4 May 2022

Western artillery surging into Ukraine will reshape war with Russia, analysts say


WASHINGTON — The Western artillery flooding into Ukraine will alter the war with Russia, setting off a bloody battle of wits backed by long-range weapons and forcing both sides to grow more nimble if they hope to avoid significant fatalities as fighting intensifies in the east, U.S. officials and military analysts predict.

The expanded artillery battle follows Russia’s failed effort to rapidly seize Ukraine’s major populations centers, including the capital city, Kyiv, and comes as the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his Western benefactors brace for what is expected to be a grinding campaign in the Donbas region. The conflict there is expected to showcase the long-range cannons that are a centerpiece of Russia’s arsenal, weaponry already used to devastating effect in places like Mariupol, a southern port city that’s been pulverized by unrelenting bombardment.

Russia's Catastrophic Geopolitics Vladimir Putin is attempting to reproduce 20th-century geopolitics in 21st-century modernity.

Maxim Trudolyubov

Russia’s war against Ukraine can be seen as a culmination of decades of Russian society poisoning itself with stories of foreign encirclement and mistreatment by the West. For more than two decades now, politicians and the state-run media have peddled external-threat scares, the West’s containment of Russia, and national grievances related to alienated territories and economic failures.

Russia’s ultraconservatives and communists started to dust off the old concepts of “heartland,” “limitrophe states,” and “geopolitical destiny” as early as the mid-1990s. Since the late 2000s a toxic mix of early 20th-century geopolitics and historical ressentiment has effectively been Russia’s ideology; it is now coming into full bloom with Vladimir Putin’s treatise about Ukraine published last summer and in his angry casus belli address that was followed by the full-scale invasion of a neighboring country.

Blasts, Bombs, And Drones: Amid Carnage In Ukraine, A Shadow War On The Russian Side Of The Border

Mike Eckel

Early in the morning on April 27, a drone crashed in a muddy field southwest of the Russian city of Kursk, around 100 kilometers northeast of the border with Ukraine. Locals tracked down the destroyed device not long after, and posted photographs to Telegram and other social media.

The device appeared to be a Bayraktar TB2, a versatile Turkish-designed unmanned aerial vehicle capable of long-distance surveillance as well as dropping guided bombs or firing anti-tank missiles.

It wasn’t the Russians who were flying the drone.

How Not to Invade a Nation Russia’s Attack on Ukraine Is a Case Study in Bad Strategy

Frederick W. Kagan and Mason Clark

At the outset of the invasion, the odds favored Russia to defeat the Ukrainian armed forces, seize Ukraine’s capital, and establish a pro-Russian government. The Russian military comfortably outnumbered Ukraine’s, and its military technology was more advanced. Russia’s GDP was nearly ten times the size of the Ukrainian economy, and its population about triple that of its neighbor’s. Many analysts expected that, after being largely conquered, Ukrainians would launch a protracted insurgency that might defeat the Russians over time. But few believed Ukraine could stop the invasion in a conventional war.

Ukraine joins Afghanistan and Yemen in shaping Gulf rivalries

James M. Dorsey

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan was a geopolitical watershed. Its shockwaves continue to reverberate and are magnified by the wars in Ukraine and Yemen.

Coupled with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US withdrawal removed a major obstacle to Iranian projection in Central Asia and created an opportunity for Iran to potentially enhance its influence, increase trade, and expand security cooperation in Central Asia.

Already angry at US President Joe Biden’s refusal to deal directly with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because of the 2018 Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia saw the bungled withdrawal, along with the US failure to respond robustly to attacks on critical Gulf state infrastructure by Iran and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, as further evidence of America’s increasing unreliability as a security guarantor.

Opinion – A New Cold War?

Campbell Craig

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a wave of declarations that we are entering a second cold war; these must be added to repeated claims before February of this year that the rise of China is doing the same thing. Are these assertions justifiable? In a word, no. It is possible that we are entering a new era of great-power rivalry, after 30 years or so of US unipolar preponderance, though this is not certain. But that does not mean that we should necessarily call a new season of geopolitical conflict between the US and China, or Russia, or both, a Cold War. The big European powers waged great-power politics during the nineteenth century, yet no one calls this conflict a Cold War.

For the term to have any precise meaning, it needs to be distinguished from great-power rivalries as such. We can do this in two ways. First, it was cold. By that we mean that the US and the USSR never went to war against one another; indeed, it came to an end without the ‘systemic’ war that normally characterises transitions from one international system to the next. Had the two superpowers gone to war over Berlin, or Cuba, or wherever, we would not be calling it a Cold War today, if anyone were still around to call it anything.

Challenging Information Control with Communication Technologies in Syria

Mark Barrow

A major component of modern warfare is the lengths governments will go to control the flow of information, to prevent their sanitised narrative from being questioned and undermined by reports transmitted from the ground. However, is this strict control of information still possible, given that we live in an increasingly interconnected society where communication technologies can transmit information around the world in a matter of seconds? In this article, I look at how Syrian citizen journalists are employing communication technologies to disseminate coverage of the country’s civil war to global audiences. I find that by using mobile phones and the Internet, and with the help of activists living in the diaspora, they record and upload footage of the war’s atrocities, often undermining the Syrian government’s idealised version of events. Although the regime employs wide-ranging measures to track down and stop these individuals, they have become adept at concealing themselves online. The situation resembles a technological and dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, whereby citizen journalists attempt to remain one step ahead of their pursuers, enabling them to continue disseminating information pertaining to the conflict.

Xi's article on building China's strength in science, technology to be published


BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- An article by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on accelerating the construction of a nation with strong science and technology will be published Sunday.

The article by Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will be published in this year's ninth issue of the Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.

Highlighting the importance of science and technology in the cause of the Party and the people, the article notes that efforts to facilitate its development must be directed to developing cutting-edge technologies, spurring economic growth, meeting the country's critical needs, and improving the people's health.

After Series Of ‘Fails & Falls’, NASA Builds New AI That Would Aid The Development Of US’ Hypersonic Missiles

Sakshi Tiwari

A hypersonic missile being developed in the US is supposed to make use of a technology known as ‘scramjet’ or ‘supersonic combustion ramjet’ to make optimum use of fuel, reach hypersonic speed, and cause maximum devastation on impact, as the use of traditional, heavy rockets and spacecraft limit its application.

The scramjet uses extremely effective thrust mechanisms to achieve much faster speeds, and it can be manufactured in a size much smaller, lighter, and with a longer range than traditional rockets. This is where the role of Artificial Intelligence comes in the development of a hypersonic missile.

NASA is said to have developed artificial intelligence (AI) capable of optimizing missiles for maximum range and destruction. It has developed an AI that can use the results of a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) to optimize and work around an effective design of a scramjet missile.

Two months of horror and resilience: 7 takeaways from the war in Ukraine

Tom Nagorski

The war in Ukraine is two months old. There were many who didn’t think it would last two weeks. The day after the Russian invasion, Grid wrote that “tectonic shifts” were likely. It wasn’t that bold a prediction; from the beginning, it was clear that NATO would be tested severely, a new refugee crisis was possible and geopolitical alliances might be scrambled as well.

In truth, none of us guessed the extent of it, nor in some cases did we imagine where those tectonic shifts would occur. At the two-month mark, Grid’s global team looked at the surprises and key takeaways from the war to date.

‘Cheetah,’ ‘Switchblade’ and ‘Phoenix Ghost’: Will the new weapons headed to Ukraine be enough to win the war?

Joshua Keating

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his NATO counterparts are meeting in Germany this week to discuss what may be their most important contribution to Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion: the large-scale and growing effort to deliver military hardware to Ukraine.

The U.S. alone has committed more than $2.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the war began and pledged an additional $800 million last week. Other NATO countries have committed billions as well. But the Ukrainian government says it needs more — both in terms of volume and the sophistication of the weaponry — to push back against the Russian onslaught. And as the conflict shifts from urban warfare around Kyiv to more traditional tank and artillery battles in the country’s east, Ukraine’s military needs are changing.

The Gulf Countries and Turkey: (Re-)Drawing the Map of Alliances in the Middle East

Yoel Guzansky Gallia Lindenstrauss

In November 2021, Ankara hosted United Arab Emirates de facto ruler Mohammed bin Zayed, and in February 2022 Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a reciprocal visit to the UAE. The rapprochement between Abu Dhabi and Ankara represents an especially sharp turn because Erdogan had accused the United Arab Emirates of being behind the attempted coup against him in 2016. During his visit to Turkey, bin Zayed made a commitment to invest $10 billion in Turkey, and in January 2022 the countries agreed on a $5 billion swap. In Erdogan's reciprocal visit to Abu Dhabi, a series of agreements between the countries were signed, including on preparations for coping with mass disasters, climate change, and initial defense industry cooperation.

World Food Grain Shortage Looms as Russia Blocks a Top Ukrainian Export


With sea routes closed due to Russia's war with Ukraine, a representative of the United Nations (U.N.) World Food Program has said nearly four and half million tons of grain are blocked in Ukraine's ports, with far-reaching impacts around the world.

Martin Frick sought for Ukraine's ability to resume supplying food to other countries to lessen a global food crisis, according to the dpa news agency report published Sunday.

"Hunger doesn't have to be a weapon," Frick said.

Ukraine, combined with Russia, accounted for about 30 percent of global wheat exports and 20 percent of corn exports in the last three years, according to the U.N.

How to tackle the data collection behind China’s AI ambitions

Jessica Dawson and Tarah Wheeler

The United States and China are increasingly engaged in a competition over who will dominate the strategic technologies of tomorrow. No technology is as important in that competition as artificial intelligence: Both the United States and China view global leadership in AI as a vital national interest, with China pledging to be the world leader by 2030. As a result, both Beijing and Washington have encouraged massive investment in AI research and development.

Yet the competition over AI is not just about funding. In addition to investments in talent and computing power, high-performance AI also requires data—and lots of it. The competition for AI leadership cannot be won without procuring and compiling large-scale datasets. Although we have some insight into Chinese A.I. funding generally—see, for example, a recent report from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology on the People’s Liberation Army’s AI investments—we know far less about China’s strategy for data collection and acquisition. Given China’s interest in integrating cutting-edge AI into its intelligence and military enterprise, that oversight represents a profound vulnerability for U.S. national security. Policymakers in the White House and Congress should thus focus on restricting the largely unregulated data market not only to protect Americans’ privacy but also to deny China a strategic asset in developing their AI programs.

If Big Tech Can Take Down Parler, It Can Handle Elon Musk


The reaction to Elon Musk "buying" Twitter has been, in a word, manic. His ability to bring more political equity to social media platforms may be overstated. At the same time, the claim that he will turn Twitter into a Trumpian cesspool is simply ignorant of both Elon Musk's libertarian-leaning views and, candidly, how corporations work. There is one thing both views have in common: a complete misunderstanding of Big Tech's power over content.

There's one undeniable reason Elon Musk's Twitter takeover won't bring such dramatic changes—a gaggle of Big Tech companies, not Twitter, control the flow of information at every network layer. Worse, those companies are more than willing to use their market dominance to silence those who don't share their worldview.

Why Is No One Talking About Elon Musk's Ties to China?


Ever since Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, a debate about free speech and social media has been roiling the internet. The Right sees in Musk a savior from Twitter's liberal bias, while the Left sees in Musk someone who would eliminate content moderation, allowing all manner of views and speech on the social media platform.

Both sides are missing an equally important other side to Musk's potential acquisition, namely, that this deal may help Communist China.

The issue was raised by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who earlier this week tweeted, "Interesting question. Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?"

Securing 5G A Way Forward in the U.S. and China Security Competition

Daniel Gonzales, Julia Brackup, Spencer Pfeifer, Timothy M. Bonds

Fifth-generation (5G) networks are being deployed in the United States and globally and, one day, will replace many older, third- and fourth-generation cellular networks. 5G will provide much higher data rates and lower message latency than older cellular networks. 5G could also provide or support a variety of new applications, such as holographic communications, autonomous vehicles, and internet-of-things communications. However, security concerns have been raised about 5G networks built using Chinese equipment and 5G phones made by some Chinese companies. The United States is reliant on foreign suppliers for 5G infrastructure and key microchips that go into every 5G phone.

This report describes 5G security issues, the 5G supply chain, and the competitive landscape in 5G equipment and mobile device markets. It describes where U.S. and Chinese companies have technology or market advantages in the emerging 5G security competition between the United States and China. The report provides recommendations for securing U.S. 5G networks and mobile devices and those used by U.S. allies and foreign partner nations.

Many Hands in the Cookie Jar

Quentin E. Hodgson, Yuliya Shokh, Jonathan Balk

Cyber-enabled espionage against the United States has been a challenge for more than 20 years and is likely to remain so in the future. In the aftermath of the 2020 SolarWinds cyber incident that affected U.S. government networks, policymakers, lawmakers, and the public asked: "Why does this keep happening, and what can the United States do to prevent it from reoccurring?" It is these questions that motivate this effort. Specifically, this report summarizes three cases of Russian cyber-enabled espionage and two cases of Chinese cyber-enabled espionage dating back to the compromise of multiple government agencies in the late 1990s up to the 2015 compromise of the Office of Personnel Management. The purpose of this inquiry is to address whether U.S. responses have changed over time, whether they led to changes in adversary behavior, and what the United States can learn from these cases to inform future policymaking. The authors show that policymakers typically consider a narrow set of response options, and they often conclude that not much can be done beyond trying to improve network defenses, because the United States "does it too." The authors suggest that the U.S. government could broaden its policy response options by increasing focus on diplomatic engagement, including working with partners and allies to call out malicious cyber behavior; expanding the use of active defense measures to root out adversaries; and employing more-sophisticated counterintelligence techniques, such as deception, to decrease the benefits that adversaries derive from cyber espionage.

Surface ships and armoured vehicles are on borrowed time

Andrew Davies
Source Link

Just for a change, there’s a bit of heat around discussions of the future of armour and surface ships. I thought ASPI analyst William Leben’s recent Strategist piece was a good one in its attempt to find some common ground.

I think a lot of the argument centres on a semantic misunderstanding of what it is for something to be ‘obsolete’. I’ve been guilty of using the word speciously myself, most recently on the subject of surface combatants, when what I really meant was ‘significantly reduced utility’. Strictly speaking, no capability is ever entirely useless. There are probably still occasional circumstances in which the crossbow, horse cavalry charge or 16-inch guns of a battleship would still be effective weapons. But those instances are so rare that no one sees the benefit of including them in modern force structures.

Russia’s war against Ukraine: where do we stand and what can the future bring?

Josep Borrell

Two months into the war against Ukraine there is no end in sight and Russia’s most recent actions even point to an intensification of the fight. The Russian leadership must stop the aggression and reconsider the unacceptable path it has chosen: for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the wider world.

Since the beginning of this war on 24 February, four Russian assumptions have proved clearly wrong: that the Ukrainian government would crumble and Russian forces would take Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities swiftly; that the European Union would be at pains to show resolve and respond to this aggression; that the “Western world” would be divided and uncertain in its reaction; and that the broader international community would not condemn Russia’s invasion.

Why China isn’t backing away from alignment with Russia

China claims to be neutral in Russia’s war in Ukraine, but this neutrality is easy to see through: Beijing refuses to criticize Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it blames the United States and NATO for inciting the war. So far, the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for A New Era” between Russia and China, concluded in 2019 and re-affirmed during the most recent bilateral summit on February 4, has held fast throughout the war.

But does this partnership have “no limits,” as Presidents Xi and Putin claimed in their joint statement? China’s ambassador to Washington, Qin Gang, helpfully explained that the partnership, while having no limits, was bounded by the Charter of the United Nations. Yet the Charter clearly forbids the use of force except for purposes of self-defense, and Russia is conducting its war (a war of aggression, if there ever was one) exclusively on Ukrainian territory, while China – which concluded a strategic partnership with Ukraine in 2011, as well – looks the other way. Thus, in China’s eyes, even the breach of the most fundamental principles of international law and the U.N. Charter is no obstacle to continuing the partnership.

The Russia-Ukraine War: Where Do We Go from Here?

Zvi Magen, Sophie Kobzantsev

The Russia-Ukraine War, underway for two months, continues in full force. Negotiations between the countries, held until about two weeks ago, achieved certain agreements. However, Russia announced the second stage of the invasion, which began on April 19, and it seems that the negotiations will not be renewed in the coming weeks. This raises the question of how the campaign will continue and what might influence its end and its results. At this stage it seems that the end of the war will be determined in the coming weeks in accordance with Russia's military successes or failures in Ukraine.

Russia's war is not only against Ukraine, but rather, as the Russian regime repeatedly declares, against NATO and the West in general. The sequence of events has changed Russia's initial intention not to become entangled in a long military campaign, but rather, through a short operation, to replace the government of Ukraine or at least to distance Ukraine from the West. But in practice, Russia has been drawn into a prolonged conflict – the result of effective Ukrainian resistance that is supported by NATO, which trained Ukraine’s army and helps it with the supply of weapons, intelligence sharing, and technological warfare.

Europe’s Quest for Technological Power

Computing power plays a key role in enabling data analytics and machine learning, in cybersecurity, for scientific research, and in military domains like nuclear warhead design and detonation simulation.

Computing also has industrial ramifications, not least due to a relatively small number of players that hold key spots in the value chain. This leads some to argue that the contours of computational power define who has control over and access to the benefits of computer-based technologies like artificial intelligence.

This essay focuses on two complementary segments of computing: high-performance computing (HPC, also known as “supercomputing”), and quantum computing. Both are very distinct in terms of maturity. HPC has been widely used in scientific research, meteorology, the military, finance, and industry since the 1990s. Arguably, a nation’s ability to deploy supercomputers constitutes a form of soft power, as well as being a scientific and national security imperative. Today, a few countries around the globe are engaged in a race to deploy the next level of supercomputers, known as exascale machines. But the field is also currently witnessing a diversification of uses, with new needs stemming from big data applications for industry.

Rethinking Strategic Sovereignty

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting shifts in Euro­pean security will permanently change the political narrative on European strategic sovereignty. Because of the direct military threat on its own borders, it is no longer primarily a matter of the EU gaining greater autonomy vis-à-vis the US. Rather, the Union must above all become more capable of acting to help protect its member states, its citizens, and assert European interests in a global politics environment characterised by great power rivalries.

In the aftermath of the Ukraine war, the core questions relating to strategic sover­eignty must therefore also be raised anew: How can this be secured militarily? How are thematic priorities shifting? What institu­tional reforms will create greater capacity to act? How should the EU adapt its enlarge­ment policy in the future? How will the EU’s relations with partners and third coun­tries change?

India’s Neutrality and Strategic Relations with China, Russia, and the West

Felix K. Chang

India has long prided itself on its strategically independent or non-aligned foreign policy. But the 2022 Russian-Ukrainian War has put India’s approach to strategic independence under an international spotlight. Although Indian leaders have often stated that their country’s strategic independence does not bar New Delhi from leaning to one side or another, India’s tilt toward Russia during the war has been more pronounced than many in the West, particularly Europe and the United States, expected.

Western leaders hoped that India would have aligned itself with Ukraine and against Russia, especially given New Delhi’s growing involvement in the Quad grouping of major Indo-Pacific democratic countries in recent years. But India did not. Instead, it pursued an approach that seemed to favor Russia. Early in the war, India thrice abstained from United Nations resolutions that condemned Russian actions in Ukraine. It also sought to keep its trade with Russia flowing, even as the West strove to restrict Russian access to global markets. In mid-March, India allowed its refiners to buy Russian oil, despite Western efforts to curtail international purchases of it. And, at the same time, New Delhi and Moscow began to discuss how to avoid U.S. dollars as the transaction medium (i.e., “de-dollarization”) in their trade, which would enable Russia to more easily skirt the West’s economic sanctions against it.

U.S. Must Implement Lessons on “Hybrid” Conflict from Ukraine War

Dustin Carmack

War is a continually evolving architecture, forever changing with the nature of weapons systems, technology, information, and communication development. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is of both a scale and type that the world has not seen in tandem for decades. Kinetic strikes by air and land involving ground troops, tanks, artillery, missiles, and aircraft are happening around the clock throughout the cities and countryside of Ukraine. These actions are readily apparent to spectators around the world. However, a shadow war has been conducted in parallel—advancing ahead of the first tanks to cross Ukrainian borders—and continuing to this day. Russia’s hybrid tactics are difficult to see as they occur in cyberspace, intelligence-gathering, informational operations, espionage, communication efforts, and in the darkness of space.

Wily Ukrainian Tactics and Poor Design Led to Russian Warship’s Sinking

Brent Sadler

Once news broke that Ukraine had sunk the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva, naval analysts leapt into action. The event presents a crucial question to many observers, including the U.S. Navy: How was a well-defended and large warship sunk by two rather small anti-ship cruise missiles?

Based on what is publicly known, it came down to a combination of good Ukrainian tactics and poor Russian naval design resulting in the ship’s loss.

The U.S.–Japan Security Alliance Must Act Now to Deter China from Attacking Taiwan

Bruce Klingner

Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, was a brutal reminder of the potential for authoritarian countries to attack smaller countries on their periphery. Moscow’s assault should also be a catalyst for enhancing deterrence against Chinese expansionism in the Indo–Pacific region.

China has stepped up its intimidation strategy against its neighbors in both the East and South China Seas. Japan has responded by issuing uncharacteristically bold statements criticizing Beijing’s threats against Taiwan, as well as engaging in bilateral military contingency planning with the United States. Japan’s actions are consistent with its stated desire to assume a larger regional security role.

Enhancing the Mission Command Training of Army Functional and Multifunctional Brigade Headquarters for Large-Scale Combat Operations

Joshua Klimas, Jennifer Kavanagh, Derek Eaton

According to Army doctrine, mission command involves how commanders, supported by their staffs, combine the command and control to understand situations, make decisions, direct action, and accomplish missions. In this report, the authors examine the effectiveness of mission command training conducted by different types of functional and multifunctional (F/MF) brigade headquarters in preparation for large-scale combat operations (LSCO). The U.S. Army's exercise of mission command as part of counterinsurgency and stabilization operations during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom differs from the way that it would do so as part of LSCO. Army leaders have expressed concerns that the abilities of leaders and their staffs to exercise mission command as part of LSCO have atrophied. RAND researchers' objective was to identify gaps in current training approaches for LSCO and to recommend ways that these gaps could be filled.

Ridding the World of Chemical Weapons


Ivividly remember the moment the United States became one of the 130 original signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997. I was a part of the U.S. delegation that negotiated the Convention, while then-senator Joe Biden helped craft the Senate's resolution of advice and consent by working extensively across party lines. At that time, neither of us could have envisioned the world we face now.

On this day, 25 years later, we mark the anniversary of the Convention's entry into force as an important reminder to reflect on its state and importance to our security. I, for one, believe the CWC remains true to its purpose, despite the many challenges we face today.