21 April 2022

Global Island Sustaining Taiwan’s International Participation Amid Mounting Pressure from China

Jacob Stokes, Alexander Sullivan and Zachary Durkee

China under Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping has ramped up political, economic, and military pressure on Taiwan. The roots of Beijing’s pressure campaign, including Xi’s personal interactions with Taiwan policy, go back decades. But recent events have deepened and intensified China’s efforts, which include seeking to block Taiwan from engaging the rest of the world as part of a comprehensive strategy to force Taipei to move toward unification with the mainland on Beijing’s terms.

Taiwan sees lessons in Ukraine

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Many Taiwanese see Ukraine's response to Russia's invasion as a lesson in how to repel a future Chinese military assault.

Why it matters: "If Ukraine can do it, then Taiwanese people should be able to do it as well," I-chung Lai, president of the Taiwan-based think tank Prospect Foundation, told Axios.

The big picture: Taiwan and Ukraine face similar threats, from China and Russia respectively, which have publicly-known intentions to subsume some or all of their territory.

Solomon Islands becomes unlikely epicenter of U.S.-China competition

Dave Lawler, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Zachary Basu

A U.S. delegation led by the top White House and State Department officials for Asia is heading this week to the Solomon Islands, a South Pacific archipelago with fewer than 700,000 inhabitants that has unexpectedly become ground zero for U.S.-China competition.

Why it matters: A planned security agreement negotiated with Beijing, which could allow China's navy to dock warships on the islands, sent the U.S. and its allies in Australia and New Zealand into diplomatic hyperdrive.

China Eyes Mountainous Tibet’s Ample Wind for Clean Energy

China has identified enough wind energy potential in Tibet to power the U.K., Germany and France combined, and plans to further develop the region to help meet its ambitious climate targets.

Tibet has enough sites with strong, steady wind to install 600 gigawatts of turbines, with another 420 gigawatts possible in parts of the plateau in neighboring regions including Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan and Xinjiang, China’s National Climate Center said in a report last month. The National Energy Administration followed up shortly after with a guidance to accelerate construction of clean energy bases in Tibet.

Yemen’s Cease-fire Is Challenging Popular Notions of How Wars End

Erica Gaston

Earlier this month, the lead U.N. representative for Yemen announced a two-month cease-fire, the first major breakthrough since 2015 in the conflict between the Houthi rebels and Iran on the one side and the Yemeni government and its Gulf backers on the other. The news was a ray of hope in an otherwise unremittingly troubling international context.

China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Mess Proves Autocracy Hurts Everyone

Li Yuan

Long before the “zero Covid” policy, China had a “zero sparrow” policy.

In the spring of 1958, the Chinese government mobilized the entire nation to exterminate sparrows, which Mao declared pests that destroyed crops. All over China, people banged on pots and pans, lit firecrackers and waved flags to prevent the birds from landing so they would fall and die from exhaustion. By one estimation, nearly two billion sparrows were killed nationwide within months.

Russian Cyberattacks May Be Coming. What Might Be an Optimal Strategy for Responding?

Samuel Charap

Russian cyberattacks may be coming. Last month, the White House issued its starkest warning yet that “evolving” intelligence indicates Moscow is planning major cyber operations against the United States in retaliation for the economic penalties that the country has imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. It may only be a matter of time before these warnings become a reality.

Competition and Restraint in Cyberspace The Role of International Norms in Promoting U.S. Cybersecurity

Michael J. Mazarr, Bryan Frederick, Emily Ellinger, Benjamin Boudreaux

Recent years have seen a mounting concern in the United States over foreign efforts to harm election security or legitimacy through cyber means, increased cyber espionage, and attacks of growing sophistication. The United States has been engaged for almost a decade in international negotiations over agreed normative constraints on such activities, but the prospects for a comprehensive international agreement appear dim.

How Extremism Operates Online

Alexandra T. Evans, Heather J. Williams

Recent demonstrations and violent attacks have highlighted the need for an improved understanding of the role of internet-based technologies in aiding and amplifying the spread of extremist ideologies. Since the early days of the internet, radical groups and movements across the ideological spectrum have demonstrated their intent and ability to harness virtual platforms to perform critical functions.

BATTLEFIELD METAVERSE Inside new military race to dominate the metaverse as US and China prepare for cyber warfare

Christopher Eberhart

Most of the metaverse's potential uses in the US have been tied to commercial and recreational civilian purposes.

But China is prepping for metaverse warfare that "affects the opponent's thinking, cognition and action decision making," according to a March 2022 report by an Air Force think tank.

Elmer Francisco, CEO of VetCoin Foundation, told The Sun that the metaverse the next evolutionary step in weaponry after drones.

Beijing Is Used to Learning From Russian Failures

Oriana Skylar Mastro

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a double disaster for President Vladimir Putin, as he faces a poorly performing military combined with an inability to shield his country from economic punishment. Both of these possibilities historically have also been sources of apprehension for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But China’s leadership turned its anxiety into action about 10 years ago, deliberately working to fix many of the problems and minimize the risks currently plaguing Russia in Ukraine.

Russia Adds 11 Battalion Tactical Groups In Ukraine

David Vergun

There are now 76 Russian battalion tactical groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine and in the country’s southeast. About 11 of those were added over the last several days, a senior Defense Department official said today.

So-called BTGs are typically composed of combined-arms elements, such as air defense, armor, tactical vehicles, artillery, helicopters, engineering and logistical support.

Besides the 76 BTGs, there are about 22 BTGs north of Ukraine that are likely being resupplied and refitted, the official said.

Ukraine Becoming For Putin What Afghanistan Was For Brezhnev – OpEd

Paul Goble

Adam Michnik, a senior Polish dissident and editor of Warsaw’s Gazeta Wyborcza, says he is “certain” that the war in Ukraine will become for Vladimir Putin precisely what the war in Afghanistan was for Leonid Brezhnev,” a trap from which there is no easy or obvious way out.

Putin has driven Russia into a trap because he is “a gangster psychopath,” Michnik says, describing himself as “an anti-Putinist Russophile” much in the same way he earlier identified as “an anti-Soviet” one. Putin and many others have made the fundamental mistake that Ukrainians are not a separate and distinct nation (ekhokavkaza.com/a/31793555.html).

Nero Is Fiddling In Milan: Sri Lanka’s Neglected Crisis Of Diplomatic Representation – Analysis

ALA Azeez

In a series of political appointments made by the Sri Lankan government in the past few months even as the economic crisis was looming large, the latest one pertains to the diplomatic position of Consul General at Milan, Italy.

As of writing, the foreign ministry, under mounting public pressure, has clarified via its latest press release, that the person concerned “will not be appointed the consul general in Milan”.

The Russia–Ukraine Crisis Is Bad News For China’s Economy – Analysis

East Asia Forum

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented sanctions imposed against Russia by the United States, Europe and other countries are negatively impacting the global economy. The European economy is under particular strain due to its dependence on Russian energy and the huge flow of refugees it is absorbing. The direct impact on the Chinese economy is expected to be relatively muted though still negative, at least in the short run.

How Ukraine War Is Changing The World Order – OpEd

Greg Pence

The change in history has been triggered by the Ukraine war, in the heart of Europe and it has given rise to a new order that is going to affect the international arena for decades. In other words, with Washington and Moscow, as the world’s greatest military powers, going head-to-head against one another, new world order is inevitably upon us which will drastically change the nature of international relations.

For Russia and the West, the Moskva’s Sinking Is Truly Historic

Sumantra Maitra

In 2019, the commander in chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, was invited to Japan by Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura. The caption in the photo-op, posted on social media by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, was relatively benign, simply stating that “ADM YAMAMURA Hiroshi, Chief of Maritime staff, invited officially ADM Nikolay Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy. They discussed about the current situation and the Japan-Russia defense exchange, promoted mutual understanding.”

In War, the Economic Weapon Is No Silver Bullet

Lars Erik Sch├Ânander

Some books are timely because their authors felt a need to address a specific issue at a specific moment. Other books are timely because history just so happened to make the subject matter relevant. Nicholas Mulder’s The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War falls into the latter category.

Mulder sets to illuminate the early history of sanctions—known then as “The Economic Weapon,” as the press dubbed them—starting from the first blockades of World War I. From there, he expounds on sanctions’ evolution to the interwar years; their further development during the brief period where the League of Nations thought it figured them out (as seen with the sanctions on Italy during the invasion of Ethiopia and the Japanese interventions in China); and ultimately, their reinvention during World War II, where the “positive economic weapon” had its time in the sun. Through all this, Mulder shows how the “positive economic weapon” would be the preferable option when deploying economic tools for the purposes of warcraft, despite being tragically left on the wayside due to the ease with which sanctions can be implemented—in comparison to the considerable logistics effort that spinning up positive aid programs (such as the Lend-Lease program) requires. It is an enlightening tome, with lessons for experts and policymakers on the application of sanctions in contemporary conflicts.