8 August 2021

Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime. 

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

India and the Artemis Accords


Executive Summary
The United States has signed bilateral agreements, called the Artemis Accords, with 11 other states. The Accords lay down norms for space exploration and are a prerequisite for states seeking to join NASA’s Artemis programme, which envisages a new wave of lunar exploration that would eventually use the moon as a launch pad for voyages to Mars and the Asteroid Belt.

The lunar exploration programme could provide a major boost to India’s lunar ambitions. However, while terms of the Accords are generally in line with existing international space law, there are concerns. Chiefly, one provision in the Accords allows for unregulated mining on the moon and other celestial bodies. The Accords also allow states to declare ‘safety zones’ that could become de facto private property by virtue of sustained presence.

The Artemis programme also has a rival in the form of the International Lunar Research Station led by Russia and China. As these two spacefaring states prepare to release their own set of norms by the end of 2021, India is faced with an imperfect choice: joining either or both programmes will aid its own ambitions, but rival blocs could scuttle any chances of creating a widely accepted multilateral framework for space governance in this century.

‘The Taliban Have Not and Will Not Ever Change’

Lynne O’Donnell

Khan has been a prominent figure in Afghan politics for decades, and his name is synonymous with Herat. As a mujahideen leader in the 1980s, he fought the occupying forces of the former Soviet Union and then fought the Taliban regime that ruled over most of Afghanistan from 1996 until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. As governor of Herat province from 2001 to 2004, he expanded his empire and wealth, while also improving civic services, until being appointed as minister of energy and water, a position he held until 2013.

After Ashraf Ghani became president in 2014 and set about limiting the power of the warlords who had long held sway over different parts of the country, Khan became one of his most vocal opponents.

Now, after a few quiet years, Khan has suddenly reappeared on the national stage at the head of his loyal militia taking on the Taliban once more. Video footage of the 75-year-old—with a long white beard and trademark black-and-white turban wrapped around his head—jogging across Herat’s Pashtun Bridge surrounded by his personal army has galvanized the country. For days, Khan’s men, alongside the Afghan army, police, and intelligence services, have helped keep the Taliban out of Herat’s city center.

The West Goes Home


This week the Middle East Institute in Washington published an English edition of the report on Afghanistan that French President Jacques Chirac asked me to complete almost exactly 20 years ago. It appears with a foreword by Gen. David Petraeus, the former head of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My commission came in the wake of Sept. 11 and the assassination, two days before, of Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.

An international coalition led by the United States had just defeated the Taliban and their monstrous regime.

In his office at the Elysée Palace, the French president told me of his regret at not having heeded the warning that Massoud had voiced several months prior (on April 6) during a quick visit to Paris.

We Cannot Stand By and Watch Afghanistan Collapse

Kai Eide and Tadamichi Yamamoto

The past few months in Afghanistan, even by the standards set by two decades of war, have been especially calamitous.

Since April, when President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country, violence has escalated at a terrifying rate. Emboldened, the Taliban have advanced across the country and now surround major cities, including Kandahar, the second largest. The toll has been terrible: Vital infrastructure has been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and the number of people killed or injured has reached record levels. As the United States and its allies complete their withdrawal, Afghanistan, so long devastated by conflict, could be on the brink of something much worse.

It doesn’t have to be this way: Peace is still a possibility. For too long, there was a belief that the conflict could be resolved militarily. Throughout that time, the United Nations was too hesitant to step in. We should know: Between 2008 and 2020, across six years, we served as U.N. envoys to Afghanistan. In those years, the U.N. endeavored to create openings for the peace process but could not get one underway. Though last year’s agreement between the United States and the Taliban made possible the withdrawal of international forces, it sadly did not create conditions conducive to peace.

Rising cry for civil war in Myanmar


As Myanmar’s crisis deepens amid a spiraling Covid outbreak, collapsing economy and repressive military coup, rising anger and insecurity are galvanizing calls for the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) to launch a nationwide armed uprising against the coup regime.

The NUG, comprised of activists, ethnic minorities and politicians from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party which was ousted from elected power in a February 1 coup, is preparing to answer that call with an armed response.

The NUG’s armed wing, known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF), is bidding to unify various resistance groups into a unified nationwide armed insurrection. Recruitment to the force is underway, with one PDF trainee communicating with Asia Times under the pseudonym Thakhin Daung.

Controlling the Information Space: Big Tech and Free Speech in Southeast Asia

Andreyka Natalegawa and Kyra Jasper

Fueled by an explosion in the adoption of digital technologies across Southeast Asia, the digital space has become a new battleground for the contestation of democratic norms in the region. Digital technologies and social media represent not only engines for economic growth and platforms for free expression, but also a means through which authoritarian regimes can exercise control with an increasingly robust toolkit of coercive measures. Recent cases in Southeast Asia point to the need for the U.S. government and technology companies to have a coherent strategy. They must figure out how private entities should balance these dynamics to protect human rights and defend basic freedoms.

Internet penetration rates have increased rapidly over the past decade and social media is now an integral part of daily life for many Southeast Asians. The region is home to over 400 million internet users, around 70 percent of its population. Four of the 10 countries with the highest number of Facebook users are in Southeast Asia. While this boom in connectivity has given some marginalized groups a greater voice in public discourse, several Southeast Asian governments have taken measures to control online speech. They have implemented draconian laws and coerced tech giants to censor content, block accounts, and remove posts critical of governments. The cybersecurity and “fake news” laws imposed by governments across the region are often vague about what type of speech can be criminalized. The broad nature of these provisions has prompted concerns regarding the significant latitude that governments now have in censoring speech.

The Delta Variant Could End The Chinese Communist Party

Gordon Chang

The Delta variant is spreading across the country fast, and Beijing has no answer to the new strain other than draconian, totalitarian brute-force measures—and blaming foreigners.

Millions of Chinese residents are now in various forms of lockdown. The recent infections constitute the most widespread coronavirus outbreak since the disease first hit China, sometime in late 2019.

The new flare-up, which quickly slipped beyond the control of the authorities, is undermining core Communist Party propaganda narratives.

Chinese authorities trace the latest series of infections to a flight landing at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport from Russia on July 20. Nine Chinese airport workers tested positive after cleaning the plane.

How a Rising China Has Remade Global Politics

As much as any other single development, China’s rise over the past two decades has remade the landscape of global politics. Beginning with its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, China rapidly transformed its economy from a low-cost “factory to the world” to a global leader in advanced technologies. Along the way, it has transformed global supply chains, but also international diplomacy, leveraging its success to become the primary trading and development partner for emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But Beijing’s emergence as a global power has also created tensions. Early expectations that China’s integration into the global economy would lead to liberalization at home and moderation abroad have proven overly optimistic, especially since President Xi Jinping rose to power in 2012. Instead, Xi has overseen a domestic crackdown on dissent, in order to shore up and expand the Chinese Communist Party’s control over every aspect of Chinese society. Needed economic reforms have been put on the backburner, while unfair trade practices, such as forced technology transfers and other restrictions for foreign corporations operating in China, have resulted in a trade war with the U.S. and increasing criticism from Europe.

Russian Border Guards Could Be Deployed Along Armenia-Azerbaijan Border

Practical work is underway on the proposal of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to deploy Russian or international observers along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Russian Ambassador to Yerevan Sergei Kopyrkin said in an interview with the Public Television.

Pashinyan earlier suggested that both Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries pull back their forces from the border and pave the way for the deployment of international observers from Russia or the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. By moving away from borders, Pashinyan said, the two militaries would return to their permanent places of deployment, committing to not building up border areas, until delimitation and demarcation is carried out under the auspices of the international community.

“As for the rest of the problematic areas, all issues are being discussed with the active participation of the Russian side,” Kopyrkin said.

“We understand the importance of this problem. The Russian side is ready to take appropriate steps. This is an issue that requires more discussion in a trilateral format. Practical work is being carried out.”

Israel and Jordan’s Relationship Is Better Than It Looks

Aaron Magid

Few Jordanians shed a tear at the end of Benjamin Netanyahu’s run as Israeli prime minister last month. Highlighting a sentiment common in Amman, Jordan’s former information minister, Mohammad Momani, said “any Israeli premier other than Netanyahu would be better for Jordan.”

Although Jordanians often deemed Netanyahu’s actions as provocations—Jordan’s King Abdullah II reportedly refused to take Netanyahu’s phone calls in 2015 and 2020 due to frustrations with the Israeli premier—Abdullah has maintained diplomatic and security ties with Israel throughout his 22-year tenure, irrespective of the country’s premier. In doing so, he has prioritized Jordan’s national interests over personality-based politics. Abdullah remains sensitive to the Hashemite Kingdom’s large Palestinian population and its politics—a factor that prevents a warm peace with Israel. So he has instead settled for a cold peace to maintain the nearly $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid Amman receives from pro-Israel lawmakers in Washington, keeping Jordan’s relationship with Israel on a relatively continuous track.

Ebrahim Raisi and India’s Bet on Iran

C. Raja Mohan

The presence of Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the inauguration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran this week might simply be a matter of protocol and an unremarkable expression of mutual goodwill. But as Afghanistan descends into crisis following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, New Delhi’s long-term calculus on the regional balance of power is nudging it toward stronger strategic cooperation with Tehran.

Iran appears eager to reciprocate. When Jaishankar was in Tehran last month on his way to Moscow, Raisi received him—making him the first foreign minister of any country to get that opportunity—and signaled Iran’s interest in stepping up cooperation with India. And in recent weeks, New Delhi and Tehran have intensified consultations on the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Drawing India and Iran closer are common concerns about the Taliban’s Sunni extremism and their possible return to power in Kabul now that the United States is ending its military presence. So is the shared determination to prevent Pakistan’s hegemony over Afghanistan, which would not only profoundly alter the geopolitics of South and Central Asia, but have repercussions in West Asia as well.

The Trouble With Washington’s ‘Rules-Based Order’ Gambit

Ben Scott

Washington sees the rules-based order as a winning card in its competition with Beijing. U.S. President Joe Biden forecast “extreme competition” early in his term but added, “I’m not going to do it the way [former President] Trump did. We’re going to focus on international rules of the road.” Similarly, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has emphasized that “our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to.”

Why so much talk about the rules? Partly because the Biden administration genuinely believes that the order must be defended. But partly because, more than ever, the United States needs allies and partners. Washington’s friends are leery of escalatory rhetoric and unrealistic objectives such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s goal of “ensuring that China retains only its proper place in the world.” They are more likely to rally in support of defending an order from which they have all benefited.

The Biden Administration’s China Sanctions Dilemma

Jin Kai

The Biden administration recently stepped up its sanctions against China, in particular over the Hong Kong issue, notably by issuing a “warning” on July 16 about the “Risks and Considerations for Businesses Operating in Hong Kong” and imposing sanctions on seven deputy directors of the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. In fact, the Biden administration has adopted a relatively straightforward approach to the complex issue of how to face an increasingly confident and assertive China, by imposing series of sanctions over several key issues, including human rights in Hong Kong.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, well known as an iconoclast, paved the way for current President Joe Biden, who is politically more sophisticated than his predecessor, to sanction or even “punish” China. Therefore, the Biden administration does not need (or maybe does not intend) to spend too much energy on introducing new policies and sanction regimes; it can just follow in the Trump administration’s footsteps.

Climate Change Is True Threat To Humanity: Only US Defense Industry Benefits From Hypersonic Weapons Race – OpEd

Koohan Paik-Mander*

We are drowning and burning and choking because of climate change.

The world is haunted by images of commuters in China, in a dark, subway car with muddy water up to their necks, standing in order to breathe.

Only days before, Germany and Belgium witnessed deluges of water that swept away centuries-old, half-timbered houses, leaving hundreds dead. A few days before that, Oman, New Zealand, New York, and elsewhere had also been deluged. Meanwhile, out-of-control fires on the west coast are belching so much smoke that New Yorkers can’t breathe.

We have entered the era of Climate Catastrophe, and our president and Congress must respond appropriately. Instead, they continue to pour billions of dollars every year into war-making that will further compromise the health of the Earth and the survival of its people.

Why Is America Cooperating With Militaries Running Criminal Rackets?

Michael Paarlberg

U.S.-Mexican security cooperation took an unexpected turn when, on Oct. 15, 2020, U.S. police arrested former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, a retired Mexican Army four-star general, at the Los Angeles Airport. He had been under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, and working on behalf of a somewhat obscure cartel, H-2, which traces its origins to the better known Beltrán Leyva Organization. After an outraged Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador threatened to kick the DEA out of Mexico, the Trump administration agreed to release Cienfuegos into Mexican custody, where it was understood he would be prosecuted. Instead, Mexican prosecutors declared the DEA allegations against Cienfuegos to be fabricated and dropped all charges. The Mexican government then posted online a 751-page file of intelligence the United States had shared with Mexico to assist with the prosecution. The file included intercepted texts between cartel figures and referenced numerous instances of Mexican state officials and security forces collaborating with cartels, including helping them to consolidate territory against rival groups. Leaking this information likely tipped off some figures not yet aware they were under investigation.

Geomatics is vital to US national security; our advantage is at risk

Robert Sharp

When you switch on a light, pay for an item with a credit card, or use your phone’s navigation app to avoid traffic or find your favorite restaurant, you benefit from the work of experts in geomatics— the science of determining the “where” and “when” — either in, on or above the ever-changing Earth’s surface.

Our navigation, banking, power grids and many other elements of American life — including our national security — depend on scientists’ precise knowledge of timing and the location of items across the Earth’s surface and in near-Earth orbit. Our lives are easier and safer today because of technological advances by geomatics experts in the U.S. government, industry and academia, but our agency and national population of experts in this tradecraft is declining. As director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, I know that to maintain that security into the 21st century, we need more students studying geomatics — to become the next generation’s geomatics experts.


Christopher Ford, Charles Clancy 

Holding objects of value hostage until a ransom is paid for their release is an ancient vice, but it has acquired special salience in the digital age, as cyber criminals in this era of internet-facilitated computer network dependencies have learned to take data itself hostage in return for ransom payments.

The explosive growth of “ransomware” attacks in recent years is the result of dynamics in which the cost and risk to attackers have all but disappeared, victims’ incentives to pay promptly have increased, and the profitability of ransomware crime has duly exploded. Predictably, this has attracted steadily more predators to the “game” of digital ransom, and has produced a “feeding frenzy” of ransomware attacks, which U.S. officials have labeled a national crisis.

We will be unable to rein in the ransomware problem unless we directly address the game-theoretical incentive structures that have produced this crisis. By taking effective steps to realign these incentives—such as by incentivizing ransomware- resistant “best practices,” ending victims’ ability to pass cyber ransom costs along to insurance providers, imposing traditional “know your customer” and other associated banking regulatory practices upon cryptocurrency transactions, and taking steps to reduce cyber criminals’ ability to rely upon safe haven in jurisdictions such as Russia—we may be able to break the vicious circle in which we presently find ourselves.

With Eyes on Afghanistan, Russian Military Exercises in Central Asia

Catherine Putz

On Monday, Russian and Uzbek troops began joint military exercises close to the Afghan border. Later this week, forces from both countries will participate in trilateral military exercises in neighboring Tajikistan. Both exercises were prompted by the Taliban’s advances in northern Afghanistan in recent weeks, which triggered the flight of Afghan forces and civilians across the border into Tajikistan. At the same time, Russian diplomatic rhetoric balances between chiding the United States for its failure in Afghanistan and espousing support for a negotiated settlement.

First, the exercises: On August 2, around 1,500 troops from the Russian and Uzbek militaries began joint exercises in Termez which are anticipated to run for five days.

In preparation for the trilateral exercises, which are planned to begin at the Harb-Maidon training ground in Tajikistan on August 5, Russia transferred Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters from Novosibirsk to the Gissar Air Base (also known as the Ayni Air Base) near Dushanbe. The Harb-Maidon training ground is located around 20 kilometers from the Afghan-Tajik border. The press service for the Russian Central Military District said in a statement that the four helicopters were partially disassembled, transported via an An-124 Ruslan transport aircraft, and reassembled in Tajikistan. During the exercises, the statement said, the helicopters will be used to land tactical assault forces and provide air support.

How China Helps the Cuban Regime Stay Afloat and Shut Down Protests

Leland Lazarus and Evan Ellis

On July 11, thousands of people across Cuba took to the streets, fed up with the lack of food, basic products, medicine, and vaccines to combat COVID-19. They were the first large-scale demonstrations in Cuba since 1994, and the largest since Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Protesters used social media to broadcast to the world what was happening, but the communist regime shut off the internet and telephone services, pulling the plug on their connection outside the island.

The key to the regime’s ability to do so was China. Chinese companies have played a key part in building Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure, a system the regime uses to control its people, just as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does within its own borders.

When the protests began, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted: “Expect the regime in #Cuba to block internet & cell phone service soon to prevent videos about what is happening to get out to the world… By the way, they use a system made, sold & installed by #China to control and block access to the internet in #Cuba.” An article in Newsweek discussing Beijing’s possible links with the censoring of Cuba’s protests noted that the primary technology providers for Etecsa, Cuba’s sole internet access company, are all Chinese: Huawei, TP-Link, and ZTE. A 2017 report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference found traces of Chinese code in interfaces for Cuban Wi-Fi portals. The Swedish organization Qurium discovered that Cuba uses Huawei network management software eSight to help filter web searches. China’s role in helping the regime cut off communications during the protests has exposed one of the many ways Beijing helps keep the Cuban communist regime afloat.

Nationalism Is Underrated by Intellectuals

Stephen M. Walt

Like most of you, I suspect, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks focused on two events. The first is the Olympics; the second is the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant and especially the reluctance or refusal of millions of Americans to get vaccinated. The combination of these two concerns got me thinking about nationalism.

First, the Tokyo Games. The modern Olympics was originally intended to be a collaborative celebration that transcended nationalism, with amateur athletes from around the world coming together to compete on the athletic field rather than the battlefield. A nice idea, perhaps, but it became just another arena of national competition almost immediately as different countries sought to win medals to demonstrate the superiority of their political and social orders. Not surprisingly, governments competed to host the Games and used that role to burnish their international image as well.

Nationalism now runs rampant throughout the entire proceeding. Televised coverage is relentlessly jingoistic (at least in the United States), and every broadcast repeats the latest medal count as if this was a revealing indicator of national merit. However much we may be entertained by individual feats of prowess or by plucky underdog stories (like Fiji’s gold medal in rugby and Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia’s victory in the 400 meter freestyle), I’ll bet most viewers are mostly rooting for their own fellow citizens.

A Cold War is raging in cyberspace. Here's how countries are preparing their defenses

Michiel van Blommestein 

Cyberattacks are something every country has to deal with, but countries in Central and Eastern Europe are particularly wary of the occasional attack on their critical infrastructures and governments.

"Last year, we had over 4,300 incidents recorded," Rytis Rainys, the director of the National Cyber Security Center of Lithuania, a country with a population of less than three million, tells ZDNet. "That comes down to over 100 each day. We are constantly dealing with this, and that makes having your national cyber defense in top-notch condition extremely important."

Most attacks in the region don't make the headlines; others do. The attacks on Ukraine's power grid in 2015 are still rooted in the collective memory of security professionals, while the global 2017 ransomware attack was first noticed in Ukraine.

War in cyberspace: The rules of engagement are what matter

Law in cyberspace isn’t the same as law in the real world. Some real-world legal frameworks don’t work as well as they could when they get extended to the Internet. The law of war, as defined by the four Geneva Conventions and the three Additional Protocols, is a good example of this.

The Geneva Conventions provide a framework under which many nations have agreed to fight wars. They specify what ways are OK to respond to an armed attack and which ways aren’t. Note that’s “armed attack,” not “act of war.” Armed attacks are what the Geneva Conventions talk about. Acts of war are what politicians talk about to score political points.

When politicians say that their country will treat a cyber-attack on it as an act of war, that’s an intentionally vague statement that doesn’t really mean anything. Treaties tell you how you can respond to armed attacks; they don’t say anything about acts of war. So the right question to ask is whether or not cyber-attacks count as armed attacks, and how cyber-attacks can be understood within the framework that existing treaties provide.
The Tallinn Manuals

Opinion: The battle for cyber dominance

As noted in David Ignatius’s July 21 op-ed, “Russia and China become Internet allies,” there are serious national security implications behind Russia and China’s recent move to form a strategic alliance based on their “unity of positions on the management of the Internet.”

It’s no secret that both countries have been trying for years to establish cyber dominance; however, this latest accord suggests a greater strategic alliance is being formed when both have been linked to a string of ransomware and cyberattacks against the United States and other Western entities.

As the former White House Homeland Security adviser, I strongly urge U.S. leaders to pay attention. As foreign adversaries ramp up their efforts to control the Internet, we cannot afford to be complacent. Allowing bad actors to dominate the global digital landscape will threaten our national security while undermining our nation’s influence in critical geopolitical matters.

We must remain vigilant against Russian and Chinese efforts to seize on the current political landscape in that mutual quest for control. Lawmakers must carefully consider the unintended consequences of recent anti-competition proposals against the reality we are facing today. We cannot afford to have China, Russia and other foreign adversaries dominate the digital landscape and weaken the United States’ technological edge.

Japan’s Challenge in the Age of China-US Rivalry

Michio Ueda

One of Japan’s base strategic calculations has been to leverage China’s economic growth while maintaining its reliance on the United States for its national security. However, this ambition is under threat from the continuing rivalry between the U.S. and China, a situation that looks to become the new status quo. Against this backdrop, Tokyo seems ill-equipped to address emerging external challenges and adapt to this shift in the geopolitical environment, particularly regarding its ability to synthesize its national security and economic objectives.

The difficulties Japan must confront moving forward are clearly illustrated by the issues that have emerged around the recent amendments to Japan’s Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (FEFTA). In November 2019 the act was revised, with the amended version enacted in June the following year. The new FEFTA stipulates that foreign investors must obtain approval from the Japanese government to acquire a 1 percent share or more of a specified entity. This is a dramatic reduction from the previous threshold of 10 percent and aims to make Japan’s screening procedure for foreign investment more exacting and to bring it closer in line with that of other nations such as the United States. This legislative change can be interpreted as an important move by Japan to prevent itself from becoming a “soft touch” among its allies vis-à-vis China.

Yes, the Climate Is Changing. No, It's Not an Emergency | Opinion


For the vast majority of the time that human civilization has existed, temperatures have been significantly warmer than today. More than 30,000 scientists have signed on to a paper saying that we're not facing a climate emergency.

Throughout the history of the earth, a more normal level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been about 1000 parts per million, not the 420 ppm we see today. The fact that carbon dioxide levels are so high, and yet compared to over the past few 100 or few 1,000 years, temperatures are lower than they've been throughout most of human civilization, tells you that carbon dioxide is not the control knob for global temperatures.

I believe humans may be playing some role in that warming. But saying you know for sure—I think that's really taking a leap of logic. The American Meteorological Society is the only scientific body in the world whose full membership has been polled extensively on this issue. And when they are asked, "How concerned are you?" only 30 percent say they are very concerned.

A Marine’s new book is a ‘deeply lyrical account’ of infantry life in the Post 9/11 age


On March 28, 1990, publisher Houghton Mifflin released Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” Four months later, on August 2, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Two months after that, my mother, ever a careful student of things her baby boy might appreciate, sent me O’Brien’s book. I was 17 years old, primed for an “I was there” combat tale, and I understood neither the book nor the fact that Tim O’Brien and Saddam Hussein had set in motion for me parallel chains of events that would twist through Iraq and Afghanistan before intersecting when I re-read “The Things They Carried” in anticipation of seeing O’Brien speak in 2019.

O’Brien’s discussion of “happening truth” and “story truth” was incredibly liberating for me, freeing me from a self-imposed obligation to write stories totally accurate from every individual perspective. But to me, even more valuable than O’Brien’s validation of letting truth arise from the ashes of accuracy is constructing a greater “story truth” built upon a foundation of brutal, honest, “happening truth.”

Navy's Top Admiral Said SEALs Had 'Character and Ethics' Issues

Konstantin Toropin

The Navy's highest-ranking officer acknowledged on Monday that the branch's elite warfighting unit, the SEALs, had a problem with character and ethics.

Speaking at the annual Sea Air Space conference at a convention center just outside of Washington, D.C., Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday noted that the special warfare community underwent "a comprehensive review" that he likened to the review the surface warfare community conducted after the collisions of the Fitzgerald and the McCain. That review looked at the collisions the two destroyers had with merchant ships in 2017 that claimed the lives of 17 sailors.

The evaluation of special forces was conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command and found that unrelenting demand -- along with the command's willingness to take on the missions when overtasked -- has taken a toll across special warfare units.

Cognitive Defense of the Joint Force in a Digitizing World

Wright, N.

How can we defend the humans in the Joint Force—and its key support networks—from adversarial information operations in our digitizing world? Service personnel, their families and friends are human. Adversaries and other destabilizing forces threaten to sow disruption amongst these millions of humans, in order to degrade collective capabilities. “Deepfakes” illustrate how such threats’ character may evolve as part of “combined arms” information operations alongside other dual-use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech. Success for the Joint Force is to react effectively, but within the democratic constraints of a free society.

Part I of this report delineates the challenge for the Joint Force in our digitizing world. Part II describes a practical, effective response through a strategy centered on “3 Ds.” (1) DETECT: Build capabilities to detect and characterize influence operations against the Joint Force – who is targeted, by what means and for what purposes? (2) DEFEND: Human cognition always contains vulnerabilities, which can be minimized and so denied to others. Mass personalization of influence operations is coming; countering it requires new human-AI teams and organization. (3) DEMOCRATIC COMPATIBILITY: Make new capabilities compatible with a free society, whilst also mitigating the gaps this entails – a challenge that speaks directly to the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (Biden, 2021). Restraint is not just a bug of the U.S. system, it is a strength.