22 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.

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.

Stronger deterrence will avoid war over Taiwan

Peter Jennings

Xi Jinping is positioning the People’s Liberation Army to bring Taiwan under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. The Taiwanese assess perhaps a three-year time frame before an attack, while US Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu considers a military assault in six years to be possible.

If conflict breaks out, it will be large-scale and bloody. It will throw the world into two hostile camps—in effect, the democracies versus the authoritarian regimes. War over Taiwan will inevitably involve Australia.

There will be no positive outcomes from a conflict. If China is defeated, Xi will fall from office and the CCP will face an existential crisis of legitimacy that could see it lose its hold on power amid large-scale political turmoil.

If Beijing wins, it will have to deal with a bloody occupation on an island of 25 million people who mostly reject the idea of communist control. The Taiwanese will put up tough resistance. Xi will face his own Iraq occupation moment, with nothing to offer Taiwan other than repression.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Stands Up to Xi Jinping

Thomas Joscelyn
Source Link

This week, I want to take a close look at two China-related stories that caught my eye. First, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, stood up to the mainland’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in a remarkable speech. Tsai was responding to the latest provocations from Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler who has his eyes set on her tiny island nation.

Second, the Islamic State conducted a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. Although this sort of attack is commonplace, it was intended to send a message not only to the Taliban, but also China. Let’s examine both stories.
Xi claims history is on his side.

On October 9, Xi delivered an ominous speech regarding the “Taiwan question.” Xi’s remarks were intended to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 (or Xinhai Revolution), which overthrew the imperial Qing dynasty. While Xi reiterated his alleged desire for a “peaceful reunification,” a seemingly benign outcome, his address was clearly dark and menacing.

How China Uses Development Finance Strategically in South Asia

Mohamed Zeeshan

Ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) a few years ago, Beijing’s role in global development finance has driven both admiration and paranoia around the world. Now, a new report by AidData has finally attached numbers to the phenomenon – and it’s likely to drive further global debate.

Using data on over 13,000 Chinese-financed projects, committed between 2000 and 2017 in 165 countries, AidData explains how China has redefined the idea of development aid around the world.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), development projects are classified as Official Development Assistance (ODA) if they are concessional in nature. This includes grants, technical assistance, and concessional loans. Non-concessional loans and export credits, which add a heavier financial burden on the recipient country, are classified as Other Official Flows (OOFs).

AUKUS mixed reception a symptom of strategic fault-lines in Southeast Asia

Evan A Laksmana

AUKUS, the new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that launched last month, has had a mixed reception. Some regional policymakers publicly and privately welcome a stronger presence, commitment and set of capabilities that could balance China. Others are concerned about regional tension and an arms race, while many more appear unsure one way or the other.

The lukewarm reception to AUKUS reflects a deeper set of strategic fault-lines between Australia and the region. Some Australian policymakers, in an effort to reassure countries in the region, portray AUKUS as mere technological cooperation among longstanding allies to develop new defence capabilities. These new capabilities in turn supposedly help Australia better to work with regional partners and contribute to the rules-based order. The implicit message here is that AUKUS is not about encircling China, but instead about helping Australia to help the region.

Repression, Identity and the Promise of Eelam

Priavi Joshi

For over three decades, Sri Lanka witnessed one of the most violent armed conflicts between the Sinhalese majority State and the minority Tamil community, represented by the militant organisation Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The state formally descended into a civil war after anti-Tamil pogroms across the country on 23rd July, 1983 – observed as Black July – and remained a war zone till 18th May, 2009 which marked the capture of the entire island by the Sinhalese army and the death of LTTE’s leader Velupillai Prabhakaran (Williams and Weaver). The LTTE grew to be one of the fiercest militant organisations in the world and the only one commanding a navy and an air force (Wall and Choksi). The Tigers also boasted an army of ferocious women who served the organisation in roles ranging from medical care, recruitment, and propaganda to that of active combatants and suicide bombers. The ferocity of the women occupying ‘non-traditional’ roles in the LTTE stands in sharp contrast to the culture of subservience imposed on them by the Tamil culture. This paradox has sparked the interests of several academics. Academic responses to women’s (violent) participation in the militant movement remain varied between those who understand their participation as being forceful and oppressive and others who argue it to be agentive, emancipatory and empowering in nature.

China’s Overseas Coal Pledge Is Not a Climate Change Gamechanger

Mathias Lund Larsen

To great fanfare at the U.N. General Assembly, Xi Jinping promised that China would not build more coal plants overseas. The global response, including from heads of states, was that this is a historic turning point in the fight against climate change. But it’s most likely not.

In fact, the pledge has already been gradually fulfilled over the last few years as part of broader tendencies that have little to do with Chinese climate policies. The climate impact of the pledge is, therefore, likely to be minimal. Problematically, overly praising the pledge reduces pressure on China to make a similar commitment where it really counts – domestically rather than overseas. With COP26 scheduled to begin in two weeks in Glasgow, international pressure needs to be upheld for China to increase its climate ambitions. Keeping up the pressure requires curbing the enthusiastic response to Xi’s coal pledge and seeing it as part of an underlying context of four main areas.

First, four weeks after his speech, we still don’t know exactly what Xi meant. His pledge was made with a brief sentence, promising that “China” would increase support for green energy and not “build new coal-fired power projects abroad.” Does “China” only refer to state-owned or also private companies? Does “build” also include finance? Does the ban on “new” coal projects include those already planned but not yet constructed? These questions remain unanswered.

China's progress in strengthening measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing


The FATF Plenary adopted the mutual evaluation report (MER) of China in February 20191 and its 1st enhanced follow-up report (FUR) with technical compliance reratings in October 2020. 2 This 2nd enhanced FUR analyses China’s progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its MER relating to Recommendations 3, 8, 16, 18, 29, 35 and 38. No Recommendations have changed since the adoption of its 1st enhanced FUR.

Re-ratings are given where sufficient progress has been made. Overall, the expectation is that countries will have addressed most if not all technical compliance deficiencies by the end of the third year from the adoption of their MER. This report does not address what progress China has made to improve its effectiveness.


Camille Boullenois

In 2019 and 2020, the European Union (1), the United Kingdom (2) and the United States (3)issued strategy papers on data governance acknowledging the importance of data to their economic development and national security. With different emphases, four competing objectives dominate these data strategies: innovation (using data to create new business models and boost economic growth); security (ensuring that sensitive data is not used by a hostile foreign power); privacy (protecting citizens from abusive use of personal data); and surveillance (using data to monitor and control citizens’ and companies’ behaviour).

In the past two years, China has been defining its own data strategy and governance regime and, while juggling the same four competing objectives as its Western counterparts, is taking an innovative approach. While the specific data governance framework is still being debated among scholars, policymakers, industrial lobbyists and state institutions, local pilot regulations on data and stakeholders’ public positions have already hinted at its future characteristics.

China's Hypersonic Missiles: How Worried Should the U.S. Be About Futuristic Weapons?


Arecent propaganda video released by the Chinese military has brought one of the country's most advanced and threatening technologies back to the fore—hypersonic weaponry.

Hypersonic weapons travel at incredible speed and—unlike even the most advanced ballistic missiles—can maneuver in flight. This gives the weapons enormous range and makes them much harder to track and stop.

The U.S., Russia and China are all investing heavily in hypersonic technologies. However, the Pentagon has been the slowest to jump on the bandwagon and military chiefs are warning that the U.S. could be left behind by its authoritarian adversaries, at least when it comes to nuclear-capable hypersonics.

The U.S. still maintains by far the most powerful military on Earth, supported by a military budget larger than that of the next seven biggest spending nations combined. As such, America's rivals must consider intelligent methods of leveling the playing field and—at least on a local or regional level—upending long-held U.S. military hegemony.

Bombshell leak reveals China's new hypersonic weapon: 'Game changer'

Nick Whigham

China has reportedly made a major leap in its nuclear-capable weapons technology program, testing a missile with capabilities that have caught political adversaries by complete surprise.

According to a bombshell leak reported in the Financial Times on Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party tested a new nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that went around the globe before making its way towards the intended target.

After cruising through low-orbit space, the missile ultimately missed the target by some 38 kilometres, three people briefed on the intelligence told the paper.

However the sources said the August test showed China has made surprisingly rapid and "astounding" gains when it comes to hypersonic weapons.

"We have no idea how they did this," one official told the Financial Times.

Turkey’s Passage to Great Power Status?

Maximilian Hess

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a monumental vision for his country’s largest city: building a new mega canal through Istanbul. Of course, Istanbul is already home to the Bosporus Strait, whose bisection of Europe and Asia has been fought over in numerous wars throughout history and inspired numerous cliches. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s plans raise the prospect that the geostrategic map of the Black Sea may soon be recast.

Erdogan has floated the construction of “Canal Istanbul” for many years, dubbing it his “crazy project.” In late June 2021, he held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, estimated to cost at least $15 billion. The project is ostensibly aimed at alleviating delays on shipping through the Bosporus and providing a much-needed boost to the Turkish economy in the process. Erdogan’s critics have long accused him and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of using state infrastructure projects to enrich allies and supporters. Yet, significant doubts remain as to the canal’s feasibility and sincerity, with many keen observers of Turkish developments noting the major hurdles in securing financing and Ankara’s own deteriorating economic circumstances.

The End of American Militarism?

Andrew J. Bacevich and Annelle Sheline

President Joe Biden would like the world to believe that the United States is changing, and in big ways. The American infatuation with war has ended, he told the UN General Assembly last month. Going forward, the United States will no longer treat military power as “an answer to every problem we see around the world,” he said. Central to the president’s message was an acknowledgment that in recent decades, the United States has not classified force as a “tool of last resort.” On the contrary, the promiscuous use of force has become a hallmark of American statecraft, so much so that phrases such as “endless war” and “forever wars” have become staples of everyday political discourse. In this new era, U.S. global leadership remains important, Biden said, but the United States will lead “not just with the example of our power” but “with the power of our example.”

Assume that the president means what he said. Assume further that the Pentagon, the U.S. intelligence agencies, and the military-industrial complex (along with their allies in Congress and the media) concur with the commander in chief. How might his views translate into reality? What difference might they make? In that regard, Biden’s reference to force as a “tool of last resort” answers certain questions but avoids others. It provides broad but not particularly helpful guidance as to when to use force—not too soon, but presumably just in time—and none whatsoever regarding what might justify the use of force. And it dodges altogether the most crucial question: In the present age, what is armed force good for?

‘Integrated deterrence’ taking shape against China


MANILA – The Biden administration’s “integrated deterrence” strategy against China has gained momentum in recent weeks amid more military cooperation and expanded naval drills with key regional allies and strategic partners.

This month alone saw two major drills between the US and like-minded powers in the Indo-Pacific. First came the joint naval exercises between two US carrier strike groups as well as the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), along with a Japanese big-deck warship, in the waters off the coast of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.

A week later, the US kicked off the second phase of the massive Malabar 2021 exercises with fellow Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) powers Australia, India and Japan in the Bay of Bengal.

Shortly after that, the Philippines, a US treaty ally, also announced the restoration of ‘full scale’ Balikatan joint exercises, with thousands of troops from both sides expected to take part in major war games amid rising maritime tensions in the region.

Washington Hears Echoes of the ’50s and Worries: Is This a Cold War With China?

David E. Sanger

When Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister and longtime China expert, told a German newsmagazine recently that a Cold War between Beijing and Washington was “probable and not just possible,” his remarks rocketed around the White House, where officials have gone to some lengths to squelch such comparisons.

It is true, they concede, that China is emerging as a far broader strategic adversary than the Soviet Union ever was — a technological threat, a military threat, an economic rival. And while President Biden insisted at the United Nations last month that “we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” his repeated references this year to a generational struggle between “autocracy and democracy” conjured for some the ideological edge of the 1950s and ’60s.

Yet the question of whether the United States is entering a new Cold War is about more than just finding the right metaphor for this odd turn in superpower politics. Governments that plunge into a Cold War mind-set can exaggerate every conflict, convinced that they are part of a larger struggle. They can miss opportunities for cooperation, as the United States and China did in battling Covid-19, and may yet on the climate.

AUKUS Is Only Half the Equation

Ryan Nabil

The United States and the United Kingdom’s recent decision to expand their Asian security presence has the potential to deter China, but Washington and London should recognize its limits. The U.S. and U.K. governments need to build stronger trade and investment ties to create a sustainable and long-lasting diplomatic presence across Asia.

As China pursues an increasingly assertive foreign policy, Anglo-American strategic cooperation with regional partners like Australia could help check Chinese ambitions in the region. In September, the Biden administration and the Boris Johnson government announced a new Indo-Pacific defense alliance between Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. – AUKUS for short. While the alliance will initially help Australia build a nuclear-powered submarine, it ultimately seeks to deepen trilateral security cooperation in Asia. Although the decision was seen as a snub by France, it was a welcome distraction for the Biden administration following its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. The move was also a diplomatic win for Downing Street as it seeks to expand Britain’s diplomatic presence beyond Europe.

Chris Inglis and the Gathering Cyber Storm


Chris Inglis’ new White House office has a startup feel to it. There are desks, a few chairs, a coffee maker and a poster hanging on the wall. But as the head of the newly established Office of the National Cyber Director, Inglis has to make due with what he has while still advising President Joe Biden on the smartest ways for the US to prevent and respond to cyberattacks.

Inglis has already had numerous conversations with the president, who has made clear that the government has a role to play in the defense of the private sector and in assisting the private sector in defending critical infrastructure. And the president knows, says Inglis, that means the government needs to get its own cyber house in order.

But like any real startup, Inglis’ resources are scarce. More than three months after being confirmed by the Senate, he still doesn’t have the full staff he needs to take on his timely and critical mission. That’s because the funding for his office – some $21 million, part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill making its way through Congress – is still stuck in the political spin cycle. Why does it matter?

Joe Biden’s Afghanistan Problem

David Rohde

When President Joe Biden announced in the spring that he planned to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, it appeared to be a politically deft decision from an Administration rapidly replacing the chaos of the Trump years with competence. The nearly twenty-year war had long faded from American headlines and consciousness. Voters on the left and the right were eager to end a largely forgotten conflict that Biden’s predecessors had allowed to become, through a combination of inattention and shoddy strategy, America’s longest war.

Yet the manner in which the withdrawal was conducted and also the Taliban’s triumph have had a political impact on Biden that has surprised me and other journalists who covered the conflict and long ago assumed that the general public had lost interest in it. Polls and pollsters now say that Biden’s handling of Afghanistan is one of two issues—the other is his response to the Delta variant—that have played a role in his approval ratings approaching those of Gerald Ford and Donald Trump at the same stage of their Presidencies. The majority of Americans favored ending the war, but the Taliban’s barring Afghan women and girls from attending school, the abandonment of Afghans who allied themselves with the American effort, and continued violence from isis seem to have taken a toll. On Friday, an apparent isis attack, the second in a week, killed more than forty minority Shiite Muslims as they prayed in a mosque in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar—the latest of several signs that the Taliban are struggling to govern the country.

In U.S.-China Standoff, Is America a Reliable Ally?

Bilahari Kausikan

The rushed and chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has once again raised questions about Washington’s reliability as an ally and partner. How much can other nations rely on Washington? Will they also be abandoned? Is the United States even capable of being consistent? As countries position themselves in the context of U.S.-Chinese rivalry, such questions lurk not far beneath the surface of their strategic calculations. Sowing doubts about the United States’ reliability is a potent weapon in China’s armory. However, whether or not Washington is reliable is a more complicated question than it first appears.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has revived the Maoist trope of the East rising and the West declining, claiming that “time and momentum” are on China’s side. This trope appeals because it is not a complete fabrication; it is the caricature of more complex realities. The image of the United States as a “shining city on a hill” has never just been the inspiration that Americans fondly think it is—it has always cast dark shadows. It is therefore all the more crucial to view America and China clinically and whole.

In personal relationships, “reliability” carries strong emotional overtones. But in international relations, the term only connotes an alignment of interests. To confuse the idea of reliability in personal relations with reliability in international affairs is a basic conceptual error. To ask if a country is “reliable” in international relations is meaningless without context: reliable for what purpose, under which circumstances, where, and—crucially—compared to which alternatives?

The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning


One day in August 2021, Zhao Wei disappeared. For one of China’s best-known actresses to physically vanish from public view would have been enough to cause a stir on its own. But Zhao’s disappearing act was far more thorough: overnight, she was erased from the internet. Her Weibo social media page, with its 86 million followers, went offline, as did fan sites dedicated to her. Searches for her many films and television shows returned no results on streaming sites. Zhao’s name was scrubbed from the credits of projects she had appeared in or directed, replaced with a blank space. Online discussions uttering her name were censored. Suddenly, little trace remained that the 45-year-old celebrity had ever existed.

She wasn’t alone. Other Chinese entertainers also began to vanish as Chinese government regulators announced a “heightened crackdown” intended to dispense with “vulgar internet celebrities” promoting lascivious lifestyles and to “resolve the problem of chaos” created by online fandom culture. Those imitating the effeminate or androgynous aesthetics of Korean boyband stars—colorfully referred to as “xiao xian rou,” or “little fresh meat”—were next to go, with the government vowing to “resolutely put an end to sissy men” appearing on the screens of China’s impressionable youth.

The U.S. Has Some Catching Up to Do on Digital Currencies

Julia Friedlander, JP Schnapper-Casteras

Much of the recent policy debate over virtual currencies has been alarmist, with commentators going so far as to call for banning all cryptocurrencies or warning that U.S. efforts to develop digital dollars would wreck the banking system. The conversation around central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, illustrates the point.

Whereas cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized, CBDCs are issued and managed by a nation’s monetary authority. The idea has taken off around the world in recent years, largely in response to the rapid pace of digital innovation and to frictions within the existing financial system. Over 80 countries are in some stage of researching, developing or rolling out their own version of this novel monetary technology.

Nato to expand focus to counter rising China

Roula Khalaf

Countering the security threat from the rise of China will be an important part of Nato’s future rationale, the alliance’s chief has said, marking a significant rethink of the western alliance’s objectives that reflects the US’s geostrategic pivot to Asia.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said China was already having an impact on European security through its cyber capabilities, new technologies and long-range missiles. How to defend Nato allies from those threats will be “thoroughly” addressed in the alliance’s new doctrine for the coming decade, he said.

The military alliance has spent decades focused on countering Russia and, since 2001, terrorism. The new focus on China comes amid a determined shift in the US’s geopolitical orientation away from Europe to a hegemonic conflict with Beijing.

“Nato is an alliance of North America and Europe. But this region faces global challenges: terrorism, cyber but also the rise of China. So when it comes to strengthening our collective defence, that’s also about how to address the rise of China,” Stoltenberg said. “What we can predict is that the rise of China will impact our security. It already has.”

NATO Has A Problem: Belarus Is Slowly Being Reabsorbed Into Russia

Sarah White

On October 7, Polish border troops reported being fired upon by their counterparts from Belarus. Though no one was hurt and the Belarusian soldiers were most likely firing blank ammunition, the incident is illustrative of the tension that has been building in that area since Moscow effectively assumed control over the government in Minsk to prop up Belarus’ authoritarian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Anna Michalska, a spokesperson for the Polish Border Guards, said that there had also been an uptick in the number of objects thrown at Polish troops from the Belarusian side.

Tensions have also been rising on the border between the two countries as a surge of migrants has created a building humanitarian crisis simultaneously with the sensitive security situation. Migrants are largely heading toward Poland, as well as Latvia and Lithuania. Poland has accused Belarus of weaponizing migration against it, and accused Lukashenko himself of offering payments for migrants to move into the area. The Polish Council of Ministers has just passed a bill to construct a barrier along its border with Belarus.

What the German Election Taught America About Democracy

Stephen F. Szabo

Last month’s German national election stood in stark contrast to the most recent U.S. presidential and congressional vote. One favored rationality, centrist parties, adult leadership, and the rejection of an extreme nationalist alternative. The other narrowly averted reelecting a right-wing nationalist authoritarian who roused his supporters into a violent attempt to overthrow the results by force—and who retains the support of over 30 percent of the electorate. The former was, of course, Germany, and the latter was one of the world’s oldest democracies, the United States.

This past year has witnessed a remarkable role reversal. After all, it was the United States that tutored and installed democracy in a devastated and divided Germany following the defeat of Adolf Hitler. The United States provided expertise, including that of German expatriates such as Carl Friedrich and others who helped draft the West German Constitution, the Grundgesetz. They laid the foundation for a successful democracy at a time when Germany had very few democrats and many had collaborated or actively supported the Nazi regime. The prospects for success seemed dim, but, unlike the failed Weimar Republic, the new republic had time to consolidate—not least because of the market-based economic recovery known as the Wirtschaftswunder. With the Cold War freezing Germany’s division into place, the country had 40 years to prepare for national reunification, a long, difficult, and still incomplete process of integrating 17 million East Germans who had not experienced democracy for almost 60 years.

Supply Chains: Our Parachute Moment

George Friedman

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m writing about supply chains again. Ekaterina Zolotova and Phillip Orchard can explain why Russian-Chinese maneuvers are insignificant. Antonia Colibasanu and Francesco Casarotto can try to explain Europe. Hilal Khashan can talk about why Lebanon will totally collapse for real this time. And Allison Fedirka can explain the latest weirdness in Venezuela. But I’m not ready to leave the global crisis just yet.

First, I’d like to respond to many of the letters I received on my article published last Friday. I do believe intellectually that we will survive the current situation. Think of parachuting out of an aircraft. Before you jump, you are certain that you will survive. After the chute opens, you are at peace. But between the jump and the chute opening you know in your heart, if not in your head, that you are destined to be a dirt dart. Your mind knows that that is improbable. Your heart knows that the idea of your life depending on a piece of cloth violates the rules of nature. In the same way, my mind knows this is a soluble problem.

Even so, my mind has moved to two things: food and medicine. So far, we have been talking about relatively trivial things, like the possibility that our Christmas presents won’t arrive on time. The various spot shortages in U.S. markets and the various global disruptions have not threatened our well-being. But in looking at the crisis until now, two things appear true. The first is that experts underestimated the length of time that the crisis would impact how we live. The second is that they underestimated the pyramiding of consequences.

How ‘The Expanse’ Is A Cautionary Tale For Real World Space Commercialization: Excerpt


Billionaires taking tourist trips to space may make the headlines, but the spectacles are only a symbol of a much broader — and more consequential — shift: the increasing commercialization of the cosmos. The privatized space race may be in its relative infancy, but as Breaking Defense’s own Theresa Hitchens argues, that just means there’s still time to heed lessons from the sci-fi epic “The Expanse” about the dangers that could lay ahead if earth-bound governments continue to cede authority, and initiative, to corporate interests. The following essay, “Flag Follows Trade”, is excerpted from the new, sci-fi-meets-strategy collection “To Boldly Go,” published by Casemate.

“For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship, or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”

— SpaceX Starlink Terms of Agreement

U.S.-China Conflict Must Not Overshadow Russia Threat, NATO Baltic Allies Warn


President Joe Biden's administration must not lose sight of the threat posed by Russia amid America's new focus on rising China, top diplomats in the Baltic states have warned.

In exclusive interviews with Newsweek, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets, and Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Mantas Adomėnas said the U.S. and its NATO allies must stay alert to challenges from both Moscow and Beijing or risk encouraging fresh aggression.

"While addressing one challenge, let's not forget about another," Rinkēvičs told Newsweek. "Otherwise one morning we are going to wake up with a very unpleasant surprise, and then we will be again trying to understand who missed what."

Adomėnas explained: "Russia is a short- to medium-term threat that is extremely important. But the systemic challenge to our democratic way of life which comes from China is something that cannot be ignored."

What it costs to hire a hacker on the Dark Web

Lance Whitney

The Dark Web is home to a smorgasbord of illegal and criminal products and services up for sale. And that certainly encompasses the area of cybercrime. From website hacking to DDoS attacks to custom malware to changing school grades, you can buy one of these services from a hacker for hire. But just how much do these types of items cost? A blog post published Tuesday by consumer website Comparitech examines the types of hacking services available on the Dark Web and scopes out their prices.

To conduct its analysis, researchers at Comparitech examined more than 100 listings from 12 different hacking services. The actual prices for many services are negotiated based on the time, scope, complexity and level of risk, according to Paul Bischoff, author of the post. But Comparitech was still able to find the average prices for many of these illicit services. The selling prices are normally listed in bitcoin, which Comparitech converted to U.S. dollars for its report.

The White House's international summit on ransomware: Biggest cybersecurity takeaways

Scott Matteson

The White House held a virtual ransomware summit this week with over 30 countries in attendance—although a few notable nations were excluded, such as China, Russia and North Korea. Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom were among the attendees.

The focus of the summit was establishing a mutual response to ransomware tactics that hackers are capitalizing upon with assistance from disparate cryptocurrency standards. The standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), designed to protect virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, are not being globally applied. As a result, hackers are able to profit by transferring cryptocurrency payments to countries with subpar capabilities and/or standards for monitoring suspicious transactions.

The summit called for stronger anti-money-laundering controls, rules to better understand financial customers to guard against illegal activity and international collaboration to target hacking groups.