3 July 2022

Amid Afghanistan’s Emergency, Its Neighbors Need Support

Evan Jones

The economic, humanitarian, and social decline in Afghanistan since the fall of the country to the Taliban is well-documented. Since August 2021, cash liquidity challenges have affected large swathes of the population; numerous public services such as healthcare are on the precipice of collapse; and women’s and girls’ rights continue to be curtailed. As a result of the multitude of compounding challenges, millions of people have lost their livelihoods, and tens of millions more are facing various degrees of food insecurity. The situation for the people of Afghanistan remains one of the most pressing humanitarian situations globally.

While the conditions inside Afghanistan are indeed alarming, ongoing efforts must also be directed to address the situation for millions of Afghans in neighboring countries, primarily Iran and Pakistan. The number of registered Afghan refugees in these countries is estimated at nearly 2.1 million, with another 4 million undocumented Afghans living within their borders. To put this in perspective, the number of Afghans in these countries is greater than the entire population of Norway.

‘BYE-Raktar’! Russian Lead In Counter-Drone Warfare, With Experience From Syria & Crimea, Deflated Turkish TB2 Drones – Analysis

Parth Satam

One of the reasons behind the losses of Turkish TB-2 Bayraktar drones at the hands of Russian air defense could be explained by Russia having long prepared for anti-drone warfare since 2015.

Statements and press releases from its Ministry of Defense (MoD) hint at very early efforts in electronic warfare and developing new tactics and procedures to detect and engage drones after learning from its and other militaries’ experience elsewhere.

Open-source information about its military indicates it has taken lessons from its experience in Syria and against jihadist rebel groups while supporting the Basher al-Assad regime, the September 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, UAVs used by the Houthis in Yemen, and lastly, the Libyan conflict between Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

China’s Directed Energy Weapons and Counterspace Applications

Oskar Glaese

China’s soon-to-be-completed space station has garnered much media attention as a symbol of Chinese power projection into space. In comparison, little attention has been paid to more secretive developments involving Chinese directed energy programs recently exposed by the Secure World Foundation. Yet these will play just as vital a role in China’s ambitions to be a leading space power.

In recent years, China has stepped up its military activities in space in support of the leadership’s ambitious goal to field a “world class” military by 2050. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) seeks to develop capabilities to asymmetrically challenge U.S. space superiority. Counterspace missions, underpinned by the use of counterspace weapons – whether kinetic physical, non-kinetic physical, electronic, or cyber – play an important role in Chinese military thinking in this regard. While China is moving to cyber and electronic means as preferred attack vectors in space, its interest in non-kinetic physical directed energy weapons (DEW) may pose a longer-term threat because of short warning time and the absence of counter-measures.

China’s Non-Leadership in the Taliban’s Afghanistan

Barbara Kelemen

The majority of opinions on China’s strategy in Afghanistan are marked by thinking in binary patterns. In fact, almost a year after the Taliban’s takeover, the country is by all measurable standards sliding deeper into humanitarian and economic crises. But when it comes to the Chinese calculus, the situation presents a mixed picture and so seems to defy the traditional zero-sum outcome. While China does not act as a global leader and prefers what could be described as a selective engagement, it might well achieve its objectives in Afghanistan without modifying its approach.

Beijing’s interests in Afghanistan have always been primarily driven by its domestic security concerns. This has been demonstrated in China’s decades-long pragmatic relationship with the Taliban, built mainly around Beijing’s awareness of the potential security implications of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan on China, particularly around Islamist militancy.

Still, this is not that different from Beijing’s approach to other countries; one could argue that China’s foreign policy is always tied to its internal security first and foremost. This explains why for Beijing, political objectives trump economic interests and why economic coercion is one of China’s preferred instruments of submission.

US intel officials admit they didn't see that Russia's military was a 'hollow force.' Here's what they did see and how they missed it.

Stavros Atlamazoglou

More than 100 days after Russia renewed its attack on Ukraine, and the world has seen that the Russian military isn't what it was believed to be.

The Russian force the US military and intelligence agencies believed to be a near-peer adversary hasn't shown up. The force that did appear had its main thrust blunted by smaller Ukrainian units. After taking heavy casualties and achieving few objects, Moscow pulled back its troops and lowered its ambitions.

Something was off in US assessments of Russia's military, and the Pentagon and intelligence community have admitted that they missed indications that Moscow was in fact fielding a "hollow force."

Victory reimagined: Toward a more cohesive US cyber strategy

Emma Schroeder, Stewart Scott, and Trey Herr


With a new US cyber strategy in the offing, policymakers will have the chance to readjust to meet the demands of the constantly changing cyber environment. The stakes are high. Even on the most tranquil days in cyberspace, millions of malicious emails flicker and fall against Department of Defense (DoD) firewalls,2 security firms track salvos of hundreds of thousands of attacks across the planet,3 and attackers scan the entire internet for vulnerable targets within hours of bugs becoming public.4 Markets trade in tools and certificates for offensive use and churn billions of dollars’ worth of products ranging from basic keyloggers to exploit suites built by the National Security Agency (NSA).5 Meanwhile, legislation aims to harvest zero-days at their source, diverting them from industry to government use.6 All this activity persists—and by most accounts is increasing—despite vast investments of time, effort, and money from government and industry alike.

The 2018 National Cyber Strategy embedded a central dissonance between the defense of US assets and interests and the security of a safer cyber ecosystem. While efforts toward each of these policies are not mutually exclusive, protection is not sufficient for security, and if improperly balanced, their implementations risk working against each other. US cyber-protection operations are organized on the assumption that protecting US assets in cyberspace through establishing superiority is a necessary and constructive step toward a more secure digital ecosystem at large. Defend Forward is a manifestation of this pursuit, developed by the DoD to create friction as close as possible to the source of malicious activity to prevent, and eventually disincentivize, attacks against US cyber assets.

The Army Is Teaching AI Systems How to Fight the Wars of the Future

Kris Osborn

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD—In the future, warfare is likely to involve a dangerous and unpredictable mixture of air, sea, land, space, and cyber operations, creating a complex, interwoven set of variables likely to confuse even the most elite commanders.

This anticipated “mix” is a key reason why futurists and weapons developers are working to quickly develop cutting-edge applications of artificial intelligence (AI), so that vast and seemingly incomprehensible pools of data can be gathered, organized, analyzed, and transmitted in real-time to human decisionmakers. In this respect, advanced algorithms can increasingly “bounce” incoming sensor and battlefield information off of a seemingly limitless database to draw comparisons, solve problems and make critical, time-sensitive decisions for human commanders.

Many procedural tasks, such as finding moments of combat relevance amid hours of video feeds or surveillance data, can be performed exponentially faster by AI-enabled computers. At the same time, there are certainly many traits and abilities that are unique to human cognition. This apparent dichotomy is perhaps why the Pentagon is fast pursuing an integrated approach, combining human faculties with advanced AI-enabled computer algorithms.

The War in Ukraine: Important lessons to be learnt from Ukraine’s cyber defence success

As you read this, Israel’s annual Cyber Week, the leading international cybersecurity event where experts from around the world share their knowledge on the challenges and opportunities in the field, is taking place. Omree Wechsler, a senior researcher on cyber security and featured speaker at the conference shared his insights regarding the current Ukrainian war.

With the amassing of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders in January and February 2022, many observers believed that the world is about to witness the first cyber war. Given that Russia ranks very high in terms of offensive cyber capabilities, and that many Ukrainian infrastructures are built on Russian software and hardware, many believed that Russia would paralyze and knock off Ukrainian critical infrastructure and services. Despite the predictions, the Russian war effort was not accompanied by any successful major cyber blows to Ukrainian critical infrastructure, and its distributed denial of service (DDoS) and wiper attacks failed at large to curb Ukraine’s ability to defend itself.

Age of Machines: The U.S. Army Is Testing AI to Win the Future

Kris Osborn

As rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) continue to reshape the future of warfare, some question whether there are limits to its capacity when compared to human intelligence.

U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) scientists continue to explore this question, pointing out that the limits of AI are still only beginning to emerge and are expected to yield new and unanticipated breakthroughs in coming years. Loosely speaking, the fundamental structure of how AI operates is analogous to the biological processing associated with the vision nerves of mammals. The processes through which signals and electrical impulses are transmitted through the brain of mammals conceptually mirror or align with how AI operates, senior ARL scientists explained. This means that a fundamental interpretive paradigm can be established, but also that scientists are now only beginning to scratch the surface of possibility when it comes to the kinds of performance characteristics AI might be able to replicate or even exceed.

For instance, could an advanced AI-capable computer be able to distinguish between a dance “ball” from a soccer “ball” in a sentence by analyzing the surrounding words to determine its context? This is precisely the kind of task AI is being developed to perform, essentially developing an ability to identify, organize, and integrate new incoming data not previously associated with its database.

Pentagon finds concerning vulnerabilities on blockchain

Ray Fernandez

A report commissioned by the Pentagon concluded that the blockchain is not decentralized, is vulnerable to attacks and is running outdated software. The report, “Are Blockchains Decentralized, Unintended Centralities in Distributed Ledgers”, uncovered that a subset of participants can “exert excessive and centralized control over the entire blockchain system.”

The findings of the report are a cause of concern for a wide range of sectors, but especially serious for security, fintech, big tech and the crypto industries, which continue to grow.

The Pentagon’s research arm, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), engaged Trail of Bits—a security research organization—to investigate the blockchain. Trail of Bits focused on Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two leading cryptocurrencies in the global market.

The U.S. Army Just Seriously Boosted the Abrams Tank’s Combat Power

Kris Osborn

The newly unveiled German-built Rheinmetall Panther KF 51 tank operates with the same amount of onboard power as its predecessor, the Leopard 2, according to multiple news reports tracking its release. This raises interesting questions about the new tank’s ability to accommodate an increasing need for onboard power. Having the same amount of power as the Leopard 2 is incompatible with the new electronics and digital computing reported to be built into the Panther, as integrating a new generation of exportable power has been among the most critical innovations for the U.S. Army’s Abrams tank. Years ago, developers built an auxiliary power unit to enable more onboard power and support its new electronics, computing, and command and control technology. New applications of onboard power generators are going even further by finding ways to decrease a hardware footprint and streamline large amounts of power to subsystems needed for targeting, computing, and networking.

There is another area that lends itself to a measure of ambiguity, as it is by no means clear that the new Panther would out-perform new variants of the Abrams with its sensors. A Popular Mechanics write-up mentions that the Panther is engineered with 360-degree “surround sensors,” something which enables tank crews to see obstacles and potential adversaries from any angle.

Doubling Down on the Middle East Will Cost America

Alireza Ahmadi

With President Joe Biden ready to abandon his public arms-length approach to Saudi Arabia, some advocates of closer ties between Washington and its regional partners have advocated for Biden to make bold new military and strategic promises to Riyadh. These calls follow rising anxieties about whether America’s Middle East partners remain committed to the American-led order after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led many of them to hedge. Many in Washington are used to discussing U.S. relations with Middle East partners on their own terms, but a reassessment is in order in this new era of Great Power Competition.

With its view of international affairs largely constructed from Cold War experiences, American foreign policy thinkers put a premium on building long-term alliances. They believe in overinvesting in relationships expecting that their allies will develop a corresponding commitment to a Western world order anchored and led by Washington. In regard to its more democratic allies in Europe and the Far East, this is largely true—but not in the Middle East. Despite decades of heavy American strategic, military, diplomatic, and economic investment in its Middle Eastern partners, it is increasingly clear that, far from forming a pro-American bloc against China and Russia, America’s Middle East partners are courting their presence.

Russian Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

Elina Treyger, Joe Cheravitch, Raphael S. Cohen

Russia is waging wide-reaching information warfare with the West. A significant part of this war takes place on social media, which Russia employs to spread disinformation and to interfere with the internal politics of other countries. Drawing on a variety of primary and secondary sources, expert interviews, and fieldwork in Ukraine, the report describes Russia's information warfare in the social media sphere (as of 2019) and provides recommendations to better counter this evolving threat. Moscow views social media as a double-edged sword — anxious about its potential to undermine Russia's security but aware of its advantages as a weapon of asymmetric warfare. Russia's use of this weapon picked up most markedly in 2014, suggesting a reaction to the West's response to the Ukraine conflict. Although popular portrayals of the Russian disinformation machine at times imply an organized and well-resourced operation, evidence suggests that it is neither. However, even with relatively modest investments, Russian social media activity has been wide-reaching. The impacts of Russia's efforts on the West — and of Western countermeasures on Russia — are difficult to assess. However, this threat can cause a variety of harms and is likely to evolve. Thus, the authors recommend that the U.S. Air Force and the joint force improve defensive measures aimed at raising awareness and lowering the susceptibility of the military and their families to Russian disinformation and propaganda campaigns. This research was completed in September 2019, before the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has not been subsequently revised.

Have Russian Cyberattacks Changed the Course of the War in Ukraine?

Sam Cranny-Evans

When Russia began its large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, it was evident that something had gone wrong in the Russian concept of operations. Early footage showed hapless Rosgvardia forces advancing on Kyiv alone and Russia’s elite airborne forces repeatedly trying to seize Hostomel airport without ever receiving the combined arms support they would have needed to succeed. And, having discussed their plans in the days preceding the invasion, Russian forces were met with robust Ukrainian resistance. Along with the infamous “forty-mile column,” this seems to suggest that the Russian forces had been committed with a hopeless lack of coordination and forethought.

However, some elements of the invasion were clearly planned in advance, and this is most evident in reports of cyberattacks that Microsoft claims to have uncovered. The evidence provided by Microsoft indicates that Russia coordinated cyberattacks with kinetic effects against certain key Ukrainian targets. The company states that a Russian actor launched a DesertBlade cyberattack against a Ukrainian broadcaster on March 1, which was the same day that Russia announced it would destroy sources of “disinformation” in Ukraine and launched a missile strike against a TV tower in Kyiv.

Tech Giants Form Metaverse Standards Group

Stephen Silver

Most tech companies seem to agree that the metaverse is the future, although they don’t appear to have an agreement on what it will look like or how it will work.

The metaverse is generally defined as some type of shared virtual environment where people can interact with others. Though in its general infancy now, the metaverse is seen as having a wide variety of applications, from business to gaming to even dating. It was the main topic of the tech conference at South by Southwest this spring.

Now, there’s word that a group has been formed, the Metaverse Standards Forum, to foster some industry agreement on the meaning and function of the metaverse. The group is open to all organizations at no cost.

The forum, the organization said in a press release, “brings together leading standards organizations and companies for industry-wide cooperation on interoperability standards needed to build the open metaverse. The forum will explore where the lack of interoperability is holding back metaverse deployment and how the work of Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) defining and evolving needed standards may be coordinated and accelerated.”

Does Biden Care About China’s Theft of American Technology?

Milton Ezrati

Depending on one’s biases, the Biden administration has done either too much of one thing or too little of another. One area where it has done nothing is in protecting U.S. interests in trade with China. Though President Joe Biden has kept Donald Trump’s questionable tariffs in place, he has not lifted a finger to stem China’s ongoing theft of American technology and intellectual property. Indeed, the administration has obliquely, if inadvertently encouraged China to continue such practices.

Every nation, and every business, tries to get its competitors’ trade secrets and technological edges. That is why governments and international agreements enforce patents and copyrights as well as recognized trademarks. Because Beijing has largely ignored these international norms and laws, businesses have turned to Washington for help instead of to courts and international agencies. Washington’s past efforts have failed to give this protection, but at least previous administrations have tried. The Biden White House cannot even make that claim.

Beijing relies on a number of techniques to gather the fruits of American innovation. Chief among these is China’s insistence that any U.S. firm operating in China have a Chinese partner to which it must transfer all its technology and trade secrets. Though not strictly illegal, Beijing’s insistence does fly in the face of international norms. Less licit is how Chinese firms buy high-tech American equipment and, despite patent protections, reproduce it for use in China and elsewhere outside the United States. American firms complain that knockoffs of their designs appear under Chinese labels all over the world.

The Durand Line Remains a Thorn in Pakistan’s Side

Georgia Leatherdale-Gilholy

With all eyes on Ukraine, much of the global commentariat has abandoned last summer’s groundswell of interest in Afghanistan. However, with tensions between the Taliban-led Afghan state and Pakistan potentially set to spiral over the coming weeks and months, the region could soon be making headlines for less than ideal reasons. While Islamabad was partly optimistic in the wake of the Taliban takeover, fault lines in the Pakistan-Taliban relationship have already emerged over the Durand Line.

Perceived as a divisive colonial element intended to divide the larger Pashtun community, the Durand Line is an emotive issue for many Afghans. While the Pashtun-dominated Taliban regime has yet to announce territorial expansionary designs, many of its leaders make no secret of their desire for the free flow of people, trade, and cultural exchanges across the Pashtun belt. The region is also home to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). These Wahhabi fundamentalists have pledged allegiance to the Taliban but maintain a separate structure. They also want the restoration of the special status of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and its de-merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, not to mention the release of their detained cadres.

How the U.S. Army Is Gearing Up for Multi-Domain Ground War

Kris Osborn

Two distinct yet closely synchronized U.S. Army entities are collaborating to optimize the service’s ability to prevail in a future ground war by maturing multi-pronged analysis related to emerging technologies and the need to adapt warfare strategies and tactics.

Army Futures Command and the service's acquisition arm, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA ALT), are working together to navigate the uncertain and potentially turbulent waters of future conflict.

U.S. Army Acquisition Executive Douglas Bush says his office is focused on the timing of prototyping, new weapons development, and timely funding to ensure technological innovations support emerging concepts of combined arms maneuver.

“I'm eagerly anticipating the work being done by futures on new force designs, I think they are correct in identifying the technology is changing. So as always, the Army's formations probably need to change at some point. So I think that that's good analysis work that's ongoing, and I think they're doing well based on a little bit that I've seen,” Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, told The National Interest in an interview.

How Sweden and Finland Will Change Europe's Military Calculus

Caleb Larson 

As they are both poised to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Sweden and Finland are set to significantly alter the strategic calculus in the Arctic and the Baltic Sea. Since the two countries are already tightly integrated with NATO, they would not struggle to fully integrate into the security alliance quickly.

Speaking to reporters, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, explained to reporters what that integration would look like. “They’re high-end operating militaries that have worked with us for a long time in very close partnership. So their transition into NATO is – I would predict – is going to be virtually seamless in the military dynamic. I think about the Arctic Basin and I think about the real estate that their coastline [has] along the Arctic Basin,” Admiral Gilday explained.

“I think that in the future, as we see the polar ice cap receding, we see trade routes between Asia and Europe change, and competition for resources get more competitive in that area, I think that’s an example where Sweden and Finland – where we leverage their geostrategic position in a powerful way for the good of many,” he stated.

European Strategic Autonomy Is Dead

Jason W. Davidson

On the eve of NATO’s Madrid Summit, one fact of European security has become increasingly clear: NATO is the only feasible guarantor of the security of European states and, thus, the European Union’s (EU) objective of achieving strategic autonomy is unlikely to become a reality anytime soon.

In the early days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it would have been reasonable to expect the war would provide the necessary impetus for the European Union to finally achieve strategic autonomy. Unity develops in response to a common threat and Russia’s attack demonstrated its aggressive intentions. Moreover, the Russian threat was such a shock that it seemed to cause a “sea change” in defense policy for many European governments. The Biden administration had already rightfully signaled that it would welcome greater European responsibility for defense and security, as it would allow the United States to focus more on the greater threat posed by China. In a further positive development, the EU published a “Strategic Compass,” outlining its plans for improved defense and security cooperation, only a month after the Russo-Ukrainian War began.

In the months since, however, it has become clear that European strategic autonomy is unlikely to come to fruition anytime soon: the war has increased the stakes and made apparent the risk involved in forming an alternative to NATO, major EU members France and Germany have acted in ways that cast doubt on their ability to lead, and Sweden and Finland’s NATO application demonstrates that the backing of the United States is the only real guarantee against Russian aggression.

The Strategic Relevance of Cybersecurity Skills

Tommaso De Zan

Evidence suggests there is a global cybersecurity skills shortage affecting businesses and governments alike, which means that organizations are struggling to fill their cybersecurity vacancies. For example, the United Kingdom would need to attract approximately 17,500 new people every year into its cybersecurity sector to meet demand, and similar workforce difficulties have been reported in Australia, Italy, Japan, and the United States. Cybersecurity firm Fortinet depicted a stark picture of this gap in its 2022 report: 80 percent of polled organizations suffered one or more breaches due to a lack of cybersecurity skills and/or awareness, and 67 percent agreed that this shortage creates additional risks for their organizations.

Further compounding this growing skills shortage has been increasing reliance on information systems, data, and networks to facilitate daily life. Modern information and communication technologies (ICT) are the main drivers of the “information society” of which cyberspace is a constitutive element and very much intertwined with the other physical, social, economic, and political layers. Hence, the absence of professionals who could defend the technological backbones of modern societies could have dire consequences for economic development and national security. For example, when cybersecurity skills are not available in the private sector, companies may incur heavier financial losses, experience disrupted operations, or compromise customers’ privacy and safety. And if this shortage were to happen on a large scale, firms will suffer because of cyber-related incidents in addition to market-related ones.

Bolt-On vs Baked-In Cybersecurity

Herb Lin

A few weeks ago, the annual RSA Conference met in San Francisco. The conference is among the world’s largest cybersecurity events, and it thus provides a useful opportunity to reflect on current issues in cybersecurity.

One of the most prominent issues in cybersecurity is that of “baking in” security into product development from the beginning, rather than “bolting on” security as an afterthought. A company that uses bolt-on security as its default product development practice is usually acting in accordance with its economic incentives. Efforts devoted to security do nothing to advance the functionality of a new product. In an environment in which time-to-market is often the key to marketplace success, it makes a lot of economic sense to fix security problems if and when they manifest themselves after product launch rather than to spend the up-front effort preventing those problems from arising in the first place. A product manager may believe that the probability of discovering a vulnerability is low or that the economic loss resulting from its potential discovery is low. Thus, the product manager may make what seems to be an economically rational decision to fix only those problems that are both discovered in the field and serious. If the product manager is right, the resulting costs will be lower than the cost incurred in a security-up-front or baked-in model.

The High Costs of Disengagement for China


OXFORD – For more than three decades, the global economy was defined by unbridled integration and unprecedented interdependence. Neither political spats nor localized wars could slow the globalization train. Markets were markets, business was business, and multinational firms became more multinational. Not anymore.

In this new era of strategic competition between China and the West, disengagement is the order of the day. While this trend will impede economic growth, increase business costs (via supply-chain restructuring), and raise prices for everyone, the economy that loses the most may well be China’s.

The People’s Republic would not be where it is today without globalization. International trade, investment, and capital-market access drove economic growth, while knowledge transfer – aided by engagement among students, scientists, and scholars – enabled technological leveling-up.

Weaponizing Non-Violence: A Change Of Tactics Required In Ukraine – OpEd

Jonathan Power

Non-violence can get you a long way, often further than violence. Look at Mahatma Gandhi whose movement compelled the British to withdraw from India years before they planned to. His famous long march to the sea to gather salt—the British insisted they run the salt industry and charged a lot for this necessary product—was the turning point. The British-led troops beat the protestors, which was reported all over the world and led to an outpouring of support for Gandhi in Britain.

Look at Martin Luther King. For decades blacks had tried to protest, sometimes with modest success. But what changed with King’s leadership was that non-violent protest became weaponised. His disciplined followers confronted the forces of “law and order” time and time again. King was imprisoned along with many followers. Some of his followers were murdered by white southern racists. The police beat his marchers on nearly every march. In the end King massed hundreds of thousands of supporters, black and white, in Washington and that turned the tide.

Operationalizing the Quad

Lisa Curtis, Jacob Stokes, Joshua Fitt and CDR Andrew J. Adams


The Quad—made up of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—is becoming the principal multilateral group shaping the geo-economic and technological future and the strategic orientation of the Indo-Pacific. Strengthening the Quad is a central pillar in the Biden administration’s strategic plan to compete more effectively with a rising China. Although the Quad leaders currently avoid publicly discussing defense-related initiatives and do not seek to make the Quad into a NATO-like organization, the Quad’s purpose is undeniably strategic. Its aim is to provide a counterweight to China’s growing economic and political influence in the Indo-Pacific and put forth an alternative vision of a free, open, transparent, inclusive, and peaceful region as opposed to one dominated by China’s authoritarian ideology.

The idea of a Quad dialogue among Australia, India, Japan, and the United States was conceptualized by then–Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo around 2007. Abe was inspired by the formation of the Tsunami Core Group, which was created in response to the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean as a way for the four nations to cooperate on disaster relief efforts.3 The first-ever Quad meeting of senior officials occurred in 2007 on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum meeting. Days before the meeting, China démarched all four capitals, inquiring about the agenda of the meeting and whether it would have an anti-China focus.4 That same year the Quad countries plus Singapore participated in the Malabar naval exercise, which India holds annually with the United States and Japan, in the Bay of Bengal. The Australians decided to withdraw from the Quad in 2008, in a move likely aimed at placating China, a major trading partner. The Indians—who share a disputed border with China over which they fought a war in 1962—also indicated a degree of uneasiness with the Quad around the same time.5

Yen Becomes Next Eye Of Storm In International Capital Market – Analysis

Wei Hong Xu

With the recent acceleration of interest rate hikes of the Federal Reserve, the yen is under increasing pressure while the U.S. dollar index remains high. This, in turn, causes the Japanese currency to show a trend of continuous depreciation. The exchange rate of the yen against the U.S. dollar broke through the key node of JPY 135, reaching a high of JPY 136 on June 21. On June 23, USD/JPY continued to hover around a 24-year high of 136. Earlier this week, at one point, the exchange rate of the dollar against the yen reached the highest since October 1998 to JPY 136.70.

Since the beginning of this year, the yen has depreciated by more than 18% against the dollar, and its depreciation rate ranks among the top among the G10 countries. The changes brought about by the devaluation of the yen have greatly changed its role as a traditional safe-haven currency, and it has increasingly become the center of focus for speculation.

Russia’s Space Satellite Problems and the War in Ukraine

Pavel Luzin

Three months into Russia’s full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine, the role of Russian military reconnaissance and communications satellites remains noticeably underdeveloped. Although Moscow has 102 military satellites in orbit, the efficiency of its battlefield reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and command-and-control systems still seems to be lower than one would have expected for a country with a space program and military-industrial complex ostensibly as advanced as Russia’s. Its forces have been unable to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure or eliminate Ukrainian aviation and air/missile-defense systems. When it comes to inadequate reconnaissance and targeting, Russian troubles apparently hinge on a shortage of open optical and synthetic aperture radar satellites. Whereas, its deficient command, control and communications (C3) systems are the result of having too few satellite communication channels and terminals.

Only two Russian military satellites—Persona No. 2 (Cosmos 2486), launched in 2013, and Persona No. 3 (Cosmos 2506) put into orbit two years later—are optical intelligence spacecraft; they follow sun-synchronous orbits 700 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. Three Russian Bars-M satellites also travel along sun-synchronous orbits but below 600 kilometers: Cosmos 2503 (launched in 2015), Cosmos 2515 (2016) and Cosmos 2556 (2022). The Bars-Ms mostly carry out topography and mapping missions (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 1). The first experimental, next-generation optical-intelligence satellite, designed to replace the Persona assets, was the EMKA No. 1 (Cosmos 2525) (Kommersant, July 28, 2016). It was launched in 2018 but burned up in the atmosphere in April 2021. Another two satellites of this new generation, Cosmos 2551 and Cosmos 2555, were lost during failed launch attempts, in September 2021 and April 2022, respectively.

Indian Experts Want New Delhi to Buy Fewer Arms From Russia (and Everyone Else, Too)

Krzysztof Iwanek

Whenever India’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine is discussed, a crucial factor brought up is New Delhi’s dependence on Russian military products. This is indeed the most important aspect of Indo-Russian cooperation, with Moscow’s assistance in building Indian nuclear reactors probably coming second. India’s imports of Russian oil, while given much coverage in the press, have grown only in the past few months, and it is too early to use such short-term purchases to make judgements about long-term processes. Indian purchases of Russian oil typically are comparatively very small, and Middle Eastern oil producers are much geographically closer to India than Russia is. Nevertheless, it remains a fact that New Delhi is deeply dependent on Russian military technologies.

India is increasingly sourcing more sophisticated military products from the broadly-understood West – mainly the U.S. and France, but also Israel. Certain key platforms sold to India, such as fighter jets and helicopters, won recent competitions with their Russian equivalents, or have been induced into the Indian Armed Forces to replace older Russian/Soviet products. From my perspective as a Polish commentator, it is a positive political outcome – the less Russia can sell, the better chance its aggressive foreign policy will collapse.

James Mattis just got married in the most Marine way possible


Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis has finally gotten married after decades of putting his devotion to the Marine Corps and the rest of the U.S. military above his personal life. And he did it in the most Marine way possible:

Mattis, who served as defense secretary from January 2017 until December 2018, wed physicist Christina Lomasney on Saturday, Garrett Ross of Politico first revealed. The couple were reportedly married by a priest and then they had a second ceremony at Las Vegas’ Little Church of the West that involved an Elvis impersonator in which Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward was the best man. Politico posted pictures of both events.

“Not surprising for a Marine, the couple met in a bar,” Politico reported. “The reception for friends and family was at The Palazzo at Rosina.”

Pakistani Court Sentences Militant Linked to 2008 Mumbai Attacks

Munir Ahmed and Asim Tanveer

Pakistan sentenced one of the militants linked to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India to 15 years in prison for terror financing unrelated to the assaults, according to court documents viewed by The Associated Press on Monday.

Sajid Majeed Mir, 43, was arrested in 2020 and sentenced in May, according to the documents, but his detention and sentencing were never disclosed by Pakistan. He was sought by the FBI in connection with the 2008 attacks on India’s financial hub that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Under its Rewards for Justice program, the United States offered up to $5 million for information on Mir’s alleged involvement in the attacks in neighboring India.

The court documents provided no details on Mir’s involvement in terror financing.