19 June 2022

China uses AI deception in simulated space battle


A Chinese research team has reported an experiment in which it says an anti-satellite AI learned to successfully trick its target in a simulated space battle.

In a paper published on April 25 in the domestic peer-reviewed journal Aerospace Shanghai, Dang Zhaohui, professor of astronautics from Northwestern Polytechnical University, and his colleagues conducted an experiment in which an AI commanded three small hunter satellites to capture a high-value target, repeating the exercise thousands of times.

The researchers also set penalty parameters for the hunter satellites, such as consuming more fuel and colliding with a teammate. In contrast, the target satellite gained points for each penalty incurred by hunter satellites.

The Army could take a run at developing a robotic ‘Warrior Suit’

Mike Gruss

PARIS — One of the U.S. Army’s top robotics experts is pushing the service to develop a “Warrior Suit,” a long dreamed-of exoskeleton that could help boost soldiers’ physical characteristics, and said the first steps toward launching such a program could come as soon as next year.

Military leaders have tried for nearly a decade to build an exoskeleton, sometimes cheekily called an Iron Man suit, to lighten the load for dismounted infantrymen. Variations of the idea had attracted the attention of Gen. Mark Milley, when he was chief of staff of the Army, and of U.S. Special Operations Command, which tried to build a suit known as the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS.

In 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command sought proposals for TALOS, looking for a range of technologies that would minimize traumatic brain injury, reduce electromagnetic and acoustic signature and protect against advanced rifle rounds.

Time for Reinforcement of the Independent Value and Constructive Synergy of Sino-Russian Relations

Zhao Long

In recent years, Sino-Russian relations have become a model of great power relations with high degree of mutual trust, high level of collaboration and high strategic value. After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the assessment of the challenges for China-Russia relations in the external environment, the understanding of the conflict’s role in reshaping China-Russia relations, and the examination of the prospects of China-Russia relations have been critical in the analysis of how the Russia-Ukraine conflict will impact the game of great powers.

A “Stress Test”: Sino-Russian Relations in the Context of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

In the wake of Russia-Ukraine conflict, although the international system is still steps away from the brink of total collapse, it is an inevitable trend that the international system becomes increasingly vulnerable and fragmented. Recently, Russia was suspended from its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and more are calling for its expulsion from the WTO, and the G20[1]. In addition, the prevailing narrative of “democracy/autocracy” dichotomy[2] and depiction of China and Russia as an “axis of revisionists”[3] indicate that the international order might be divided into two blocs according to security concepts and values. In this context, Russia might have weaker voice in global agenda-setting and multilateral affairs.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

Craig Singleton

What if the new era of great-power competition was over before it had even begun? Many of today’s fears about a multigeneration conflict with Beijing rest on linear extrapolations of yesteryear’s data, harkening back to a time when China appeared on track to supplant the United States as the world’s largest economy. Yet more and more signs point to a China that is fully unprepared for the competition with the United States it once sought.

China’s economy, long in decline, is now in freefall—thanks to Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s mismanagement. Case in point: This year, the U.S. economy is forecast to grow faster than China’s for the first time since 1976, with strong indications that China has entered a prolonged era of slow growth. More surprising is that Xi, in an attempt to stabilize China’s finances, has largely abandoned his ambitious plans to overhaul China’s growth model, choosing instead to double down on the very economic policies that got China into today’s economic bind in the first place.

PRC Launches 3rd Carrier “Fujian”—Trace Beijing’s Deck Aviation “Long March” with The China Aircraft Carrier Bookshelf!

SHANGHAI, June 17 (Xinhua) — China launched its third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, in Shanghai on Friday. The carrier, named after Fujian Province, was completely designed and built by China.

The new carrier was put into the water at a launch ceremony that started at about 11 a.m.

Xu Qiliang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), presented a naming certificate to the navy unit receiving the carrier.

Approved by the CMC, the Fujian was given the hull number 18.

It is China’s first domestically-made carrier that uses catapults. With a full-load displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes, the carrier is equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices.

Ukraine Can't Stop Russia's Advance Without Long-Range Rockets

Kris Osborn

The Pentagon announced this week that the latest $1 billion aid package to Ukraine contains new mobile artillery systems, trucks to tow the artillery, and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) and HIMARS have been delivered thus far and U.S. allies are helping as well. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described efforts to help Ukraine at a summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

“We're providing Ukraine's defenders with HIMARS and multiple launch rocket systems, and that will significantly boost Ukraine's capabilities, especially when combined with additional donations of NATO-standard rocket systems from the U.K. and our other allies,” Austin said at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

Milley: Not ‘Inevitable’ Russia Controls Ukraine’s Donbas

Kris Osborn

Ukrainians are now fighting “house-by-house” to protect their ground in Severodonetsk, a city which Pentagon leaders say is now “three-quarters taken” by Russian forces.

Intense urban combat is underway, but is it slowing the Russian advance despite their overwhelming numerical advantage?

Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels Belgium, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made clear that Ukrainians have a chance, telling an audience “there are no inevitabilities in war.”

To a certain extent, it would seem that urban, dismounted warfare might favor the Ukrainians given their tactical successes so far. Ukrainians also know the terrain and building structures that they could use to their advantage, and have demonstrated proficiency in using dispersed units to stage ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, and decentralized attack operations. Can this Ukrainian warfighting advantage, fortified by a fighting spirit unique to those fighting for their homeland, manage to hold off and prevail against a much larger Russian force?

How the United States Can Help Ukraine Cripple Russia's Blockade

Kris Osborn

Earlier in the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia conducted an amphibious assault from the Black Sea into southern Ukraine. While there have not been any similar attacks since then, there is still great concern about Russian firepower from the ocean.

Russian warships have been conducting a blockade in the Black Sea, slowing down or stopping Ukraine’s critically needed grain supply and placing coastal areas at great risk of bombardment. In response, NATO allies and the United States are now sending Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launchers to strengthen Ukraine’s coastal defenses.

“Allies are providing Harpoon launchers and missiles to bolster Ukraine's coastal defense, and the U.K. is providing M270 multiple launch rocket systems and training to help Ukraine defend its territory in the Donbas,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Biden Blasts Oil Companies for Record-High Gas Prices

Ethen Kim Lieser

With the national average for a gallon of gas sitting at $5 for much of the past week, President Joe Biden has sent out a letter demanding that oil companies explain why they are not putting more fuel on the market as they reap record profits and the average American consumer continues to suffer.

“The last time the price of crude oil was about $120 per barrel, in March, the price of gas at the pump was $4.25 per gallon. Today, gas prices are 75 cents higher, and diesel prices are 90 cents higher. That difference—of more than 15% at the pump—is the result of the historically high profit margins for refining oil into gasoline, diesel and other refined products. Since the beginning of the year, refiners' margins for refining gasoline and diesel have tripled, and are currently at their highest levels ever recorded,” Biden wrote on Wednesday to the heads of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Phillips 66, BP, and other industry leaders.

A Russian Perspective on the Food Crisis

Anatoly Antonov

Russia has become a target for accusations that have nothing to do with reality. Our country is being imputed with trying to take steps aimed at deliberately degrading global food security, preventing Ukrainian agricultural exports by sea, and blocking the sowing campaign in that country. It’s time to put an end to these speculations.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there is currently no physical shortage of food in the world. But there are issues with the distribution of agro-industrial goods and their delivery to consumers.

Back in 2020, the UN warned of the risks of a growing crisis in the global agricultural market. First prices started to increase and then skyrocketed by 50 percent by this February—before the start of our special operation in Ukraine.

Nord Stream 1 gas supply cut aimed at sowing uncertainty, Germany warns

Madeline Chambers, Christoph Steitz

BERLIN (Reuters) -Russia’s Gazprom on Wednesday announced a further cut in the amount of gas it can pump through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe, a move Germany’s economy minister said was aimed at sowing uncertainty and pushing up fuel prices.

The second supply capacity cut in as many days means that Nord Stream 1 will run at just 40% capacity. Gazprom initially blamed delays getting Siemens Energy equipment that is undergoing maintenance in Canada, which Germany’s energy regulator said does not explain the cut.

Uniper, Germany’s biggest importer of Russian gas, said deliveries from Russia were down a quarter from agreed upon volumes.

British and Dutch wholesale gas prices rose after Gazprom’s warning, the latest example of how the energy market has become central to the economic war between Moscow and the West since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

With a Resurgent Left, What’s Next for South America?

It may not be a return of the “Pink Tide” of leftist governments that swept into power across South America in the early 2000s—and were largely swept out again amid a conservative backlash in the mid-2010s. But the region’s left has been showing signs of revival.

In Argentina’s October 2019 presidential election, the moderate-left Peronist candidate, Alberto Fernandez, ousted the market-friendly incumbent, Mauricio Macri, whose austerity measures and heavy borrowing triggered an economic crisis that cost him the presidency. In October 2020, Bolivia returned the Movement Toward Socialism to power in the first presidential election since Evo Morales was ousted, and last year Pedro Castillo, a far-left teacher with no previous experience as an elected official, won Peru’s presidential election. And most recently, Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader and leftist legislator, became the youngest president in Chile’s history after taking office in March.

The conservative wave that followed the Pink Tide is far from ebbing, though. The 2018 election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil was a particular blow to the region’s progressives, and he has justified their fears. His administration has curbed the fight against corruption and downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, even as he has continued to denigrate the country’s Indigenous communities and undermined the country’s democratic norms. In Uruguay, conservatives took control of the government in 2019 from the leftist Broad Front coalition that had been in power for a decade and a half. More recently, conservative Guillermo Lasso won Ecuador’s presidential election in May 2021, and Argentina’s ruling Peronist government suffered a major setback in midterm elections in November of the same year.

Ukraine suffering up to 1,000 casualties per day in Donbas, official says

Dave Lawler
Up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed or wounded each day in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, with 200 to 500 killed on average and many more wounded, a top Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.

The big picture: President Volodymyr Zelensky said on June 1 that 60 to 100 Ukrainian troops were being killed daily as Russia stepped up its Donbas offensive. Over the past two weeks that number has climbed significantly according to David Arakhamia, who leads Ukraine's negotiations with Russia and is one of Zelensky's closest advisers.Ukraine has recruited one million people into the army and has the capacity to recruit two million more, Arakhamia said, so it has the numbers to continue the fight in Donbas, where Russia has been gradually gaining territory.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley was asked about the rate of Ukrainian casualties on Wednesday and said it was difficult to estimate but previous media reports of around 100 killed and up to 300 injured each day had been "in the ballpark of our assessments." He was not responding to the latest Ukrainian estimate.

Does the tank have a future?

Russian tanks like these are well protected against frontal attacks. The glacis—a term borrowed from medieval fortresses—is slanted. That means missiles are more likely to be deflected and have more armour to penetrate.

The sides of the hull have weaker armour. Most tanks lack protection here, but Soviet designs are particularly vulnerable.

The most exposed point, however, is the turret.

Older anti-tank rockets would hit the well-protected glacis.

But when a Javelin missile is fired at a tank, it shoots up as high as 150m before plunging down and striking the turret from above.

The missile is much more likely to penetrate the armour and blow up the tank’s ammunition, because there is no blast door between ammunition and crew.

Soviet tanks were designed for enormous, rapid offensives across the plains of Europe. They had to be dispersed to avoid nuclear weapons. These requirements led to smaller tanks, which were cheaper to mass produce, lighter and more mobile.

Meet the Irregular Troops Backing up Russia’s Army in the Kharkiv Region

Michael Sheldon

Following Russia’s unsuccessful assault on Kyiv and northern Ukraine, the Russian military has intensified its efforts in Ukraine’s east, particularly in the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. But Russia’s military has not been alone as its soldiers have edged slowly forward in recent weeks. Groups of irregular troops and fighters have also been seen in the area, operating alongside the Russian military in the direction of Kharkiv Region.

Fighters from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) have reportedly participated in the assault on the town of Popasna. The National BolshevikBorey” group, meanwhile, has posted about their participation in an offensive in the Donbas. The Cossack group, “Don”, is also reported to have been operating on the Izyum front in the southern Kharkiv Region.

Other social media footage and content from unofficial fighting groups showcased their presence and activities in Russian-occupied Ukraine and on the front lines. These include an operation headed by a Russian politician, who continues to serve in the country’s State Duma (Federal Assembly).

The Collapse of One China

Ivan Kanapathy
Source Link


The web of polices and norms that has preserved peace in the Taiwan Strait for four decades is stretched to the breaking point. The Taiwanese people, despite living in a mature democracy, remain trapped in an international accommodation agreed on by the United States, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, and Taiwan’s own previous authoritarian regime. Today, each successive generation in Taiwan finds the notion of political unification with the mainland less appealing.

China’s leaders, however, are intent on preserving the dictatorship of the CCP, which entails asserting control over all of China’s claimed territories, including Taiwan. Meanwhile, the current U.S. administration has adopted a foreign policy doctrine of global democratic renewal amid strategic competition—with China named as “the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge.” The shrinking common ground among the three capitals’ respective One China policies will soon vanish, incentivizing CCP general secretary Xi Jinping to take action.

Aid to Ukraine Requires Increased Oversight

Mark F. Cancian

The size and scope of U.S. aid to Ukraine is increasing—and with it, the need for oversight and accountability. The Ukrainians are heroically defending their country, and, in support of that struggle, the United States has committed $53 billion through September 30, the end of this fiscal year. Early aid packages included mainly weapons and supplies, but the most recent package has billions of dollars of economic aid. Stronger oversight and controls are needed to ensure the funds are used as intended. Any corruption in handling this aid would undermine the bipartisan support that the aid has received and thereby impair the ability of the Ukrainian people to continue their struggle.

Aid related to the war totals $53 billion: $13 billion in supplemental funding passed in March and $40 billion in the package passed in May. The military component provides thousands of weapons to arm the Ukrainians, from rifles, night-vision goggles, rockets, and artillery pieces to antitank weapons like Javelins. Humanitarian aid covers a wide variety of activities, from global food relief to refugee resettlement.

Maxar’s WeatherDesk Predicts a Significant Decline in Ukrainian Crop Harvests

Maxar Technologies

Ukraine’s Minister of Agrarian Policy promoted the country’s agriculture capabilities in a March 2021 ATLANTIC COUNCIL ARTICLE: the country’s active agricultural area is larger than Italy and it is one of the world’s top three grain exporters. But, Ukraine’s claim as the “breadbasket of Europe” is threatened by Russia’s invasion, which started in February 2022 and is disrupting the planting of spring crops and the shipping of existing grain inventories.

Maxar’s WEATHERDESK, an on-demand product that transforms regularly changing weather data into actionable insights, used MODIS imagery from NASA and analyzed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series data to develop the below assessment of Ukraine’s crops as of early June 2022. The highlights include:

Compared to 2021, Ukrainian farmers planted 30% less spring acreage in 2022.

WeatherDesk predicts the 2022 production of corn to be down 54% and production of sunflowers to be down 40% when compared with the 2021 growing season.
Russians continue to take grain from Ukraine and transport it to other regions of the world.

Ukraine News: Putin Stokes Anti-American Sentiment as Kyiv Steps Closer to E.U.

Putin denounces the U.S. as a fading world power.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday reprised his critique of the United States as a declining power that treats its allies as colonies, while declaring itself exceptional and “the messenger of the Lord on Earth.”

“If they are exceptional, then that means that everyone else is second-class,” Mr. Putin said of the United States in an address that the Kremlin had billed as “extremely important” at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum — an annual business conference once known as “Russia’s Davos.”

Mr. Putin, whose remarks were delayed by over an hour after the Kremlin cited “large-scale” distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems, spoke for more than 70 minutes but barely touched on the war in Ukraine. Instead, he focused on how he claimed Russia’s economy could flourish despite Western sanctions. He promised environmental and regulatory reforms as well as government initiatives to support demand for Russian businesses.

The War in Ukraine and the Western Balkans

Key Policy Recommendations:

• Russia is waging an information war in the Balkans. The West must actively challenge and counter Russia’s information operations in the region. The West should look for early warnings in the information space, as they are good indicators of Russia’s moves. NATO should send its Hybrid Information warfare team to the Western Balkans. The Western embassies should actively debunk Russian disinformation campaigns that promote anti-Western sentiments and threaten the stability of the Western Balkans. Western embassies should issue statements responding to Russian propaganda in real time. They should make a concerted effort to appear in local media and debunk Russian propaganda publicly. The Russian government is running active and targeted social media campaigns. The EU and the US have been strengthening media in the Balkans, but such investments must be targeted towards running more effective social media accounts, since many of them are dry and not appealing to the average consumer. Finally, the West should sanction media platforms that assist Russia’s information warfare activities in the Western Balkans.

• The Kremlin with the help of its proxies is undermining the peace in the Western Balkans. Putin profits from creating the risks of war and then de-escalating the crisis he created. The West should closely monitor Russia’s activities via its proxy groups in the region as Russia might provoke violent protests from pro-Russian nationalists. The US, the UK and especially the EU should impose sanctions on individuals who destabilize the region.

Reading Between the Lines of U.S. China Policy

Peter S. Rashish

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a speech to George Washington University on May 26 with the admirably straightforward title of “The Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China.” His motto—invest, align, and compete—is a compelling one that balances rebuilding U.S. domestic research and technology capabilities, engaging with allies for maximum impact, and strengthening cybersecurity, supply chains, and export and investment controls.

The speech is also welcome for the almost reluctant tone it takes to the need to confront China: “we’ll compete with confidence; we’ll cooperate wherever we can; we’ll contest where we must. We do not see conflict.”

This is not an administration that is trying to fuel another Cold War.

How Best (Not) to Address the Ukraine Crisis


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global wheat, corn, and other markets. Given relatively low global stocks for major staple foodstuffs,1 many analysts predict that food insecurity will increase among poor households in low-income countries.2 Understandably, many world leaders, including the Biden administration, are concerned about how to best address a potential global hunger crisis. However, in the rush to “do something,” leaders need to consider the most efficient policies to address the crisis and avoid ill-considered policies that may do little to address the actual problems and could result in unintended consequences that may linger well past the crisis itself.

The most effective way of addressing global food supply concerns would be an immediate end to the war and rebuilding critical infrastructures such as rail lines, storage facilities, and port facilities to allow Ukraine’s agricultural sector access to global markets. To that end, the UN secretary general’s efforts to end the blockade of Ukraine grain shipping and support the establishment of a blue corridor by sea or a green corridor overland to move foodstuffs from Ukraine should be supported. Unfortunately, the likelihood of a quick end to the war looks increasingly faint, and Russia has given no signs that it would consider granting safe passage of Ukraine food exports through the Black Sea.

America Needs a Semiconductor Industrial Strategy—Here’s How to Start

Shubham Dwivedi Gregory D. Wischer

Semiconductors are critical for U.S. national security and a key input in everything from computers and smartphones to fighter jets and military communications. The most important of these are leading-node logic chips, which are necessary for all kinds of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks. While this makes leading-node logic chips a national security priority, the supply chains for these chips are vulnerable to market and geopolitical risks. For example, demand for emerging technology like self-driving vehicles will strain existing capacity for these advanced chips, and only Asian firms that depend heavily on Chinese customers—Taiwan-based TSMC and South Korea-based Samsung—fabricate them.

Given the national security implications of leading-node logic chips, the U.S. government should build resilient supply chains for these chips. Importantly, Washington must address existing vulnerabilities across the entire supply chain, which includes design, materials, equipment, fabrication and assembly, testing, and packaging. To that end, there is much that both Congress and the Biden administration can do to aid this endeavor.


Renanah Miles Joyce

Foreign military training has become one of the most popular tools in the US foreign policy tool kit. Between 1999 and 2016, the United States spent almost $15 billion to train over 2.3 million military students around the world. In 2019 alone, the United States trained over 71,000 students from 157 countries.

This training ranges from tactical and operational instruction to regional seminars and courses in US professional military education institutions. It is designed to build partner militaries’ capacity by imparting technical skills and expertise to increase their ability to fight independently. It’s also supposed to transmit professional norms, or ideas about appropriate behavior, that shape when and how these militaries fight—norms that include respect for human rights and civilian control of the military.

At least, that’s the theory. But in the last decade, US-trained soldiers have launched coups in Mali, Egypt, and Guinea (while in the middle of training with US Army Special Forces); raped children in the Congo; and otherwise abused human rights or defied civilian control. In response, observers have questioned whether US efforts to impart norms work. Others have pointed to cases where the United States encouraged militaries to violate norms, for example, by teaching Latin American militaries how to torture during the Cold War. Most scholars accept that the United States, all else being equal, would prefer to promote liberal norms, but suggest that for one reason or another, trainees fail to adopt these norms, which is why norm-abiding behavior fails to materialize. Instead, divergent interests lead the United States’ partners to defy its wishes.

The Consequences of Conquest

Brendan Rittenhouse Green and Caitlin Talmadge

Of all the intractable issues that could spark a hot war between the United States and China, Taiwan is at the very top of the list. And the potential geopolitical consequences of such a war would be profound. Taiwan—“an unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine tender,” as U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur once described it—has important, often underappreciated military value as a gateway to the Philippine Sea, a vital theater for defending Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea from possible Chinese coercion or attack. There is no guarantee that China would win a war for the island—or that such a conflict wouldn’t drag on for years and weaken China. But if Beijing gained control of Taiwan and based military assets there, China’s military position would improve markedly.

Beijing’s ocean surveillance assets and submarines, in particular, could make control of Taiwan a substantial boon to Chinese military power. Even without any major technological or military leaps, possession of the island would improve China’s ability to impede U.S. naval and air operations in the Philippine Sea and thereby limit the United States’ ability to defend its Asian allies. And if, in the future, Beijing were to develop a large fleet of quiet nuclear attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines, basing them on Taiwan would enable China to threaten Northeast Asian shipping lanes and strengthen its sea-based nuclear forces.