26 April 2022

The United States Has No Idea Where Its Weapons Wind Up in Ukraine

Mark Episkopos

Officials say Washington does not have the means to track U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine.

“We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero,” a “source briefed on U.S. intelligence” told CNN. “It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time,” the source added.

The bulk of the U.S. weapons being provided to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, are man-portable systems that are inherently more difficult to track than larger hardware like S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. The Switchblade drones soon making their way to Ukraine are mobile “kamikaze drones” intended for one-time use, which also limits the United States’ ability to track them. “I couldn’t tell you where they are in Ukraine and whether the Ukrainians are using them at this point,” a senior defense official told reporters. “They’re not telling us every round of ammunition they’re firing and who and when. We may never know exactly to what degree they’ve using the Switchblades.”

Can the Taliban Learn from the Islamic Republic of Iran?

Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh

The Taliban is facing a legitimacy crisis, where being internationally recognized depends on its adoption of minimum standards such as respect for women’s rights and minorities, democracy, the rule of law, and, more importantly, an election to establish an inclusive government.

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has faced the same challenges, but the regime successfully attained international legitimacy. Could Iran become a viable model for the Taliban? The Islamic Republic is already encouraging the Taliban to meet the minimum threshold to attain international recognition. For example, the session between a Taliban delegation and Afghan opposition figures in Tehran earlier this year amounts to Iran’s latest effort to promote Afghan reconciliation and inclusive governance.

How to Target Russian Oil Exports Without Upending Global Energy Markets

Matthew Zweig John Hardie

Mounting evidence of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians has spurred calls for sanctions against Russian energy exports, from which Bloomberg projects Russia will earn $321 billion this year—more than a one-third increase from 2021. While many in the West are understandably wary of roiling oil markets, there is a way for Washington and its allies to structure oil sanctions to minimize supply loss and price increases while inflicting financial pain on Moscow.

Rather than taking Russian barrels off the market, Western sanctions should aim to leave Russian supply intact while using so-called “secondary” sanctions to reduce Russia’s access to oil export revenues and offset the benefit to Moscow of higher oil prices. This sanctions regime should draw on lessons learned from the multilateral sanctions against Iran in 2011-2015, which enjoyed bipartisan support and helped force Tehran into nuclear negotiations. With some tailoring to current market realities, these kinds of sanctions can limit costs to American and allied consumers.

U.S. social media giants vowed to remove Russian war propaganda. It’s still there.

Steve Reilly

The Kremlin and its allies continue to use major U.S. social media platforms to spread war propaganda and disinformation to millions, a Grid review has found, despite the platforms’ vows to ban such content.

On YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, Grid found pro-invasion rhetoric, false war crimes claims against Ukrainians, and even fundraising campaigns for military equipment to aid the Russian invasion.

“It’s not terribly surprising,” said Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for reforming social media. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not outrageous.”

How Can The West Realistically Help Create A Ukraine Settlement?

Robert Farley

How should the West use its influence over Ukraine to bring about a negotiated settlement? In the wake of the Russian failure to seize Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the idea that the war will end in a negotiated settlement should hardly be controversial. Ukraine is unlikely to force the collapse of the Russian government, and Russia is unlikely to destroy Ukraine with nuclear weapons. Consequently, the Russian and Ukrainian governments will need to come to some kind of agreement for hostilities to cease.

Would Putin’s Russia Really Nuke Ukraine?

Graham Allison

In Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, could he conduct a nuclear strike on a Ukrainian city? Unfortunately, but unquestionably, the answer is: yes. As CIA director William Burns said last week directly when asked this question: “…none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to … nuclear weapons.” As Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview aired last Saturday: “We shouldn’t wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons … For [Putin], life of the people is nothing.”

Russia’s Military Has a Railroad Problem

Emily Ferris

Russia has scaled down its war goals in Ukraine, redeploying its forces to focus on the eastern Donbas region and the strategic port city of Odesa. A central question now is whether this shift in strategy will help solve the Russian military’s many problems with wartime logistics.

Many of these challenges have been well documented, including issues in refueling and resupplying its troops as well as transporting injured soldiers back to neighboring Belarus to receive medical attention. But refocusing on a smaller area may allow Russia to alleviate an underlying logistical problem: Russia’s overwhelming dependence on railways—and on trucks beyond the end of those tracks—to move its troops and military equipment.

What Does the West Want in Ukraine?

Richard Haass

Vladimir Putin launched his war against Ukraine with expansive aims that, if achieved, would have essentially ended that country’s existence as a sovereign state. Faced with costly military setbacks, the Russian president has since defined success down, refocusing the Russian military operation on consolidating its hold in Ukraine’s east and south.

Curiously, Western aims in Ukraine have been far less clear. Almost all the debate over what to do has focused on means: on the quantity and quality of military aid to provide the country, on the wisdom of establishing a no-fly zone over Ukrainian airspace, on the extent of economic sanctions on Russia. Little has been said about what either side would have to concede in order to end the war. Also left unsaid is whether an end to the conflict would need to be formalized in a treaty signed by Russia and Ukraine or simply accepted as a reality.

Strategic Importance of Mariupol – Why Is It So Important to Russia

Mariupol, thanks to its nature and location, has several important characteristics.

Firstly, it blocks a land corridor between Crimea and Donbass. Russian forces had burst out of the Crimean peninsula, and are trying to link up with Russian and separatist forces in Donbass. But in order to complete the land bridge, Russians need to take Mariupol.

Second, siezing Mariupol would put Russia in control of over 80% of Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. Mariupol itself is the largest port in the Azov Sea region. Capture of Mariupol would cause cutting off its maritime trade and making it even more difficult for Ukraine to be supplied with weapons.

Artificial Intelligence Technology and China’s Defense System

Jieruo Li

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have been developed for many years and applied in various areas. Applications of AI exist not only in domestic surveillance but also in military uses. AI-related topics have become even more controversial and attracted more attention where China, a nation with rapid growth in its military development, is involved. This article introduces China’s rapid AI progress, demonstrates possible application areas of AI technologies in China, and analyzes the likelihood for China to wage a war with its AI technologies.

Pakistan passes orders to scrap China-Pak Economic Corridor Authority

Pakistan's new government has initiated a process to abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, with the planning minister saying it was a "redundant organisation" that wasted resources and thwarted speedy implementation of the ambitious regional connectivity programme.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal passed orders to the concerned officials to begin the process of abolition of the authority following reports that Chinese power producers have shut down 1,980 megawatts of production capacity due to non-clearance of their Rs300 billion dues, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Xi Jinping Proposes a Global Security Initiative but Does Not Elaborate


On April 21, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested a "global security initiative" that preserves the notion of "indivisible security," a term embraced by Russia. Still, he did not elaborate on how such an initiative would implement.

Xi stated in a video address at the annual Boao Asia Forum that the globe should respect each country's sovereignty and territorial integrity while also taking into account their "legitimate" security concerns.

China’s J-20 fighters begin South China Sea patrols

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China has started J-20 stealth fighter patrols over the South China Sea, the latest sign of Beijing’s rising assertiveness in the increasingly militarized and hotly contested strategic waterway. News of the patrols was confirmed on Wednesday (April 13) by state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), which is the manufacturer of the J-20.

News of the patrols comes hot on the heels of reports last month of a close encounter between US F-35s and J-20s over the East China Sea. According to US Pacific Air Forces Commander Kenneth Wilsbach, US pilots were “relatively impressed” with the command and control associated with the J-20.

Pakistan, Afghanistan teeter toward a border war


PESHAWAR – Afghanistan and Pakistan are careening towards war, a dramatic downturn in bilateral relations just months after the Taliban seized power in Kabul with Islamabad’s suspected tacit, if not clandestine, su­pport.

On April 14, Afghan border forces fired 35 shells and opened indiscriminate fire at Pakistani check posts in the Chitral area. The assault continued for well over six hours, according to news reports.

A Tempestuous Hegemon in a Tumultuous Era

Ashley J. Tellis

The tumultuousness of Trump’s presidency was rooted in developments that long predated him. China’s integration into the international trading system provided significant benefits for the U.S., but also imposed considerable burdens on key segments of its population. These hardships were compounded by sharply rising inequality domestically, failed U.S. military campaigns abroad, and the global financial crisis, which together stimulated a destabilizing nationalism and increased isolationism at just the time when China had become a potent strategic competitor. The Covid-19 pandemic only magnified the turmoil. Although Trump’s response to these crises failed to dismantle the liberal international order, his nationalistic trade policies, transactional approach to alliances, and ragged response to the pandemic damaged trust in the U.S. globally. That these behaviors did not destroy the U.S.-led order demonstrates its resilience while also doing credit to Trump administration officials who protected it despite the president’s disinterest.

The United States, Japan, and Taiwan What Has Russia’s Aggression Changed?

Sheila A. Smith

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves around the globe and upended assumptions about the likelihood of great-power war, including in the Taiwan Strait. Differences abound between the two scenarios. Yet Russia’s war in Ukraine is already reshaping NATO’s future and influencing alliance thinking in the Indo-Pacific. With growing Chinese military activity putting pressure on Taiwan’s defenses, the U.S.-Japan alliance would be instrumental to U.S. strategy in a cross-strait crisis, and a cross-strait contingency would have widespread ramifications for the defense of Japan. The U.S. and Japan must not only develop a comprehensive strategy to deter aggression across the Taiwan Strait but also consider the risks each is willing to take should major-power conflict erupt. Even though Russia’s aggression against Ukraine does not offer a parallel case study, it raises new questions that must be addressed by the U.S. and Japan as they assess how to avoid the outbreak of war around Taiwan. There is already cause for the U.S. and Japan to revisit some of their assumptions about how to prepare for a cross-strait crisis. In particular, China’s use of force against Taiwan would not be a localized conflict; it would have systemic consequences. Understanding this and other risks is paramount to ensuring that such a crisis is deterred.

What this old Russian tank tells us about the invasion of Ukraine


One of the simplest explanations for Russia’s military strategy in Ukraine can be found in a large unassuming warehouse full of tanks.

The U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Collection at Fort Benning, Georgia, houses tanks from the Army’s first M1 Abrams, all the way back to the oldest armored vehicle in the service’s inventory.

Nestled among the rows of armored behemoths, right next to an American M60 main battle tank, is a Russian T-62 which still looks exactly like it did when it was captured from the Iraqi Army in 1991, according to collection curator Rob Cogan. While a great educational tool for new armor branch soldiers at Fort Benning, the tank also serves as a reminder that history can, and often does, repeat itself.

Russia Outlines When Ukraine War Will End


Russia's invasion of Ukraine will end "once its tasks are fulfilled," a senior Russian official has said.

Alexey Polishchuk, from the Russian Foreign Ministry's second CIS department told state news agency Tass the war would end when Moscow achieved the "protection of the peaceful population of Donbas, demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine."

Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February and millions have been driven from their homes. Russia's army has also faced major losses in the face of Ukrainian resistance while Western countries have imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russia over the war.

How Russia and China Use Disinformation to Justify Internment Camps


After failing to conquer Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv, Russia has turned its focus toward the east of the country, staging an offensive campaign against the strategically significant city of Mariupol, which lies between Russian-annexed Crimea and the contested Donbas region.

Part of Russia's strategy to exert dominance in this region has allegedly been to remove potential combatants from the area. Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, posted on Telegram that Vladimir Putin's forces have removed roughly 27,000 people from the area and forcibly placed them in "filtration camps."

Russia-Vietnam ties put US in a sanctions dilemma


Vietnam could soon be hit by US sanctions over its continuing military relations with Russia as the West seeks new secondary pressure points to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Vietnam, Moscow’s closest ally in Southeast Asia, has dismayed American officials by abstaining from UN General Assembly resolutions against Russia. This month, Hanoi was one of only 24 states to vote against Russia being kicked off the UN Human Rights Council.

NATO Membership for Sweden Would Be ‘A Small Step For The Military, But A Giant Leap For The Political System’


Looking nervously to the East, Sweden and Finland are considering giving up their long histories of military independence by joining NATO, a potentially seismic shift driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A decision to apply for membership would kick off a protracted political process and reshape European geopolitics, but Swedish military officials have no qualms about integrating with allies with whom they already train and fight closely.

Ukrainian soldiers training in UK to use British armoured vehicles

Heather Stewart and Dan Sabbagh

Boris Johnson has revealed that dozens of Ukrainian soldiers are training in the UK, learning how to use 120 British armoured vehicles before returning with them to fight in the war against Russia.

British forces are also training Ukrainian counterparts in Poland on how to use anti-aircraft missiles, the prime minister said, as he outlined further details of the UK’s military aid for Kyiv’s embattled forces.

The Return of Conquest? Why the Future of Global Order Hinges on Ukraine

Tanisha M. Fazal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long declared that Ukraine has never existed as an independent country. The former Soviet republic is “not even a state,” he said as early as 2008. In a speech on February 21 of this year, he elaborated, arguing that “modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia.” Days later, he ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine. As Russian tanks streamed across the Ukrainian border, Putin seemed to be acting on a sinister, long-held goal: to erase Ukraine from the map of the world.

Control over Donbass to provide for ground corridor to Crimea, says military commander

YEKATERINBURG, April 22. /TASS/. Russian Armed Forces’ control over Donbass will enable to establish a ground corridor to Crimea and to gain influence over vitally-important Ukrainian military facilities, Deputy Commander of Russia’s Central Military District Major-General Rustam Minnekayev said on Friday.

"This [control over Donbass] will enable us to establish a ground corridor to Crimea and to gain influence over the vitally-important Ukrainian [military] facilities, the Black Sea ports, which service deliveries of the agricultural and metallurgical products to other countries," the general said at an annual meeting of the Union of Defense Industry Enterprises of the Sverdlovsk Region.

A Real Foreign Policy for the Middle Class How to Help American Workers and Project U.S. Power

Heidi Crebo-Rediker and Douglas Rediker

In February 2021, two weeks after taking office, U.S. President Joe Biden gave a speech outlining his foreign policy vision. Over the course of 20 minutes, the new president detailed many of Washington’s overseas interests, including promoting democracy and working with U.S. allies to compete against China. He identified a bevy of international challenges, including cyberattacks, nuclear proliferation, and refugee flows. But when it came time to talk about international economics, Biden pivoted away from looking abroad and instead focused his attention at home. “There’s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy,” he said. “Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind.” Washington, he said, must advance “a foreign policy for the middle class.”

Focus on interests, not ideology, to strengthen Taiwan’s standing

Ryan Hass

As images of Russian brutality against innocent Ukrainians shock the conscience of the world, there is a natural impulse to frame the struggle in Europe as part of a global contest between democracies and autocracies. Taiwan’s leaders would be wise to restrain those impulses. Drawing analogies between Ukraine today and Taiwan tomorrow risks generating more costs than benefits for Taiwan’s future.

President Biden, don’t pass up the opportunity for a reset with Shahbaz Sharif’s Pakistan

Bruce Riedel and Madiha Afzal

The end of American involvement in Afghanistan and the change in leadership in Pakistan presents the United States with an opportunity to reset its long-troubled relationship with the world’s fifth most populous country. President Joe Biden should initiate a high-level dialogue with new Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who will be in power for up to a year before the next election is held.

Politicians need to square with the American people on gasoline prices

Samantha Gross

Members of Congress from both parties are politicizing and spreading bad information on the energy crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Given the acrimony in U.S. politics today, this isn’t surprising, but misinformation on the real cause of high gasoline prices is a disservice to U.S. citizens. Democrats blame the oil and gas industry and Republicans blame President Joe Biden, but global market forces are the real culprit. Better understanding of the energy system, among policymakers and ordinary people, is crucial as the United States and world strive to transition to a system with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

France’s Election Shouldn’t Have Been This Close

Celia Belin
Source Link

Not so long ago, the war in Ukraine appeared to have made French President Emmanuel Macron a shoo-in for a second term. Polls showed that a majority of French voters trusted him to handle the crisis, and two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Macron garnered support from 31 percent of voters surveyed compared with just 18 percent for Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who was in second place. The last time a French candidate enjoyed such a big lead in the run-up to a presidential election was more than three decades ago.

Russia’s War in Ukraine: Identity, History, and Conflict

Jeffrey Mankoff

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine constitutes the biggest threat to peace and security in Europe since the end of the Cold War. On February 21, 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin gave a bizarre and at times unhinged speech laying out a long list of grievances as justification for the “special military operation” announced the following day. While these grievances included the long-simmering dispute over the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the shape of the post–Cold War security architecture in Europe, the speech centered on a much more fundamental issue: the legitimacy of Ukrainian identity and statehood themselves. It reflected a worldview Putin had long expressed, emphasizing the deep-seated unity among the Eastern Slavs—Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians, who all trace their origins to the medieval Kyivan Rus commonwealth—and suggesting that the modern states of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus should share a political destiny both today and in the future. The corollary to that view is the claim that distinct Ukrainian and Belarusian identities are the product of foreign manipulation and that, today, the West is following in the footsteps of Russia’s imperial rivals in using Ukraine (and Belarus) as part of an “anti-Russia project.”

What Will U.S.-Supplied Howitzers Mean for the Battle of the Donbas?

Kris Osborn

Once U.S. experts have a chance to “train the trainers” outside of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces will be firing U.S. Army and Marine Corps artillery in a matter of days, Pentagon officials say.

The addition of 155mm artillery could be quite significant for Ukrainian forces, who have thus far been largely unable to strike Russian force concentrations from stand-off ranges. Most U.S. 155mm Howitzers can fire at ranges of up to thirty kilometers, which is much farther than the reported range of Ukraine’s Soviet-era artillery systems. Longer-range artillery could enable Ukrainian forces to attack force massing and staging areas used by Russian forces preparing to invade. In addition, by being used as suppressive area fire the artillery shells could enable Ukrainian forces to maneuver and deny entrance or passageway for Russian forces along key routes in the Donbas.