2 October 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


The Deterrence Theory was developed in the 1950s, mainly to address new strategic challenges posed by nuclear weapons from the Cold War nuclear scenario. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a survivable nuclear force to present a ‘credible’ deterrent that maintained the ‘uncertainty’ inherent in a strategic balance as understood through the accepted theories of major theorists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, and Thomas Schelling.1 Nuclear deterrence was the art of convincing the enemy not to take a specific action by threatening it with an extreme punishment or an unacceptable failure.

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The character of warfare has changed fundamentally over the last decade. In the past, it was essential for an adversary nation or insurgent to physically bring weapons to bear during combat. That requirement is no longer a necessity. In cyber operations, the only weapons that need to be used are bits and bytes. In this new era of warfare, logistics issues that often restrict and limit conventional warfare and weaponry are not impediments. This new weaponry moves at the speed of light, is available to every human on the planet and can be as surgical as a scalpel or as devastating as a nuclear bomb.

Cyber attacks in various forms have become a global problem. Cyber weapons are low-cost, low-risk, highly effective and easily deployable globally. This new class of weapons is within reach of many countries, extremist or terrorist groups, non-state actors, and even individuals. Cyber crime organisations are developing cyber weapons effectively. The use of offensive Cyber operations by nation-states directly against another or by co-opting cyber criminals has blurred the line between spies and non-state malicious hackers. New entrants, both nation-states and non-state actors have unmatched espionage and surveillance capabilities with significant capabilities. They are often the forerunners for criminal financial gain, destruction and disruption operations. Progressively, we see non-state actors including commercial entities, developing capabilities that were solely held by a handful of state actors.

The Taliban Takeover of Kabul and Implications for the India-Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Transit Corridor

Vali Kaleji

The port of Chabahar—located on the Makran coast of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan Province, near to the Gulf of Oman and at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz—is the only Iranian port with direct access to the Indian Ocean. Thanks to its strategic position and links to north-south transit corridors, it has been termed the “Golden Gate” to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia (Strategic Analysis, November 23, 2012). Iran and its northeastern neighbors are not the only actors with a deep interest in the success of Chabahar. Namely, Iran’s “only ocean port” is also a key element of India’s transregional transit and trade strategies.

Having witnessed the development of Sino-Pakistani cooperation in the nearby port of Gwadar (Pakistan), India has focused on facilitating growth in the transit capacity at Chabahar in order to boost trade with Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia while “bypassing” the territory of its regional rivals Pakistan and China. India and Iran first agreed to plans to further develop Shahid Beheshti port (one of the two ports, in addition to Shahid Kalantari, that make up the entire Chabahar port complex) in 2003, but accomplished little toward that goal at the time on account of the international sanctions regime against Iran. A decade later, on May 24, 2016, India signed a historic three-country deal to develop the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar as a crucial node in a “Transit and Transport Corridor” through Afghanistan. By October 2017, India’s first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan was sent through Chabahar. This tripartite agreement not only allowed Indian firms to bypass Pakistan and access global markets to the west but also countered China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean region (Hindustan Times, May 24, 2016).

Afghanistan probably never stood a chance, reports show

Meghann Myers

On July 29, the Pentagon’s independent inspector general for Afghanistan told a group of reporters that with 20 years in and trillions dollars spent, Afghan security forces were not confident enough to do basic route clearance or checkpoint management.

Two weeks later, the Taliban had taken nearly all of Afghanistan and was preparing to launch its campaign into Kabul, the capital. Video would show Afghan forces laying down their weapons as the insurgents rolled into city after city, shocking many, but certainly not everyone.

“You know, you really shouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been reading our reports for at least the nine years ... that I’ve been there,” John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in late July. “We’ve been highlighting problems with our train, advise and assist mission with the Afghan military.”

After the Taliban took Kabul on Aug. 15, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stood in the Pentagon briefing room and said that no one saw the country unraveling in that way.

The Taliban didn't change — it adapted to the (dis)information age


In the wake of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban last month, U.S. officials placed the blame on everything from faulty intelligence to corruption in the Afghan government. Although each of these claims is valid, there were other forces at work leading up to the coup that gave the Taliban control over Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years.

Taliban fighters had been using the internet to connect with local followers since the early 2000s, but their strategy changed once America’s exit became imminent. In February 2020, then-Taliban deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote a New York Times op-ed that sparked a wave of fresh Taliban Twitter accounts. A BBC report revealed that many of those accounts were created explicitly for promoting Haqqani’s article to an international audience.

Haqqani, now Afghanistan’s minister of interior, pledged that any future government would be decided by a “consensus among Afghans” with “equal rights.” To maximize its influence, the article was published during high-visibility peace negotiations between Taliban leaders and President Trump’s administration.

U.S. Asked Russia About Offer of Bases to Monitor Afghan Terror Threat

Michael R. Gordon and Gordon Lubold

The previously unreported exchange comes as the Biden administration is searching for ways to strengthen its capability to monitor and respond to potential terrorist dangers in Afghanistan now that U.S. forces have left the country.

While the U.S. and Russia share concerns about the threat of terrorism, the idea of working with Russia on counterterrorism is fraught with challenges, particularly politically. Congress enacted legislation several years ago that precludes close cooperation between the U.S. and Russia militaries as long as Russian troops are in Ukraine, unless the secretary of defense issues a special waiver.

Gen. Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to come under sharp questioning from lawmakers Tuesday over the Pentagon’s planning for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. At the appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen Milley is also likely to face questions about the recent discussions with Gen. Gerasimov and phone calls with his Chinese counterpart in the final weeks of the Trump administration.
Last week’s discussion between the top U.S. and Russian military officers had its roots in the June 16 summit meeting in Geneva between Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin floated the idea of hosting U.S. military personnel on Russian bases, according to U.S. officials and the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

U.S. Spent Billions on Afghanistan and Failed to Build a Sustainable Economy

Sune Engel Rasmussen and Josh Mitchell

“When aid was there, we were able to pay salaries, buy electricity and we were able to fund our national army,” said Salma Alokozai, who served in the fallen Afghan government’s finance and education ministries, and liaised with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. “The private sector was doing fine. Right now, there is no private sector, and there is no aid money.”

One U.S. Defense Department official put it more bluntly, telling the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar) in a report last month: “When you look at how much we spent and what we got for it, it’s mind-boggling.”

P. Michael McKinley, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from 2014 to 2016, acknowledged, “On balance, nation-building in Afghanistan was not a success.”

Inside the Afghanistan airlift: Split-second decisions, relentless chaos drove historic military mission

Alex Horton and Dan Lamothe

Military personnel at the 618th Air Operations Command outside St. Louis quickly concluded that there had been a bombing and that their decisions in the next few minutes would determine the fate of grievously wounded Americans and Afghans thousands of miles away.

A plane in Qatar stuffed with medical personnel and equipment roared to Kabul, about three and a half hours away. Another jet specializing in aeromedical evacuation was dispatched from Germany.

The bombing, which killed at least 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, and the scramble to respond while continuing the evacuation, spotlighted the split-second decisions and chaos that defined the military’s 17-day race to pull off a daunting mission on a single runway at a crumbling airport under constant threat of attack.

Lawmakers determined to assign blame for the messy exit from Afghanistan will convene hearings in the Senate and the House this week to scrutinize the Pentagon’s decision-making and senior military leaders’ counsel to President Biden ahead of Kabul’s fall. Yet while nearly every aspect of the airlift continues to be picked apart and politicized, the rescue of nearly 124,000 people in such a narrow time frame stands as a historic accomplishment — albeit one overshadowed by tragedy.

Treat Pakistan like China on military and sensitive exports

Michael Rubin

A week earlier, he had slammed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that the United States would reassess its relationship with Pakistan. Such comments are rich given Pakistan’s support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, its sheltering of terror leaders such as the late Osama bin Laden, and the billions of dollars in support Washington has provided Pakistan annually.

There should be no debate about where the Pakistani government and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency sit.

Thousands of Americans are now dead because successive U.S. administrations trusted their Pakistani counterparts or turned a blind eye in exchange for Pakistan’s logistical assistance in Afghanistan. Over the years, however, Pakistan has also changed its diplomatic orientation. Beginning with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and continuing under Khan, Pakistan’s leaders have transformed Pakistan into a vassal of China . For all of Khan’s talk of Islamophobia , his fealty to Beijing is such that he not only ignores China’s genocide against its Muslim Uyghur minority but also actively endorses it.

Iran and Pakistan: Bilateral Bonding Over the Taliban

Umair Jamal

Afghanistan is undergoing a significant and fundamental strategic change in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

In the last few weeks, Iran and Pakistan have had a flurry of meetings to discuss Afghanistan’s future amid the emerging situation. Arguably, Pakistan and Iran’s roles in Afghanistan have become pivotal to prevent another civil war among different ethnic and ideological factions.

In the past, Iran and Pakistan have supported different factions in Afghanistan in a bid to preserve their influence and interests. During the 1990s, Iran supported and armed the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. In 1998, Taliban killed at least eight Iranian diplomats and correspondents in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan in retaliation for Tehran’s support to its foes.

Reassessing Russian Capabilities in the Levant and North Africa



Russia may be back in the Middle East, but is it a truly strategic player? The picture is decidedly mixed. After abandoning most of its presence in the Levant and North Africa during the late 1980s, the Kremlin has alarmed Western policymakers in recent years by filling power vacuums and exploiting the missteps of the United States and the European states. Moscow panders to the insecurities and ambitions of local regimes, trying to enrich itself along the way. While Russian activism is part of a broader push for great power status, most of its policies are rooted more in opportunism than grand strategy.

Yet Russian influence is formidable in many respects. In war-wracked states like Syria and Libya, Moscow has adroitly deployed military forces and engaged with actors that are off-limits to Westerners, thus positioning itself as a significant power broker. In Egypt and Algeria, it has pursued arms deals that are unencumbered by human rights conditions. Russia’s economic footprint is expanding in fields ranging from infrastructure to tourism to energy, contributing, in some instances, to the region’s cronyism and corruption.

China’s Digital Yuan: An Alternative to the Dollar-Dominated Financial System



Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) are digital tokens issued by central banks. In a way, they are the digital version of cash; their value is guaranteed by a central bank. Unlike money held in credit cards and mobile wallets, CBDCs are not a mere representation of physical money stored elsewhere. Instead, they are a complete replacement for currency notes. While several countries are developing their digital currencies, China is well positioned to take the lead with the digital yuan. This paper highlights ways in which China can use its digital yuan to internationalize the renminbi (RMB) and gradually chip away at the hegemony of the dollar.

The first part of the paper focuses on the dollar’s dominance in the global financial system and the privileges the United States accrues as a result of the dollar being the world reserve currency. The United States has a tight grip on the world’s payment rails, especially in the case of cross-border transactions. For example, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT)—the largest cross-border payment clearinghouse in the world—has to comply with and implement unilateral U.S. sanctions. These sanctions seriously hinder trade and damage the economies of the countries affected by them, as was the case with Iran, which lost $150 billion worth of revenue as a result of U.S. sanctions.1 Once a country is cut off from SWIFT’s network, it becomes extremely difficult for it to trade with the rest of the world. Thus, via the dollar’s dominance and its geopolitical muscle, the United States is positioned to maintain a tight grip on the world’s financial system.

China's Risky Business Crackdown


CHICAGO – Is there a larger purpose to the Chinese government’s recent actions against the country’s largest corporations, and does its cleanup of the financial sector fit into its economic strategy?

China has sought for at least 15 years to rebalance its growth from exports and fixed-asset investment to greater domestic consumption – efforts that have assumed a new urgency, owing to conflicts with the United States and other countries. As long as its domestic market expands, China will be able to reduce the strategic vulnerabilities its dependence on exports implies, and foreign firms will become more dependent on the Chinese market, giving China new sources of strategic leverage. But there are serious impediments to this strategy.

China power crunch spreads, shutting factories and dimming growth outlook

Shivani Singh and Min Zhang

BEIJING, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Widening power shortages in China have halted production at numerous factories including many supplying Apple and Tesla, while some shops in the northeast operated by candlelight and malls shut early as the economic toll of the squeeze mounted.

China is in the grip of a power crunch as a shortage of coal supplies, toughening emissions standards and strong demand from manufacturers and industry have pushed coal prices to record highs and triggered widespread curbs on usage. Read the explainer

Rationing has been implemented during peak hours in many parts of northeastern China since last week, and residents of cities including Changchun said cuts were occurring sooner and lasting for longer, state media reported.

On Monday, State Grid Corp pledged to ensure basic power supply and avoid electricity cuts.

Global Gateway: The EU Alternative to China’s BRI

Mercy A. Kuo

The Diplomat author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Benjamin Barton, assistant professor in the School of Politics, History and International Relations (PHIR) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, is the 288th in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Explain Brussel’s strategic calculus behind “Global Gateway” as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Global Gateway (GG) represents the latest in a string of EU policy actions, strategies and declarations designed to reflect, and produce, a viable alternative to the BRI. It would appear that there is growing apprehension in EU policy circles not only of the extent of the BRI’s roll-out but also of the economic, social, political, and diplomatic side-effects it is garnering, especially in parts of the world where the EU’s strategic interests are non-negligible and long-standing, e.g., the Balkans, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa. The effects have got to the point where they now stand as an affront to the EU’s own strategic interest, hence the drive to develop a credible alternative policy avenue to finance the construction of infrastructure in the Global South.

Right Thinking and Self-Criticisms: Military Modernization With Chinese Communist Characteristics

Derek Solen

In mid-August the Chinese air force, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), conducted the 10th iteration of Golden Helmet, its annual air combat competition for the PLAAF’s best fighter pilots. This year the PLAAF instituted more changes to make the competition more realistic. However, the PLAAF seems to have also used Golden Helmet 2021 to test various methods of instilling greater élan or “fighting spirit” into its fighter pilots. Such efforts are of dubious value, but they underline the fact that no matter how technically proficient the PLAAF and the Chinese military as a whole become, these forces will remain encumbered by the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to mold the thoughts and feelings of their warriors.

Golden Helmet has evolved throughout the last decade, expanding and becoming more realistic. It began as a simple one-on-one air combat competition, but in 2014 a two-on-two dog-fighting event was added, and by this year even four-on-two dogfights were being held. From 2014 the PLAAF began regarding the infliction of a certain degree of simulated damage to an aircraft as a kill, and from 2017 it changed the focus of the competition to achieving certain missions rather than just shooting down one’s opponents – or not being shot down by them. Apparently, until 2017, if a participant could not shoot down his opponents, he would often “flee” in order to run down the clock and have the engagement end in a tie.

War Between The U.S. And China Is Coming

Daniel Davis

Or it will be, without a major and sustained change in how Washington forms policies in the Indo-Pacific region. China, the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and even the UK are engaged in a dangerous, escalating game. Each is contributing to an ever-escalating cycle of threatening moves and countermoves that could lead, not to a Cold War, but a conflict of white-hot intensity – with potentially catastrophic consequences for America.

The primary catalyst for this growing danger is the struggle between the United States and China. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been the= the world’s sole superpower. Facing a world that adds China as a major power (along with a strengthening Russia), is something few in Washington are willing to passively accept.

Except for a few notable exceptions over the past few decades, China has not been much of a factor in great power competition. In fact, China was virtually taken off the global stage at the end of World War II because of the severe damage they had suffered at the hands of Japan during the war and the destructive 20-year civil war they inflicted on themselves.

America is highly vulnerable to a missile attack


Despite spending billions of dollars, the US still lacks a credible ballistic missile defense to protect its territory from Russia, China or Iran. The US does have some defenses against a possible missile strike from North Korea but even these systems require billions of dollars in new investment for needed improvements.

A good interim solution for the US would be to adopt Israel’s Arrow-3 for homeland security defense, buying time to develop a new and capable ballistic missile defense system.

The US has three land-based missile defense systems and one sea-based system. Of the land-based systems, the Ground Based Midcourse Interceptor (GBI) is potentially the most important to protect US territory from an ICBM launch.

Yet the GBI has performed poorly in tests. So much so, in fact, that the Pentagon decided to drop Boeing, the GBI’s main contractor, and award an “interim” contract to Northrop and Lockheed to build 20 interceptor missiles. The new contracts are valued at US$3.7 billion.

Biden’s pivot to Asia is missing something: diplomats

Lauren Sukin

Vice President Kamala Harris recently returned from a trip to Singapore and Vietnam, where she offered Vietnamese officials an increased US Navy presence as a way to put pressure on China’s maritime activities. Speaking in Singapore, Harris accused Beijing of implementing an intimidation strategy in the South China Sea. Harris’ trip reflects the Biden administration’s growing security concerns for the Indo-Pacific, especially against the backdrop of the recent Chinese nuclear build-up, North Korean plutonium production, and expanded North Korean delivery capabilities.

To address these pressing security challenges, the Biden administration will require deft diplomacy and revitalized US alliances in East Asia. Yet this may be an uphill battle, fought in the shadow of the Trump administration’s inconsistent approach to North Korea, trade war with China, insistence on burden-sharing, and repeated failures to adequately consult with allies and partners. The Biden administration has begun to show its commitment to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, but those efforts are undercut by the slow pace of diplomatic appointments and the selection of political nominees for critical diplomatic posts.

Marine officer who blasted leaders over Afghanistan withdrawal now in the brig


“All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,” said Stu Scheller Sr. “He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind-blowing.”

He said that his son is expected to appear before a military hearing on Thursday.

“They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak,” the senior Scheller said. “He did, and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.”

After this story was first published, the Marine Corps issued a statement confirming that Scheller has been sent to the brig.

“Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is currently in pre-trial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune pending an Article 32 preliminary hearing,” said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command. “The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.”


Liam Collins

In May 2003, President George W. Bush declared victory in Iraq after a month of major combat operations. Yet, instead of an end, this milestone marked only the beginning of a protracted campaign as the United States transitioned from major combat operations to counterinsurgency—even if the US military was slow to recognize this shift. The nascent insurgency included a number of other disparate groups with al-Qaeda in Iraq being the most disruptive.

A special operations task force, Task Force 714, had the responsibility for a broad geographical expanse throughout the US Central Command’s area of responsibility, which included Iraq. Like most coalition units deployed to combat the unexpected insurgency in Iraq, the task force found itself relatively unprepared for the opponent it faced. Yet, led by its commander, Major General Stanley McChrystal, the task force underwent a remarkable transformation that allowed it to decimate al-Qaeda in Iraq and provide the Iraqi government the time and space it needed to secure itself.

The Battle of the World’s Most Advanced Microchips

Anthony Ippoliti


Geopolitics determines the type of cell phone you carry, the car you drive, and the computer you use. The all-consuming power of nation-state actor rivalries in the international arena shapes the structural paradigm that drives trade and politics. This is the invisible hand of the global economy. And so it goes with China, microprocessors, and American national security.

The island nation of Taiwan has a historically fraught relationship with China, and a geopolitical miscalculation here could spell trouble. Much of China’s foreign policy is based on economic and resource security, and China is particularly weak in one area: advanced microprocessors. These are the chips that power smart phones, desktops, laptops, and other devices. Microprocessors are a key component in the world’s infrastructure, and China has been working to develop a domestic capability to produce the most advanced types of these chips. Those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Production of these advanced chips is a highly technical endeavor, and none of the companies in the world that can do it are located in mainland China. A subsidiary of China’s Huawei developed a design for an advanced chip called the HiSilicon Kirin 9000, then outsourced the production of the chip to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which counts itself among a very small number of companies able to actually build a chip based on the Kirin 9000 design. However, TSMC is located in Taiwan, and recent U.S. sanctions effectively ended Huawei’s ability to actually produce the chip that it designed. This is a double-edged sword with China’s national security on one side, and American national security on the other.

Europe’s Center Has Held, but at What Cost?

Judah Grunstein

.Has the center held in Europe? The obvious answer would seem to be yes. As has been widely noted, parties on the extremes lost ground in Germany’s election this weekend compared to 2017. And across Europe, far-right and anti-establishment parties similarly seem to be receding in electoral and political relevance. But in other ways, the picture is less heartening, as the impact those parties have had on political discourse has mainstreamed a brand of anti-immigrant, identity-based closure that calls into question Europe’s purpose and meaning, both at home and abroad. ...

Russian Gas, German Elections, and US sanctions

Pavel K. Baev

Two high-resonance processes have been simultaneously unfolding in Europe in the last few weeks: the sharp increase in the prices on natural gas (see EDM, August 11) as well as the fierce contestation in the parliamentary elections in Germany. Each one is driven by a complex and unique interplay of economic and political forces, and Russia prefers to downplay its role in both, but it has tried to exploit the former to influence the latter. The political outcome of the German elections last Sunday (September 26) may remain undetermined for weeks, if not months, as parties jockey to create a workable coalition government, but Moscow may feel satisfied for two reasons. First, Russia largely avoided accusations of election interference; and second, its energy agenda apparently succeeded in constraining the rearrangement of politics in Berlin. Climate change was a major issue in the turbulent campaign season in Germany, but the proposition to reduce German dependency on the import of Russian gas voiced by some quarters (notably the Greens) was effectively reduced to irrelevance.

The crisis in the European gas market has been maturing for months yet still caught most experts, not to mention customers, by surprise (Kommersant, September 21). The accumulating shortage in supply provides a perfect opportunity for Gazprom to increase deliveries and harvest nice profits; however, the state-owned Russian gas giant has refused to supply extra volumes beyond its minimal contractual obligations, inviting accusations of deliberately trying to aggravate the situation (Novaya Gazeta, September 21). The Kremlin has found it opportune to join the conversation and confirm that Europe, which for years had aimed to replace Russian gas with alternative sources, should not expect any charity (RIA Novosti, September 22). Insightful experts warn that such a mean-spirited attitude may damage Gazprom’s position in the fast-changing market. Nonetheless, current political scores are more important for President Vladimir Putin, who firmly directs the gas business, than mid-term cost-benefit calculations (Ko.ru, September 22).

How ‘wonder material’ graphene became a national security concern

Jasper Jolly

Alarge shed on an unassuming industrial estate beside Swansea’s River Tawe does not at first glance seem vital to the UK’s national security. The facility, run by a small company called Perpetuus , sits beside a mortuary and a parcel depot.

Earlier this month, the company, which makes graphene – a “wonder material” made of a single layer of carbon atoms – grabbed the attention of the government, which said it would investigate a possible takeover involving a Chinese academic, in a highly unusual move that startled industry observers.

The controversy has shone a spotlight on the global race to develop graphene, suggesting that it may be about to make the long-promised leap from the lab to everyday products, and possibly to military uses as well. In particular, it has drawn attention to China’s attempt to corner the nascent industry, and the Communist state’s reach into British universities developing the technology.

The Kremlin’s Strange Victory

Fiona Hill

Donald Trump wanted his July 2018 meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to evoke memories of the momentous encounters that took place in the 1980s between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Those arms control summits had yielded the kind of iconic imagery that Trump loved: strong, serious men meeting in distant places to hash out the great issues of the day. What better way, in Trump’s view, to showcase his prowess at the art of the deal?

That was the kind of show Trump wanted to put on in Helsinki. What emerged instead was an altogether different sort of spectacle.

By the time of the meeting, I had spent just over a year serving in the Trump administration as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. Like everyone else who worked in the White House, I had, by then, learned a great deal about Trump’s idiosyncrasies. We all knew, for instance, that Trump rarely read the detailed briefing materials his staff prepared for him and that in meetings or calls with other leaders, he could never stick to an agreed-on script or his cabinet members’ recommendations. This had proved to be a major liability during those conversations, since it often seemed to his foreign counterparts as though Trump was hearing about the issues on the agenda for the first time.

The Myth of ‘Spheres of Influence’ in the Pacific Region

Sasha Davis

In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan it is not surprising that the United States and allied governments are recentering their foreign policy and military strategies on the Pacific region and the rivalry with China. What is surprising, however, is how many of the current plans and discussions about the Pacific region are based on outdated conceptualizations of how political, economic, and military influence actually work in this oceanic realm. Based on a number of commentaries, articles, and reports, one would think that there is actually a definitive line across the Pacific Ocean that serves as a hard border between Chinese influence on one side, and the U.S. and its allies on the other.

Lyle Goldstein, director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College, was particularly explicit about this mindset when he said of the Micronesian islands of the Western Pacific, “It is around these islands that the line of spheres of influence between the [U.S. and China] are being drawn… The question is where does the line switch?”

Turkey and Russia zero in on Idlib


They are nearly the same age, have been in power for about two decades and have seen their popularity challenged of late due to economic turmoil. They oversee increasingly nationalist-driven states that seek to reclaim the glory and influence of a fallen empire. Both are known for their macho swagger and see a bit of themselves in the other.

“This is a person who keeps his word, a man,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in December.

The feeling seems to be mutual. “He is straightforward and keeps his word,” the Turkish leader said of Mr Putin. “It is rare to have such strong relations with any state.”

The bromance behind the surprisingly elastic Russo-Turkish alliance will be renewed this Wednesday when the two meet for talks, along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Expectations are high following Mr Erdogan’s criticism of US-Turkey ties in New York last week. He pointed to displeasure with US President Joe Biden and to American sanctions levied last year for Ankara’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems. “The current trajectory does not bode well,” Mr Erdogan said.

Namejs Versus Zapad: Military Exercises On Both Sides Of The Frontline – Analysis

Lukas Milevski*

Autumn is for military exercises. In September two major exercises have occurred in relative close geographic proximity, one in Latvia and the other in western Russia and Belarus. Latvia’s annual large-scale exercise Namejs 2021 kicked off on August 30 and runs until October 3. Russia’s much larger-scale exercise Zapad-2021 began on September 9 with a formal opening ceremony, actual military maneuvers beginning only the following day, and concluded on September 16. Each exercise reflects its respective country’s key security concerns and sought to test national and allied capabilities for responding to identified threats.
Namejs 2021

The annual Namejs exercises are consistently the largest in Latvia and its 2021 iteration is no different, indeed possibly even more ambitious than in previous years. Partially this is a result of its geographical scope. The exercises have moved beyond the Ādaži training grounds and surrounding municipalities to also take place in and around other cities and towns throughout all four of Latvia’s provinces and in the very streets of the capital Riga (prompting one video of the exercise to go viral and leading to an apology from the Ministry of Defense).

Top Army General: Network Modernization ‘Never Going To Stop’


WASHINGTON: The Army’s effort to modernize its networks to prepare for future wars is a “continuous journey” that requires the flexibility to add emerging technologies, the general leading the effort said this week.

“What we need to realize is it’s never going to stop,” Lt. Gen. John Morrison, the deputy chief of staff for the G-6, said on a webinar hosted by GovExec. “This is going to be a continuous journey because the explosion of information technologies is only accelerating on us. And we need to be adaptive and set a foundation that allows us to continuously innovate over time so that we can bring in new capabilities as they emerge in a relatively seamless fashion and not get stuck to ‘I’m going from one capability to another capability and I’m on a seven year journey to get there.’”

Morrison is leading an effort to unify the Army’s enterprise and tactical networks to position the service’s digital architecture for multi-domain operations, in which the Army runs operations across the warfighting domains.