20 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.

Opinion | The Mystery of Afghanistan’s Missing Military Leaders


With the rapid collapse of the U.S.-supported government in Afghanistan, many questions need to be answered. A key one is why U.S. officials kept calling for the rise of Afghan leaders that they knew did not exist.

As Afghanistan’s rural districts, and then its cities, fell in quick succession to the Taliban, official U.S. talking points settled on a common refrain: Afghanistan’s security forces had all the people and equipment they needed to battle the Taliban, and all that was missing was leadership. President Joe Biden has been saying this since mid-July. Just last week, he reiterated:

“Look, we spent over a trillion dollars over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces. And Afghan leaders have to come together. … They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”

Afghanistan’s Story Doesn’t End With the Taliban Conquest

Michael Rubin
The Taliban seized the presidential palace in Kabul, completing their blitzkrieg through Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled in disgrace. “They tied our hands from behind and sold the country,” Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi wrote. “Curse Ghani and his gang.” Meanwhile, a humanitarian tragedy is underway. The Taliban are executing those who worked with the United States and reportedly raping their families.

Within Washington, the blame game is underway. President Joe Biden blamed his predecessor, President Donald Trump, and the peace deal with the Taliban that set a deadline for American withdrawal. The Trump-era deal was ill-conceived, but Biden’s excuses are disingenuous for three reasons. First, the Taliban did not abide by the deal and so voided it. Second, its deadline for American withdrawal passed several months ago and, lastly, Biden did not abide by other Trump-era deals about the border wall and Keystone XL pipeline, and so the notion that Trump had tied his hands was nonsense.

At the Pentagon, US military officials bitter as they watch chaos in Kabul

The mood was sombre Monday in the corridors of the Pentagon, where US military personnel watched helplessly as chaos erupted at Kabul airport and privately criticized the slow pace of Joe Biden's administration in evacuating US-allied Afghans who fear Taliban retribution.

Some criticized the State Department, which has sole authority to grant visas to former interpreters and other US military support staff and their families, for waiting more than two months to begin the process for Afghans in fear of their lives.

Videos posted on social networks showed scenes of panic and fear in Kabul, including crowds running next to a US military transport plane as it taxies to take off, with some trying to desperately cling to its sides.

"We warned them for months, for months" that the situation was urgent, said one military official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Afghanistan is now part of the post-American world

Gideon Rachman 

The fall of Kabul to the Taliban — 20 years after it was driven out — will end American influence in Afghanistan, probably for decades. In that sense, it is comparable to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979, the fall of Saigon in 1975 or the Cuban revolution of 1959.

With the US out of the way, the Taliban will seek to build relations with an array of other actors, including China, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Afghanistan’s new rulers seem eager for international recognition, and the trade and aid that would flow from that. That desire might yet persuade the Taliban to moderate its more fanatical impulses.

The treatment of Afghan women and of the Taliban’s defeated enemies will be watched particularly closely outside the country. Some of the organisation’s spokesmen have suggested that, unlike in its first period in power, the Taliban will allow women to work and to get an education. But many Afghan women, currently involved in politics and civil society, are deeply sceptical.

Worse Than Saigon


While President Joe Biden cowers at Camp David, the Taliban are humiliating America. The retreat from Afghanistan is our worst foreign-policy disaster in a generation. As the Taliban marches into Kabul, they’re murdering civilians, reimposing their vicious Islamist law, and preparing to turn Afghanistan back into a bandit regime. The U.S. embassy has told Americans to shelter in place. Refugees are fleeing to the airport, begging to escape the coming bloodbath. None of this had to happen.

America is the world’s greatest superpower. We ought to act like it. But President Biden and his national-security team have failed to protect even the American embassy in Kabul. They have broken America’s promises to the men and women who long for freedom — especially those thousands of Afghans who served alongside our military and intelligence services. They are turning their backs on the women and children who are desperate for space on the remaining flights out of hell.

Afghans Need an ‘Underground Railroad’

Paul Wolfowitz

When an ocean liner strikes an iceberg, it may make sense to question the course the owners took, or to ask the captain why he didn’t take more measures sooner. But during an emergency, decision makers can’t afford to get bogged down in defending or rationalizing past mistakes. The singular focus should be: What can we do now to save as many lives as possible?

As the government of Afghanistan collapses, the main concern of Washington policy makers should be how to rescue as many people as possible, particularly American service members, diplomats and Afghans and their families who are at risk because they helped the U.S.

It will be a moral stain if we leave behind those who fought alongside us, often in combat and at great risk to themselves and their families, who became targets for assassination. Leaving those courageous heroes behind will deter others from helping us in the future.

Afghanistan Is Your Fault

Tom Nichols

Kabul has fallen. Americans will now exercise their usual partisan outrage for a few weeks, and then Afghanistan, like everything else in a nation with an attention span not much longer than a fast-food commercial, will be forgotten. In the meantime, American citizens will separate into their usual camps and identify all of the obvious causes and culprits except for one: themselves.

Many Americans will bristle at the idea that this defeat overseas can be laid at their feet. When U.S. forces had to endure the misery of the retreat from North Korea back to the 38th parallel, no one made the argument that it had happened because of the voters. No one turned to the American people during the fall of Saigon and said, “This is on you.”

So why would I do that now?

Much of what happened in Korea and Vietnam—ultimately constituting a tie and a loss, if we are to be accurate—was beyond the control of the American public. Boys were drafted and sent into battle, sometimes in missions never intended to be revealed to the public.

Afghanistan’s military collapse: Illicit deals and mass desertions

Susannah George

KABUL — The spectacular collapse of Afghanistan’s military that allowed Taliban fighters to walk into the Afghan capital Sunday despite 20 years of training and billions of dollars in American aid began with a series of deals brokered in rural villages between the militant group and some of the Afghan government’s lowest-ranking officials.

The deals, initially offered early last year, were often described by Afghan officials as cease-fires, but Taliban leaders were in fact offering money in exchange for government forces to hand over their weapons, according to an Afghan officer and a U.S. official.

Over the next year and a half, the meetings advanced to the district level and then rapidly on to provincial capitals, culminating in a breathtaking series of negotiated surrenders by government forces, according to interviews with more than a dozen Afghan officers, police, special operations troops and other soldiers.

Within a little more than a week, Taliban fighters overran more than a dozen provincial capitals and entered Kabul with no resistance, triggering the departure of Afghanistan’s president and the collapse of his government. Afghan security forces in the districts ringing Kabul and in the city itself simply melted away. By nightfall, police checkpoints were left abandoned and the militants roamed the streets freely.

A tale of two armies: why Afghan forces proved no match for the Taliban

Patrick Wintour

The Taliban have 80,000 troops in comparison with a nominal 300,699 serving the Afghan government, yet the whole country has been effectively overrun in a matter of weeks as military commanders surrendered without a fight in a matter of hours.

It is a tale of two armies, one poorly equipped but highly motivated ideologically, and the other nominally well-equipped, but dependent on Nato support, poorly led and riddled with corruption.

The US aid spending watchdog for Afghanistan warned last month that the US military had little or no means of knowing the capability of the Afghan National Defense and Security forces (ANDSF) when required to operate independently of the US forces, despite spending $88.3bn (£64bn) on security-related reconstruction in Afghanistan up to March 2021.

It found the US military to be persistently overoptimistic about Afghan military capability, even though it had no reliable evidence to make that assessment, and said the departure of thousands of US contractors, agreed by the US with the Taliban in 2020, “could significantly impact the sustainability of the ANDSF, in particular their ability to maintain aircraft and vehicles”.

Column: The Lessons for Asia as Biden Deserts Afghanistan

Debasish Roy Chowdhury

It was a hopeful January day as a new American President took over after four years of a roller coaster called Donald Trump.

“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again,” Joe Biden told an anxious world at his inaugural address, declaring the leader of the free world’s intent to lead once more. “We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example. We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.”

The days of Trump’s America First isolationism that had seen the U.S. reject a multilateral trade bloc, rip up old treaties, and insult allies, were over. America was back.

Nowhere was it more evident than in Asia. Relations with South Korea and Japan, both shaken by Trump’s demands to bring more money to the table, were quickly mended. The Biden administration reiterated its commitment to use military force to defend the interests of allies like Japan and Taiwan. A decade after Barack Obama first formulated the “Pivot to Asia” policy—shifting America’s historical focus away from Europe, Latin America and Middle East to the Indo-Pacific region in order to hem in China—Biden’s administration looked ready to take it up a notch.

Afghanistan conflict: As Kabul falls, Biden backlash grows

Boer Deng & Sam Farzaneh & Tara McKelvey

The lightning advance of the Taliban in retaking the country has led Afghan Americans, former generals and leading statesmen to blame President Joe Biden for a hasty US withdrawal. But he appears to have the public on his side - for now.

Hadia Essazada wept as she recounted the horror the Taliban visited on her household, first beating her father, and then killing her brother.

The first time "they were beating my father with an iron rod because they were looking for my elder brother", who had fought to resist their rule in the 1990s, she told BBC Persian.

They fled their house in the northern city of Mazar-I-Sharif, but "after six months when we returned to our home, Taliban again came to visit us. And they took my younger brother".

"I don't know how many days had passed when a shopkeeper in our neighbourhood came to my father to tell him his son was killed," she said.

The Reasons for the Collapse of Afghan Forces

Anthony H. Cordesman

The sudden collapse of the Afghan central government and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) has occurred with stunning speed. It has clearly been driven by the fact that both President Trump and President Biden not only announced deadlines for the withdrawal of U.S. military support, but they then cut that support to levels where Afghan forces could not survive and where many Afghan politicians and government figures were willing to stand aside or surrender.

It also, however, is the collapse of a house of cards that took some twenty years to build and that was driven as much by failures at the civil level as the military level. It is a bipartisan failure, and one that was ultimately driven by a U.S. inability to provide objective and effective assessments of the developments in the Afghan government it was trying to aid and of the Taliban threat.

This analysis attempts to list the many factors that made both defeat and a sudden collapse possible, and it attempts to make it clear that any valid analysis must examine all of these factors and not simply the events that have taken place in the months since President Trump first set a deadline for U.S. and allied withdrawals in February 2020 or during the weeks in July and August 2021 that gave the Taliban control over most of the country.

America’s Withdrawal of Choice


NEW YORK – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country. His government has collapsed as Taliban fighters enter Kabul. Bringing back memories of the ignominious fall of Saigon in 1975, two decades of America’s military presence in Afghanistan has vanished in a matter of weeks. How did it come to this?

For decades, the American political class has intervened relentlessly and recklessly in countries whose people they hold in contempt. And once again they are being aided by America’s credulous mass media, which is uniformly blaming the Taliban victory on Afghanistan’s incorrigible corruption. 24Add to Bookmarks

There are wars of necessity, including World War II and the 1990-91 Gulf War. These are wars in which military force is employed because it is deemed to be the best and often only way to protect vital national interests. There also are wars of choice, such as the Vietnam and 2003 Iraq wars, in which a country goes to war even though the interests at stake are less than vital and there are nonmilitary tools that can be employed.

Afghan security forces’ wholesale collapse was years in the making

Craig Whitlock

In the summer of 2011, Army Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV made a round of public appearances to boast that he had finally solved a problem that had kept U.S. troops bogged down in Afghanistan for a decade. Under his watch, he asserted, U.S. military advisers and trainers had transformed the ragtag Afghan army and police into a professional fighting force that could defend the country and keep the Taliban at bay.

“We’ve made tremendous strides, incredible progress,” Caldwell, the head of the U.S. and NATO training command in Afghanistan, told the Council on Foreign Relations in June 2011. “They’re probably the best-trained, the best-equipped and the best-led of any forces we’ve developed yet inside of Afghanistan. They only continue to get better with time.”

Three months later, in a news briefing at the Pentagon, Caldwell said the Afghan soldiers and police previously had been in terrible shape: poorly led, uninspired and more than 90 percent of them illiterate. But he said the Obama administration’s decision to spend $6 billion a year to train and equip the Afghan security forces had produced a remarkable turnaround. He predicted that the Taliban-led insurgency would subside and that the Afghans would take over responsibility for securing their country by the end of 2014, enabling U.S. combat troops to leave.

Afghanistan’s collapse leaves allies questioning U.S. resolve on other fronts

Liz Sly

LONDON — The Taliban's stunningly swift advances across Afghanistan have sparked global alarm, reviving doubts about the credibility of U.S. foreign policy promises and drawing harsh criticisms even from some of the United States' closest allies.

As Taliban fighters entered Kabul and the United States scrambled to evacuate its citizens, concerns grew that the unfolding chaos could create a haven for terrorists, unleash a major humanitarian disaster and trigger a new refugee exodus.

U.S. allies complain that they were not fully consulted on a policy decision that potentially puts their own national security interests at risk — in contravention of President Biden's promises to recommit to global engagement.

And many around the world are wondering whether they could rely on the United States to fulfill long-standing security commitments stretching from Europe to East Asia.

"Whatever happened to 'America is back'?" said Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the Defense Committee in the British Parliament, citing Biden's foreign policy promise to rebuild alliances and restore U.S. prestige damaged during the Trump administration.

How America Failed in Afghanistan

Isaac Chotiner

On Sunday, as the Taliban entered Kabul—the last remaining major Afghan city not under the group’s control—the President of the country, Ashraf Ghani, fled to Tajikistan, making clear that the U.S.-backed Afghan government had collapsed. Five months ago, in April, President Joe Biden announced that all U.S. and nato troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Critics have accused the Administration of conducting a rushed, poorly planned, and chaotic withdrawal since then. On Thursday, the U.S. government announced that it would be sending in marines and soldiers to help evacuate embassy personnel. But the speed of the Taliban advance has stunned American officials and left desperate Afghans trying to flee the country. Responding to criticism about his plan, Biden has sought to shift blame to the Afghan government and its people, saying, “They have got to fight for themselves.”

I spoke by phone with my colleague, the New Yorker staff writer Steve Coll, about the situation in Afghanistan. The dean of Columbia Journalism School, Coll is the author of “Ghost Wars” and “Directorate S,” which together chronicle much of the history of the past several decades in Afghanistan and Pakistan. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed why it has been so hard for the United States to train the Afghan army, the different humanitarian crises facing the country, and the Biden Administration’s “outrageous” callousness toward a situation America played a role in creating.

Kabul Is Not Quite Saigon, and It Was All Too Easy

Luke Hunt

The right-wing politics of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell are not everyone’s cup of tea. But he’s an old stager and he was right about the Taliban shaping-up to retake of Afghanistan, when he said: “This debacle was not only foreseeable, it was foreseen.”

“The Biden Administration has reduced U.S. officials to pleading with Islamic extremists to spare our Embassy as they prepare to overrun Kabul,” he said.

“The latest news of a further drawdown at our Embassy and a hasty deployment of military forces seem like preparations for the fall of Kabul. President Biden’s decisions have us hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975.”

The sheer speed of the fall as the militia fanned out across the country was as breathtaking as it was heartbreaking for the Afghans who believed in America and those who backed Washington’s efforts over two decades to rescue what was a failed state.

Afghan abandonment a lesson for Taiwan’s DPP: Global Times editorial

The US troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan has led to the rapid demise of the Kabul government. The world has witnessed how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul. This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the US.

Many people cannot help but recall how the Vietnam War ended in 1975: The US abandoned its allies in South Vietnam; Saigon was taken over; then the US evacuated almost all its citizens in Saigon. And in 2019, US troops withdrew from northern Syria abruptly and abandoned their allies, the Kurds. Some historians also point out that abandoning allies to protect US interests is an inherent flaw that has been deeply rooted in the US since the founding of the country. During the American War of Independence, the US humbly begged the king of France, Louis XVI, to ally with it. After the war, it quickly made peace with Britain unilaterally and concluded a peace treaty with Britain that was detrimental to France's interests. This put Louis XVI's regime in a difficult position, giving cause for the French Revolution.

Chinese State Media Mocks U.S. Over Afghanistan: 'More Smooth Than Presidential Transition'


The outspoken editor of a Chinese state media tabloid mocked the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Sunday, comparing the government's foreign policy blunder to the presidential transition from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden.

The U.S. evacuated embassy personnel in Kabul by helicopter on Sunday as Taliban fighters advanced on Afghanistan's capital. Just four days ago, U.S. defence officials had estimated that it would take Taliban insurgents 30 days to isolate Kabul and possibly under 90 days to take it over.

"Chinese netizens joked that the power transition in Afghanistan is even more smooth than presidential transition in the US," tweeted Hu Xijin, who heads the Chinese Communist Party's Global Times.

Chinese netizens joked that the power transition in Afghanistan is even more smooth than presidential transition in the US. pic.twitter.com/t1twRIiFme— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 15, 2021

Xi’s Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State

George Soros

At the heart of this conflict is the reality that the two nations represent systems of governance that are diametrically opposed. The U.S. stands for a democratic, open society in which the role of the government is to protect the freedom of the individual. Mr. Xi believes Mao Zedong invented a superior form of organization, which he is carrying on: a totalitarian closed society in which the individual is subordinated to the one-party state. It is superior, in this view, because it is more disciplined, stronger and therefore bound to prevail in a contest.

Relations between China and the U.S. are rapidly deteriorating and may lead to war. Mr. Xi has made clear that he intends to take possession of Taiwan within the next decade, and he is increasing China’s military capacity accordingly.

He also faces an important domestic hurdle in 2022, when he intends to break the established system of succession to remain president for life. He feels that he needs at least another decade to concentrate the power of the one-party state and its military in his own hands. He knows that his plan has many enemies, and he wants to make sure they won’t have the ability to resist him.

Biggest danger is to shrink from this fiasco

William Hague

In the end, the only surprise was that anyone was so surprised. I wrote in April, when President Biden announced his fateful withdrawal from Afghanistan saying “We’ll determine what a continued US diplomatic presence looks like”, that it would look like an evacuation. Today, that panic-stricken evacuation is underway. A total collapse of the Afghan army, once it was unsupported, was always a serious risk that should have been anticipated. History is littered with examples of large military forces capitulating if they feel isolated or poorly led. Think of the mass surrender of Italian troops in North Africa in the winter of 1940 to a British army they outnumbered at least four-to-one.

At the weekend, Biden argued that the Afghan collapse vindicated his decision

Biden’s Afghanistan Surrender

With that statement of capitulation, the Afghan military’s last resistance collapsed. Taliban fighters captured Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country while the U.S. frantically tried to evacuate Americans. The jihadists the U.S. toppled 20 years ago for sheltering Osama bin Laden will now fly their flag over the U.S. Embassy building on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Our goal all along has been to offer constructive advice to avoid this outcome. We criticized Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban and warned about the risks of his urge to withdraw in a rush, and we did the same for Mr. Biden. The President’s advisers offered an alternative, as did the Afghanistan Study Group. Mr. Biden, as always too assured of his own foreign-policy acumen, refused to listen.

Mr. Biden’s Saturday self-justification exemplifies his righteous dishonesty. “One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country,” Mr. Biden said. But the Afghans were willing to fight and take casualties with the support of the U.S. and its NATO allies, especially air power. A few thousand troops and contractors could have done the job and prevented this rout.

Op-Ed: U.S. foreign policy is ‘sanctions happy.’ Here’s why it doesn’t work


If anyone still thought that the United States’ “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Iran was still working, a drone strike in late July on an Israeli-linked merchant ship in the Indian Ocean should put the lie to that notion. Iranian proxies are accused of carrying out the attack.

A sanctions-happy American foreign policy repeats the same pattern over and over, imposing sanctions on a country we judge profligate and, in turn, impoverishing its people. Yet we expect that those same people will overthrow their offending regime and thank us for our actions. Then we are surprised when it doesn’t happen. As chairman of the National Intelligence Council, I had a ringside seat to this sort of behavior.

Iran is the latest in this long dreary line. The “maximum pressure” sanctions have produced neither regime change nor much visible restraint by Iran when it comes to its other offenses, including its missile program or interventions in the region. The sanctions have given the regime a handy scapegoat for its economic failings.

The Pentagon Needs a Strategy That Does Not Hinge on Fragile Networks


The U.S. military “failed miserably” during a wargame scenario last fall when the opposing force gained control of American networks in the first moments of the simulated battle for Taiwan. Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, made this stunning revelation not as a warning about the dangers of networking the entire military, but rather to argue that the U.S. must double down on its biggest point of failure and build an even bigger network.

Yet what this failed wargame really proved is that the U.S. needs a strategy that does not hinge on fragile networks. All networks are fragile when the enemy’s survival depends on disrupting them, so building an entire operation around them would be self-defeating.

Every object that touches the network creates a new vulnerability, and some are quite simple and relatively easy to exploit. For example, in 2018, the Government Accountability Office reported several instances of engineers failing to reset default passwords when installing commercial or open-source software. Cyber test teams had only to search the Internet for passwords to gain access and seize control of the system.

Japan’s New China Reality

The drumbeat of concern from America’s most important Asian ally about China’s military rise is getting louder. Last month Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Asowarned that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could threaten Japan’s “survival.” Now Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi has bluntly acknowledged America’s relative decline in the Western Pacific and the need for Japan to assert itself militarily to fill the void.

The remarks came in an interview with Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. Mr. Kishi “said the shifting power balance between the US and China ‘has become very conspicuous’ while a military battle over Taiwan had ‘skewed greatly in favour of China,’” the paper reports. He added that China “is trying to change the status quo unilaterally backed by force and coercion” and said “we must build a structure where we can protect ourselves.”

Japanese officials are normally soft-spoken in public, but China’s immense military buildup has become impossible to ignore. According to a new Lowy Institute report by military analyst Thomas Shugart, China has “become the world’s premier sea power by most measures,” adding 80 warships to its navy in the last five years while the U.S. added 36.

South America’s Lithium Triangle: Opportunities for the Biden Administration

Ryan C. Berg

As the impacts of climate change ripple across the globe, lithium’s importance as a strategic mineral will increase exponentially to become an essential component for the clean energy systems of the future. The creation of lithium-ion batteries in 1991 transformed electric technology by virtue of their power as rechargeable, lightweight batteries that could store large amounts of energy. In the past five years alone, demand for lithium-ion batteries has skyrocketed, with the price of lithium doubling between 2016 and 2018. This trend is expected to continue well into the future—the lithium industry is expected to grow nearly eightfold by 2027. Concomitantly, the strategic importance of lithium will grow as the world attempts to meet the increasing demand for electric vehicle batteries and clean energy. These trends indicate that control of the lithium industry could reap major benefits in the future, which will likely increase the geopolitical contention between great powers.

Latin America is the region of the world with the largest amount of lithium. Its so-called Lithium Triangle will inevitably become the nexus for the coveted mineral, which is often referred to as “white gold.” The Lithium Triangle is a lithium-rich region in the Andean southwest corner of South America, spanning the borders of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile and forming a geographic triangle of lithium resources underneath their salt flats. Approximately 58 percent of the world’s lithium resources are found in these three countries, according to the 2021 USGS Mineral Commodity Summary.

Amid Space Race, Cybersecurity And Resiliency Remain Concerns: Experts


WASHINGTON: A space race is afoot, and in this brave new interstellar world, experts say concerns remain about the cybersecurity and resiliency — or lack thereof — for constellations of space-based assets and the global networks they enable. And with global investment in space exploding, the issue is not going away anytime soon.

“I’ve seen change over the past four years like I haven’t seen over the past 36 years,” Kevin Bell, senior vice president of the Space Systems Group at The Aerospace Corporation and a former Air Force pilot, said last week at an event organized by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Space-based systems proliferation is being driven, as well as enabled, by new tech, ranging from ships and satellites to 5G. The US military will rely on space assets as nodes in global networks to enable its Joint Warfighting Concept and All Domain Operations. In addition to defense and intelligence applications, space increasingly factors into vast swaths of global economies — shaping sectors ranging from transportation to agriculture — in turn making space progressively more of an economic security issue.

Winning the 5G Race with China: A U.S.-Japan Strategy to Trip the Competition, Run Faster, and Put the Fix In

Scott W. Harold and Rika Kamijima-Tsunoda

Executive Summary
This article argues that China’s 5G wireless information and communications technology (ICT) poses serious risks to privacy and national security and describes a potential U.S.-Japan strategy for countering these threats.

Main Argument 

Chinese leaders have promoted 5G ICT as a component of both the Belt and Road Initiative and Military-Civil Fusion—efforts intended to extend China’s influence around the world for national, commercial, and military advantage. Under Chinese law, 5G ICT firms like Huawei and ZTE are required to grant Chinese authorities access to any data that touches their systems. In response, the U.S. and Japan should consider working to counter the advantages of Chinese firms by cutting off their access to key markets, technology inputs, talent, and capital (“tripping the competition”); build up free-world alternatives (“running faster”); and restructure the global playing field to protect privacy, economic competition, and national security (“putting the fix in”).