15 April 2022

No more US dollars? Ukraine war could change the global monetary system of 75 years


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed some deep fault-lines in the global economic system. By freezing half of Russia’s foreign exchange, or forex, reserves, the West has declared economic war with central bank assets as the target. Russia had amassed $640 billion in forex reserves but now finds itself left with only gold and assets in other denominations, such as the Chinese renminbi.

In Southern Ukraine, Russian Occupation Policy Takes Shape (Part Two)

Vladimir Socor

All those territories and the Crimean peninsula cumulatively form a compact area of Russian occupation along Ukraine’s Azov Sea and Black Sea coasts that extends deep inland. These conquests go a long way toward fulfilling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vision of seizing Ukraine’s “Prichernomorie” (“Black Sea Coastal Lands”) for Russia in one form or another, as a new iteration of his “Novorossiya” (“New Russia”) project (see EDM, January 14, 2020). The Novorossiya/Prichernomorie vision also encompasses Ukraine’s Mykolayiv and Odesa provinces (Odesa forms historically its epicenter), but they remain currently under Ukrainian control.

In Southern Ukraine, Russian Occupation Policy Takes Shape (Part Three)

Vladimir Socor

The incumbent mayors and municipal councils in the Kherson and Zaporyzhzhia provinces were elected in 2020 as part of Ukraine’s country-wide local elections that year, with the support of Ukraine-wide parties (first and foremost the pro-presidential Servant of the People party) or local party lists. These elected office holders are loyal to Ukraine in their overwhelming majority and have refused any political cooperation with the Russian occupation authorities. The latter, therefore, seek to replace the legitimately elected bodies with unrepresentative collaborators.

Russia’s UAVs and UCAVs: ISR and Future Strike Capabilities

Roger McDermott

Russia’s use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in contemporary conflicts has yielded the General Staff substantial practical data to assess future requirements and priorities when it comes to procuring additional drones; this also extends to programs aimed at producing Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV), which offer operational strike options. These initiatives and the continued modernization in this field confirm the General Staff is learning from the use of UAVs in conflicts involving Russia’s Armed Forces in Ukraine and Syria, while additionally drawing upon the experience of foreign militaries to ascertain a more rounded interpretation of the role and future capabilities offered by such advanced systems.

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid

Jonathan Haidt

What would it have been like to live in Babel in the days after its destruction? In the Book of Genesis, we are told that the descendants of Noah built a great city in the land of Shinar. They built a tower “with its top in the heavens” to “make a name” for themselves. God was offended by the hubris of humanity and said:

Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.

What images of Russian trucks say about its military's struggles in Ukraine

Brad Lendon

(CNN)Think about modern warfare and it's likely images of soldiers, tanks and missiles will spring to mind. But arguably more important than any of these is something on which they all rely: the humble truck. Armies need trucks to transport their soldiers to the front lines, to supply those tanks with shells and to deliver those missiles. In short, any army that neglects its trucks does so at its peril.

Yet that appears to be exactly the problem Russia's military is facing during its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to experts analyzing battlefield images as its forces withdraw from areas near Kyiv to focus on the Donbas.

The U.S. has expanded intelligence sharing with Ukraine about Russian troops in the Donbas region.

Julian E. Barnes

The United States has increased the flow of intelligence to Ukraine about Russian forces in the Donbas and Crimea, as Kyiv’s military forces prepare to defend against a renewed offensive by Moscow in the country’s east, American officials said Wednesday.

The information could allow the Ukrainians to conduct more effective counterattacks against Russian forces in the Donbas or Crimea, or better predict the movement of Russian troops from those areas against Ukrainian forces.

Iran Likely to Gain More Than $70 Billion From the Removal of Oil Sanctions

Saeed Ghasseminejad

Mohsen Khojastemehr, the CEO of the National Iranian Oil Company, said earlier this month that Iran’s oil production has returned to its pre-sanctions levels. While this claim may constitute an exaggeration, Iran’s stated progress reflects the Biden administration’s failure to enforce existing sanctions on the country over the past year — and the increasing likelihood that Iran will earn tens of billions of dollars more from oil exports under a new nuclear deal.

China’s Embrace of the Taliban Complicates US Afghanistan Strategy

Zane Zovak

“China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in September 2021, shortly after the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan. Late last month, China reciprocated this enthusiasm by hosting members of the Taliban in addition to the foreign ministers from Afghanistan’s neighbors to discuss the Taliban-led country’s economic development and security. Beijing’s courtship of the Taliban only adds to instability in the region, challenging the U.S. and its allies to find new ways to deal with the combined threat.

Panicky Markets Are the Greatest Danger to Global Food Supply

Sarah Taber 

You might have seen some shocking numbers about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected the global food supply—about how, for instance, Ukrainian and Russian wheat makes up a combined 20-30 percent of the world’s wheat exports. Yet the truth is there’s plenty to go around. We’re not facing a shortage; rather, we simply have enough wheat when we’re used to silo-busting gluts. The situation calls for math and common sense. But instead, wealthy countries have panicked. The fallout has landed on poor countries dependent on food imports, concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa. These countries now face hunger and political instability—not because there’s not enough food in the world but because wealthy countries lost their cool.

For first time, Ukraine to get US artillery in new $800M weapons package


WASHINGTON: The US government is expanding the types of weaponry it’s providing to Ukraine in the latest $800 million arms package to include howitzers, artillery, unmanned boats for coastal defense and other equipment not part of previous assistance packages.

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” President Joe Biden said in a statement today following a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Oil India suffers cyber attack, receives Rs 57 crore ransom demand

PSU major Oil India, which suffered a cyberattack disrupting its operations in Assam, has received a ransom demand of USD 75,00,000 (over Rs 57 crore) from the perpetrator, officials said on Wednesday.

US federal alert warns of the discovery of malicious cyber tools

Multiple US government agencies issued a joint alert Wednesday warning of the discovery of malicious cyber tools created by unnamed advanced threat actors that they said were capable of gaining “full system access” to multiple industrial control systems.

The public alert from the Energy and Homeland Security departments, the FBI and National Security Agency did not name the actors or offer details on the find. But their private sector cybersecurity partners said the evidence suggests Russia is behind the tools – and that they were configured to initially target North American energy concerns.

Like It or Not, Orban and the EU Are Stuck With Each Other

Andrew MacDowall

He’s been called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the European Union and accused of “eliminating democracy,” and he’s become the poster child of the global hard right. Now Viktor Orban has won a fourth consecutive term as Hungarian prime minister in a landslide. In parliamentary elections on April 3, Orban’s Fidesz and its small satellite party KDNP took more than 50 percent of the vote, with the opposition coalition United for Hungary winning just 35 percent. The new far-right Our Homeland Movement also entered parliament with around 6 percent. The result will give the Fidesz-KDNP coalition 135 seats in the 199-seat parliament, a constitutional supermajority that will allow it to further marginalize the opposition.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Puts the Spotlight on Global Health Governance

After the novel coronavirus first emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, its combination of transmissibility and lethality brought the world to a virtual standstill. Governments restricted movement, closed borders and froze economic activity in a desperate attempt to curb the spread of the virus. At best, they partially succeeded at slowing down the first wave, without stopping the subsequent second, third and in some cases fourth and fifth waves that experts had warned about. According to official records so far, more than 500 million people worldwide have been infected, and more than 6 million have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The actual toll of the virus is far worse and will continue to climb.


Frank Hoffman

With their defeat in the Battle of Kyiv, Russian forces have started to concentrate in the east and south of Ukraine to build upon their greater advances there. Too many commentators have overlooked the battles in the south where Moscow’s troops were more successful in taking territory. The defense of Kyiv got all the media attention, as did Bucha, despite the wanton destruction of Mariupol. While it lost its battles in the north, the Russians have taken a swath of territory in the south and east that is roughly three times larger than the prewar area in the Donbas that the separatists held. Ukraine’s tenacious defenders have performed exceptionally well so far in the war, but continued success, especially in the south and east, cannot be assumed given the nature of the terrain there and current force levels. The next phase could generate larger and more decisive battles, depending upon the interaction of the contending strategies.

Why Russia’s Navy in Ukraine War is Doomed (or Irrelevant)

Brian E. Frydenborg

Ukraine is about to get (or maybe now just started receiving) Western anti-ship missiles and may even have its own advanced anti-ship missiles almost ready for deployment. A small number of such missiles could wipe out all of Russia’s big surface warships near Ukraine in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov or push Russian ships out of range and too far away to be able to meaningfully support Russia’s war effort. This missile technology in the hands of Ukraine’s competent and adaptive fighters will be a game-changer much like Javelin and other anti-tank missiles have been for Ukraine against Russian armor thus far in Putin’s failing war.

Cyberspace and War in Ukraine: Prepare for Worse

Lucas Kello, Monica Kaminska

Some observers have noted the absence of major cyber incidents during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The situation does not afford complacency, however. Despite the few breakdowns—so far—in cyberspace beyond Ukraine, their risk has increased rather than diminished. The apparent lull in international cyber activity related to the war is likely illusory; it portends a deterioration in the security of computer systems and networks in Russia and in the nations that sanctioned it or armed Ukraine. Below we explain why.

The Ukraine War: Preparing for the Longer-Term Outcome

Anthony H. Cordesman

It is far too early to predict the ultimate outcome of the Ukraine War, but it is all too clear that no peace settlement or ceasefire is likely to eliminate a long period of military tension between the U.S. – including NATO and its allies – and anything approaching President Putin’s future version of Russia, nor will any resolution of the current conflict negate the risk of new forms of war. It is equally clear that the U.S. and NATO need to act as quickly as possible to prepare for an intense period of military competition and must create a more secure deterrent and improve their capability to defend against Russia.

This Is the War’s Decisive Moment

Eliot A. Cohen

The relatively brief but bloody war in Ukraine is entering its fourth phase. In the first, Russia tried to depose Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and sweep the country into its embrace in a three-day campaign; in the second, it attempted to conquer Ukraine—or at least its eastern half, including the capital, Kyiv—with armored assaults; in the third, defeated in the north, Russia withdrew its battered forces, massing instead in the southeastern and southern areas for the conquest of those parts of Ukraine. Now the fourth, and possibly decisive, phase is about to begin.