19 May 2022

America’s Wars Are Fought by Relatively Few People. That’s a Problem for Phil Klay.

Phil Klay

At first I thought Phil Klay had made a mistake in collecting his nonfiction magazine, newspaper and online work from the past dozen years into a new book, “Uncertain Ground.”

Klay’s first book, “Redeployment,” in 2014, was an achievement hard to match. It was a group of 12 short stories set in wartime Iraq, where Klay had been a Marine Corps public affairs officer during the “surge” of 2007-8. Among other recognitions it won the National Book Award for fiction, plus enthusiastic reviews both from those with extensive military experience and from those with none. Six years later, he published “Missionaries,” a novel of ideas based on the drug-and-guerrilla wars of Colombia. Its admirers included Barack Obama, who chose it as one of his books of the year.


Chad Bates and Charlene Rose

Competition, mutual distrust, and glory combine to create Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature,” a state of war with the tragic consequence that human life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The current competition for cyber talent among entities within the United States government and the private sector exhibits many Hobbesian characteristics as organizations engage in the grisly battle over scarce and precious resources. Despite the expressed support from government leaders for a whole-of-society cyber strategy to streamline lateral linkages across agencies and levels of government, the hypercompetitive war for cyber talent remains, creating an environment that is nasty and brutish—just like Hobbes’s state of nature. Of course, talent in any field is a scarce commodity worth competing for, but this small supply of cyber talent in the United States increases the severity of these attacks by limiting the options government and commercial organizations have in responding to and defending against this increasing onslaught of malicious attackers.

Ukraine’s Way Out

Charles A. Kupchan

The war in Ukraine is entering a more dangerous phase. Even though Russia appears to have downsized its goals after Kyiv blunted Moscow’s initial invasion, the Kremlin is now determined to enlarge the chunk of eastern and southern Ukraine that it grabbed in 2014. Meanwhile, NATO allies are pouring in arms, providing intelligence, and savoring the prospect of a “victory” that entails expelling Russia from Ukraine.

With both sides doubling down, NATO must engage in a forthright dialogue with the Ukrainian government about its goals and how best to bring the bloodshed to a close sooner rather than later. Russia has already been dealt a decisive strategic defeat. Ukrainian forces have rebuffed the advance on Kyiv and retain control of most of the country; the West has hit Russia with severe economic sanctions; and NATO has reinforced its eastern flank, while Finland and Sweden now seek to join the alliance. For NATO and Ukraine alike, strategic prudence argues in favor of pocketing these successes rather than pressing the fight and running the tantamount risks.

The ‘Kalibrization’ of the Russian Fleet

Commander Joshua Menks, U.S. Navy, and Michael B. Petersen

Russia’s war in Ukraine has once again piqued interest in Moscow’s military, including its navy. While there has been no significant naval combat, and the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) has not played a central role outside of a handful of actions, the RFN has played a crucial strategic deterrence role against NATO during the current conflict. At the center of this strategic deterrence mission is a military philosophy that emphasizes long-range precision strikes against critical targets on land. This is a role the RFN has long prepared for, but it has received only limited attention.

Russia military watchers have written extensively about antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) and bastion defense.1 While this work has been welcome and undergone a positive evolution over time, as Western understanding of Russian thinking on these concepts has improved, it also tends to prejudice the defensive aspects of Russian warfighting.2 Only recently have Western observers begun exploring the more offensive (or “active defensive”) aspects of 21st-century Russian warfighting at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war.3 Russian writers have long believed in the importance of conventional precision-guided munitions in offensive operations, but deployment of these weapons over the past ten years has sharpened and increased the role of naval forces in the Russian strategic construct. This offensive role for naval forces remains underexamined by Western observers and is especially important considering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Is America’s military headed down the same path as Russia’s?

Lt. Gen. David Deptula (ret.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failure to rapidly defeat a much smaller foe is not just a failure of strategy, but an overestimation of his military’s capability, training and prowess. U.S. leaders need to take a hard look in the mirror and question whether we are treading similar ground with a set of military capabilities too small and too old given current threats.

American leaders are fond of saying ours is the best military in the world. They fail to realize that key elements of our forces have shrunk by half since our last clear-cut victory: 1991′s Operation Desert Storm. Furthermore, the U.S. has been unfocused on great power competition for over three decades as it overprioritized and overspent on counterinsurgency operations.

McMaster says AI can help beat adversaries, overcome ‘critical challenges’

Colin Demarest

WASHINGTON — Artificial intelligence and related digital tools can help warn of natural disasters, combat global warming and fast-track humanitarian aid, according to retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a onetime Trump administration national security adviser.

It can also help preempt fights, highlight incoming attacks and expose weaknesses the world over, he said May 17 at the Nexus 22 symposium.

The U.S. must “identify aggression early to deter it,” McMaster told attendees of the daylong event focused on autonomy, AI and the defense policy that underpins it. “This applies to our inability to deter conflict in Ukraine, but also the need to deter conflict in other areas, like Taiwan. And, of course, we have to be able to respond to it quickly and to maintain situational understanding, identify patterns of adversary and enemy activity, and perhaps more importantly, to anticipate pattern breaks.”

Killer Robots Are Here—and We Need to Regulate Them

Robert F. Trager and Laura M. Luca

Swarms of robots with the ability to kill humans are no longer only the stuff of science fiction. Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) are here. In Ukraine, Moscow has allegedly deployed an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled Kalashnikov ZALA Aero KUB-BLA loitering munition, while Kyiv has used Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones, which have some autonomous capabilities. Although it’s always hard to determine whether a weapon’s autonomous mode is used, these technologies have reportedly been employed in at least one conflict: Last year, a United Nations report suggested Turkey used autonomous firing by its Kargu-2 drones to hunt fleeing soldiers in Libya’s civil war (though the CEO of the Turkish company that produced the drone denies it is capable of this).

Unlike traditional drones, these systems have the ability to navigate on their own, and some can select targets. Although a human controller can still decide whether or not to strike, such weapons are acquiring ever more autonomous capabilities. Now that militaries and paramilitaries worldwide have taken note, these technologies are poised to spread widely. The world today stands at the very moment before much more advanced versions of these technologies become ubiquitous.

The Cryptocurrency Crash Is Replaying 2008 as Absurdly as Possible

David Gerard

Cryptocurrency started in 2009 with idealistic dreams of a new economy built on libertarian principles and freedom from the fiat currency system that had just crashed. But in 2022, cryptocurrency trading is all about the dollars. And the 2008 financial crisis has just repeated in absurd miniature.

In the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the economy was running hot. Companies were making stupendous amounts of money and had to put it somewhere. There was such a huge demand for safe dollar-equivalent assets that supplies of Treasurys and other such superstable assets were running low. Financial engineers synthesized “safe” dollar-equivalent products to meet the demand—backed by assets such as real estate, or by securities backed by real estate, or by bets on securities backed by real estate. This worked until the housing market had the slightest downturn, at which point the chain of leveraged bets unwound and threatened to take the wider economy with them.

Why China Is Paranoid About the Quad

C. Raja Mohan

India may be nowhere near turning its partnership with the United States into any sort of formal or informal military alliance, but their growing strategic engagement dominates China’s discourse on India. Next week’s Tokyo summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad—a loose grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—is therefore bound to be of special concern in Beijing.

On the face of it, China’s persistent campaign against India’s ties with the United States, its characterization of the Quad as an “Asian NATO,” and its blistering attacks against the Indo-Pacific geopolitical construct embraced by New Delhi and its partners in the Quad seem unnecessarily alarmist. Its top diplomats have castigated the Quad members for “ganging up in the Asia-Pacific region, creating trilateral and quadrilateral small cliques, and [being] bent on provoking confrontation.” China focusing its outrage on the Quad looks odd considering Beijing has long lived with real U.S. alliances and hard security commitments on its periphery, including U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere.

The EU Needs to Start Planning for ‘the Day After Putin’ in Russia

Alexander Clarkson

As Ukrainian society faced the shock of Russia’s seizure of Crimea in March 2014, separatist protests coordinated by Russian intelligence services in Donetsk and Luhansk generated mockery across much of Ukrainian social media. With every escalation of tensions around the Donbas region in the months that followed, demands from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a so-called federalization of Ukraine triggered a torrent of angry memes from Ukrainian social media users satirizing proposals that would have meant the de facto partition of the Ukrainian state.

One such image was a map proposing the partition of Russia into a dozen self-governing regions that applied Putin’s demands for Ukraine’s federalization to Russia. As a meme, this map was shared so extensively on Facebook that in spring 2014 it was even used by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mock Russia’s claims. .

Russians fire S-300 at Israeli jets in Syria; could impact tactics, geopolitics


TEL AVIV: The Israeli Air Force may change its mode of operation when striking Iranian-related targets in Syria following a recent incident where Russia fired a missile from an S-300 air defense system at Israeli jets — a move that a senior Israeli defense source described as a “very strange and worrying” act by Russian forces.

The incident, which occurred on May 13 and was first reported by Israel’s Ch13, happened following a strike into Syria, when Israeli planes were on a return flight home. While it is unclear what jets were used in the operation, Israeli F-15s, F-16s and F-35s have all been used previously for strikes into Syria.

Europe Is Stumbling Through a ‘Worldmaking’ Moment

Judah Grunstein

Nearly three months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the crisis continues to dominate, if not quite monopolize, the attention of policymakers and pundits in Europe and the U.S. It is the cause of weekly and even daily debates and ructions over everything from how much aid to Ukraine is enough and how much is too much, to which European leader has done the most to support Kyiv in its hour of need and which the least.

In addition to upending Europe’s security landscape, the war has also transformed Europe as an economic and political space. Finland and Sweden are clamoring to join NATO. The European Union has erected a still-rising barrier between the EU and Russian economies, albeit with grudging reluctance when it comes to energy trade. And there is no clear path back toward a status quo ante in which European governments and institutions engage with Russia as a normal actor in global politics.

Adam Mosseri Says He Wants Big Tech to Give Up Control

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER cryptocurrency meltdown. Even the most ardent blockchain boosters will admit that the vast majority of what WIRED recently called the “flashing-neon crypto casino” of memecoins, NFT drops, and DeFi projects will ultimately go poof and take almost everyone’s money with it. The question we’ve been trying to answer in our journalism is: What is the tiny percentage that will remain and be actually useful?

In a TED talk last month, which went online today, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri offered what felt, at first blush at least, like one of the more compelling answers. One much-touted promise of Web3 is that it will let ordinary internet users truly own their data—and store it on a blockchain no single entity controls, instead of having it harvested and monetized by giant tech companies. Most examples of how this would work have been pretty abstract up to now, but Mosseri offered more specifics by describing how content creators—musicians, writers, artists, vloggers, and the like—might use Web3 to gain a measure of independence from dominant platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and yes, even Instagram.

OPINION: Winning the cyber war with a united digital front

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl

The West has united in its condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing harsh economic sanctions on Russia and providing billions of dollars of security assistance and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. But more needs to be done to strengthen transatlantic cybersecurity.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, there was a massive spike in cyberattacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Russia hit government websites, hospitals, and energy networks in an effort to destabilise the country. Earlier this month, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group attempted to shut off the power for 2 million Ukrainians. While hackers were effectively rebuffed, Russia’s onslaught of cyberattacks will almost certainly continue and become more dangerous.

Ukraine Is in Worse Shape than You Think


It has been said that, given how massively Ukrainian troops were believed be outmatched early in Russia’s invasion, not losing the war is itself a form of victory for Ukraine. The difference between expectations and the surprising resilience of Ukraine’s military makes it easy to misinterpret the current situation in Ukraine’s favor. But not winning is still not winning. Ukraine is in far worse shape than commonly believed and needs, and will continue to need, a staggering amount of aid and support to actually win.

We love an underdog. We love a plucky little guy who beats the odds. It fuels hope for our ordinary selves and allows us to feel we are on the morally superior side. This is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed so successfully to the world. His defiance against the odds gave us someone to root for against a bully. While cheering on the scrappy, outmatched Ukrainians, we could also assuage some of our shame at leaving them—to whom we had made promises of protection, “security guarantees”—to die alone in the snow and the mud.

Vladimir Putin’s Pyrrhic Choices in Ukraine

Zalmay Khalilzad

Having failed in his initial plan to conquer Ukraine, Vladimir Putin decided to go for half a loaf: control of Eastern Ukraine. However, he is now also failing there as well. The burning questions before us are what will Putin do next and what must we do?

Putin’s failure in Eastern Ukraine is manifesting itself on the battlefield. The continued stiff Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol has become a source of embarrassment for Russia: the sinking of the Russian flagship Moskva; the killing of a dozen or more Russian generals; and the successful Ukrainian push to liberate Kharkiv … all speak for themselves.

But the Ukrainians are paying a heavy price for this success. Russia’s punishing attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and the tragic loss of life are exacting a huge toll. Still, Ukrainian morale and determination remain high. The Russian assumption that the Ukrainian military would soon become exhausted has proven wrong. Equally wrong was Russia’s assumption that the West would stay out of the conflict.

Victory Day Was Just a Day: Trying to Penetrate Russia’s Thinking

Emily Ferris

In the end, expectations that the Victory Day parade in Moscow might tell us something about the likely course of the Ukraine war were dashed. The run-up to Russia’s annual military display, which commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, was filled with anticipation and speculation: whether President Vladimir Putin would use this as an opportunity to escalate by declaring the ‘special operation’ a war and announcing a full-blown conflict, or perhaps announce a limited victory instead, recognising some of the Russian-held southern parts of Ukraine as independent statelets.

None of these things happened on the day, and Putin’s speech was devoid of any signals that might have helped to divine some sort of meaning from an increasingly brutal war. An excessive focus on timing reflects a desire to exert a semblance of control, and our reliance on such symbols highlights how little we are able to penetrate the thinking of the Russian leadership in a useful way.

When will Vladimir Putin realise it is time to cut his losses in Ukraine?

Lawrence Freedman

Among the Kremlin’s many regrets about the conduct of its war in Ukraine one might be that expectations were allowed to build up around the annual parade to mark the end of the Great Patriotic War on 9 May. The link first emerged in March when there were reports that this had been set as a deadline for victory, or at least some notable military achievements, that could be celebrated by Vladimir Putin. But in the absence of any significant achievements, the date began instead to be approached with a different sense of foreboding – as a moment when Putin would be obliged to escalate. This might involve turning the “special military operation” into a full-scale war, with the accompanying mobilisation of reservists and conscripts, or announcing an intent to annex Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson, or, especially alarming, raising again the prospect of nuclear war.

Finland Joining NATO Is A Game Changer (And Russia’s Fault)

Sarah White

What History Tells Us About Finland And Russia – On May 12th, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that Finland would officially apply to join NATO. The statement, released on the Finnish Government website, concluded in firm and decisive language:

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Biden administration can’t overlook the Balkans when sanctioning Russia


As Western economic sanctions tank Russia’s economy, the Kremlin and its supporters are scouring the globe for jurisdictions to use to evade sanctions. Moscow appears to have set its sights on the Western Balkans, long plagued by corruption and malign Russian influence. Washington and its Western allies must work to combat Russia’s illicit financial networks and broader malign influence in the Western Balkans while expanding our own economic ties to the region.

Exploiting corruption in the Western Balkans is central to the Kremlin’s efforts to cultivate influence in the region. This problem began decades ago. As the former Yugoslav states liberalized their economies after the 1990s, festering corruption exposed openings for Russian manipulation. Under Vladimir Putin, Moscow has used the corrupt actors who benefited from this kleptocracy to exploit economic, ethnic, and religious fissures in Balkan societies, in order to use that instability to challenge the United States and our allies. Western disengagement has compounded the problem, allowing Russia and China to fill the void through corruption and “debt-trap” investments in critical areas such as energy and security.

Pakistani separatists turn their sights on China


In Pakistan’s southwest region of Balochistan – the country’s largest province by area but least populous and least developed despite having huge mineral and energy resources – there is a battle being waged for independence. The Baloch have grievances against the Pakistan government, which has historically exploited the province’s resources and neglected its development needs. Military handling of unrest in the region by Islamabad has deepened the sense of alienation and frustration felt in Balochistan, spawning several separatist groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF).

On 26 April, a suicide attack by a Baloch separatist outside the Confucius Institute of the Karachi University in the southern port city killed four people, including three Chinese staff and their Pakistani driver. The attack was targeted towards the Chinese, who the separatists accuse of partnering with Islamabad in the exploitation of Balochistan’s immense mineral and energy potential.

Escaping the TalibanThe Last Way Out of Afghanistan

Christoph Reuter and Julian Busch

Quietly, quickly and with no light: Such are the orders from the young man as they prepare to set off. A group of 40 men, women and children are gazing at him in this bare, pitch-black room – frightened, exhausted faces in the wan glow of two flashlights. Those who fall back will be left behind.

They have come to Nimruz from many different provinces in Afghanistan, to this arid and austere southwestern corner of the country. Only from here is flight across the border still possible for those who aren’t rich enough to buy a visa or who don’t have relatives in Europe or America. Neighboring countries have tightly secured their borders to the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," but the frontier is difficult to control here. The last path out of desperation and poverty leads through the desert. If you survive.

Does the Russia-Ukraine War Herald a New Era for Japan’s Security Policy?

Craig Kafura

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has swiftly changed the security landscape of Europe. NATO has stepped up troop deployments to member states in Eastern Europe. Sweden and Finland are poised to apply for NATO membership, a step previously opposed and now embraced by their publics. And in the most dramatic transformation, Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced once-unthinkable investments in German military capabilities and shipments of arms to Ukraine. He had good reason to call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “Zeitenwende” – a watershed moment, and the end of an era.

However, where the war in Ukraine has led European publics to dramatically revise not just their perceptions but their policies, it’s not clear than the Japanese public is as ready to undertake such wholesale revisions.

Why is Turkey really accusing Sweden of 'supporting terrorists'?


The sharply increased security concerns of Russia’s neighbours in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine came to a head late last week when Finland and Sweden, following weeks of talks with US and European leaders, signalled that they would soon move to join Nato.

Then on Sunday, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said their applications, which are expected this week, would be fast-tracked by the alliance.

That is assuming Turkey does not stand in the way. “Scandinavian countries are like guesthouses for terrorist organisations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Friday in Istanbul. “At this point, it’s impossible for us to be in favour.”

Turkey continues to play hard ball over Sweden, Finland NATO membership

Amberin Zaman

Tensions within NATO over Turkey’s demands for concessions from Finland and Sweden in exchange for backing the Nordic states’ membership of the Western alliance show no signs of abating, even as Western officials seek to play them down.

Sweden confirmed today that it is sending a delegation to Ankara to discuss its decision to formally apply for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move is further evidence that Turkey’s objections have not been overcome.

Upping the ante, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today they “need not bother to come” unless military sanctions imposed by the Nordic countries on Turkey were rescinded.

China building ‘bigger, broader’ 2nd bridge at Pangong Tso that can carry armoured columns


New Delhi: China is building a second bridge over territory held by it in Pangong Tso, which is capable of carrying armoured columns, ThePrint has learnt. The development comes as the Ladakh stand-off between India and China enters its third year.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the first bridge — whose construction was started at the end of 2021 and finished last month — is being used as a service bridge for the construction of the second.

“The first bridge is being used by the Chinese to station their cranes and bring over other construction equipment. The new bridge, right next to it, is bigger and wider than the one they finished construction of in April this year,” a source said.

What Is China Learning From Russia’s War in Ukraine?

David Sacks

Beyond Europe, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being felt most keenly 5,000 miles away, on the island of Taiwan. Many Taiwanese worry that they might be the next to suffer an invasion by a more powerful neighbor. Those fears are not unreasonable. While Ukraine and Taiwan differ in many ways, as relatively young democracies living alongside larger authoritarian neighbors with long-standing designs on their territory, the two face strikingly similar strategic predicaments.

Much as Russian President Vladimir Putin has described restoring the “historical unity” between Russia and Ukraine as a kind of spiritual mission, Chinese President Xi Jinping believes that reuniting mainland China with what he views as its lost province of Taiwan will help cement his place in history. Xi speaks of Taiwan in much the same way Putin talks about Ukraine, highlighting blood ties and arguing that China and Taiwan are one family. Whereas Putin has recently challenged the traditional understanding of state sovereignty, in order to suggest that Ukraine does not deserve it, Xi (like his predecessors) denies Taiwan’s sovereignty altogether.

Biden Orders US Troops Back to Somalia, Reverses Trump Withdrawal


President Joe Biden has approved the return of several hundred U.S. troops to Somalia, reversing a late-term Trump administration order that withdrew America’s counterterrorism forces stationed there almost entirely.

The Pentagon will re-establish a “small persistent” presence of fewer than 500 American troops in Somalia, a senior administration official said Monday.

Full-time special operators will help train local forces to conduct counterterrorism strikes against al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab, reversing Trump’s order to rely on shorter-term rotations of troops to fight the terrorist group.

Swarming to Victory: Drones and the Future of Great Power Competition

Christian Trotti

Force planners have long agonized over the tradeoff between high-intensity warfighting and low-intensity presence operations. However, new developments in autonomous technologies and uncrewed systems are transforming this longstanding dilemma into a false dichotomy. As mass becomes increasingly essential to the future battlefield, large drone fleets may be the solution to both warfighting and presence requirements, providing much-needed synergies under a tighter defense budget.

Preparing to fight and deter great power wars and maintaining a global military presence are two of the Department of Defense’s most important missions, but they bear competing requirements. While the former traditionally involves fewer and more advanced systems (i.e., capability, or “quality”) to overpower adversary forces, the latter necessitates greater numbers of platforms (i.e., capacity, or “quantity”) to “strike terrorists, train allies, contest disputed waters,” and address quotidian adversarial aggression. Achieving the ideal balance has always been a challenge, but it is especially problematic now as threats proliferate and the actual purchasing power of the U.S. defense budget declines.

As Challenges Mount, Can Europe Correct Its Course?

The liberal European order that emerged after World War II and spread after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been under attack from both within and without in recent years. The European Union—the ultimate expression of the European project—had long been a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, as anti-EU sentiment was integrated into the broader populist platform of protectionism and opposition to immigration. But the European debt crisis in the early 2010s, followed by the refugee crisis in 2015, fueled the rise of far-right and populist parties across Europe, and for a time raised questions about the union’s long-term survival. The shocking outcome of the U.K.’s Brexit referendum in 2016 added to those concerns.

Dynamics of Assertiveness in the South China Sea

Andrew Chubb


Located in the heart of Southeast Asia and linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the South China Sea comprises a varied set of geographic spaces that are subject to multiple layers of dispute. Grasping the dynamics of contestation in the South China Sea, therefore, requires consideration of what types of actions the contestant states have been taking, when, and where. How have states advanced their claims over the vast, resource-laden maritime geographies of the South China Sea? To what extent has contestation over these maritime spaces taken place physically on the water versus actions in the diplomatic or domestic administrative domains? Have salient energy or fishery resources been the most likely issues to prompt assertive moves, or have security, administrative, or political concerns predominated? Parallel time series data measuring changes in the behavior of the three most active claimants in the South China Sea shows that the answers to these crucial questions vary for the three claimant states across different time periods and geographies. The result is a dynamic picture of how power has overtaken proximity as the key factor shaping the course of the dispute—one that can be explored interactively in the accompanying online Maritime Assertiveness Visualization Dashboard (MAVD).

‘Pearl lost its shine’: Shanghai expats eye exit over COVID rules

Liam Gibson

Taipei, Taiwan – As Shanghai’s strict COVID-19 lockdown grinds towards its second month, expatriate residents are heading for the exits, a trend that in the long term could threaten the city’s status as a global business hub.

The government’s draconian restrictions have prompted rare rebukes from foreign business groups and resulted in the United States ordering all non-emergency staff at its consulate to evacuate.

The British Chamber of Commerce has estimated that international schools are on track to lose 40 percent of their staff by the time the upcoming school year gets under way.

Space Won’t Be Safe until the U.S. and China Can Cooperate

Bin Li

China is undeniably one of the world’s top players in space these days, with successful missions to the moon and Mars and a solar probe due to be launched soon. Its rise has spurred competition with the U.S.; “Watch the Chinese,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson recently warned. Given the strategic value the two nations have placed on their space programs, and the political tension that already exists between the countries, the contest over achievements in space is likely to intensify.

Despite the tension, the U.S. and China must figure out a way to cooperate on some, if not all, issues in the use of space. The most critical area is the safety of space infrastructure, where a lack of communication could be damaging and possibly even deadly. This need was highlighted by the recent saga of a near miss between two of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites and China’s in-progress crewed space station. Although the Starlink spacecraft are privately owned, the U.S. government is internationally responsible for their space activities under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.