23 June 2022

The digital workplace of 2027 will be human-centric

Esther Shein

The future of work will require a human-centric digital employee experience, because digital is becoming a bigger part of our work and home lives than ever, Gartner analysts said during a keynote address at Gartner’s Digital Workplace Summit Tuesday.

Seventy percent of CIOs expect the same or more employees will be working from home in the future, and now is the time to invest in “state-of-the-art digital experiences to connect people to one another and to the organizational culture,’’ said Tori Paulman, senior director analyst at Gartner.

Paulman added that IT is no longer solely responsible for the overall experience and that technology is just one component of it.

50 Cognitive Biases in the Modern World

Every day, systematic errors in our thought process impact the way we live and work. But in a world where everything we do is changing rapidly—from the way we store information to the way we watch TV—what really classifies as rational thinking?

It’s a question with no right or wrong answer, but to help us decide for ourselves, today’s infographic from TitleMax lists 50 cognitive biases that we may want to become privy to.

In the name of self-awareness, here’s a closer look at three recently discovered biases that we are most prone to exhibiting in the modern world.
Automation Bias

AI-infused applications are becoming incredibly good at “personalizing” our content, but will there come a time when we let algorithms make all of our decisions?

What the Russia-Ukraine war means for the future of cyber warfare


Russia’s war on Ukraine has been largely defined by indiscriminate shelling and grinding exchange of artillery, but it has also shown how cyberspace will be a central battleground in the future of global conflicts.

Early Russian cyberattacks were a harbinger of a ground war to come, and the battle for hearts and minds is now largely playing out online. And Russia has strategically timed cyberattacks for advantage in its on-the-ground assaults.

Experts said all of these components will likely be present in future global conflicts, with the Russia-Ukraine war cementing cyberspace as an intrinsic component of modern warfare.

“I believe the future of cyberwarfare is going to be more complex, more sophisticated and a lot more destructive,” said Paul Capasso, vice president of strategic programs at Telos, a cybersecurity firm based in Virginia.

The link between cyberattacks and war: Gartner

Over the last six months, organisations in Ukraine have faced threats including massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, increased malware activity, targeted and persistent phishing attacks, disinformation campaigns and attacks on cyber-physical systems.

Paul Proctor, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner explains it’s likely that cyberthreats will continue at least as long as the physical conflict does.

“The ‘fog of war’ can challenge situational awareness and panic will increase the risk of mistakes, creating an advantageous situation for bad actors. While the impacts of individual attacks will vary, the broader effects of a heightened threat environment will be felt by organisations worldwide.”

Defense & National Security — Russian cyberwar campaign not ending soon


Russia’s war on Ukraine through the cyberspace alone has shown how the shadowy world of cyberattacks will be a central battleground in the future of global conflicts.

We’ll detail Moscow’s online tactics and what this means for the war going forward, plus China’s latest missile interceptor test and Biden’s upcoming trip to Europe.

This is Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. A friend forward this newsletter to you? 

What the Ukraine war means for cyber warfare

Russia’s war on Ukraine has been largely defined by indiscriminate shelling and grinding exchange of artillery, but it has also shown how cyberspace will be a central battleground in the future of global conflicts.

Why this tiny island in the Pacific may be ground zero in a war with China


Stacie Pettyjohn, a defense strategy and wargaming expert, said that most of the wargames involving a Chinese invasion of Taiwan that she has led have begun with the team playing China attacking American bases on Guam and elsewhere in the Pacific to prevent the U.S. military from bringing significant combat power to the early stages of the fight.

“The opening big blow is in line with Chinese military doctrine – its counter-intervention strategy – in terms of seizing the offensive and also just trying to launch a knockout blow in the opening phases of a fight,” said Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.

Guam, which is more than 1,700 miles from Taiwan, is home to Andersen Air Force Base, where B-52 bombers deploy on a rotational basis; as well as Naval Base Guam Navy Base in Apra Harbor, where several submarines are homeported. The island has been part of the United States since becoming a territory in 1898.

China currently has 300 DF-26 Intermediate-Range Ballistic missiles with an estimated range of nearly 2,500 miles, which are capable of striking Guam and U.S. Navy ships, according to the Defense Department’s latest report on Chinese military power.

In 2020, China’s air force released a video showing one of its nuclear-capable H-6 bombers launching a simulated cruise missile strike against an airfield with the same layout as Andersen Air Force Base.

Recognizing the threat posed by China, the U.S. military has started to strengthen its defenses on Guam, where the Defense Department has committed more than $11 billion in military construction over the next five years. The Missile Defense Agency has also reportedly asked Congress for $539 million to protect the island from Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles as well as hypersonic weapons.

Pettyjohn has run Pentagon-sponsored wargames both at CNAS and the RAND Corporation since 2014. In Taiwan scenarios, the team playing China typically hits Guam with a massive barrage of ballistic and cruise missiles armed with submunitions to take out Andersen Air Force Base – and possibly the U.S. airfield on the island of Tinian that is being expanded – and then H-6 bombers fire their long-range cruise missiles to sink ships in Apra Harbor and attack fuel storage facilities, she said. Then they launch follow-up attacks on Guam to prevent the U.S. military engineers from repairing damage to airfields and other installations.

“There are concerns about escalation and hitting U.S. territory,” Pettyjohn told Task & Purpose. “Most of the red teams [enemy forces] recognize that, and many of them do typically assume that the United States will intervene on the side of Taiwan. The operational advantages of destroying key American bases and logistics nodes, in particular those on Guam, outweigh the risks.”

The Island of Guam, located in the North Pacific Ocean and an unincorporated United States territory on February 10, 2015 (Photo by USGS/NASA Landsat data/Orbital Horizon Gallo
Images/Getty Images)

In these games, the teams playing China have typically been skeptical that the United States would respond to a conventional attack with nuclear weapons, Pettyjohn said. Many experts also believe that China is increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. nuclear response to an attack on Guam, she said.

While a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is often cited as the likeliest scenario that would lead to war with the United States, it is worth noting that the law governing the U.S. government’s relationship with Taiwan does not obligate the United States to come to the island’s nation’s defense if such an invasion occurs. Instead, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act says that “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes is considered a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”

However, President Joe Biden briefly upended more than 40 years of strategic ambiguity when a reporter asked him in May if he was willing to intervene militarily to defend Taiwan and he replied, “Yes,” and, “That’s the commitment we made.” Biden’s aides quickly stepped in to say the U.S. government’s policy towards Taiwan had not changed.

It is possible that China could avoid striking U.S. military bases if it is convinced that the United States will not defend Taiwan, said Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher at the RAND Corporation.

But if Chinese leaders are convinced that the United States will not stay out of a war over Taiwan, they would give their military commanders a free hand to attack U.S. military bases on Guam to and elsewhere to achieve victory, Heath told Task & Purpose.

“I think that if they are convinced Americans are in the war; they’re going to fight, and they’re bringing a lot of equipment and weaponry to the fight; it would be difficult for the Chinese leaders to resist the idea of knocking out as much military capability as possible in the opening salvos before they can get into the fight,” Heath said. “And, of course, there is a concertation of U.S. assets Guam — they’re exposed and vulnerable — it could be very tempting and difficult for the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] to resist requesting authorization to strike those facilities.”

China claims successful anti-ballistic missile interceptor test

Jessie Yeung

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)China successfully conducted an anti-ballistic missile test on Sunday night, according to the country's Defense Ministry, part of ongoing military efforts to enhance the country's defensive capabilities.

It was a land-based mid-course missile tested within China's borders, the ministry said in a brief statement, adding the test was defensive in nature and not targeted against any country.
Anti-ballistic missile systems are meant to shield a country from potential attacks by using projectiles to intercept incoming missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Some analysts liken it to shooting down a bullet with another bullet.

This marks China's sixth known test of a land-based anti-ballistic missile, according to state-run tabloid Global Times. The country has been conducting such tests since 2010, typically holding them every few years.

What is the Utility of the Principles of War?

Baptiste Alloui

“War is a science so obscure and imperfect that custom and prejudice confirmed by ignorance are its sole foundation and support; all other sciences are established upon fixed principles… while this alone remains destitute.”

However, this belief is a stand-alone in the Age of Enlightenment, a time in which it was commonly believed that war, just like any other domain, must surely obey some laws and scientific principles. Besides, this quest for the principles of war did not spare other eras. From Sun Tzu and Xenophon to Fuller and Foch, an abundant literature in strategic thought offers various perspectives on what these principles might be and how many can we account for.

One can wonder, however, what utility these principles have for the strategist when there are so many. Indeed, no two wars are alike, and in the absence of fixed principles of war, the precepts provided by some famous strategic thinkers in an older era within a completely different context would hardly seem to have any relevance in a present-day conflict.

The Lexicon of Terror: Crystallization Of The Definition Of “Terrorism” Through The Lens Of Terrorist Financing & The Financial Action Task Force

Juan C. Zarate
Source Link

It is widely assumed that there is no accepted international definition of terrorism, in part because global views on what constitutes terrorism are so politically polarized as to prevent arriving at any meaningful common ground. This view is widespread both in popular culture and the academic community despite the decades of work on this issue at the United Nations (UN), the existence of several UN conventions addressing terrorism, and the increasing convergence of domestic laws on terrorism. In common discourse, any discussion about the definition of terrorism is often met with the relativist quip that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

This Article argues that there is in fact a definition of terrorism that has been widely adopted within the community of nation states, and that this definition is meaningful, substantive, and offers a resolution to some of the most salient debates on the nature of terrorism. Not only are 189 nations party to the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (“Terrorist Financing Convention”), which offers a basic definition of terrorism, but more than 200 jurisdictions have also committed, through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to domestic adoption of a definition of the offense of “terrorist financing” that includes a clear definition of terrorism.1 Furthermore, a majority of these jurisdictions have actually transposed the FATF definition into their national laws. These include nations, such as the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, that formerly have led opposition to an international legal definition of terrorism very similar to the definition used by the FATF. While the FATF definition does not resolve all questions, such widespread and consistent adoption implies that the fundamental debates about the definition of terrorism have in fact been quietly concluded.

Extremist Travel to Ukraine Is a Cause for Concern, Not Alarm

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross Emelie Chace-Donahue Madison Urban Matt Chauvin

As Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February, so too did foreigners from around the world seeking to answer Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for military volunteers. This influx of foreigners raised alarm among analysts that violent extremists, particularly neo-Nazis, could use the conflict as a new training ground. Complicating these concerns, Russian president Vladimir Putin painted Ukraine as a Nazi stronghold, arguing that his invasion is designed to “demilitarize and denazify” the Ukrainian government.

Putin’s claims complicate analysis of extremist travel to Ukraine in two ways. On the one hand, Russian propaganda channels could contribute to unfounded fears about extremists on the pro-Ukraine side of this conflict. Conversely, commentators could overreact in attempting to counter this cynical and opportunistic Russian messaging, ignoring a real problem in an effort to avoid feeding Russia’s war narrative. In this article, based on extensive open-source research, we seek to strike a balance between these two poles. We find that while some individuals with connections to violent extremism have indeed traveled to Ukraine, a mass influx of ideologically driven fighters has thus far not materialized. The problem bears watching lest violent extremists find haven on the battlefield, but the issue should be kept in proportion as extremely minor at present.

Dr. Frank Hoffman on “Defining and Securing Success in Ukraine”


The war in Ukraine has passed its 100-day anniversary and a grinding war of attrition has arrived. The predicted stalemate scenario is being borne out with the Russians making slow and costly advances, which is all that they can hope to achieve. The question of the day, to borrow the title of a famous book, is Tell Me How This Ends. General David Petraeus’s famous question looms just as large today.

There is a lot of sentiment behind ensuring that Putin cannot win this war, and for declarations that “Ukraine must win” but not a lot of ideas on how to make that happen anytime soon. Some columnists passionately claim The War Won’t End Until Putin Loses and press for a clear military defeat. Yet, the persistent “Putin Must Lose” school does not offer a viable way to generate that end state and does not weigh the related costs or risks.

While there seems to be some clear and public aims in the United States, there is less agreement in NATO and precious few ideas on the ways and means to obtain them. As Ian Bremmer noted in a dispatch from Davos:

Can Putin Survive?

Vladislav Zubok

On May 9, 2022, a column of tanks and artillery thundered down Moscow’s Red Square. Over 10,000 soldiers marched through the city’s streets. It was Russia’s 27th annual Victory Day parade, in which the country commemorates the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany in World War II. Russian President Vladimir Putin, presiding over the ceremonies, gave a speech praising his country’s military and fortitude. “The defense of our motherland when its destiny was at stake has always been sacred,” he said. “We will never give up.” Putin was speaking about the past but also about the present, with a clear message to the rest of the world: Russia is determined to continue prosecuting its war against Ukraine.

The war looks very different in Putin’s telling than it does to the West. It is just and courageous. It is successful. “Our warriors of different ethnicities are fighting together, shielding each other from bullets and shrapnel like brothers,” Putin said. Russia’s enemies had tried to use “international terrorist gangs” against the country, but they had “failed completely.” In reality, of course, Russian troops have been met by fierce local resistance rather than outpourings of support, and they were unable to seize Kyiv and depose Ukraine’s government. But for Putin, victory may be the only publicly acceptable result. No alternate outcomes are openly discussed in Russia.

No nukes? Ukraine-Russian war will shape world’s arsenals


The headlines on the newsstands in Seoul blared fresh warnings of a possible nuclear test by North Korea.

Out on the sidewalks, 28-year-old office worker Lee Jae Sang already had an opinion about how to respond to North Korea’s fast-growing capacity to lob nuclear bombs across borders and oceans.

“Our country should also develop a nuclear program. And prepare for a possible nuclear war,” said Lee, voicing a desire that a February poll showed was shared by 3 out of 4 South Koreans.

It’s a point that people and politicians of non-nuclear powers globally are raising more often, at what has become a destabilizing moment in more than a half-century of global nuclear nonproliferation efforts, one aggravated by the daily example of nuclear Russia tearing apart non-nuclear Ukraine.

That reconsideration by non-nuclear states is playing out in Asia. The region is home to an ever-more assertive North Korea, China, Russia and Iran — three nuclear powers and one near-nuclear power — but is unprotected by the kind of nuclear umbrella and broad defense alliance that for decades has shielded NATO countries.

Cold Feet? Pentagon Has Second Thoughts About Ukraine Drone Transfer

Trevor Filseth L

Biden administration officials warned over the weekend that objections had been raised on technical grounds to a proposed sale of advanced MQ-1C “Gray Eagle” military drones to Ukraine. There are concerns that Russian troops could gain access to the drones and their sensitive communications and surveillance equipment if they were shot down over Russian-occupied territory in eastern Ukraine.

The objections were raised during a review by the Defense Technology Security Administration, a Pentagon agency tasked with evaluating weapons exports and preventing the export of sensitive technology. Prior to the DTSA’s objections, the plan to sell Ukraine four of the advanced drones had been approved by the Biden administration, according to Reuters.

Sources within the Pentagon suggested that the possibility of the Gray Eagle’s capture had initially not been a major consideration, but it had been raised during DTSA meetings last week. The Pentagon did not comment on the matter, claiming that reviews of sensitive technology were “a standard practice for the transfer of U.S. defense articles to all international partners,” according to Defense Department spokeswoman Sue Gough.

Merchant Ships And Planes Needed To Support The World’s Eight Billion – OpEd

Ronald Stein

In 1904 Christian Bohr, a Danish biochemist discovered that carbon dioxide facilitates the release of oxygen (O2) to our cells. Oxygen is carried through our body by the hemoglobin in our red blood cells. Bohr discovered carbon dioxide acts as a catalyst for hemoglobin to release its oxygen for use by our bodies. When levels of carbon dioxide in our bodies becomes too low the bond between the oxygen and hemoglobin increases making it more difficult for the oxygen to be released to our cells. Poor physical oxygenation leads to many unhealthy problems within our bodies. Conversely it is actually difficult to have too little oxygen in our bodies. For a healthy body, over breathing or inhaling pure oxygen has little benefit delivering to our tissues and organs

In other words the pure oxygen your favorite quarterback is inhaling on the sidelines between offensive drives does him little good. The money a jet lagged traveler might spend at an airport oxygen bar is also wasted.

Additional understanding of this new knowledge was increased only recently in 2017 when Dr. U.P. Singh at the Suharto Medical College in India discovered that there were many relationships between yoga breathing and CO2. He wrote in his paper referenced below that CO2 stimulated the vagus nerve. He discovered that increased levels of CO2 in the blood could activate the vagus nerve and slow the heart rate. He describes carbon dioxide as a “natural sedative”. It soothes the irritability of the brains conscious centers, promoting our ability to use logic, reason and common sense. Without CO2 we become anxious, depressed, and angry.(1)

Nepal Rejects US Semi-Military Project – Analysis

P. K. Balachandran

Emboldened by its success in arm-twisting Nepal into ratifying the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact in February, the United States took on the equally hard task of getting Nepal to join its State Partnership Program (SPP).

But the ambitious move to give a military dimension to US-Nepal relations has boomeranged. Faced with strident and widespread opposition, even the pro-US government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has sworn not to sign up for the SPP.

Fear of becoming a theatre of military conflict between the US-India lineup on the one hand and China on the other, lies at the root of the rejection.

The SPP is a bilateral program which is outwardly peaceful in intent. But it is perceived to have deep-set military objectives with consequences not only for Nepal’s internal security, but also for relations with its two big neighbors, China and India. The impact on Sino-Nepal relations will be catastrophic if the SPP leads to stronger US-Nepal military ties. The Indian army’s exclusive and unique relationship with the Nepalese army will have got diluted, a prospect the conservative Indian top brass cannot reconcile with.

In Defense Of Defaulting On The National Debt – OpEd

Joseph Solis-Mullen

With the acknowledged national debt now a politically and economically unpayable $30 trillion (in reality, its unfunded liabilities are far greater), Americans should start to become acclimated to the realities of the United States’ eventual, inevitable default. While it may seem unfathomable, and the results too catastrophic to imagine, in fact the likely damage to everyday Americans would be minimal in the short term and unquestionably a net plus in the long term.

This is far from surprising and not a new problem. As Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff detail in their comprehensive review of the subject, history shows that great powers defaulting on their debts was long the rule, not the exception, and that the long-term implications of various regimes’ repudiations of their external debts in particular were minimal or a net plus, depending on the circumstances.

As a way of starting, it is helpful to contextualize the current numbers we’re talking about, because, frankly, they would have been unfathomable previously. As the old math joke “What is the difference between a million and a billion? Basically, a billion” illustrates, the orders of magnitude under discussion are scarcely comprehensible. But the reality is that trillion dollars is $999 billion plus another billion.

Will the Transatlantic Coalition Against Russia Hold?

Matthew C. Mai

U.S. policymakers often point to the Western sanctions levied on Russia as evidence of a unified international response to the war in Ukraine. For example, when asked by a reporter last week about whether French president Emmanuel Macron’s peace overtures raised concerns that transatlantic unity could hold up “under pressure,” U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Michael Carpenter responded by pointing to the European Union’s (EU) six sanctions packages as evidence that there is “tremendous unity” with only “[o]ccasional differences on tactics.”

Yet, upon close examination, the fissures and divides that existed in Europe prior to the Russo-Ukrainian War have not disappeared. Unless the Biden administration executes a sharp change in policy, divides within the transatlantic coalition assembled against Russia risk making the United States a spectator, rather than a participant, in the peace process. If U.S. policymakers hope to have a hand in crafting a settlement that will set the stage for a lasting peace—and an eventual thaw in U.S.-Russia relations—they must adopt a different strategy that looks beyond the next lethal aid package sent to Kyiv.

Should Ukraine Settle with Russia?

Raymond Kuo

Should the U.S. humiliate Russia – and Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically – over the Russo-Ukrainian War? It could lead to escalation and new wars, but the U.S. and NATO may need to think twice before offering concessions.

French President Emmanuel Macron stated “We must not humiliate Russia,” echoing previous calls for Ukrainian neutrality and other off ramps to allow Putin to claim victory. Henry Kissinger opined that Ukraine should accept Russian control of Crimea and its eastern regions as the price of peace, while John Mearsheimer declared “the strategically wise strategy for Ukraine is to […] try to accommodate the Russians.”

Andrew Latham provides what may be the most cogent analysis, drawing on Joslyn Barnhart’s excellent book and article on humiliation. Beat Russia too badly, and Putin might just go to war again in the future. Brendan Green and Caitlin Talmadge similarly warn that escalation might spark nuclear war. Despite different concerns, all advocate that Washington and Kyiv offer concessions to Putin and rapidly end the war through a political settlement. For lack of a better term, let’s call this the “settler” approach to the war.

Telegram is 'not a secure platform,' NATO-backed strategic comms chief warns

Joel Gehrke

Telegram, a leading encrypted messaging and social media application, has been compromised by Russia, according to a NATO-backed assessment.

“Telegram is not really as it used to be,” Janis Sarts, the director of NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga, Latvia, told the Washington Examiner. “I do have reasons to believe that there is not full integrity. ... Certainly, I would not see it as a secure platform.”

The messaging service, founded in Dubai by a Russian tech titan who has clashed with Russian President Vladimir Putin's surveillance apparatus, rocketed to global popularity in 2014 as one of the first applications to offer users the ability to communicate on an encrypted line. It proved valuable to Belarusian protesters who denounced President Alexander Lukashenko’s self-declared victory in a 2020 presidential election, but a warning about the program has begun to circulate among Western officials.

Macron faces 5 years of gridlock after stunning parliamentary defeat


PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron is set to face a potentially tumultuous five years of deadlock after his centrist alliance fell short of an absolute majority in a parliamentary runoff on Sunday, just weeks after he was reelected to the Elysée.

Voters massively came out in support of the far-right National Rally and the left-wing coalition NUPES, depriving Macron of a ruling majority.

Macron’s Ensemble coalition has won 245 seats, down from 345 in the outgoing chamber, according to final results. NUPES, led by the far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon got 131 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s National Rally walks away with 89 seats.

The runoff vote determines the composition of the National Assembly, the parliament’s lower chamber. In the first round of voting last Sunday, Macron’s coalition of parties was neck and neck with the NUPES alliance, sparking concern among some in Macron’s camp that the French president’s popularity was sharply in decline.

Putin May Win in Ukraine, But the Real War Is Just Starting

Max Hastings

Deliver us from evil. The line is among the most familiar, in one of the oldest Christian prayers. Most of us are wary about using the E-word, because grown-up people know that few issues, or indeed people, can rightfully be characterized as either wholly good or the other thing, but instead exist somewhere between.

Yet it seems hard to consider Russian President Vladimir Putin as anything other than a force for evil. He is personally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Ukraine through an act of unprovoked aggression, designed to fulfill a vision of national and personal greatness that has no foundation in law or morality.More from

At least as appalling, through his strangulation of Ukrainian grain shipments he is inflicting hunger and threatening starvation upon a growing portion of the Southern Hemisphere.

NATO Must Bring Finland, Sweden and Turkey Together

James Stavridis

James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. A retired U.S. Navy admiral, former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he is vice chairman of global affairs at the Carlyle Group. He is the author most recently of "To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision." 

When I was supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization about a decade ago, I would often point out to Americans the enormous capability of the alliance: combined defense spending near $900 billion (outspending China and Russia by nearly three times); 24,000 combat aircraft; 3 million men and women under arms, almost all of them volunteers; and 800 oceangoing warships. It was the richest and most capable military alliance in human history.

But I’d also carefully point out its Achilles’ heel: the need for consensus to finalize any important decision, meaning all 28 members (there are now 30) had to vote favorably before a single soldier, sailor or airman could deploy. I spent countless hours in Brussels briefing the North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of NATO, to make the case to undertake an operation in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Libya or on the waters of East Africa on counterpiracy.

Gustavo Petro’s Big Win Colombia’s First Leftist President Could Transform the Region

Ivan Briscoe

In the lead-up to the country’s presidential election, members of Colombia’s high society braced for disaster. A habitué of the gentlemen’s clubs of Bogotá noted a tide of “catastrophe-minded hysteria” rolling through the salons. Businesses introduced special clauses permitting contracts to be struck down if the worst came to pass. Bleak mutterings circulated through the military barracks. The source of such widespread dread went by one name: Gustavo Petro, a former urban guerrilla, a socialist, and the leading contender in the race.

Those alarmed at the prospect of a Petro victory have had their fears confirmed. The 62-year-old Petro will be the country’s next leader, having defeated his opponent, Rodolfo Hernández—a 77-year-old real estate tycoon and relative political novice—in the runoff vote. This follows Hernández’s extraordinary upset victory in the first round of voting in late May, when he beat out Federico Gutiérrez, the center-right hopeful backed by the traditional parties, by espousing one message: “Colombia is captured by thieves.” But Hernández’s gambit finally failed him, and Colombia will soon be governed by its first leftist president.

Taiwandia: The Slow, Quiet Development of India-Taiwan Relations

Jeff M. Smith

At first blush, Taiwan’s diplomatic space seems to be shrinking. The number of countries offering Taiwan diplomatic recognition has been dwindling. Since 2019, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and Nicaragua have all switched recognition from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China. Today, only 13 countries and the Vatican City still recognize the island state.

On the other hand, many countries that don’t formally recognize Taiwan are finding new ways to enhance diplomatic and economic linkages with Taipei, and India may be the most important among them.

In recent years, largely outside the headlines, India and Taiwan have quietly developed a robust economic relationship coupled with an expanding mélange of political interactions. In December 2021, the two countries began negotiations on Free Trade Agreement, with a special focus on developing India into a semiconductor manufacturing hub. According to Taiwan envoys to India, bilateral trade hit new records in 2021 at over $7 billion, and over 120 Taiwanese companies are operating in India with cumulative investments over $2.3 billion. This year, the State Bank of India raised $300 million issuing Taiwanese “Formosa bonds,” the first Indian commercial entity to do so.

The Strategy of the Mind: Maoism and Culture War in the West

David Martin Jones, M.L.R. Smith

The political condition within Western societies has, in recent years, increasingly been cast in terms of a ‘culture war’ between radically opposed value systems: between those that want to preserve a pluralistic society where the right to freedom of expression is upheld against those who believe that society should be protected from offensive behaviours and ‘hate-speech’, which are embedded within systems of structural discrimination and oppression.

What has this condition got to do with the ghost of the Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-tung? More than one might think. The legacy of Mao’s struggle for power in China, and his strategic formulations for winning power, casts a long – and little understood – shadow over contemporary political conduct in the nations that constitute the liberal-democratic West. Of all the strands of modern political theorising that may be said to influence current Western political conduct, it was Mao, above all, who articulated and put into practice ideas of so-called cultural warfare. Key to the idea of culture war is the understanding that the space to be conquered to gain and retain power is not necessarily the physical battlefield but the intangible sphere of the mind. The Maoist conception of the strategic utility of the mind, and its capacity to be moulded towards the waging of cultural warfare, presents some interesting challenges to traditional Western notions of strategic formulation, as this essay will endeavour to show.