violent speech emanating from conservative sources, what actions will? It’s useful to think through a few components of this problem.


Trump Abused the System. Facebook Created It

"IT IS ONLY too typical that the ‘content’ of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.” So said the awesomely gonzo communication theorist Marshall McLuhan some 57 years ago.

What McLuhan meant was that, in a discourse dominated by electronic media, we fret over individual utterances far too much, while ignoring the communications systems in which those utterances live.

This week, McLuhan’s famous observation came off mothballs and found supremely practical application when the Facebook Oversight Board, the panel of experts appointed by Facebook, Inc., decided to extend restrictions on Donald Trump’s use of Facebook and Instagram, giving Facebook six months to figure out “a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules” of the platform.

At this point, who really cares? The former president’s damage is done, and even with him benched, Facebook is filled with insidious disinformation, dissimulation and masquerade of every kind, hate speech, and defamation and harassment amounting to a range of torts.

Climate Debt: A Model for Indigenous Latin American Self-determination?

Danielle Santos

This content was originally written for an undergraduate or Master's program. It is published as part of our mission to showcase peer-leading papers written by students during their studies. This work can be used for background reading and research, but should not be cited as an expert source or used in place of scholarly articles/books.

The exploitation of the environment has always been closely tied to movement of global capital (Wright and Nyberg 2015:98). The issue of sustainable development has become central to understanding the contemporary global political economy (GPE), however this debate has largely been predicated on the assumptions of neoliberal, colonial-centric constructions of the problem (Okereke 2007:4). This means the solutions proposed have been focussed on a top-down approach to climate policy that protects the hierarchical status quo, which decontextualises the historical processes that have led to climate change (Parks and Roberts 2010:148). Climate debt offers a counter-hegemonic framework that addresses the gross power imbalances that have been cultivated by a global political economic system reliant on the exploitation of Indigenous land and resources (Warlenius 2018:138).

Latin America provides an especially relevant context for the implications of a climate debt scheme given its historically high levels of foreign debt and its significant contributions to the global export of natural resources (Perreault 2018:423) at the cost of the region’s biodiversity and Indigenous peoples (Fletcher 2018:409). The first section of my essay will be characterising the disproportionate harm experienced by Indigenous Latinx peoples due to climate change and situating this harm historically to colonialist state-building. I will then go on to explore models for instituting a climate debt scheme as it relates to the theoretical foundations of counter-hegemonic world systems theory. Finally, I will analyse the possible implications of a climate debt scheme for Indigenous Latin Americans.

When central banks issue digital money

Will banks survive the transition to a new monetary system?

Eagle-eyed beachcombers may recognise the round white shells etched with a five-petal flower. These erstwhile homes of sea urchins resemble a silver dollar, earning them the nickname “sand dollars” and the myth that they are the money of mermaids or the long-lost city of Atlantis. They pile up on the shores of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, so its central bank picked the sand dollar as its logo. In October 2020, when the Bahamas launched the world’s first central-bank digital currency (cbdc), the authorities chose to adorn the app with the familiar floral pattern and call it the sand dollar.

cbdcs are a digital version of cash—the physical money issued by central banks. In most countries, their design will resemble existing online platforms, but with a difference: money held as a cbdc is equivalent to a deposit with the central bank. In China more than 100,000 people have downloaded a similar trial mobile-phone app, enabling them to spend small government handouts of digital cash, or “e-yuan”. The app, like the paper yuan, depicts Mao Zedong. European officials want to launch a digital euro by 2025. On April 19th the Bank of England and the British Treasury launched a taskforce to consider the idea. In America the Fed is also looking into it. A survey by the Bank for International Settlements finds a large majority of central banks researching or experimenting with cbdcs. They may be in use by countries with a fifth of the world’s population in as little as three years’ time.

Ransomware Attack Shuts Down Biggest U.S. Gasoline Pipeline

Mike Jeffers and William Turton

(Bloomberg) -- The operator of the biggest gasoline pipeline in the U.S. shut down operations late Friday following a ransomware attack that threatens to roil energy markets and upend the supply of gas and diesel to the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline said in a statement Saturday that it “proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.” It’s working to get business back to normal.

The cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. said its Mandiant incident response division is assisting with the investigation. President Joe Biden, who’s spending the weekend at Camp David, was briefed on the incident Saturday morning, the White House said.

Colonial is a key artery for the eastern half of the U.S. It’s the main source of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for the East Coast with capacity of about 2.5 million barrels a day on its system from Houston as far as North Carolina, and another 900,000 barrels a day to New York.

The attack appeared to use a ransomware group called DarkSide, according to Allan Liska, senior threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

Hacking threats to critical infrastructure have been growing, prompting the White House to respond last month with a plan to try to increase the security of utilities and their suppliers. Pipelines are a specific concern because they play a central role in so many parts of the U.S. economy.

The latest attack comes as the nation’s energy industry gears up for summer travel and stronger fuel demand as pandemic economic restrictions are eased. It’s also an unpleasant reminder of how a cyber-attack brought down the communications systems of several U.S. natural gas pipelines operators in 2018.

Can Biden’s Vaccine Patent Waiver End the Pandemic?

By Michael Hirsh

U.S. President Joe Biden is winning widespread praise from health experts for endorsing a six-month-old proposal to waive the pharmaceutical industry’s intellectual property (IP) rights on COVID-19 vaccines. But several questions remain, including how quickly Wednesday’s decision will translate to more vaccines in the developing world and whether other rich countries will join the United States in supporting Biden’s plan.

One critical issue is how many people around the world will die before negotiations—which can take months—are finished and the necessary technology and production capacity is transferred to those in need. India, which has been worst hit by a new surge of the coronavirus, has again broken the record for the highest daily number of new cases, with 412,262 new infections reported in the past 24 hours.

The U.S. announcement was narrowly focused on intellectual property rights for vaccines without reference to patent waivers on other medical tools, including treatments, personal protective equipment, and testing kits, as called for in the original proposal made by India and South Africa last October at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“On the ground in India, there’s an urgent need not only for vaccines but for treatment and testing, even oxygen,” said Priti Krishtel, co-founder of I-MAK, a major advocacy group supporting wider access to medicines. “There are still IP barriers in all these areas. Manufacturers want to be freed from worry about being sued for infringement on patents, trade secrets, and clinical trial data, and governments want to feel they are not being threatened with trade sanctions. They are not yet assured of this.”

Stopping Drug Patents Has Stopped Pandemics Before

By Laurie Garrett

U.S. President Joe Biden’s waiver of patent protections for U.S.-made COVID-19 drugs and vaccines is a historic milestone and a moral imperative. It is also an overdue acknowledgement of recent experiences. Contrary to prognostications from the pharmaceutical sector that side-stepping the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) component of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will mark the death knell of the drug industry, the world’s response to HIV/AIDS long ago demonstrated that patents stymie accessible treatment, cost lives, and offer little bona fide enhancement of innovation. There are challenges that lie ahead—but harm to pharmaceutical companies or future patients who will rely on their productivity do not count among them.

Consider what happened in the years after 1996, when a consortium of pharmaceutical companies took the unprecedented step of sharing their HIV/AIDS treatment data and manufacturing, resulting in a collaboration that was the turning point for what had been a catastrophically grim pandemic. By working together, the companies demonstrated that any one anti-HIV/AIDS drug, taken as monotherapy, would fail, possibly even hasten the pace of the disease process. But when taken in combinations of three or four drugs, made by usually rival companies, the antiviral assault was so powerful that people bounced back from the edge of death like the Biblical Lazarus who was resurrected by Jesus.

America Is Becoming a Social Democracy

By James Traub

In his speech before a joint session of Congress last week, U.S. President Joe Biden advocated nothing less than the kind of social democracy that most of America’s European partners have long taken for granted. United opposition from congressional Republicans may prevent him from realizing that dream. But merely by introducing the blandly named but far-reaching American Families Plan, Biden has compelled two profound questions: Why has America been so “exceptional” in this regard until now, and what has changed now to make the unthinkable so very possible?

First, some nomenclatural clarity. “Social democracy” is not “democratic socialism,” even if many professed partisans of the latter seem to really want the former. Democratic socialism is socialism—the public ownership or effective control of economic resources—with a human face. Social democracy allows markets to flourish but uses tax and spending policies to finance the kinds of social goods promised in the American Families Plan—free universal education, child support, family and medical leave, and access to health care (which Biden has promised to enhance in a separate bill). The plan would achieve many of these goods through tax credits rather than the direct subsidies used in much of Northern Europe—a distinctively American twist on the social democratic formula.

Why has the United States lacked social democracy? Progressive thinkers from the time of the historian Charles Beard have argued that the U.S. plutocracy has used control over the nation’s politics to maintain their privileges and thwart efforts at reform. In his recent history of populism, The People, No, the economist Thomas Frank asserts that the same business class that crushed the populist revolt of the late 19th century also limited Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms and guided the late 20th-century Democratic Party into the shallows of the Third Way, embracing limited government and the hegemony of markets.

The Potential Impact of Cyber Capabilities on Future Strategy

Nitin Menon

This content was originally written for an undergraduate or Master's program. It is published as part of our mission to showcase peer-leading papers written by students during their studies. This work can be used for background reading and research, but should not be cited as an expert source or used in place of scholarly articles/books.

Strategy has always been a consequential idea, as it represents the pursuit of goals set against limited resources available at disposal. Across the history of humankind, technological advancements have redefined the way we address hostilities and the fashion in which we fight wars. The 21st century has seen a spectacular rise in cyber capabilities. In just over three decades since the World Wide Web entered human lives, now there are more than four billion active internet users with cyberspace penetrating every walk of our lives. This article aims to shed light on the real impact of cyber potency on strategy in our present world and future controlled by data.

Cyberspace – A New Paradigm

Army Builds AI Development Toolkit For All Domain Ops


Key functions of the Army’s “common platform” for AI development

WASHINGTON: As the Army develops AIs for different missions, from artillery targeting to helicopter maintenance, it doesn’t want each project to reinvent the wheel. So the Army’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force is working with Carnegie Mellon University and contractor VISIMO to create a shared toolkit of reusable algorithms, test data, and development tools. It’s meant to be a “common platform” or virtual “workbench” on which Army units can build a wide variety of AIs.

Cyber Warfare Is the New Oil Embargo

Liam Denning

Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.

The most chilling horror movie I ever saw — the one that really stays with me — is a low-budget, mid-1980s effort by the BBC about nuclear war called “Threads.” The title refers to all the delicate linkages upon which modern society relies, ranging from power lines to respect for the law to common speech, which collapse after the unthinkable happens.

Almost 40 years on, our interconnectedness is even more pronounced, but you don’t need the Bomb to unravel vital networks. The proverbial 400-pound hacker tapping away in bed is our post-modern ICBM. This weekend’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, a major oil artery linking the Gulf Coast to East Coast markets, doesn’t spell Armageddon, of course. Provided the situation is resolved quickly, disruption to energy markets should be as minimal as when shutdowns occurred in 2016. Certainly, cars were not lining up to stockpile gas in my corner of New York on Saturday.


Travis Pike 

As far as fascinating gear goes, bayonets gotta be near the top. Americans fought the British armed with rifles and bayonets. Ever since then, the United States military has fielded bayonets in some fashion or another. Bayonet charges were quite common when your rifle’s fire rate was two rounds per minute and cavalry on horseback could rout a troop.

These rifle-mounted blades in battle were quite common up to the end of Korea. Millet’s charge in Korea is one of the most famous. Marines wielding bayonets charged across an open field to take an airfield on Peleliu during World War 2. Heck, Vietnam saw some bayo use, but around that time, the bayonet had begun to see its decline. To do this day, various rifle-mounted knives remain issued to troops, and they’ve even been used a time or two during the Global War on Terror.

Keep in mind the Global War on Terror has lasted twenty years now. In those twenty years, we’ve seen two real bayo uses.

In 2004, the Brits dismounted vehicles in Iraq and charged towards the enemy in trenches. After four hours, they killed 30 insurgents and suffered no major casualties.

A lesser-known event had Marines mounting bayonets during Operation Phantom Fury. Phantom Fury saw Marines fighting in extremely close-quarters situations. A knife at the end of your rifle makes it tough to take. However, beyond those two events, bayonets are basically dead.