13 June 2021

Water Security as Part of Non-Traditional Security: Threat - Implications for India

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Like oil or data, water is an integral part of the world’s economy. Although about 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is water-covered, the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water which is salt water. Freshwater, most of it is frozen in glaciers, accounts for the rest. That leaves less than 1 per cent of the world’s water available to support human and ecological processes. We withdraw 4.3 trillion cubic meters of freshwater every year from the earth’s water basins. We use it in agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of the withdrawals. Industry and households consume 19 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. However, these percentages fluctuate widely across the globe. In the United States, industrial and agricultural usage is almost the same around 40 per cent. In India, agriculture uses 90 per cent of water withdrawals, while only 2 per cent is consumed by industry. Over the past century, rate of withdrawal of available freshwater resources have risen almost six times, outpacing global population growth.

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.


Christopher D. Booth

Brutal climate, mountains, ice, and altitude can induce cognitive and physical impairment. Injuries suffered in these extremes often require immediate evacuation. Environmental factors impact soldiers, weapon performance, and aviation. To succeed in Antarctica, the United States should consider establishing a combined special operations forces training center in India’s Himalayas. The Tibetan Plateau is the size of Western Europe with the largest glaciers outside the poles. Antarctica’s average elevation is over six thousand feet and its mountains often top fourteen thousand. US operators would benefit from the firsthand expertise earned through decades of glacier-warfare experience, while strengthening a key partnership in the Indo-Pacific and improving Indian capacity to counter China.

Increase Focus on Antarctica

US Northern Command has reoriented to counter adversaries in the Arctic, but the chief of staff of the Air Force argues that Antarctica requires more attention. Army Special Forces have a history of training with NATO allies in Scandinavia to counter Russia. Today, operators increasingly train in Alaska and other northern sites to prepare for an Arctic fight. However, Leah Feiger and Mara Wilson argued in The Atlantic that operations in the Arctic are a preview for the Antarctic in the next decade. Likewise, Australian defense experts are emphasizing the growing Chinese threat as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) expands its bases and operations there.

For Now, ‘Over the Horizon’ Protection for Afghanistan Will Fly From Existing Hubs, Acting Air Force Secretary Says


The “over the horizon” strike capabilities the United States is counting on to conduct counterterrorism operations and defend its interests in Afghanistan as troops withdraw will come from existing bases in the region, at least for now, acting Air Force Secretary John Roth told lawmakers Tuesday.

The Air Force is seeking about $10 billion in the 2022 budget to fund those operations and maintain its footprint to provide the over-the-horizon protection, Roth said. In previous budget cycles, the funds would have likely been added into the overseas contingency operations account, but the Defense Department ended the use of OCO funds this year.

“We have funded as best we knew,” based on the information they had at the time, Roth said.

“There is an enduring presence we still have in the CENTCOM AOR,” Roth said. “And so we have budgeted about $10 billion there. We have a series of air bases. They will stay for the time being. That's where your over-the-horizon capability will come from.”

Help The Afghan Air Force To Blunt Taliban Attacks


At the NATO Summit in Brussels, the United States should finalize a plan with its allies to ensure the Afghan air force has the maintenance and logistical support it requires to remain combat effective.

The United States and our international partners have worked for years to build an Afghan air force capable of providing effective air support to troops battling the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said last month that the AAF conducts “80 to 90 percent of all air strikes in support of the Afghan ground forces.” So, after the American withdrawal, “[t]he key will be the Afghan air force and their ability to continue providing close air support,” Milley predicted.

Unfortunately, despite significant progress, the AAF is not yet ready to provide the full range of air support. While it may conduct most air support now, Afghans still depend on the United States for some of the more difficult missions. An Afghan general in Kandahar warned in January that “without U.S. air support, the Taliban would gain power here.”

Facing Isolation, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are Mending Ties

by Abdul Basit Zahid Shahab Ahmed

Recent high-level visits by Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia show promising signs of the two nations’ bilateral relationship—that faced regular hiccups since 2015—is reviving. While the relationship had never faced a serious survival threat, various disagreements in the last few years created an uncomfortable environment between Islamabad and Riyadh.

The Saudi-Pakistani relationship has demonstrated resilience to withstand challenges emerging from shifting geopolitical sands in South Asia and the Middle East. Their relationship, however, has been transformed in the process, requiring the top leadership on both sides to re-evaluate each other’s expectations, demands, and redlines to maintain the same level of relationship that had existed before 2015. Broadly, five factors account for the Saudi-Pakistani rapprochement.

First, both Islamabad and Riyadh are facing isolation and need each other more than ever before. Since coming to power, the Biden administration has given both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia the cold shoulder. Both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Imran Khan, are yet to receive the customary calls from U.S. President Joe Biden since he took office. Biden, however, did call King Salman to show that his office wants to communicate with the head of the state. The U.S.-led Western nations have stopped assisting Riyadh over its war in Yemen, including some countries imposing weapon embargos on the kingdom. At the same time, Pakistan’s salience is diminishing in important Western capitals as the United States and NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan. Besides, Islamabad has also been troubled by the Financial Action Task Force placing Pakistan on the grey list regarding terror financing.

China Is Our No. 1 Priority. Start Acting Like It, Austin Tells Pentagon


Pentagon leaders talk about the China threat more than they work to counter it — and that’s got to stop, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told his department in a Wednesday directive.

Austin’s classified directive is built on recommendations by the Pentagon’s China Task Force, which was stood up in February after President Joe Biden told the department to review its efforts to counter Beijing.

“The task force did find what we described as a ‘say-do gap’ between the stated prioritization of China and what we saw in a number of areas related to attention and resources and processes,” a senior defense official told reporters on Wednesday.

The official declined to share many details about what new initiatives will be launched.

The findings echo comments defense officials at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in Hawaii, made earlier this year that “there’s been less walk than talk” on the issue of countering China for several years.

China’s Potemkin Peacekeeping

Bradley Bowman, Morgan Lorraine Viña
Source Link

Eager to assuage concerns about its growing power and portray itself as a responsible world leader, Beijing used its turn as president of the U.N. Security Council last month to publicize China’s role in U.N. peacekeeping in Africa. Beijing emphasizes that China’s contributions to U.N. peacekeeping are intended to “defend world peace, contribute to global development and safeguard international order.”

In reality, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used U.N. peacekeeping to cloak and facilitate the mercantilist extraction of natural resources from Africa, while gaining valuable deployment experience for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and attempting to shift international norms in a direction hostile to human rights.

Today, approximately 2,400 Chinese troops serve as part of U.N. peacekeeping missions, and about 85 percent of those troops are in Africa. This represents a sharp increase since 2000, when China contributed fewer than 100 troops in total.

What explains this significant Chinese interest in U.N. peacekeeping?

NATO’s Pivot to China: A Challenging Path

As NATO leaders gathered in London in December 2019, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made repeated calls on the need for the alliance to adapt to a new challenge for NATO: China. “We have to address the fact that China is coming closer to us” in Africa, in the Arctic, in the cyberspace, and even in Europe, he notably stressed to support his case. While these statements were partly aiming to please the previous U.S. administration, they also reflected mounting concerns among allies about the implications of Chinese activities for transatlantic security.

Allies agreed in London to mention China for the first time in a NATO declaration, underlying that “China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.” Two years later, NATO has not clarified yet its strategy toward China, and its “pivot” to China remains ill-defined. As NATO leaders meet on June 14 in Brussels, will they begin to formulate a NATO China policy?

A Full Spectrum Challenge

Even though China does not pose a direct military threat to NATO, contrary to Russia or terrorist groups, Beijing’s growing economic influence and diplomatic assertiveness in Europe coupled with its growing military relationship with Russia do have major implications for the transatlantic economy as well as its security.

China Is Crying: How America Could Deploy Troops To The Senkaku Islands

by James Holmes

Here's What You Need to Know: If soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ensconced themselves in the archipelago they would hold a flanking position within striking range of Taiwan and the midsection of Asia’s first island chain. Wresting control of the Senkakus from Japan would not deliver Taiwan into Beijing’s hands or fracture the first island chain all by itself—but PLA strategists might deem it a useful incremental gain that hastens China toward those goals.

U.S. troops landing on the Senkaku Islands? Could be.

Last week Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, the commander of U.S. forces based in Japan, launched the U.S.-Japanese exercise Keen Sword 21 with words to that effect. Keen Sword brings together units from all four U.S. military services together with their brethren from the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). Announced General Schneider on board a Japanese warship, the allied force demonstrated “the ability to move a few people” around Japan’s southwestern islands.

Netanyahu's Trump-style campaign to stop Israel's transfer of power

Barak Ravid

On the verge of being replaced after 12 years in power, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is waging a desperate, Trump-style campaign to de-legitimize the incoming government and accuse its leaders of perpetrating “the fraud of the century."

Why it matters: The situation has become so tense — with members of the Israeli Knesset facing death threats and demonstrations from angry Netanyahu supporters outside their homes — that the director of Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency issued a rare warning of potential political violence.

The backstory: Netanyahu failed to form a government after Israel's fourth consecutive election in March, after which Naftali Bennett — a right-wing former Netanyahu protege — cut a power-sharing deal with the "anti-Netanyahu bloc" to become the next prime minister.

Netanyahu's best hopes of sabotaging the new government involve convincing members of Bennett's Yamina party to abandon the alliance before it can be sworn in.

The Abraham Accords Passed Their First Big Test

By Anchal Vohra

Barely days after Israel and Hamas signed a cease-fire to end the recent cycle of violence, a museum in Dubai called Crossroad of Civilizations featured an exhibition dedicated to the history of the Holocaust and the horrors of antisemitism. Soon after, on June 2, Israeli and Emirati businessmen at Dubai’s Global Investment Forum discussed bilateral trade as their governments signed a double taxation avoidance treaty, and the Emiratis invited Israel to set up shop in a free trade zone.

Israel’s disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians bothered its newest Arab partners but not enough to question the normalization of relations created by last year’s Abraham Accords. Those diplomatic deals triggered billions of dollars of economic activity and bolstered national security for Israel and the four Arab countries involved. No one was interested in sacrificing those gains, even during a war that killed around 250 Palestinians, including 66 children. It was an early test of the theory that peace in the Middle East would be attained not in exchange for land but for the sake of business and mutual protection against common enemies.

Top US general warns of Iran, China and Russia in Middle East


Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, on Monday warned about Iran’s destabilizing activities and the roles of Russia and China in the Middle East.

During a special briefing, he spoke about his visit to Iraq and Syria and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Another priority is deterring Iran’s destabilizing activities, which remains the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East,” he said. “I believe that our posture in the region has had a deterrent effect on Iran and made it more difficult for them to deny attribution for their malign activities.”

Deterrence involves the US deploying ships, airpower and missile-defense capabilities, McKenzie said.

Regarding the role of Russia and China, he said they are seeking greater influence in the region and stronger ties with various countries.

Israel’s Attack on Natanz Reveals Iran’s Nuclear Duplicity

by Hans Rühle

On April 11, Iran reported an “incident” at the Natanz nuclear facility that completely shut down its power supply. Initially, no explanation was given. However, on the very next day, several Iranian officials spoke of “sabotage” by a “terrorist attack.” Iranian leaders initially tried to create the impression that the damage was minimal and claimed that the plant’s full capacity would soon be restored. One reason for playing down the “incident” was to not grant Israel, which was soon named as the cause of the attack, any triumph.

But it was all to no avail. By the third day, when more reliable reports on the damage started to appear, the flow of information could no longer be contained. The attempted trivialization of the “incident” came to an end when the former head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Authority, Behrouz Kamalvandi, reported on Iranian television from his hospital bed that while inspecting the plant he had suddenly fallen into a seven-meter-deep hole and had injured himself considerably. Another televised statement by Alireza Zakani, the head of the Iranian Parliament's research center, according to which the explosion had destroyed “thousands” of centrifuges, underscored that what happened at Natanz was much more than a mere “incident.”

TikTok, WeChat, and Biden’s New Executive Order: What You Need to Know

By Robert Chesney

President Biden has issued an executive order revoking the sanctions President Trump famously imposed in August 2020 on TikTok and on WeChat (as well as less publicized sanctions added to other Chinese “connected software applications” in January 2021). But these companies should not celebrate Biden’s move too much. The sanctions may yet return, and with a stronger foundation. And, in any event, TikTok remains subject to a CFIUS divestment order, at least for now. Here’s what you need to know.

Remind me: What was the situation up to this point?

Here’s the really short version:

President Trump in August 2020 had used his statutory authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to impose sanctions on TikTok and WeChat operations in the United States, asserting in substance that the companies threatened U.S. security in two ways: their potential for collecting data on users that the Chinese government might be able to access for intelligence purposes, and the possibility that they might be subject to Beijing-directed censorship (or even exploited by the Chinese government to spread disinformation). And a few months later, Trump added an additional order, more broadly addressing Chinese “connected software apps.”

Charting a New “Digital Atlantic”

Heather A. Conley, James Andrew Lewis
Source Link

Europe missed the first tech boom. It is in the United States’ interest that it does not miss the second. Some Europeans are skeptical about this (and there are indeed Americans who argue for more nationalist economic policies), but a strong Europe is a better partner in defending democracy and a better customer for U.S. companies. This is a straightforward strategic calculation: for Europe to achieve its technological goals, it needs to partner with the United States. For the United States to achieve its national security goals within a strategic competitive framework with Russia and China, it needs to partner with Europe. Taking divergent paths would be a strategic blunder for both the United States and Europe.

Is There a Digital Europe?

The European Union has made several attempts to enhance its digital capabilities. The European Commission announced an “Innovation Union” to strengthen its global competitiveness and accompanied this by laying out a robust research and development (R&D) agenda. A new group of commissioners, seated in 2019, was given portfolio titles such as “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age” (led by Commissioner Margrethe Vestager). European leaders recognized the importance of innovation and digital competitiveness and sought to use EU funding and strategy to help accelerate it.

The Bidenomics Revolution

By Michael Hirsh

Only a year ago, Joe Biden was seen as an aging if likable establishment figure whose main claim to the U.S. presidency was that he wasn’t Donald Trump. Biden himself suggested he might be a “transitional president” rather than a transformational one: Elect me, get rid of the widely hated Trump, and then we’ll figure out how to fix our country. Or perhaps my successor will.

But that isn’t the Biden who has shown up this year—at all. In a May 27 speech at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland outlining his $6 trillion budget proposal, Biden talked about “creating a new paradigm”: resurrecting America’s beleaguered underclass with a combination of major education, health care, and tax proposals and a new brand of industrial policy and economic nationalism that will, eventually, propel the United States past China and other rising competitors.

If he is able to follow through on this plan—by no means a given—the president will cast onto history’s ash heap the ruling doctrine of the past 40 years: Reaganomics, or “trickle-down economics,” as Biden calls it. Far from acting as a placeholder in U.S. presidential history, Biden is setting his sights high, as revealed by the name he has given his program: the “new bargain,” consciously echoing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Or perhaps we should call it Bidenomics.

In Meeting With Erdogan, Biden Holds the Power

By Merve Tahiroglu, Eric Edelman

On the margins of the June 14 NATO summit in Brussels, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to hold his first meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The encounter comes at a sensitive time for Erdogan, whose country is teetering on the edge of a potentially catastrophic economic and political crisis. And Biden should use that to the United States’ advantage as he seeks to support democracy in Turkey.

When they sit down, the two leaders—who command NATO’s largest militaries—will have a full plate of bilateral irritants that have accumulated over the past several years to discuss. These include Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system as well as Turkey’s troubling (and successful) effort, just weeks ago, to water down NATO’s response to the horrific act of state-sponsored air piracy and kidnapping of internet activist Roman Protasevich by Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Biden, who has pledged to restore human rights and democracy as pillars of U.S. foreign policy, has already shown his distaste for Erdogan, calling him an autocrat and giving him the cold shoulder. Biden’s first phone call to Erdogan came three months after his inauguration—and even then, it was only to inform the Turkish leader of his historic decision to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide. Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, who regularly spoke (and bumped fists) with Erdogan, this U.S. president appears to have little use for the Turkish strongman.

NATO’s Stoltenberg: Sophisticated Cyber Attacks Could Trigger Collective Response

By: John Grady

In a warning to adversaries, NATO’s secretary general said increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks on its members could trigger an alliance response.

The alliance treats cyber “as an operational military domain,” Jens Stoltenberg said Monday at The Atlantic Council. Several years ago, the alliance agreed cyber attacks needed to be regarded in the same light as a military land, air or sea assault on a member and could set off a collective response based on NATO’s Article 5 response.

As an example of more frequent intrusions in other nations’ affairs, he noted Russia’s “meddling in domestic elections” and cyber attacks on its neighbors and aggressive military behavior in Ukraine. He specifically mentioned Russia-based malware attacks through Solar Wind and on Germany’s parliament.

Moscow’s “pattern of aggressive actions” remains a “great concern” to the alliance, he said.

U.S. Cyber Tools Are Being Turned Against Americans, Limiting Biden's Options on Russia


Cyberwarfare capabilities originally developed by the United States are being turned against it, threatening infrastructure and limiting the offensive options available for President Joe Biden, as retaliation runs the risk of exposing more tools within the digital U.S. arsenal.

"Technically, a lot of these tools that are being leveraged for ransomware are tools that were leaked from our own organization," a cybersecurity official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Newsweek.

"One of the challenges that I look at is, these tools are not tools that are generally created by other nations," the official added. What's funny is other nations are using the tools that were developed by us."

At least two major ransomware attacks have struck U.S. infrastructure since Joe Biden took office in January vowing to shore up the nation's cyber defenses against foreign foes. He particularly singled out those tied to Russia, which he has blamed for another massive hack involving software firm SolarWinds.

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett on List of Super Rich Accused of Avoiding Tax


Some of the world's richest men reportedly paid no income tax at all in various years over the last decade, according to a trove of data that has been leaked to ProPublica.

On Tuesday, the website said it had obtained a "vast cache" of information from the Internal Revenue Service—the revenue service of the U.S. Federal government, which is responsible for collecting taxes—which showed multibillionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffett paid little income tax compared to their enormous wealth.

At times, they paid none at all.

ProPublica said it planned to disclose further details over the coming weeks, but the revelation contained in the initial report appear already very significant.

According to the leaked data, Bezos paid no income tax at all in 2007 and 2011. The Amazon founder and CEO is currently ranked by Bloomberg and Forbes as the richest man in the world, ahead of Musk, the CEO of Tesla. Like Bezos, Musk is alleged not to have paid any income tax in 2018, while billionaire investor George Soros reportedly did not pay any federal income tax at all for three consecutive years.

Where Europe and the US don’t see eye to eye


With eight days of glad-handing, photo ops and fanfare, Joe Biden and his team are hoping his trip to Europe will reboot transatlantic relations.

That won’t be easy.

Even though Biden’s election might have swung Washington’s needle closer to the EU playbook, the U.S. and Europe remain split on many policy issues key in Brussels and EU capitals. The two sides are at odds on everything from lingering Trump-era trade tariffs to taxing America’s tech giants to making farming more environmentally sustainable.

Here’s POLITICO’s rundown of the policy disputes that could prove problematic.

FBI built fake phone company in global wiretapping operation of historic proportions


THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation built a fake telephone service provider for a secret worldwide operation that officials described on Monday as “a watershed moment” in law enforcement history. The operation, known as TROJAN SHIELD, began in 2018 and involved over 9,000 law enforcement officers in 18 countries around the world. When the existence of TROJAN SHIELD was announced in a series of official news conferences yesterday, officials said the operation had “given law enforcement a window into a level of criminality [that has never been] seen before on this scale”.

The operation centered on the creation of an entirely fake telephone service provider, known as ANØM. The fake firm advertised cell phones that were specially engineered to provide peer-to-peer encryption, thus supposedly making it impossible for government authorities to decipher intercepted messages or telephone calls between users. The FBI and law enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand used undercover officers to spread news about ANØM in the criminal underworld. The fake company’s modus operandi was to let in new users only after they had been vetted by existing users of the service. Within two years, there were nearly 10,000 users of ANØM around the world, with Australia having the largest number —approximately 1,500.

We Need a Better Game Plan to Reach Global Herd Immunity

By Bogolo Kenewendo

The spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc, with countless lives lost, economies severely compromised, and health care systems put under unprecedented stress. It has also brought to light—and exacerbated—grave inequalities between the rich and poor countries of the world.

Mass vaccination could bring about economic recovery and resuscitate markets after the devastating effects of lockdown measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus’s spread. Yet vaccine distribution has also thrown a harsh light on the economic inequalities between developed and developing countries—not only but especially the nations of Africa. Richer countries have stockpiled vaccines, and some have procured enough to immunize their populations three times over; a report by One Campaign estimates that the European Union alone has secured 2.6 billion vaccines doses, which would allow the bloc to completely vaccinate every EU resident twice and still have almost 500 million doses left. Vaccinating the few while neglecting the many is not an effective game plan for stamping out the virus.

Crisis of confidence: How Europeans see their place in the world

Susi Dennison, Jana Puglierin

Public faith in EU institutions has declined due to their handling of the covid-19 pandemic and vaccine procurement.

This effect is strongest in Germany: disappointment with the EU has now spread from the periphery to the centre.

However, the European project is not doomed, as citizens still believe in the need for greater cooperation – particularly in strengthening the EU as a global actor.

Europeans see the world as being made up of strategic partnerships, with no automatic alliances.

They are sceptical about the restoration of America’s leadership and feel that there can be no return to the West of the cold war era.

As Challenges Mount, Can Europe Correct Its Course?

The liberal European order that emerged after World War II and spread after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been under attack from both within and without in recent years. The European Union—the ultimate expression of the European project—became a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, as anti-EU sentiment was integrated into the broader populist platform of protectionism and opposition to immigration.

The EU took a huge step toward enhanced integration in July 2020, when it agreed to a historic deal that included a collective debt mechanism to help finance pandemic relief funds. Nevertheless, there is no way of knowing whether the populist wave that once seemed like an existential threat to the union has crested. Illiberal governments hold power in Hungary and Poland, and far-right parties were briefly part of coalition governments in Austria and Italy. Centrist leaders seem unable to come up with a response to immigration that doesn’t alienate more voters than it unites. And the coronavirus pandemic further highlighted the EU’s difficulties in providing effective collective responses to a crisis that, at least initially, saw each member state looking out for itself.

Cyberwar: How Nations Attack Without Bullets or Bombs

By Jordan Robertson and Laurence Arnold

Russia, Iran, China and the U.S. are among the world’s leading practitioners of cyberwarfare -- state-on-state hacking to gain strategic or military advantage by disrupting or destroying data or physical infrastructure. Unlike combat with bullets and bombs, cyberwarfare is waged almost entirely with stealth and subterfuge, so it’s hard to know when and where it’s occurring, or whether full-scale cyberwar is on the horizon.

1. What are the hallmarks of cyberwarfare?

A cyberattack that disables essential services, such as telecommunications or electricity, might raise suspicions that a state or its proxies was behind it. So might the sheer scale of an attack, even if the direct target is private industry. Even disinformation campaigns, such as Russia’s targeting the 2016 U.S. president election, can be thought of as a softer but still damaging type of cyberwarfare. One incident that’s become public and is generally agreed to be an act of cyberwarfare was the so-called Stuxnet attack, which was discovered in 2010 and involved computer code that destroyed as many as 1,000 nuclear centrifuges in Iran. The New York Times reported that this was a joint operation between the U.S. and Israel code-named Olympic Games.

Fight Digital Authoritarianism by Giving People the Tools to Counter It


The Defense Department has an opportunity to create fresh challenges for adversarial regimes such as Russia, China, and Iran, not by engaging or even preparing for armed conflict, but by investing in critical new technologies to enable global digital freedom.

Digital authoritarianism is the use of digital information technology by authoritarian regimes to surveil, repress, and manipulate domestic and foreign populations. Such tools track and censor internet activities, but they can also be used to restrict physical interactions—think of facial recognition and other technologies used to crack down on protests. Most broadly, technologies such as China’s social credit system can serve as a population-scale coercive mechanism.

Such tools clearly affect human rights, but they have also harmed U.S. national interests—and DOD interests in particular. Accordingly, while there is a broader ideological conflict at play and norms that should be shaped via diplomatic interactions, digital authoritarianism must be addressed as a technical challenge to be countered through innovation and technology.

Want to Write Better? Here Are Some Tools to Help You Improve

IT DOESN’T MATTER whether you’re drafting a company-wide memo, struggling through a school assignment, or working on your first novel. Writing is never effortless. It takes work. If you’re here, you already know this. Luckily, there are a few hacks to improve the writing (or post-writing) process.

I have spent much of the past decade as a freelance writer. In doing so, I’ve had to come up with tricks and ways to use technology to assist me along the way. This includes things like learning how to better edit myself to finding who has shared my published work later on. Writing may not be easy, but it doesn’t need to be impossible either.
Use Tech to Catch Typos and Mistakes

Did you know spellcheck was once a benchmark used to measure how speedy a computer could run? Its utility was groundbreaking. Now red lines grace every text box and computational overhead is a distant memory. Tech tools for writing abound. If you write in Google Docs, you know the assistance it can provide. Its grammar and spell checking can also burn you.

Win Without Fighting? Sun Tzu, and History, Says You Can

by James Holmes

Here's What You Need to Remember: America did so by making itself the strongest contender in the New World, harnessing its burgeoning industrial might to build a navy able to command the waters Washington cared about most. And it took advantage of new threats gathering in Europe.

Westerners make much of China’s obsession with “winning without fighting.” As though any sane statesman, Eastern or Western, relishes losing or longs to take up arms with all the dangers, hardships and perverse turnabouts of fortune that come with combat. Winning without fighting is what we call “diplomacy,” and it is a mode of interaction that spans all countries, civilizations and times.

Now, Chinese Communist diplomacy does display distinctive characteristics. For one, it’s a 24/7/365 enterprise. Beijing wages “three warfares” in peacetime, shaping opinion constantly through legal media, and psychological means. For another, there’s a warlike edge to Chinese diplomacy seldom encountered among the pinstriped set. It is about winning, and it aims to deliver gains normally achieved on the battlefield without so many hazards.