4 June 2022

Russia Is Down. But It’s Not Out.

 Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Michael Kofman

The war in Ukraine has undoubtedly tarnished Russia’s standing as a great power.

Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine, involving a retreat from Kyiv and many tactical blunders, has severely damaged the image of its military as a capable fighting force. The harm is more than reputational: Three months of fighting has dealt Russia heavy losses of troops and equipment. At home, meanwhile, sanctions and export controls — as well as the exodus of Russia’s brightest minds — are hitting the country’s already lackluster economy.

As a result, many in America and Europe are eager to dismiss Russia as a Potemkin power whose exalted status is at an end. Militarily battered and saddled with sanctions that some in Washington suggest are designed to weaken Russia, the Kremlin seems to no longer warrant the worry previously expended on it. The threat Russia poses to the West, in this view, has foundered on Ukrainian soil.

Yet such an assessment is premature. Yes, President Vladimir Putin made a strategic blunder, leading to a military debacle and destroying decades of relative economic stability. But it’s far too soon to write Russia off. Despite its failures in Ukraine, Russia retains the capacity and the will to continue to seriously challenge the United States and Europe. Russia may be down, but it’s not out.

In the past three months, vivid images of destroyed Russian tanks have filled our screens. And it’s true that Russia’s army, over the past three months, has been mauled. Russia has lost approximately 25 percent of its active tank force, over 30 aircraft and more than 10,000 troops. While the exact number is unknown, the casualties are significant, and the Russian military will struggle to sustain the war without resorting to some form of conscription.

But appearances can be deceptive. After all, many of the army’s initial failures stemmed from Mr. Putin’s misplaced assumption that the war would be short and sharp: Russian troops were simply not prepared or organized for a serious campaign. Yet in recent weeks, as Russia revised its war aims to focus on the Donbas in Ukraine’s east, Russian forces have adapted and begun correcting some of their earlier incompetence. Russia has been making incremental gains, revealing Ukraine’s military position to be precarious in some areas.

What’s more, the war in Ukraine has done little to affect Russia’s more destructive military capabilities. It isn’t modernized Soviet tanks or Russia’s dated air force that most concern the United States and NATO; it’s Russia’s submarines, integrated air and missile systems, electronic warfare, antisatellite systems and diverse nuclear arsenal. These capabilities, which have gone almost completely untouched during the war, remain available to the Kremlin.

Russia is certainly suffering economically, but it will take many months for the brunt of sanctions, export controls and an attempted European move away from Russian energy to be felt by its citizens. For now, the Russian government’s coffers remain full: Its monthly exports, according to estimates, rose more than 60 percent in April compared to a year ago. Though dependent on the sale of oil and gas — often discounted and susceptible to European sanctions — that amounts to a vital source of income. Over time, Moscow may adapt.

In any case, the Russian military will be spared the full effect of economic contraction. Even in straitened times, the Kremlin has a habit of spending on arms rather than people: We can be sure that it won’t be the military budget that Mr. Putin cuts first. And though export controls will make it difficult for the country to produce weapons that rely on imported components, Russia’s defense industry has spent years adapting and finding ways to work around sanctions.

Internationally, too, Russia is not as isolated as we like to think. The United States and Europe have staged a united response to Russia’s invasion, and NATO, re-energized, will surely soon welcome Finland and Sweden to its ranks. Yet many regionally significant countries, such as India and South Africa, have longstanding ties to Russia that they are not currently prepared to abandon. Other countries, worried that economic sanctions will raise the cost of living and create instability within their borders, are refusing to pick sides. African countries, for example, have not imposed any sanctions on Russia, and the Middle East is hedging. And, of course, Russia can count on the continued support of China.

In Russia, there’s no reason to believe Mr. Putin’s regime is under immediate threat. The Kremlin’s moves to shut down independent media and outlaw dissent have sealed off the antiwar sentiment that greeted the invasion. There is also a sizable segment of the population that supports the war, buttressed by a torrent of hypernationalist rhetoric. Mr. Putin will have to find ways to sate those feelings and demonstrate that Russia is still a power to be feared.

That’s dangerous. The more vulnerable Mr. Putin feels, the more likely he is to resort to nonconventional tools, including cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, covert operations and nuclear weapons. In the event of a confrontation with NATO, Russia will have few options other than nuclear escalation. This does not mean that Ukraine or its Western backers should pull any punches as they work to defeat Russia’s invasion. They should not. But America and its allies must remain prepared to manage the spectrum of challenges that Russia poses, however beleaguered by war it may be.

Russian power, it’s worth remembering, has gone through fitful cycles of stagnation, decline and resurgence; it would be wise to avoid triumphalism and complacency. Mr. Putin made a mistake but not necessarily a fatal one. As the historian Stephen Kotkin noted, Russia has a remarkable historical capacity for reconstitution. The West’s relatively brief respite from great power competition with Russia in the wake of the Cold War constitutes, he reminded us, “a historical blink of an eye.”

What the West Has Given Is Not Enough to Win, Ukraine Says


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – The amounts and types of weapons the United States and other NATO members are sending to Ukraine are not enough to eject Russian armed forces and win the war, Ukraine’s defense minister said.

“We need more,” Oleksii Reznikov said Friday, to mount a “sufficient counterattack and kick them outside of our country to liberate all occupied territory.”

Reznikov’s grim assessment comes just three days after President Joe Biden announced a new $700 million arms package for Ukraine that includes long-requested High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, although with only limited-range rockets and a promise from Kyiv to not strike targets inside of Russia.

His call for more advanced Western arms was echoed this week at a key international security conference by several Central and Eastern European leaders who rejected hopes for a near-term end to the war.

Saab’s anti-tank systems could find new life thanks to Ukraine conflict, updated capabilities


KARLSKOGA, Sweden: With Sweden formally petitioning to join NATO after decades of balancing between the alliance and Russia, a new spotlight is being cast on its domestic defense industry, and particularly its defense giant Saab.

The company, ranked as the 36th largest defense firm in the world, seems likely to welcome the opportunity to get its equipment into the hands of more NATO nations. In particular, it has recently put renewed emphasis on anti-armor, anti-structure and anti-personnel weaponry, the kind of equipment which could be vital in the sort of urban combat now occurring in Ukraine.

On May 3-4, Saab and its armed forces partners completed a two-day series of live-fire demonstrations, including a series of night-time firings, the largest such demonstration at the company’s facilities since 2014. While the timing was coincidental — one Saab official said “this is an event that has been planned for several years now but was postponed more than once due to the many complications and restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic” — the potential utility of the weapons months after Russia’s invasion is clear.

How Open Source Intelligence Defends Ukraine

Jason Jay Smart

As the video scans across a cold, dreary March afternoon, snow and mud can be seen covering the ground before the cellphone’s camera focuses on seven Ukrainian soldiers’ lifeless bodies. A Russian voice narrates that the dead men will not be going anywhere and cracks into laughter while joking about the fate of the deceased men. The names of the soldiers, or the owner of the voice narrating the video, are not revealed. The bodies, arranged in unnatural positions, immediately caught the trained eye of “KremlinTrolls,” the preferred pseudonym of a pro-Western OSINT investigative journalist, as he scoured pro-Russian Telegram channels for atrocities and Kremlin propaganda which he has been exposing to the public since Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014.

The U.S. Shouldn’t Rely on Grassroots Activists to Help Ukrainian Refugees

Charli Carpenter

The images from Poland earlier this year were inspiring: As refugees began to cross Ukraine’s western border, Polish citizens poured out of their homes to receive them. They set up soup kitchens at the border and established caravans to shuttle refugees to train stations. They opened their homes and beds to families passing through, and as the days went on, a stream of international grassroots volunteers showed up to support the relief effort.

As the weeks passed, however, many Poles began asking, Where is the national government in all this? Some were angry that the Polish government took credit for their grassroots efforts even as it stalled on funding them. Ultimately, in response to mounting public pressure, the Polish government passed a bill to provide support not only to the refugees, but also to the families who had helped them.

Ukraine's Zelenskiy eyes 'inflection point' in war as Russia tightens grip on key target

Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder

KYIV, June 2 (Reuters) - Russia tightened its grip on a key target in a battle for control of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region while President Volodymir Zelenskiy pleaded for more Western arms to help Ukraine reach an "inflection point" and prevail in the war.

Zelenskiy told Luxembourg's parliament via videolink on Thursday that Russian forces now occupied about a fifth Ukrainian territory, with battle lines stretching more than 1,000 km (620 miles).

As the invasion approaches its 100th day on Friday, Russia says Washington is adding "fuel to the fire" with a new $700 million weapons package for Ukraine that will include advanced rocket systems with a range of up to 80 km (50 miles).

But separately addressing a forum in Slovakia, Zelenskiy said more weapons supplies would "ensure an inflection point in this confrontation," in Ukraine's favour. read more

How Lessons from Afghanistan are playing out in Ukraine


OPINION — How much has the United States learned from past history about undertaking major, large-scale military assistance efforts such as the one now underway in Ukraine and another looming in Taiwan?

I raise that question after reading a report entitled, “Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise,” that was published May 12 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko.

In a short appendix to the report called, “Historical Comparisons of the U.S. Approach in Korea with that of Vietnam and Afghanistan,” Sopko’s team notes, “The U.S. military has mounted four large-scale security sector assistance (SSA) efforts in the last 72 years [Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan] and three of the four have been catastrophic failures.”


Mitt Regan

One of the most controversial US tools of irregular warfare over the last twenty years has been targeted strikes by remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, against terrorist threats in areas outside conventional war zones. These strikes have been conducted overwhelmingly in Pakistan, mostly in northwest Pakistan in what used to be known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); in Yemen; and in Somalia.

Both supporters and critics make claims about the impacts of strikes, but these are often based on armchair theories that rely on minimal or selective empirical evidence. There are, however, more than sixty studies on targeted killing in general, including the US campaign in particular, that have the potential to offer insights. My new book Drone Strike: Analyzing the Impacts of Targeted Killing reviews this research, along with extensive al-Qaeda correspondence, in order to identify what we do and do not know about the impacts of targeted strikes on terrorist groups, civilian casualties, and local populations. As the United States resets its counterterrorism policy after withdrawing from Afghanistan, it would do well to study the lessons of the last two decades of drone warfare.

US military may need innovation overhaul to fight future wars, Milley says

Joe Gould

LONDON ― The U.S. military may need to reorganize to fight future wars, which will be profoundly changed by artificial intelligence, robotics and other advanced technologies, according to Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The nation’s top military officer said during a trip to Europe this week that he’s working on recommendations that could lead to a high-level reorganization. After launching Army Futures Command in 2018 to drive modernization when he was that service’s chief of staff, Milley said he’s mulling a similar effort for the joint force.

“You’re going to have to do really fundamental changes to our military in order to take advantage of this change in the character of war. In order to do that, you need organizations to drive that,” he told reporters. “You look at what the Army did with Army Futures Command, for example. Can that be done at the joint level, at the DoD level?”

U.S., Taiwan to launch trade talks after island excluded from Indo-Pacific group

David Lawder and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - The United States will launch new trade talks with Taiwan, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, just days after the Biden administration excluded the Chinese-claimed island from its Asia-focused economic plan designed to counter China's growing influence.

Washington and Taipei will "move quickly to develop a roadmap" for the planned U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in the coming weeks, which would be followed by in-person meetings in the U.S. capital later in June, two senior U.S. administration officials told reporters during a phone briefing.

The initiative would aim to "reach an agreement with high standard commitments that create inclusive and durable prosperity" on issues that include customs facilitation, fighting corruption, common standards on digital trade, labor rights, high environmental standards, and efforts to curb state-owned enterprises and non-market practices, one of the U.S. officials said.

Biden’s pledge to send rocket systems to Ukraine is no silver bullet

Julian Borger

The US decision to supply Ukraine with high-precision multiple launch rocket systems was marked with some fanfare in Washington including a rare newspaper commentary by Joe Biden himself.

The Himars (High mobility artillery rocket system) and the ammunition that Washington is sending with them, will allow Ukrainian forces to hit targets nearly 80km away with high accuracy. That’s twice the range of the US howitzers they have now, and about the same as the most powerful Russian rocket systems. US officials suggested they would help turn the withering artillery duel underway in the Donbas into a fairer fight.

However, the small print of the deal was underwhelming. This first Himars delivery comprises just four systems, and although they have been pre-positioned in the region for fast delivery, it will take three weeks to train Ukrainian gunners to use them, and another two weeks to train maintenance crews.

Our YouGov Ukraine poll exposes deep Arab mistrust of the West


In 2017, Arab News, the Middle East’s leading international English-language daily, formed a partnership with the online polling company YouGov to conduct a series of surveys designed to shed light on regional attitudes to international events, in a region where credible statistics can be hard to come by.

As “The voice of a changing region,” we felt it incumbent upon us to take the pulse of public opinion in that region, the better to fulfil our journalistic mission to be a credible source of information about the Arab world for regional and international readers, and to provide insights about the Middle East and North Africa to English speakers worldwide.

Today, we report the results of our latest collaboration with YouGov: An examination of attitudes on the “Arab Street” to the conflict in Ukraine. The findings offer illuminating insights on the catastrophe unfolding on Europe’s eastern flank that will reverberate far beyond the MENA region.

They suggest apathy and disinterest in the Arab world toward this atrocious conflict; 66 percent of respondents said they had no stance on the war, while those who did choose a side were almost evenly divided — 18 percent backed Ukraine and 16 percent Russia.

Most strikingly, perhaps, the findings lay bare the extent of the distrust of the West across all 14 of the countries covered in the survey. Almost a quarter of the 7,835 people surveyed (24 percent) pointed the finger of blame for the conflict squarely at NATO, while more than one in ten (13 percent) said US President Joe Biden was responsible. Only 16 percent blamed Russia.

This can be attributed in part to Russia’s massive investment in its own news channels in Arabic, and to a massive online outreach effort. Even before the beginning of the so-called “special military operation” on Feb, 24, a flood of material across numerous social media platforms, in several languages including Arabic, made the case that Russia was responding to NATO expansionism and acting only in self-defense.

But underpinning the widespread Arab skepticism on this issue is not so much the success of Russian propaganda, but rather the steady ebbing away of trust in the West over the past two decades.

The region and its people have witnessed the chaos and suffering caused by the “liberation” of Iraq and the subsequent rise of Daesh, the betrayal of the people of Syria and the abandonment of Afghanistan to the Taliban. As Maryam Forum Foundation co-founder Khaled Janahi pointed out at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos last week, Iraqis are still paying the price for the failures of US reconstruction efforts that have left their country “effectively a failed state.”

It is telling, also, that from a regional perspective, NATO and the US, currently in the form of President Biden, are seen as virtually one and the same.

This skepticism toward the West and its motives perhaps also informs the apparent indifference of Arabs to the conflict. Nevertheless, that an overwhelming 66 percent take no stance on such a major international event, with its enormous consequences for the wider world, betrays a worrying tendency toward isolationism that is simply not sustainable in today’s global economy.

One issue highlighted in the survey that is close to our hearts here at Arab News is the level of trust in the media covering the conflict. Gratifyingly, with the support of 27 percent of respondents, Arabic media emerges as the most trusted, edging ahead of Western media with 21 percent. But in an era of information overload and rampant fake news, that a third of respondents expressed trust in none of the media reporting on the war should serve as a red flag to news outlets of all stripes.

Today, more than ever, trust in media is not a given, but must be earned.

Do workers really need to fear robots? Not according to these charts

Ippei Fujiwara and Ryo Kimoto

As the introduction of robots into the workplace increases, there is a growing concern over whether robots will cause human jobs to disappear. In response to this societal fear, academics have tackled this issue from both theoretical and empirical angles (e.g. Acemoglu and Restrepo 2017, Baldwin 2019, Dauth et al. 2017, Michaels and Graetz 2015).

However, to date, no study has specifically investigated the rate of technological progress, namely, the quality improvement of robots. For any attempt to predict how robots will affect the macroeconomy, in recognition of society’s existing anxiety, it is vital to understand the progress of robot production and the quality improvement path of robots. If the pace of quality improvement in robots slows down or has already diminished, fear regarding robots taking human jobs away may dissipate. In a new paper (Fujiwara et al. 2021), we aim to fill in this gap.

Ray Dalio: Understanding history - and where the next 'economic bite' might come from

Linda Lacina

Ray Dalio: studying history can help leaders better understand and predict challenges to come

In 50 years of global investing, Ray Dalio has learned we're often surprised by things that have not happened before in our lifetimes. This led the Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates to study 500 years of history, uncovering patterns that emerge, decade after decade, triggered by economic swings, social change and global conflict.

Such trends help him identify the big-picture issues of the day. For instance, he says, he's currently concerned about the impact of inflation as well as conflicts, both inside countries and between, them that can bring inefficiencies and resource mismanagement.

This is why the US dollar is a potent sanctions weapon… for now

John Letzing

The US dollar has long wielded outsized influence around the world.
Some think the currency’s role in sanctioning Russia portends the end of that dominance.
But a clear alternative has yet to emerge.

About a decade ago, Swiss banks did something unthinkable. One by one, they set aside secrecy previously upheld for centuries and handed sensitive information to a US government in search of tax cheats. A key reason for the turnabout: the dollar.

The currency provided a means to legally pursue even small Swiss financial institutions from across the Atlantic. It was not the first instance of the greenback being used to pull geopolitical levers. For at least the past 78 years, the global economy has more or less revolved around it.

5 strategies to navigate the shifting frontiers of the energy transition

Roberto Bocca and Harsh Vijay Singh

The global energy transition, pivotal to climate change mitigation efforts and for delivering secure and affordable energy for all, has made gradual progress in recent years. According to trend analysis from the World Economic Forum's Energy Transition Index – a composite indicator tracking the progress of the energy transition across countries – the global average score has increased in nine out of the past 10 years, with more than 80% of the countries worldwide making an improvement.

The speed of the energy transition kept some pace through the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, wind and solar powered electricity accounted for more than 10% of global power generation for the first time ever, and the scale of electric vehicles doubled.

Ethiopia’s Invisible Ethnic Cleansing

Agnès Callamard and Kenneth Roth

For more than a year and a half, a largely invisible campaign of ethnic cleansing has played out in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray. Older people, women, and children have been loaded onto trucks and forced out of their villages and hometowns. Men have been herded into overcrowded detention sites, where many have died of disease, starvation, or torture. In total, several hundred thousand Tigrayans have been forcibly uprooted because of their ethnicity.

These crimes are an outgrowth of a war that began in November 2020, pitting Ethiopian federal forces and their allies, including troops from Eritrea and the neighboring Ethiopian region of Amhara, against forces linked to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which once led Ethiopia’s coalition government. Early in the conflict, Amhara security forces and officials gained control of Western Tigray, a long-contested area of the region, where with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopia’s federal military, they have carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against Tigrayan communities.

Al Qaeda Isn’t Dead Yet

Lynne O’Donnell

The United States, under then-President Donald Trump, made a peace pact in 2020 with the Taliban under the pretense that they would break ties with al Qaeda. It didn’t happen then, it hasn’t happened since, and now the group that blew up the twin towers is enjoying Taliban hospitality while remaining the dominant ideological and operational influence for jihadis from South Asia to North Africa.

U.S. officials, in both the Trump and Biden administrations, saw the Islamic State rather than al Qaeda as the biggest threat to the American homeland. Al Qaeda, it was argued, was a spent force, especially after the forehead-tap elimination of leader Osama bin Laden in a raid by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

The reality is that al Qaeda remains the driving force of international terrorism, more than the locally focused Islamic State has ever been, and continues to inspire terrorist groups from Syria and Somalia to Mali and Mozambique.

The War Won’t End Until Putin Loses

Anne Applebaum

The expression off-ramp has a pleasing physicality, evoking a thing that can be constructed out of concrete and steel. But at the moment, anyone talking about an off-ramp in Ukraine—and many people are doing so, in governments, on radio stations, in a million private arguments—is using the term metaphorically, referring to a deal that could persuade Vladimir Putin to halt his invasion. Some believe that such an off-ramp could easily be built if only diplomats were willing to make the effort, or if only the White House weren’t so bellicose. It’s a nice idea. Unfortunately, the assumptions that underlie that belief are wrong.

The first assumption is that Russia’s president wants to end the war, that he needs an off-ramp, and that he is actually searching for a way to save face and to avoid, in French President Emmanuel Macron’s words, further “humiliation.” It is true that Putin’s army has performed badly, that Russian troops unexpectedly retreated from northern Ukraine, and that they have, at least temporarily, given up the idea of destroying the Ukrainian state. They suffered far greater casualties than anyone expected, lost impressive quantities of equipment, and demonstrated more logistical incompetence than most experts thought possible. But they have now regrouped in eastern and southern Ukraine, where their goals remain audacious: They seek to wear down Ukrainian troops, wear out Ukraine’s international partners, and exhaust the Ukrainian economy, which may already have contracted by as much as half.

Ukraine Wants Longer-Range Ammunition for Donbas Gunfight

Jack Detsch  and Amy Mackinnon

The Biden administration is under pressure from Ukrainian officials and some in Washington to provide longer-range missiles to Ukraine after announcing a plan to send four multiple launch rocket systems to Kyiv earlier this week.

Pressure on the White House has steadily increased over the past two months, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky began demanding the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which can fire up to six rounds off the back of a truck. The new $700 million military aid package also includes 1,000 more Javelin anti-tank missiles, 6,000 anti-armor weapons, and four more Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters.

The U.S. decision to send precision-guided Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) pods along with the systems, which only reach up to 40 miles, comes after weeks of Ukrainian officials insisting to American counterparts in official calls that they would not fire the weapons into Russia, which the Biden administration fears could provoke a wider war. Two Ukrainian officials told Foreign Policy that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov sent an official letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicating that Ukraine would not fire on Russia, a pledge that was backed up in a subsequent phone call between the two defense leaders. Ukraine also made the pledge in a conversation between Dmytro Kuleba and Antony Blinken, the top Ukrainian and U.S. diplomats, and between Gens. Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Mark Milley, both nations’ defense chiefs. Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official, told reporters yesterday that Zelensky also made assurances to Biden the system would not be used against Russian soil.

The Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China


It’s a real pleasure to be here at The George Washington University. This is an institution that draws outstanding students and scholars from around the world and where the most urgent challenges that we face as a country and a planet are studied and debated. So thank you for having us here today.

And I especially want to thank our friends at the Asia Society, dedicated to forging closer ties with the countries and people of Asia to try to enhance peace, prosperity, freedom, equality, sustainability. Thank you for hosting us today, but thank you for your leadership every day. Kevin Rudd, Wendy Cutler, Danny Russel – all colleagues, all thought leaders, but also doers, and it’s always wonderful to be with you.

And I have to say I am really grateful, Senator Romney, for your presence here today – a man, a leader, that I greatly admire, a person of tremendous principle, who has been leading on the subject that we’re going to talk about today. Senator, thank you for your presence.

Phoenix Ghosts are part drones, part missiles. How does that change combat?

Dan Gettinger

On April 21, the US Defense Department announced an $800 million military assistance package to Ukraine that included over 121 Phoenix Ghost drones. This previously unknown, one-time-use weapon is designed primarily to attack targets, though it is also capable of conducting non-lethal missions, according to John F. Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson. Kirby likened the drone to the AeroVironment Switchblade—a loitering munition. Such weapons combine the maneuverability, usability, and flight time of a drone with the lethal effects of a missile.

In recent years, the number of countries producing loitering munitions has more than doubled from fewer than 10 in 2017 to nearly two dozen today. Loitering munitions are increasingly integrated into a variety of air, ground, and sea vehicles and are among the technologies that military planners believe could transform ground combat. Their growing access and wide applicability present challenges to longstanding beliefs about precision weapons.

52 U.S. senators urge Biden to include Taiwan in IPEF

Washington, May 18 (CNA) A bipartisan group of 52 U.S. senators co-signed a letter to United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday campaigning for Taiwan's inclusion in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), amid concerns that Taiwan would be left out of the framework.

Democrat Senator Bob Menendez and Republican Senator Jim Risch led 50 senators from both parties in penning the letter to Biden, saying that including Taiwan in the IPEF would be an invaluable signal of the U.S.' "rock-solid commitment" to Taiwan and its prosperity and freedom, according to their press release.

Beginning with their concerns that "Taiwan will not be included in the proposed IPEF," the senators stressed the importance of Taiwan in global supply chains and in trade and economic relationships with the U.S., as well as the potential consequences of Taiwan's exclusion.

The Human Element: The Other Half of Warfare

Bryan Terrazas

On Thursday, February 24th 2022, one of the United States’ near-peer adversaries crossed the Ukrainian border with a significant portion of its substantial military power. At the outset Ukrainian forces suffered from material combat power disparities with their Russian invaders, but the Ukrainian people themselves seemed to enjoy high morale overall.[2] Despite Russian technical and numerical military superiority, Russian forces did not quickly overwhelm the Ukrainian defenders and achieve a decisive victory.[3] Nearly two months into the conflict, not only have the high-spirited Ukrainian people proven unwilling to accept defeat as a consequence of material destruction, they are rallying international support for their cause.[4] Conversely, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby remarked that low Russian morale may in fact affect the outcome.[5] As the gap between Ukrainian and Russian morale continues to yawn, the ultimate outcome of the conflict is still very much in question. Although the Russia-Ukraine conflict may not ultimately be decided solely by the gap between Russian and Ukrainian morale, it has so far been an intangible yet critical aspect that will have effects on its enduring outcome.

The Marine Corps’ debate with its generals is amusing, but dangerous

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller 

Marine Corps generals of the past recently communicated concerns about the current Marine Commandant Gen. David H. Berger and his tactical reorganization of the force.

Two relevant quotes illustrate their arguments:

• “I’m saddened beyond belief knowing that our Marine Corps soon will no longer be the ready combined-arms force that our nation has long depended upon when its interests were threatened. It will be a force shorn of all its tanks and 76% of its cannon artillery, and with 41% fewer Marines in its infantry battalions. To make the situation even worse, there will be 33% fewer aircraft available to support riflemen on the ground… Marines, how could we let this happen?” ― Gen. Paul Van Riper in Marine Corps Times March 21, 2022.

• “The U.S. Marine Corps is undertaking a top-to-bottom restructuring called Force Design 2030. The move is well-intended, but we believe it is wrong. It will make the Marines less capable of countering threats from unsettled and dangerous corners of the world … The national security ramifications of reducing the capabilities of our nation’s most ready, agile and flexible force are seismic.” ― Charles Krulak, Jack Sheehan and Anthony Zinni in The Washington Post, April 22, 2022.