10 April 2022

Condemning Russian War Crimes in Real Time Can Save Lives

Erica Gaston

Last week, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that Russia may have committed war crimes in Ukraine, pointing to credible evidence that it had used cluster munitions in populated areas as well as other indiscriminate attacks. Her warning took on even more resonance over the weekend, when reports emerged of Russian forces having committed summary executions of civilian men in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Bachelet’s denunciation, combined with the outpouring of outrage over Bucha, is likely to renew enthusiasm for a future war crimes tribunal to hold Russia accountable. But apart from inspiring dreams of a far-off and for now unlikely formal criminal prosecution, the sort of documentation and public accountability Bachelet is engaging in has an even more important role to play in immediate conflict mitigation and, potentially, resolution.

A holistic approach to strengthening the semiconductor supply chain

Sarah Kreps, Richard Clark, and Adi Rao

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the consequences of offshoring semiconductors into sharp relief for American consumers and businesses. When the pandemic struck—snarling global supply chains and spiking demand for consumer electronics—American businesses and consumers were left without the inputs and supplies they had come to rely upon. This supply chain will remain at risk: Its core nodes remain in locations with high geopolitical uncertainty—none more important than Taiwan, whose semiconductor industry Beijing jealously eyes.

Russia's Ambassador to U.S. Reveals Why Ukraine War Began, How It Could End


A month and a half into Russia's war in Ukraine, Moscow's envoy to Washington has outlined to Newsweek his country's reasoning for launching what it has deemed a "special military operation" against its neighbor, and detailed the demands that, if satisfied, could end the conflict involving Europe's two largest countries.

And as Kyiv (spelled Kiev by Russia) accused the Kremlin of conducting "war crimes" to the extent of "genocide," Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, argued it was Ukraine's alleged ethnic cleansing, along with its bid to join the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance, that fueled the war.

The Ukraine conflict and the problems of conflict termination

Chris Tuck

Ukrainian and Russian officials are, at the time of writing, meeting in Turkey to seek a breakthrough that would lead to an end to the fighting in Ukraine. This is the latest in a succession of negotiations that so far has failed to lead to any decisive results. In many respects this should not be surprising. Wars are much easier to start than they are to stop. This might seem odd – one might assume that states begin wars as a result of a rational calculation on the costs and benefits of doing so; and when the costs turn out to exceed the benefits, it would be equally rational to halt the fighting as quickly as possible. For Ukraine, the war has wrought huge destruction and suffering. In the case of Vladimir Putin, it is clear that the war that he began in Ukraine has turned out to be significantly more costly than he assumed, and the anticipated gains elusive. An early end to the fighting would seem beneficial to both sides.

Real Estate Is China’s Biggest Economic Vulnerability

Victoria Herczegh

China’s real estate sector is one of its economy’s most important assets. Real estate has contributed considerably to China’s transition to a socialist market-based economy and its strong economic growth in recent decades. Now, however, what once propelled the Chinese economy forward threatens to hold it back. Structural economic problems are emerging, and real estate is among the first sectors to show signs of distress. Given its significance to the Chinese growth model, failure to address these issues would likely trigger a crash that would wreck the Chinese economy and disrupt the global economic system.

Who Will Intervene in the World’s Hot Spots?

As conflicts and crises persist around the world, there is growing uncertainty about how—or if—they will be resolved. The international order is fraying, generating uncertainty about who will intervene and how these interventions might be funded.

There are interminable conflicts, like the situations in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, which have produced years of violence, countless thousands of deaths and even more refugees. Then there are the emerging hot spots, including northern Mozambique and the China-India frontier, and any number of potential flashpoints, like the Eastern Mediterranean. Even in situations where there is some tenuous hope of reconciliation, there is also uncertainty—such as South Sudan, where a 2018 peace deal that put an end to years of civil war is for now holding, even as widespread violence continues to plague the country. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine has now brought high-intensity, interstate warfare to the heart of Europe for the first time since the end of World War II.

India, US to hold 2+2 dialogue in April


The State Department announced Thursday that it will hold a strategic dialogue with top officials from India in Washington, D.C., next week.

The State Department said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will welcome India’s Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh to Washington for the fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on April 11.

If New Looks could kill: Russia’s military capability in 2022

James Hackett

The New Look military modernisation process, that began in late 2008, has made Russia a far more capable military power today than at any time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. There were previous attempts to reform Russia’s armed forces, including in the 1980s and 1990s. But the lacklustre performance in the October 2008 war with Georgia, renewed political will and an upturn in finances combined to kick-start the New Look. The State Armament Programme 2011–20 proved particularly important in delivering re-equipment ambitions.

Putin’s Strategic Failure

Nigel Gould-Davies

War is the ultimate test of a society’s resources, leadership and will. It reveals what forms of power matter and which countries possess them. War’s consequences are legion and unforeseen and, in modern times, have above all surprised those who start it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is teaching Russia these lessons anew. At the time of writing, barely three weeks in, it was already clear that his 24 February invasion of Ukraine was a grand strategic error. This war has unleashed forces that are weakening his country’s, and his own, position, on every political front.

India’s Pralay ballistic missile: a step towards a rocket force?

Antoine Levesques

On 22 and 23 December 2021, India tested a new surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) design, the Pralay. Antoine Levesques argues that the test marks an important step in India’s ambitions to develop more credible missile forces. But it could detrimentally lead Chinese and Pakistani decision makers to conclude India intends for Pralay to be more ‘usable’ than its other ballistic missiles.

Ukraine: The Shock of Recognition

Dana Allin

In The Age of Extremes, Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm reflected on the ‘exceptional and comparatively short-lived’ anti-fascist alliance of roughly 1933 to 1947. Its unity was manifest in an early product of the young American sample-survey industry. In January 1939, a Gallup poll found that, in the then still hypothetical event of war between the Soviet Union and Germany, 83% of Americans favoured a Soviet victory – a result that ‘would have amazed all US presidents before Franklin D. Roosevelt, and will amaze all readers who have grown up since the Second World War’.

The Russian Invasion, Cyber War, And Global Supply Chains

Steve Banker

When Russia invaded Ukraine, I knew there would be impacts on global supply chains. But supply chain impacts like the rising cost of gas, or the inability of a train to cross Siberia to bring goods from China to Europe, or the increased congestion this would cause at China ports, was not the supply chain impact I feared most. What I most feared was cyberwar.