9 May 2022

The War in Ukraine: More Western Aid and Fear of Escalation

Eldad Shavit Shimon Stein

A high-level American visit to Kyiv, the first since the war began, by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin – after several European leaders had already visited there in recent weeks – again showed the importance that the United States administration has assigned to its active involvement in Ukraine's military efforts against Russia. Following his visit, Blinken stated, "The strategy that we've put in place – massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts – is having real results."

Even though it is unclear at this stage when and how the war will end, the West is continuing its focus on preventing a Russian victory and ensuring that Ukraine does not lose. It is unclear to what extent the ambitious goal declared by the US Secretary of Defense following his visit – “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine" – was coordinated with NATO allies, and whether it is acceptable to the Ukrainians, who are saddled with the actual task of accomplishing it. According to Austin, the administration believes that Ukraine can be victorious and achieve a situation that guards its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have reached an impasse, but it appears that even before this occurred, the US administration, even if it did not say so publicly and stated that it would respect Ukraine's wishes, showed no enthusiasm for the possibility that Russian aggression would end in a compromise agreement that the Kremlin would use to prove that Russia had achieved gains through its military campaign. From the West's perspective, Ukraine is not fighting merely for its independence and territorial integrity; it is also fighting for democracy and the principles of the liberal order. This contradicts the stance repeated by Germany, the United States, and others that they are not active partners in a war designed to protect these aims.

China’s Troubling New Military Strategy Is Coming Into View

Jonah Blank

The last time the outside world paid much attention to the Solomon Islands was in 1943: More U.S. troops lost their lives in the six-month Battle of Guadalcanal there than in the deadliest four-year period of the Afghan War. Since World War II, this remote chain of South Pacific islands has gone from occupied territory to colony to frequently chaotic independent state, all without the great powers seeming to notice. Last month, however, a secret deal between the Solomons and China aroused fear of Beijing’s expanding presence throughout the region. China’s rivals worry that it may be shifting its security strategy, from a focus on economic sway alone to an increased emphasis on military dominance.

The consequences of the war in Ukraine will be far-reaching

Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska

The Russian invasion into Ukraine will have far reaching consequences in a variety of areas: the situation has evolved into a humanitarian crisis, has turned food and energy security volatile and raises questions about the architecture of global security.

These challenges will not be limited to Ukraine, but due to the globalised world we live in, will pose challenges across the globe.

Both short- and long-term solutions must be found to ensure these consequences won't result into castastrophes upon catastrophes.

The Russian invasion into Ukraine was a tipping point for world security, the international economy and our global energy architecture. It is not possible to narrow down a war like this to one region while we live in a globalized world. We cannot keep radiation in one country's geographical borders, or eliminate one country from the fragility of supply chains.

How Russia's Military Leadership Was Decapitated Thanks to U.S. Intel


Senior U.S. officials have said that American intelligence about Russian military units has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in the Ukraine war.

Ukrainian officials have said they have killed 12 Russian generals on the front lines, a much higher number than many military experts expected.

The U.S. intelligence includes anticipated Russian military movements and targeting data, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing senior U.S. officials. It is part of a concerted effort by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to provide Ukraine with real-time military intelligence for the fight against the Russians, including Moscow's attempt to take the eastern Donbas region, the war's current front line.

Securing Europe’s future beyond energy: Addressing its corporate and technology gap

Sven Smit, Magnus Tyreman, Jan Mischke, Philipp Ernst

European leaders have shown great resolve in their initial response at scale and speed to the war in Ukraine. They will need to build the same momentum to face the region’s slow-motion corporate and technology crisis. An estimated €2 trillion to €4 trillion of annual value could be at stake—six times the amount needed for the net-zero transition—and with it Europe’s long-term prosperity and strategic autonomy. A program of 11 actions can turn the tide.

Russia’s War Has Created a Power Vacuum in Europe

Jakub Grygiel

At the beginning of 2022, the future of Europe looked to be in the hands of Berlin and Moscow. They were becoming Europe’s arbiters. But Russia’s war against Ukraine has changed the continent’s geopolitical map: The Germans and Russians are out, the British and Poles are rising, and the Americans are back—at least for now.

German economic might shaped the lives of eurozone countries, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. Berlin’s decisions—on immigration, energy, fiscal policy, and diplomacy—were criticized, but few Europeans could afford to outright oppose the continent’s largest economy. At the same time, to Europe’s east, Russia had reinserted itself into European politics through a combination of military power, internal meddling, and energy supplies. Following a long-standing tradition of keeping good relations with Russia, German leaders were eager to do business with Moscow. Germany became Gazprom’s best customer, supplied the Russian economy and military with critical technology, and hoped Moscow would reciprocate with good behavior.

Opportunities for Increased Multilateral Engagement with B3W

Conor M. Savoy, Shannon McKeown

As the world continues to rapidly digitize and grapples with the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, new forms of innovative and resilient infrastructure are increasingly necessary. The estimated $3.3 trillion annual gap in infrastructure investment cannot be paid for with official development assistance (ODA) alone but will require significant private sector financing and local government resources. A coordinated, multi-stakeholder effort that includes governments, the private sector, and civil society is needed to leverage all available resources and funding to address these challenges as well as implement the UN quality infrastructure agenda.2

QUICKSINK: The Air Force Will Soon Be Destroying Ships from Above

Kris Osborn

An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle destroyed a “full-scale” surface vessel in the Gulf of Mexico during a demonstration of a cutting-edge Pentagon weapon that is able to target and destroy moving ships at sea, a development that may introduce new attack options for U.S. commanders. Under the auspices of the QUICKSINK program, the United States fired a precision-guided GBU-31 joint direct attack munition (JDAM) at the surface ship as part of what’s called a joint capability technology demonstration.

Some of the particulars related to the guidance systems of the weapon were not available in the report, but an ability to attack with air-dropped, precision-guided JDAMs against a moving ship is a substantial step forward in the realm of maritime combat, according to a recent Air Force report.

A Devastating Weapon in Short Supply: Lockheed Martin to Expand Javelin Production

Caleb Larson

American Javelin anti-tank missiles have made all the difference on the battlefield in Ukraine. But now, the embattled Eastern European democracy needs more.

American Javelin missiles have helped turn the tide against Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression and the Russian war machine. The missiles are relatively lightweight and portable and wreak havoc on Russian armored vehicles and some aircraft.

Thanks to the Javelin’s infrared guidance unit, operators can launch the weapon and quickly seek cover. The weapon’s top-attack ability allows the high-explosive anti-tank projectile to engage armored vehicles where their armor is thinnest—on top.

Is America Ready for Chinese-Russian Liminal Warfare?

Robert McFarlane Andrew D. Paterson

Over the past five years, most Americans have become familiar with what leading journalists and academics have termed, the new era of “Great Power Competition”: a reference to the increasingly complex and worrisome armed stand-off between the United States (and its allies), and China and Russia—the two leading authoritarian powers. The alarming genocidal war launched in February 2022 by Russia against Ukraine has awakened us to the reality that our expectations at the end of the Cold War in 1991 were delusional and foolish. It is not apparent that the universal appeal of the democratic idea will not spontaneously enable a benign New World Order to take shape.

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter: Just A Stolen F-35?

Brent M. Eastwood

J-20 – Did the Chinese Steal Secrets For One Of Their Favorite Fighter Planes?: When it looks like a copy, maybe it is a copy. The Chinese are proud of their J-20 Mighty Dragon fighter – probably because they received some of the technology for free. Some believe that the Chinese stole parts of the design in at least one cyber breach. The J-20 and F-35 show a resemblance that jumps out at you, especially when you examine the front of the airplane that look similar to each other.

J-20 Using F-35 Tech? A Look at the Evidence

The notorious character Edward Snowden revealed in leaked documents in 2007 that Lockheed Martin was aware of a data breach regarding the F-35 that involved Chinese hackers. Ten years later, the Chinese reportedly acted again by targeting an Australian defense contractor working with the F-35 program. This nefarious activity involved stolen secrets about the American stealth fighter using hacking code attributed to the Chinese.

More details emerge on China's widespread Ukraine-related hacking efforts

AJ Vicens

More details are emerging about the activities of a prolific Chinese government hacking group and how it’s used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as part of its ongoing efforts to infiltrate a diverse range of target networks across three continents in pursuit of espionage and information theft.

Mustang Panda — otherwise known as Bronze President, HoneyMyte or RedDelta — has been targeting European and Russian entities using topical phishing lures coinciding roughly with the start of the Russian war to deliver malware. Some of the activity has been reported, but researchers with Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group detailed Thursday previously unreported file samples, website domains and IP addresses associated with the wide-ranging campaigns.

The New Cold War Could Soon Heat Up

Ian Bremmer

In the ten weeks since Russia began its assault on Ukraine, tensions between Russia and Western countries have been greater than at any point since the Cuban missile crisis. U.S. President Joe Biden has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin, leader of a nuclear-armed superpower, of carrying out a “genocide,” called him a “war criminal,” and stated that he “cannot remain in power.” According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the United States now seeks to “weaken Russia” to the point that it can no longer threaten its neighbors. Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, has called the war in Ukraine “our war.”

Remember Afghanistan’s Hazaras

Knox Thames

Since the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, respect for human rights and women’s rights has sharply declined. The detention, torture, and murder of journalists, the killing of opposition figures, and the closing of girls’ schools have all received international attention. Meanwhile, the Taliban’s failures in governance have created space for the Islamic State franchise in Afghanistan to relaunch a reign of terror against Hazara Shia.

Hazaras constitute the country’s third-largest ethnic group and largest religious minority community due to their Shia Muslim faith in the Sunni majority country. Hazaras are easily identifiable due to their different beliefs and features, and the local Islamic State franchise, known as IS-Khorasan Province (ISKP), has singled them out for years.

Biden’s Foreign Aid Is Funding the Washington Bubble

Charles Kenny and Scott Morris

In recent weeks, U.S. President Joe Biden made good on the promise he made at last year’s G-7 summit in Cornwall, England, to launch a set of infrastructure investments in developing countries under the banner of Build Back Better World (B3W). His administration has rolled out new initiatives on digital connectivity, child care infrastructure, and health facility electrification, three areas that are surely important to global development progress. But, sadly consistent with every major U.S. aid initiative of the past 20 years, B3W appears to channel virtually all its funds through a Washington bubble of agencies, contractors, and nongovernmental organizations, providing hardly a cent of bilateral aid to developing-country governments. Whether you are a softhearted advocate for development or a hardened hawk aiming to contain China, that’s a huge mistake.

Putin’s Next Power Play Is a Parade

Robbie Gramer, Jack Detsch, and Amy Mackinnon

On May 9, Russia will mark the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II as it does every year: with military parades across the country, the grandest of which is set to take place in Moscow’s Red Square. Only this year, Ukrainian and Western officials expect Russian President Vladimir Putin to seize the opportunity of a day steeped in patriotic fervor to escalate the war in Ukraine.

Western officials have been warning for several weeks that Moscow is under self-imposed pressure to chalk up some kind of victory to announce on Victory Day, as Russia’s 10-week campaign in Ukraine has floundered and fallen far short of the Kremlin’s initial goals to swiftly capture Kyiv. Putin has hinged much of his power and framed Russia’s identity around the Soviet Union’s experiences in World War II, known in Russia as the “Great Patriotic War.” He has sought to portray the war in Ukraine as a new chapter in the fight against fascism, based on flagrant falsehoods that Ukraine is overrun with Nazis controlled by the West and needs liberation. (From 1939 to 1941, the Soviet Union was in cahoots with Nazi Germany and supplied it with oil, grain, and arms up until the very day Germany invaded.)

What makes a drone strike “legitimate” in the eyes of the public?

Paul Lushenko and Sarah Kreps

Following 9/11, the United States ushered in the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to kill terrorists. Scholars have studied the United States’ use of drones for two decades. Indeed, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, New America Foundation, and other watchdog groups aggregate data for U.S. strikes. Yet aside from UK Drones and the Yemen Data Project, few databases exist to account for other countries’ adoption of drones.

To bridge this information gap, we compared how varying a country’s specific use and constraint of drones shapes the public’s perceptions of legitimacy, which scholars suggest can influence political officials’ use of force abroad. We focused on the United States as a benchmark and included France, which has conducted dozens of strikes in Africa — namely, Mali — since December 2021 alone. French citizens, then, provide a convenient litmus test for non-U.S. perceptions on the use of drones.

Taiwan and the dangerous illogic of deterrence by denial

Melanie W. Sisson

What strategy should the United States use to deter China from using force against Taiwan? Some argue that deterrence requires convincing China that it would lose in a military contest, a strategy known as deterrence by denial. An alternative strategy, deterrence by punishment, attempts to convince China that even if it could win, the costs of trying would be so great that they would outweigh any possible gains.

Policymakers should choose a strategy by analyzing its costs and risks, balanced against the extent of the U.S. interests at stake. This policy brief concludes that the costs and risks of deterrence by denial are not justified on the basis of U.S. interests. Although there are many compelling reasons to prefer that Taiwan remain democratic and retain its affinity with the West, these outcomes are not so vital as to merit a strategy for which the immediate consequence of failure is high-end war with a nuclear-armed adversary.

The West vs. the Rest Welcome to the 21st-century Cold War.

Angela Stent

Russian President Vladimir Putin made four major miscalculations before he launched his invasion of Ukraine. He overestimated Russian military competence and effectiveness and underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to resist and determination to fight back. He was also wrong in his assumption that a distracted West would be unable to unite politically in the face of the Russian attack and that the Europeans and the United States’ Asian allies would never support far-reaching financial, trade, and energy sanctions against Russia.

But he did get one thing right: He correctly estimated that what I call “the Rest”—the non-Western world—would not condemn Russia or impose sanctions. On the day the war broke out, U.S. President Joe Biden said the West would make sure that Putin became a “pariah on the international stage”—but for much of the world, Putin is not a pariah.

Zelensky Spells Out Key Condition for Peace Talks With Putin


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that peace talks with President Vladimir Putin cannot proceed until Russian troops have retreated to their pre-invasion positions, which he said is the "minimum" that Kyiv expects.

Zelensky addressed a virtual meeting of the British Chatham House think tank on Friday, telling attendees that Ukraine wants to "regain our territories" and that his country has "a bright future," despite "the cruelty of the Russian forces."

The president said his priority is the "integrity of our borders" and the ability of all displaced people to return to their homes.

Putin Has Little to Show in Ukraine With 3 Days to Victory Day Parade


Russia on Monday will hold a parade in Moscow's Red Square in celebration of Victory Day, its annual commemoration of the end of World War II. Under normal circumstances, the day is a major event in Russia, but the country's setbacks in the ongoing war in Ukraine could cast a shadow over this year's festivities.

Reports based on Western intelligence have suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the occasion of Victory Day to formally declare war on Ukraine, thus increasing his military efforts. Earlier in the conflict, U.K. defense officials said Moscow had hoped for substantive military gains before May 9, but those goals have not been met.

Dependence in Europe's Relations with China

Bernhard Bartsch, Barbara Pongratz and Vincent Brussee 

The eighth report by the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) looks at how Europe’s dependencies on China are presented to the public and in policy-level debates and the resulting influence on policymaking. This report is based on distinct analyses of 18 countries and the EU institutions. It concludes that even though there is a common refrain of growing dependence on China, throughout Europe the public debates and policy-level assessments are quite diverse. Europe is searching for a balance between openness and security — between yielding the benefits of interdependence and reducing the vulnerabilities of dependence. This year’s report has been edited by John Seaman, Francesca Ghiretti, Lucas Erlbacher, Xiaoxue Martin and Miguel Otero-Iglesias.

MERICS Analysts Bernhard Bartsch, Barbara Pongratz and Vincent Brussee contribute to the German chapter of the ETNC report. They conclude that notwithstanding the major political discussion about German economic dependence on China, mutual interdependence is closer to reality. Even as the development of a new China strategy will assess the dependency by the end of 2022, the Russian invasion in Ukraine has caused a reshuffling of priorities which might hamper political measures.

Technical Reflections on Russia’s Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Sam Cranny-Evans and Dr Sidharth Kaushal

The war in Ukraine does not reveal anything fundamentally new about the tank. It confirms old lessons and reflects the challenges of armoured warfare.

Some of the very first images to emerge from the war in Ukraine, apart from the devastation caused by Russia’s long-range missile strikes, were of burning Russian armoured vehicles. As the conflict has progressed, these images have come to include some of the more advanced tanks in Russia’s arsenal: the T-80BVM and T-72B3M. Images of these tanks left as nothing more than burnt hulls, their turrets separated from the rest of the vehicle and thrown violently into a nearby ditch, may appear shocking. They give the impression that Ukraine has found the antidote to tank warfare. However, if we consider the design of Russian main battle tanks – and this also applies to the Ukrainian, Polish, Chinese, Indian and many other tank fleets – these images are both less shocking, and less useful in analysing Russian armour.

Shanghai Lockdowns Disrupt Global Supply Chains

Cameron Johnson, Jarrod Ward

With lockdowns in China spreading in impact and significance, there are extensive challenges being created in supply chains that have the potential for a global impact.

Inside China, the three biggest challenges are labor, domestic logistics, and mobility.

In February and March of 2020, the impact was on the production side where factories were ordered to stop and close. Now two years later, most production is ok, but the impact is on the logistics side. Factories cannot ship, and customers cannot receive.

Ukraine’s New Heavy Artillery Will Cause Russia a World of Pain


As Western countries ship increasingly heavy arms to a beleaguered Ukraine, one of the most important transfers so far is an arsenal’s worth of field howitzers. Unlike the Ukrainian army’s existing big guns, these artillery pieces come in NATO calibers and are the key to unlocking the West’s precision-guided artillery technology. The tech, which includes GPS-guided artillery shells and tank-hunting munitions, could make Ukraine’s cannon-cockers exponentially more powerful.

Ukraine’s army has halted Russia’s advance into the country, and in some cases—like northwest of Kyiv—even sent the Russian Ground Forces scurrying back across the border. The Ukrainians have relied heavily on field artillery to hold off Russia’s invasion and consider it their most effective weapon. A recent study from the United Kingdom-based Royal United Services Institute cites a Ukrainian military official as saying “anti-tank missiles slowed the Russians down, but what killed them was our artillery. That was what broke their units.”


The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been increasing its study, training, and preparation for future urban warfare over the past decade. The PLA has limited experience with urban warfare and so often relies on observations of other militaries to inform its outlook. Among the drivers for this interest in urban warfare is that any Chinese campaign to force “(re)unification” with Taiwan could involve intense fighting in Taiwanese cities. The current edition of the Science of Military Strategy mentions an urban offensive (城市进攻) as a component of island operations (岛上作战) but does not elaborate on the conduct of such an offensive, likely because of the sensitivity of this scenario. This campaign could present a particular challenge, given that over 90 percent of Taiwan’s population lives in cities. Beyond the possibility of invading Taiwan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is also concerned about terrorist threats, whether real and imagined, within China’s cities or against the security of Chinese citizens and businesses worldwide. Meanwhile, the conduct of urban counterterrorism has become the focus of several exercises and exchanges undertaken by the PLA and the People’s Armed Police (PAP).

Lifting the curtain on Russia’s oil and gas sectors that will bring in an estimated $260 billion in 2022

Despite the severe oil production cuts expected in Russia this year, tax revenue will increase significantly to more than $180 billion due to the spike in oil prices, Rystad Energy research shows. This is 45% and 181% higher than in 2021 and 2020, respectively. Russia’s progressive tax system means that taxes increase in line with higher oil price ranges. With the oil and gas sector remaining the keystone of the country’s economy and with Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine starting to mount up, Russia is looking east for export opportunities.

Russian oil volumes are estimated to drop by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030 compared to 2021, while gas production will grow marginally, but will still be lower than pre-conflict estimates. Extremely high gas prices in Europe as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in Asia will generate around $80 billion of tax flows in Russia in 2022. Russia’s recent move to block gas sales to Bulgaria and Poland will not have a significant impact on revenues.

Putin may soon officially declare war on Ukraine, US and Western officials say

Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt and Brad Lendon

(CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine as soon as May 9, a move that would enable the full mobilization of Russia's reserve forces as invasion efforts continue to falter, US and Western officials believe.

May 9, known as "Victory Day" inside of Russia, commemorates the country's defeat of the Nazis in 1945. Western officials have long believed that Putin would leverage the symbolic significance and propaganda value of that day to announce either a military achievement in Ukraine, a major escalation of hostilities -- or both.

Xi Jinping’s renewed commitment to zero-Covid rattles markets in China

Jennifer Creery and Hudson Lockett and Edward White

Xi Jinping has reaffirmed his commitment to China’s controversial zero-Covid strategy, warning against “any slackening” in the effort and vowing to crack down on criticism of the policy despite signs of damage to the economy.

The comments were published by state media after a meeting on Thursday of the Communist party’s politburo standing committee, the country’s most influential political body that is chaired by the president.

“Our prevention and control policies can withstand the test of history, our measures are scientific and effective. We have won the battle to defend Wuhan, we can also win the battle to defend Shanghai,” the statement said.



Recently, Yole Développement, a French semiconductor consulting agency, released the latest research report on global silicon carbide (SiC). The report shows that the SiC device market will reach $6.3 billion in 2027. Poshun Chiu, a senior analyst at the agency, commented: “SiC is a booster for the development of power semiconductors. There is also a lot of room for development in the 1200V high-voltage field. It will grow rapidly in the future.”. Many companies with a deep layout in SiC, including STMicroelectronics, Wolfspeed, ON Semiconductor and Infineon Technologies, have announced their long-term and short-term goals. Although each player chooses a different path, the roadmap for their business model is clear. There are more than 50 semiconductor companies in mainland China involved in the SiC business, as shown below:

SiC business in China

ST’s SiC modules have been used in the Tesla Model 3 for several years. The company is also expanding its own 8-inch SiC fab. ON Semiconductor has taken an important step in 2021 with the acquisition of a SiC wafer supplier-GT Advanced Technologies. Infineon’s SiC device business will grow by 126% in 2021, far exceeding the company’s average growth rate of 57%. The 800V fast charge from Infineon has the deal for Hyundai Ioniq5. Adding this to its solid foundation in industrial applications, the company is now in the fast lane.