23 April 2022

The Last Chapter in Putin’s War


OPINION — After his speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology last Thursday, CIA Director William Burns was asked about the risks that President Biden is facing in helping Ukraine fight the Russian invaders against a background of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats implying the possible use of nuclear weapons.

Burns responded, “I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, [and] avoiding a threshold in which you know, nuclear conflict becomes possible.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Role in Ukraine


OPINION — On February 4th, President Xi Jinping signed a Joint Statement while in Beijing at the Winter Olympics, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, that committed China and Russia to a “friendship that has no limits”, a true strategic partnership. On February 24th, Russia invaded Ukraine. To date, the war has killed thousands of innocent people, displaced over five million Ukrainians, recently uncovered the massacre of 400 civilians in Bucha, with credible reporting of widespread rape and torture perpetrated by the invading Russian Army.

How Ukraine Won the Battle for Kyiv

Oz Katerji

Before Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, intelligence assessments coming out of Washington and London were bleak about Kyiv’s chances of survival. It and the rest of Ukraine were set to be outmanned, outgunned and surrounded by one of the most powerful modern military forces ever assembled, they believed.

As Russian troops were advancing on the city, US officials even offered to evacuate Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky from Kyiv, only for him to shoot back: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride” in what is now one of the most famous political quotes of the 21st century.

Who has the advantage in the war for eastern Ukraine?

Joshua Keating

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once famously cautioned following a decisive battlefield victory in 1942, when the tide of World War II seemed to be turning in the allies’ favor, that it was “not the end, not even the beginning of the end but, possibly, the end of the beginning.”

It’s a phrase that may apply to the recent withdrawal of Russian forces from the areas around Kyiv: an “end of the beginning moment” for the war in Ukraine.

Pentagon: Russia has lost about 25% of its combat power originally used in the Ukraine invasion


WASHINGTON — Russia has lost about one-quarter of its troops, weapons and military equipment originally sent to invade Ukraine less than two months ago, a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

“We believe that [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] roughly at 75% of his combat power that he had originally when he started,” the official told reporters at the Pentagon. “This is across all functions: it's infantry, its artillery, its aviation – both fixed and rotary – it's ballistic missiles, cruise missiles [etc.]Ukra

Ukraine’s Ability To Withstand Russian Artillery Critical To Fight For Donbas


As Russia begins its push to capture a wider swath of the Donbas, the ability to mass and continue to supply its artillery and other long-range fires capabilities will play a huge role in the success of its latest campaign.

Indiscriminate massed fires, meant to kill, confuse, soften and destabilize an enemy ahead of an advance, has long been a key tenant of Soviet and Russian military doctrine. It was as true in World War II (in much of the same territory) as it is today.

Sanctions Are Strangling Russia’s Weapons Supply Chain


A senior U.S. defense official confirmed to The War Zone Monday morning something Ukrainian officials have been saying for a while now about Russia's weapons supplies. Not only is Russia suffering tremendous losses on the battlefield, but its ability to resupply its forces has taken a beating thanks to punishing economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.

Shanghai lockdown + Food and energy safety + China's diplomatic offensive

Shanghai no longer the exception as city goes into full Covid-19 lockdown and claims of data massaging emerge

Shanghai’s city-wide Covid-19 lockdown was extended on April 4 until further notice after daily new cases in the city spiked at 13,354. The lockdown follows China’s “dynamic clearing” (动态清零) strategy, which aims to extinguish local outbreaks as quickly as possible. Yet, it marks the end of Shanghai’s exceptional status. Whereas other cities have had to enter lockdowns over minor spikes in cases, Shanghai has consistently managed with only neighborhood-level measures.

Hong Kong and Shanghai lose their international luster as Covid restrictions bite

Jessie Yeung and Akanksha Sharma

Hong Kong (CNN)The glittering skylines of Hong Kong and Shanghai have long been associated with wealth and glamor.

But in recent weeks, they have become synonymous with a much grimmer reality, as authorities in the two international finance hubs struggle to contain raging Omicron outbreaks.

Extreme Covid measures have heavily restricted the lives of residents in both cities, with Shanghai now entering the third week of government-mandated home lockdown, and Hong Kong chafing under a third year of quarantine and travel curbs.

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.

Pakistan’s Deteriorating Civil-Military Relations – OpEd

Nilesh Kunwar

With Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa alleging that “hostile forces” are trying to “create wedge between [Pakistan] army and population,” it’s time for the Rawalpindi and Inter Services Public Relations [ISPR], to pull up their socks and introspect seriously. While exactly who these “hostile forces” are hasn’t yet been disclosed, but there are no prizes for guessing that in the ISI’s files, India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing [RAW] tops this list with Israel’s Mossad in tow! After all, what could be a more compelling rallying factor in Pakistan than pitching a combined Hindu-Zionist existential threat-even if unreal and engineered as an all-weather and failproof tool for diverting public attention from real issues.

Ukraine War Sparks Suspicion Over Russia’s Designs On Kazakhstan – Analysis

Bruce Pannier

(FPRI) — For all its years of independence, Kazakhstan has worried about Russian irredentist dreams of Kazakh territory. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, such concerns seem well-founded. They have heard such threats coming from Russian officials and some Russians in Kazakhstan for all the years that Kazakhstan has been independent.

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.

Or was it? Coming on the heels of the Taliban’s assumption of power in Afghanistan and the normalization of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the cease-fire, which appears to be the product of Houthi advancement rather than international diplomacy, suggests that, in many cases, it is military might, not a negotiated settlement, that prevails.

How the IMF and World Bank Can Support African Economies Hit Hard by Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a watershed moment that has devastated Ukraine, created a European refugee crisis, and united NATO allies in taking unprecedented steps to counter Russian aggression. For African countries, the conflict’s second-order effects compound a series of existing economic and debt challenges already heightened by the coronavirus pandemic. The IMF and World Bank should respond decisively with an economic package that averts the worst impacts of these crises in Africa.

In the wake of the invasion, the prices of staple commodities such as wheat, barley, and vegetable oils have skyrocketed. In March, the UN’s Food Price Index hit record highs. With a monthly increase of 12.6 percent in March from February, food prices are now 33.6 percent higher than they were a year ago (see figure 1). This is, in part, because Russia and Ukraine are the breadbasket of the world, exporting a third of the world’s wheat, a quarter of the world’s barley, and 69 percent of the world’s sunflower oil.

Flying Under The Radar: A Missile Accident in South Asia

Matt Korda
Source Link

With all eyes turned towards Ukraine these past weeks, it was easy to miss what was almost certainly a historical first: a nuclear-armed state accidentally launching a missile at another nuclear-armed state.*

On the evening of March 9th, during what India subsequently called “routine maintenance and inspection,” a missile was accidentally launched into the territory of Pakistan and impacted near the town of Mian Channu, slightly more than 100 kilometers west of the India-Pakistan border.

Europe’s Fading Unity Over Ukraine


Russia and Ukraine are in a race against time.

President Vladimir Putin wants some kind of victory by May 9. He wants to use the seventy-seventh anniversary of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany to celebrate the end of his devastating war in Ukraine that has led to thousands of civilian deaths and wanton destruction in a country unwilling to give up its independence and sovereignty.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, as he keeps repeating, doesn’t have time on his side. He needs more military support, not standing ovations, from Western leaders to keep resisting Russian forces.

Was NATO Enlargement a Mistake?

Maria Snegovaya

We at Foreign Affairs have recently published a number of pieces on NATO, the decision to proceed with its enlargement, and its impact on European and global security. To complement these articles, we decided to ask a broad pool of experts for their take. As with previous surveys, we approached dozens of authorities with specialized expertise relevant to the question at hand, together with leading generalists in the field. Participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with a proposition and to rate their confidence level in their opinion. Their answers are below.

Russians at War Putin’s Aggression Has Turned a Nation Against Itself

Andrei Kolesnikov

In early April, the coffin containing the body of 75-year-old Vladimir Zhirinovsky—the ultranationalist and populist who was a crucial pillar of the Russian state for two decades—was taken to the Hall of Columns in central Moscow for people to pay their respects. Sixty-nine years ago, it was there that Stalin had lain in state, in the process killing one last wave of Russians, who were crushed to death in the huge crowds that had gathered to bid farewell to the Soviet dictator.

How Russia’s Turkestan gift to China rewrote the history of Himalayas and compromised India’s security

Claude Arpi

Though it is impossible to rewrite history, one can sometimes regret it. Decades ago, a tiny change, the flap of a butterfly's wing, could have created an entirely different situation today.

It is the case in eastern Ladakh where since May 2020, the armies of India and China confront each other and despite 15th rounds of talks between the senior military commanders of the two countries, there is no end in sight, with China refusing to return to its pre-2020 positions.

Historical Roots of India-China Border Conflict Lie in Mao Zedong’s Conquest Designs in Xinjiang and Tibet: Historian

Venus Upadhayaya

NEW DELHI–Since the bloody clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the remote Galwan region of the Himalayas in 2020, border tensions between the two neighbors have shown little sign of easing.

The decades-long border dispute finds its roots in the Chinese regime’s first leader Mao Zedong’s conquest designs in western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, according to a leading historian on the issue.

DIA sees ‘dramatic’ change in space competition; China, Russia ‘mature’ capabilities


WASHINGTON: China and Russia continue to rapidly “mature” their counterspace capabilities, but they also have been modernizing their own space systems at a breathtaking pace since 2019 — in some part to reduce their reliance on US and other foreign providers, according to a new Defense Intelligence Agency analysis.

“It’s not just the capability, it’s the fact that … they each have a Space Force,” John Huth, DIA defense intelligence officer for space and counterspace, explained in a press briefing today. “And their intent is to make space part of that combined arms effort in any conflict.”

Big Blow To Chinese & Russian Air Force As Their ‘Most Advanced’ Fighter Jet Is Being Decoded By US, UK Scientists

Ashish Dangwal

It now looks like it is destined to become a critical challenge for the Kremlin, as its most advanced piece of technology may slip into the hands of the United States.

The secret long-range targeting system of Russia’s most sophisticated fighter plane is being examined by British and American scientists, Express reported. Though the aircraft was destroyed, reports claim that enough of the targeting system remained for a thorough examination.

Antennas: The hard physics challenge for Space Force ‘hybrid’ SATCOM plan


WASHINGTON: As the Space Force works through how to create a “hybrid” satellite communications network that links commercial and military networks across all orbital regimes — an effort considered key to the success of the Pentagon’s high priority Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy — most of the stumbling blocks lie on the ground, not in orbit.

And one of the hardest nuts to crack is the question of how to reduce both the size and number of antennas required to receive satellite signals, says Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Defense and Intelligence Systems Division at Hughes Network Systems.

War in a World that Stands for Nothing


LJUBLJANA – The so-called oligarchs in Russia and other ex-communist countries are a bourgeois counterpart to what Marx called the lumpen-proletariat: an unthinking cohort susceptible to political manipulation because its members have no class consciousness or revolutionary potential of their own. Unlike the proletariat, however, the lumpen-bourgeoisie who emerged in these countries from the late 1980s onward control capital – lots of it – thanks to wild “privatization” of state-owned assets.

The New Nuclear Age How China’s Growing Nuclear Arsenal Threatens Deterrence

Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.

In late June 2021, satellite images revealed that China was building 120 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos on the edge of the Gobi Desert. This was followed by the revelation a few weeks later that another 110 missile silos were under construction in Hami, in Xinjiang Province. Together with other planned expansions, these sites amount to a dramatic shift in the country’s approach to nuclear weapons. For decades, China maintained a relatively small nuclear force, but according to current U.S. intelligence estimates, that arsenal is now on track to nearly quadruple, to 1,000 weapons, by 2030, a number that will put China far above any other nuclear power save Russia and the United States. Nor does it seem likely that Beijing will stop there, given President Xi Jinping’s commitment to build a “world class” military by 2049 and his refusal to enter into arms control talks.

Insights from Ukraine for a Post-Modern US Military

Matt Golsteyn

Among the many reasons the Ukrainian conflict captured our collective attention, the fact that it features the first head-to-head matchup between militaries of the post-modern era is one of them. The display of new military technologies on a scale not seen since the Gulf War is another. So far, the evolution of the conflict bears bad omens for the post-modern orthodoxy in the Pentagon.

Can the EU wean itself off Russian gas?

Harry Dempsey, Niko Kommenda, Leslie Hook

The EU, UK and US have imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russian banks and high-profile individuals linked to Vladimir Putin in response to the war in Ukraine, yet Russian oil and gas imports have continued to flow into Europe.

Since the invasion began on February 24, the EU has paid Russia more than €20bn for gas imports alone. The European Commission has now published an ambitious strategy to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas by the end of 2022 — but how feasible is it?

Has Ukraine’s Use of Javelins Shown That Tank Warfare Is Obsolete?

Kris Osborn

Ukrainian forces have used anti-armor weapons extremely effectively against Russian convoys and armored vehicles, perhaps due to a blend of innovative ambush tactics and high-quality equipment.

While most observers and weapons developers are likely to stop well short of describing tank warfare as “obsolete,” does the Ukrainian success highlight the possibility that heavily armored tanks are in fact more vulnerable than many previously thought?

Russia Sends Battalion Tactical Groups East to Prepare for War in Donbas

Kris Osborn

The Russian military has been repositioning and preparing for what now appears to be a massive assault on the Donbas area in eastern Ukraine, in an apparent attempt to recover from early failures with the invasion and seize the initiative in the east.

The offensive in eastern Ukraine is supported by Russian efforts to add at least eleven Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) to the region along with heavy armor, helicopters, and logistical support.