4 April 2022

What Lessons is China Taking from the Ukraine War?


Operation Desert Storm was a turning point in modern Chinese military history. As military planners with the People’s Liberation Army watched U.S. and allied forces make short work of the world’s fourth-largest military (on paper), equipped with many of the same systems as the PLA, it became obvious that China’s quantitatively superior but qualitatively lacking massed infantry would stand no chance against the combination of modern weaponry, C4ISR, and joint operations seen in Iraq. The result was new military concepts and over two decades of often-difficult reforms, which produced the modern, far more capable, “informationized” PLA of today.

The War in Ukraine and its Implications on India’s Space Program


The war in Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the people of Ukraine. This is despite the fact that the stubborn resistance put up by Ukraine has taken Russia by surprise. This sudden invasion by Russia not only has impacted the larger geopolitical calculations of the region but also has repercussions that reverberate significantly beyond the borders of both countries. The global implications of the attack are visible in the crippling sanctions collectively imposed by the United States and allied countries on Russia. What is less apparent, however, is the impact this war has had on a country like India—in particular, the impact on its space program, which has long been the pride of Indians because of its ability to undertake low-cost innovation in a sphere notorious for cost overruns. It now appears that the war in Ukraine may, in no small measure, impact the ability of India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), to do just that.

We overestimated Russia’s military. Is China our real rival?

James Pethokoukis

We in the United States have a terrible track record of judging our foes.

Yes, Mitt Romney was sort of right when he described Russia as “without question, our number one geopolitical foe,” during a 2012 presidential debate with President Barack Obama. Obama, of course, replied with what at the time seemed like a mic-drop zinger: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

China’s economic Achilles’ heel

Desmond Lachman

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is currently learning the hard way about the devastating economic costs of the Ukrainian invasion spearheaded by its leader. Before offering Russia support in its war effort, Chinese president Xi Jinping would do well to heed these economic lessons. With all of China’s present economic weaknesses, the last thing that the Chinese economy needs now is U.S. sanctions on its exports — which support for Russia’s war would almost certainly invite.

Responding to Russian aggression: Military resolve, geoeconomics, and technological containment


Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has triggered a return to traditional policies of containment and deterrence, and a revival of European and transatlantic unity. This is only the beginning of a challenging but necessary journey for a revived Western world.

After the Russian “Ruse,” China Looks for New Friends

Galia Lavi

Despite the warnings given by Moscow and the deployment of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, to some extent the Russian invasion caught the world by surprise, although at least one country, China, allegedly knew about the Russian intentions in advance. Less than two weeks before the invasion, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The display of unity left an impression in the West of the emergence of a new axis facing the United States. Contrary to claims that President Xi asked/demanded his good friend Putin to postpone the invasion until the end of the Olympics, there have been growing estimates that China did not know of the Russian intentions, certainly not in full. Moreover, it appears that Beijing was also mistaken in its assessment of the situation after the outbreak of war, and while the cannons were roaring, China found itself caught up in its own struggle – over its status as a responsible power, the continuation of its relations with Europe and the United States, and most important, the image and status of the ruling Communist Party among the Chinese public.

What’s happened to Russia’s much-vaunted battlefield AI?

Huon Curtis

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the poorer than expected performance of the Russian army have prompted fierce debate among military commentators on why Russia’s much-vaunted military reforms of the past decade—particularly the integration of artificial intelligence technologies that were supposed to enhance Russia’s joint operations capability—seem to have been unsuccessful.

So far, Russia’s deployment in Ukraine has been a demonstration of some of the limitations and vulnerabilities of AI-enabled systems. It has also exposed some longer-term strategic weaknesses in Russia’s development of AI for military and economic purposes.

Japan prioritises semiconductor industry in bid to enhance economic security

Mariko Togashi

The world’s semiconductor race is accelerating. Used in every electronic appliance essential to our daily lives, semiconductors are critical to national security. Driven by competition between the United States and China, as well as a global chip supply shortage and supply-chain disruptions, governments around the world are pursuing aggressive funding measures to secure access to semiconductors. Japan is no exception – strengthening semiconductor supply chains is a key element of its latest economic security bill.

The US is in the final phase of passing the CHIPS Act, which will provide US$52 billion to subsidise semiconductor manufacturing. Following the US, in February 2022, the European Commission announced the Chips Act package, a €43bn investment plan to increase its market share of global production from 10 to 20% by 2030. South Korea is also seeking to pass legislation that would provide US$450bn in investment in semiconductor production over ten years.

China signals desire to improve ties with India, but is that what New Delhi wants?

James Crabtree

A trip to India by Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, was an important signal of China’s desire to improve severely strained Sino-India ties, following deadly Himalayan border clashes during 2020. The 25 March visit carried fresh significance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and India’s subsequent decision not to join Western-led condemnations of President Vladimir Putin’s actions.

Beijing and Moscow hope that New Delhi might in time rediscover some of its historical antipathy to the West, reversing moves to draw India closer to the United States in particular. Some limited improvements in Sino-Indian relations are conceivable, but substantial barriers remain to broader normalisation, as India looks likely to continue to deepen security ties with the US and its partners.

Rare Earths, Scarce Metals, and the Struggle for Supply Chain Security

June Teufel Dreyer
Source Link

Alerted to their vulnerability on rare earths (REEs) when China threatened to withhold supplies to Japan in September 2010, industrialized countries began to be concerned with developing alternate sources. For Japan in particular, REEs are indispensable to the production of the catalytic converters of the automobile industry that is a mainstay of the Japanese economy. They are also components of high technology devices that include permanent magnets, rechargeable batteries, smart phones, digital cameras, light emitting-diode lights, clean energy, and fighter planes.

Although found in many places in the world outside of China—several African and Latin American countries, Canada, the western United States and Vietnam, among others—and not actually rare, the mining and refining processes of the seventeen entities that are classified as REEs had gradually been ceded to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The process is highly labor intensive and generates significant pollution, especially since REEs are often found in conjunction with radioactive substances. China with its lower wages and more lax environmental laws proved an attractive alternative that companies there were eager to take advantage of.

Do Russians Really “Long for War” in Ukraine?

Olga Khvostunova

Since February 24, the day that Russian troops invaded Ukraine, the issue of the Russian people’s attitudes toward the war has been raised many times. Numerous surveys published in recent weeks show that the majority supports the war. Even as polling results, especially in authoritarian regimes, are often questioned, hard numbers hold a lot of symbolic value. Yet, Russian perceptions of the war are a complicated subject, and a more detailed analysis helps the public to better understand the Vladimir Putin regime and the roots of the conflict.

The Realist Case for a Ukraine Peace Deal

Stephen M. Walt

War is on everyone’s lips and laptop screens these days. Each day, we pore over the latest news from Ukraine, read opinions from real (or imagined) experts, and try to figure out who's winning on the ground and in the air. Not surprisingly, it's easy to find both optimistic and pessimistic forecasts.

All the attention on the fighting is understandable, but what matters in the end is how the conflict is resolved. It may be emotionally satisfying to proclaim that the only acceptable outcome is Russia's capitulation, regime change in Moscow, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's prosecution for war crimes, but none of those outcomes is likely. Making these goals our war aim is also a good way to prolong the fighting and raise the risk of escalation even higher.

It’s Not Just Money That Enables China To Buy Influence

John Lee

China already has a foreign naval base in Djibouti, which is strategically located in the Horn of Africa. The draft security agreement with Solomon Islands means it is closer to establishing another one less than 2000km to the northeast of Australia.

Why is this happening? Some are blaming the Morrison government for not giving more aid and doing too little about climate change. Others point to the deluge of Chinese money that buys influence and, as it turns out, perhaps a military base.

4 Reasons Why Putin’s War Has Changed Big Tech Forever

Steven Feldstein

Videos from the battlefield, leaked drone surveillance, and other forms of digital communications have made Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the most internet-accessible war in history, turning Twitter, TikTok, and other internet platforms into primary sources of news on the war. But that’s not the only way in which this is a watershed moment for internet companies. Russia’s war in Ukraine is forcing them to confront geopolitical realities they have largely managed to avoid. While digital platforms have long faced pressure from governments around the world to take down content, block political critics, and open local offices on which government control can be more easily exerted, Western pressure and Russia’s crackdown are accelerating a paradigm shift for how tech firms operate. Major fault lines have arisen, with far-reaching consequences for how internet platforms do business.

Technology and Power

James Andrew Lewis

Power is the ability of individuals or groups to shape events. Technology is the practical application of scientific knowledge and the invention and use of devices to improve human performance. New technologies change economies, markets, and cultures by creating new opportunities. While some have a growing fear of technological change, technology remains the best source of continued economic growth and military strength.