12 April 2022

Appraising the War in Ukraine and Likely Outcomes

Philip Wasielewski

After six weeks of combat, where is the Russo-Ukrainian War going? Modern technology both facilitates and hampers the answer to that question. Every day, this war is evaluated from every angle and perspective, but modern technology provides only a soda-straw view of the war’s entire canvas. This article will try to discern that larger canvas of the war, including a focus on casualties, information operations and morale, and logistics to see how they and the tactical correlation of forces may influence several possible strategic outcomes.

The Drone-Warfare Revolution Is Here


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the world drones’ power to change the way wars are fought. America should take note.

The most unlikely hero of the war in Ukraine has been a drone — or, to use the Pentagon’s preferred term, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB-2, a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone that’s 21 feet long with a 39-foot wingspan, can stay aloft for 24 hours at a stretch. It also carries a lethal punch: a “smart” munition that has been taking out Russian armored and supply columns and helping to grind the Russian ground offensive to a halt.

How US intel worked with commercial satellite firms to reveal Ukraine info


SPACE SYMPOSIUM: Russia’s war in Ukraine has shown the power of open-source geospatial information in pre-conflict and war, both for deterrence, actually prosecuting military operations and disproving false propaganda. It’s an information victory (so far) that US intelligence officials said they helped coordinate with private satellite firms that have provided prompt imagery to friendly nations, news organizations and the public.

But experts say that relationship also raises questions about what it could mean in a future conflict — whether with China, which is likely learning its own lessons about the information war from Russia’s failings, or a conflict in which the US government might not be so keen on satellite imagery being so readily accessible.

Seven lessons from Ukraine for Australia’s defence organisation

Michael Shoebridge

When the Russian military defeated the Ukrainians comprehensively in 2014 to seize the Donbas region, there seemed little doubt that the balance of power was moving more in Russia’s favour. But in 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian military have been showing us something quite different.

The Ukrainian military reinvented itself and learned from its defeat, with the result that it has inflicted major defeats and reverses on the much larger Russian military machine since President Vladimir Putin began his war.

China’s New Focus on US Cyber Activities

Megha Pardhi

In the last few years, Chinese companies have released several reports accusing U.S. agencies of cyberattacks on Chinese infrastructure. Although China has long released data on the numbers of U.S. hacking attempts, detailed reports were not a common occurrence. Recent reports indicate that Beijing is intensifying its efforts at narrative-building by focusing on malicious cyber activities of the United States.

The U.N. Doesn't Have to Be a Casualty of the War in Ukraine

Stewart M. Patrick

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned rebuke to the United Nations Security Council for its failure to prevent Russia’s invasion of his country.

“Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?” he demanded. “It’s not there.” Rather than taking forceful action to arrest or even condemn Russia’s behavior, he said, the body had devolved into a venue for “conversation.” It was obvious to all that “the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 for the creation of a global security organization have not been achieved,” Zelenskyy concluded.

The Cold War Never Ended

Stephen Kotkin

Does anyone have a right to be surprised? A gangster regime in the Kremlin has declared that its security is threatened by a much smaller neighbor—which, the regime claims, is not a truly sovereign country but just a plaything of far more powerful Western states. To make itself more secure, the Kremlin insists, it needs to bite off some of its neighbor’s territory. Negotiations between the two sides break down; Moscow invades.

India’s Military Is Built On Russian Arms (The Ukraine War Makes That Hard)

Robert Farley

What’s up with India? India has been the lone voice of dissent in the Quad on the question of Russian behavior in Ukraine, or at least the only member that has not raised its voice against Moscow. Given the increasingly tight relationship between Russia and China, this has seemed to put India into the odd position of supporting the closest ally of its most formidable opponent.

Opinion – The Russia-Ukraine War from the Perspective of a Data Scientist

Maarten Wensink

A data scientist not only asks which narrative, or data-generating mechanism, is compatible with the data, but also whether alternative mechanisms might have generated the data. When that is the case, the limits of the dataset are reached, and better data are needed. Through the Western self-declared prerogative of supremacy, most data that we now collect on the world are useless: they could be interpreted as action or reaction just the same. Not only does this mean we work in the dark, but also that nobody believes us.

GDPR as a Global Standards? Brussels’ Instrument of Policy Diffusion

Marco Luisi

The 4th Industrial Revolution is witnessing the emergence of new digital computing technologies able to collect and analyze immense quantities of information – called “big data” – and translate this into something economically, socially, and politically valuable. Data-driven algorithms, like the one behind targeted ads, become more powerful and efficient the more private information they acquire. But the risks connected to the misuse of data have reignited the public interest in privacy and its protection. This is what Colin J. Bennett calls the “second wave of global privacy protection” (Swire, 2013: 848).

Why China stands firmly with Russia — for now

Tom Nagorski

The conventional wisdom is that when it comes to the war in Ukraine, China is walking a tightrope, a balancing act between its partnership with Russia and a concern that it not rupture completely its relationship with the West. To date, however, China has refused to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, amplified various Russian falsehoods about Ukraine and placed blame for the war at the feet of the U.S. and its NATO allies.

China Has Ditched Its Own Principles to Back Russia

Julian G. Ku

“China always opposes the use of force in international relations.” This boilerplate statement, frequently repeated by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reflects Beijing’s long-standing, publicly stated opposition to the use of military force outside the limitations imposed by Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter. It is a fundamental principle of its approach to international law and a significant feature of its self-portrayal as neutral, peaceful state in contrast to the United States. Yet China, which has repeatedly refused to criticize Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, appears to have abandoned its long-standing legal and diplomatic position.

Beijing’s silence on Ukraine may represent a temporary accommodation of its most important geopolitical ally, but it could also represent a meaningful shift in the Chinese government’s views on the propriety of the use of force. Either way, China’s silence as Russia blatantly violates one of its most cherished principles of international law deserves both criticism and careful attention if it also represents a shift toward a more aggressive and dangerous Chinese foreign policy.

Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis: The Chinese Model in Operation

Jabin T Jacob

The unrest created by the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka has now resulted in the imposition of a political emergency over the island.[1] The causes for the crisis are many and China has been criticised regularly in recent years for being at least partially responsible for Sri Lanka’s ballooning external debt and for the predatory behaviour that has followed such as its 99-year lease over the port of Hambantota and thousands of acres of agricultural land around it.[2] This article will, however, focus, not so much on the economic aspects of the China-Sri Lanka relationship as on the political behaviour and approaches that have come to increasingly underpin these aspects. Given the history of Indian involvement in Sri Lanka, greater concerns over India’s influence than over Chinese influence are natural in the island nation.

China’s Ukraine Calculus Is Coming Into Focus


Beijing believes its contradictory approach best protects its interests.

Though many have pointed out the inconsistencies in China’s delicate balancing act, Beijing has yet to suffer anything worse than reputational damage. Senior Chinese leaders would likely view any other course of action as much more deleterious to the country’s interests. Violating sanctions to aid Russia would bring economic calamity, while pressuring Russia to end the war could make Xi look bad. Though Beijing’s position appears untenable, the party likely views it as the least bad of a suite of terrible choices.

China’s Influence in Nepal Isn’t Limitless


Kathmandu has its own priorities on development and geopolitics.

Chinese missteps may not damage the relationship too much, as Nepal needs China’s size, national power, and geographic importance to counterbalance India’s influence in the country. But Beijing is becoming more aware of the complex and transactional nature of Nepali politics and the practical difficulties China will face in creating a positive image as they interfere to a greater degree in Nepali politics to safeguard their interests.

Why China’s CIPS Matters (and Not for the Reasons You Think)

Emily Jin

Payment systems are the plumbing of international finance. As the U.S. and its allies block Russia from a major part of global financial plumbing, China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) has been receiving increasing attention. Many observers have wondered whether CIPS and other Chinese channels could provide a replacement not just for trade with China but also for transactions with other countries. For now, this looks like a stretch. But over the long term, participation in CIPS might be an indicator of China’s growing financial power.

ChinaTalk: China/Russia + Why China's Making More Nukes

Jordan Schneider 

Is a nuclear arms race inevitable? China has been building up its nuclear arsenal over the past few years. While it remains significantly smaller than the US and Russia’s, what does this mean for geopolitics against the backdrop of US-China tensions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Tong Zhao (@zhaot2005) is a fellow at the Carnegie Center in Beijing who focuses on China’s nuclear program. Co-hosting is Schwarzmann Scholar Raven Witherspoon.

What China Wants

Larry Diamond and Glenn Tiffert

It is not useful to frame the challenge before us as a “new Cold War.” Still, this is a protracted global contest in which we will be required to compete with or confront China whenever fair and transparent cooperation is not possible. And now, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with its wanton physical destruction and human displacement, has raised both the stakes and the opportunities for a public diplomacy offensive centered around values of freedom, openness, and the rule of law. China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s aggression shows it is on the wrong side of history. And it underscores: So long as China remains a neo-totalitarian state with ambitions for global hegemony, this is not a contest that we and our allies can afford to lose.

The China Challenge: Response And Restatement

Peter Berkowitz

From 2019 through 2021, I served as director of the U.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staff. Its then-members contributed to researching, drafting, and editing the report The Elements of the China Challenge. On behalf of the team, I thank the distinguished experts who wrote essays for this symposium; the editors of American Purpose, who organized it; and the Hoover Institution, which co-sponsored it.

Biden’s Choice: Win or Lose in Ukraine?

Bing Westvia Strategika

In 1940, President Roosevelt, faced with a reluctant public and Congress, employed bold stratagems to deliver military aid to beleaguered England. Today, President Biden, faced with a pro-military aid public and Congress, resists giving heavy arms to Ukraine. Ukraine is requesting those weapons (MiGs, artillery, armored vehicles) to retake territory. Biden refuses to deliver them. This must change.

Ukraine and the Fate of the West

Peter R. Mansoor

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reenergized the Trans-Atlantic alliance in a manner unthinkable just two years ago. President Donald Trump entered office in 2017 with a deeply skeptical view of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the role of the United States as the world’s policeman and guarantor of European and Pacific security.

Don’t Let Biden Hijack Global Magnitsky Act for Left-Wing Social Agendas

Grace Melton

The changes would redefine human rights to enforce the left’s abortion-and-gender agenda. That would hobble the fight against real abuses of human rights.

In the last few decades, the left has invoked human rights to promote abortion and policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Act already deters or punishes human rights violators. There is no good reason to exchange a term clearly defined in law with a new ambiguous phrase.

Ukraine mystery: Why have so many Russian generals been killed?

Tom Nagorski and Joshua Keating

It is happening at a shocking rate. More than once a week, a Russian general is killed in Ukraine. When Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezantsev was killed in a Ukrainian strike on the Chornobaivka air base near Kherson — a city the Russians had captured and held in the early days of the war — it brought the total to seven, according to Western and Ukrainian officials. Rezantsev had reportedly told his troops on Feb. 28 — four days after the Russian invasion began — that the war was nearly over.

The Military Situation In The Ukraine

Jacques Baud

For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it. I notice that the “experts” who take turns on television analyze the situation on the basis of dubious information, most often hypotheses erected as facts—and then we no longer manage to understand what is happening. This is how panics are created.

The problem is not so much to know who is right in this conflict, but to question the way our leaders make their decisions.

Applying double standards in Ukraine is a risky business

James M. Dorsey

Russia’s suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council was long overdue, even without the mass killing of innocent civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

A country that poisons or otherwise does away with its critics at home and abroad and stifles freedom of the press, expression, and association should not qualify for a seat on the Council.

A quick look at current and past membership in the Council explains why the UN General Assembly vote to suspend Russia, like multiple aspects of the Ukraine war, raises the spectre of double standards.